Reunion dinner potluck

Here’s a recipe I picked up in Italy, and decided to bring for the family reunion dinner two nights ago: Octopus simmered in olive oil with carrots and tomatoes, seasoned to taste with marjoram, parsley, salt and pepper.

The recipe I learnt in Italy used a big octopus that filled up the pot. This being Singapore, the only octopus available were frozen small ones, and I defrosted them in brine.


It was fairly well-received at the dinner table, and the left-overs (reunion dinner tradition – you must have so much food that it lasts into the new year) actually tasted even better the next day. I personally thought the taste of ‘western’ herbs made my dish quite incompatible with the rest of the Chinese dishes with its garlic, coriander and soya sauce seasoning etc. Some enjoyed the contrast, I guess.

I was really pleased when my cousin packed some home to serve over cooked pasta (now, why didn’t I think of that?). I didn’t eat much of my own dish though – it was so smelly and slimy and tentacley when I was dealing with the raw thing that it made my hair stand and lose my appetite. I’ll need to practice a simpler but better dish for next year!


Remember you are dust

Ash Wednesday this year coincides with the eve of the Chinese New Year, also meaning that the season of Lent starts with the fifteen days of the New Year. This is quite incongruous for the Chinese/Asian Christians and Catholics out there; those used to feasting during this time must now fast.

I guess people all around will look to make meaning out of this clash of perspective, culture and beliefs, and rightly so. What does it mean to begin a new year remembering that you are but dust, and to dust you shall return? To begin a new year knowing that you are utterly and completely in God’s hands, for good or ill on this earth, but always the best for your eternal soul?

Locking my Valentine

This is a sight commonly seen across famous bridges in Europe, mostly considered a nuisance, or even vandalism.


There are fewer locks here on the Ponte alle Grazie compared to the famous bridges, probably because most tourists use the Ponte Vecchio.

Being alone, I wondered what it’d be like to have a lover to be cheesily romantic with, locking our love up and throwing the key into the River Arno. Littering aside, I thought that sounded sweet, yet scary. If anything, the past year of heartbreak, where I expended most of my energy into resisting the urge to contact him, has taught me that love is not something to be locked up. That he loved me, but couldn’t love enough, and locking, restricting our (lack of) love would have been cruel to him, and eventually to me too.

Don’t I sound like a cliche? “If you love him, set him free” and all that. It’s not a point of view that people choose, it is something that you learn to accept. I’m still bitter, and spiteful, and angry. I still feel abandoned, lost, wild.

I never got to celebrate Valentine’s with him; our relationship was that short-lived. I don’t know how to continue because I’m too upset thinking about him. Hope you had an enjoyable Valentine’s, anyhow.

In a relationship with “uncle paul”

so my three year old niece, little darling egg, saw me carrying a bag of glass bottles.

“ah yi, what is that?” (‘ah yi’ – aunt in mandarin)
“this is alcohol.”
“uncle paul?”
“nono, alcohol.”
“ok. mummy, ah yi is carrying uncle paul!”

ah. that is just as well for I am indeed in a very serious long-term relationship with this “uncle paul”.

The Brothel of Avignon

Picasso’s love affair with women

Picasso’s Le brodel d’avignon

“…women are machines for suffering.”

“For me, there are only two kinds of women, goddesses and doormats.”

I feel like a doormat. My colleague (whom I’m beginning to look up to as a life coach) went, ‘Who is Picasso to you? Why do you set store by what he says?’ Perfectly logical questions for which I have no decent reply, particularly when I am not all that familiar with Picasso’s oeuvre.

Perhaps, perversely enough, I don’t mind being a doormat. I want to be a doormat. I loved him enough to make sacrifices, even forgoing my pride to, well, send him gifts for his birthday. Twice. Having to admit that brings an odd sensation to my tummy, which perhaps is what embarrassment feels like.

Nevertheless, the common assumption that people treasure what they worked hard for probably holds much truth, yet I threw myself at his feet like a loser, knowing full well I wasn’t much of a prize to begin with, what with being bipolar and all. I can’t channel my inner goddess, so I guess I’ll never be a goddess to him.

Working late

For two weeks now, I was the last to leave work on a Friday night, walking out past nine. It is not because I am a workaholic – far from it – but because there is no one waiting for me, and there is nothing to look forward to. I remember how, in 2013, I worked hard and was pretty efficient in my work, all because I wanted to spend quality time with the boy uninterrupted by having to mark scripts. Now, there’s nothing to look forward to, so I work slowly, and I work late, because the alternative is going home to stare at the ceiling, look at old photographs of us, and/or indulge in the mindless calories that is alcohol (I do have some decent cocktail/highball recipes now though).

What’s the point of striving for productivity and efficiency when I don’t know what to do with the time saved?

Dior and I

Some weeks back, a friend accidentally double-booked, and left another friend stranded with a spare movie ticket. That was just as well for me, because it made my weekend a lot more happening than slouching on the couch.

I wore a dress for this because, well, it is a movie about a fashion house after all…even if my fashion sense is not quite there.

Ain’t it pretty to chill out to such a lovely picture while well-dressed people file in?

I mixed a honey bourbon for the film, and we totally intended to drink up whenever the word ‘silhouette’ was said. Alas, it only came up once! Shoulda totally chosen, like, ‘Christian’, or ‘couture’, or something.
The film itself was a stunning behind-the-scenes, very human documentary tracking the transition under a new artistic director, Raf Simons, up till its highly successful fleur de beaute season premiere. Find out more here.
This was part of the 2015 Singapore Design Film Festival. #DFFSG2015