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into the distance January 21, 2010

Posted by walnutsrice in better self, in clarity.
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i hung up my mouse December 11, 2009

Posted by walnutsrice in better self.

“buu, I am a girl. I want to have time to do girly things. Paint my nails. Watch Gossip Girls. Read my books and hang out with my girlfriends. I don’t want to be stuck on a game with a whole bunch of hokkien sprouting guys.”


For non-gamers, it is very hard to fathom how much time one can spend on World of Warcraft (WoW). It can take over everything else, even sleep.

I miss life. reading. photography. music. bookshops. hanging out with friends. sleep. fashion. coffee. shoe shopping. monocle.

I look forward to days where I don’t have to rush home and get on the computer.

Goodbye Arianea. Welcome real world.

heart still beats October 13, 2009

Posted by walnutsrice in better self.
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i am alive.

just got back from the downs to middle ground.

I should be inspired enough to write this week.

new lease of life September 14, 2009

Posted by walnutsrice in better self.

i sold all my short skirts at a flea market a week ago.

living June 22, 2009

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“Twenty years from now,

you will be more disappointed by the things

that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.

So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor.

Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover.”

                                                                                Mark Twain

life and contentment June 18, 2009

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I was sent this:

      “The happiest people in the world are not those who have no
      but those who learn to live with things that are less than perfect.”

      A group of graduates, highly established in their careers, got
      together to visit their old university professor.  Conversation soon
      turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his
      guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a
      large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic,
      glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite –
      telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

      When all the students had a cup of coffee, the professor said: “If
      you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up,
      leaving behind the simple and cheap ones. While it is normal for you
      to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your
      problems and stress.  Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality
      to the coffee.  In most cases, it is just more expensive and in some
      cases even hides what we drink.  What all of you really wanted was
      coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups…
      Then you began eyeing each other’s cups.”

      Now consider this, said the professor, “Life is the coffee; the
      jobs, money and position in society are the cups.
      They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we
      have does not define, nor change the quality of Life we live.
      Sometimes, by concentrating on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee
      God has provided us.  Enjoy your coffee!”

      The happiest people don’t have the best of everything.  They just
      make the best of everything.  Four things to take note of in life…

       1. Live simply.
       2. Love generously.
       3. Care deeply.
       4. Speak kindly.

(commence)ment June 7, 2009

Posted by walnutsrice in better self, lessons learnt, real dreams.
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‘believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even if it leads you off the well-worn path.’ – Steve Job

transcript here

i think the address at graduation is called the commencement address because it stands for the beginning to the end. and therefore, life begins when college ends. college does not cast in stone the rest of my life. Instead, it starts me off on the path for a long long journey.

i like to think that college education is a plus. not a necessity 😉 i don’t think ever saw college has a pre-requisite to get somewhere in life. Of course, I went to college and learnt a lot about myself, and it was the formative years of the grown-up Ellen (if there is even such a thing); but as I often say, college or not, good or bad grades, first class honours or not, it does not define a person. It is what I do with what I learnt, and the gifts that God gave, that would eventually determine experiences that define me. i try a little to follow my heart, do the things that i love instead of the things that most perceive would take me somewhere. These are the things that I hope people would remember me by when the journey finally ends. Perhaps one of the things I try to do, is to not always do what is grown-up and practical. I think the kid in everyone keeps people alive.

What are the things you do that you think would define you as a person?


Life for Rent June 7, 2009

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i picked up Dido’s new album, Safe Trip Home, and was pleasantly surprised by her sounds. its easy to listen to, and a great way to pass the afternoon at work, or reading a book. i first got hooked onto White Flag, but slowly came to enjoy Life For Rent a bit more. perhaps its the verse that said ‘nothing in my life is truly mine.’

coming back to what I said about knowing when to give up, accepting that nothing is permanent is the first step in accepting what is lost. there’s always a certain sense of sadness and regret. and i think we are entitled to feel sad for a while before finding strength to pick up the pieces and move on.

quote May 16, 2009

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“Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.”

barack obama

lesson learnt March 26, 2009

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i like the sound made by a new mouse. it is quite therapeutic to go ‘click, click, click’.


i had lunch with my mentor today. he said this to me:

be nicer to yourself. enjoy what you do. discover again why you love design and you will be a much happier person. you love what you do. but you are losing it because it has become more important to live up to expectations, and manage what others think about you. let it go. and you will find the joy again. it does not matter what expectations others have of you. when you love what you do, you will be good at it and you will shine. if you aim to gain approval, you will never get it.


i agree.

scrimp March 9, 2009

Posted by walnutsrice in better self.

i am on a campaign to save money.

it is almost mid-month and i am so proud that I only swiped my credit card once for an online purchase – the toga dress.

keep up the good work ellen 😉

motor mouth February 3, 2009

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one should always listen more than they speak.

thats why they have 2 ears and one mouth.

a little love and kindness January 25, 2009

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in my randomly clicking around this morning, i came across Giving Back.

its a little reminder how each of us have the ability to give back to society and it is heartwarming to see people take time out of their lives to serve the community.

the church of common ground conducting a foot clinic for the public


via The Girl Effect

its not big deal

just the future of humanity.

on hindsight January 19, 2009

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one of the most important lessons i have learnt at work is to accept constructive criticism and use it positively. I react to them personally, however, only sufficiently to be motivated to improve and become better in the shortest time possible. in fact, i know how to ask questions in order to extract some form of honest criticism from people viewing my work, simply because i know that most people are too polite and kind to be brutally honest about their ratings of my work:

1. What’s wrong with this? – this always works. they will instantly work hard to find out what is not right and put their finger on it.

2. How do you think I can improve? – this sets up the opportunity for people to offer their views and solutions.

3. Could you show me quickly how it could be done? – acknowledge that the other party is more competent and they will be happy to help out.

4. If i face other problems, can I come back to you again? – people will surely say yes.

i find it extremely helpful to keep a neutral tone at all times. even if i do not agree with what is being said, i always remind myself that i asked for help first. therefore i should not confront the solution offered but may take time after the discussion to have a thought-through. however i do not mean to say that the journey to this point has been easy. in fact, it was not.

:: i used to be fiercely defensive and took offense at criticism. i would think that my work was good and although it is not the best, it deserves credit, at least. however i realised that criticism was directed at my work, not at me personally, and that it is not the responsibility of anyone to comfort me when i was reprimanded. I used to refuse to ask for help, only to come around and produce something way below expectations. i i slowly come to terms that i am not invincible, and two heads are often better than one.

+ therefore i can understand completely when someone becomes extremely defensive and protective over work. it is a habit that takes time to get over, and pride is often the culprit at work here. i try to be forgiving sometimes when dealing with such situations but my temper gets the better of me sometimes so this is something i have to work on 😉

my first reflection of 2009

IQ and EQ inverse proportion January 2, 2009

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I watched <Just Follow Law> on Christmas, a Singapore film on the government. there was a line that I identified with:

Tanya Chew is a representation of one of the many scholars in the service. Study a lot. Academically inclined. High IQ but very low EQ.

I am not surprised if I fall under the category of not having much EQ. as told by my supervisor, my individual output is admirable. I get things done. fast. efficient. and often exceed expectations. I learn things fast, know how to get my way around the system, and have competent analytical skills.

However, when it comes to communicating with people, i still have a lot to learn. I am impatient. I find it a chore to explain things more than once. I have very high expectations of others, and very little tolerance for incompetency. It is easy to tell when I am disinterested in a discussion. Heck it is even more obvious when i think something someone is saying is rubbish. and i make no effort to conceal my body language.

+ in this new year, i am resolve to better communicate with my co-workers and learn how to be a team player.

the new OLD camera January 1, 2009

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Blackbird TLR camera

Photography is emotional – thats why we should shoot on film.

I stumbled upon the Blackbird at Asylum, Ann Siang Hill, while in my exploratory mood. I have been debating to get a Lomo for a while – but that seems so passe. This reminds me  a little of the HusselBlad camera, which shoots on medium format film and saturated colours. I

+ I like the orange one.

it retails at just $206 – worthwhile for so much beauty and fun. I should head back to Asylum before they run out. Heck. Anyone should go back to Ann Siang. just because.

01.01.09 January 1, 2009

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a brand new year. to be nicer to the people around me. spend more time at home. work less. eat more fruits. laugh more. curb my bad temper. spend less money. save more money. do something for the community. exercise more. eat less junk food. wear shorter heels. be deliberate.

brand new year are for changes.


i am starting my yoga classes. despite all opinions that yoga is a form of worship, i choose to take it as exercise. just like running. i am slowly giving up pounding the pavement. need something to treat the tense muscles, not add to it. stretch. breathe. better posture.

2009 should be better.

and to share what Suyin from Kyurii shared, something i need in my life:

You cannot be truthful if you are not courageous.
You cannot be loving if you are not courageous.
You cannot be trusting if you are not courageous.
You cannot enter into reality if you are not courageous.
Hence courage comes first…
and everything else follows.” -osho

that sounds right.