Making Light of Things

February 2010 Archives

But for a little while

For Faith, Anne and Caleb.

I miss you already.

Chinese New Year Rundown

To our sisters Audrey and Louelle who couldn’t join us for the Chinese New Year festivities. Thought I’d give you guys a summary of stuff we did this year.

Continue reading Chinese New Year Rundown »


It’s hard to imagine I started this blog 10 years ago.

It was the weekend of Martin Luther King holiday, and all the dormitories were empty then — everyone had gone home for the long weekend. The weather was cold, and I was suffering from the worst fever of my life. I had back spasms; it hurt to stand up or to lie down and my whole body was trembling non-stop.

There, thousands of miles away from home, I seriously thought I was going to die.

I wanted to tell the folks back home of my plight, and instead of calling home, I decided to haul my very sick body on to my chair, learn HTML, and wrote my first blog entry. The first design had notepad lines and was adorned with animated Calvin and Hobbes gifs.

Blogger hadn’t existed yet, so we all coded our online journals by hand.

The seemingly stupid decision to craft HTML instead of seeing a doctor that day changed my life. More than the fact it led to my current profession, the small blog community was close-knit. Folks like Nick Pan and Jimmy Liew were my first comrades into the field of web standards. Nick’s wife Pearl drew the most stunning illustrations at Dawn Mikulich had the most subtle and beautiful minimalist blog “A Life Uncommon”. There used to be a young teenager named Sarah who always left comments of encouragement in my guestbook (we didn’t have comments then).

It’s really been a while, and we’ve lost a lot of great bloggers along the way.

The blogosphere feels different these days. You could say that the loud blaring voices of PR agencies killed what we had going. When blogs hit the mainstream, followed by social media, it heralded the end of the living room and ushered in the marketplace.

At the risk of sounding too geeky: I miss how real and authentic online connections used to feel.

In and On Itself

Anne smiling

“Are we in Singapore or on Singapore?” Anne asked last night while in bed.

“In Singapore, I guess.”

“If we’re in Singapore, why is it we’re on earth?”

Whoa. My 4-year old just set me up for a tough question. I struggled with that one, not because I didn’t know the answer, but I didn’t know how to explain it in a way a 4-year old would understand.

You know, maybe I didn’t have to dumb it down. After all, she was the one who asked right?

So here goes.

When we say we’re in Singapore, we refer to its national boundaries which we remain physically within. We do sometimes say we are on the island of Singapore, which would refer to the actual piece of land we stand on.

Likewise, when we refer to Earth, we do not mean an invisible boundary (not until we start parceling out plots of space for condominiums anyway), but the planet itself. Therefore we are on the planet and not in it.

Unless we’re spelunking.

You think Anne’ll understand spelunking?

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