Monday, June 25, 2012

Taking a break and practicing the power of pause! Will be back soon!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Notable Quotable

‎"The only way to ease our pain is to experience it fully. Learn to stay with uneasiness, learn to stay with the tightening, so that the habitual chain reaction doesn't continue to rule your life."

--Pema Chodron

Monday, June 04, 2012

June Muses

Watching: The Exotic Marigold Hotel. How I love this poignant comedy about a bunch of old folks "out-sourcing" their retirement to India! This British comedy has all my favourite film veterans with Dame Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy. You're bound to have a good time giggling while drying your tears at times and it totally reminds me of my month-long trip to India some years back! I LOVE this movie! Two thumbs up!!

Listening to: The Dance of Shakti by Prem Joshua. I'm revisiting this old album from 2002 thanks to The Exotic Marigold Hotel. While reminiscing about India , I gotta listen to my favourite Indian tunes from the very talented Prem Joshua who fuses modern beats with the traditional sound of classical Indian sitar and tabla. The Dance of Shakti is my all time favourite from Prem Joshua and I practice Vinyasa yoga to the uplifting energizing tunes!

Wearing: ASOS Cupcake Dress with Peplum. Okay, I'm not wearing it yet cos it's on the way. I couldn't resist cos the cupcake print is just too cute and it's cut proper enough to wear to work with a cropped grey cardigan. I hope it fits! Fingers crossed or it'll be a total hassle to return!

Using: Ila Face Oil for Glowing Radiance. I've heard tons of raves about this Argan and Rosehip based face oil that's infused with Sandalwood and precious Rose Damascena. I just got hold of it a couple of days ago and I'm now using it in place of moisturizer. So far so good and I'll write more about it a little later.

I've also tried out the Body Shop Nutriganics Smoothing Mask cos I saw it going on offer and it's partially organic. I said partially cos I must point out that The Body Shop is somewhat unethical and deceptive to put the Eco Cert logo when only 42% of the ingredients is organic. To be qualified as organic products, a product has to contain at least 70% of organic ingredients. The Body Shop also sneakily puts a note that says 98% of the ingredients is natural and with the Eco Cert logo, I got tricked into thinking that 98% of the ingredients is ORGANIC. Well, after I bought it and carefully read the label, I felt a bit cheated cos only 42% of the ingredients is indeed organic. But well, I guess I should have been more careful reading labels. Anyway, the organic issue aside, I must say this mask is quite enjoyable as it's clay base wash off mask and it deep cleanses while refreshes and smooths out skin. I kinda like it! Just that I feel The Body Shop shouldn't have used the Eco Cert when all the products from their range is below 70% organic. Just saying...

Also using my light purple Balenciaga Giant City with silver hardware. I'm resting my black Balenciaga Work and the light purple is quite "in season" with the spring trend.

Drinking: Apple Cider Vinegar with honey. My previous attempt to drink half a lemon in warm water in the morning has failed cos it gave me a rather acidic stomach but ACV is really great and I'm back to drinking it daily with chilled honey. It's such a refreshing treat with all the health benefits.

Eating: Kinpira Gobo. I've been cooking Japanese food quite a lot and I'm really loving this classic Japanese bento stuffer of Japanese gobo and carrots. Japanese gobo is full of fiber and is known for its anti-carcinogenic properties. Super tasty when you cook it kinpira style. It's so simple to cook cos you just need to shred both gobo and carrots, soak the gobo in water for 10 minutes, then sauté them in a bit of sesame oil with some chilli before adding half a cup of water with two tablespoons of Japanese soya sauce, two tablespoons of mirin and two tablespoons of sugar. Simmer till all the liquid is soaked up and viola!

Loving: Anessa BB Sunscreen. This is possibly the best face sunscreen I've used. It's unfortunately not organic but its amazing texture and performance warrant its staying in my morning skincare routine. Its refreshing, light and non-sticky texture is such a great relief from the usual thick and greasy BB cream and my organic tinted moisturizer with SPF. Not only does it provide a very substantial protection of SPF 50 PA+++, it has a very decent coverage that really does even out the skin tone and yet not leave a heavy chalk-like film. It's really my favourite sunscreen now and I'm glad I bought an extra to stock up while I was in Japan!

Friday, June 01, 2012

The Case of the Not-So-Charitable Charity Drive

I'm a bit embarrassed to be writing this post as I'm about to launch into a raging rant, the fist-punching-the-air kind of rage while less than 48 hours ago, I was just talking about how it's more important to focus on the good things, stop bashing stuff, be Team Care Bear instead of Team Darth Vader.

But every now and then, the Care Bears do get pissed off when we see things that are so ridiculous. And this time it's a case of big organization attempting to be magnanimous with charity.

I'm talking about the case of Singapore Press Holdings' "Charity" stunt where they're putting up a Volkswagen car for charity auction. The money raised would go to paying for the subscription of The Straits Times newspaper for a year, worth $300, for 1000 low-income families. Yes, you got it, the money raised BY SPH goes back to SPH's bank account by purchasing SPH's product which is The Straits Times Newspaper.

Can I just ask what kind of charity is this when the proceeds raised by the organizer go back to the organizer's bank account? Okay, fine, so they're buying newspaper from themselves and it is still something for the poor, but how about doing REAL charity by giving out the newspaper FOR FREE and use the money raised to do more like subsidizing other things?

When I read a statement made by SPH, I literally did a 360-eye roll and laughed out loud:

Said ST editor Warren Fernandez: "We at ST are delighted to partner with Volkswagen once again for this worthwhile project. Those who bid for this car will help drive our efforts to reach out and support the less well-off in our community.

"We want to give the young in these families a precious gift: access to information and a window to the world and all its possibilities. That will help them get ahead in life. We sincerely believe a daily copy of the ST delivered to their homes will do that."

Having dealt with low-income families before in my previous voluntary stints, I honestly question if newspaper, instead of other form of subsidy, is what the low-income families need and want. Especially in this day and age where information is, in fact, quite readily available on the radio, television and internet. Not to mention there is already a supply of free newspapers like Today and My Paper (another SPH product mind you). Is a subscription to The Straits Times more important than to say practical things like $300 dollars worth of medical subsidy or grocery vouchers?

Warren Fernandez made it sound like these 1000 low-income families live in some remote island far away from civilization. Sooo remote that they have absolutely no access to information of sort and that The Straits Times subscription for a year will save their future.

What happens after one year when the charity tenure is over? Do they still get subscriptions? Or is their "window to the world and all its possibilities" suddenly get shut until further notice? What if they raise more than the $300,000 for a one-year subscription for 1000 families? Where does the money go to? What if some families prefer Chinese papers or other kind of subsidy for that matter?

I'm sorry, but I find this whole charity thing somewhat insulting to the many unsung heros out there who do real charity work either by donation or time and effort volunteering.

Having done all the ranting and bashing, it's "Care Bear Duty" time to make something positive out of it. I guess the one positive thing I take home with SPH's lack-luster charity gimmick is to do better when charity is concerned. That the real needs of the less fortunate people should come before personal glory.

Oh, one more thing! Don't underestimate the gift of newspaper because the newspaper can be a very useful resource too even if you're not proficient in reading. You can always use it to wrap fish before putting them into the freezer, clean the windows, or my personal favorite, wrap pet's dookies with them for disposal!


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