Another road less travelled

If you think that Shanghai is about skyscrapers, World Expo, fastest growing economy and financial hub...think again

The other side of Shanghai where you will never get to see as a tourist, as an expat...

As the rose-tree is composed of the sweetest flowers and the sharpest thorns, as the heavens are sometimes overcast -- alternately tempestuous and serene -- so is the life of man intermingled with hopes and fears, with joys and sorrows, with pleasure and pain. - Edmond Burke

Here's looking at you, kiddos!

The kids' school had a project fair in school and I thought it was such a great idea. Instead of just doing projects to score marks, the school had an open Saturday where projects done by the students are made available for their parents and friends to view. Even the K1 & K2 students were involved!

Ann's project was about the African animals, these were her masterpieces...

Love her drawing on the tiger

Pretty friendly cheetahs

More of her works

Homemade animal costumes. The white one belongs to Ann

Jellyfish and swordfish done by another class

Animals made by using recycled materials such as tissue boxes, bottle caps etc...

Ann and two of her classmates making presentation in front of parents, teachers and friends. Very proud of her, she has grown to be a very confident speaker.
Way to go, my little princess!

Kai's project was on the old and new Shanghai

Some other projects done by the primary school kids

Looking at the projects, you will know that these are done by the students. Very raw, very amateur but that is the way it should be. School projects should not and must not be done by parents using the latest technology and complicate gadets. The whole purpose of having projects is to allow the children to be creative and innovative. To have lessons outside the textbook. Our role as parents is to guide them, give them advice, give them ideas but NEVER to do it for them.
Health and Wealth

The cycle of life...
Birth - Infancy - Childhood - Adolescence - Adulthood - Midlife - Old Age - Death & Dying

I think I should be at the midlife stage right now. The past couple of days, I have been talking or rather msm-ing two very close friends of mine. When you hear about your friends looking after their aged parent/s, you know you have arrived at the next chapter of your life.

An ex-colleague of mine whose father is in the hospital due to lung infection and liver faliure. She shared about how she was trying to spent as much time as she could with her father (she is based in Australia) and how she was mentally and physically exhausted. Yes, looking after the sick and the aged is indeed a very drainning job. It is a job that sapped up every onuce of your energy.

Then there is another good friend whom I have known since I was 13 years old...yes, it those kind of friend that have seen you grown up, get married, have kids and I told him, he will most likely be one of my pall bearer. His mother was very sick and weak due to lung cancer. He shared about how financially stressed it could be for him and the family.

As a good friend, I could just offer my ears (in this instance, would be my eyes and fingers as we talked through the computers). Whatever I said, whatever I could do are only moments of comfort for them because, really, they are the ones who have to face it day in and day out. I could only pray for God's strength and grace to be upon them and their families.

These reminded me of the fragility of life. Really, what matter to us is really not about chasing after the best house, the best car, the best career, the best of all material things, it is really HEALTH. We can have the best of everything but without a healthy body, we cannot really enjoy living in a mansion, we cannot really enjoy driving the best car with the latest technology, when we are confined to the bed and completely dependent on others.

I look at my own parents and my mother-in-law and everyday I thank God for them and for the past many years, it has been my morning prayer to ask God to blessed them with a strong and healthy body till a ripe old age. For you skeptics who think that prayers are merely talking to the air, let me tell you that these prayers have kept them all strong and healthy. Not just that, they are blessed with wisdom to be financially independent. I have constantly nagged at them to eat healthily. My father's meal is very simple - fish and white porridge are his main meal and I can tell you he counts faster than any of his three kids! They are my role models, I want to be like them, healthy and financially independent even till old age. I am not going to be caught up with chasing after the riches of the world...It is devastating if my children go to court to fight over our estates (I will turn in my grave if that day happens!). It always saddens me to read about siblings fighting each other over dead parents' wealth or children suing one parent over a dead parent's estates.

Being healthy and financially independent are the best 'estates' to leave behind for my kids!