Hard Knock Life

A surveyor comes around to our unit on Sunday and looks for a working adult in the residence.

Surveyor: Are there any working adults in the house?

Me: Technically, no. We have a retiree and two students on scholarship stipends.

Surveyor: How do you survive?

I’m not sure myself.

Buying Organic Produce in Singapore

I’m trying to eat more organic, and source local produce as much as possible. Cost, next to availability and convenience, is probably the most prohibitive factor that keeps people from choosing to buy organic, and is the reason I haven’t been. After hours of furious Googling, it became clear the most efficient way to obtain organic produce in Singapore is via online ordering and delivery. Fortunately, there were a few places that specialize in organic produce, including local farms (reducing distance bonus!). I like to think I’ll eventually try all of them and see which I like best. In the mean time, I’ll share my experiences here.

Buying locally will mean reducing the food miles travelled, and therefore carbon footprint, before reaching my plate. Cities are big on consumption (and waste), and even moreso in a resource-limited place like Singapore. Imported goods are inevitable to feed the growing population (that is being encouraged to propagate the species and up population numbers). This posed a greater dilemma than I expected in how to proceed. So for now, the less food miles, the better, which means eating more seasonally. Pai tsai, cai xin, wild bayam and sweet potatoes are not part of my regular grocery list and encouraged me to be more creative in preparing meals.

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The other day I volunteered at Comcrop, Singapore’s first sustainable rooftop farm. They use aquaponics and grow organically. Well, the thing about not using pesticides is someone’s got to remove the bugs off the leaves, and this is painstaking work! No wonder organic is always more expensive. There’s an organic food store here that charges exorbitantly high prices on their produce that it’s not even funny. It’s ridiculous that the evolution of the food industry has led to high costs associated with eating healthy. It’s no wonder that diet-related health problems are a growing problem, and will continue to do so unless we do something about it.

But fortunately eating well doesn’t have to break the bank too much. I found some farms that charges reasonable rates and I only paid slightly more than usual for produce. It’s also nice to know my hard-earned dollars will be supporting someone, versus a faceless multinational corporation. I’m voting with my dollars, and you should consider it too! On that note, the Environmental Working Group‘s guide to organic will help you prioritize which food items to buy organic.

Have you purchased organic products online? What are your thoughts?

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Hello Goodbye!

So, I cut my hair the other day. The last time I had hair above my shoulders was maybe more than 7 years ago. Haircuts in my adult life have been few. The reason probably (I’m no psychologist) had something to do with haircuts being filled with tears and “traumatic” memories. Post-adult haircut thoughts? Long overdue and LIBERATING! No more spending hours talking to my hairdryer.

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Haircut. At first I was like: are you fo’ real do you realize you’re going to expose yo’ ugly self to the world?

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Long hair is beautiful. And painfully high maintenance for someone with thick, wavy and unruly tresses. I kept it up for years, never realizing I had placed upon myself some unrealistic expectation to be some feminine, pretty, <insert other ladylike adjective here> and Photoshop perfect version of myself as a public service to not scare the shit out of people. Of course, Photoshop perfection never happens because life’s a bitch and humidity is your hair and make-up’s worst enemy. So while secretly hoping to channel ethereal Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund in Casablanca, the final result is always more like Krusty the Clown. The long hair was a fantastic way to hide from my own self-loathing and perceived shortcomings. I associated short hair with exposing my ugliness, and so shied away from haircuts.

Anyway, after a lot of convincing, I walked in to the salon and said, CUT IT ALL CUT IT ALL. The hairdresser (bless you Gordon) reluctantly did so and I came out with a new ‘do. What I never expected was the self-acceptance that came along with it: I looked in the mirror and didn’t hate what I saw. In fact, I thought it was pretty friggin’ awesome. What? I’m not ugly? But it doesn’t even matter. I felt like a million dollars and ready to take over the world because I was so darn happy. Not because I thought I looked great, but because it was so freeing to no longer hide and not live by the chains of some unattainable standards of beauty (because, let’s see, um that thing called genetics) that I was constantly trying to go along with for so long (My nose isn’t a lovely sculpted thin nose? No amount of airbrushing will perfect my face ARRR, etc. etc.). This realization was truly empowering. Sure, it took a couple of years, but better late than never right?

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I was so happy that day, and something that rarely happens here happened: I talked to a couple of strangers on my bus rides! If you know me, I particularly enjoy chatting up strangers, it helps to make the world a smaller place. But this isn’t as commonplace since people are generally more shy around here.

It’s hard not to be concerned about looks. I mean, seriously, good looking people get paid more. I don’t think there’s anything inherently bad about wanting to look good, it’s just human nature. But looking good isn’t everything, and the good people that love you will take you even on seemingly bad daysA few things Caroline Heldman had to say really resonated with me and how I felt about this self-imposed need to look good (or, try to anyway). More importantly, if we are consumed with this search for fulfillment through looks, it just becomes a hindrance for us to accomplish other things. Dressing up’s a-okay, but it’s all about loving who you are and what you’ve got! In any case, happiness projects outward; that’s more than any Photoshop effect can do.

Change isn’t always a bad thing. Watch out, world!

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Feel like something new? My cut was an asymmetrical bob by stylist Gordon at Shunji Matsuo at Jurong East Mall (Jem) for S$39. They have some great packages which may include cut, colour and treatment so make sure you ask!

Happy Trails with Mimi

Mimi is in town briefly, so we did what we always do: take photos and paint the town red. I’ve known Mimi since the eighth grade, and while we may not see each other for extended periods of time (~4 years), it feels as though a day hasn’t even passed (so cheesy, I know). Throughout the years I’ve subjected her to plenty of stupid poses in my wild photography experiments, which she always graciously agrees to do for some reason.

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We have a lot of fun together.

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