Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

Happy Winter Solstice

Today, 21 December 2020, is what we call the Winter Solstice.

The date for Winter Solstice is based on the Chinese Lunar Calendar and it is a day whereby Chinese households will cook and eat a bowl of “tang yuen” made of rice glutinous flour and filled with either of the following fillings; ground peanuts, black sesame sweet paste, red bean paste or nothing. Each of the “Tang Yuen” is cooked in either dried longan tea or ginger soup with sugar to taste.

Each Winter Solstice comes with good wishes and blessings. As the old and young gather to enjoy this sweet dessert, blessings for good health, achieving what you set out to achieve successfully, luck, peace, joy and happiness.

Happy winter solstice all and I hope you get to try this dessert. It is sold in supermarkets under frozen section and I hope you get to buy and try it in your country if they import it. I know some USA states would have it and even in Canada too. I believe United Kingdom may have it too.

If you choose not to cook it in soup, you can ladle out the cooked dumplings and roll it in grounded peanuts with some sugar for taste.

Blessings and all things good folks! Garfield hugs!


Piglet’s Gift To Garfield Hug – A Second Surprise!

Piglet is a fellow blogger who lives in lil red dot and took the courage to locate me in Bates Motel when I was incarcerated there many years ago.

I was very glad she made that effort and we both shared our stories of our stays at Bates Motel and the surgeries that plagued us each in our own ways.

We became fast friends as we sought solace in each other’s challenges. We need not meet but the bond of friendship is there.

Today, I received a lovely gift from Piglet. A lovely surprise indeed, second in a row of gifts.

Wedgewood shortbread and strawberry jam!

Strawberries and cranberries are my favorite fruits and this cheered me up alot as holiday seasons tend to bring on a tinge of sadness for me.

Garfield and friends wish Piglet and all at WordPress a happy yuletide season, happy holidays and for all to stay safe.

Friendships are not about duration of time known.

Friendships are about being there in thoughts, words or acts of kindness during one’s most vulnerable moments of time.

Friendships are not separated by countries as the borders are limitless through social media.

I was reminded of this when the lady who used to turn my beds and cleaned my room at Bates Motel returned to Xilin, China texted me last night to enquire about me.

The ugliest of friendships through MR EX is not forgotten as he still tries to reach out to me. I try to find the good in him..a tad hard but I try.

I comfort self that MR EX has his own constraints that caused his behavior towards me, without thought for my well being. But I know that MR EX cannot be a good friend as I am only there to be of use.

Which brings me back to genuine people who care about my well being and the generosity of their time, care and concern towards my well being.

I am grateful to my neighbors too. The ladies ( mothers and grandmothers) who cook my daily dinners and send to me, piping hot without acceptance of cash.

There’s also my immediate next door neighbor who would text to ask me if I was ok when he sees my daily newspapers not picked up from my foyer. I told him once that being single with medical conditions that I might just keel over and be a rotting corpse without anyone knowing. He remembered that speech and runs errands for me to collect items issued by the government to me or post snail mail for me.

To Piglet and friends, I just want to say warm thanks for remembering me.

To White Coats, thanks for keeping me alive and putting heart in trying to always be there for me irregardless of weekends, public holidays keeping their hippocratic oath vigorously.

2020 will end very soon. No one will miss it and no one will forget it for sure.

What will 2021 bring

Thankfully my surgeons are surgeons and not quacks!
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People tend to say that tranquility is over rated.

Zen meditation urges us to seek that peace and tranquility in our lives to balance it.

In fact most meditation classes teaches us to achieve tranquility in mind, body and spirit.

Well, I have failed miserably as my mind darts about like a monkey’s mind. I get distracted.

I took qi meditation classes for some years (quite a while back) and failed to achieve “zen” state of mind or the level of tranquility expected of me. I closed my eyes and tried to focus on my breathing technique but my mind wanders. So, I did not achieve my goal.

I have been invited for a while now to join another meditation group that uses music or sounds to help me achieve tranquility as it is believed that through tranquility, my body and mind becomes one and healing naturally begins.

Achieving a level of heightened awareness without looking is not something I am a master of.

In my conversations with learned monks from India or Tibet, I sense their intellect beyond words. Nothingness is pivotal and I cannot seem to fathom “nothingness” – I have disposed of the need to strive to climb a corporate totem pole.

I have resigned self to fate such that whatever illnesses that come my way, I just take it on and make an informed decision as to whom should I choose to perform a surgery, the surgical team and the team lead.

I am aware that I am not an intellect. I do not have the drive to claim that I am, nor if I ever will be.

I see people around me, in their 60s still chasing what I call the Ferrari dream. I have given up earthly demands. Other than food on the table, enough pocket change in my pocket book to pay for my personal needs of medical attention and ensuring that I do not owe the world a mountain of debt, I have been living frugally.

But admittedly, my frugality is still way above the poverty level. I could do better.

As a human being, I know I am selfish.

I also know that I am greedy, more is always better.

When is “enough” ever really enough?

I worry what morrow brings.

I worry if one day I lose my mobility.

Yes, tranquility is hard to fathom, much less achieve.

Can anyone be really, hand to heart, truly tranquil and be “zen” about life, sans worries of what morrow brings?

See, Santa – this is a tall order I have for you, for me!


Tranquility #1 – This Post Disappeared

I wrote this post before I posted #2 but for some strange reason, it disappeared and never got posted.

My revised post below is really different from the original post that went asunder or as MoneyPenny would say, ” a post gone rogue!”

Elusive and mysterious indeed. It does not bode well with my seeking of tranquility. A sign perhaps?

I have a mind that works very hard, multi tasking many things at a time as I have limited hours in a day.

I can be working on 5 projects at a time with the ability to switch back and forth to answer questions tagged to each respective project in an instant.

I can eat, read and watch tv at the same time. I study with the tv switched on or music in the background.

To seek tranquility, I tried meditation, using the zen technique as well as qi gong. This is what masters allude to “Taming The Monkey Mind”

Needless to say, I am anything but zen!

My monkey brain cannot be trained to switch off and achieve a state of “nothing- ness” and think of blankness.

Qi meditation taught me the art of breathing and harnessing the qi energy within me to self heal. It taught me to see my mind and understand who I am, what I stand for and have a heightened sense of awareness.

Alas, I did not progress on to achieve an emptying of my mind.

I have been invited many times to attend meditation with the aid of sound. But I am not sold on the idea yet.

When I meet religious monks from different sects of Buddhism from Tibet, Thailand or India, I engage them in a series of dialogues that leave me not any wiser.

Literally, I do not seek them out but they cross my path of life.

Tranquility is hard to achieve and I wonder if the monks or nuns holed up in monasteries or convents are indeed tranquil, not bothered with any of life’s irritation.

Will I be successful in my quest to be in a state of tranquility?

A tad hard as I am striving to achieve it but with the inability to switch off, I am back to square one.

Being in a state of “zen” is for the high achievers of nothing-ness.

I am anything, but tranquil!

And, I am not a genius or member of MENSA. Never took the test as afraid to discover that I may be actually stupid haha!


Tranquility #2

To overcome the lack of tranquility in my monkey brain, I have turned to silliness.

Silliness is easy, as I can do silly any time as it is effortless!

Silliness is my way of dealing with the ponderables of life.

Silliness is my disguise of calming self that one need not find tranquility to achieve the much touted state of Nirvana.

There is calmness in chaos as the great gurus say or tout.

Life is such as demanding journey.

Life has to manage death too.

Life begins just as described by the famous bard, William Shakespeare – 7 stages of life!

What life giveths,

Life will also taketh.

I am no one famous in the world. It is fine as I do not need fame to be settled in life. It seems the more famous one is, the more inundated with life’s questions become more hauntingly real.

But I am not one to leave the realm of life to live a life of nothingness. Garfield means too much to me and to dream of not having Garfield to hug is unthinkable.

One thing is for sure, I do not need people who are always seeking to grab more wealth.

This is largely why I cannot seem to find the right life’s partner. I see the rush for wealth, the continuous need to grab more and the slippery slope these guys thread on.

They would sell their soul to the highest bidder and I do not agree on these terms.

Tranquility is elusive,

Tranquility is not inclusive.

Tranquility is exclusive.

Tranquility is non conclusive.

Tranquility is a state of mind that’s evasive.

Tranquility eludes me.

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Local Veggies

I recently see a lot of miniature veggies sold in our local supermarkets.

Sold at 3 packs for SGD2 at Hao Supermarket for Xiao Bai Chye and SGD1.95 for a packet of Nai Bai at NTUC Supermarkets, this is the “go to” choice of veggies for me now.

To give you an idea of quantity per packet, each plate equals a packet

I think it looks cute and so I started buying these mini veggies.

“Nai Bai” is the name of this Chinese Green

I love plating these veggies as it sits quite fashionably well on my Garfield plates. It goes well with rice and a roast pork dish or fried fish. I relish eating veggies and can easily finish a plate in one sitting for a meal.

Shorter than an index finger length, it cooks easily when you pour hot boiling water over them in a pot. Faster than blanching and no flame used. In seconds, pick them out with tongs or chopsticks and plate it, cooked and ready to eat.

This is miniature “Xiao Bai Chye” and I cook it the same way for Nai Bai and pour a home made sauce of vegetarian mushroom sauce made to look like “oyster sauce” with some sesame oil.

My latest food fad….

Meanwhile Bird cooked the veggies from her urban plants she cultivated.

From pot to her table.

Bird’s brinjal plant is getting bigger – still no brinjal yet
Bird is trying to grow chillis
Bird’s home cooked meal using the veggies she harvested


In Between Appointments….

I do not like to lose time and I get annoyed when I have slots of times in between appointments, leaving me with a neither here nor there situation.

It means neither can I start on something as I cannot do much and get interrupted when I have to embark on the other appointment.

So here I am in between appointments, I get to do a blog post.

The day has been chokeful of work stuff. My lovely neighbor cooked fish curry indian style and provided me with naan, prata and basmati rice cooked with raisins. She wanted me to have extra for breakfast tomorrow too.

Good news is that this is our 12th day without community cases and just learnt that Vietnam has gone 81 days without community cases. I am happy.

How it works to have zero community cases is that both citizen and government cooperates, working together to manage the spread.

Of course as a citizen I feel the restraint of freedom to go about without a mask but I am not an idiot to know that this works against me.

I learnt that it is my responsibility to do my part to ensure everyone’s safety.

There is a lot of temptation too – drinking or partying but this has resulted in their being caught and charged in court for behaving that way during a lockdown.

Many will scream…freedom to act, freedom to speak but we have all that except we do it with respect and not insult other people’s race or religion. I was very sad about the Paris incident and that must never happen here as we have 4 major racial groups; Chinese, Malays, Indians and Others.

My neighbor is Chinese, I am Chinese but we are all united as Singaporeans.

Food unites us and the food that my neighbor cooked for me is Indian.

I am also glad that our pitch for Hawker Culture to be listed as a UNESCO heritage item.

Yes, food makes us happy.

Food creates friendships.

Food feeds the hungry and the celebrant.

Stay safe and healthy please.


Hoo Boy…Nana’s At Risk

This is not funny. I wonder which Prime Minister said it as the poor young one did not know if she does not practice good hygiene, she may be asymptomatic and pass it to nana or her parents.


Sunday Humor Before Monday Blues

I feel like a hamster, always running on the “proverbial wheel” as my life is pretty much the same.

Laundry, cleaning floors, toilets, disinfecting counter tops or surfaces that I use goes on and on.

Good news is that Bird sent me a photo of her egg plant showing the bud blooming into a flower.

Let’s hope the bees pollinate the flower else it will fall out and not fruit to become a brinjal.

Meanwhile lockdowns started back in European countries and Malaysia.

The travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong has been postponed from 22 November 2020 to be reviewed in another 2 weeks.

Apparently Hong Kong covid cases took a spike up. Wise to postpone and I am glad as Singapore is into it’s 11th day without community cases.

Lil Red Dot has been containing imported cases who enter our borders and serve quarantine or stay home notice and Covid swab tests catch these cases before they meld into our community.

2020 is ending soon and I am happy.

Hmm when Covid ends, how will it be celebrated?

Hoo boy. .Wifey’s in trouble?! Poor grammar or?
If it was maybe the vehicle for Ghost Busters?!

Death Know No Bounds! Thank Goodness I Am Surrounded By Kindness

People around me are dropping like flies and the sad part is, they should not as Death robbed them way too soon.

Mr X joined my company some 4 months ago and on the 4th month, he did a health screen as he suddenly started losing weight.

The usual colonoscopy was done amongst other tests. He was diagnosed with 2 large tumors in his liver and pancreas – inoperable and end stage.

On 16 November 2020, I was told he succumbed to the cancer and passed at age 38, leaving behind a wife and 2 young children. Mr X originates from the Philippines and became a permanent Resident of lil red dot.

My heart went out to him as all I could do in the last month or so was to check in and ask how he was doing and if the immunotherapy shots delivered by his oncologist was helping him. It is apparent it did not and he spent $1,800 plus per injection. Thankfully he had a good insurance plan.

Then, Mr Vendor I know who jokes and laughs with me or gets a thwacking now and then for not doing things right, suffered a stroke.

I am unsure how Mr Vendor is doing as periodic updates from his colleague said that he managed to come out of the coma but unsure what faculties are affected. He is in his 30s.

I am sad. But I also know that life is fragile and Death knows no bounds. It claims anyone, anytime, without care on age, looks or physical being.

just when I am enveloped by all this sadness, I was suddenly embraced with the kindness of a neighbor, that I say “hi and bye” to whenever we meet in the underground car park where we live.

Out of the blue Ms Neighbor asked me why is it she hardly saw me those times and I explained to her that I was ill and hospitalised.

Next thing I knew, she started to send me cooked dinners.

Top: Baked mackerel fish with assorted vegetables Bottom: Stewed chicken with stir fried nai bai vegetables. Each boxed dinner was served with a side of rice and a bowl of soup.

I am blessed by her kindness and eat every morsel with appreciation and thanks as she need not do. She is not paid for any of these meals and does it out of the kindness and goodness of her heart.

These are local Teochew pastries called Tau Sar Piah. It comes in sweet or salty filling versions. I bought some to give to Ms Neighbor as I feel it is nice to reciprocate her kindness as she will not take money.
I also added some egg tarts for her and hopes it is tasty.

Luckily Ms Feisty walked past a bakery shop and she asked me if I needed anything. Timely, as I could buy these for Ms Neighbor to enjoy.

I love Charlie Brown’s philosophy and agree.

My life has been filled with good and kind people and this extends even to doctors that treat me.

I appreciate the kindness of people and just as I mourn the loss of people I meet, I am reminded of the positives of those that are alive.

My belief is simply this; we meet for a reason and part when karma ends.

This is why some friends feature more in one’s life at one point or another than others.

Happy weekend ahead.