I want to remember this day!


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)

Read More

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…


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?

Read more

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.

Battling to write …

Journal articles

Hmmmm, not much has changed. Look at the photos of my writing desk in the following posts.

October 2006: Working on my qualifying project paper

February 2007: Received feedback on qualifying project paper. I think I did not meet the deadline that I stated in the October 2006 post. That’s why still working on this paper in Feb 2007.

April 2007: Working on the first draft of my dissertation proposal.

June 2008: Completed the first draft of my dissertation proposal. This is just the proposal. I completed my dissertation on 15 April 2010, two years after proposal was completed.

As a graduate student, I struggled to write. As an assistant professor, I still struggle to write. I’ve gained some writing skills during the many rounds of revisions I did on my dissertation. I’ve also gained some writing skills from having to examine my graduate students’ papers. But it is still very hard work. Not physically, but mentally. I’m constantly battling procrastination and self-doubt.

Chasing a grant deadline now. Got to convince grantors that my proposed study is important and significant and worthy of the $99K that I’m asking from them to conduct this study.

School is out!


The hard work begins. Academic writing 🙁

1. Council of Exceptional Children 2016 proposals due 22 June 2015. I’m submitting 2 proposals for this round.
2. University grant call due 1 July 2015. I’m revising a grant proposal and resubmitting it.
3. One manuscript that’s been rejected so many times. Got to revise that and submit it somewhere by mid-July 2015.
4. Master student’s dissertation. Good study but have to work on that and must submit by end-July 2015.
5. A chapter on Transition for colleague’s book. Way overdue. Maybe can get a rough draft done by end-July 2015.
6. A manuscript in collaboration with a Fulbright scholar. End-July 2015 maybe? Maybe not.

Life is boring?

Did my life get boring since moving to Singapore?

I think graduate student life in the US was more carefree. And I was using the blog to keep families and friends updated on what’s going on in my life. Now I just post an update of several words on FB. And I see what my mom cooked for lunch and dinner on FB almost daily. Apparently, FB food updates has become my family tradition 😛

I feel writing a blog post on what’s happening at work is just more work and the thought of writing about work is not even remotely motivating.

Although there are several rather interesting work projects happening right now.

I should write more. I feel the days and months and years are just slipping by….

iMovie – I’ve missed you

It’s been such a long long time since I worked on an iMovie video. During that long hiatus, iMovie ’08, ’09 and ’11 flew by, and by the time I caught up it’s iMovie 10.0 now. And the iMovie ’11 Missing Manual that I bought 2 years ago is obsolete.

I used my Canon Vixia HD video camera during my trip to Beijing in May 2012. Good decision? Bad decision! A handheld video camera in the hands of a beginner is a bad idea. Came back with “Blair Witch Project” motion sickness inducing videos. But I knew my mom and dad would like to see those videos. I gave all the raw videos to my dad and I think he actually would watch them 😛

Anyway spent most of last Saturday editing the 2-hour video of my trip to Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City to a 12-minute video. Took out all the vomit-inducing clips and spent minimal time trying to make it “beautiful” or coherent audio-wise. But I did have to re-upload the video several times to youtube because I spelled Tiananmen wrongly. It’s not Tiannamen.

My ideal job should include some imovie-making.

Perhaps this year forward I will move towards “Do what I love, love what I do.”

Life is Good


I like Life is Good t-shirts. I particularly like the little tag on the bottom left of the shirts: Do What You Like, Like What You Do.

Or do what you love, love what you do. Got to keep that in mind . . .

Nakajima Suisan

When you are new to a place you will need to go out, try, and discover new favorite things because many of the old favorites are no longer within reach.

I’ve been trying out restaurants in Singapore. Reading reviews and blogs and then trying out the place. A new favorite in the Orchard area is Nakajima Suisan at Takashimaya Food Hall. It’s a japanese grilled fish restaurant.

Gindara Teriyaki Set

During my first trip, I tried their Gindara Teriyaki set. Gindara = cod fish. The meal was very satisfying. The fish was buttery and the teriyaki sauce was good. The portion size was just nice so I left the restaurant happy 🙂

Meiro Saikyo Set

On my second trip, I tried the Meiro Saikyo set. Meiro = Patagonian toothfish. This fish wasn’t covered in any sauce but I think they marinated or coated it with something before grilling – very tasty. Another just nice healthy meal.

Definitely a place to take mom and dad the next time they visit.