Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Free-Range Kids

I read this article today encouraging free play and independence in kids today.  It reminded me of my childhood days of biking through our neighborhood with my sister and our friend S who also lived in the same neighborhood.  Such care-free days they were.  We were fearless and imagined ourselves conquering mountains as we rode our bikes at high speed over humps of a short cut trail we took to get home.  We were inspired by Enid Blyton books like the Secret Seven and the Famous Five, searching for adventure in our rather tame environs.  We got our fair share of scrapes and bruises but they did not stop us at all. 

I see the kids in Singapore today, stuck at home or in tuition centers, doing homework or enrichment exercises.  I suspect much of their free time is spent with eyes glued on to a smart phone or tablet either playing games or watching videos.  I bet the optometrists are making good money.


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Crazy Rich Asians


There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the release of the movie “Crazy Rich Asians”.  I’ve read the various viewpoints – Asian-American, Singaporean, Malaysian.   I went into the cinema with an open mind, intending to watch it as a RomCom that happens to be set in Singapore.

I was surprised to find myself almost moved to tears when the movie opened with the big band sounding track by Jasmine Chen “Waiting For Your Return”.  I am not sure why it affected me so.  Maybe because I never thought I would see Chinese music being featured so prominently in a Hollywood studio production.


The rest of the movie was enjoyable, with surprisingly good performances from Singapore actors Koh Chieng Mun, Selena Tan, and especially Tan Kheng Hua.  They certainly deserved their roles, and what a refreshing change from the melodramatic performances  we see from them in  MediaCorp productions!

Whether or not one agrees with how good the movie is, it IS breaking box offices records .  But what I see as most impactful that has come out of this production are the conversations about Race and Diversity that has arisen. 

About time, I say

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Social Media - Love it or Hate it?

So, Facebook has been in the news lately, because of data privacy (or lack thereof).  Stolen data, fake news, bots, election interference.....it has certainly shook up the world and given us all a wake up call that data on the internet is not really private unless you are tech-savvy enough to put up walls of all kinds to prevent your data from being stolen.

Facebook is now in the center of all this because of how big it's grown and how many users are using this platform.  Through it all, I have been amused by those who criticize it (ironically, on Facebook!) because ultimately, the user needs to share responsibility as well.  My philosophy when it comes to using Facebook has always been that whatever data I put in there is not confidential.  If in doubt, just don't put it in or share it.  Period.

For me, FB has always been an important way for me to remain connected with my family and friends.  For those of us who are world travelers, and global nomads, it is difficult when we miss out on birthdays and anniversaries, reunions and celebrations, and social media is the only way for us to feel like, in some small way, we are part of the happenings that go on at "home".

Does Facebook need to take responsibility for its lapses?  Absolutely.  But we should also take responsibility for what we put on the internet.  In the era of fake news and internet "trolls"*, we should also be smart about what we see and read on dubious websites.  Do we need regulation?  I certainly think so.  I also think those who spread fake news or impersonate celebrities should be held liable.  This, I think, will be the only way to stop the divisiveness that is spreading alarmingly throughout not just the USA, but also the world.

*definition from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary: "a person who intentionally antagonizes others online by posting inflammatory, irrelevant, or offensive comments or other disruptive content" 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Re-empty Nesting

They have come and now have gone again.  Z & W came for a month's visit with their parental units over the Christmas and New Year holidays.  Time spent as a family unit is much treasured these days, given the geographical distance between us.  Even more precious was time spent with their grandparents during a short getaway to Taipei, as due to various circumstances, visiting them in Singapore is not an option.

I loved simply just listening to and being a part of conversations between us.  Nothing beats face to face interactions.  Facetime is a blessing to be had for sure, but I do miss the physical togetherness of being a family, extended or otherwise.

Having said that, now that they have returned home, A says he is happy to be back to our usual grind and day to day schedule.  We love them dearly, but there is something to be said to be just the two of us once more.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

...the right to bear arms....

...mass shooting happens...
...prayers and condolences expressed in the press, in social media, on TV...
...killer identified...
...motive for killing investigated/discussed...
...victims highlighted and featured in various media...
...heroes lauded...
...gun control vs gun lobby arguments heard ad nauseum...
...nothing changes...

...repeat...

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Bygones

I watch a video taken almost exactly 21 years ago, of the 80th birthday celebration of my maternal grandmother.  It brings smiles when I see everyone look so young, when my boys were still in pre-school in the US, and we made trips to visit our extended family in Singapore.  I see the rest of my extended family - grand-uncles, grand-aunties, uncles, aunties, cousins....all converging from different parts of the world to celebrate a grand occasion.

I miss those days when life was a bit simpler.  The generation before mine seemed to be better at keeping in touch.  I guess being an international family doesn't help with family reunions.  Between Then and Now, relocations, and family dysfunctions have caused us all to scatter in the different hemispheres of the world - North, South, East, West; and to lose the connection that once was so close.

Family & work commitments does not make it easy to congregate.  Occasions like Chinese New Year, or Christmas, traditionally times when families come together have been relegated FaceTime meetings over the internet.  Planning for special birthdays now have to start months, or even a year ahead of time, in order to accommodate travel arrangements, school semesters, and leave from work.

We are a third culture family - children of immigrants who have become immigrants themselves and who have borne children who have grown up with unique life experiences.  Do I wish that we had had a more "traditional" life? Sometimes I do....especially during festive seasons.  Do I regret our life?  No way.  We took the path less traveled....and what a journey it has been

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Birthday Musings

I spent my birthday in the Pacific NW of the USA, one of the most beautiful parts of this country, IMHO.  I am alone yet not alone....with technology, I stay connected with my global family and friends, whether it's through Facebook or Facetime or Whatsapp or Messenger.  Birthday greetings sent my way from halfway across the country and across the world warms my heart.  :)

These days, it's so easy to feel despondent over the politicking that is happening in DC.  Watching the news and various commentary shows has become like watching a car crash scene....it's awful and yet I can't look away.  This psychologically flawed President and his followers fill me with despair at the policies they want to implement and by their actions of trying to take away safeguards against damaging our environment, and against internet privacy, and making healthcare even more expensive and less affordable to those who can least afford it.  However, I have to hope that the laws and constitution of this great country will hold up against these crazy times and that there are enough honorable politicians left in the Capitol who will fight against these senseless attempts at regressing the USA.  He says Make America Great Again....but his policies, if passed, will make America Less.

Some of his supporters make fun of Liberals, calling them "libtards", or "snowflakes".  Well, if caring for the environment, and human rights and being sensitive to how others feel is part of what defines a liberal, then I proudly call myself one.