On parenting a 4 year old to willingly give back


“If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

It was quite some time ago that I wanted to share what my external supervisor had told me over the course of my ten week practicum with her that not only resonated so well with me but left me truly inspired by her. During our weekly two hour sessions, we toiled through concepts, process recordings and practical skills. Very rarely did we touch on personal thoughts, opinions and life- keeping it strictly professional.

There was this one moment where we made some small talk after the lesson had ended. She had gone to the washroom and I had to show her the way out of my office. I asked about her four year old who was now in kindergarten. She smiled and shared that her daughter was struggling with her upcoming birthday party’s choice. In local kindergartens in Singapore, some of them have a service whereby you can pay the childcare to celebrate your child’s birthday for you. “It’s usually a sum of $400, where the school will get their school canteen to cook for the children in the class something special, a birthday cake and some goodie bags for your child and his or her classmates.” She explained.

I went on to listen to her story. She shared that from the previous birthdays they had, her child’s classmate’s goodie bags included a watch that when a button was pressed-would flash cartoon characters like Spongebob or Dora pictures on a wall. It was not appealing to her as a parent at all. “$400 is a lot of money.” she chimed as I nodded in agreement. “I can’t imagine what a four year old would do with such a watch!” She laughed.

She picked her daughter up from school one day and decided to touch on this topic with her. “Mummy can use this $400 to help some poor children in Singapore.” She said. “You don’t need any new watches, right? The children you will help struggle with books and uniforms for school.” Her child was obviously adamant and disappointed, as it was indeed her birthday money. But because she had already promised her child, she told her daughter she would give her time to think about it but remained firm that the choice would still be hers- whether she chose to have a party or not.

“Wow.” I said in awe. It must have been difficult as a parent to do something like that. “Did she understand where you were coming from?” I asked. My supervisor explained that she had used simpler terms to her and told her that if she wanted to donate this money to the poor, her organization had a carnival where they will allow her to sponsor the cotton candy & popcorn machines. She will be allowed to serve the candy & popcorn to the children beneficiaries she meets on that day, should she want to donate that sum and give up her birthday party.

A week  later- they were crossing the road together hand in hand, just like any other day- when her daughter turned to her and said, “You know what mummy? I’ve decided. I’m going to give my birthday money to the other children!”

I was truly inspired by such an act of parenting. It is extremely rare these days that we hope to instill such thoughts or actions at a child’s expense. It was even more heartening to think that with such a heart of a 4 year old, that such love would be this inspiring.

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The idea of packing up and leaving everything behind 

When I was 9, i went to the UK to attend my oldest sister’s convocation. Even though I was still young, I remember being taught at the supermarket the difference between pence and pennies, eating candy whenever I could get my hands on them, and lugging around a yellow handbook of Rold Dahl’s best stories as I thought about witches who had squared feet hidden in shoes.

I never traveled further till i turned 22 and decided it was time for a change.

Today, as I sit on the train on my way to work thinking about the multitudes of work, school and assignments- i ask myself if this is really all there is to life than worrying constantly about doing your best, keeping your grades up, keeping your job and maintaining clear equilibrium in your life (which I feel is what I’m been trying to do all this time).I twas on a bus ride with Jared the other day and he said to me, “You can’t always chase the paper. You’d be very dissatisfied in life later.” This is someone my brother lives by on a day to day basis.

There are times when things get too overwhelming, and i dream of leaving everything behind-booking a flight and getting out of my little world in this little red dot. This morning feels like one of those days. But not because I don’t love the people I have around me (be it work, school or otherwise), but because I know this semester, being the toughest one to it- will take forever to be over. And all I feel now is dread.

Travelling makes you realize how small you are in such a big world. It makes you acknowledge that kindness can exist in a complete stranger. That racism still exists in other parts of the world. It makes you realize how small our little red dot is in comparison to other countries. And it makes you appreciate what you have, and envy what you don’t.

I miss travelling and leaving it all behind. But then I remember that we are all called to do something. Then I ask for strength and wisdom to get me through and get up and going.

Last semester of university life, #letzgo.

I’ll carry you home

Recently: battling the erratic hot and cold weathers in Singapore (but mostly hot) & exam period-IMG_9158IMG_9154IMG_9165

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I’ve been sick for the last couple of days. I had actually started to feel a bit heated up on sunday night and proceeded to drink lots of water. I woke up with a very red and sore throat and lived my life on strepsil’s extra strength which surprised me greatly. Each time there was an urge to cough I popped one in and it made my throat feel so much better. By today, the soreness went away and I was coughing out all my phlegm! I really didn’t want to waste time queueing at the GP and was so thankful this sufficed.

Exams: now where do I begin?

I used to chime the tune to the grass is always greener on the other side, till my friend Liyin told me, “the grass is greener on the side you choose to water”. Since then, I’ve been trying (very hard, I might add) to adapt her words into daily routine, especially when things get hard. This is especially so in days when I trudge one step in front of the other. One step at a time, I tell myself. Yes, I have my days of weary despair, and of days when I just want to daydream how it would feel to rub my feet together under a blanket in bed with the aircon on full blast, while waking up to no alarm ringing, or even-just to have a cup of coffee or tea and read a book on a weekend where I don’t have to be anywhere, be anyone or do anything.

My daily musings at 1.34am. This is what I get for drinking too much coffee and having a slow output system.


“I certainly did something, I made you.”

I’ve been bogged down by quite a few things these past two weeks. Firstly, work. Another one of my seniors passed on last week and hearing how she fought so hard to stay alive (she wasn’t frail at all but only after she contracted cancer she detoriated quickly) made me pretty sad. She had always been a kind lady and i shared my sentiments with my supervisor who then said one of the most comforting words to me. She went,”Don’t worry so much. You know, God will find the tiniest reason to save someone.”

Ageing is the end of our lifespans and working with seniors isn’t as popular as compared to my other peers in early childcare. But something still consistently stirs in me in my day to day work and after almost two years running, I am ever grateful for the consistent reminder to appreciate the little things in life. After all, ageing is a human experience not every one gets to experience, but we take that for granted half the time.

Schoolwork: a total pain and torturous journey altogether when it comes to assessment runs. I have approximately 8 essays to write, a group component and also 4 main papers in may that I’ve clearly, not started studying for. It brought me back to my polytechnic years and made me wonder how unappreciative I was then of being able to take afternoon naps. With work and school and attempting to have a basic social life, lessons become more and more difficult to attend to. It’s extremely draining physically and mentally. But at the same time, I’d like to state that I have nobody else to blame, and deep inside I know nothing worth having comes easy. So, till graduation!!! (I await that day eagerly)  🙆🏻🙆🏻🙆🏻 

Last friday, we celebrated my mom’s 61st birthday with a simple japanese dinner at thriple one. Their cod fish beef set was to die for! I forgot what the resturant’s name was but it’s located on the second floor. Check it out!  

The very next morning on saturday, we went for a family portrait photoshoot at serangoon broadway. My mom had originally requested it for her 60th birthday but at that time one of my sisters was pregnant/i had braces so we waited till 2016 to take it. We had a long discussion over it and decided to make the portait with just my mother and her children. 

Serangoon broadway was very professional in their shoots and we finished it within an hour. Shockingly, i never knew family portraits were so expensive! An average mid sized portrait can cost as much as $800+. Because there were so many of her children, my mother chose a bigger one which cost slightly over 1k 😱😱😱 at moments like this i’m thankful the cost was divided by 5 😂😂😂

After the shoot, we went for a family brunch (we haven’t done it in awhile because we’ve been busy with school/work/kids) which was really nice. We settled into a bistro along Jalan Riang called Rokeby and had a really nice cuppa latte and breakfast sets! 

In the meantime, i will do what i do best at- procrastination, denial and feign ignorance. Hopefully get some sleep over the weekend.

 I also recently got a piggy bank at work so I can look at it and be reminded to save. It is also purposefully bought with the euro dollar on it because it is my second utmost desire to backpack the other 1/2 to 1/4 of Europe that I didn’t get to complete last year. Also, Cinque Terre, which i forgoed for an extra night in florence. #noregrets still though, Florence stole my heart completely.   

Okay, this sums up my thoughts and what has been going on in my life so far. Would you believe I spent the 45 minute train journey from home to work to craft this post on the wordpress app? #efficiency. 

Hang tight and I’ll catch you guys in a bit! 


Exam Week

Exam week summed up:

  • Life as a nomad, running from libraries to houses to half contemplating whether to go up to my neighbour’s house upstairs to tell them to stop drilling/banging whatever they were doing at 10am because it was disrupting my revision
  • Then chickening out 15 minutes later, uprooting myself and heading to my brother’s house because I was never really that good at confrontation.
  • Last minute revision (again). I had originally tried studying two weeks prior to the exams but studying after work never bade well with me.
  • 5-6 hour sleep cycles, because revision ran till late at night. Waking up for work the very next morning and thanking God for a seat on the train before I closed my eyes and slept.
  • Dependable friends, who make me (slightly) more motivated to study, late night skype calls to video conference and share our verbal diarrhoea on past year exam questions and debate on correct answers

When the semester comes close to a close, it reminds me being a foot closer to graduation, a step closer to doing social work, and a step closer to making that difference. That really makes the motivation to work harder to reaching that end in mind. It feels like only yesterday when I blogged that Year 2 was going to be perfect. In the blink of an eye, it’s really amazing that half a semester has gone by.

2 papers down, 1 more to go. And hopefully,2-3 more semesters till I graduate.

In the meantime, I’ll remind myself that action cures fear (my fear of failing lol brb)


Year 2

Slightly more than a year ago,  I consistently questioned myself. Was this where I should be? A degree? A full time job? It all seemed so difficult, so exhausting and confusing. While all my peers were eligible and enrolling themselves into local university, leaving the country out chasing their degree dreams-breaking through networking and banking industries onto other high powered office jobs, I wondered why I had no inkling in me to chase that dream too. I struggled with my choices and uncertainty.

And then I met this amazing bunch of people. With the same dream, the same goal and the same desire to empower others. With them, everything felt like second nature. And suddenly, weirdly, it didn’t feel as scary anymore to stand apart from the unconventional route anymore. 

Year 2 will be amazing ☺☺☺