Monthly Archives: January 2016

The underachieving patissier-hopeful

When I first moved to Singapore, I had a grandiose dream of baking and sharing wonderful cupcakes.

Four years later, no cupcakes 🙁 The only think I ever made with the Kitchenaid mixer was whipped cream. How sad!

Here is my underachieving and neglected Kitchenaid mixer:
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Well, in 2016, I’m going to try and at least bake once a month. Went to stock up my baking pantry with some essential stuff. All my old baking ingredients had expired 🙁

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My top goodies to bake are Ispahan (rose, lychee and raspberry) cupcake, and Milk Bar’s compost cookies (with pretzels, potato chips, coffee ground). But I will probably make a Banana Pecan cupcake first. I need to finish up my expired pecans.

Fitness Quest

I changed the category of “Running Quest” to “Fitness Quest” since I don’t run anymore.

Last November, I discovered FitnessBlender.com and I have been consistently doing their workouts at home. Working out at home is great because I don’t have to spend 2-3 hours traveling time to get to the gym and back.

Over the years, I’ve accumulated some workout gears. Some of which were actually shipped to Singapore from the US over four years ago. I like the FitnessBlender videos. The structure is easy to follow, but the workouts can be quite tough. But I can feel that I’m getting better at it.

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I am still going to the gym for group classes, particularly for Body Pump and RPM during the weekends. Eventhough I burn about the same amount of calories both with FitnessBlender and the gym classes, I think my muscles are more sore from gym classes. I slack off more at home.

I definitely enjoy the strength training workouts much more than an hour on the treadmill. I still like the idea of running, but I just haven’t been able to consistently run so that I won’t feel like my heart will jump out of my chest even when I’m doing my slow shuffle. I think my knees also can’t handle the pounding much now.

I want to remember this day!

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6 January 2016 – I want to remember this day!

My department went to Batam for a staff retreat. We had a super boring staff retreat last year, pretty much all-work-no-play. This year, we went on an all-play-no-work retreat. Things started out quite unremarkable. We were taken on a tour of a layer cake factory, keropok shop, and had seafood lunch, all the usual cheap Batam tour stuff.

Then we went to this place and the hilarity ensued. From this point onwards, it’s What-happens-in-Batam-stays-in-Batam. It’s only really funny now that I have had time to process. I have not laughed so much in a very long time. Whenever my close colleagues and I talked about this, we would laugh so hard till we teared up. I foresee that we would continue to bring up this matter for a while before we get over this. And at the end of 2016 when we start discussing what we would do for 2017 staff retreat, we are going to have another very good laugh!

Resolutions, why bother? Right?! (Part 2)

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How do I get myself to read more?

Academic reading: I have accumulated so MANY journal articles, and research and teaching books, that I should read but I never found the time or I didn’t make time to read them. I’m thinking maybe before the start of every work day, before I check email or turn on the work computer, I should read one journal article. If I speed read, I could clear one in 30mins. I could even get a latte at the canteen and spend a “leisurely” hour of reading before going to the office. Sounds good 🙂

Leisure reading: Maybe 30 mins before bedtime, I should read something new and not my same old bedtime reading materials.

Bible reading: At least a chapter in the morning before I turn on the wifi or mobile data on my cellphone..haha

Write More

Blog writing: This post is evidence that I’m trying to write more 🙂 Writing about mundane stuff is good. Any writing is good. Not Facebook status or comment kind of writing. Kind of more deliberate, brain cranking kind of writing. I feel people don’t think as deeply or reflect as much nowadays. People react a lot, and are quick to share social media stuff, but, in general, most people don’t create new things (that takes effort) as much.

Academic writing: This is a killer. One sentence at a time. Building up to a paragraph. Remove the fear and anxiety that the piece is not good enough. Get the draft done and start on the revision. There is no other way.

My work appraisal is so tightly-linked to how much I can produce in this area, which is quite horrible. Since academic publishing takes so much time and just because you wrote something, doesn’t mean that it will be published. It may take several months before you find out that the work you spend months and years on has been rejected.

I’m still trying to understand this part of my work life and its impact on my self-esteem and self-worth. It’s just part and parcel of academia life. Cannot run away from it. It’s just that the expectation of my uni is just too high. A person will reach a point where it’s almost impossible to catch up and then “why bother?” creeps in.

At this point in time, after much reflection, I just want to do some meaningful research, with whatever time that I might have left, and I hope the research process and findings will have some impact on some people. And if my papers get published, I hope someone will read it and find it helpful. I hope to have an enjoyable and exciting time doing the research, and writing it up(!). Ruminating on the KPIs is just a waste of my time.

Let’s start from the very beginning…

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These clear sheet protectors, categorized as Consumables, and the receipt dated 1 January 2016 signify the beginning of the Transition Grant. The Transition Grant will kickstart once I submit the reimbursement claim form for this item.

For the next 2.5 years, I will be spending a significant amount of my time and energy working on this research grant.

What is it like for young people with intellectual disabilities as they transition to adulthood?
What are their dreams and hopes for the future?
Have they been taught to dream and have hopes for their future?
Do those around them nurture their hopes and dreams?
Will they just tell me what they think I want to hear?
Will I be able to listen close enough to hear what they have to say?

Resolutions, why bother? Right?! (Part 1)

It’s the new year. Time to reflect and think about the future in 2016.

I don’t remember making any resolutions in 2015, which is good – meaning I didn’t fail at keeping the resolutions, but at the same time, I didn’t achieve anything extraordinary that I had set my mind to at the the beginning of 2015 to be accomplished by end of 2015.

I’m not thinking about making any resolutions for 2016. But I am pondering on some things…

What would be some habits or practices that I could develop or sustain that would make my life a little better in 2016?

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I think this would definitely expand my mind, help me develop ideas, and enrich my soul.

Write more

I think I only wrote many emails and documents that are work related. And there are not even critical work-related, except for the research grant application, all my writings were just administrative stuff.

Reading my old entries in Duhville brought back so many memories. And somethings that I had documented here I can no longer remember, like it went into my Memory Dump and fizzled and disappeared forever. Which is kind of what’s happening to my last 6 years of my life. I got too caught up in the busyness, and woes, of working life, that I no longer had the motivation to write much here. And everything that has happened is just like a melting pot of stuff and no memory is very specific or colorful.

Considering that it feels like more and more stuff goes into my Memory Dump at a faster rate, I should write more here. More for myself, so that my future self can look back and still see several colorful, descriptive, and perhaps emotional written paintings of my yesterdays.

Academic writing…sigh… No need to say, I have to churn out so many pieces this year to stay afloat.

Exercise more

Towards the end of 2015, I built up quite a momentum in terms of going to the gym or working out at home. Mostly because I started to explore strength-training by going for Body Pump classes and I found FitnessBlender youtube videos.

If I had a fitness goal this year, it would be to be able to do at least 10 proper push-ups, not the half push-ups, but the full push-ups.

Less social media

Research has shown that people are happier when they are exposed to less social media. Social media would have to go if I want to read and write more.

Less portion

I will definitely gain by eating less…hahaha. Health-wise, fitness-wise. Unfortunately I’m not the kind of person who says things like, “I was so busy I forgot to eat.” I never forget to eat. I’m not very productive when I’m hungry. If I’m too busy, I will be busy working and at the same time be thinking that I’m so hungry.

I just need to eat smaller portions and choose healthier options.