That ‘Littering Incident’ On The Bus. SBS Transit’s Reply to Me…

Sweet Wrapper Incident

Late last month, I was on the way to the airport when I noticed an ‘uncle’ littering on the bus. He was seated just across the aisle from me, and I was sitting right behind the bus driver.

The gist of it: I requested that he pick up the sweet wrapper he had thrown to the ground but he refused. He even had the cheek to call me “kaypoh” before he exited the bus. The bus driver was of no help at all when I told him about the litterbug; he just nonchalantly drove on.

SBS Transit’s reply:

SBS Transit's reply

I sure hope the company gets the message to the Bus Captain. I was *NOT* being ‘kaypoh’. I was ensuring the cleanliness of our environment. The sweet wrapper, due to its previous contents, would likely attract pests, and bus 34 serves passengers heading to and from the airport!

Despite what you may think, Singapore is NOT a clean city. It is a cleaned city. It is cleaned by an army of cleaners and civic-minded folks who pick up the trash that other people leave behind.

Let us all do our part. If you see someone littering, or worse still, defecating in a public place, STOP the person and notify the authorities. Sending pictures to STOMP or any other website does nothing to protect the environment. And last I heard, you won’t even get $50 from STOMP. So take more constructive action! ;)

Nestlé Fitnesse Chocolate Cereal

Nestlé Fitnesse has a new chocolate cereal with wholegrain and chocolate-covered flakes. I enjoy them as a ‘light’ breakfast together with some of my favorite fruits. The cereal alone has about 110 calories per 30g serving, and the number goes up, of course, with the addition of fruits.

It also has 8 vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron and Vitamin E.

*buried under fruit*

Nestle Fitnesse cornflakes for breakfast

Nestle Fitnesse Chocolate

Retail price: S$6.70 per pack.

If breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day, what are you putting into your body as fuel for your day? ;)

National Day Rally 2014 – I Watched It on YouTube. You?

National Day Rally 2014

I tuned in to PM Lee’s speech around the time he was sharing about the #fishballstick incident and I found that case study pretty amusing. I thought he must really be rocking the speech if it’s so engaging and funny. So I scrolled all the way to the start of the speech…

And learnt about the CPF. Unlike the rest of the people (hurhur) at the ITECC venue, I truly did not know this much about the CPF before I heard the PM speak.

The gist of it: The Minimum Sum (MS) is going up to $161,000 next year. But the property you own can (still) go towards making up half of the MS, or $80,500.

Assuming the CPF payouts are insufficient for your retirement needs, you can continue working, your children might support you, you could draw on personal savings, or get some money out of your house.

For the last option, you can get money out of your house by renting out 1 room, moving in with your children and renting out your whole flat, selling your flat and buying a studio apartment with the Silver Housing Bonus (PM calls this Right Sizing instead of downsizing which is probably not very PC).

*Significant changes: The Lease Buyback Scheme will also be made available to owners of 4-room flats! :) The CPF will be made more flexible with the possibility of a controlled lump-sum withdrawal in one’s retirement years – 65 and beyond – with members taking out a maximum of 20% lump-sum.

To conclude, I think it was an interesting speech. Our PM did try his best to be engaging. And I guess #fishballstick will be trending for a bit. ;)

Lady First SG Episode 11: Bags Attack

This episode will likely rank as one of my top favs in the whole two seasons of Lady First Singapore! :D It’s all about bags! I can’t believe the team was so awesome as to put together an ENTIRE episode about bags! My goodness! They really know what women want! :D

A long time ago, I started an online blogshop selling bags (and the store’s called ‘Bagging Rights’) because I thought it made more sense than selling shoes or clothes because the latter come in many sizes and you’d have to keep so much stock! But with bags, it’s one size fits all, no?

Still, there’s so much to note with regard to having the bag match your body shape (e.g. don’t carry an over-sized bag if you’re petite) or personality, and how to care for your branded bags!

lady first singapore

In this episode, the gurus Keith and Kevin introduce bags from Saint Laurent, Longchamp, Fendi, Loewe, Ferragamo, and more. Check out the list here.

I have realized that when I carry bigger bags, I tend to put more things into the bag, and it really weighs down on my shoulder and causes aches and pains! So I now try to carry backpacks for a more even weight distribution, or carry smaller bags.

lady first singapore

Saint Laurent Sac de Jour Bag

I LOVE the Saint Laurent Sac de Jour Bag in baby pink. It’s just so pretty! Here I am with the same bag in red…

Saint Laurent Classic Sac De Jour

Saint Laurent Classic Sac De Jour

Pretty eh? :D

~

Here are some tips from the show regarding accessorizing with bags, and for bag care:

1) Cleaning your branded bags: use lens cleaning cloths without fibres as fibres might stick to the bag’s surface. Do not use newspapers to clean your bags as the ink might get transferred onto your branded bag! Always pat dry instead of rubbing off any residual moisture.

2) Crossbody bags are ‘hot’ right now, and bags in a blue-green shade are trending!

3) If your bag has a chain, clean it with a lens cleaning cloth when you are home so as to prevent bacterial growth on the chain which has come into contact with sebum from your skin. Also, do not store your bags immediately in a cabinet. Let it ‘air’ for a bit after you get home.

4) Adjust the length of the straps to suit your height:

Lady First Singapore

5) Use tassels and bag charms to jazz up plain-looking bags:

bag charm

bag charm

bag charm

bag charm

6) You can even transform your bags using necklaces and earrings! Talk about recycling! :)

bag charm

7) Interesting designs – let your choice of bag reflect your personality:

Lady First Singapore

~

The famous Karl Lagerfeld bag charms made from mink, fox and goat furs:

Karl Lagerfeld bag charms

Karl Lagerfeld bag charms

The amount you’ll spend on one of these is enough to buy you a branded bag. ;)

~

All I want now is an episode on shoes or watches. :D Hehe!

Samsung K

Remember to leave me a comment on my Lady First Blogpost on StarHub Community (Click HERE) if you want to win a Samsung K! :D StarHub is also giving away $50 in shopping vouchers weekly! Just tag me in your comments! :)

Swenson’s Ice Cream Mooncakes: Early Bird Special of 15% – 20% Off!

Swensons Ice Cream Mooncakes

Every year, without fail, I get my mooncake fix at Swenson’s because I simply love their Sticky Chewy Chocolate ice cream. :D

I’ve already *ahem* eaten two of the SCC ice cream mooncakes this week. OOPS!

Swenson's Ice Cream Mooncakes

A set of 4 mooncakes comes with a gift box and a cooler bag, with dry ice. Take the mooncakes out of the freezer and let them thaw for a bit before sinking your teeth into the icy cold treat. :)

I paid a total of S$27.89 for 4 mooncakes – sticky chewy chocolate for me and durian royale (made with D24 durians) for the people at home. Best to get yours before 29th August so you can enjoy the 15% early bird discount! Swenson’s Cool Rewards & Kids’ Club members get a cool 20% off!~

Singapore Blog Awards 2014: WINNERS!

Singapore Blog Awards 2014 Winners[Minister of State, Ms Sim Ann, taking a group 'wefie' with all the winners]

It was new faces galore at this year’s Singapore Blog Awards. Only one winner from last year’s Blog Awards won again this year. The rest of the winners in the 9 main categories seemed to be newbies or experienced bloggers who have not won previously.

And here are the 9 winners…

Judges’ Choice categories:

Best Family Blog: Mum in the Making

Best Fashion Blog: Shopping Queen’s Haven

Best Food Blog: Johor Kaki

Best Individual Blog: 女飞侠 (sent representative)

Best Lifestyle Blog: Smith’s Blog

Best New Blog: Travelled Paths

Best Photography Blog: 龟头部落 (sent representative)

Best Topical Blog: Seriously Man

Best Travel Blog: Allyoffduty

Singapore Blog Awards 2014 Winners

They will each receive a trophy, 5D4N trip to the Philippines, a pair of tickets to Alive Museum Singapore and hair care products.

My blogging mentee, Simon, won the Best New Blog award! :) Singapore Blog Awards 2014 Winners Singapore Blog Awards 2014 Winners

{ Check out his blog at www.travelledpaths.com }

Another student of mine, Steven, who blogs at retiredowhat.com, is a finalist in the Best Individual Blog category.

I’m so proud of their achievements! Can’t wait to see them scale greater heights!

I’m looking forward to mentoring even more bloggers. It’s ‘achievement’ on yet another level for me. :)

Book Review: ‘Break the ceiling, touch the sky’ by Anthony A. Rose

Break the ceiling, touch the sky

I took really long to complete reading this hefty tome – all 343 pages of it – because I didn’t bring it out with me as often as I’d like to due to its weight. [I do most of my reading when I'm commuting via train] A paperback version would have been completed faster. :D

But this is one amazing book. It claims to contain “Success secrets of the world’s most inspirational women”, and that is no false claim. This is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year!

In it are interviews with 43 of the most inspiring women you’ll find, from companies like Coca-Cola, CNBC, Kellogg, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Saatchi & Saatchi X, Unilever, Walmart, etc.

I thought ‘Lean In’ by Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) was good. This book is even better because of the collective wisdom of the 43 women, all leaders in their own right.

~

And here are some of my key takeaways from each of the 14 chapters (highlighted). I have found that it’s all great advice even for the men! :D

1) Aim to make a difference

- Dare to be authentic and different

- Do what makes you happy and fulfilled

A quote from Harvey MacKay:

life is too short

- Know your area of expertise better than everyone else

- Never accept no for an answer

- Learn from your failure

- Think about what you can do for others instead of what’s in it for you

2) Have a clear goal & Plan for success

- Have a plan that is flexible, and learn from your mistakes, and make tweaks along the way

- Avoid burnout by setting milestones and rewarding yourself with each achievement

- Be relentlessly focused, open, flexible and have fun while doing it all

- Learn from anyone and everyone

- Commit and put in the hard work

3) Define your leadership compass & Values

- Be consistent and confident

- “Every individual, no matter what walk of life or background deserves the utmost respect – with no judgment. None of us have walked a day in their shoes so we cannot judge”

- Never say ‘can’t’, which means you have quit. Instead say “I’m having trouble”, which means there is a solution, and ask for help, and keep trying

4) Master the art of balance

- Set aside a few minutes everyday to pursue a hobby

- Acknowledge that you can’t be all things to all people, at all times

- You can’t always have everything perfect at the same time, but you can still have a lot

- The psychological conflicts that come from thinking about work when at home and thinking about home when at work are more of an issue than time

- Organize around the top priorities and work smarter

5) Think big

- Keep evolving, keep challenging the status quo, reinventing yourself and your business if you want to stay ahead

- Failure is temporary but giving up is final

- Believe that you are the CEO of your own life. If you want to succeed big, you have to create your own opportunities, you have to do big

- Focus relentlessly on delivering a great product or a great service. Money should be the outcome of your great work and not the cause

6) Take responsibility for your own success & Speak Up

- People are who they are because of who they choose to be

- Visualize the best-case scenario and keep that picture in front of yourself constantly

7) Find and leverage great mentors

- “You might want to fix everything at once, but you need to relax and only personally catch the balls that are critical to resolve this situation. You need to allow the rest of the balls to pass you and allow others to catch them”

- If you want a mentor and can’t get one, go buy their books

- True success is not measured by how well you do in one instance but how long you can consistently do well

- Be meticulous about arranging your schedules. Follow the schedule religiously. Always be on time

- As a mentee, respect your mentor’s time. Come to your sessions with clear challenges and questions to discuss. Take action on what you’ve agreed to and report back on how it worked. Also, look out for ways to help your mentor and give back

8) Focus on the positive & never give up

- If you try hard enough, nothing is impossible

- Know how to listen to good advice

- Make resilience a habit. Fight laziness

9) Deliver results

- Invest in a good wardrobe

- Prioritize minute by minute

- Stay in touch with trends that affect your business

 – Trust your gut

 – Become an EXPERT on your subject

- Don’t brag but spend time advocating and getting others to advocate your results

- Remember the people who helped you to get where you are

10) Give and take support

- Have the audacity to aspire higher

A quote from Madeleine Albright:

special place in hell

- When something bad happens, don’t worry, something good will happen. And vice versa

- Do what you can to help others achieve their goals

11) Believe in yourself

- Believe in self and abhor self-doubt

- Demonstrate passion and energy for what you do

- Persevere. Success is often just around the corner. Believe that how you respond to failure will define your next success

- “I stay focused on my goals. If one phone call doesn’t make it happen, 66 calls will make it happen”

12) Network

- Be quick to contribute. Be a solution to another’s problem

13) Learn how to influence

- Focus on the relationships and building trust with the person

- The influencer doesn’t necessarily need to be the messenger

14) Take a risk & Follow your dream

- Learn from failures – yours and others’

- Don’t let your frustration or negative emotions cloud your reasoning

- Be relentlessly focused on winning

~

What can I say? You just HAVE TO buy this book and read the individual stories of the 43 female leaders for yourself! It must not have been an easy task to get interviews with these ‘relentlessly focused’ ladies and have them share their secrets to success, so I am in awe of Anthony’s perseverance and most importantly, the outcome and the intention behind it.

*All author royalties from the sale of this book go to Save the Children, a not-for-profit that helps economically challenged women and prevent maternal anemia in the Bihar and Jharkhand states in India.

Lady First SG Episode 10: Cover Up!

[For a list of all the products featured in this episode, click here]

In this episode, it was quite obvious that the producers saved the best for last. I was totally blown away by how severe acne scars could be covered up to resemble flawless skin! :D If you missed the episode but are reading this now, lucky you!

Dexter and Xiao Kai help the 5 ladies with their woes: wrinkles and yellowish skin tone, too-high foreheads, dark eye circles, square-shaped face and harsh jawline and finally, bad acne scars.

Xiao Kai made an interesting statement – that women with oilier skin tend to develop fewer wrinkles! People with dry skin get more fine lines and wrinkles than those with oily skin! (Also, Xiao Kai had a sideburn transplant *gasp*)

Wrinkles and Yellowish Skin

Tip #1: Add color correcting cream to your makeup products

Lady First SG

Tip #2: Use a moisture-rich foundation

Tip #3: The less makeup you use, the better. Too much foundation will make you look old

Tip #4: No concealer is needed. Just ensure you use the right shade of CC cream and foundation

Tip #5: Use an orange-colored blush for a healthy glow

Tip #6: Skip the loose powder as your skin is already too dry especially around the eyes

Too-High Forehead

Lady First SG

Tip #1: If you have bangs, and oily hair, bring powder with u. Using a tissue, pat some powder onto your bangs so it’ll absorb the oil

Tip #2: Avoid buying hair pieces which are too shiny – they look fake

Tip #3: Use hairspray to ‘harden’ the roots of your hair then use a hairdryer set to cold air or medium heat for a quick blowdry, then attach the hair piece

Dark Eye Circles

Lady First SG

Tip #1: Use concealer in a color close to your skin tone and start at the tear trough area (pictured above)

Tip #2: Use only a tiny bit of concealer towards the end of your eye, so it doesn’t appear unusually white. Spread it out and blend with your foundation

Tip #3: Gently tap on the loose powder so you don’t rub the concealer off

Tip #4: Add (mousse) blush as a distraction from your dark eye circles

Lady First SG

Square Face, Strong Jawline and Protruding Ears

Lady First SG
Tip #1: Use the L’Oreal Professional Steampod to straighten and moisturize your hair

Severe Acne Scars

Lady First SG

Tip #1: Use a pore minimizing primer (gel) and mix it with foundation or concealer. Gently pat it on

Tip #2: Use a concealer brush when applying concealer over the pimple

Tip #3: Pat gently to fill your pores with powder, especially if you have ‘potholed’ skin like Constance’s

Giveaway

Leave a comment about your skin or hair woe and win an autographed DVD set from Pauline Lan AND a mystery product featured on Lady First SG! :D

Pauline Lan DVD

Comment HERE.

SHILLS Mandelic Acid Skin Renew Essence

SHILLS Mandelic Acid Skin Renew Essence

I came to know about the SHILLS Mandelic Acid range at a beauty workshop / launch event featuring Xiao Kai Lao Shi (of Lady First fame) and got my hands on the Skin Renew Essence (pictured above). *Note: his was a guest appearance at the launch, and he is not an ambassador for SHILLS.

Beauty Guru Xiao Kai introduced the essence as a must-try product as it can help get rid of whiteheads and blackheads, among its other benefits. He pointed out that people tend to get whiteheads at the (chin) area below the lower lip, and that’s the exact trouble zone for me too!

I’ve used the essence for over a week now and I am convinced that it deserves a permanent spot in my beauty regimen. After just one application (left overnight), my whiteheads in the trouble zone became softer and some could even be washed off.

There is no need for that painful extraction process in facials anymore! Woohoo! I’ll just apply the essence and leave it on overnight before any facial treatment.

The product is, however, very potent and hence, you must use a moisturizer after applying the essence!

The only drawback, for me, is that if I try to use the essence daily, I risk getting breakouts. I don’t usually get pimples so I’m not sure why using this product on consecutive days/nights causes those pimples to appear. :(

I guess you’ll have to test it out yourself to see if it works for you.

~

What is Mandelic Acid?

Mandelic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) extracted from bitter almonds. Mandelic acid exfoliates and is anti-bacterial, helps purge the skin of dead skin cells, diminishes the appearance of fine lines, and stimulates the skin desquamation process for smoother and brighter skin.

Mandelic acid has been clinically proven to help eliminate hyper-pigmentation as well as acne and oily skin. It has also been shown to eliminate fine lines and wrinkles and is suitable for all skin types.

 ~

SHILLS Mandelic Acid 20% Skin Renew Essence

Price: $49.90 (30ml)

The SHILLS Mandelic Acid range is available at John Little stores in Singapore.

Ngee Ann Poly Mass Comms / School of Film & Media Studies: Student – Blogger “Radio Interview”

Yesterday, I made my way to Ngee Ann Poly’s school of film & media studies to “help” a 2nd year Mass Comms student. I usually say no to student interviews because (1) the interview requests are less-than-polite, (2) my home is just really far from all campuses and (3) there is absolutely no benefit to me to do these interviews. #AtLeastIAmHonest

ngee ann poly school of film and media studies

With regard to the first point, I think people who have not worked for a couple of years tend not to be able to relate well to people. This student actually sent me a Whatsapp message past 10pm (while I was on holiday) because I was late (for a day or two) in replying to her email. I had responded favorably to her initial email because she is a former student of a good friend of mine. That was the only reason I agreed to help her out with her schoolwork.

And yes, NP is really far from my home. Besides the total of about 2 hours spent on commuting and on the actual interview, I spent S$40 on taxifare to and fro (during off-peak hours). *I value my time more than money, so any reimbursement would also make no sense! And there was none, just to be clear on this point.

At the end of the interview, I could safely say there was no benefit to me at all. Her teacher basically sat in during the session while we pretended we were “on air”. And there was even another student arranged to do a fake “call in” segment.

ngee ann poly mass comms [From left: Pet Food Distributor, another student interviewer, and the teacher]

Having been featured on actual radio at least three times, I could tell my student interviewer was nervous. Before we entered the room, I asked her to rate her nervousness on a scale of 1 to 10, and she said she’s a ‘7’. I then told her to “take deep breaths” and tried to make her laugh. I told her to imagine me as our mutual friend, which made her chuckle. And then I said I have to grow that beard too, to look like him, and she really laughed out loud.

I also made sure I asked her some important questions, including what the teacher was grading her on. [She actually didn't even tell me without my prompting!] Apparently, she would be graded on how well she interacted with the guest (and didn’t look at her notes, etc) AND whether she could get her guest to share something more personal. I couldn’t help her with the first part, so I did my best with the second. Her teacher eventually told me I was an “awesome” (in her own words) interviewee.

You might think I’m stupid to go all the way to NP for this fake radio interview, to help someone I don’t know, and pay a ridiculous amount in taxifare just for a mock 15-minutes interview. Yes, I actually do think it is silly. But when a friend asks me for help (the first time), I usually say yes. ;)

But no more student interviews for the rest of this year, please! I don’t have that much youth to waste anymore! :D Anyhow, here are some tips for future Mass Comm poly students who find that they need to interview people for their school assignments:

Tips on handling ‘radio interviews':

1) Always let your guest know what is the grading criteria. If you don’t tell your guest how to help you, how will the person know?

2) Definitely let your guest have a look at the list of questions first. My student interviewee felt I should not see the questions beforehand so that I’ll appear “natural” during the interview. I told her that’s a mistake because (1) I’ve been on multiple interviews. I can fake sounding natural. Thank you. (2) Your interview is a very short 15 minutes. If I spend time hemming and hawing, and thinking of the right words to use, you are going to fail the module!

3) Never let your guest wait. I was there ahead of the appointed time by over half an hour. She arrived at approximately 7 minutes before our agreed-upon 2pm. And then said we had to rush and get into the studio by 2pm, though she had told me the interview starts at 2.30pm. Thankfully, I’m not so old that I couldn’t catch up as she sped off towards the studio. #firstimpressionscount

4) Stay calm and collected. If you are nervous, you transfer that nervous energy to your guest. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. If you need your guest to come by early for a rehearsal, ASK. Don’t just ask the person whether he/she will be there early. The person’s natural response will be “Early for what? I’ll just be on time”

5) Avoid the use of pause fillers like “Um ok… so…”. The student who conducted the interview right before ours must have set a record for the most number of “okays” used in a fake radio interview.

Tips on handling bloggers you want to interview:

1) Get a recommendation. That’s what my student interviewee did right. If she had sent me a request, without any mention of our mutual friend, my answer would have been “sorry, I’m not free then”.

2) Tell them what’s in it for them. Bloggers are nice people, but they are not your parents. You can phone your mother and say “Mom, school’s over! Come and pick me up in 5 minutes ah!” but you cannot say to a blogger “I need you to come by my school on (insert date) at (insert time) to help me with a school assignment”. The world owes you nothing. And neither do your parents, by the way. If you’d be able to show the blogger around your school, or introduce the blogger to lecturers who might be keen on finding out more about blogging, or see how you can help promote the blogger’s book to your friends, then yes, TELL the blogger what you’ll do.

3) Don’t piss the person off by repeated contact when the guest has already agreed to turn up on appointed date and time. A gentle reminder email is good enough. No smses past office hours PLEASE. You are not a friend!

4) Give the person a handwritten note as thanks. I received some chocolate (and quite promptly gave it away as I’m on a diet) but I would definitely have appreciated and kept a handwritten note of thanks.

~

I have only 24 hours in a day. I usually have a huge backlog of blogposts to do, advertorials to craft and things to do, such as running errands. Hence, my time is very precious to me. This is why I often say ‘no’ to interview requests from students, most of whom don’t even ‘like’ my facebook page or read a page from my book.

If I’m retired, then yes, you can certainly have me for your interviews up to 12 hours a day. No problemo. Otherwise, you can go interview some other blogger. :)

~

**Just to be clear. I think my student interviewer did ok, except for that late night Whatsapp message while I was on holiday. She seemed sincere and was polite.