Friday, May 30, 2008

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

If we want more of anything in our life, the place to start with is our comfort zone. By expanding our comfort zone we will get more of what we want. It’s as simple as that.

It’s always hard to step out of our comfort zone, but when we do step out of it, the feel is awesome. We can try to expand our comfort zone for a start. All of us have fear, we fear different kind of things, and fear is one of the strongest human emotions. But when we overcome those fears, our comfort zone expands. When we find our comfort zone gets bigger and bigger, our level of self-confidence and self-esteem get higher and higher at the same time.

Conquering our fears and expanding our comfort zone do not mean jumping in and making blind decisions. To expand our comfort zone we have to take calculated risks and stop procrastinating. And as it expands, we will most likely to feel better and naturally get more things done in less time.

So how do we do this?
Here a couple of helpful tips for a start:

  • If there is something to be done, just do it, even if we are not sure what will come out of it. For example, if there is a tough sale call to make, just do it, whether or not the sale goes through, the feel after the call will be very different.

  • Be honest and sincere when we talk to others. Make sure the other person understands our points and views. It’s ok if the other person doesn’t agree. We have to stand up for what we believe in. We cannot make everybody agree and like what we said.

  • Do things we don’t do often, or have never try before. The motive is to gain more knowledge and more experience, so get involved, take whatever courses, hang out with people we respect and adore. Be surprised just by talking to them, we can already learn a lot. So take action!

  • Remember that if we have had bad experiences in the past, chances are the same thing won’t happen again, but we won’t know if we don’t try it again. So don’t let our fears control us!

Lao Zhi said...

"a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."

Something different for breakfast today...

Pei Yan would be leaving for her Hong Kong home after a 3-days workshop here. So, today wake up early early to bring her for bak ku teh. Pei Yan, seems more familiar with Singapore than I, said that there were two more-famous bak ku teh in Singapore. One at Balestier (which S.H.E patronized when they came to Singapore), and the other one at Rangoon Road, which made big news by turning away her country CE, Donald Tseng, when he went there in the evening and they were about to close.

So I decided to bring her to the one who turned her CE away.

Hmmm... this was great! No wonder, come early early also so crowded and no wonder, they dared to turn her CE away...

It's time for durian again... how to differentiate

According to durian experts, 15/6 to 31/7 2008 is the best time for durians.

* It is very fleshy, with small seeds.
* The pulp is a regal yellow hue and has a smooth texture.
* It has a rich aroma and a bitter-sweet taste.
* There are 3 grades within this brand.

Hong Xia
* It is named after its red flesh colour (as Hong Xia means red prawn in Chinese)

* Its flesh may not be as abundant.
* It tastes predominantly sweet with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

* It is very fleshy, with small seeds
* The pulp is a bright yellow colour
* It has a stronger bitter taste compared to other durians, but the bitterness is mixed with sweetness.

HSBC TreeTop Walk (part 1) - plan your route...

What is the HSBC TreeTop Walk (HSBC TTW)?
This is a freestanding suspension bridge that connects the 2 highest point (Bukit Peirce and Bukit Kalang) in MacRitchie and supposed to offer a bird’s eye view of the community of plants and animals that live in the forest. The length of the walkway is about 250m and its height from the forest floor varies with the highest point at 25m.

Why is it named HSBC TreeTop Walk (HSBC TTW)?
Because HSBC and NParks established the HSBC-GCF (Garden City Fund) TreeTop Walk Fund to support programmes and activities meant for conservation, education and outreach.

When can I go there?
Opening Hours: Tue to Fri: 9am to 5pm; Sat, Sun & Public Holidays: 8.30am to 5pm
Note: The HSBC TTW is closed on Mondays except public holidays for maintenance and research.

Which are the routes I can hike to reach the HSBC TreeTop Walk? And how long does it take me to reach the entrance of the TreeTop?

From Venus Drive - this route leads you through an old village ground featuring fruit trees and trickling stream.
Distance: approx 7km
Approx. walking time: 3 to 4hrs
Trail grade: moderate to difficult

From MacRitchie Nature Trail - the MacRitchie forest contains the last substanital stands of mature secondary forest of more than 150 years old. Take a deep breath of the forest fresh air and take a moment to appreciate the mother nature around you.
Distance: approx 10.3km
Approx. walking time: 4 to 5hrs
Trail grade: difficult

From Rifle Range Road - look out for vehicles along Rifle Range Road. Almost halfway, you can choose to turn left into Kampong Trail or continue walking before turning right onto the path leading to the reserve.
Distance: approx 9.5km
Approx. walking time: 4 to 5hrs
Trail grade: difficult

Note: The time and distance stated above are for round trip including the TreeTop Walk. However, it will be very much depends on your own walking pace.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

HSBC TreeTop Walk (part 2) - appreciating Mother Nature...

We've finally arrived at the HSBC TreeTop Walk, a 250m long suspension walkway between the 2 highest points in MacRitchie! Walk through the bridge slowly; breathe in the fresh air while appreciating the nature.

This is the view from the suspension walkway. Yes, only the trees' tops! You may catch a panoramic view of Upper Peirce Reservoir if weather permits.

Sometimes it's not all about what you get to see finally. I've been here more than 10 times, the challenge to me are the obstacles of getting up here, I tried many different trails, "official" and "unofficial". Life is like when you were getting up here, a route of obstacles, we must learn to overcome obstacles in order to enjoy the fruit. The next time, try the MacRitchie Nature Trail if you haven't done so. It's thrilling!

Ranger Station serves as a convenient resting point, with basic amenities such as toilets and a water cooler, and an information kiosk for users.

HSBC Tree Top Walk (part 3) - common questions answered

How many people can the HSBC TTW accommodate?
For the comfort and enjoyment of all visitors, the number of visitors is restricted to 30 pax at any one time as well as visitor flow. The traffic along the walkway is one-way. Therefore, visitors will enter via the ranger post at Bukit Peirce and exit at Bukit Kalang and continue on to the Petaling Trail. NParks rangers will be there to assist visitors.

What can we see up there?
At 25m above the ground, the walkway gives you a closer look at the canopy, where all the action takes place. Here, you also have a better view of some of our forest birds; Colugos (flying lemurs) and Long-tailed macaques (monkeys); view trees from an entirely different angle and enjoy a panoramic view of Upper Peirce Reservoir. Some 80 species of birds and 18 rare trees have been spotted in the forest.

Are there any resting stops along the 11km-route?
A Ranger Station is located at the cross road of the 11 km- hiking route (Route 4) around the MacRitchie Reservoir. It serves as a convenient resting point, with basic amenities such as toilets and a water cooler, and an information kiosk for users. There are no vending machines or food vendors in the reserve. Be sure to bring enough water with you. Carry water bottles and snacks in a backpack to avoid attracting the monkeys and refrain from eating in their presence. There are also no litter bins in the reserves so carry your litter with you and dispose in a bin outside the forest. There are also two shelters at the 2.8 km and 5 km mark along the route. The ranger station will be manned from 8am to 5pm. Visitors who need assistance outside the office hours can contact NPark 24-hour hotline number at 64685736.

Getting ready to go...
* Bring along water bottles, snacks, insect repellent, sun block and some first aid stuff (just in case).
* Bring your camera to capture your encounters with the nature.
* Wear comfortably. You may prefer to leave your new sports shoes at home because they may get dirty. It's ok if you don't mind.
* Relax and walk at your own speed. Keep in mind that you have to backtrack to your starting point.

Trail Etiquette
Before you begin your journey of discovery, do observe . . .
* Silence is golden. Just enjoy your close encounter with the Nature.
* The nature reserves, and all its plants and animals, are protected. You can take photographs but don't bring them home.
* The forest does not recycle your rubbish. Don't litter.
* It is wise to keep to designated trails and roads. Hikers are advised not to use the biking trail.
* No pets are allowed.
* Don't feed the monkeys if you see them, let them learn to survive on their own.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Expensive hobby

This is Gary's latest and most expensive toy. He said I can "borrow" if I need it. But I only use it when he is outstation. I won't drive when he is in the passenger seat. He would nag and nag when he see me driving at 60/70km. He says I destroy the image of his car!

Discover the 90/10 Principle (Author: Stephen Covey)

It will change your life (at least the way you react to situations).

What is this principle? 10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react.

What does this mean? We really have no control over 10% of what happens to us.

We cannot stop the car from breaking down. The plane will be late arriving, which throws our whole schedule off. A driver may cut us off in traffic.

We have no control over this 10%. The other 90% is different. You determine the other 90%.
How? ……….By your reaction.

You cannot control a red light. but you can control your reaction. Don't let people fool you; YOU can control how you react.

Let's use an example.

You are eating breakfast with your family. Your daughter knocks over a cup of coffee onto your business shirt. You have no control over what just happened.

What happens next will be determined by how you react.

You curse.

You harshly scold your daughter for knocking the cup over. She breaks down in tears. After scolding her, you turn to your spouse and criticize her for placing the cup too close to the edge of the table. A short verbal battle follows. You storm upstairs and change your shirt. Back downstairs, you find your daughter has been too busy crying to finish breakfast and get ready for school. She misses the bus.

Your spouse must leave immediately for work. You rush to the car and drive your daughter to school. Because you are late, you drive 40 miles an hour in a 30 mph speed limit.

After a 15-minute delay and throwing $60 traffic fine away, you arrive at school. Your daughter runs into the building without saying goodbye. After arriving at the office 20 minutes late, you find you forgot your briefcase. Your day has started terrible. As it continues, it seems to get worse and worse. You look forward to coming home.

When you arrive home, you find small wedge in your relationship with your spouse and daughter.

Why? …. Because of how you reacted in the morning.

Why did you have a bad day?
A) Did the coffee cause it?
B) Did your daughter cause it?
C) Did the policeman cause it?
D) Did you cause it?
The answer is “D".

You had no control over what happened with the coffee. How you reacted in those 5 seconds is what caused your bad day.

Here is what could have and should have happened.

Coffee splashes over you. Your daughter is about to cry. You gently say, "Its ok honey, you just need to be more careful next time". Grabbing a towel you rush upstairs. After grabbing a new shirt and your briefcase, you come back down in time to look through the window and see your child getting on the bus. She turns and waves. You arrive 5 minutes early and cheerfully greet the staff. Your boss comments on how good the day you are having.

Notice the difference?

Two different scenarios. Both started the same. Both ended different.


Because of how you REACTED.

You really do not have any control over 10% of what happens. The other 90% was determined by your reaction.

Here are some ways to apply the 90/10 principle. If someone says something negative about you, don't be a sponge. Let the attack roll off like water on glass. You don't have to let the negative comment affect you!

React properly and it will not ruin your day. A wrong reaction could result in losing a friend, being fired, getting stressed out etc.

How do you react if someone cuts you off in traffic? Do you lose your temper? Pound on the steering wheel? A friend of mine had the steering wheel fall off) Do you curse? Does your blood pressure skyrocket? Do you try and bump them?

WHO CARES if you arrive ten seconds later at work? Why let the cars ruin your drive?

Remember the 90/10 principle, and do not worry about it.

You are told you lost your job.

Why lose sleep and get irritated? It will work out. Use your worrying energy and time into finding another job.

The plane is late; it is going to mangle your schedule for the day. Why take outpour frustration on the flight attendant? She has no control over what is going on.

Use your time to study, get to know the other passenger. Why get stressed out? It will just make things worse.

Now you know the 90-10 principle. Apply it and you will be amazed at the results. You will lose nothing if you try it. The 90-10 principle is incredible. Very few know and apply this principle.

The result?

Millions of people are suffering from undeserved stress, trials, problems and heartache. We all must understand and apply the 90/10 principle.

It CAN change your life!!!


Our dream home...

We moved here 3 years ago. Remember the day when my hubby and I went to a neighbourhood police post to change our home address. They got our new address printed on a little strip of paper and stuck it over the former address on our ICs. The date of issue was 20.05.2005. We thought this date was great, 20052005, it's so easy to remember! We have filled various forms all these years, however, none of them ask for this date :<
Let me show you around ...

left: the gym
right: the main pool

left: the fun pool
right: jucuzzi

left: playground
right: bbq area

left: tennis courts
right: exercise area/foot reflexology path


The efforts of the Government and her people make life and environment better each day. Old developments, including my family’s “government houses” were removed to make room for better housings and shopping centres. Buildings are getting taller and taller and are equipped with better and advanced facilities.

Most of us live in public housings (HDB) or private developments (condominium, landed, etc). Many of the new HDB flats look so great that you may mistake them for private housings. Economy gets better and with high employment rate, most people can afford to spend more on personal life.

In Singapore, it’s quite common to see married couples or to-be-married couples move out to stay on their own. Reasons being setting up a new family, "2 persons world", privacy, etc… Of course, this happens only if the couples’ finances allow.

We also managed to save enough for a private apartment...

When I was little...

I consider myself very lucky to have tasted kampong life for at least 4 years. Not many Singaporean did. I couldn’t remember much as I was only 2 or 3 years old then. But I remember I didn't have to worry about anything... my main concerns were to eat, sleep and play... and followed my 2 elder brothers to catch spiders, fly kites, pluck fruits, splashed in the stream… sometime watched them fighting with other boys from another kampong. My duty at such time was to run back to get help from the other ‘kor kor’ (big brothers) in my kampong. Although, most of the time they won the fight but my brothers weren’t spared because those boys’ parents would come over and complain to my parents. As usual, my dad would spank my brothers, punished them with no dinner or if my dad wasn’t too furious (only happened if he just won the card game with the neighbours), they would just need to write 500 times of “I will not fight in future”. But if this happened, my brothers would begged to be spanked instead. It took me a few years to understand why.

Soon the kampongs had to go, to make room for future developments. We were then relocated to flats, my dad called them “government house” (zeng hu chu). It contained 2 small bedrooms, a small living area and a small kitchen. Everything seemed so small to us. It took us a while to adapt to this new living, especially the feel of “loneliness”. My dad’s “card kaki” were gone, my mum had to throw most of her huge utensils because she couldn’t use them in that small kitchen and there wasn’t much room for us to run about like before, no free roam to next kampong... And then,
I was put into a kindergarten called PAP where I started my study life...

What is Neighbourliness?

According to a paper by UK think-tank Smith Institute, it not ‘heroic forms of help and support’ but ‘small and unremarkable actions and behaviour that give people a sense that they are secure and at home in their own places’.

Neighbours do not need to be best friends. Keeping an eye on each other’s property, exchanging greetings and not make too much noise late at night are small things we can do for each other.

Perhaps neighbourliness has receded because we are no longer so reliant on one another. My mother has to ask the family next door to keep watchful on me and my siblings when she went to work because we could not afford a nanny.

These days, with many more resources, there is much less need to go next door for help.

But as the population ages, that proximity will become important. More than anyone else, elderly people who live alone and are no longer as mobile as before, need their neighbours.

Neighbourliness is a balance of reciprocity and altruism. People look out for each other not only because they expect the same in return but also because they gain satisfaction from knowing they can help. Old people do not want to be dependent on others, but interdependent.

How can we promote neighbourliness? One correlation is age and length of residence. Older neighbourhoods tend to have stronger bonds, so perhaps we should work on long terms ties. In the end, though, a good neighbour is something we choose to be.

Neighbourliness can also be a background of routine convivial exchanges such as greetings or brief chats over the garden fence or in the street.