In a blink of an eye

It’s 6am that I’m writing this.

About a week ago this time, I was talking to my aunt who was getting ready to go to work. A few minutes after that, I was on my way to take the bus to go to my parents house. It was still dark out. Looking the faces of sleepy people on their way to work and school reminded me of moments when I was still living in Singapore.

A scene from the Jurong East MRT. I spent years during Secondary School at Jurong Entertainment Center. And in a few years, even JCube at the back there will be demolished.

I looked out of the window, knowing that it was my last week there and almost choked up. So many things that I’ll be missing.

Visiting my ex Primary School with my siblings

It has been four years since I’ve last visited. I would have come earlier, but as you know Covid-19 happened and turned life upside down. It made traveling a lot more challenging and expensive.

A cool diorama of CBD at the URA Centre

And now with the rules being more relaxed, we finally had the chance to travel back. I made a list of things that I wanted to do … but mostly, I just wanted to spend time with my family and friends as much as possible.

A lot of things has happened in four years.

Each time I arrive back in Singapore, it’s like I coming out of a Time Machine. While there are a lot of things that are the same, so many things has changed. I don’t mean by just new buildings erected or old buildings demolished. But even the functions of daily life is different.

Clementi. Where I used to hang out a lot after studying in Jurong Institute. No more fountain. No more clock tower. And of course, A&W was gone a long time ago.

Like when making payments, vendors now prefer this new function called “Pay Now”. I was confused for the longest time when some of them didn’t accept NETS. And when going to the library, instead of scanning on the totems, you can now scan the books using an app on your phone. Woah, I feel like I’m living in the future. I’m so excited to see what new technologies that is to come.

Just use the NLB Mobile app to borrow. You can also borrow e-books.

But on the other hand, seeing my family growing older each time I visit is quite painful. My parents being less vibrant compared to before. I’m in a state of denial when I hear their ages and think to myself, that can’t be … but the maths check out.

All the years that I don’t get to spend with my siblings – birthdays and other special moments … Just makes me feel this sense of panic and melancholy and want to spend as much time with my family as much as I can.

Bothering the mother while she was on her lunch break

I guess living so far away has made me appreciate every moment that I have because the time I have is so limited. And I just hope to see you all again soon, in good health and happiness.

Second vaccine dose done!

Last evening, I got my second Pfizer vaccine done.

Personally for me, the entire process felt a little unreal – as if I was stepping in a recreation of a historical moment. Like walking reliving in a completely immersive interactive museum.

The process here in Rome is pretty straightforward. Vaccines dates are given by age groups, so you wait for your turn to book an appointment by either going to the Salute Lazio website or by the app.

You’d be given a choice of Pfizer, or AstraZeneca or Johnson’s or Moderna. For me, I chose Pfizer as it was one of the kinds that is recognised in Singapore, which theoretically should make it easier for when I want to return.

Cart managed to get an appointment at La Nuvola, which is lucky for him as it is just a few minutes drive from where we live.

La Nuvola means the cloud. Hard to see in this picture but there is a huge cloud sculpture inside.

Unfortunately for me, the only location for Pfizer for my age group at the time had to be done at La Vela which is about an hour drive away. Argh.

But apart from that, the organisation was pretty smooth. When I reached the location, all I had to do was to show the SMS I got, and I was ushered in the right queue.

Tents like these always give me an invocative feel.

The vaccination area I was at, was made up of big white tents. I didn’t have to wait for too long and I was allowed to enter.

The first stop was to take the temperature with a device that looked like a metal palm. When there was a green light, I passed through.

We had to have our tessera sanitaria ready, to be given to one of the staff at the computer who keys in your data and asks you to fill up a form about your information, health and declaration of agreement.

The next stop was an interview with the doctor asking you questions like your medical history or if you have allergies.

After that, the next stop was actual injection. You sit down and be asked which arm you want jabbed. I don’t know if it makes much difference so I asked for right arm for the first time and left for the second. So it is balanced. Don’t know if this makes sense?🤷‍♀️

The final stop was to stay in the waiting room for 15 minutes to ensure that you were fine before you were released.

It’s the morning after at this point of time typing. Loads of people are warning that the second dose hits harder than the first time. I’m not feeling feverish right now, but my vaccinated arm feels a little sore.

Regardless, now I have inbuilt 5G. And this is how I managed to blog this entry today.

We are Borg. Resistance is futile.

I’m okay

Hi everyone. Today is the second day that the entire of Italy is on lockdown at this point of writing and I thought that I’d just share a little bit of what has been going on here.

I’m okay.

The Covid-19 virus has been hitting Italy really hard. Even a month before, when the first cases was announced in Milan, it was already quite difficult to get hand sanitizers here in Rome.

I got mine, ironically from a Chinese mom and pop shop. Face masks were already completely sold out. You could get them online through resellers albeit multiple times more expensive. Personally for me, I trust more the old soap and water for keeping my hands clean.

Unfortunately, there are a few rare instance where there are random people who shouted “coronavirus” at me because I look foreign which made me very upset.

Early this month, when it was first announced that public places like schools, cinemas and gyms will be closed till the 14th March which wasn’t too bad… I had just made payments for my flamenco course. I would be missing one week of not meeting my friends for flamenco lessons but it’s still tolerable.

I’m just sad that we’ve been practicing so hard for the performance in lieu of the International Women’s day. We were supposed to dance at the Campidoglio which look really spectacular as the choreography was lovely. That’s cancelled. As well as all other public events like the marathon and performances were halted. Disappointing, but it was for the greater good.

And then the date got extended to the 3rd of April. Woah. That’s a long time! Did I just pay 110 euro for nothing? That’s about 11 hours of work for me.

And speaking of work, I do food deliveries to supplement my earnings and this moment has been really hard. I haven’t been earning as much as before, after my accident (will talk more about that in another post) and because not that many people order food online. In addition to that, most restaurants are completely closed to the public at 18.00, leaving just a few open for delivery.

A sign on a table in McDonald’s reminding customers to keep a distance of 1 metre

It was pretty quiet when I was out last evening for my dinner rounds. It was so surreal, like being in a war movie. Roads which was full of life was completely dark and quiet. Nothing was open. There were a lot of police cars making their rounds.

Even during the day, the mall which normally was full of people and I used to have to fight to pass through, was really deserted which was really bizarre for me. Loads of shops closed down because the proprietor anticipated that there would not be a lot of sales anyway.

Usually there parking here will be completely filled with loads of people walking around

My biggest worry though is that we don’t earn enough money to pay for the mortgage and bills that we have to pay. There has been political talks of mortgage, bills, taxes being suspended. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but it were to happen, would really ease our burden.

When the announcement was done by Giuseppe Conte, the prime minister last night, a lot of people went into panic buying mode. Crowding around the supermarket. Which just kinds of defeat the purpose.

Out of curiosity, Cart and I were at the big supermarket not too far away from where we live this morning. Just to see the situation.

Considering that it is a Wednesday, there was an unusual amount of cars parked outside. We soon found out there was a limit to the amount of people who are allowed in. So you might have to queue up to enter.

At the entrance, there was sanitizer gels and gloves for customers to use. Inside, each staff were wearing gloves and masks. And customers are reminded regularly to keep a distance of 1 metre from another. But apart from that, it was like any other day.

There were still loads of toilet papers available. You know, because Italians use bidets.

I just hope for the situation to get better. The virus is one thing, but the mass hysteria from the few is even worse.

Oh my goodness

It is 4.30am right now and I couldn’t go back to sleep. And so here I am. My goodness. It has been a very long time since I’ve last blogged in here. Is there still anyone reading me?

A lot of things has happened, but I just haven’t really the chance to sit down to blog about it as I used to. Time just passes by so quickly for me and before you know it, an entire year has just passed by.

Regardless of how some might think that blogs are dying, I think I would like to continue to blog again, maybe at least once a week just to write down my thoughts and experience. It has been something I enjoy doing, letting my fingers dance on the keyboard.

And so this will be my first blog for 2020, something simple to get the engines started for the next one.

Hello 2019!

Hi everyone, and welcome to a new year.

Feels like time has just wooshed by but when looking back, a lot of things has happened in 2018, both good and bad. Nevertheless I’m very grateful for all the experience and beautiful memories that I’ve encountered and am looking forward to stepping up into my life.

I don’t really belive in new year’s resolution, but for this year I want to try to take care of myself better and focus on what makes me happy and everything else will fall in place.

New year, new journey. I hope that you come and experience it together again with me 🙂

Happy Anniversary Cartcart

It is now 6 am at this point of writing and here I am amazed that ten years ago, Cart and I were in Singapore being solemnised, in front of my family, relatives and close friends. Cart and Rinaz wedding anniversary

I still remember the day quite vividly, excited and happy to be surrounded by the people that I love. Cart and Rinaz wedding anniversary

I will have to say though, that the past decade hasn’t been easy – moving to Italy and having to start all over again – learning the language and assimilate in the culture, and being so far away from my family … Cart and Rinaz wedding anniversary

Not to mention that economy wise, it has been quite tough for the both of us but I’m grateful to have such a constantly loving partner who is kind, and patient towards me, understanding and supportive when I’m having my bad days and being on board when I have a sudden spark of creative motivation. Cart and Rinaz wedding anniversary

I didn’t managed to reach the goals that I’ve set before migrating to Rome, and I get more and more alarmed each time seeing how much my parents has grown older each time I get back, which means that we are getting older too. Cart and Rinaz wedding anniversary

But on the other hand, when I reflect back, there has been so many achievements that I’ve reached which is only possible living here, and I want to continue this journey and experiences with Cart for as long as it is possible with our limited time here. Cart and Rinaz wedding anniversary

Thank you Abang for all that you’ve given me. For comforting me when I’m feeling scared, for pulling me up when I’m feeling down, for motivating me when I’m feeling lost … There are many ways that you’ve made me a better person that I am today. Cart and Rinaz wedding anniversary

I hope for many more years of happiness for us, I love you very very much. Happy anniversary, amore mio ❤️ Cart and Rinaz wedding anniversary Cart and Rinaz wedding anniversary

P.s. These gorgeous photos were taken by our very talented friend Marco. I love how they turned out, Cart and I look like we were in a magazine cover. Ahaha Cart and Rinaz wedding anniversary

Quick updates

Hi everyone!

It’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog and I thought that I would just update with a few things that’s happening over here.

Schools in Italy has closed for the summer about a week ago, so I’m a little bit freer – so I’ve been filling up my time playing ingress and trying to pick up Inkscape – Flash has been giving me issues, which is why I haven’t been making any cartoons for the longest time.

The pity is, that I can’t convert any of my past works so I pretty much have to start from the very beginning which is a very daunting to me.

But inkscape has been interesting to use so far, I still have a lot to learn but I think I’ll get there eventually.

We celebrated Hari Raya last Friday – it was very low key affair, since it’s not a recognised holiday here in Italy. This year’s fast has been a tough one – with the heatwave that has been going on here … not to mention also that the days are long during the summer, compared to how it is in Singapore. I felt completely lethargic and I wanted to do was just to sleep. Preferably in a tub full of cold body lotion.

(On the other hand, I’ve lost a significant amount of weight which is always a source of cheap thrills for me)

Nevertheless, I’ve been busying myself with flamenco – our recital is coming up next week … And this week we’re meeting for practise almost every day. My goodness!

I’ve someone asking me if I’m feeling nervous, and to be honest, I haven’t really thought about it till then! I don’t want to think too much about it right now, and just focus on the choreography. Don’t want to freak myself up especially since I’ve been placed in front.

The thing is, it isn’t my first time performing – I did quite a number of recitals when I was in school – I was in the choir for some years and then for a short time I did Malay dance. I don’t remember feeling nervous because the way that I dealt with stage fright was quite easy. I just took off my glasses. Nothing freaked me since I couldn’t see anything. Also, it was at school, and there was no one there I wanted to impress, so I’m pretty much over it 😛

Anyway, I’m sure that everything will go fine. I’ll update you all on how it goes!

Sidenote : Did I tell you guys that I’ll be in Singapore in August? Lets meet up! 🙂

You can wear my baju kurong

So not too long ago, there was this American girl who wore a cheongsam for her prom. A cheongsam, as you know, is Chinese dress, usually made of cotton or silk and is designed to accentuate the female curves. It’s gorgeous, making it something that a lot of women, even non the Chinese, interested to wear them.

I think she looks cute in it, even if I would have styled the hair different and think the pose in the third picture looks awkward.

However, there was a guy who took offence to it, saying that it was inappropriate for her to wear it for prom. I get the feeling that the guy is being a troll, in the sense that he wants attention by spouting vitriol and doesn’t actually believe in what he is spouting.

Why would he? Even Chinese people in China doesn’t have an issue with it like how you see in the video below :

Personally for me, I think I’d be happy if someone was interested enough to wear my cultural outfits. In fact, I’d be proud for them to wear a beautiful Baju Kurong or a Kebaya to a nice event.

Back in school, once a year, we were even encouraged to wear a different outfits for racial harmony day. A lot of of were excited for this day, because it was a chance for us to wear something different instead of our normal uniforms and it was fun exchanging and trying out outfits with each other. Racism would not even cross our minds as we don the clothes.

(My gosh, this picture was taken 20 years ago)

Why is it so bad that we wear other cultural outfits? I can understand with certain cultures, you need to be of a certain class to be able to wear them – like how it is for wearing the headdress for the Native American tribes.

But for the rest, we shouldn’t have to feel afraid to wear something beautiful, in case that someone would feel offended because we’d be misappropriating their culture.

Burn house beat mother

I mean, if you really want to be pissed off at cultural misappropriation, be pissed off at something that makes more sense – like someone who has never eaten rendang before, telling you how to cook rendang.

With that logic, I should just wear a sarong all year round, even when the temperature drops to minus zero degrees during the winter in Rome. I should stop wearing jeans because it’s only meant for cowboys and miners. And while I’m at it, I should stop learning to dance flamenco because I’m not Spanish, stop learning Italian because I’m not Italian and don’t eat sushi, burrito, paella and all the delicious food in the world.

What nonsense.

Letting go

It’s been a while since I’ve written a new post. Yikes! My apologies for that, but on the other hand, if you’re on Instagram, I’ve been posting stories when I can. You know, instant gratification and all that 😛

But I’ll try to update more, and now that the weather here in Rome is getting wonky, it’s a good opportunity for me to start hitting the laptop. There are so many things that I’d love to update you guys with.

As you know, I was in Singapore during the summer and reconnecting with my friends and family. Each time that I’m there, it never seems like enough but I’m grateful for the amazing experience that I had.

One of the places that I went to was to my old secondary school. It was by coincidence as I saw a facebook post saying that there was a brunch event there, so I took the opportunity and went back to Bukit View Secondary – where I spent my formative years.

Walking through the campus, a lot of things has changed and the building didn’t looked exactly as it was before, I don’t recognize 99% of the staff there, and even the uniform has changed to a light brown compared to my white and grey.

Nevertheless, as I passed through the various rooms, there were a number of memories that flashed through my mind – pretending the sewing machines was a pedal to a car during Home Economics, trying to get anything better than a ‘C’ during Arts classes, the restroom where there used to be so many toilet paper stuck on the ceiling for some reason … I had so many happy memories here.

Which was was it was shocking to learn that a former classmate passed away not long ago. I was even thinking of him while I passed by my old classroom. His name was Safras Khan. We weren’t close but he was a memorable character – he was opinionated and confident of himself and he’d walk around with a swagger. For some reason, he liked to play November Rain on the PA system every chance he gets, and he’d always be roaming around school with his best friend, Sufian. They were like Ying and Yang. Safras was the gregarious one, while Sufian was quiet.

When I found out that he died from a heart attack, I was surprised because we are all relatively still young. It didn’t feel as if it was that long ago since we were all in school, you know, I still have some memories that are quite vivid, including that 15 year old bespectacled boy with gelled hair.

But I think that at length, the older we get, the more we have to anticipate this happening (Especially since my aunt passed away) and it puts things in a lot of perspective that we have to let go of a lot of things. Which in turn, more and more has changed how I view upon things.

Relationships for the most part. Be it with friends, or be it with family, let’s just enjoy our time with the people that we love. And even if there are people who we dislike being with, just be civil anyway, without being over the top. It’s not like you’re married to them.

There was a time when I got offended at how there were people who didn’t include me in things like dinners and conversations … I still don’t like cliques, but things like that happen. I just have to remember to be kind as everyone makes mistakes, myself included.