Drink coffee!

Drinking ordinary coffee is a simple pleasure, but now the latest studies on coffee show a strong association between coffee drinkers and longevity! (ST 12/7, pg A18. )Yes, coffee drinkers appear to live longer compared with non coffee drinkers.

For decades coffee was considered an unhealthy drink.  I was drinking coffee regularly and of course was worried. However a colleague pooh poohed the whole thing. She said her father-in-law was a coffee addict and drank coffee every day like water. He passed away at age 88years!

My favourite brew is kopi-O lightly sweetened with raw sugar. Sip it hot. Refreshing!  If at coffee shop I will order coffee sweetened with condensed milk.  Delicious!

Great news about coffee prolonging life.

 coffee berries

Retiring in Singapore

I used to wonder about retiring in a foreign country. The idea was exciting when I was working and in my prime. However, now that I am semi retired, I feel that Sge is the best place to retire for Sge citizens.

CPF is making sure we have an adequate nest egg when we retire. For needy pioneers  the govt provides subsidies for this and that. And medical treatment – no one will be denied medical treatment for lack of money. This govt pledge is really heart-warming.

Our HDB flat is an asset that can be used to earn income should we need cash. Most of us have this asset. At present many elderly including retirees are financially independent and have strong purchasing power. As the country progresses with an aging population in mind, retirees can look forward to  a good future – a vibrant retirement life.

Terence is retiring in Thailand and Abel is retiring in Indonesia. The ‘push ‘ factor for both men is strong – both have families in the foreign countries.  For me and my circle of friends, the pasture is greener at home!

 – A personal opinion.

The Aftermath

There is so much public outcry against Trump beating HClinton that one gets the  impression most Americans voted for HClinton and beggars the question: Where did the tens of thousands of votes for Trump that brought him victory come from?

From the silent majority – Americans who do not benefit but in fact suffer from globalization. This large group of voters HC overlooked but not Trump. He appealed to them and got their votes!

Through the way he planned his campaign, Trump showed his talent – the winning unconventional ideas that conventional thinking people have no inkling of .

It will be very interesting to see what the president elect will do in his first 100 days in office next year.

The zika threat

As if there are not enough problems in Singapore,

The zika came suddenly and added one more!

Amid intense fogging,

The zika keeps surfacing!

It is near impossible to zap mosquitoes;

A fact that adds to our woes.

Though mild the zika disease can be very dangerous;

The virus causes neurological damage to the foetus.

Expectant women are all on tenterhooks,

Fearing their new-born would get the small-head looks.

The latest news: The zika is here to stay!

Now must we triple our effort to keep it at bay.mosquito




A “divine discontent”

In his NDR  speech PM said someone asked him if God were to offer him three wishes for Sg, what would he wish for Sgpreans. He said he wished for us to have a “divine discontent”.  I find this phrase intriguing and wonder why no journalist has commented on it.

PM explained that he wanted Sgpreans to always be not quite satisfied with what we have and to be driven to do better. But why did he use this phrase (divine discontent)? It is not easy to relate to.

PM’s  speech is very inspiring and patriotic, but when he spoke about  his succession plans – I hope he would lead Sg for another  ten years at least.  Meanwhile the emphasis on entrepreneurship – that is the way for Sg to go

The other wish of PM’s was for us to be able to “count our blessings”. Spot on!appreciationWe are blessed.

Back to “divine discontent” – reminds me of “the winter of discontent” (Richard III)





Life without social media

It is refreshing to read that some millennials are living without social media* I have always wondered why many adults, young and old, are proud to have hundreds of Facebook friends.  I emphasized ‘adults’ as many schoolgirls have been abused by their online friends and we feel that it is because they are still young and gullible and did not realize the dangers of befriending people online. But adults should know better.

What a person says about himself /herself – take it with a big pinch of salt. I had a friend who said if her 10-year-old son strayed off during our holiday trip, she would not go after him. Yet, during the trip, she was always running after her son, leaving me to follow behind!

To know what a person is like we need to see the person and while talking, note his/her body language.  Nonverbal language generally tells more accurately than what a person says about himself/herself.  As for Facebook friends, many are lying – about their gender, age, occupation..etc.  

“There is more to life than Facebook” said one of the millennials featured in the newspaper report*.  How true.

  • Sunday Times, Pg. C3, 17 July.

Retirement community – an idea

The AWWA Senior Home community article in the Sunday Times (26/6)  is an eye-opener on how it operates.   There is a lot of freedom of movement for the residents. I think this is a good model for a retirement village, Sg style.

The studio apartment blocks can easily be adapted to a retirement community by following the AWWA Senior Home model. As the occupants of the studio apartments are owners of the apartments, they would need to pay a fee for the services provided, hence it is important that the retirement community of studio apartments be managed  by a govt. department to keep costs affordable for the residents.

Recently I visited a friend who got a studio apartment in Hougang. She told me her neighbouring units are taken but the occupants are seldom at home. This  implies  that these elderly buyers of the studio apartments have a place to stay but thought it a good measure to buy a studio apartment. These early birds.

Now my friend, flushed with cash by downgrading to a studio apartment,  is going on a  tour of Europe.  Life is good. :)

The Straits Times Newspaper

Do you think the Straits Times (ST) newspaper is worth $1.10  and  $1.20 for Saturday’s copy?

For me, I find the quality of ST as a respected newspaper for current affairs local and global has declined drastically. Nowadays, I find very few newsworthy reports and articles to read. Domestic news is important but there is not enough of it. Instead there are pages and pages of sports news.  

The ST pads up the daily newspaper  by having sections  and supplements like property, motoring, recruit , scholarships …etc  catering to sectors of society but we seniors must also pay for them.

Last Wednesday (May 25) there was a supplement entitled “The doctor is in”. I read the articles on the various afflictions and their cure including beauty treatment before realizing the write-ups were supporting the advertisements of products and services appearing on the same pages. I felt cheated by ST.

If not for the obituary pages, I would have given up buying the ST last year.

Read the write ups with a big pinch of salt!

Healthy at 90!

Queen E2 is 90 and a picture of good health! She joins the rank of the greatly blessed.


Old age –

Visons of tottering, of illness, pain

And a wheelchair near by.

But the blessed nonagenarians

Debilitating diseases and second childhood

Are spared and active remain


A special tea set for the Queen on her 90th birthday ( President’s gift)

Long live the Queen!

(How beautiful she looked as a young queen in 1953)





Integrated Shield Plans

I had no clear idea when people talked about integrated shield plans (IP) until recently when I had to give advice to a relative who was wondering whether he should downgrade to the new standard IP  which will come into effect in May.

I went to read up about medisave, medishield, integrated shields etc… and  I realized having MediShield Life is enough health coverage with affordable premiums paid from Medisave if we do not mind being in class B2 or Class C wards.

I asked my relative ( an ordinary employee) why he had bought the IP and he said his insurance agent told him it was good to have that and that  the premium would be paid from medisave which savings he  could not touch anyway. (A little knowledge is indeed dangerous).

My conclusions – IPs are for :

  1. People who want to be warded in B1 or class A ward. They can choose their doctors.
  2. People who want to be treated in private hospitals. 


Interesting info from MediShield Life website:

“60% of Singaporeans have integrated shield plans but many end up not staying in the ward their coverage entitles them to.”  No reason given but I thought it was strange.




Retirement: Some work to do

When asked when he was going to retire, 75 y.o. Tom Jones replied: Yeah, to what? (S.T. March 4 )

There are many elderly who do not want to retire because they do not know what to do if they retire. If you enjoy your work, like Jones, do not retire but if you do not enjoy your work (or more likely your job) but are hanging on to it for the money or the fear of not knowing what to do after retirement, then work, work, work till your health takes a heavy toll.

Retirement is the time when one enjoys a slower pace of life and has the opportunity to engage in work that one likes or even enjoy a second wind where one is one’s own boss!

Cheers!charlie brown


Lessons to learn

The Phey YK story is a tragedy.*  One cannot help but feel sorry for his suffering while he was on the run. Flashback to 35 years ago ….he was such a powerful figure and his greed that led to his corruption.  Now old and frail, he decided to turn himself in and ‘come home’ and has been sentenced to five years in jail. No commiseration from the judge. I think he might die in jail.

There are some lessons to learn when a powerful mortal falls from grace and thoughts about life in general. For the latter, it is old age that counts when it comes to evaluating whether one has a good life.

It seems ironical to say take care of your old age when you are young. The cool advice to the young is “just do it!” I shudder.

*ST Saturday Jan 23.

autumnif autumn is here can winter be far behind?

The Monkey is approaching!

I hear the shops playing Chinese New Year songs,

While lively jingle bells is still playing;

I hear the distant sounds of breaking branches,

And realize the Monkey is fast approaching!

The Chinese New Year spirit is in the air,

And shops are selling Chinese New Year décor;

The Christmas tree has been safely put away –

Time to buy rhyming couplets for the door.

Chinese New Year goodies are already on sale.

They are quite expensive – shall I go JB?

May be I could bake my signature Marie cake –

But wait! I think I have lost the recipe!

The incumbent Goat is ready to exit,

While the Chinese New Year countdown goes on;

The happy Monkey will soon make his entrance,

While we look forward  to more babies born.

monkey-playing-vine-plant-illsutration-31911328The Monkey is approaching!

Happy preparation for the CNY!

Time to spring clean

Some people might have started their spring cleaning weeks ago but for me it is this  week. This is the annual year-end cleaning and we are less than two weeks to the new year.

Spring cleaning is a tiring chore for me because of the big amount of clutter I need to get rid of. Why didn’t I throw this outdated stuff away earlier, I would always chide myself. Regret! Regret! A stich in time saves nine…all this ‘wisdom’ on hindsight!

Unless you are not a hoarder, it is a real challenge when it comes to spring cleaning and throwing stuff away.  Many of us are hoarders to some degree and  it is normal to be a small-time hoarder if there’s such a thing – just hoard some personal stuff for sentimental reason or things to bequeath to loved ones.  I’m a 50% hoarder trying to be 10% , so that’s why throwing out white elephants is quite stressful for me.

This year one of my resolutions was to declutter and work towards minimalism. Paiseh to say I’ve only achieved about 20% .  The things I find most difficult to discard are the hundreds of old photographs and tens of photo albums. My friend told me she reorganized her photos and kept four albums; the rest of her photographs she cut up and threw away.  I have been gearing up for this scary action – cut up and throw photographs .

Wishing all happy sprng cleaning!

spring cleaning


What mind would think of doing a 140km trek over four days  in Sge? And sleeping in a lorry!*

An imaginative mind! A mind that animated the idiom “walk the talk” in such an unexpected way;  a mind that introduced a new kind of adventure that could be adapted to a learning experience for students now that Mt Kinabalu is out of favour. 

Imagination, not knowledge, according to Einstein is the true sign of intelligence. We need imaginative people who can think outside the box –new ideas to solve problems that cannot be solved by the old ways. We need more people with imagination.

And of course imagination is needed to write a best seller. Poor Snoopy!

*ST, Nov 13, pg B8snoopy8


Towards simplicity

one flowerless is more

It was a pleasant surprise to read that decluttering is an exercise in identity discovery and that the impulse to simplify life, according to a simplicity expert, is the fruit of decluttering: emotional tranquillity*.

Yet it is not easy to throw away one’s things. In her Sunday Times article “In praise of the things in your life”**, the writer just could not part with her white elephants though the desire to declutter was there. Decluttering is an emotional thing.

But there will come a time when the impulse to simplify gets strong enough for the simplifier wannabes to take concrete action – just like one finally gets one’s will done, and the advance medical directive (AMD) too.

*S.T. Nov. 6 pg A32 ** Sunday Times, Nov 8, pg C6


These Hazy Days

The haze is exceptionally bad today;

The sky is a uniform sea of grey.

Nothing in sight save a still volleyball of chrome yellow;

At 9.30 a.m. is it the moon or the sun so mellow?

Heavy hangs the still, ashen air;

Still leaves on trees stoically bear.

Now the haze has got worse – the PSI is more than 300!

School is cancelled; outdoors is unsafe – life’s disrupted.

But happy the schoolkids – their ignorance is bliss.

Guilt-free  forest fire perpetrators continue to get away;

Across the sea, haze victims a change in wind direction pray.



It’s National Day!

50 years of independence,

From backwaters to modern metropolis –

Achievement par excellence!

Good governance, supportive citizenry,

And we see ‘a nation built with love by you and me’.

So proud are we of things uniquely Singapore,

We treasure the little red dot ‘right down to the CORE’!

Happy 50th National Day! THREE CHEERS!

dragon215euniquely S’pore!

Precious collection

This is the heading in today’s Sunday Times about a jewellery shop, in commemoration of SG50, presented a Peranakan-inspired jewellery collection. I looked at the pictures of the jewellery and immediately thought of my own small collection of Peranakan jewellery encrusted with intan (diamond chips).

Under the influence of a good friend years ago, I started buying some pre-owned kerongsang,  earrings,  etc. I liked and still like their intricate designs.  Twice  I thought of selling them and took them out of the safe deposit box, but twice changed my mind when I looked at those exquisite things of beauty!

The jewellery shop chose to promote the Peranakan-inspired jewelley pieces with an updated version. Mine are the old originals.  So happy!



The man who planted 20000 trees

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll the stories published under ‘Impact Journalism Day’ in the *Straits Times are  inspiring, but the most impactful one for me is “The man who planted 20 000 trees.” I thought this is such a meaningful and good life and wondered how one can live a meaningful life, like Kartik’s , an ex-barber who has planted 20 000 trees and now at 75 years old is still planting trees.

From the story I distilled these pre-requisites:

  1. Serving others is the mission of life.  The ex-barber  would save some money from his earnings to buy the seedlings to plant his trees. He has never collected payment from anyone for his work.
  2. Philosophical belief learnt from  his father who told him: “…If you just plant a tree, that will bring you far more blessings than any pilgrimage…” To me this is equivalent to “faith with work…”

In a materialistic world where consumers are kings, it is not easy to not work for money, but on the road less taken, where money is secondary, where serving others is priority, life can be very meaningful and fulfilling.

*ST Sat 20 June.


LPA – Some thoughts

A friend passed me some notes and forms on the lasting power of attorney (LPA). Because of the *abuse of the LPA by the China tour guide, I took a closer look at the powers granted to the Donee ( (person appointed by the Donor to make decisions on his behalf) by the Donor ( person who makes the LPA), and felt shaken by the ABSOLUTE power the Donee has over the welfare and assets of the Donor  – shaken in view of the fact that the China tour guide was also the sole beneficiary of the rich widow’s (the Donor’s) will.

Very often the fiduciary role of the Donee is taken for granted and there lies the loophole for abuse. But then the Law will say that onus is on the Donor to appoint someone he can absolutely trust.  I feel this is dangerous for the Donor as it assumes every Donor is wise enough to pick the right Donee. What if the Donor was under duress or undue influence of the Donee to make the LPA (as in the *case of the China tour guide)?  Another case of challenge to the LPA has surfaced.

As the present form of the LPA is not foolproof, I hope the Office of the Public Guardian will refine the LPA and ensure that it is 100% foolproof.

*The China tour guide has not been convicted of the charges brought against him.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALPA – information and forms

Old currencies used in Singapore

I was at the bank to deposit some money including some old currency notes that are legal tender when it dawned on me they might be collector’s items and worth more than their face value.  I also have some Japanese ‘banana’ money that used to be worthless. I thought they might be in demand now.

Does anyone in SHC know the value of the old currencies shown in the image below? It will save me a trip to the antique shops if someone does.  :)  The image shows:

Top row (l-r): Japanese one dollar; Japanese fifty cents.

Mid row (l-r): Malaya and British Borneo one dollar; Japanese five cents.

Bottom row (l-r): Malaya one dollar; Malaya ten cents.

Coins (l-r): Malaya 20 cents; 10 cents; 5 cents – all obverse King George VI.

Square coin: Straits Settlements 1 cent – obverse King George V.

It was quite interesting scrutinizing these old notes and coins and thinking of the history of early Singapore.


Kiasu and the Paper Rush

Last Friday there was news about parents’ anxiety over the PSLE and that was the reason MOE decided to have actual past PSLE Exam Papers (four subjects) printed to  give the anxious parents an idea of the PSLE standard. It also said the Papers would go on sale the next day (Saturday).

I mentally made a note to buy them on Tues (today). However, on Saturday, all the Papers sold out, island-wide! Why so kiasu, I thought. The PSLE is in October –no need to start practising the Papers so early.

This morning  I went to a big bookshop to ask about the Papers. They were out of stock! I asked about new stocks and the sales person said tomorrow coming. I quickly told him I wanted to reserve the 4 sets of Papers and to pre-pay for them. I was afraid they might all be snapped up before I arrived.  He said cannot reserve but can leave contact number so the staff could inform me when the new batch of the Papers arrived. I wrote my contact on a piece of paper and saw him pin it among numerous pieces on the board. Wah, so many people also wanted to be informed!

I went home,  planning how I could be ready to dash out to the bookshop the moment I got the alert.   Then I realized I had been acting kiasu myself. Lol!

kiasuThe Paper Rush…

A Slow & Tedious Chore

Uncluttering is a difficult task for hoarders. It often takes two or three rounds before the ‘junk’ finally leaves the house. I think it is because uncluttering for the hoarder is an emotional thing.

In the first round of uncluttering an area in the cluttered, disorganized storeroom, a lot of white elephants did not leave the house. The hoarder threw one bag of stuff out and looked at the storeroom. Oh no. After more than an hour of uncluttering, the storeroom looked no difference – still too cluttered. The hoarder felt a little desperate …how to rid the rest of the house of clutter at this rate?

After a day or two, the hoarder, trying to be practical, ruthlessly threw out two more bags of the ‘junk’ he had cleared in the first round of uncluttering. And then worked like a beaver at uncluttering  another part of the junk-full storeroom, struggling hard to overcome the reluctance to throw out his ‘beloved junk’!

Uncluttering is a slow and tedious chore!

Hmmm…a  related story:

More than twenty years ago, a big fire razed a row of double- storey shop houses near the former Newton Circle, to the ground. My friend was at work when her room went up in smoke. All the victims of the fire had only the shirt on their back – nothing else. The next day when the rubble had cooled down, the victims went back to look for their jewellery which did not melt.

The govt. gave them priority in applying for new personal documents and allocated them new flats. My friend and her relatives got flats near Upper Aljunied Road.

WE always sympathized with our friend for losing all her belongings in the fire and she was also feeling miserable, but – a few years later, she said to me it was good that all her clutter went up in smoke! She appreciated the chance to live in her new place without any old clutter! Is this not a little irony in life? …

I sometimes think of a fire when I’m having a difficult time uncluttering. Lol!


Airline Safety Rankings -2015

…according to Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre (JACDEC)

I was dismayed to find that SQ is not among the top 12 safe airlines!  SQ has got one of the world’s youngest fleet and yet…even little-heard-of airlines like Hainan and JetBlue made it to the top 12.

Here are the rankings of the top 12 airliners out of 60 for the safest airline for 2015 according to JACDEC.

1stplace – Cathay Pacific             6th – Air New Zealand        11th – All Nippon

2nd – Emirates                                  7th – Qantas                         12th – Lufthansa

3rd – Eva Airlines                           8th – Hainan

4th – Air Canada                             9th – JetBlue

5th – KLM                                       10th – Etihad

Malaysia Airlines fell to 57th (From 34th last year) because of its two major air disasters.

*Just sharing info and reflecting on SQ…



Advent Reflections

The approach of X’mas and the New Year is a good time to reflect and soul search. This year has been mostly uneventful, with broken resolutions and a persistent reluctance to move out of my comfort zone. My plate was full and personal interests remained on the back burner.

Next year I hope to see some CHANGES. My plate shall be half full, thus giving me the time to pursue more deeply some personal interests and to build up a momentum for an exercise regime.

As we age, our priorities change and health becomes more important than wealth. Living with less becomes more attractive, hence becoming minimalist is an attractive option for me and I shall give priority to uncluttering next year.    

With these challenges in the offing, I look forward to 2015.  :)

Oh come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer /Our spirits by Thine advent here.”




Needed: Whistle-blowers

(In the light of rising numbers of unscrupulous individuals…)

The cheat, the corrupt, the evil…they are manifestations of the DARK side of human nature. It is not easy to be ‘good’ when the good ends up being victim; the vulnerable also needs protection against unscrupulous people. Justice is ‘blind’ and seems under threat by these dark forces….

Just when it seems the good in human nature is being destroyed, along comes the WHISTLE BLOWER to the rescue! The wrong doer is punished! There is HOPE for mankind!

The long arm of justice depends greatly on whistle- blowers. I hope our country enact whistle-blower protection laws soon.  Meanwhile while waiting, we can learn to blow the recorder, the harmonica, the flute… and of course the TRUMPET!  :)

elephantjumbo trumpeting!

Health and Longevity

A friend told me her brother- in- law (a Dutchman) is celebrating his 100 years old birthday soon. And this centenarian is as healthy as can be! What is the secret to his good health and longevity? I see much younger people already bedridden or needing wheelchairs.

What’s the use of living to 80s and 90s if one is suffering from debility? Hence I think it’s a good idea to ‘study’ the habits of healthy octogenarians and nonagenarians (or centenarians!) and try to uncover at least one thing that can impact health in old age positively.

There is a story in the *ST recently about a 99-year-old former principal who is still learning a foreign language. Every day he spends about four hours self-learning Italian. And he is so engrossed in his study he has no time to feel lonely. This made me conclude that serious learning will help keep dementia at bay. This is the one thing I would like to share with others and I hope to practice this one thing myself asap!  :)                              *Sunday Times 12/10




A sad story

A sad story…

The childless widow is very rich; her bungalow compound is so large – there is a lily pond, a swimming pool and fruit trees ….  In her bungalow she has two galleries filled with paintings and precious stone ornaments – so much luxury to enjoy and she and her late husband had enjoyed it for a long time.

Alas! In her dotage she let in a wolf in sheep’s clothing and she has become senile and is completely helpless now – doesn’t know her wealth is being squandered by the wolf.

Is there a moral to this sad story? What came to my mind was “Vanity of vanities. All is vanity.”! Now for the moral – beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing?

Is he a wolf in sheep's clothing?
Is he a wolf in sheep’s clothing with a get- rich- fast idea?

“Made in Singapore”

Very few things are made in Sge. In today’s ST there’s an *article about some products that were made in Singapore many, many years ago. Reading about it made me feel proud of the little red dot and I hope the present IT generation will produce more inventions and original ideas to do Sge proud.

The silver generation today comprises mostly of baby boomers –mostly educated people – and I believe they have the potential to create/produce  something –  a simple, wonderful idea that benefits a community/society. A case in point is the new social network that was created in Slovenia. It allows residents in retirement homes to travel. Ref. “Social network connects globetrotting seniors” ( ST 9 august – A31). This social network is enhancing the life of the elderly in homes and I’m sure some of us here would make use of it in the near future.  Lol!

Could the silver generation in Sge create something original with the label ‘made in Singapore’ ? Not impossible, I believe. :)

*Celebrating ‘Made in Singapore’ products, ST wed 16/8. Pg. A2