Singapore, My Second Home

Thirteen years passed rather quickly. Looking back, I told myself, I would only be here for 5 years but things didn’t happen as I originally imagined it. It unfolded differently. I suppose it went on for the better. If I have a chance to go back to my younger years, I would still choose to accept the opportunity here in Singapore. There are so many things about Singapore that I am grateful about. There are so many facts about Singapore that I will miss and treasure.

I am thankful that I am and was able to interact with other cultures. If I were back home, I would only know about my own traditions and culture. In Singapore, I wasn’t able to escape exposure. I learned to mingle with people of different beliefs and religions. I learned how to eat their food. I had favorites that I am already craving for them. I wore all sorts of costumes. I attended weddings. I gained friends not only from Singapore but from all over the world.

The first time I came here, I was so scared to converse as I was struggling to understand Singlish. Phone conversations were daunting as hell as I couldn’t even read lips. As I stayed here longer, I managed to cope. I started falling in love with Singlish as it was easier and convenient to use. Where else can you find a place that, like a salad, mixes 4 languages together with sauces of “lahs, mehs etc.”? Whilst a single “Aiyoh” speaks of complete disappointment? Singlish is an art, uniquely from Singapore. It’s dynamic and it’s beautiful.

Speaking of salad, Singapore’s hawker center is among the most prominent and integral aspect of Singapore’s cultural heritage. Hawker center, just like the country itself, is a fusion of cultures. This is where the young and the old, the rich and the poor, Singaporean and foreigners mingle from then up to now.

That’s how diverse yet united Singapore is and I think, it is working very well for the country, for now. Singapore shouts culture, the Culture of Healthily Mixed Cultures! I love it!

Transportation in Singapore is amazing. It will take a long time before the capital of my country could do something like Singapore’s. It is efficient that sometimes, even food delivery services use public transport to deliver food. It may be crowded sometimes, but almost all the time, it’s frequent and it’s on time. I am grateful because I wouldn’t have known that efficiency if possible until I came to Singapore. I got so used to chaos.

Changi International Airport is really the gateway to the world or should I say, MY gateway to the world. A country’s airport really speaks about the country itself. Changi is an impression of a country as a whole. It is organized, it is improving all the time and it is beautifully and strategically constructed. The amount of budget airlines served by Changi Airport is immense, hence, even a cheapo like me started to get hooked to traveling. I wouldn’t have reached so many countries if not for (my pay in) Singapore and if not for the budget airlines in Changi Airport. By the way, if you have one day left and you’ve got nothing to do, try going to the airport earlier and you wouldn’t be bored. Lot’s to do at Changi Airport! Yeah, obviously, NOTHING COMPARES! 😉

The culture of listening to feedbacks and taking them seriously is also one thing I like about Singapore. The openness and dynamism make Singapore rich. You would see constant changes all the time. Sometimes, things still look good but they’re already changing it. Sometimes, a building wasn’t there, and like mushrooms, it’ll suddenly be there. Singapore is such a dynamic place. It’s too fast sometimes and it can make one exhausted. It’s a reality. It has its pros and cons. But still, if I were the costumer, I would be very happy as my comments are taken seriously. If in the future, I would have my own business, I would bring that openness to change in my biz. I think it is a trait everyone should have, to know when to listen, learn and act.

To get more specific, I am also grateful to my bosses, thank you for taking a chance on an FT to work in your department, to the families of my clients, thank you for making me a part of your families, to Singapore ICA and MOM for approving my work pass (though I think I will never be good enough to become a PR, it’s ok, I understand. I know you guys are just trying to protect your borders). If not for all of these, I wouldn’t have lived peacefully and joyfully in a foreign country for 13 years.

THANK YOU for taking me in and helping me have a second home. I hope to see Singapore and everyone again in the near future! THANK YOU!

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Papa’s Birthday!

30 Jan – 3 Feb 2019

I know I wasn’t supposed to travel as much anymore. I had to save up for the months that I will soon be unemployed but how could I resist my father’s 65th birthday celebration? The birthday of the man who treated us like his princesses for over thirty years? Despite the urge to save, I just couldn’t as my father is so important to me.

For this occasion, both I and my sister allotted this weekend to celebrate with my dad and mom. We went to a less populated beach resort in Lobo, Batangas. The owner of the resort became a friend to my parents already. The huts were very basic and so as the resort. It didn’t really matter because we were together. My dad kept on barbequing while we kept on munching on the nicely cooked foodies my mom and dad prepared for us.

The next day, we went to a historic lighthouse, Malabrigo. This lighthouse was built during the Spanish occupation in the Philippines and was popularised recently as it was part of the Philippine TV series called Araw Gabi.

We then passed by Lovers Lane. I saw that there were other places to visit in Lobo, like a monolith and more mountains but my mom didn’t want to explore further as she was scared to further ascend to the mountains.

We then headed back to the resort and ate and walked and slept some more. The remaining hours were just as fun. My parents’ happiness made us happy.

I know that this will probably be my last visit back home with a status of “Single”. The next time I head back home, I would already be married to my T. The fact that I won’t be able to head home as frequently saddens me a lot but I have to experience all these to see if I would be able to do it.

I was, am and will continue on to feel blessed as I know I have a family that will always support me in all my life endeavors. I love my family and my soon family a.k.a. T.

Some of the Photos:

 

 

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Circle of Paths

51177919_530606887436009_7802600780938084352_nSome people want to climb up the ladder and be the best in one field = More Socially acceptable
Some people want to grow horizontally, like jack of all trades, master of none. = Slightly acceptable.
Some people want to specialize in one socially unacceptable career and be the best in that field.
Some people want to have a lot of unacceptable trades.
No matter what your choice is, the center of this circle is YOU. It’s your own life experience. Whether you choose to move through in any direction, it is your own path. You shouldn’t have other goals but to keep yourself grounded, sane and ultimately, content and happy. Anyway, we all will go to the same path eventually…..death and we will all go back to becoming earth’s biodegradable dirt!

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Year-Ends, Brand New one Coming up!

2018 just swiftly passed by. We all grew older and the most disturbing idea was, even my parents did. I am scared as the years went by. I have my dreams to travel the world and am not planning to go home yet. I want to be able to take them with me and make them experience all the good things as what they’ve tried to do with us when we were young. It made my heart break as I saw my father having a hard time walking because of knee pain.

Early this year, I decided to study Basic Sports Science by Republic Polytechnic and I managed to pass it. Immediately after that, I enrolled myself in Yoga Instructor Certificate Course 200/300 hours which practically changed my life. My year was full of yoga and learnings. It was good. I wish I did this earlier.

Also, I decided to further my studies. It’s going to start next year (if I can get a study visa). As my educational background is very specialized, I decided to move away from it and study something more universally needed.

Aside from all the studies, travels, another major event happened to me, T proposed and I said yes. He’s the sweetest guy I have ever met. I sometimes ask myself if I deserve a person like him.

Back to my family story, my mum, despite struggling to make ends meet, still gave me a present for the engagement and soon-to-be wedding…our rings. While my sister gave me my wedding dress. I love my family so so so much.

Lastly, my monthly travels for this year:

January – Batam, Indonesia

February – Phuket, Thailand

March – Melbourne, Australia

April – Camarines Norte, Philippines

May – Perth, Australia

May – June –

  • Helsinki, Finland
  • Riga, Latvia
  •  Siaulia and Vilnius, Lithuania
  • Vijlandi, Parnu, Tallin Estonia

June – Manila, Philippines

June-July– Malacca, Malaysia

July –

  • Bintan, Indonesia
  • Melbourne, Australia

August- Townsville, Australia

September- Labuan Bajo, Indonesia

October-

  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Manila, Philippines

November-

  • Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Melbourne, Australia

December – Manila Philippines

— Looking at this list makes me extremely grateful for having the chance and opportunity to see the world. It also makes me a bit nostalgic as this will be the last list of my “flash monthly travels” for a while. I was doing this for 3years now. I have to pause it to make way for my new goal, which is to get another Masters Degree. Shall see if I can graduate and if I do, I will resume traveling, hopefully, with my family and T. 😉 Happy New Year, people!

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Christmas in the Philippines

22 – 26 Dec 2018

T and I decided to celebrate Christmas with my family in the Philippines. To be honest, we really didn’t do much during this holiday. All we did was restaurant hop and eat and eat and eat. =) That’s Christmas in the Philippines for us anyway.

It’ll take me a while again to visit home I suppose. =(

xmas 5

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The Diceman

by Luke Rhinehart

dicemanpic

I have been trying to read this book for the longest time. Finally, I was able to finish it. I used to know a man who loved this book so much. I am suspecting that he’s actually following the rule of the dice. He was interesting. I used to understand him until I read this book and got to know the extent to which the dice were being followed in this story.

Since I have been reading the book for so long, I have forgotten most of the details of the story and just remembered some points and the summary.

This book is about a psychiatrist, Dr. Luke Rhinehart, who invented a treatment (which eventually became a lifestyle even for “normal” people) to cure psychiatric disorders by destroying humans’ egoistic tendencies. The way he recommended to do it was to use the dice and chance to decide on what to do next instead of following the conventional ways.

He even followed this method. He left his own family and engaged in so many socially unacceptable ways. Some of his cases ruined their lives following the dice but they seemed not to care about it.

It became a way of life for him and a lot of people. It became a religion. In the last part of the book, his son, whom he left many years ago, was being interrogated by the FBI. They wanted to know what is he up to at that time. The book ended openly.

Here are my favorite lines from the book:

“Understand yourself, accept yourself, but do not be yourself.” Pg 13

“The nineteen consecutive white men have kicked you in the balls doesn’t necessarily mean the twentieth will.” -pg 46

“I’m bored. I’m bored. I’m sorry but that’s about it. I’m sick if lifting unhappy patients up to normal boredom, sick of trivial experiments, empty articles- “ pg 63

“A man without habits, consistency, redundancy- and hence boredom-is not human. He’s insane.” -Pg 66

“We formed a deep, irrational, obviously neurotic need for one another: love- one of society’s many socially accepted forms of madness. We got married: Society’s solution to loneliness, lust, and laundry.” -pg 117

“Men must become comfortable in flowing from one role to another- why aren’t they?” – pg 147

“ If a person can attain a strong confidence in his inconsistency and unreliability, a strong yea-saying sense of the impermanency of things and of an unintegrated, nonpatterened chaos of self, he will be fully at home in a multivalent society- he will be joyous.” – pg 318

“To know”me” that way is to limit me, cement me into something stonelike and predictable.” -pg 428

“Everything may evaporate at an instant. Everything!” -pg 428

“If we always limited ourselves to what was natural to us, we’d be midget dwarfs compared to our potential. We must always be incorporating new areas of human action which we can make natural.” – Pg 432

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Melbourne Nov 2018

8-11 Nov 2018

This visit brought me closer to my reality. As it is related to the previous post. We didn’t do much as I wasn’t feeling so well too. We visited Torquay and T’s Sis in Geelong. That’s about it.

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Boredom while onboard

8 Nov 2018

Soon, I will be stepping in an unfamiliar grounds. 
Possibly moving to Australia
Quitting work, becoming a student
Becoming someone’s wife

Results of all these all together are
I will not have my friends around me
I will not have financial freedom yet
I will lose my ability to spend on travels and lessons.
I will have to stay still. 

But,
This is an opportunity for me to meet new friends
I will have another degree that will be beneficial for me when I apply for work next time.
I will, hopefully, earn more in the future
More qualification for me
Hugs everyday
Will be with the kindest guy I’ve ever met every day.

Everything is scary. I don’t know if giving up this comfortable life of mine is a good decision. I am giving my life a huge shake, topsy and turvy. Decisions like these makeup life. T isn’t scared, I shouldn’t be. Right?  

My goals in life sound simple but the requirements for me to achieve them are very long and it requires every small step I take every day.

I want to be able to be with T despite differences. I want to be able to learn something new every day. I want to be able to travel at least 50% of the world and take my loved ones in the process. I want to always have a healthy body because I want to be able to run one ultramarathon 100km or above once in this lifetime.

I’m on the plane now Scooting towards T’s arms. His hugs can make me feel comfortable and less scared. 

In the meantime, I am enjoying my life’s simple pleasures…. Sunsets before landing.

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Places and people of Dhaka, Bangladesh

3 – 7 November 2018

This trip almost didn’t happen because 2x, my booking was changed drastically and canceled. I thought, going for it might be unlucky. Searched for more reliable options and still decided to go anyway.

3 Nov 2018

I flew with Thai Airways. I was so chill about the 50minutes lay-over in BKK only to realize that the queue to security was so long and the airport was so big. I literally zoomed to the boarding gate. Luckily, I still managed to reach on time and the flight was uneventful.

I reached Hotel 71 at around 2am.

4 Nov 2018

I half-heartedly booked this Old Capital Day tour via NIjoom.com. I hoped to go with a group but unfortunately, there was no group on that day. I  had to pay for the package all by myself at 107Usd.

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Dhaka Sunrise

The guide was there to pick me up at the hotel lobby at 8am. We drove outside Dhaka towards the old mosque called Goaldi. We walked around the village too. Children from the local primary school kept on following me and asking me for my name and where I am from while I was busy trying to eat a local street food called chotpoti. It was yummy. Deep into the village, I also had raw tea from a vendor who crashes the ginger with his mortar while coughing and washes the cups with just water.

We then drove to Folk Arts Museum, then the old Hindu merchants’ settlement, Panam Nagar. The temperature was getting higher as we approach lunchtime. We passed by a small village to check out their very cooling school made of bamboo. We then drove to the port and took a boat to Char Island via Meghna River. The village was really living simply. I was amazed by what they can do with their temporary lands. These lands are under water during the monsoon season.

The Old Capital

We headed back to the main island after about 30mins of walking around the village. We drove and got lunch and at about 3pm, I was back at the hotel. It was a good trip though seriously very pricey for one person.

Just went out one more time to buy some goodies after the tour. The city intimidates me a little. There are too many things happening at the same time and it’s too noisy. I am sure though that I’ll grow out of it. This is such a culturally rich place. I am excited to explore it further.

05 Nov 2018

I didn’t know where to go and what to do. I wanted to join a walking tour but the group didn’t reply to me immediately hence, I was forced to go around by myself. Took the rickshaw from the hotel to go to old Dhaka. Rickshaw experience was by itself very interesting and scary. I used it a couple of times within the day and it felt the same every time. Makes my heart drop.

Streets of Old Dhaka

My first stop was the Pink Palace. It was heavily renovated and is now a museum. I walked around the place and Mr. Ali, who’s working there, started to talk to me. He introduced me to some of the people who were working in the museum as well. They were very curious about where I was from. I was offered drinks and all. I was introduced to one artist, Mr. Khamal and he gave me one digitally printed copy of his art. I spent around 1.5hrs talking to all of them. (While still being alert as I wasn’t sure if I should trust or not. As a one-person traveler, I should be open yet still  cautious about my surroundings). He even helped me get a rickshaw to go to the Armenian church. He said, if I wanted to watch the sunset (of course), he could help me do it later in the afternoon. Just go back to the museum at around 5pm. (Wasn’t sure if I should cos I wasn’t sure what they were up to?).

I went to the Armenian church and there, I met the caretaker’s son, Sanjay. He talked to me about his travel adventures. He then volunteered to help take me to the Star Mosque and Lalbaht Fort. One interesting thing he told me was people start work here pretty late. Like 10am or later. He said 8am work shift is usually nonexistent.

 

So this boy took me around and helped me bargain with rickshaw drivers. I dropped him back to the church. I asked him if I owe him anything..he said: “I’ll help you go around tomorrow”. Left me soooo curious if these people are just genuinely nice or are they scamm-ish? What if I don’t meet up with him tomorrow? He paid for some of the things for me?

Because of curiosity, I decided to go back to the to the Pink Palace to check on what’s gonna happen next. Dang, I missed the sunset. Mr. Ali received me again with free drinks and he said he would take me around after work. And he did.

Together with his colleague, He brought me around the sooooo confusing yet interesting alleys of old Dhaka. I wouldn’t have reached these places without their help. He took me to places that make rickshaws, to the (right now) very festive, Hindu streets. Made me drink street tea again. (I was still wondering whhhhyyy were they so nice?)

Anyway, he even sent me back to my hotel. I had a similar experience in Fez and their kindness turned into an unexpected twist. So, I was very cautious. In the process, I kept on bringing up in the conversations that I am attached and that my father is a retired police officer. In my hotel lobby, I stopped, and asked, “do I owe you anything, Mr. Ali?” He shyly just said, no but “you may give me any amount” I gave him 500Taka. I could have given him less and he won’t care. These people are so nice they deserve more…..unlike the tour companies that charge 100+ USD for the tour around the old town. This day was amazing not much because of the places but more about people I met along the way.

I will still have to meet up with Sanjay tomorrow, see if I owe him anything

6 Nov 2018

I started the day late. Sanjay volunteered to take me out. We started the day at about 12pm. We first walked to the Dhaka University. I’ve seen Wikitravel advice and it says there to avoid getting close to people’s gathering or rallies. Well, I did but it wasn’t possible. They were everywhere. They looked peaceful though.

Then we rickshawed to go and walk along the Bharamondi lake. It was an area more peaceful than most of Dhaka. Not so clean but quiet.

We then walked to Star Kebab for lunch and talked endlessly at ChaWala while having tea. He kept on saying there was no sunset. I kept on saying there is. But, he thought its a waste of time to go to Buringanga because winter brings no pretty sunsets…. Fine…. Sad but I decided to just submit to it.

Then we went to the handicrafts place for my magnets then walked near the Independence tower because there’s Deepavali celebration there. It was beautiful.

I told Sanjay I wanted a pedicure and he brought me to a place called Persona. The final question of mine… “Do I owe you anything?” And he said NOoooooooo… I was like…this can’t be real.. I know he wanted to travel but he didn’t have much funds. So,  I gave him 3k Taka. He deserved it. People who aren’t expecting are the ones who deserve it more….. Bangladesh is ❤……

Donabhat Bangladesh.

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A Riddle

I linger longer.
I spread faster.
I can destroy anyone infected by me.
I elicit curiosity.
I am famous.
I am searchable despite minute.
I am very powerful.
When I infect you, you can’t see me.
When I infect others you can see a magnified version of me.
I am like a tattoo.
I stay.
I can label people.
I can crash people.
I can kill people.
Just a small dose of me can do all these.
Why settle for greatness and success when I can prevail longer and faster?
I
am
MISTAKE!

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