Friday, April 30

Run Angie, Run

I have just signed up for Shape Run 10km.

Yes, I signed up 2 runs for this year! A challenge I post to myself.

Tuesday, April 27

My Primary School Teacher

I was downloading the alumni application form from my alma mater's website when I saw this picture. These teachers are old enough to be MY teachers since I had left more than a quarter of a century ago so I took a closer look at the retired teachers in this picture.

I could recognise my primary three Chinese teacher at one glance! She's Song Laoshi and she is the third lady from the right in the standing row.

Song Laoshi was my form teacher too. She adored me because I was the best student in her Chinese class (btw, I CMI for my other subjects.. thankfully there wasn't any different weightage in the various subjects during PSLE then or else I would be punished for being strong in my Mother Tongue). She would always tell us stories during lessons. I could not remember any of the stories told but I would always remember her motherly face and her kindness.

How time flies...!

I hope Jaimie will enjoy her primary school as much as her mommy did.

Monday, April 26

Bento #114

I decided to do a bento last minute hence I wasn't very well prepared.

I bought a packet of wholemeal pita bread some time back and last night while I was walking around in Cold Storage, the marinated chicken steak caught my eyes. I bought 3 pieces (they are huge!), some tomatoes and some baby butterhead to make chicken pita.

As this is my first time baking chicken steak, I read up on the internet before I experiement with it. So, there is "moist cooking" and "dry cooking" method! To save time in the morning, I wrapped the chicken steak in aluminium foil and shove them into the oven, baking them in low heat (180 deg) for 80mins before I went to bed last night/ this morning (it was ard midnight anyway). I am not sure how much time is needed to cook the steak so 80mins is a trial and error and kiasu timing. I also wrapped the foil loosely so that heat can pass through more easily. The last thing I want to see is half baked chicken steak when I wake up.

When I opened up the foil this morning, I could smell the aroma of the baked chicken steak, very juicy and tender! I halved the pita bread, put in the vegetables and the meat, and lunch is ready. Quite easy! I made 5 sets of pita bread. My colleagues said they were very nice~ Great! I shall be better prepared the next time and make a proper pita bread bento.

Smokeless Tobacca --NO!

These candies look interesting and harmless, don't they? But you and I will freak out if we find our children popping them in their mouths because they are "smokelss tobacco"! Cigerettes replacements but the harmful content is exactly the same. In fact, they are more harmful and evil because they are in fact poisioned candies!
What if somebody offers your children these "sweets"? What if your children think that they are "harmless" because there is no smoke going through your lungs? What if your children are being offered these by strangers? Will they be able to tell that it is something bad for them? NO!
Dear readers of this blog, if you are as concerned as I am about this issue, do blog about it in your blogs or share the information with your friends to raise awareness in our community!
Here's more information on smokeless tobacco and here's the Minister's blog on this.
Smoking is a personal choice and I have nothing against adults who chose to do so. However, I do not want my child to fall into this possible trap, threat and a lie of a "healthier choice".
**Thanks Carmen, for the information on smokeless tobacco.
Here's some FAQ my friend forwarded me. Read on if you are interested.

FAQS on smokeless tobacco products

Q 1. What are smokeless tobacco products?
Smokeless tobacco products include:
· Snuff
o A powdered tobacco that is sniffed (nasal snuff) or sucked (oral snuff).
· Snus
o A subcategory of oral snuff that comes in convenient satchels and often with exotic flavours.
· E-Cigarettes
o An electronic cigarette, also known as an e-cigarette or personal vaporizer, is a battery-powered device that provides inhaled doses of nicotine by way of a vaporised solution.
· Tobacco candies
o A dissolvable form of tobacco, available in forms such as strips and lozenges.
· Gels
o Used like hand cream, nicotine is absorbed transdermally.
· Nicotine Water/Drinks
o A drink containing nicotine.

Q 2. What are the health implications and other concerns of these tobacco products?
Snuff & Snus

· Potential for addiction - like cigarettes, contains nicotine.
· Some products have been processed to contain reduced levels of hazardous components but not adequately studied for potential health hazards.
· Association with increased risk of oral cancer
· Strong evidence of oral lesions, including pre-cancerous lesions and gum recession.
· Youth initiation concerns as the products are milder and sweeter targeting initiating users.
· Evidence that advertising targets young and children.
· While manufacturers have been arguing strongly that e-cigarettes are less harmful relative to cigarettes and are safe to use, there has been a lack of conclusive evidence from empirical studies and research papers to prove their claims.
· Other than the presence of toxins, there are serious concerns among the public health community that e-cigarettes will sustain and even increase nicotine addiction.
· They may lead experimenting youths to try other tobacco products, including conventional cigarettes.
· E-cigarettes have begun to adopt flavouring additives. One company has recently announced their creation of ‘vitamin-enhanced’ e-cigarette cartridges, including flavours such as grape, pomegranate, bubble-gum, chocolate-chip cookie, fruit punch.
· E-cigarettes are easily available on the internet. In Singapore, e-cigarettes are currently banned locally under the prohibition of imitation tobacco products.
Tobacco candies
· Made from tobacco, these products contain nicotine which is known to cause addiction.
· The US Indiana Poison Control Center estimates per piece of these products can contain up to three times the nicotine of a cigarette Youths have been found to be more susceptible to nicotine addiction than adults. The US FDA has expressed concern about the extent to which the high nicotine content and rapid dissolution of dissolvable tobacco products may facilitate initiation of tobacco use, nicotine dependence and addiction in adolescents, and may serve as a mechanism for inadvertent toxicity in children.
· There are also concerns regarding their appeal to the under aged, as children and adolescents may find dissolvable tobacco products particularly appealing, given the brightly coloured packaging, candy-like appearance and easily concealable size of many of these products.
· In the US and Canada, flavoured tobacco products like snus and cigarillos in similarly attractive packaging have been associated with rises in youth tobacco use and smoking prevalence.
· The products are currently found only in the US, but are believed to also target the rest of the developed world in view of their falling smoking rates.
· There is no evidence on the safety of the product. No published literature is available regarding the safety of transdermal absorption of nicotine and the product’s impact on nicotine addiction.
· Of the two known brands (Nicofix and Nicogel), Nicofix has included a disclaimer on its website that “this tobacco product can damage your health and is addictive”.
· Available over the internet, and in over-the-counter pharmacies in some developed countries.
· The Malaysian Business Times published an article on 11 May 2009 about an ambitious plan by Dermtek Sdn Bhd, the exclusive distributor of Nicogel for Asia, to sell Nicogel in Singapore, and in 9 other Asia-Pacific countries.
Nicotine Water/Drinks
· Like gels, there is no evidence on the safety of the product, particularly on the ingestion of nicotine, and little research has been done on the product’s impact on nicotine addiction.
· Available over the internet, and in over-the-counter pharmacies in the US.

Q 3. Are smokeless tobacco products available in Singapore, will they become available?

· These products have widespread presence in developed countries however they are not available here in Singapore. Nonetheless, there are already tobacco products that have been modified to appeal more widely such as candy and fruit flavoured cigarettes and cigarillos.
· According to Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan’s blog, laws against smoking will soon be amended to cover the rising number of new "Smokeless tobacco" products.
· Minister also mentioned a recent Wall St Journal article that highlighted Reynolds American Inc, the maker of Camel, Pall Mall brands of cigarettes, and how they are responding to their declining cigarette sales by transforming into a company that also offers a range of smokeless alternatives, including strips, lozenges and snus.
· Minister also stated that: “Some describe the dissolvable products as tobacco candies designed to appeal to children, making them life-long addicts”.
· There are serious concerns regarding their appeal to the under aged, as children and adolescents may find dissolvable tobacco products particularly appealing, given the brightly colored packaging, candy-like appearance and easily concealable size.

Q 4. What’s the difference between smokeless tobacco products and smokeless nicotine products?

Smokeless tobacco products usually contain both tobacco and nicotine, such as tobacco candy. Such products are addictive and may have the same harmful effects as other tobacco products. Smokeless nicotine products, such as nicogel and e-cigarette, claim not to include tobacco, but their contents have not been regulated and the nicotine level may actually be higher than that of cigarettes.

Q 5. What’s wrong with nicotine-only products?

· The contents of smokeless products such as nicogel and e-cigarettes have not been regulated -the nicotine level may actually be higher than that of cigarettes
· Users may find themselves increasingly addicted to the product.
Note: Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products also contain nicotine but have been through rigorous clinical trials prior to approval under the Medicines Act before they can be used as tobacco cessation aids. NRT’s contents and nicotine levels are strictly regulated. Usually under the advice of a healthcare professional, a person starts with a NRT product that delivers an appropriate level of nicotine based on his/her nicotine dependency. Over a period of time the nicotine level is reduced to help him/her overcome the withdrawal effects of nicotine whilst being able to break the habits associated with smoking.
Q6. Is it better that people use these products rather than smoking? At least they are not hurting other with second hand smoke?

- Although it is true that such products do not emit second- hand smoke, people are often misled into thinking these are safe alternatives
- There are still health implications and concerns about increased nicotine addiction and more importantly, the appeal these products may have to youths.

Q7. The tobacco industry and some users claim that these products are good alternatives to smoking, as they are ‘harm reduction’ products and can help smoking cessation – is this true?

- It may be true most smokeless products* do not emit harmful carcinogenic smoke, however there is a lack of evidence that such products helps in ‘harm reduction’ and can help in smoking cessation.
- The harms associated with such products should not be underestimated, especially the appeal these products may have to children & young. These products may contain very high levels of nicotine and are unregulated. They could not be seen as cessation aids as they have not been through clinical trials and may lead to increased addiction and dual use.
*E-cigarette emits vapours rather than smoke. Its contents are not regulated and it is not clear what it contains.

Sunday, April 25

Training For SAFRA Run 2010

Clement and I signed up for SAFRA run 2010, which will happen on the 12 Sept 2010. He challenged himself to run half marathon and I will still be running 10km.

Training starts NOW!!! I did 8km on the treadmill today. WOOHOO~

Sunday, April 18

MayDay World Tour 2010 Unlimited Edition 17th April 2010

Last August, we attended the MayDay DNA Concert in the Singapore Indoor Stadium. They were here again yesterday, 17th April 2010, in the National Stadium with the 2010 Umlimited Edition of the concert!

The weather had not been too good recently. While preparing ponchos and bringing a plastic bag to keep my camera and handphone in case of bad weather, we were also praying very hard that the late afternoon thunderstorm would stop soon. We were not the only ones. We saw these Teru Teru Bozu hung on the railing outside the National Stadium. True enough, we were blessed with a clear night for a dazzling concert!

From left: Yen Ping (not me!), my sister in law Ee Ping and me.

Waiting for the concert to begin!

The 9m transformer robot!

This concert was very similar to the one we attended last year. Afterall, they are the same concert.

I enjoyed myself thoroughly. There are pros and cons of being in the front rows. We were not at the centre front and we couldn't see the entire stage very well. And because we were so near, we had to strain our neck to look up to the screens (with lyrics...) which were right above our head. We couldn't see the entire fireworks too. However, it feels so good to be so front and close to the stage!

I cannot wait for their next concert already...!!!

Saturday, April 17

How To Kill A Mosquito (Pictures Included) -- Tips From An Expert

S-I-M-P-L-Y U-S-E Y-O-U-R P-A-L-M-S.

Nothing else works.

I have tried mosquito repelling gel, mozzie zapping lamp, aroma oil, high frequency anti-mozzie device (whatever you call it) ... NOTHING works.

Better train your hands eyes coordination. It's most effective.

Thursday, April 15

Bento #113

After reading Crazymommy's post on homemade mushroom chicken noodles, I was reminded of my mom's version of it and I requested that for dinner.

My mom, being the most obliging and wonderful mom, made it the very next day! She even added shredded carrots and fishcake cubes! YUMMY! I had one big bowl of mushroom chicken noodles for dinner and I took some stew home. This morning I reheated it and ate it with brown rice for lunch.

Yummy, yummy, yummy!

Wednesday, April 14

Jaimie Ties The Knot

Jaimie's lastest activity was to tie her toys' legs with a piece of red ribbon I recycled from a gift wrap.


Because she has been asking me to re-read this book about the Chinese Cupid who uses a red string to tie the legs of the men and women together so that they will marry each other.
Jaimie is playing cupid.

Monday, April 12

How To Kill A Lizard (Pictures Included) -- Tips From An Expert

Step 1: Get the following tools ready and put them in easy to reach places:

(1) insecticide with a long nozzel -- so that you are able to reach corners and behind cupboards

(2) a recycled plastic lunch box-- to trap the lizard

(3) a broom-- to whack/ block/ make noise/ self-defence

Step 2: When you spot the lizard which has been shitting around your house and lurking behind your photo frame, quickly get an assistant to close all doors and use rags at the gap between the door and the floor while you keep a close watch of the movement of the enemy. Then, get your assistant to bring you the tools mentioned earlier.

Step 3: While the assistant goes hiding, spray small amount of the insecticide at the lizard's hiding place at intervals of 10secs, increasing the dosage each time. Carry the broom with your other hand. This is to avoid having a desperate reptile jumping onto you if you spray a large amt of insecticide at first shot.

Step 4: When the lizard finally cannot take it anymore and escapes from it's hiding place, use your broom to block the lizard's path and try to corner it. While it is being cornered, spray insecticide on it generously.

Step 5: Drop your plastic container to trap the lizard. Spray large amt of insecticide into the container by lifting a small edge off the ground. Wait for 10mins. Meanwhile, you may want to get a pail of water to clean up the places where you had sprayed insecticide earlier.

Step 6: When the lizard appears quite dead, do not believe that it is dead. Spray more insecticide if necessary.

Step 7: Spread some old newspaper on the floor. Get ready a plastic bag too. With your broom (or bare hands, if courageous) to press down the container while sweeping it to the newspaper. Wrap up the newspaper carefully and put it in the plastic bag immediately.

Step 8: Dispose the plastic bag into the rubbish chute.

p/s: I killed 2 lizards over the weekend!!

Sunday, April 11

With Cherrlyn @IMM Water Playground

When we asked Jaimie last evening where would she like to go on Sunday morning, she said "IMM water playground. I want to ask ZiNi mei-mei and Cherrlyn mei-mei to play with me too." And so I sent a message to the mothers of these 2 children, asking them if they would be able to make it. Rain has swimming lessons on Sunday mornings and Cherrlyn was able to come. Yeah!

The weather this morning was excellent for outdoor activities. We reached the playground at 10am and the children wasted no time in changing into their swim wear and played together.

The girls were a little tired by 11.30am. We proceeded to Streets Hong Kong Cafe for a nice lunch together.
On our way home, I asked Jaimie if she had enjoyed herself. She nodded vigorously.
So nice to play with friends!