Binder or notebook?

Today is the kinda followup post for my original post (here)
Last post I asked whether we should do weekly, daily or monthly journaling. Today I’m gonna talk about why I chose a binder system to work alongside my normal bullet journal notebook.
(note: this post is applicable if you’re someone who draws their enture bujo from scratch)
There are 3 problems I face which I think I’m not the only one:
  • There are days where I have more things and some days where I have less of. If you get the daily journals (i.e. those journals with spaces for daily writing like Typo Buffalo A5 Journals, you get one page to a day. Sometimes you don’t use the pages and it’s wasted. Other journals give you ready made weekly spreads like Passion Planner or Mossery Co books. Then there’s not enough space for days where you have an overflowing list of stuff to do and it wouldn’t make sense to out it into tomorrow’s list. So either way you’re kinda stuck.
    • This is like a point 1a: Because notebooks are mostly either ringbound or threadbound or glued, they’re fixed you can’t add pages as you wish. or if you make a mistake you can’t tear out pages without the book looking a little disastrous.
  • Journals are expensive. Let’s not kid ourselves, they are. And on a student’s budget that can kill you. Some books are 40 bucks and we’ve not yet added in shipping. So whatever pages you  don’t use is your money wasted.
  • Paper quality: okay disclaimer first: I’m not endorsing or putting down any notebook or paper company neither am I dissing any reviewers comments. Also, my binder solution isn’t the answer to it all but it is a suggestion. So, many times we read reviews and sometimes, I like to believe a many times, the product is as per review. but there are also situations where you paid so much money for a notebook and it wasn’t the quality you half expected it to be. And wellllllll you gotta live with the book for the next 6 months at least if you don’t wanna shell out money for another notebook.
Here’s my binder solution:
(I write this referring to items from Muji. I’m sure in your countries you can find alternatives to it like Staples or Paperchase etc)
So actually when I was new to bullet journaling, my first bujo notebook was from Muji, under 10SGD. It was great, the paper quality withstood watercolour pens and brushes and markers. At the same time when I browsed the #Studygram hashtags on instagram I believe I saw many students using muji grid or lined paper and I was convinced the paper quality was great. so I tested it out myself. true to what I thought the paper quality was great. Also, Muji sells binders to like 5sgd I’m a4, b5, and a4 sizes. I got the a5 one and I tried it. There are it’s considered but here are the pros.
  • Whichever day you have more stuff on, then you open a daily spread for it.
  • You can insert weekly spreads and daily spreads as per your preference.
  • You can use more stickers heheheh
  • If you make a mistake you can just ditch the one page, not rip it out of the notebook
  • Usually the binder plus the note paper together is cheaper than a notebook like a Leuchtturm or Lemome or Scribbles that Matter or Dingbats. plus shipping. Especially if you’re in Asia.
  • You can use lined and grid paper and blank paper together whatever you choose 🙂
  • You can have draw everything from scratch nothing is prepared for you
  • Sometimes pages tear more easily… don’t tug too hard it’ll be fine
  • If you’re someone that sticks photos and stuff inside then yes it may not be that ‘hardy’ as a notebook
  • You’d have to buy paper refills… if you use a lot of paper.
What I did was that I used the binder for dailies and the blank grid notebook from Mosseryco for weeklies and any other tracker spreads.
I hope that made sense!
Feel free to contact/find me on instagram at @esthertiq

3 types of Bullet Journaling styles

Bullet Journaling? Where do I start to tell you all about it. Having discovered due to some interest I had in brush lettering and calligraphy two years ago, I stumbled on the idea that people could not just brush letter as a hobby, but that this could become useful as school notes headers, and above all, used in bullet journals. This peaked my interest and I scrolled through Instagram’s #bulletjournal and linked tags: #studygram #studyinspo and many more.
My bullet journal history + discovery; you can skip this part if you wanna go straight to the useful stuff:
Jumping onto the bandwagon I bought my first blank dot notebook – also my first try writing on non-lined notebooks/papers and discovered that it was way easier for me to draw boxes, diagrams and even ‘notepads’ on my notes and bullet journal. (By the way, dots and grids and lines, anything works, you find what is best for you). In my case, I liked the idea of dots instead of lines so I went with it.
I googled what styles were used to bullet journal and I actually did not start by discovering famous bullet journaling people – amandarachdoodles,, etc. I actually found a community of people who doodled a lot. And these doodles don’t have to be anything really, just doodling in a way that is useful, doodling in a way that is understandable to you. That’s when I understood.
ANYWAY: This post isn’t an inspiration post where you get new ideas on stuff to draw/tracker ideas, neither is it a post where I tell you why you should start bullet journaling. This post is a comparison between monthly, daily and weekly plans from my own personal experience.
The Useful Stuff:
Many people say that bullet journaling is appealing because it is everything and anything. It is anything because people log all kinds of stuff – from the usual monthly weekly and daily plans to Netflix logs, sleep logs, food diaries, happy mail tracker, pregnancy trackers and everything else.
I tried three ways – monthly, daily and weekly styles and I’m going to list some of the features of each plan as well as the pros and cons of it.
Monthly Plans:
This style is relatively new to me as I’ve been doing it for a few months only as compared to weekly plans which I’ve done for a very long time. Monthly plans for me need to be done on either two pages of your bullet journal (A5) or one page (A4). Whatever size you use, just make sure it has enough space for you to log your monthly stuff there. If not when you’re drawing your monthly plans halfway you realise there isn’t enough space and that’s just really frustrating to have to redraw everything.
Monthly styles allow for an overview of everything – you get to see how busy/free you are, as well as it allows for early scheduling, like weeks in advance. It also allows you to note important periods of time – i.e. exams all at a glance. This is usually useful for me if I am working on a certain project and I want to see many free days I can set aside to do it. When I do monthly plans I try not to include too many details in each day as space is limited – I just put the main events of the day.
2018-07-31 14.28.342018-07-31 14.28.29
Pros of monthly planning:
  • you can plan ahead for the whole year if you wish to draw 12 months’ plans
  • you can do it in academic year format (to start from August – June)
  • you can put monthly trackers in as well, as well as have a goal/focus for the month – it all can go here

Cons of monthly planning:

  • sometimes there isn’t enough space
  • it often becomes untouched once you get deep into daily and weekly spreads
  • drawing boxes and boxes of it is time consuming (and if you’re a perfectionist like me… you’d count the squares/grids)
Weekly Plans:
I use this style all the time, it’s the one I have become the most familiar with, as well as sometimes, the most bored of. It is useful to have your week at a glance, and mostly the most chronological thing to do. It bridges between monthly (it gives more space for writing, 7 days instead of 31 days in two pages) but it is not so spaced out as compared to dailies.

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Pros of weekly planning:
  • Every week you get to doodle woohoo – you can pick one theme a week for doodles/washi/stickers etc
  • you get to stick mini post-it’s for the week’s to do list
  • if you’re not a super busy person it works if you have a few things daily you can fit them in nicely into the space for every day
  • weekly trackers – like water/medicine/sleep/anything else you’d like to track
  • it is easy to change or transfer a task that did not get completed on this day to the next day, or any day within that week.
  • you can ensure you have some breaks within the week so you don’t overwork yourself (if you’re like me who jams their week up so bad)

Cons of weekly planning:

  • you always have to draw the week’s plan before the week starts – either you do it on Sunday or Monday, you can’t be lazy hehe
  • you can only see one week at a time – not four weeks like in a monthly spread


Daily Planning:

This is new to me, perhaps the newest and suddenly the most fun as I got busier. Oddly enough when I got busier this became most appealing because I found it so much more calming to know that I could see every task I had to do in the day based on the time I needed to do it. Before I show you examples of my daily planning spread, I wanna credit some places where I learnt these from:

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So I just have one style which I’ve used everyday, maybe I will discover new styles when I’ve done this longer.
Here are the pros and cons of daily planning:
  • you can to doodle everyday (oh yeaaaa)
  • you get to break it down into small time periods so long days feel a bit more manageable.
  • you can schedule breaks (!!)
  • you can do it before bed so it kinda saves time (but this is also a con, ’cause you have to do it everyday


  • You have to do it everyday (read on to see how I solved the problem)
  • to migrate items from one day to the next you have to write it again a few times if you transfer it over for a few days
  • too much space left over (if you dont use it)

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Thank you for reading this post 🙂

You can visit my instagram to check out more spreads, as well as leave comments below! 🙂

For my next post, I’ll be talking about how to balance weekly and daily spreads when you don’t need to do daily spreads everyday – and how to deal with bullet journaling on a student’s budget/anyone who has a lower budget

SC1101E Making Sense of Society

Module code & title: SC1101E Making Sense of Society

Grading: 15% Class Participation, 1 short paper (15%), midterms 20%, finals 50%

Lecturer & tutor:
Lecturer: Dr George Baylon Radics/Dr Lou Antolihao
Tutor: Rafael

It’s my favourite Prof Radics again!!!!(okay I admit I’m a fan.) I love his teaching style and he’s engaging and interesting and approachable. Weeks 1-6 was Dr Radics and the next 7 weeks were Dr Antolihao. Im not a fan of the latter.

What it’s about: everything you ever need/want to know in a soci intro module. It covers broad spectrum. A lot of brainless content really. and it sounds common sense. But it’s not the details that are important as much as the concepts.

Assignment workload: Do the readings. And actually a whole load of being able to score for the module is to INTEGRATE concepts. In soci mods like this and SC3101 you need to learn to think how to integrate concepts as seen in real life. So that’s how to work for the A grade, everyone can write but not everyone can get the A. Lectures aren’t webcasted but read the textbook, and all the secondary readings (if you plan to skip lectures).

Thoughts about the tutor: –

Project workload & question/theme –

Readings: Textbook: slightly brainless, dry and a lot of boredom. that. The articles for secondary reading were interesting, and short.

Exam (briefly format and difficulty): okay for the midterm – they combine topics and ask interesting questions – like what qualities do you want to see in a country leader and why? or why did X author say this and do you agree with him? it’s about taking the concepts and spinning it to fit your situation/argument. Final exam –  first part is 30 MCQ questions. this one you cannot escape doing readings, it’s factual. The second part of the exam is where there’s one big macro question and you use whatever relevant concepts you think you should use to answer it. We either answered – what do we think of the CMIO quota housing policy OR what has the invention of the automobile done to change family society and economic dynamics of the world. Both were interesting 🙂

Recommended if…you need to take the module for soci major or you’re just looking for a level 1 accessible module to chill and study basic soci concepts.

Rating (in terms of how much you enjoyed it) – 3/5/5

Expected grade: A+


TS2239: Major Playwrights of the 20th Century

Module code & title: TS2239: Major Playwrights of the 20th Century

Grading: 20% Class Participation, 2 papers (20% each), finals 40%

Lecturer: Dr Graham Wolfe

One of the more fun, chill and enjoyable modules I have done in Literature/Theatre. This module gave me back what the perfect balance of difficulty and yet accessibility should be. Not every professor can challenge you without making it too incomprehensible that you give up because you can’t be bothered to try anymore. He’s found the balance. I actually want to come for his 9am classes on Friday morning. It’s a great representation of what a level 2k module should be. Prof is approachable, extremely amusing and very relatable.

What it’s about: Plays and more plays. Plays and movements. You cover things like – existentialism, symbolism, naturalism, absurdism, metatheatre, there’s also topics like class, race, ethics etc. Very well balanced

Assignment workload: Readings (primary and secondary). Midterm and Final essay. Midterm essay is for you to sort of gauge where you are and what his standard is. He gives questions and/or you can create your own topic. Final essays – some people did play adaptations and scored well too, so if you don’t want to write, you can just do a play adaptation, whatever floats your boat. 🙂

Project workload & question/theme – 5 min presentation basically a short wikipedia/googling on the topic you choose is enough. You can do it alone or with a partner. Then there’s this thing he does called ‘Expert Days’ where you just need to know more than anyone else about the topic you choose (again, based on your interest) and then contribute and talk more for the day. Just be proactive and throw your ideas out, he doesn’t shut anyone down.

Readings: Very manageable.  Almost one play a week. Plus secondary readings. Secondary readings are short and worth to read. Presentation is short and he does his best to reduce pressure on us which was really nice and refreshing and made me want to study more.

Exam (briefly format and difficulty): 40% weightage. 3 parts – first part is where you identify excerpts and write where they came from and what they talk about relating to other themes of the play, close reading and interpretation basically. Second part is like explain terms briefly and show how they’re used in two plays. Third part is a longer essay.
Okay frankly the final exam is quite exhausting. I am better at exams than essay writing and yet this tired me out immensely. He gives you an idea of what to expect and how to write or think for the exam and even then the bar is quite high. He doesn’t want you to repeat what you wrote for your essays in the final exam. Meaning that you have to plan before the exam how you’re gonna write. He gives ample clues and his paper is quite late, so you should have a little more time (unlike me with 5 papers).

Recommended if…you are a major in lit or theatre. Worth it. It was such a great module. and he lets you explore new things which I totally loved.

Rating (in terms of how much you enjoyed it) – 5/5

Expected grade: A

GEH1067 Superhero Entertainments

Module code & title: GEH1067 Superhero Entertainments

Grading: Discussion Group participation 20%, 2 short essays (750 words) 20% each, finals 40%

Lecturer & tutor:
Lecturer: Dr Ian Gordon
Tutor: I can’t remember his name but he wont be there again, he changed department (LOL)

Okay so HEADS UP this module is taught part virtually over webcast and partly over lectures. But the lectures are basiclaly clip screenings and nothing substantial so frankly, it’s pretty useless to say the least. The content is delivered over weekly webcast where the professor rambles off content that you could read yourself, so I still find that the lectures whether virtually or not were pretty much meh. It didn’t feel very analytical or anything, like it was throwing a whole ton of dates and events at me. okay I guess. it’s a level 1 gem I expected a little too much. but other than that it is very straightforward.

What it’s about: it’s about the history of superheroes. It brings you through the comic book era to the tv series and the movies era. There’s Marvel Cinematic Universe (yes for those who were waiting to see this, I was, too.)

Assignment workload: mainly readings and the two essays.. Chunks of them. way too much for a 1k module. Only do them if you want to use them for essays. But yes okay if you’re like me, a Marvel researcher and obsessive then by all means go ahead and bury yourself in these things. I had a lot of fun because I love superheroes.

there’s two essays, 750 words each. Okay there are two possible problems you can encounter with them… 1) you have too much to write because there is an overload of content and you aren’t sure what on earth exactly to say…and you have 2 pages A4 basically to squeeze everything in. No worries, the questions are straightforward, it’s this or that, so just pick a side (or no side, if you’re that type) and then form an argument. You can PM me if you really need help, I scored A+ for both essays. 2) you have no idea where to start. okay so go do some readings and then look at the question again and decide if the readings prompt you to either side and then choose one and argue for it. Just use the readings, don’t need to try and be creative he’s not too particular on that.
whether you’re 1 or 2, PLEASE QUOTE readings. Prof Gordon likes that.

Thoughts about the tutor: MAN, I HAVE NO IDEA what happened all semester long. Tutorials were too large with a too small venue, ridiculously awkward and the tutor was just…odd and I’m not particularly sure what I learnt all semester. Just do your own readings, really.

Project workload & question/theme –

Readings: mentioned above

Exam (briefly format and difficulty): INTERESTING. coolest exam I ever did. and I had a darn good time. So he tells us before the exam that he wanted us to be familiar with a Cinematic Universe/Character/production company. So I chose Marvel (DUH, why DC? (no offense)) and a character. Exam paper – two parts. First part – you pick a character you’d like to re vamp and come up with a backstory for them and then say why it’s gonna work out. Second part of the paper – you decide and explain marketing/branding strategies and how it will survive the test of time. (it’s like writing fanfiction and marketing your fanfiction)

Recommended if…you are obsessive with superheroes, love comics, willing to go headfirst deep into a module you need to kinda study on your own without much help cause there’s not much help. if you can write essays you can boss the bell curve for the two essays which makes up 40% and even better if you can answer well in class that’s already 60% owned.

Rating (in terms of how much you enjoyed it) – 5/5 (the content), 1/5 (the teaching)

Expected grade: A+

(another post here has one of my essays 😉

What is more important for superhero characters: their status as icons, or their status as commodities?


This question was asked in the GEH1067 module, iteration AY17/18 Sem 2 under Dr Ian Gordon.

What is more important for superhero characters: their status as icons, or their status as commodities?
The question asked suggests that there is a binary, that superheroes have to be seen either as icons or as commodities. Much of the discussion and scholarship suggests, complete with examples, that they can never be one without the other. Having taken all that into account, I would argue that superheroes will be icons only in certain contexts and time periods but they will be commodities all the time. Furthermore, their statuses as icons in a particular time allows those who make them commodities to use them. For this essay I define icons as persons worthy of veneration and characters as persons in plays, novels or films.

To begin with, Bart Beaty discusses the need for ‘audience strategies’. This suggests that audiences are connected to the characters and to each other through their shared love for the characters. They view these characters as icons, declare their adoration for these icons and through their participation in these profit-making ventures, allow for these characters to be commodified for them. Examples include the creation of the cinematic universe (Beaty 319, 321) where audiences find affinities with characters through narratives like the Iron Man, and Thor origin stories as well as develop an understanding of characters’ interpersonal relationships. These stories as Beaty also suggests, have ‘easter eggs’ (322) which audiences pick up on and this helps them to connect movies together in the cinematic universe. This creation of characters as icons to the audience aids in the icons’ commodification as ‘audiences can join at any time’ and can ‘grow easily’ (Beaty 320), meaning that box office profits as well as accompanying merchandize sales would increase for the producers accordingly.

Secondly, this argument would help to explain the natural transition of superheroes from comic book medium to television and eventually to film. The creation of the cinematic universe could be even argued to have its roots in transmedial storytelling that began in the 1920s with cross-industrial collaborations (Freeman 220). Superman’s narrative was argued by Matthew Freeman to be intentionally created to be too large to stay in one medium that other mediums had to be co-opted in to assist in the production and broadcasting of it (Beaty 217). The end goal was that the profits accrued would not accrue only to one company but to many. Therefore, the creation of the ‘iconic’ narrative of Superman was eventually for the purposes of it being a commodity that was so large its outreach could be expanded immensely for consequent exponential profits.

To add on to that, some may argue that Superman is indeed iconic but I would rather posit that he was a product, a literal commodity of his time, similar to Captain America and other characters. The argument is also further emphasised when one sees that the demand of audience for characters is determined by contextual and historical problems. Superman was popular during the war because he was an icon of what America was fighting for (Freeman 220, 221-226). But he as an icon, together with the medium he was portrayed on, declined because they were only commodities. Once the war was over, the commodity of comic books as motivation was less necessary and neither was the war-time superhero. How iconic he was depended very much on whether he was useful as a commodity in that particular time. Similarly, Captain America was created at a time when the enemy fought was an ideological one, Communism. This fight was graphically portrayed in the Captain America vs Hydra clashes where the stereotypical propagators of this ideology, the ‘Russians’ were always depicted as the villains. This helped increase the popularity of the character as an icon, a bastion of democracy in contrast to Communist symbols and thereby increase demand for the movie. It also being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America functions as an icon with his own backstory as well as a character in the grander scheme of Marvel’s profit-making world.

In conclusion, the transition from comic book to television as well as the creation of a narrative world of the cinematic universes where characters were crafted and built as icons allowed audiences to gain affinities and connections with these icons and this affinity was very much based on the contexts of the time. Having audience fixed on these iconic characters allowed for the capitalist propagation of these icons as commodities. Finally, their popularity was not determined by how iconic they were but more so how much good were they as products of their time.


Works Cited

Bart Beaty (2016) Superhero fan service: Audience strategies in the contemporary interlinked Hollywood blockbuster, The Information Society, 32:5, 318-325,  DOI:10.1080/01972243.2016.1212616

Matthew Freeman (2014) Up, Up and Across: Superman, the Second World War and the Historical Development of Transmedia Storytelling, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 35:2, 215-239, DOI: 10.1080/01439685.2014.941564

Randy Duncan and Matthew J. Smith, eds. Icons of the American Comic Book: From Captain America to Wonder Woman. Santa Barbara, Calif: Greenwood, 2013. Select chapters.


Pic credits:
Essay grade: A+

Why is my name Esther?

(This post was originally an essay assignment for Introduction to Sociology in NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, module taken in AY17/18 Sem 2 under Dr George Radics. This assignment was really fun and interesting to do so I decided to post it here for keepsake and because well, it’s about me)

The essay question requires one to find out the origins of their name and decide what has influenced one’s parents in giving them the name, also to question whether the individual’s life keeps to or goes against the values that the name suggests.


C Wright Mills believes that the Sociological Imagination can help people to link what is happening or has happened in their lives to the larger picture of society and history. This would help them understand their own experiences when they locate themselves in this period (Mills, 21), as well as comprehend the values upheld and issues plaguing their society. He recommends this so that people do not confuse personal troubles with societal issues, both which are inherently linked but distinct. In this light, I posit that my parents named me ‘Esther’ in hope that I would be a powerful woman whose decisions were based on the conservative Christian values, leading me to display utmost loyalty for my community and its upheld values which I argue to be true to my life currently. In this essay, what would be discussed would be my parents’ background and beliefs, a brief history behind the name ‘Esther’ as well as how the historical significance of the name links to present day context with regard to my personal experiences. Mills asks three questions in his piece which acts as a guide to understanding the link between the society of Queen Esther, the society my parents were brought up in and eventually the society I currently situate myself in

The society my parents grew up in was harsh, traditional and one in which they had to fend for their survival. My father had a rough childhood, watching his father go from riches to rags when he was disowned by his parents as he chose to become a soldier in WWII. My grandfather’s children were left to fend for themselves and in the process my dad came to Singapore to make a living. My mother grew up with a single parent and left her education early on to support the family. They left their families and past connections, they were very much on their own, free from the traditional Chinese values. Instead, both chose to uphold deep conservative Christian values that they were taught since young, shaping their world view and mine too, in time to come. They got married and lived (till now) in a very tight knit Christian community. During a church sermon from the book of Esther (from the Bible) that they realized they wanted to name me after Queen Esther of old.

Esther was an orphan, originally known as Hadassah (Jewish equivalent), but named as Esther (Persian equivalent), brought up by her cousin, a devout Jew. According to the Biblical story, the then king of the Persian Empire, Ahasuerus, had divorced his wife Vashti for insubordination and was looking for a new queen. A beauty contest was held which Esther won and she became the new queen, winning the heart of the king both in looks as well as in wisdom. However, she was strictly charged by her cousin not to reveal her identity that she was a Jew. Years later, the most high-ranking court official, Haman, was jealous of the Jews as they were prospering and he wanted to commit genocide by royal decree, attempting to blackmail the king into giving the ring of his approval. Esther then revealed who she was to her husband, risking her life as she went in to the king unannounced, and begged him to not let the decree pass. In this act she saved herself and her people from genocide.

With regard to Mills’ first question (Mills, 22), the social order of Queen Esther’s time and mine do not differ much. She was from a minority group – the Jews, religious, traditional and community-oriented, who were considered inferior to the Persians as they were foreigners and of a different culture. My parents believed that the Christian values they espoused were in contrast to the ‘then-becoming-liberal’ values of the times. Therefore, the values I was brought up in were community over self, filial piety and the Bible as the final authority.

This societies of the Jews and the Christians differ but have many similarities as well. Besides the latter having roots from the former, both societies are often less individualistic and view the greater good of the community as more important. There is an element of collective consciousness in both Jewish and highly conservative Christian societies especially in the former, in which generations pass down the shared values of community and loyalty. These societies defend their culture from dilution at all costs. My parents who situate themselves in such a tight knit Christian community are compelled to appreciate the transition from a localized traditional society to an increasingly global and technology driven one, thus the values from various parts of the world become spread and inevitably, dilution to the traditional culture happens

It is in this light that I agree with Mills that ‘…it is the uneasiness itself that is the trouble; it is the indifference that is the issue’ (Mills, 25). Considering the link between the historical narrative and the present day, the dilemma comes for me as did it for Esther of old when her personal troubles were tough to be dealt with in the light of the ongoing issues of the time. She was one of a minority having to stand up for what she believed in at risk of death, for the sake of her people. Yet she hesitated to do so until she was prompted because she was afraid to disrupt comfortable life in the palace as the issues outside did not directly concern her. For me, I have to find my identity in the midst of the barrage of both public issues such as the increasing emphasis on individualism especially with the millennial generation’s cries and the private issues of conservative values and loyalty to the community over the self. As the cries of secular society become greater and greater through the voice of the social media and the atmosphere of intellectual education in the tertiary institutions, the question is whether my current possession of the sociological imagination will help me better understand my place and create an identity with it or remain in a state of uneasiness.



Mills, C. Wright (1997 [1959]) ‘The Promise’ (from The Sociological Imagination) in Henslin, James M. (Ed.) Down to Earth Sociology: Introductory Readings. 9th Edition. New York. Free Press (pp.19-26)


You don’t know what hurt is

You don’t know what hurt is until the words that come out of your mouth are like knives and they cut someone’s heart, sometimes lightly, sometimes more painfully. You don’t know it is painful because you aren’t capable of being at that level of depth to know how the pain only starts coming out when you go into the nuances of things. It’s the little actions you do, the words you say which I’m not sure if you mean, I could brush it off as insensitive for all I care. But the point is, I want to stop trying. I want to stop trying to act like I care. I want to stop trying to tell you how much I care for you when all you do is not treat me like I exist. I am your own flesh and blood but all you do is disregard my person, my words, my actions and everything that I have done that was only for your own good. You not just disrespect but you despise what I say. I am not the most spiritual, right, just, fair or mature. But I from my experiences and whatever little understanding I possess will tell you that this is how I think life should be when it comes to her and I and I am here, begging for you to lend me a ear. All that has happened in the past two years have only been pain and more pain, disillusion, discomfort and slowly it has descended into resignation, not bitterness, but just, a numb ache of grief that you know that you did not lose something, but that you didn’t have what you always thought you had. When I come to you I try my best to make things work between us. The years of separation have been long, in the process of time I ever asked God when I was 14, why God Why WHY did you take him away from me. But then I realised it was not God, but it was you, you chose to go pursue a greater mission than just a happy family, you chose to go because you believed. Or so I believed. When I was 17 I came to terms with understanding that loving God was the foremost thing in our lives and that nothing could and should come between us and God. There and then I respected you and I knew why you did what you do. Now I’m 22 and I find out the thing that perhaps no child should ever figure out, for they would be so much happier if they never ever came to understand the pain of disenfranchisement and disillusionment. The stab to the heart that comes when you find out that maybe you did not have a deep believe in what you did after all, that you were only a fair-weather person, that when tough times came you did not stick to those convictions your child assumed you had because you did never ever have them at all. When the going gets tough the tough is supposed to get going, but you know what, you stopped going because you never had a foundation. You and your other half are one and the same. Five years ago I asked her a question I asked why are you doing what you are doing, why did you choose to love God why did you choose to live your life as such. She did not have an answer. I will tell you now that I will have an answer, I will never be like her so help me God, I will give an answer for the hope that I believe in, for my sister, for my daughter and son, for those out there who question why I believe in this God who made me, who loved me. This answer you did not give me and I had to go the hard way to dig it out for myself. Sure you say, every child must seek their path, must seek faith on their own, must seek to know Whom they believe in. But let me tell you that as a parent, the both of you, listen to me right now. You should have had so many conversations as a father, as a mother, as friends. You did not have those with us. We went the hard way to find out all these things. If it were not for the family of God there would have been no answer there would have been no light. It was a path I took, a lonely path that included holding my family together, holding myself together, holding all of you as you fought every day, not in words, not even in body language, but in your minds, how you all claimed to be faithful to one cause, how you claimed to believe in the same essential set of principles but when it came down to the wire you did not do so. I am not saying that I would be able to do so 20 years down the road. I do not know what the path ahead is, but I am going to tell you now that at 22, I have a clear vision of what I want to do, Who I wish to follow and the people I want to be around. If you three cannot sort yourselves out, you can have time, you can have all the time in the world you ever need, but here it is, from me to you: I’m tired, I’m so tired of trying. Please understand an iota of this pain. It’s more than physical mental emotional psychological, its spiritual. It’s wearisome to play this family game. If you want to play it by all means do so, but I want to have no more part in it. You figure your own way out, you don’t come to me with your problems, listen to me pour my love and help out and then disregard every single word I say and walk away. Why then come to me and ask, why guilt trip me into not being a helpful ‘good girl’ in the family. Why is your definition so pathetically parochial, selfish, self centred and family centred? Why can’t you open your eyes to understand the world, to understand pastoral and deeper nuanced issues. Why???

Planning a 21st for 60 pax under $500

This is a long long overdue post, it was supposed to be posted on May 26, 2017 but I’m not sure why it wasn’t posted. But here it is now.
This post was written because it is possible to host a 21st without breaking the bank. Some figures first: Number of people invited = 60 People who showed up = 56 Food + Cake + desserts = $490 Venue = $20 Decor (balloons, leaves, everything misc) = $40 TOTAL SPENT = $550 for 56 people.
The hardest part of running this 21st party was knowing that I was paying in full for it. It almost drove me crazy how to pull off a celebration on my own dead bank account. So starting the planning in January.

FOOOD!! There’s food which is pretty much the biggest headache. Usually caterers have a GST + delivery fee amounting to nearly $150, so I decided to go unconventional and not order from a caterer. Nowadays, Carousell can be used for everything, and being a very loyal user, I searched catering companies on that site. Of course there’s a risk right, how would you know if they’re legit? That’s what reviews are for. So I found this Malay lady named Bella with very decent reviews and even like screenshots/pictures of her cooking taken by customers, so I PMed her and dang, it’s really nice to order food this way. Why I really liked ordering from her was that I would order each dish separately. If you order from catering companies, you’d tell them the number of people coming and everything is standardised to be equal, so like there will be 40 eclairs, 40 shares of rice, noodles everything. This actually was something I didn’t want because I know that some food items would be more popular than others and so you’d wanna order more on that food item and less on some others. Bella charges BY DISH, so if you order a tray of rice, it’s charged differently from a pot of curry chicken/rendang, so each dish you can tell her how many pax it’s for. So I ordered more chicken, less beef, etc. This made life really easy for me. Her delivery charge is $25 and no GST. So LOOK HOW MUCH WAS SAVED YAY!! And cause I mistook the original number of people coming, I had to increase from 30 to 40 pax and she let me do it, THANK YOU BELLA, which really eased some of my pains.
Realising that I still didn’t have enough food, I decided to make sandwiches, tuna and egg mayo. Bread costs really little and it’s way more economic to make food than buy it. So we did it. Made tuna the night before, and boiled eggs the same morning and stuff, fed like 20 people/it was kinda like sides also.
Desserts – ordered cake from Batterlogy, I’m a super loyal fan to her macarons and desserts, please support her.
She delivered the cake to my party doorstep and it came in this amazingly gorgeous elegant box. Customer service and packaging 10/10. I didn’t take photo of the cake in the box, it was amazing. Check @batterlogy out on instagram!
For desserts check out @dilutedcoke on Instagram. She’s my friend’s cousin and once again, customer service 10/10 and dessert quality super nice, she even texted to apologize for burning/messing up some and compensated with 10 more macarons, I’m super grateful. I really regret not having pictures of the bakes. She gave me flower pots with miner scoops. That was the cutest thing ever, and I just asked her for flowerpot cupcakes I didn’t expect it to be so adorable. And it’s so reasonably priced and super nice, the mini cupcakes and small torched meringue little tarts.
DECOR 1. buy from daiso – I literally spent 10$ on leaves, so many leaves (mine was a garden party), and then brought small vases from my house with flower/some small blooms to decorate the place. 2. MistyDaydream – the one stop for all things party and decor.
Balloons are 2 bucks for a pack of 12, the huge helium foil balloons are really affordable also, table cloths are $3 for one. Bought bunting also and balloon pump + balloon glue –> all these can
be also recycled and kept for next time. 3. the top bunting on the photo backdrop was done by a friend, customized Bayern Munich themed :’). 4. I drew and created the standing frame on my table – I customize it btw, for 21sts/other parties/events, PM me for more information. here’s how everything looked. What’s not pictured is the side table with bunting and flower vase.
Venue: Book a friend’s condo function room, it’s not so far from everywhere like D’resort/Aloha Changi. (Sorry for those who like those places, no offence but I really don’t like how inaccessible it is). It’s also 0-30$ only. So yes. Save money on venues. Thank you Joel Wong for responding so readily and so so kindly to my SUPER last minute request. Without you the party would never have happened. 

FINALLY, This is a long overdue note of thanks.
  1. To the party planners and helpers. I would have never been able to pull this off without your help. To Rennes Lee for planning this with me from start to finish, from brainstorming ideas, convincing me that it was not about how fancy it was but about the friends (every time I forgot you reminded me), to helping me on the day to run everything. You literally showed up whenever you could and your presence whether on the phone or in person made everything better. To Jedidiah Huang I think you won MVP. You’re really amazing I can’t even say how much you did, like from the food/desserts to the day itself and more so, the thoughtfulness that went into everything. To Michelle Lim thank you for being so kind despite you had so much other things on your mind. Thank you for volunteering so willingly and for lending me your dog and for being there, I was so happy to see you, you have no idea. To Olivier Tan thank you for your quiet unassuming presence that helped to run everything, for responding to my SOS calls with composure and the other MVP is your mom please say many many thanks to her for me. To Mom and Kezia Yeoh thank you for helping me with the sandwiches, for showing up despite being busy, for sacrificing your time and money and energy. It means a lot to me.
  2. To Shao Kai Chng thank you for capturing the moments which allowed me to create a scrapbook of memories! Thank you for being so willing and doing it for so little, for being a friend in need.
  3. Thanks for the gifts and the words, friends, your presence, and warm smiles really warmed my heart. I actually cried when I realised the depth of thoughtfulness in some of the gifts. Like okay I provided the wishlist but there was so much love in that. Arggh I can’t. :’)

Little things

Yesterday, a lot of things got sorted out that haven’t been sorted out for a while. It’s been a while since things have been going my way and in this period I’ve learnt to be grateful for the little things that God has given me. I realised I’ve taken a lot of things for granted, like clear vision, easily obtainable modules, and motivation. It’s not until these things were taken away from me one by one that I figured I couldn’t live without them. It started with me getting sick on new years day and I’m still kinda sick… With health taken away I was basically consigned to the bed and even after the fever subsided I was miserably stuck with flu. Being sick is really terrible, besides sniffling everywhere and having a sore nose, you don’t have strength to do much stuff. Attending to the multiple errands of the day tired me out so easily that I was quite shocked at how one train ride and back left me half dead. Coupled with that, I was waiting for my glasses to be done cause genius clumsy me broke them woohoo and I was left with contact lens that weren’t astigmatism equipped so I sort of hobbled around, banging into objects here and there, being unable to see anything or anyone clearly for a whole week and a half. It was pretty miserably sniffling and being partially blind. To add on to that, I really wanted to run or gym but you can’t do so when you’re sick so it was just me pining for some activity beside binging on Netflix and running errands. Then I couldn’t actually decide on whether I should bid for 3ks or 4ks, the dilemma was between pulling up my cap with easier 1-3k mods or just diving headfirst into 4ks. I was well aware of the fact that my grades was absolutely crappy and the fear of not getting to year 4 haunted me. It was pretty crippling, my own expectations and the fear of everything plus being unable to see anything clearly gave me daily mild headaches that lasted for the whole day. Bidding came and I panicked and dropped my MPE mods, I swear I wasn’t thinking straight. I still have no idea what happened for the first 12 days of January. With motivation and morale at an all time low, it reached the point where I didn’t want to leave the bed, I was sleeping 14 hours a day. Today was the turning point. I got my specs and I talked to someone who told me to choose my battles, take a few steps back and decide on a goal and let everything align around it. She told me I gotta choose what I wanna pursue and drop the rest because trying to achieve everything will only give me stress. Also she made me set a new goal for 2018 and that is to discover for myself how to rest and rejuvenate. She said you can’t help others if you’re dead. So start by taking care of yourself. I realised three years into uni and I didn’t know how to do that. So I’m gonna statt learning that, slowly. For now, things are looking up. I’m quietly thankful.