2023 Week 10 Update

Hello again from Bangalore! We are still here in the south Indian city of Bengaluru where my parents have moved to a retirement community and the children are having a great time here. We are also doing a bit of sightseeing which I will share in due course.

Today’s quote is attributed to the Chinese philosopher, Confucius who lived between 551 and 479 BCE. He is traditionally considered the paragon of Chinese sages and his teachings and philosophy underpin East Asian culture and society, remaining influential across China and East Asia to this day. According to Confucius, we all have two lives with the second one starting when we realise we only have one life. This means that when we understand that we only live once, we can become free and start living. When we realise that the only thing holding us back is everyone’s expectations and measurements, that is when our one and true life starts.

The traffic in Bengaluru is horrendous, and as someone who has travelled to cities like Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta, I can safely say, Baengaluru can compete with them for the title of one of the worst traffic cities in Asia. And the best part is because the place where my parents live is so far from the city, going anywhere means sitting in the car for a minimum of an hour or more. But Bangalore has always been close to my heart and so I can forgive all the traffic. Being here has brought back so many memories of spending time with my paternal grandparents and going out with family and friends. Last week, at a coffee shop, I overheard some girls speaking and that typical Bengaluru accent brought such a smile to my face, BB and GG had to ask my why. It reminded me of being with friends in the city when we used to come here for our summer holidays and those uncomplicated days are always nostalgia inducing.

We are also back from a hectic trip to visit the Lord of the Seven Hills – Balaji in Tiruapati plus a couple of other temples and we were so tired from the hours of sitting in a car, that we took the day after we returned back to Bangalore as a day of rest.

Our trip is almost at an end and it’s been fun connecting with BB & GG and just being with them without the pressures of school and other distractions. The next update will be when we are back in Singapore.

2023 Week 09 Update

Namaskara from India’s Silicon Valley, Bengaluru! We arrived here at the retirement community my parents live in now earlier this week and this was BB & GG’s first flight and overseas trip in more than three years. It’s also been that long since they have physically seen and spoken to their grandparents. My parents are also super excited to see their grandchildren and both grandparents and grandchildren are having a good time with each other.

Today’s quote is from the Indian Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore. It’s a beautiful quote where he asks people to let life lightly dance on the edges of time like dew on the tip of a leaf. I believe what Tagore was trying to convey was just like a dewdrop sits on the tip of a leaf in the morning, light and delicately, one should also let their lives live on the edges, lightly and able to change at a moment’s notice.

Since we just ended February, let me share my monthly stats with you. This month, I read less than I did last month – I read 10 books this month, mostly fiction, with a couple of non-fiction thrown in. I don’t think I will be able to reach much this month, because of my India trip, but I will do my best.

As for my steps and walking, this month I walked more than 200 km and am now somewhere between Wardha and Jalna in my home state of Maharashtra. I am about less than 600 km from my home in Mumbai and from there, to get to Bengaluru where my parents are currently living is another 1600 km.

That’s all this week. Next week, maybe there will some mention of the time we had in Bengaluru. Watch this space!

2023 Week 08 Update

February is almost over and this week’s quote is a reminder that if you are currently facing a tough time, remember it won’t last, but those who are tough internally will outwit and outlast everyone and everything. What this means is that our lives are full of challenges with ups and downs happening in life. But every time there is a down, there will always be an upside, every dark night is always followed by the glowing dawn. No matter how dark a situation is, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. We can’t stop tough times from happening to us, but accepting the reality of the situation and hoping and working for a better tomorrow is the best thing we can do. The resilience we have and the impact tough times have on us when we work to overcome them is a stepping stone to overcoming life’s challenges.

I read something very interesting this week and thought to share it with you all. A few days back, ChatGPT was asked questions from Singapore’s PSLE or Primary School Leaving Exam which 12-year-olds sit for to go to the next level of their education journey, Secondary school. But the AI bot failed the exam miserably scoring 16% for Maths, 21% for Science and barely scrapped through the English paper. This is when ChatGPT managed to pass a final exam at the Wharton Business School, passed tests in four law school courses, and comfortably cleared a US medical licensing exam. According to an educator, the PSLE’s approach of getting pupils to make informed guesses using varied strategies is not common in other syllabuses worldwide, and this may have been too much to ask of ChatGPT, hence the dismal grades.

GG & BB have finally finished with their polytechnic education, having done their last exams this week. It seems just yesterday, they got their O-level results and now they finish another academic milestone. GG will go on to university while BB will enlist for his national service soon.

That’s all from us this week. Stay safe!

2023 Week 07 Update

Singapore’s budget came out earlier this week, on Valentine’s Day, and the theme for this year’s budget is aptly titled “Moving Forward in a New Era”. With Singapore entering a post-pandemic era amidst high inflation and increased nationalism, Singapore needs to continue exercising financial prudence while supporting Singaporeans. Among the various benefits to Singaporeans, this year includes the $3 billion top-up to the Assurance Package meant to help defray the rising costs of living and the upcoming GST hike in 2024. Benefits have also been given to families, especially young families and senior citizens.

This was BB’s last week of school! He had his project viva this week and was quite happy about how the project ended and how his viva was conducted. GG, on the other hand, still has a week to go with two more exams before she can put a full stop to her polytechnic journey.

Today’s quote is from the British mathematician, philosopher, logician, and public intellectual, Bertrand Russell. Russell tells us that the world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. What this means is that as we grow older and more mature, we learn to recognise the magic around us. Once we see the possibility of the wonderful things around us, we can’t unsee them and this is the magic of our world.

That’s all from me this week. Take care folks!

2023 Week 06 Update

In the middle of the week, Singaporeans were treated to the good news that from tomorrow, all COVID restrictions will be stood down and the disease alert or DORSCON level will move down to the lowest level of green. This also means that Singapore establishes a new endemic norm as we learn to live with the disease and adapt to it. This puts COVID-19 in the same category as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and the H7N9 bird flu strain.

According to the Ministry of Health, this is due to the mild nature of the disease, especially among those who have been vaccinated, and the minimal disruption posed to healthcare capacity and daily lives. The DORSCON level has been maintained at Yellow – the second-lowest tier – since April last year, after more than two years at Orange.

From Monday, masks will no longer be mandatory on public transport as well as in some healthcare and residential care settings. However, visitors, staff, and patients will still be required to wear masks in settings where there is interaction with patients as well as indoor patient-facing areas. These include hospital wards, emergency departments, consultation rooms and waiting areas, pharmacies, clinics, and nursing homes.

Today’s quote is attributed to the singer Brian Nhira who exhorts us that even though we may not have reached our peak, we are still on our journey and on the way to the top. This is a quote that is full of hope that tells us not to give up, even at our lowest. And I think this quote is perfect for today because in the last three years, when we thought the restrictions and limitations would never end, today, many countries have opened up completely and we are on the way to a world where we have learned to live with the virus.

BB & GG are very busy with school with BB finalising his project report and preparing for his project presentations while GG is super busy with exams that start next week. She has been doing late at night and early in the morning studying, and I hope she does well and gets the reward for her hard work.

That’s all from me this week. Stay safe people!