The longest February

It is amazing how many things have happened within a short month of February (and it isn’t even a leap year).

As if a long holiday over Chinese New Year wasn’t enough, I feel like I need a break. Already.

I’m writing this on the last day of February and I’m thinking, yes, let’s move on to March. February has been a roller coaster on many fronts. Yes, there were triumphs and there were ruts. Closing a series of deals towards the last week of February and making leeway in partnerships were the key highlights.

There are many things which needs to be done. First things first, is to get myself out of a rut and some solitude. Getting away for a while sounds like a perfect idea at the moment. If it wasn’t for work, I would book myself on a flight right at this moment (I do have Google opened right now on a search for cheap flights from Singapore to Chiangmai or even Medan.)

Would I press a reset button if there was one in life? Or would it be too much of a hassle to go back and start all over again.There are many choices we have made in this life. How many changes is enough?



Singapore’s own multicultural street festival: Chingay

When I was a kid and first heard about ‘Chingay’, I thought it was a festival for the Chinese Gays. The festival was actually celebrated as an elaborate parade of costumes on floats. This probably began from the ‘wayangs’ which also has vibrant stages and costumes. I had one thing correct. It was initially a festival by the Chinese community in Singapore, usually during Chinese New Year, celebrating the zodiac year.

According to Chingay’s official blog, the word ‘Chingay’ is translated from the Mandarin zhuang yi (妆艺), ‘which means “the art of costume and masquerade” in the Hokkien dialect’.

Chingay became an official street parade after 1973 and it turned muticultural in 1976. Since 1987, Chingay is a festival with international tropes and artistes.

I began thinking about this again recently as Chingay is now moving into the heartlands from the city. This will get more people interested and aware of the festival if one hasn’t seen it. I haven’t. The thought of going to the city with limited driving routes due to road closure, crowds, crowds on public transport, are enough to put me off. If the festival is extended to heartlands with floats and parades moving down some streets, I think that will increase the popularity of Chingay beyond just a Chinese New Year tradition, to a global level of ‘mardi gras’. It is different across countries but the festival is ‘franchised’ to various countries. Typically a festival in the Anglican and Catholic countries, this is now a street parade and celebration of national and global proportions.

The Mardi Gras Carnival is the most popular Brazilian holiday and that is also the peak of its tourism when she attracts about 70% of its tourists during this time.

So, I feel the Chingay in Singapore, originally celebrated by the Chinese pugilistic communities has potential in developing this festival into a major street festival in Singapore to even a global proportion as this is one of the uniquely Singapore festivals on the first weekend of Chinese New Year.

We could have some roads closed and turned into walking streets (yay to having less vehicles), it could also increase creativity across ages and communities, a tourist festival (more tools for STB), might move into a gazetted holiday on Monday following the weekend. Big smiles to that.

I’m looking forward to Chingay 2015 this weekend when we celebrate the Special SG50 edition. Tickets are available at SISTIC. However, I’m also looking out for the Heartland edition which starts in March. Or 14 March for Marine Parade. The parade in the heartlands is in its infancy and probably has room to improve. It has to move away from its strong political/government association for one.

If you are in Singapore and have gone for Chingay previously, let me know what you think and your opinion of it.

Cheers to a Ramtastic start to the Lunar New Year!





Online shopping with ZALORA: Instant gratification at value

When online shopping first became popular in Singapore, I was probably in my early twenties. Blog shops were popular back then when almost every entrepreneurial teen or young adult sold apparel online. Blog shops back then and probably now as well, do not provide a varied range between shops. You’ll find similar items in another shop.

Today, they are a dime a dozen and some even transitioning into a hybrid physical store + online. While one may wish for the surprise and adventure of shopping online, bad surprises are of course one of the cons which an online shopper would have to deal with.

However, just a couple of years back, I’ve discovered ZALORA. It is a haven for online shoppers who wish to have a reliable and almost instant service. What I like about them is the almost instant delivery and ‘low floor’ rate for free delivery. Ie. S$40.

ZALORA has recently launched their pop-up store at ION Orchard and I believe that was a test for a hybrid store. Although it does have its perks having a physical presence, its online store proposition is strong with same-day (almost) delivery. You’ll get your product(s) within 1-3 working days within Singapore. I thought that was as ‘instant’ one could get for normal delivery service. Shopping on ZALORA can be addictive with the multitude of brands and products available at affordable prices. It’s user platform is easy to navigate.

There are a few house brands and interesting brands which I’ve found on ZALORA such as Koumi Koumi shoes, Velvet shoes and bags, dresses by Inner Circle and others. You’ll find good buys for shoes on ZALORA and apparel at good value. They’ve an increasing range of brands under them and also includes MARKETPLACE, which is a platform for consolidated boutiques in Singapore which are looking to include an additional sales channel for their brand.

While I’m raving about ZALORA, you may try it yourself and use my code, ZBAP00Q, for a 15% discount at checkout for your purchase.

This was a top I’ve just purchased from ZALORA. Black, sheer panel by Something Borrowed at a discounted price.

Something Borrowed black panel sheer top

#Necklace not included. Necklace is from Tiffany & Co. 

Do note that the top in the photo is rather sheer and you’ll have to wear an inner shirt for work.

Teaching an old dog new tricks

So I’ve not touched a tennis racquet in more than 15 years and decided to take it up again recently towards the end of last year. The decision to start playing tennis again was a conscious effort to learn a new skill or sport which helps me meet more people and also perhaps a game of casual tennis with my partner and his family. Besides keeping fit, the game helps with hand and eye coordination which I can be really bad at.

Learning to play tennis again or picking up something new can be daunting. However, learning to get past failures of learning can help make it fun and quickens the process. I was disheartened at first when I realised how rusty I was at the game. The tennis coach is strict but helps us pick up proper techniques in tennis. Some coaches do not go through that level of detail and corrective lessons. It is nevertheless more tedious to relearn proper techniques and kick bad habits.

It gets more fun as one progresses but still challenging with the footwork and the multitude of instructions the coach hollers while you’re in action. I feel that I’m trying to remember too many things while simply catching the ball on the racquet – the swing, the arms, footwork, power.