Croatia & Slovenia – Eastern Europe

Yep, I am having tangible withdrawal effects from Croatia and Slovenia. The men are terribly gorgeous – after you’ve seen and talked to them, you would be immune/ indifferent to local men. I remember this impossibly hot waiter from a Ljubljana cafe, Robba, helping us with menu choices. His features were so gorgeous; he was tall, well-built with a high nose and a 5 o’clock shadow.  I would have been content gazing into his dark brown eyes for a minute.

On the plane back home, some British guy winked and nudged at me. Thought that was pretty cute zomg!!

Flirting aside, I was truly mesmerized by nature and scenery that Eastern Europe had to offer. Old Yugoslavia is quaint, charming and one-of-a-kind. You see the imprints of Communist rule and Western occupation in their architecture, infrastructure and food. Weather during spring is beautiful and crisp; the temperate breezes made walking on the street worth relishing. Colorful blooms were everywhere; by the streets, in bouquets in a lady’s arms, at farmers’ markets. The Postojna Caves in Slovenia were completely breathtaking in every sense of the word. Magnificent rock formations from many years of limestone erosion- through rainwater and lakewater – created artfully-shaped spikes in all shapes and sizes throughout the cave. Reddish hues of iron oxide and grey touches of manganese covered those half-a-million-year-old stalagmites and stalactites. Chemistry never felt so meaningful to me before.


The Piltvice National Park in Croatia was just as magical- mighty waterfalls gushed endlessly. Ducks were seen waddling around in pairs, presumably in their mating season. I have not seen a prettier shade of aquamarine and turquoise as the sun shone into the waters, creating temporary diamonds dancing across the rivers.


Temperatures were on the chilly side, but all that stood out was the immaculate scenery laid out before my eyes; almost sacred to behold. These two attractions overshadowed the many cathedrals and castles that I had visited in this trip. Baroque architecture and their history is charming in its own right, like Zagreb Cathedral and Bled Castle, but nothing beats the beauty of Mother Nature.

Kids in Europe looked happier than Singaporean ones. I saw them running around uninhibited, cheeks red and chubby, their peals of laughter embellishing the night air. Women and men looked gorgeous; as if they had just steeped out from some runway catalog.

Why Lord why? The proportion of handsome men are simply unfairly distributed. 24 hours ago, the land I stepped on had men that looked like they had just descended from some celestial realm. Hot men were everywhere. Sexy sexy ones.

It has always been a dream of mine to work overseas and settle there for good. Preferably to marry some German or Austrian, or even Slovenian or Brit. To make gorgeous mixed-race babies and live happily ever after. To study in an European university.

While entertaining these grandiose fantasies and walking through the arrival hall, reality hit as a wave of warm air tingled by skin. Silly Singlish accents, faces buried in their phones posting away on Instagram, long immigration queues were all around me.

Well, fairy tales eventually have an epilogue. As I end of this post reflecting on my trip to old Yugoslavia, I tuck these precious travel memories into a secret pocket in my heart. Where would 2017 bring me to? Holy Land? Germany?

I would want to look forward to better things in life, more opportunities, open doors, friends, vacations and exhilaration. Travelling has enlarged my heart so much, and therefore that extra room has to be filled with more purpose and focus, such that I can keep on giving and going.


3 Days in Bangkok

As a Singaporean, Bangkok remains a place that charms in terms of cuisine, culture, lifestyle and price point. While prices for designer labels in upscale malls like (Terminal 21) are similar worldwide, the crowd-drawers are the night markets.

terminal 21
Inside terminal 21!
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At Ratchada Night Market

steph at ratchanda

Ain’t my manicure pretty heh

I am indeed fascinated my their modes of transportation. A tuk tuk ride costs more than a cab/grabcar ride. However, it’s worth noting that vehicular transport is inefficient as their jams are legendary. The subway is a better way to get to your destination on time. We had almost missed our flight due to a jam on the road, and thankfully managed to catch the check-in time by the skin of our teeth. Singaporeans may view Changi Airport as another mall in the east, but after stopping by foreign airports, I do appreciate the poshness and organisation of Changi. On the same point of transportation, while Singapore has only recently embarked on bikeshare as a complimentary mode of transport to walking, Bangkok already has an established bikeshare network. Also, people there get around via boats that stop at regular stops just like buses.


En route Ratchanda Night Market via boat, we passed by rows of attap houses and element-worn parapets coated with graffiti. It was an interesting insight into a different way of life, one that metropolitan city dwellers are unfamiliar with. Pollution tends to be evident with the skyline sometimes muted with a hint of grey. Trees are sparse as well.

Street food stalls packed with locals are a must-try –  an authentic taste of local Thai fare like salt-grilled tilapia and Chang beer, which was rather palatable due to its subtle malt taste that does not overpower the senses, from a perspective of someone who does not fancy beer.

street stall
Street Food!

st food bkk

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And more..

When I visit a foreign land, I always make it a point to source for ethnic garments that compliment my style. I managed to get a Thai print maroon wrap skirt, and I find the silk finishing so enchanting to look at. A very classy and artistic piece of fabric that offers my wardrobe some variation. I also got myself and my mum a jade-coloured cashmere shawl with gold threading. I thought the intricate patterns looked really regal and expensive, like something worn by royalty. I even had a chance to haggle prices with the ladyboys peddling these wholesale goods. Just a random thought; there are people out there who so badly want to be a woman. Perhaps I should embrace the beauty of being born as one, instead of secretly lamenting and gender favoritism that exists in today’s world?

All in all, it was an interesting eye opener. I don’t expect myself to visit Thailand in the next 5 years, but the hospitality of the people had genuinely warmed my heart. Good morals and consideration for the sphere beyond self are not entities that can be engineered by textbook education or instructions. I believe it comes from an observant, reflective and restful heart, which understands the beauty of enjoying the present and appreciating everything in life as a gift from above. This insight is the most valuable thing I have brought back home, an experience that surpasses manicures, massages, shopping or feasting.

skyline bkk
So long bkk



Coldplay A head full of dreams! Live in Singapore

One tick off my bucket list! It was such an honor to be part of Coldplay’s choir for 2 hours on 31 March 2017. Laser lights, a crazy hyper crowd, rainbow confetti and giant balloons bouncing across the ecstatic sea of flicker lights and pumping fists, and most importantly, music from the realms of heaven in the form of Chris Martin and his amazing band. While singing he pulled off stunts like darting across the runway to hysterical screams. O yes, there were fireworks too! The magic in the atmosphere zipped through my veins and I couldn’t help screaming my lungs out throughout the medley hahaha.

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Coldplay 1

coldplay 2

Here are some of my favourites! I believe everybody would agree; Coldplay’s music is a universal unifying force among people.

Every Teardrop is a Waterfall



Hymn for the Weekend

Viva la Vida

A Head Full of Dreams


Here are the 2 beautiful girls whose company made my night perfect 😉




So yup, they even punctuated the medley with the old hymn Amazing Grace. Beautiful stuff.  God bless them.

Beauty and the beast

A fairy tale romance never goes out of fashion.

To be swept off your feet by an unexpected prince and live on romance forever. 

Tale as old as time
True as it can be
Barely even friends
Then somebody bends

Just a little change
Small, to say the least
Both a little scared
Neither one prepared
Beauty and the beast

Ever just the same
Ever a surprise
Ever as before
Ever just as sure
As the sun will rise

Tale as old as time
Tune as old as song
Bittersweet and strange
Finding you can change
Learning you were wrong

Certain as the sun
Certain as the sun
Rising in the east
Tale as old as time
Song as old as rhyme
Beauty and the beast.

Tale as old as time
Song as old as rhyme
Beauty and the beast.

Beauty and the beast.

Signorina by Ferragamo

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Signorina is a very pretty fragrance. The pink liquid is beautifully bottled with a ribbon to top it off. Fresh, fruity, floral, young, playful, classy. Contrast it with the socialite who goes about her mahjong rounds doused in the unmistakably dominant Chanel No 5, or the prominently saccharine notes of Angelina Jolie’s new fragrance for Guerlain.

Open your heart

I’ve had to work much harder than this
For something I want don’t try to resist me

Open your heart to me, baby
I hold the lock and you hold the key
Open your heart to me, darlin’
I’ll give you love if you, you turn the key

If I were to have a dance icon, Madonna it would be. Thank God I ain’t Catholic. She’s such a fabulous songwriter and dancer. Who can thrust those hips like that, driving men crazy? Lots of hidden meanings between the lines. Here’s a suggestion to Spotify to add this into their bedroom jams playlist 😀


I had not been very regular at the young adults ministry in my church for a couple of reasons.

The place is chock full of girls, women, dressed to the nines to attract the handful of guys present. Very few guys are present, indeed. And out of these few guys, only a fraction of them are worth a second take. Yeah. How boring can it get, spending every other Friday night at a place that does no justice to your relationship status.

Well, actually, that one reason is major enough make you decide to skip service. But recently, I’ve gotten closer to the Lord due to a myriad of circumstances which are kinda lengthy to explain. So, I’ve decided to give church another shot and listen with an attentive heart.

Surprisingly, it was as if the message had been specially tailored for me everytime I went. To my situation, my season, and I have always left feeling recharged and renewed, on a spiritual high.

As for a life partner, I guess I will have to join the massive marriage market on dating apps, and see where fate takes me. I had this conversation with an ex-prof, and we were on the topic of dating. So I was rather adamant that finding love had a lot to do with luck, to which he retorted with an analogy- If you don’t buy TOTO, you can’t complain that you never strike cos you never will. Very true. I used to think that dating apps were the final destination of the single, desperate and ugly, which made me rather  hesitant to put my picture out there floating around with the rungs of the unwanted. However, increasingly, many of my friends are using these apps, and they have gotten attached to relatively attractive, cool guys. Cooler than the average church dude actually. Time to dump those preconceived ideas of mine and start finding love the 21st century way.

Absolutely Blooming by Dior

Have you ever bought a bottle of perfume and got bored by the scent well before finishing it? Well, to meet the whims of my short attention span, I think it’s more cost effective to buy designer perfume in mini 5 ml vials, the miniature version of the exact usual-sized ones you see at Sephora or department stores.

So I wandered down the alleys of Lucky Plaza to hunt for the shops that sells these vials at the cheapest pries. Finally somewhere you can put these haggling skills to good use, when you thought it was a passe housewife trait confined to the exchanges with wet market butchers and fishmongers.

I really love the flora, sophisticated scent of Absolutely Blooming by Dior. It also has a slight hint of sweetness, that makes my Kenzo Flower pale in comparison. Very feminine, very sexy, yet professional. Something you can wear to a boardroom meeting with your LBD and updo for that extra enchantment, without being judged for trying too hard.

So here’s my little vial perched on top of my laptop. Very proud of my little prize. You can expect me to wear this till something else captivated my olfactory faculties.

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Also, while roaming around Sephora, I chanced upon Laura Mercier lipstick, and one of the shades that caught my eye was the Palm Beach one. Perfect for everyday wear, a cross between coral and pink. Perfect for fickle people who cannot pick between the two shades. Very moisturizing, and the color has staying power. Also another shade I’ll be seen in for the next few months.

palm beach

Nah these ain’t my lips, but they look close 😉



Design thinking

Ecosystem thinking has become an integral in product design today. We don’t just work along the linear train of thought to make a product marketable to a consumer; it involves considering the various entities that affect the consumer’s decision, and how the product fits into the whole web/ecosystem revolving around a consumer. For instance, how it leverages of other factors in the ecosystem of services/products to gain its way into a consumer’s home. Traditional business models in most organisations still remain horizontal in nature. While the horizontal model still works to reach a consumer, it’s probably good to rethink this in light of today’s economic landscape and the fact that no product exists in silo, but it’s marketability is determined by a host of other factors.

In the drive to make accurate decisions on product design quickly, useful data patterns are holy grail, in a world flooded with information. We’ve heard of instances of wiretapping by governments to obtain civilian data, but for businesses, getting accurate data through receptors in the community is especially important. There must be meaning in data, if not it’s just contributing to noise and complication. In the quest to design objects that meet consumer needs, we need to look into the crystal ball of data algorithms for answers. A mishmash of the Engineering and Design fields results. Speaking of which, the Singapore University of Design and Technology seems to be a really exciting place to learn how to solve real-world problems with engineering technology, translating into practical designs. Universities that overemphasize on academics are becoming passe. Also, businesses these days cannot be compartmentalized into a fixed discipline/line. For instance, Apple is a music/ hardware/technology company? Confining disciplines to strictly ‘Computer Engineering’ or ‘ Art and Design’, may not be relevant  in the changing business context. However that being said, companies still value candidates with solid skills in their major discipline.

Also, we see the advent of Singapore start-ups trying to emulate Silicon Valley, having creative working spaces, a warrior mentality to boot- horsepower to last 16 hours straight on coding. Some people wonder if Asians are just experts at copying their American counterparts. Taking a step back, considering our cultural differences, would it be better to allow our start-up culture to develop organically in the local context, rather than conforming to the American model which may not necessarily suit an Asian country whose education system had been so deeply rooted in rote learning? But in reality, Singapore wants finished products quick without hassle. To bypass the usual time required for an organic start-up culture to develop, copying may be the way to go for now, rather that researching on a business model that is original and innately beneficial in the local context.

Many people have lamented that AI may one day usurp jobs, leaving behind a catastrophe of mass unemployment. However, at the present moment, AI capabilities are limited to monitoring trends on the ground and keeping humans informed; sure, they could do jobs that involve a combination of fixed patterns, i.e. drafting contract laws. Decision-making or forming improbable connections, at the moment, seems confined to the realm of human thinking faculties.

la la land

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How would you feel if you saw someone walking in the dream you had for yourself, holding the hand of the girl you had always dreamed to spend the rest of your life with, and he walks away with her into the future? And the last memory of her would be that longing back glance and wistful smile before she made her way? I guess life could have a funny way of spurning your story in ways you would not have imagined, leading you to marry the man who’s there at the right time when things are supposed to happen (provided he’s decently attractive), than the man whom you loved with all your heart at the wrong time.

I started listening to the film’s soundtrack on Spotify before watching it (City of Stars is playing in my head as I write this), and jazz never fails to move me with its poignancy and richness; its classic date night music that has the power to transport you away from the oxymoron of mundaneness and mayhem of modern life, giving you a touch of 1960s America, when people had the time to date properly, when a guy would bring you out for dinner and watch big band jazz. Ryan Gosling is ever so dapper in his Canadian slur and sleepy smile, and Emma Stone with her bug-eyed gaze has an interesting seductive charm I can’t really put my finger to. They make an amazing partnership onscreen. Personally, I love theatre. I can imagine the pain involved in the dream of making to Hollywood. It’s akin to some arrival into the promised land of milk and honey, where the line between success and failure is that thin, between living from paycheque to the next, wondering when would your next break would be. Or walking down glitter-studded red carpets and having cameras flashing in your face every so often, that you’re looking for a way to beat them like a fugitive.

I am aware that film plots are fictional and scriptwriters have a wonderful knack for giving life to stories, but I cannot help but pine for that kind of organic, unmechanical kind of romance that unfolds. No, not the Korean drama kind that involves some rich spoilt brat and a silly blur girl with the whole world at their disposal, but the kind of love that is open to whatever that comes, and lets go when it’s time to. It’s so beautiful to knowing that something could happen out of nothing because it was given the free space to bloom; nothing forced or overtly planned. Maybe it’s just a figment of my imagination, that’s why I like this film so much; there’s a punny play on the title as well. Perhaps how it all happened, or could have happened if things worked out, are in the realm of la la land.