STEAM WHITE PROMPRET (my great-grandmother’s recipe)

INGREDIENTS

 

  • 1 white prompret
  • 2 spring onions, halve into strips for steaming the fish and garnishing
  • 1 tbsp of water
  • 2 tbsp of light soya sauce
  • A few dashes of sesame oil
  • 2- inch ginger, sliced into 8 thin pieces for steaming the fish. Cut some ginger into strips, for garnishing
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and cut into strips for garnishing
  • 2-3 chilli padi chopped – or bruise it (optional)
  • Pickled mustard salt; cut into strips for garnishing (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar

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METHOD

  1. Put four pieces of ginger on and under the fish and some spring onion under the fish.
  2. Steam for 10 minutes then take out to drain the water and steam for another 10 minutes.
  3. Once fish is cooked remove the garlic from the fish.
  4. Then cook the light soya sauce, add some water, sugar and few dashes of sesame oil and pour the mixture onto the fish.
  5. Lastly, garnish with spring onion, ginger, chillies and  pickled mustard.

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Credits to: my great-grandmother, Norliah Lim.

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I matter, btw.

I’ve been mulling over how fascinating human beings can be, at times.

It’s uncanny; but if I were to say – ‘Put yourself first’; everyone’s triggered.

‘Don’t be selfish.’

‘It’s not all about you.’

‘Yea, live like that…you self-entitled prick.’

Those are probably the myriad of responses I’d receive (undeservedly, I would say). But upon much thought, perhaps I should rephrase.

Rather than ‘Me first‘, how about – ‘Me too‘?

If everyone looked after themselves better, we’d have less people going about life in a trance, feeling defeated and eventually questioning their purpose of being here.

You’re here because you were meant to be. You serve a great purpose. You’re needed, wanted and appreciated.

But these simple, fundamental facts elude so many of us. We’ve been conditioned to put others as our priority – to the point that we neglect ourselves.

When I was in my teenage years, I used to want to dominate the scene – simply because I felt that I had the most interesting things to say. It became a great offence to interrupt.

Flitting forward 6 years later, safe to say, I’ve mended my ways. But it may surprise you – that I still firmly subscribe to my opinions.

We’re all entitled to our beliefs, feelings and decisions. It’s our life, and how we govern it is our full responsibility. But instead of engaging in a verbal judo, it’s good enough to say – ‘Point taken, thank you.’

You are your best-est friend. You are your constant companion. Nobody is going to make you happy, but yourself. And that’s the way it should be; because who knows you better?

Not too long ago, when a loved one fell into a depressive episode, I tried hard to inject some spirit, some positivity. I wasn’t equipped for this turn of events, but I tried to lend a listening ear, and become a pillar of support.

Despairingly, I realised that I was only a distraction at best. It did little to extricate her from this melancholic state – I’d never felt helpless before, but that was quite the experience.

Growing up, any person would feel that the transition from an adolescent to a young adult; comes with a whole host of novel responsibilities. It becomes almost ‘selfish’ to think about yourself. Couple that with the obsession over social media and the endless tirade of selfies, that have become the poster girl of the our generation.

I made a firm resolution that – nope, I wasn’t going to partake in such trivialities. But notwithstanding, I’ve also come to an awareness that taking care of ourselves is not a luxury, rather, a necessity.

Being a proud Virgo, I often fall into the stereotype of an over analytical, borderline judgemental individual. I like working on myself and challenging the status quo.

Sometimes, it overspills. And trust me, there’s nothing more tiring than unintentionally psycho-analyzing others.

Taking care of yourself, to me; means forgiving yourself for not meeting standards and being responsible for your happiness. No one is going to keep your sanity intact.

You have to recharge and refuel; only then can you develop as a person and eventually, wield the power to treat others with true kindness and respect.

“How can you take care of others, when you can’t even take care of yourself?” – and I’m not talking about convincing your parents to buy you a pet.

It’s time to slow down, take deep breaths and indulge in that movie, or cafe you’ve always wanted to try. Don’t be afraid to assert your ‘alone time’, and celebrate the little achievements.

After all, compassion begins at home<3

 

 

 

 

ONDEH-ONDEH (My great-grandmother Norliah Lim recipe)

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 300 grams of Glutinous Flour
  • 4 tbsp of Rice Flour
  • Gula Melaka
  • Green food colouring
  • Grated coconut
  • Salt
  • Water

METHODS:

  • Combine the glutinous flour and rice flour together. Add a few drops of green food colouring into a cup of water – to be added to the dough mixture, until a stable consistency is achieved. (make sure the dough doesn’t stick to your hand)
  • Start boiling a pot of water. Meanwhile, chop the gula melaka into bite-sized cubes
  • Add some salt to the grated coconut and mix well
  • Pinch some of the dough and roll it into a “ping-pong ball” size. Then, flatten it – using your thumb to create a crater in the middle.

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  • Put as much chopped gula melaka in the middle and roll the dough back into a ball, sealing the gula melaka inside.
  • When the water has started boiling, slowly lower the ondeh-ondeh and submerge completely. Once the ondeh-ondeh have started to float, sift and drain them out of the water.
  • Transfer the ondeh-ondeh onto the plate of grated coconut. Mix well.

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Ondeh-ondeh is ready!

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Credits to: my great-grandmother, Norliah Lim

Strawberry Cupcake with Cream Cheese

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This pretty-in-pink cutie tastes as good as she looks!

What’s better? You can substitute any sort of fruit you want in the base^

INGREDIENTS: makes 10 medium cupcakes

  • 1 egg
  • 50g milk
  • 100g sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 60g vegetable oil
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 65g chopped strawberries
  • 15g chopped walnuts
  • 10 fresh strawberries for decorating

Frosting: 

  • 20g softened butter
  • 80g cream cheese
  • 20g icing sugar
  • 20g strawberry jam
  • 1 tsp orange juice/zest

Method:

  1. Combine the egg, milk, sugar, salt and oil; mix well
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate soda & cinnamon sugar. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture; until just combined
  3. Add the chopped strawberries and walnuts, until just combined
  4. Divide between 10 muffin cups and fill up to 3/4 full
  5. Bake at 180 degrees for about 12-15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean
  6. Cool completely before decorating with the frosting and top it off with a strawberry.

Verdict:

This is such a fun and versatile recipe! I think the zest is really important for a tangy taste that brings out the flavour of the sweet strawberries:)

A great treat for the summer and the sides of the cupcake are browned, as well as crispy – whilst the interior is moist and light.

Playing the Victim

So it’s occurred to me that nobody truly is a victim, or an aggressor.

Every unfortunate thing that happens, often acts as a catalyst or trigger – to spiral off a trail of ‘How did this happen to me?’ or ‘Why do people always do this to me?’.

It’s time to get your perspective right.

We live in a transcendental world, full of Push & Pull; Ying & Yang. Every cause has an effect, and every effect has a cause. It’s not about good or evil. It’s about balance.

This tandem, this balance, is what sets the universe & its occupants in motion and spirals off a chain of events.

I often find it hard to understand why we label this person as ‘kind’ and the other as ‘bad’. To me, it’s simply a ‘kind act’; or a ‘bad decision’. No one is a metaphorical angel, nor are we Satan’s spawn.

But I understand – it can be counter-effective and uncomfortable to shine the light of misdeed upon ourselves. We’re programmed, almost hardwired; evolutionarily, to frame ourselves as a victim, as a form of protection for our self-image.

Look further and dig deeper; be completely honest.

What brought this on? Are you entirely devoid of fault? Did you try hard enough to make time for this person? Have you never done a similar thing before?

It can be hard to imagine. But maybe an analogy helps.

Everyone’s had their share of group projects. It’s the bane of our existence. Sometimes, we’re spearheading the project and leading the pack; other times, we’re the weight that’s dragging everyone down. I call it ‘taking the backseat’.

It can feel great to bark off at someone and complain about them slacking off. But how often have you taken the time to get to know his/her responsibilities, demands and other commitments? And c’mon, fess up. Maybe you’re all fired up because this project count for your GPA – or you’re just good at it.

Well, not everyone boards the same ship. We always struggle at something.

Even if we can’t put ourselves in other people’s shoes and we still feel sore about what has happened, look beyond. Reflect on how you’ve been treating others, about what crap you’ve handed to them in the past. There are always going to be people whom are better than you – whom can reign in their emotions, look at everything in an optimistic light and truly ‘let bygones be bygones’; because they understand.

LIFE, just like the universe’s occupants, are in constant motion. We make fleeting decisions and battle with our feelings every single day – sometimes, our health and mindset are working against us. And sometimes…we just need life to give us a break.

It’s not wrong, it’s just human. And it pays us well to remember that on the days that we made the right call, it was the time for others to slip up and make ‘bad choices’. Does that mean you’re the better man? Should I call for a red carpet?

Just wait – because in a  little while, you’re going to find yourself making stupider decisions.

Everyday, we wonder if we’ve done well.  We question if we’re good enough, if we’ve made people happy and if we deserve a place in our family, our school and our circle of friends. It’s a constant battle of belonging. We all want to be the crowd’s favourite,  to be acknowledged & understood.

So it ails me to hear labels and stigma been passed around; to critique another fellow human being who was bested by Life’s challenges. It’s never easy to be where we are – those whom have contemplated suicide, or battled with a mental affliction would understand.

Constantly plagued by feelings of inadequacy and victimisation, we often look towards tomorrow and wonder – ‘What’s in it for me?’. Those whom have taken their lives usually came up with nothing. Life has nothing to offer me but a load of BS, and I’m out.

But the world needs you, and you deserve a second, third and a trillion more chances to learn from your failures. Turn them around, look at others and see them not as ‘aggressors’ but rather, ‘sufferers’. Everyone is suffering – you deal with it passively, they exhibit by pissing everyone in their path. And lemme tell you, it doesn’t make them feel any better. It’s pitiful, but it’s all they can do to make themselves feel worthwhile.

When I look at them that way, it immediately makes me feel proud of myself. I stood my ground, I didn’t resort to such tactics and I’m going to be good for the world. Look at Life and wonder – ‘What good stuff is in store tomorrow?’; because Life in itself is hella unpredictable. Be excited, because those whom cross your path tomorrow would have rubbed off some good stuff.

Take every ‘victimised’ moment as a learning curve . You came to learn that such decisions aren’t right, but you were spared from living from the guilt that accompanies it. Think of the people whom always tolerate, forgive and accept you despite your flaws. Be thankful, and start learning to reciprocate this for others.

That way, we can all learn from each other, understand what it means to love Mankind and be ourselves. Healing takes time, but with a clear mind and heart, you will overcome it all; even if it feels impossible now 🙂

Peppermint Chocolate Cupcake

This is a personal fav, and is so tasty on any day – any occasion~

It takes a while to perfect the balance but once achieved, is amazing :))

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INGREDIENTS

 Chocolate Base

  • 1 cup all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3tablespoons sourcream, room temperature or plain yogurt
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature

 Peppermint Frosting

  • 1 ¼ cup Butter, unsalted soften to room temp
  • 4-5 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ cup Whipping cream/heavy cream
  • ½ -2 teaspoon mint extract
  • Green colouring
  • Mini chocolate chips for decorating

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line two 12- cavity muffin tins with cupcake liners
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt; together in a large bowl
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla and sour cream using an electric mixer until combined and no sugar lumps remain
  4. At low speed, add  half the flour mixture, followed by half the buttermilk until combined. Repeat with the second half of the flour and buttermilk, until smooth.
  5. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin and bake for 13-15 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
  6. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed until the color has lighted and the butter becomes fluffy
  7. Add in about ½ to 1 cup of icing sugar at a time, then turn the mixer to high speed and beat for 5-10 seconds until all the icing sugar is combined
  8. Beat in the whipping cream until the desired consistency is attained, adding the peppermint essence ½ teaspoon at a time, with the green food colouring
  9. Frost the cupcakes using a piping bag and sprinkle with chocolate chips

Verdict:

The chocolate base is really moist, rich and delectable^ It’s so good…it can be eaten on its own:) Peppermint as a frosting is really appropriate; as it serves as a refreshing contrast against the succulent cocoa taste of the batter. All in all, this duo is to die for<3

Baguette

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Ingredients:

  • 340g bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp dry yeast
  • 250g water

Method:

  1. Place the water and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add half of the flour to the water and stir to a smooth batter. Leave it for 15 minutes, until bubbles start to appear
  2. Add most of the balance flour and salt, start kneading the dough, adding a little bit of extra flour if it is too sticky. Knead until a membrane forms.
  3. Divide into 2 pieces, round it off cover & keep in a warm place to rise until double in size
  4. Shape into a baguette by flattening each piece into a rough rectangle. Fold it over 1/3 lengthwise. Turn it 180 degrees and fold it again 1/3 lengthwise. Fold it in half and seal the open ends. Roll to stretch each piece of dough to about 30cm. Place on a lined baking tray.
  5. Cover and place in a warm place to proof until double in size.
  6. Preheat oven to 220 degrees celcius
  7. Make 4 slashes in each baguette with a very sharp knife or blade. Spray the baguette with water and place the bread in the oven. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Best eaten fresh, keep for only a day.

 

Mental Wellness & Peer-helping :)

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The truth about our state of mind is scary. A mental illness is not something you can just will away, and will fester over time. I learnt something; and that mental health & mental illness run on different spectrums. Often, many people run on autopilot – we go about functioning and performing day-to-day tasks, but we neglect to see we’re becoming more hollow and empty as time flits past. These individuals are languishing, and they need a time out.

As peers and friends, we need to instill hope & it should be a positive thing. But the thing that kills is when people start passing judgement. They say those afflicted with mental distress are weak, that they’re cuckoo or having a breakdown – they whisper hushed comments, or avoid them. But do you really think that’s what they need? Do you think they aren’t already trying? And that what they feel is genuine – that it’s already terrible enough to live with without your input? And there’s another flip side to this.

When we try to help, we need to come with the right mindset. We’re only here to understand, not critique the person. Nor are we in the right to expect something from him or her. Don’t expect gratitude, nor a positive change. It might be met with resistance, and it might even deteriorate – dragging all your own insecurities to the surface to the point it becomes hard to ignore.

While I was at IMH for a mental health literacy workshop yesterday, I wasn’t too surprised to hear that the facilitator herself had colleagues who treated patients; only to become deluded and depressed themselves. Life has an uncanny way of turning tables.

Another case that resonated with me was that of a 19 year old girl who developed a chronic case of social anxiety. She had been skipping school for weeks, and became very uncomfortable in public spaces – but was interacting well with her family members. The participants of this workshop were quick to label her as a youth with early psychosis, and unfortunately, so was her family.

They unwittingly brought her in to SAMH (Singapore Association for Mental Health) for a mental health check-up in the hopes that it would mend her, but it only aggravated her condition. It turned out that she was facing immense pressure from school – from her studies and peers alike and was actually trying to rehabilitate herself by seeking the company of her family – people whom she thought she could trust. When she found out that she had been tricked, she became withdrawn and slowly descended into late-onset schizophrenia.

Everyone has their coping mechanism; it’s personal and you won’t understand it – but it’s just polite to nod and go with it. Because it’s what your friend needs, and you’re not in a position to dictate how he or she should feel; but rather, accept it. It only takes a person who has suffered mental distress before to be able to go down to their level and understand, and even then it’s just a fraction of what they are truly experiencing.

To the sufferers, learn to let go and live. Life is simple if we make it that way. Don’t think of the things we need to accomplish, or the people we have to please because it’s all about us. We’re in charge here, and we’re in control. And if the going gets tough, then get up and fight. Every day is a struggle but as long as we’re still breathing; it’s a day to conquer and win. Be strong & love yourself ❤

Mental ward visit – they healed me <3

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Yesterday marked my very first visit to ward 45b at IMH, the one exclusively for long-term stay patients. Amongst the 3 wards (mood disorder unit & early psychosis intervention programme being the other two); 45b has been espoused to be the most challenging yet. I can understand the sentiment, given that it is an all-male ward housing ~50 patients, most of whom suffer from severe psychosis – primarily schizophrenia.

I honestly had no idea what to expect and it wasn’t until I was departing with 2 other girls & a guy did I start to get a bit nervous 😩 No doubt I felt a bit embarrassed afterwards because the other girls looked pretty unfrazzled and the guy was more worried about what activities we would do with them!

But when we reached the doors, it was like a horrible scary zoo, with patients peeking from behind the door! It was really ignorant of me at first, but my senses were screaming at me to run run run. I don’t even know how I brought myself to walk through the door, and not flinch when the patients immediately crowded us. I think it goes the same for every hospital setting, but the smell of bitter medicine and sickness always permeates the air. I was trying not to let their proximity get to me, because I know that they were just curious. And I forced myself time and again to reassure myself, to coax myself into acting as normal as I could.

And it was really uncanny, but while all this internal turmoil was going on; I only stopped reeling when some patients started waving hello haha. It was kinda anti-climatic because there I was, having a crisis and there they were getting friendly. A nurse helped to open a cubicle for us to keep our bags and the games room as well. Some of the patients were trying to follow us in since they never really got a good look into the rooms but we needed the space to gather our thoughts and plan the activities which involved colouring, pasting and using colourful ice cream sticks to make Avengers stickmen.

All that planning fell through, though. Personally, being a simpleton, I found the idea really cute but it can be a handful for people who had no patience or stamina for details. In the next 2 minutes, we tried to gather wandering lost souls around to play with us and it turned out they preferred games such as Scrabble and Mahjong better.

I panicked again when patients started crowding us, and coupled with their tendency to stare at you and blink really really slowly..it can be a bit disconcerting. But I think it was partly the fact that I was in the company of people who were taking it well, and also that I had come to accept they had no concept of personal space; did I manage to wedge myself between two patients.

Patient 1 sat on my right, and he was the silent brooding sort who talked little and mumbled to himself a lot! Ironically, he & I had a profound love for Scrabble and we played so many rounds of this game! The pleasant surprise that I was not expecting at all was that I could relate to him via words, because he had really impressive vocabulary and liked making word chains. He’s a total Scrabble champ, really. Some of the words like “Panaroma” and “vexing” which stupended me to the max. Though he didn’t stick to the rules, we complemented each other well and he displayed a genuine interest in Scrabble, even scrambling for empty tiles to make words! This comes to show that mentally distressed people can be really gifted and intelligent too; which debunks a myth.

The OCD patient sat to my left, and played with two crayon boxes for two hours – removing and replacing, moving crayons around. He seemed very irked when he had them mixed up but other than that he was great company! Sadly, he wasn’t as mobile as some patients and struggled to bend down when he accidentally upturned a box so we had to help him. I almost laughed when another OCD patient started getting down on his knees to pick them up too – I think he really hates things lying around.

A few other patients that I had the pleasure of talking to briefly, or observing; were really quirky and fascinating. This other patient was harassing the guy in our group for his phone, and he looked so happy to have convinced him. In no time, he was belting out tunes – “Beat It” by the late MJ (fine choice) and was very protective of his phone. While he was bobbing his head to the beat, a patient we call ‘B’ quickly joined in and I saw him shaking his hips and twerking soon after.  It was really impressive, and he held quite a candle to Miley Cyrus. But he did run out of steam in a minute and it was a rather bad day for him, having periods of schizophrenia hit him episodically.

The MJ fan wasn’t deterred though, and he was so happy he actually peed in a corner of the room. I didn’t really understand why, but the male nurse explained that he always does that when he’s happy. But I sort of understand because I don’t even wanna admit the things I do when I’m hyped about a BTS comeback. Verily enough, before the nurse could chide him, MJ fan ran away and hid in another room whilst the OCD patient started having a meltdown and proceed to wipe up his pee with toilet paper.

Ironically, I feel that the patients complement each other and some of them are close friends. Mr B is very affectionate to others, giving them back rubs and checking their scalps for white hairs or head lice; I’m not too sure.

But back to crayon guy.

He was actually clingy for the first hour, and kept trying to communicate with me – it’s a pity he lost his ability to talk. He stared at me curiously as a child would, and offered me a pink crayon ten times in a row whilst mumbling something incoherent. I didn’t know what to say, so I just smiled and said ‘pink!’ many times and he smiled, flashing 5 lovely teeth. He also loved to fart loudly and would make a good admin assistant because his organisational skills are on point.

It was at that point that I realised even though these were grown men, many of them were very child-like. They were impatient, impulsive and difficult to handle. Even though I felt less jittery than I did initially, it didn’t stop me from being subconsciously aware of everything in my surroundings and taking up a defensive stance when some patients got too close. In the end, the advise given to us was true – no matter how friendly or normal these patients may seem, it’s hard to gauge their state of mind. I didn’t intend to agitate the crayon patient but I think I raised my voice a tad too much in my excitement and he made a really loud growl and became rather incensed. So I know now to keep my volume low and gentle. Notwithstanding, the guy in our group was trying not to entertain the MJ fan who kept bugging him for his phone, but I could see he was on edge as well.

I really respect the tenacity and care that is exhibited by nurses, social workers and even friends who try to understand and approach mentally distressed loved ones. It can be exhausting, disturbing and definitely erratic. But life is unpredictable, and we can always find ourselves on the short end of the stick someday. And we’d be hoping for someone to empathise, to go down to our level and ignore our deficiencies.

On a lighter note, there was a self declared palm-reader who told me and another volunteer to change our date of birth to steer away bad luck. He told my friend that being born in January was a terrible idea, and that I needed to change my birth year from 1996 to 2018 😂 By then, we were so used to their antics that we just nodded dutifully.

Things became calm and slightly boring afterwards, until another patient stood up wielding a marker and a mutilated drawing block. He was so excited to share what he knew about the water cycle and insisted that I was 10 years old, so I didn’t know better. He even asked me if I knew what condensation was, and said that he was an NUS undergrad who used to give science tuition (our backgrounds are uncanny!) He knew a lot about countries, and when we were packing up, he helped to stack the  chairs which was really kind. A few patients were sad to see us go, and in the short time I spent with them…so was I. Ironically. It was heartwarming to see them trying so hard, despite their challenges. Crayon patient was still trying to arrange things, and intercepted us at every turn all the way to the games storeroom. Nonetheless, I was pretty tired after the adrenaline wore out. When our group reconvened to sterilise our hands, a few patients were waving at us from behind the door again but it was a different feeling altogether.

To be honest I don’t know how I transited from being on edge to being silently amused, but this experience was timely. I’d been having terrible days recently, and I’m not sure if it’s burnout; but meeting these patients really brought a lot of much needed perspective. Looking at them makes you appreciate the little things in your life – even those that drive you up the wall. Because these men are locked behind 3 doors, and are deprived of any semblance of a job and family, which is unbearable. It was a great wake-up call; sometimes, you have to look at those below you to appreciate what you have. And it derails all your theories about what defines happiness and success. Often times, I imagine that these patients must have once had a semblance of a normal life. They are someone’s child, and once upon a time, they must have brought joy and hope to their parents. I don’t think anyone would have thought this would be how it turned out in the end.

Too often, you hear about people – professionals, especially; snapping due to stress or even throwing aside everything they’ve worked so hard for, just to extricate themselves from the hustle and bustle. The world can be a big gigantic mess, and I get myself roped into it too. I’m scared that one day I might be unable to untangle myself and that I’d lose my rational thoughts. In the end, we need to get our perspective right. We need to know our pressure points, and not under-or-overestimate ourselves. We carve our life, and we dictate what defines happiness and success are. I’m trying not to let people and qualifications define my worth – which can be a hard thing to do; but it’s a struggle worth overcoming for my own sake.

It reminds me of a few incidences last year. I suddenly had bouts of fainting spells and would vomit for no obvious reason. I didn’t even think it was because of stress and I was imagining all sorts of scenarios. My parents sent me to the doctor to figure out what was wrong with me, especially since I had never experienced such a thing before. In the end, the first doctor said I was really stressed and even gave me a head, neck and shoulder massage lol. It still persisted, however so I went to a second doctor and he said the same thing; then started lamenting about how A levels were the worse days of his life.

Eventually all these went away, I don’t even know how. But I do remember being less stressed and redirecting my attention to things I love like baking, Muay Thai and rock climbing. I also started reconnecting with all my close friends, which was amazing. I think all these acted up because I harboured my feelings, and cast them aside. I always find it hard to scold or fight with people, and often isolate myself. It taught me that we need to know when we’ve had too much – to pull the plug, and do things that make you happy. Because there’s no point continuing on when you’re already unhappy and messed up; it’s just a trainwreck impending.

Life is full of trials and tribulations; it’s unavoidable and we’ll always be tested. So friends, let’s be nice to one another – forgive and forget, and let go of that baggage. Wishing everyone nothing but the best 🙂

What to expect from Muay Thai

Tips for those considering this combative sport – and newcomers! 🙂

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Muay Thai is all about cardio. Unlike the weightlifting that gym peeps do, Muay Thai practitioners may not necessarily have a lot of strength (but it’s really fine).

A good thing to have would be stamina & flexibility though *so start working those joints*

Having trained in Muay Thai for almost two years, I would say it can be likened to a serial killer who’s out to exterminate you. And whilst you barely survived the harrowing event, you’ve become a sort of adrenaline junkie who’s thirsty for more thrills.

Many times, I’ve asked “Why do I do this to myself? Why am I here? Am I insane??”

But the allure of Muay Thai is that it’s really a fluid and dynamic martial art – you learn a set of routines, train your ‘core’ and pick up the basic skills; but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The art of 8 limbs: you can fight in any way whatsoever; even with elbow jumps, knee jabs, flying kicks..you name it.

It pays to be on the smaller side, especially in Muay Thai because you have the advantage of being more agile. Other forms such as Brazilian Jujitsu just don’t cut it for me – I know I’ll get pummelled – given that it’s all about pinning your opponent down.

And I can’t even pin down on where my beloved kpop idols are; so I’m clearly not cut out for that xD

But Muay Thai allows for compromise, at least to some extent. What you lack in strength, you make up for in – runs, skipping, shadow boxing, padwork etc.

Whilst all these stations are highly timed and versatile, it trains the different parts of your muscle, and tightens your abdominal & pelvic region.

Sometimes, you can feel sores and awkward hip alignments (but that’s really just bcos I get a little too eager at times) and end up inviting more injury than what’s necessary.

The instructors at Evolve Mixed martial arts are mostly world champions, which is pretty intimidating; but they’re awfully playful and humble – enough to make you forget you’re training with A+ league.

It wasn’t until I got my Level 2 band (it took 9 months) did I realise how swag I actually was – and that I probably should have tried harder at NAPFA (lol spelling halp). Because  I’ve met  buff guys who’ve ended up wheezing and panting #regretlifechoices

Nonetheless, the entire class runs in this order:

Number of participants:

  • small: 5-8
  • medium: 8-15
  • large: 15-20
  • ultra-large (i.e. you’re just tryna squeeze urself somewhere): 20+

From the aforementioned class sizes, the number of instructors will vary from 1-4.

I used to think that small/medium sized classes were better; but on days you just feel “out of it”, it’s actually an inherent blessing to end up in a larger one. This is simply because they are way too many people for the instructors to handle, and the stations are really swift so you can get over the torture pretty easily.

Moreover, the probability of other people having higher or equivalent levels to you (cough: lvl 3/4 – which is rare) is much higher, which leaves the demonstrations and padwork to them and you get away scot-free :))

I’ve been in a smaller class, and this is what goes down most of the time:

– on luckier days; I end up getting yelled at for not kicking hard enough (despite the fact my shin feels like it’s gonna split) and my STM i.e. short-term memory; is unravelling at the seams, because I have to remember all the routines

– on less lucky days, you end up leading the class – which is the kinda crazy, since you’re in charge of pacing.

This is especially so for running (which has always been my forte, obviously – that’s why I always end up panting like a dog in heat) and also count loud enough for those trailing behind you to hear.

Imagine my plight.

But it’s all part and parcel of teamwork – the instructors, especially Kru Nek – loves to enforce this rule. If anyone doesn’t count, the torture will repeat itself. And since I’m not exactly Adele with such a powerful lung capacity, I’m always struggling to be audible.

But there are always perks, such as a fitter physique and some routines I personally enjoy:)

  • Skipping is my new favourite: you really get nice legs by jumping
  • Kicks (x50-60) per side: makes your hips more flexible

Though I sort of zzz/despise:

  • running: this is the downright worst – my 1-pack fatty globes are clearly out to get me; I feel like they weigh me down:/
  • jump knee: disclaimer – it’s just a painful version of jumping because you have to grope the bag & just…no

And there are some things I’m impartial to: like squats (but seriously, I can’t get the posture right). I look up at the mirror and regret everything; because I look like I suffer from constipation.

Likewise, planks (though when you sniff the floor, it’s potent enough to sober you up)

I’d also advise people to get shin/ankle guards, not hand wraps; because you have gloves for that. Personally, I only use ankle guards because they really prevent serious bruises when you’re kicking, and minimise the impact of your flesh hitting the bag – especially if it’s got rough edges.

Finally, I’d like to end off  by saying that really..Muay Thai isn’t a one size fits all. It’s really just about your personal development, and you can plan/regulate your training in any way – e.g. slimming, muscle toning, cardio.

Have fun!! ^.^

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