Life Edu Services

December 2017

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Two Saturdays ago, I was invited to a lunch appreciation event at Life Edu Services(LES) to understand more about what the center does for the community. To be honest, I have not been doing any active form of volunteering since my university days. Hence, I did not know what to expect with regards to this area. However, through my interaction with the volunteers and beneficiaries for the morning, I was overwhelmed and touched by the giving spirit that was alive and infectious.

LES is a registered voluntary welfare organisation was started in response to the needs of the disadvantaged and needy families in MacPherson Community. Uncle Richard, who manages the daily operations at the center shared on how the initial years have been difficult; the volunteers had distribute flyers from HDB block to block, informing them of the services available at LES. It is only at present, LES is a more visible and known among residents. Currently, LES serves more than 100 children, youths and elderly a year through their free educational programmes such as the weekly Math tuition, Kidz Life Club, holiday programmes and workshops for the elderly.

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Life Edu Services(LES) is situated in a HDB block in the MacPherson community. It conducts free weekly Math tuition programmes as well as the Kidz Life Club so to benefit children from low-income families. Attending tuition for academic subjects such as Math is almost a norm for many Singaporean students. Yet, this is not so for many students from disadvantaged backgrounds. In cases like that, LES is able to fill in the gap by providing free quality Math tuition to support these students. I have spoken to some of the beneficiaries over lunch and understand that over the years,they, along with their siblings have benefitted from the dedicated coaching and mentoring from the tutors from LES and have continued to do well in their studies.

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Sarah(not her real name) is a sprightly and bright Primary Six student whom I have spoken to during the event. She has been with Life Edu Services for 7 years. Her younger brother, aged seven will be also joining her at Life Edu Services in the following year. She shared with me on how she found the tuition and enrichment classes to be useful and fun. On her Math tuition lessons on Friday, she was able to get the needed help from the tutors and clarify any doubts about topics that she had. Through the consistent help that she received, she was able to improve her results from a C to a B+. During her holidays,she attended creative writing classes that was conducted by the volunteers and she found the time spent learning at the center to be meaningful.

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Miranda(not her real name) who is a Secondary One student has been getting tuition at Life Edu Services since 2013. She stumbled upon Life Edu Services one afternoon when she was cycling around the block of shops. Uncle Richard invited her and her siblings to attend the free classes provided at the center. Since then, she and her siblings has been going for regular tuition at the center. Her Math results has improved from a B to an A. From our conversation, I found her to be a sensible and diligent individual. Miranda shared on how she was rather introverted when she first joined the center. Over the years of learning and mentoring from the tutors at Life Edu Services, she became more outgoing and focused in her studies. Currently, Miranda is working towards her ambition to be a doctor and would want to volunteer in the center in the future so as to pay the kindness forward.

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In 2017, there are about 40 volunteers at LES working with the students and elderly. Just like the quote from Robert Heinlein,‘When one teaches, two learns’. This is an apt description of how the volunteers share their experience and sentiments about their time spent at LES.

Meng Long, an ACS(I) student is a volunteer at LES and has spent the whole year, dedicating his Friday nights to helping the Primary Six students in their Mathematics. While it started off as a short class project for him, he continued to volunteer his time for the entire year even though he has completed his project as it found the experience to be meaningful. He shared on how working with the students has made him learn more about himself and to be more aware of the need for empathy and patience. Even though he lives in the West Coast, his parents are encouraging of his volunteering efforts and take time to send him to the center on Fridays.

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There is also a group from Sociology students from National University of Singapore(NUS) who volunteered for a whole semester with the center, helping with the Math tuition as well as conducting a creative writing holiday programme for the Primary Six. They shared with me their sentiments of how organisations like LES are important as they make a significant positive impact in the community, especially when they are able to motivate and assist students from lower-income background to achieve more academically. From their observations, they feel that the services provided in LES helps to bridge the gaps in the communities.

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BOTS, otherwise known as Bio Medical Outreach to Society is a group of students from Temasek Polytechnic who have been spending their Saturday mornings reading to the pre-schoolers in MacPherson since 2014. The students shared on how they enjoyed spending their time with the little ones and seeing the smiles on their faces during the sessions. While the students share their knowledge, they also learn simple lessons from the young ones- to treasure the present and not over worry about the future. It is certainly heartening to know how members of the society want to help and better each other.

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The elderly tends to be a rather neglected group in the society and aging can be a lonely journey. LES aims to engage the older folks, befriend them as well as enrich their lives.
The good people at LES serves the elderly in MacPherson by getting them involved in weekly activities and educational workshops are being held on a quarterly basis. Activities such as karaoke, games and handicraft sessions are being held in the centre. On top of these, LES plans educational workshops that are meaningful to elderly such as will writing and LPA. When possible, LES would have outings for the older folks and these small events would bring much joy and cheer in their lives.

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To keep Life Edu Services going…

Life Edu Services(LES) is a charitable organisation that is solely dependent on donations and financial support from the public. In order to keep the center running efficiently, funds have to be raised to keep up with the operational costs and to provide more opportunities for LES to reach out to more people in the MacPherson communities effectively.

  • If you would like to know more about Life Edu Services and the various events held- please click on this Facebook link.
  • Also, if you would like to be part of the volunteering team, you can call 6844 6291 to enquire more.
  • As mentioned above, Life Edu Services is mainly running because of the generosity of donations from individuals and companies. In the spirit of Christmas, LES would like to appeal for you to donate to continue efforts in benefitting these groups in the MacPherson community. You can make a small contribution at https://www.giving.sg/web/life-edu-services-ltd

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October 2017

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’84 was the year that I was born and so that makes me 33 this year. When I was a young girl, I would have thought 33 was ancient. Now, I am 33. I wonder where had those years gone to.

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A few years back, I wrote a blog post called The Murtaugh List when I turned 29. It has only been 4 years. While most points hold true for me, I feel different about some of them. Likewise, I would still pop that occasional Panadol when a headache comes.  Metabolism is getting slower and hence, I am more selective of the food I eat. Just like before, I believe in ‘Now is always Better’. This mentality has been good in pushing me to look forward and reminisce less. But, today, for the sake of this blog post, I will be allowing myself some time to reflect, and look back.

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Not sure if it is just age or me, I find myself becoming more introverted. I would imagine some of my friends scoffing at the thought of me proclaiming myself as an introvert. These days, I do appreciate spending time all by myself. On most days, I am so overwhelmed by the little ones, I hardly can hear myself think. Quiet is some sort of rare commodity. I like to eat alone. Shop alone. Read alone Basically, do things alone. As much as it is a zero-value activity, there is something therapeutic of being alone and watching people and time go by.

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At 33, I feel the burden of a grown-up, of trying to be and look the part of a responsible parent. It feels hard. In my Murtaugh List, I mentioned in my last point that I am too old to pretend to be someone I am not. On hindsight, if I were to be left to be ‘me’, I would most likely to be a irresponsible person and parent. (Like just run off to the Caribbeans because I need a break. Haha. I am kidding, or not.) In some odd way or another, a certain level of social expectations can good. Because of all these ‘invisible rules’, I try to do the minimum so as not to be branded as a rogue mom- ensuring some sort of learning is taking place weekly for the children, getting the little ones eat as healthily by sneaking in some greens here and there. I try not to indulge in my emotions and be the cheerleader for the family. The children are missing their lives in London so much. I feel the same. But, we cannot have everyone throwing a pity party. Someone needs to take up this role as a grown up role and tell them, ‘It is better in Singapore!’, complete with the chirpy voice. So, some pretence is necessary in life, to move on.

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If you have been following my Instagram, you would have noticed that I started running since returning to Singapore. As of today, I am at my 75th run and I am trying to get myself to eat smart and better? It is quite unlike me as I am a quite the sloth. My group of #fitmummy friends to managed to encourage me into changing my Ben and Jerry’s lifestyle- to be more active and be more conscious of the meals I have. (I am careful of using the ‘clean eating’ term since I realise it has some negative connotations.) So, I am not as fixated in mentality as I thought previously.

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These days, because I am spending more time on Instagram than blogging, I do take more photos using the phone. The photos are less curated but meant more for documenting purposes. So unlike 3 years ago, I am more trigger-happy.

At 33,

  1. I blog lesser and identify lesser as a blogger. Maybe I disagree with many things and with how things are being done. Perhaps, I just cannot keep up with the pace. So, yes, I am out.
  2. I still struggle everyday. From simple decision of whether to have that slice of chocolate cake(!!!), to type/colour of tiles I am using for my bathroom, to maybe why certain situations can be so out-rightly unfair, unbearable and no one sees it and the many uncertainties in my life. I question why God allows it to happen. I get mad. Depressed. Anxious. The cycle repeats and I pray, remember that God’s will is above mine. It is okay because God has given me so much and I should take count of my blessings.
  3. I will stay resilient. Because of my children. Because I believe that Jesus is there for me.

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Happy 33rd Birthday, May Lee. It will be better! The best is yet to be!
Here’s to love, life and God!

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Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway

May 2017

Before checking into our caravan in Devon, E decided that we should drive a bit further to check out the Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway, which is the highest and steepest completely water-powered railway. We stopped by the Cliff Top Cafe for a tea break. 2 hot chocolates, 1 latte and a slice of cake while our eyes savored the spectacular views across Lynmouth Bay.

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The kids were excited to be on the railway, it looked impressive and exciting.  This historic Victorian railway opened in 1890 and has connected the twin towns of Lynton & Lynmouth ever since.  It is a fully working listed heritage monument it is cost £3.80 per adult and £2.30 for children.

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We walked about the historical towns, picked up pebbles at the beach, went to the playground, allowed the kids to run around and enjoyed what was left of the semi-good weather.

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We  visited the Lynmouth Flood Memorial Hall which is a free exhibition showing a scale model of the village pre-flood, along with images of the buildings which were destroyed and how to identify their sites.

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Playing with the pebbles that they picked up from the beach.

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Lunch was at Esplanade Fish Bar, and the fish and chips was one of the best I had in the UK. Granted, the weather was cold and we were starving as it was our first proper meal of the day.

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A little more sight-seeing around the town before we headed off to the car.

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Caravan Adventure in Devon

May 2017

Before we left the UK, E planned a short road trip for our family. It was lovely. When my mind goes back to how we spent that entire week as a family, I feel nostalgic. It was truly an adventure, complete with how our hardy Renault stalled at a remote part of the mountains in the bizarrely cold and wet weather. Yes, things like that do happen to us. And when such things happens, I get real anxious. Then, I had to leave the car and take a short walk while E stayed with the sleeping children, waiting for help. My eyes were teary and I literally felt like puking- not sure if it did felt like a panic attack. (I don’t say this enough but these are times when I am thankful for E’s calm and collected nature.)

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I find blogging getting harder these days because when I share about what we left behind in the UK, it feels bittersweet. In Chinese, we call it 心酸. In some way, I believe time will make the feelings less intense. But there is also a part of me that don’t want to forget what a wonderful and magical experience that our family had.  Okay, instead of griping about my life, I wish to continue blogging with a thankful heart. x

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The caravan park at Devon is a good 7ish hour drive away from London. We had a stop over at Bristol for the night before continuing. One can imagine the drive to Devon was long and painful. We do not own any iPads and so the kids had to either chat among themselves or just nap.

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Our caravan was at the John Fowler Holiday Park in Devon. E booked the platinum caravan(which is supposedly the best, but was sure a small space) with two bedrooms and a cosy living area. Our time in the caravan was quiet for the initial two days as it was raining. The wet weather called for indoor activities- we played card games, drew, watched television and cooked. Because I have forgotten to bring out Uno cards, the little ones had to improvise and make their card games. Poor them. In the evenings, the kids took out the light sticks and went into their bedrooms to rehearse for a ‘performance’ for the grown ups.

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Those few days were simple but our view from the caravan was nothing near ordinary though. It was just gorgeous and too many a times, I saw the kids just staring out the window. I wonder what were in their minds. Maybe just Pokemon. Or maybe something bigger and more amazing?

I am so thankful for these memories and being able to blog these down. Perhaps when these babies are older, we can embark on another caravan adventure soon? Hopefully, the future versions of them will still love us as much- and we will be able to play board games competitively(#competitiveboardgameplayer) then.

Will try to blog more about our Devon/Paris/Barcelona trip in the next couple of days before everything gets busy again. Okay, I am out!

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7th!

August 2017

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84 months and counting… 

We celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary on the 19th June 2017 and it took me almost two months to blog about it. And still, I think marriage is hard work. Marriage, with three young, boisterous children is requires great effort, loving hearts and also constantly reminders of how God is the central of our lives and relationships.

Truth is when we got married, I don’t think we know each other very well then. Barely into a year of dating, he proposed. We were so young and definitely infatuated with each other. Then, we started our wedding and house preparation. Before two years of knowing each other, we were married.  One year later, pops out our first baby. Then, came the second. And now, our last *fingers crossed*.

There are too many a times where we have disagreements. I get mad. Annoyed.  Frustrated. There are also angry words. But, I also know that E must be someone incredibly special to me- because he is always the first person I want to call when I have good news or something to share. Like everything is just better with him. For example, when we went for the trip in Devon, the view from our caravan was breathtakingly spectacular. It is one of those scenes where your eyes literally soak in the beauty of nature and marvel at how good our God is. But I know the experience of being there with E makes everything better, legendary even. Even winning him at Scrabble makes the challenge sweeter! #justsaying

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While I look forward to retiring with E, maybe doing some sort travelling or lazing by the beach together, I know right now, we are also at an enviable time of our lives. With the children and their innocence. Being relatively young(I love being in my 30s!) and able to do many things with our little ones. Exciting days ahead, my love.

The best is yet to be.
I love you as sure as the sun rises and sets.
As definite as a rainbow after a heavy downpour.
Always.

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Click on these links to read about our 1st-6th wedding anniversaries. 

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3rd
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5th
6th

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Furniture Shopping 101

August 2017

Like what I mentioned in my earlier posts, I would love to continue blogging more- to share about my life since it is something I have been doing since I was 16. Wow! Has it been 17 years? But also, I will be blogging lesser on the kids- just in case they hate what I write about them. Ha! I would be horrified to read what my mother have to say about me at 5! So, yes, you get my drift right?

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This new home for us is going to be the 8th place that we are moving to. So Ryan, being our eldest have lived in 8th places since his birth! Oh dear. What a nomadic life! We bought our new place when we were in London, entirely based on the floor plan and the fact that it is a ground unit with a patio. This way, I don’t need to think about installing invisible window grills at the balcony. What I liked about the place was that it is near a playground and my kids love the outdoors. I always wanted to be able to have some sort of space for gardening for like chili, pandan leaves and those useful stuff for cooking. Let’s see how that works out and if I actually have proper green fingers.

When E and I first discussed about interior design for our place- we talked about having a fabric sofa since it is so popular these days. Almost every new house that we visit has some fancy looking grey sofa, which we agreed was aesthetically pleasant. I mean, it looks so classy and grown-up right?

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I even thought of the colour palette that I would like to have in my house- white, cream with shades of grey. I wanted a transitional look, which meant having the right balance of contemporary colours and traditional style.  Grey fabric sofa- Yay! Grey framed kitchen doors- Yay! Island kitchen- Yay! I wanted this. I wanted that.

In then end, after shopping for weeks(two weeks to be exact, which is ‘hasty’ by some standards but ‘considered’ by ours), combing through the furniture shops at Changi with Megan in tow, we ended up purchasing a leather sofa in burnt orange from Cellini. This is how it looks like-

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Very different from what we wanted. But we liked it just as much and it is so comfortable! We also bought a dining set(white quartz top with black metal legs) from the same company, entirely different from what we thought we would get. Here’s a picture of it-

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Oh! Oh! Oh! Island kitchen is not possible as we have a structural wall between the kitchen and the dining. Ohwells.

Amidst these fantastic shopping, there is also a nagging reminder that I have 90 boxes of shipment(many of which contains toys- all those colourful things that hurt my sensibilities) coming from London in October when the house is ready. Hmm… At least 3/5 people in the family will be happy to see their books and toys!

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Gratitude

August 2017

For far too long I have intentionally ignored blogging, even though it was the platform that allowed me to gain some sort of perspective in my life, to share my views with friends and strangers and also to be thankful.

I love social media. I love Facebook. I love how this tool has allowed me to gain insight into the lives of my friends and even people I don’t know about. From these random snippets, I form incredulous ideas of how their days went and what their beliefs are about. Sometimes, I get inspired. Admittedly, there are occasions where I get demoralised, envious and (insert any negative feelings), which is why I decided to take a hiatus from blogging.

It is not that I do not have anything happy to share about! I have so much to be thankful for but I chose to pay no attention to them. Writing gives me clarity. Not writing also meant my days were spent in a sort of haze.  There are incidents that I want to pen down but I disregarded my feelings because I felt that blogging/writing was just too self-indulgent and to some extent, curated. As compared to my older posts, I was much more careful in sharing, especially with regards to my children. I was very begrudging of my writing. There is a part of me that prides myself for being authentic. If I cannot have that element in my writing, then why even bother? I opened up WordPress several times and left too many drafts. I wrote on a few pages on a couple of notebooks and left them aside. I constantly questioned my purpose of writing- why do I even want to blog or write?

Today, I blog because it is a space for me to take count of what I have, to realise that I have many to be grateful for, to share my laments but also remember that God has a plan for me and my family. To bear in mind that I am not alone.

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And so, many of you would have known that my family and I are back in Singapore. It has been 2 month-ish! Wow! How time flies! My children miss London and their Yiyi/God-ma but I have to get them to reflect on what they love about Singapore as well. They love their Gong Gong, Mama, Er Jiu and Isaac. They love swimming! Boy! They love swimming! The older two are water babies! After only 4 lessons, Ryan’s swim coach has recommended him to attend an advanced swim class coming Sunday.  They love the food in Singapore- I mean, who doesn’t? Singapore is a food paradise. Prata, noodles of all sorts- wanton noodles, breakfast beehoon, fishball yellow mee and so on, carrot cake-the Chinese type, chicken rice, sushi at very reasonable prices and of course the list continues. As Ryan is older, his understanding is much better. He misses his classmates and his lifestyle in London. He tells me about how much he misses his old life. On my part, there is pretty much nothing I can do about it except to tell him that being together as a family unit is the most important.                                                       

We are temporarily put up at my parents’. 5 of us are living in my old bedroom and it is as chaotic as you can imagine. It is a a small space and having the older ones adjust to my 3 young rugrats is a challenge. Living together meant everyone have to adjust their lifestyles and expectations- to take the rough with the smooth. E and I appreciate my parents’ kindness of accommodation but we are excited to be moving into our new place. Oh yes, this year has been totally crazy on sale and purchases of houses. Don’t even get me started on that. The new abode is a much bigger space than our previous place in Singapore. E bought me an oven! Yay! I cannot wait to start baking! We will only be getting the keys late August and hopefully, renovations can begin in September.

It is interesting when we go furniture shopping and notice how much our styles and choice of furniture evolved over time. For our first home, we were very into the Teak Minimalist look. Please don’t even judge me for that term- I was just a pretentious 24 year old then.  Simply put, just meant having teak furniture and a Balinese feel. Ha! Now, most of our choice furniture has to be as kid-friendly as possible- no sharp edges or dangerous spots. At our new place, we intend to keep the toys in the kids’ rooms as much as possible! *crossing out fingers* (You can read here on my extensive documentation of our first home. Try your best not to roll your eyes!)

Faith wise, my family and I have sort of settled in church that my parents and brother attend. The church is literally at our door steps and there is no good reason to not attend on that is just located so conveniently for us. While the style of worship is not what we are used to, it is okay as long as God and the Bible is central of the entire worship. Going to church is always a good reminder for me- that what I have now is only possible because of God’s grace and kindness. The children are familiar with the Sunday School routine and we are reasonably pleased with how our Sunday pans out.

In the coming year, I will be moving towards a different career journey, which I hope would be a more flexible choice for my family as well as personal growth. Truth is, I am excited. But just like the worry wart that I am, I have endless concerns. My dear friends and readers, I just hope you keep me and my family in positive thoughts and prayers. 🙂 Gambatte! I will do my best, work hard, by trusting God and always be thankful for His Grace.

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