Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

Stark Realities Of Life – Sobering Thoughts

The realities of life were impressed upon me yesterday when I received a text message that my 3rd Aunt who was struggling with end stage liver cancer had passed away at around late morning.

 In a way, I was happy and relieved that her suffering has ended as she was bearing the brunt of pain. She is in eternal bliss where she can no longer feel pain. She has joined the great Prof Stephen Hawking in the heavenly realm, one day after he passed and barely 6 months since her late husband died. I am sure they will become good friends. She was 88 years old.

 My aunt and uncle were a close couple and her children told her upon her diagnosis of liver cancer some 6 months back that her husband had wanted her to be with him as he was worried she was not taken care.

Yes, my uncle was fiercely protective of his wife, my aunt, as she was the shy and meek type. My mum as her sister, had often stood up for her when she was being bullied.

Her husband died 6 months ago and shortly after, she was diagnosed with end stage liver cancer with a death sentence pronounced of 6 to 8 months left to live. She managed to crossed beyond 6 months, but not more. *I hate these “death sentences by doctors and sometimes feel it is a self fulfilling prophecy of sorts if one is not a fighter!

I have not been over to mum just yet on hearing the news and I am sure she is upset. But knowing mum to be the practical person she is, she will tell me, life is about living and dying. This is true. Afterall the sisters had said their teary goodbyes some days before Chinese Lunar New Year on 10 February 2018.

I guess, this is a somber reminder to me to do my best whilst alive and though it was necessary to worry about what morrow brings, it is foolhardy to be overly worried.

I just need enough to subsist on and move on. I need no glorifications of things, but to live simply and eat simply. Thankfully, I do not yearn for the finest cuisine as I am allergic to a lot of foods. I stick with my simple fish, pork and veggies.

Last night, I took a nice slab of bream fillet and steamed it with cut red chillis, salted soya bean and sliced ginger. It cost me $6.26 cents for the fish and I had half left over and I ate that with collard greens (Chye Sim), blanched and mixed with Vegetarian Oyster Mushroom sauce.

I have to deal with mortality – my parents and mine in due course. What or how I will feel then is indescribable. As for self, I will sort my out with a local undertaker, enabling the help of Mr Ability To Earn when my time comes.

Someone once told me that the most important person in my life is not a husband, a lover or a special anyone – it is actually the one person who will use his thumb for finger to flip the switch to the furnace to cremate me. If no one does that, then, I am doomed to a life of maggoty degradation. Awwwffful!

I am a mere mortal, dependant on others though I fight desperately to be independent! Good bye 3rd Aunt….your children will do a week of “Ching Ching Chong Chong” of Chinese traditional funeral rites before they decide to cremate or bury you. You have good and filial children who took good care of you. Go in the peace of the deities and continue to bless them from above.


Life After Working Years

I met with Mr Ability To Earn and Mr Education over dinner to discuss about annuities. Mr Education and I happened to be discussing about how to make our savings work for us as monies put into our local banks carry negligible interest of 0.05% on fixed deposit rates and savings account.

We both lamented about growing old and wondering how to survive without a job and or a source of passive income.

We both had wanted to invest in a property for rental income but with the government’s latest slew of measures to curtail hiring of foreign talent and property developers ramping up supply, we do have a glut in real estate condominiums for available renters to have their choice pickings and lower rental.

Further, real estate developers are having great holding power to ensure that property prices do not fall. This means that with high borrowing home loan rates for mortgage, zero rent coming in and no capital gains, the 2nd property which we think is for passive income, can indeed become a liability!

I surmised that the government’s position is to stop speculators from forcing market prices of homes to escalate and ensure that property rises remain like in most countries at a socialist pricing mechanism. There is no foreseeable profit to buy properties on mortgage and gear payments through rent to cover it at 100%.

This was when Mr Ability To Earn shared that annuity is the best way to go. He cited that SGD1,000,000 put into an annuity can allow one to draw $8,000 a month from age 65 years old till 80 years old.

I quipped, “Oh, we must then die at age 80!!” else we would be penniless was my concern.

It would be great if we all drop dead in our 60s or 70s but the worst is that when we do not die then what?! I had visions of me, the living dead, without funds to continue to live on.

With good medical science and nourishment, we are living longer! Look at Japan and now Singapore, our mean mortality is 80 to 88 years of age! Gee, I do not wish to be a mindless fool alive at that age and worst, poor!

Mr Ability To Earn explained that with $8,000 a month, we will not squander all of it away and so the savings each month can be ploughed into another investment instrument of one’s choice. For me, I am risk averse and this sounded like a good option!

I was also told that at different stages of our life, ie be it age 70 or 75, there are chunks of dollars paid as bonuses in several tranches of one’s life span from 65 years to 80 years of age.

Mr Education was quick with his calculator and we used a simple yardstick test of $100,000 yielding $800 a month.

From age 65 years to 80 years, there are 15 years.

15 years x 12 months x $800 a month = $144,000 or 0.44%

It seems better return than savings and less risky than stocks or other insurance products. We both have alternative options to consider than savings now.

Plus if I keel over before my end time of 80 years, whatever is left in the capital sum plus interest would be disbursed in accordance with my will through my estate.


Budget 2018 In Lil Red – A Hard Bullet To Bite

Budget 2018 for Singaporeans or lil red dotters has been a lot to digest.

The general overview is that things are going up in prices. Public transport, implementation of co pay for medical insurance (the total payment by insurers through a rider is now going to be a myth, sadly), GST will rise from 7% to 9%, Buyer’s stamp duty for property will rise from 3% to 4%…the list goes on. The deadline year used is 2021!

The basic fundamental rise in prices that will affect my pocket (as well as all Singaporeans or people living in Singapore) is due to the need to ensure our seniors (huge population; 1/3 of us will be in our 60s and above!) are provided for against health issues.

Also, the usual vouchers for utilities and medical care is given free as a handout to affected seniors (means testing is used as a yardstick).

Our government has waged war against diabetes. Restaurants are urged to use lesser sugar. School canteens or tuck shops are not allowed to sell sugary drinks and schools will put in water coolers to encourage school children from young to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Our government really takes care of us, like a “parent” looking out for us “Children” 🙂

Our government is also tightening on car population to enable a car lite economy. With car emissions standard aligned to Euro standard minimum neutral band VES standard, those makes and models of cars that do not meet this standard is barred from import for sale.

Each car that gets to be put on the road requires a Certificate of Entitlement (COE) or I call, a birth certificate. This can range from SGD30,000 to SGD70,000 depending on engine capacity, bid price at each bidding cycle. Each COE has term life of 10 years only.

Now, the curve ball thrown for COE is that no new car is allowed onto the road unless one car is replaced. It is a 1 for 1 replacement and cars beyond 10 years old will be made harder to obtain an extended COE of 5 years for another set of costs.

The death sentence for any car, despite how good it is maintained is fixed at 10 years. Car prices range from $100,000 (Nissan, Toyotas, Kia standards) to $600,000 (Mercedes 300SL standard)

Car loans are pegged at 50% down payment in cash and loan is allowed only for the remaining 50%. There is a debt ratio that each person is not allowed to go beyond to ensure that they can service all sorts of loans and to dissuade over borrowing and causing any person to spiral into bad debt. For a minimum priced car of say $100,000, the buyer must have cash in hand of $50,000 to put down before being assessed for a car loan.

I now realize why Mr Ability To Earn has not gone off to book a new Mercedes 300SL. This new hunk of jalopy will make him set aside $300,000 cash to put upfront before he is assessed for car loan. I am sure with his savvy method of making funds, he can make that $300,000 generate more income for him than to put it into a set of new wheels!

My car is 7 years old and I am forced to sell it and buy a new one. Why? I need a car to ferry my parents about for their medical appointments as public transport is not as convenient given their age. Uber or Grab or taxis are hard to get a hold of during peak hours and with surge pricing, it does not make sense.

This big ticket item will cost me a bomb but if I do not sell my current car (in mint condition and only 50,000km on odometer), I will lose my car in 3 years when my COE ends (I bought my COE at $79,000 back then)

As a single person, I have never benefited from anything. I have duly paid my taxes without much rebate or relief and am not entitled for a lot of the “freebies” given to the population at large. Why? I fail their means testing and am what a lot of us called – sandwich class.

Sandwich class is not the uber poor or the uber rich. We are middle income and with middle income status, the majority of us are slaughtered for a lot of payments. I have not even received any GST rebate vouchers as I do not qualify, just like a lot of other sandwich class people.

But I feel proud to be able contribute to the nation’s income but as I age over the years, I wonder how I will be treated when I am no longer economically viable.

I am sure the lot of us will be very displeased and unhappy as we have given our best years and in our future declining years, we may not reap what we have contributed in our economic years.

We are not assured of anything now. But what we do know is that these rises in prices of everyday things is to ensure that our lil red dot does not dig into its reserves and foolishly spends it. We cannot become like USA, whereby the monies of the future generation are spent way before their time and more dollars are printed.

Well, life goes on in lil red dot and there is no fallacy when people often say that in lil red dot, we must work till we drop dead! I see self working till I drop dead…literally!


Why Is It So Difficult To Take Responsibility?

Plain and simple – The biggest culprit is inertia!

Ugly truth – Because in every family there are lookers or bystanders and amidst them, a leader arises!

Admittedly, I am the world’s “stooopidest” leader amongst my siblings, comprising an eldest sister and youngest brother.

I cite Kitty Genovese psychology and it is the same with my siblings. None of them cares and I am rather taken aback by their nonchalance.

In recounting the numerous medical emergencies, both of them did not bother. They stayed put in their respective residences of Hong Kong and New Zealand.

The eldest is the most steely, blocking all emotions, citing distance and instructed me not to bother her unless death occurs.

Of course only when death occurs…it means inheritance to be divided and of course she must be present to fight for her so called “entitlement”

It is easy to be a bystander. Unfortunately for me, my conscience forbids me.

My parents brought me up. They fed, clothed and educated me. Actually I had to fight for my education as my father was reluctant to give me money for my bachelor’s degree nor my masters. He preferred to invest in the other 2. Middle children are most unloved usually and in reading psychology, I recognised my father’s biases.

I paid for my own master’s degree after I started working. Figured it was easier to care for self after basics fought for.

Responsibility is thrusted upon those who catches it. Responsibilty was thrown to both my siblings but it fell with a thud to the floor.

The staring game continued and both my eldery parents got older and more reliant for help.

I had to step up and pick things up.

As my parents near their nineties, I asked firmly of my 2 irresponsible ones, “how do WE intend to solve their care as they further age?”

This has been 2 years now and not a peep of a solution came forth.

Nursing homes cost $3,000 per person excluding medical care.

A live in domestic care worker will cost minimum $1,500 before levies, insurances and daily needs.


If one cannot give time, one usually augment with financial support.

I got none.

So with the deafening silence I said that it would require me to give up my job and take care of them.

Even louder silence as no one would consider giving me financial assistance.

I am now resigned to fathom out my own financials as I embark on retirement in the near horizon.

I will need to sell my own roof to pay for upkeeping my parents as without a job, I need to monetise my only asset.

Yes, responsibility sucks and I for one cannot ignore the plight of my 2 seniors.

I must strive to get through and worry about my own future only after the oldies but goodies are gone from this earthly realm.

For sure if they pass, I will be evicted from their home as my siblings will want to monetise my parents home to line their pockets.

Sad…but that is life and I know there are many like me out there.


9am to 8pm

I am beat!

Today my mum and dad’s unit had carpet tiles and vinyl put over the slippery floor tiles. * Mum slipped and fell on 22 January 2018 and we decided that carpet was needed.

So at 9am I reported for “duty” to oversee the installation.

I was lucky to have Mr Education join me. He took personal leave to help us.

He is a helpful friend of the family and was vigilant in ensuring the tiles were laid to create a checker board effect and that nothing gets broken.

A team of 3 men arrived for the job and they did a great job, beavering away, taking a half hour lunch and finishing the job by 2.30pm without any dramas.

The vinyl parts were also done but by another contractor. This was a bit challenging as the door could not close shut and the lone ranger contractor for vinyl tiles had to dismantle the main door, sand down the bottom to give more height room to allow it to close over the vinyl tiles.

Mr Education and I took turns sweeping off the dirt and dust that appeared continuously till I left at 8pm.

It is good to have his help as he went out to get lunch as I manned my work station.

Job done and now I am nursing a painful bag of bones😣


Story Of My Life

I truly can reasonate with this meme when I chanced upon it.

People often like to cite when one door closes, another one opens.

I have had the same experience but it is truly a different kind of bad ones.

S Man told me how he is milked dry by his Indian bosses for contacts he has at work. He hates his job but for economic reasons he has to keep the job.

My advice to him was to release it slowly else he will be thrown out once he is of no economic worth.

I am morose and melancholic when it comes to vocations by lords and we as minions.

When I reflect back on life thus far, I do not see positives.

I see how I have been helpful and people take my kindness for weakness.

But that does not deter me from helping when asked.

People forget me once they have received help and will remember me once again when they need me.

I am above all that as I know these days that it is about “use” – how useful one can be that is.

MR EX once told me he would start his own church of sorts and make so much money like our infamous City Harvest Church’s Kong Hee.

City Harvest and The Rock were helmed by 2 great pastors; Kong Hee and Pastor Prince.

I have not listened to any of the preachings of Kong Hee but I have listened to Pastor Prince’s sermons on dvds.

Kong Hee and his team are now serving sentence in jail for criminal breach of trust.

I do not feel anything for them as I do not know them.

But whatever Kong Hee did, I felt, was out of love and support for his wife to become a Hollywood diva star. The monies he used to fund his wife’s Hollywood presence belonged to the church.

MR EX appears desperate at times for wealth but I wonder if it was for greed?

If he ever does become a preacher, I can guarantee he will hype, wow and work the crowd to donate generously. But as to if the cause is a right one, I doubt.

Preachers need stage presence, charisma and a sweet tongue.

This is where I felt how the Catholic church lost its standing with renewal or getting new flocks from the millenials.

If music is not pumping loud and hard it does not excite. No one reads passages from bible in boring tones.

Preachers intertwine this with visuals and reenactment of the paths Jesus took whilst on Earth.

In the dvds of Pastor Prince, I saw how he climbed the rocks or mountains like Jesus did.

I was amazed at his creativity in making the audience walk with him.

Those who follow Pastor Prince have found prosperity as he preaches prosperity.

But what do I know?

Hmm if Garfield was a God, I guess I would be a believer too haha!


Hard To Let Go

I find that in life, the hardest thing is to let go of things. Letting go is easier said than done.

It could mean dying and not wanting to leave behind loved ones.

It could mean leaving a loveless or loving relationship. This takes great courage regardless of reasons, rationale or otherwise.

It boils down to regrets.

I don’t wish to leave with regrets and do strive towards doing things to the best of my ability, trying my best never to harm, hurt or cause pain and suffering.

It is difficult as I am an imperfect person. I may unknowingly hurt or cause pain and suffering to others.

I do admit that I often deliberately inflict guilt onto especially those without a conscience.

Sadly, these buggers do not seem affected by it! Hmmm…as if I could be a genie and walk them through their lack of conscience!!

Good news for me is that my dear Mr Architect who moved to Beijing is coming home for 3 weeks.

I do miss his sharing of architectural designs and views of this or that new building or yak about Corbu or Borromini’s walls!

My hacking cough is lighter after I started Cravits 750mg. 6 more days to go.

I also inhale Seretide at night to sleep better.

Danzen helps me too.

Ah well, Monday I will get my lungs checked by Dr Lui. Maybe he can turn on a Dyson and vaccum my lungs haha!

Meanwhile 3rd Aunt is in a palliative ward. She is stable save for lung infection and will soon need a catheter.

I pray she does not suffer.

I know what it is like to suffer and take meds….sometimes I too, want to give up.

My epitaph could read…

“I lived. I died. I cried. I hurt. I hated… of Garfield Hug, definitely not a saint!😝


Valentine’s Day

Yup…another commercialisation of gift days are on the horizon.

I share what it was like with MR EX.

MR EX started with the 99 rosses and escalate to 199 roses. He soon realised his pocket had a huge hole as roses were jacked up during Valentine’s Day.

MR EX, with his glib tongue, then swore on his heart (*he had none by the way😉), creatively saying that he would make me happy, every single day and not just on Valentine’s Day!

I give him credit for creative lies.

I find it hard that despite the years we were together, I cannot find it in my heart to even remain friends with him.

Regrettably the bullshit he gives is not acceptable anymore as his ethics, principles or morality and selfishness reign supreme.

It is my mindful decision on 23 December 2017 that MR EX can never be a friend as he does not even know how to be one.

Que sera sera!


3rd Aunt Is Dying Of End Stage Liver Cancer

Some days back I posted a short blog entitled “2 Sisters”

I am now not too emotional to write a bit more as I was really bummed out last Saturday when I saw how my mum and her sister met.

My mum had a fall in late January 2018 and when her elder sister found out, she was distraught. Though she is in end stage liver cancer and ridden with pain, she insisted for her daughter to make a trip to see my mum.

My 3rd aunt lost her husband some 6 months ago and shortly after the death of her husband, she was diagnosed with liver cancer.

3rd Aunt cannot accept the fact that she has liver cancer and her attending oncologist has presented a death sentence of 6 to 8 months!

I hate these “death sentences” as it does nothing really to help anyone, other to remind relatives and self that you have an expiry date.

Still, I have had a neighbor who defied the odds of “6 to 8 months” end stage breast cancer to live on and on – it is now more than 3 years since she was “sentenced”

3rd Aunt’s husband was a gambler, but not a compulsive gambler. He knew when to stop and provide for the family. He never left the family without food. 3rd Aunt has 3 children and growing up years for her was tough. My mum assisted as she knew this elder sister was a housewife and rather timid.

My mum shared that she used to stand up to anyone who bullied this elder sister.

3rd Aunt’s husband loved 3rd Aunt a lot and when she was diagnosed with end stage liver cancer, many shooked their head and said that her husband had wanted her to be with him.

I was really sad to see 3rd Aunt being ferried in a wheelchair and had to be propped up to sit on the sofa. She had 20 minutes to visit as her morphine dosage will wear out.

My cousin shared on entry, the death sentence! I hated it and told her to be positive and that with the right hospice and palliative care, 3rd Aunt can be given the right medical care. For now, they have selves and a newly minted Indonesian domestic helper to care for 3rd Aunt.

I was told that 3rd Aunt refused to be in a hospice and so, I sat and convinced 3rd Aunt that if her pain was not managed, she could not eat. Without food, she will get weaker. This is a vicious cycle and that I wanted her pain free and with the ability to eat.

I spurred her on to live life to the fullest. Do not moan or gripe why me, I said. Be strong and once the pain meds are administered, she will feel better. Also with other patients and visitors, she will be cheered up instead of staying in 4 walls with a foreign helper.

When 3rd Aunt had to leave for home, I saw how tenderly both sisters hugged and cried. Mum cried because, she knew that her sister will not be around for much longer and that this may be the last time she will see her.

I cried because, I could see how much they loved each other. If and when 3rd Aunt passes on, mum will only have one sister left and this sister is not a nice one. She behaves like my own sister and I guess this is where the genes come from.

I pray for 3rd Aunt to live through Chinese New Year so that she can be with her family a little longer and for my mum to feel better to be able to see her again.

I would give years off my life to 3rd Aunt to live a little more, pain free and happy. Afterall, I am single and I do not need many years of my life.

Blessings and good wishes for 3rd Aunt to have a pain free time left with us.


2 Sisters

2 sisters meet,

1 with end stage liver cancer and ridden with pain, elder of the 2.

The other with old age but armed with a sharp wit.

Crying & hugging,

Both recount their childhood.

Old age sister loves older sister with end stage liver cancer and they swop tales of their hardship.

In 20 minutes, sister with end stage cancer has to leave as her pain will kick in once her morphine wears off.

As Sister with end stage liver cancer is helped up from sofa, both hug and cried uncontrollably.

Sister with end stage cancer had asked her daughter to drive her to see old age sister.

As Sister with end stage liver cancer was wheeled out of door, she said, ” where blood arteries flowed without blockage, there can be true sisterly love!”

I cried.