Valentine’s Day Thoughts | Jade Seah 2019

Happy Valentine’s Day! 💕

14th February gets a bad rap for being cliché, commercial and lame, but I don’t care, I love it.

I think it’s nice to have a day dedicated to love, and it’s not a day just for lovers; it’s also a chance to express love to your nearest and dearest, like your family and friends.

Perhaps it’s because I was in an all-girls institution for the ten formative years that are primary and secondary school, but I remember Valentine’s to being Friendship Day in school; the crafty ones would weave friendship bands and make trinkets, the more literary would write letters and cards and many would buy sweets and little gifts to give to other girls in school. It was nice. I still have some of those cards, letters and little gifts too!

I honestly remember most of my Valentine’s Days. Some spent with then-boyfriends who really went the extra mile to make the day special. Even though we’ve all long moved on, I’m still thankful to have been blessed with them for that time in my life, and it makes me smile.

Some spent single and ready to mingle. I went out with the girls and I remember laughing at lovey dovey couples and pledging our love for ourselves and for each other.

One spent crying because I had just broken up with someone days before the 14th of February. It was a lesson to treasure and cherish what I have.

One where an unexpected bouquet arrived from a not-so-secret secret admirer. I love floweres, but I really encourage men not to spring for flowers on this day because they’re so much more expensive(!) (sorry, my florist friends Elyn & Yilian! I can’t help that I have an inner practical streak), but it was quite a lovely surprise, and a beautiful bouquet.

Another where flowers arrived so unexpectedly when the husband (then boyfriend) was based in New York. There was a 12 hour time difference and while we spoke twice a day, he never even mentioned remembering the 14th, and then I opened the door to this cheery box of blooms. Way to make my day!

It doesn’t matter whether a fancy candlelit dinner (extra points when the food is stellar and there is a view), Japanese food (here’s the trick, at least a couple of years ago – because Japanese food is not considered “romantic” like Italian or Western cuisine in general, you will not be subject to overpriced set menus, which are a nightmare for picky eaters like yours truly) or a KFC picnic (one of my favourite Valentine’s dates, actually – bonus was the live band and beautiful Valentine’s Day set-up…all for free! Thanks, NParks!), I’ve found that it truly is the company that makes all the difference.

So couples, no need to spring for something fancy if it’s over your budget. Effort and thoughtfulness go a waaaay longer way, and I think I speak for most girls when I say that. Write a letter, make a scrapbook, put together a snack hamper…even fold some hearts.

To the Valentine’s haters – and I know that this has no co-relation to one’s attached status (but sadly, seems to have a co-relation to one’s perceived age) – instead of b**ching about Valentine’s Day and throwing negative vibes around, how about buying a small gift/writing a little note or even just dropping a loved one a text to wish them and let them know you’re thinking of them this day?

This day dedicated to love, it’s only as cliché, commercial and lame as you choose to make it.

And even then, is being basic and cliché every now and then such a bad thing?
We’re way too young to be too cool.
I know I am. 😎

#bringontheflowers
#andcandy
#andchocolate
#andfoldedpaperhearts
#andheartshapedanything
#andorigamistars
#andoopsthatlastoneshowsmyage
#sorrynotsorry
#onlyasoldasyoufeel

Happy Valentine’s! ❤
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Dedicated to my granny in heaven. Still as loved as she always was.

Singapore’s Future – Job Losses from Technology?

Was honoured to host the recent Nobel Perspectives Live! organized by UBS. Held at the beautifully restored Capitol Theatre, it was the first stop of a global UBS forum streamed live across the world, and a chance for 1000 students to listen to the insights of four Nobel Laureates in Economic Sciences as they discussed the questions that matter.

The four Laureates who were the stars of the session included Michael Spence, Roger Myserson, Peter Diamond and Robert Merton. Paul Donovan, Global Chief Economist for UBS Wealth Management, moderated the very lively panel.

Minister Baey Yam Keng was the guest of honour at the event, and he gave the opening address on Singapore’s move towards being a smart nation; how as a country of our size, the greatest asset we have is our people. He touched briefly on how education, regulation and governance had to keep up with the move, then posed the first question to the Laureates: what are the top global trends that will impact the future of the youth in Singapore.

The students had earlier submitted questions for the Laureates, and the good folks from UBS had taken these questions, painstakingly categorized and distilled them into key topics that were discussed at the event. These were questions that couldn’t be Googled – I was so curious to find out what young Singaporeans were most concerned about.

Turns out that the pet fear in the hearts of many was about job losses as a result of technology disruption. I guess while market disruptors such as Uber and Grab have made life easier for the average person on the street (and I am sure many of the students present use these regularly), the students are not ignorant of the fact that jobs would be affected and/or rendered obsolete as a result.

71% responded affirmative to the live poll I conducted during the forum that they were concerned about not finding jobs after university, which begged the questions on what skills we would need in an automated system and whether there was a need for changes to the system.

All four Laureates touched on adaptability and the blurring of lines in terms of specific skills/fields of study:

Robert Merton talked about how principles are key compared to learning specific skills or one’s chosen major in school, and the importance to have the opportunity for play within the system in order to innovate and keep up.

Roger Myerson spoke about having the readiness to develop new skills as needed; to start with principles and learn specific skills along the way that would support those principles.

Peter Diamond said to recognise that technology is going to affect every single job on the market and to be ready to learn and grow rather than to be fearful of change.

Michael Spence talked about not limiting one’s capacity to take risks, the advantage of being in a risk-taking culture (e.g. Silicon Valley) and how the most exciting things sometimes arise from the boundary between fields – similar to Merton’s point on not being fixated on specific fields and/or skill. He was confident in the current system, although views were mixed from the others on whether there was a need for changes to the way people are educated.

Myerson called for spreadsheet literacy. He pondered what a “job” is and what skills will be needed to fulfill needed roles in the new economy. He highlighted good old fashioned “reliability” as still being key, while Merton touched on the way we learn, how we learn and the periphery side effect as a result of advances to technology (e.g. how we are probably much worse at mental sums now that everyone uses computers for simple arithmetic).

It was a riveting session where I got a real insight into the minds of these brilliant gentlemen as we picked their brains for two hours.

The forum was live streamed and if you are keen to hear their thoughts on questions that can’t be googled, here’s the full video:

Remember to Date

It’s been a really busy time. I know I say that all the time, but it still amazes me how life can actually get busier from not-so-long-ago states of busyness. (That’s a mouthful! But I know you get what I mean. =))

Other than hosting jobs and producing content for my YouTube channel, the past few months have also kept me busy coming up with fresh content for DELLAA (check out our Facebook for all the goodies; website to be up soon!). We also just moved to a new office, which took up more time, and I have been actively interviewing people to join the team (hit me up on DELLAA’s Facebook if you’re keen!).

On top of that, I try to keep up with the few things I prioritise: fitness, family and spiritual time. If you’ve been following me, you know that I prefer morning workouts as it starts the day right, energises me and also makes me feel like I haven’t “eaten” into my busy day by starting at a time when many are still asleep.

However, netball season has started and I train two nights a week with two different teams – that means only five free nights left. Slot in family time (both for my own family as well as for my in-laws), time with my girlfriends (I need girl talk to keep me sane!), time for religion (to keep me centred) and time for voluntary work (I have been committed to the same group for over 10 years now) and there really isn’t a lot of time left with the person who keeps me the happiest, most centred and most grounded.

The husband is as busy as I am with a coporate job and many interests that also include team sports, family time as well as time on his drums. In all this busyness, we don’t get a whole lot of time together, so when I was offered a full day of food and fun for two at The Centrepoint Mall, I jumped at the chance!

I was booked in for a hair styling session at Hair-Mori Salon to start – to pretty me up for the date! This is a Korean salon and my Korean stylist, Joel, gave me very K-pop-esque bouncy curls, which I love.

A little peckish by then, but didn’t feel like anything too heavy (we knew there was a massage next, and it is really uncomfortable getting a massage when overly full), so decided to grab a light snack and a juice boost at The Café by HIIC.

They have such pretty acai bowls, that we even packed some home for brekkie the next day!

I felt very healthy after having one. Is this how people who make the choice to “eat clean” feel?
Vitamins for the day, sorted and then some!

Next stop was to Elements Wellness to relax with a couples massage session. My therapist, Jess, was very friendly, and I felt very comfortable and relaxed with her soothing voice and experienced hands.

Way to start the day on the right note!

We stopped next at dal.komm COFFEE so he could get his java fix – and I could get a drink as well.

Fans of Korean television drama series would know that this Korean café chain was featured in the popular show, “Descendents of the Sun (D.O.T.S)“ (I unfortunately still have not made the time to watch this or any other Korean series!). This café at The Centrepoint Mall is its first flagship outlet.

I like how they have a good variety of non-coffee drinks for non-coffee people like me! I got the very refreshing iced Honey Grapefruit – admittedly because I love honey (the grapefruit was more a way for me to act healthy, lol). It was a good balance of sweet with just a touch of tanginess, which is the way I like it. The honey is apparently harvested in-house, and each cup is topped with diced fresh grapefruit. Yums!

Just outside the café is Origins, a skincare brand the husband introduced me to when we first started dating years ago (okay more like, a skincare line I discovered when I found it in his bathroom and helped myself to, LOL). The products I found then were the frothy facial wash and the charcoal mask, and I liked how both were gentle on my sensitive skin, yet worked to cleanse well. We stocked up on these and a few more items while there!

I prefer to shop for clothes on my own (I’m one of those fussy shoppers who takes ages trying and deciding), so the final shop stop was Metro, where we had to pick up a few essentials like towels (ours are looking a little worse for wear). Homeware shopping is also something T enjoys very much – most of the rugs, candles, plants etc. in our home were bought by him!

Finally, we rounded up our fun day out together with a dinner date at Kyoaji.
We both loved the freshness of the produce – check out that sashimi platter brimming with goodness from the sea!

We also enjoyed the creative dishes prepared for us by chef John Phua, like this Kani Tofu (crabmeat beancurd) dish. The tofu is made in-house and is soft yet savoury. It gives way to the sweetness of crabmeat within, and is drizzled with a foie gras-tasting sauce on top. Sounds strange, but totally works!

Another favourite was this Gyuniku Fagura Sauce (grilled beef with goose liver sauce). The beef was done to perfection, juicy, with the right mix of fat, and the foie gras sauce proved a very umami and decadent pair to the meat.

We truly enjoyed our day together. Special thanks to The Centrepoint, Frasers Centrepoint Malls and Abigail from Burson-Marsteller for arranging this special date for us!

Also, look out for an upcoming contest that will let you and your partner win all these fantastic treats at The Centrepoint! Check out my Instagram for more details.

5 Reasons Your Friends Won’t Pay Back That Money You Lent Them

Really?
 

We’ve talked about this before.
The husband and I have actually had more than one of our (many, usual) heated, pseudo-intellectual discussions on this matter (which is I why I suppose he felt compelled to find this piece by the Huffington Post and tag me in it on Facebook!).

Yes, I’ve lent money to people who haven’t paid me back. Some are large sums and not just their part of a bill from drinks or a meal.

Yes, call me a pushover, but I generally feel very awkward asking for money back; it seems so crass and almost…rude to. I only really do it for large sums of money I’ve loaned out, or when I am asking on behalf of someone else.

 
For most small amounts, I let go.
For my inner circle, we never count the cost. In fact, I am happy to pay for them. (I do know which friends take advantage of this though. And while I strive to be a good person, I am very flawed and very human – I am just not as open with my wallet with these people as I am with my closest ones. True friends don’t try to take advantage of one another.)

Yes, even #4 on the Huffington Post list has happened to me (for the record, I still haven’t recovered all the money; I’ve written it off; we are still friends, but we didn’t talk for months after said friend claimed the money was all returned – and proceeded to have the audacity say I was stingy for asking for the outstanding sum back!).

 
With all that said, I’m no angel on this matter myself – and it’s really not because of any of the reasons on the Huffington Post list list. It’s for the simple matter that I forget.

And yes, admittedly, it is also because I don’t place it as a priority on top of the many things I need to get done. Now, these are not big sums; they are mostly split bills after a night out or a meal at a restaurant. But it is still not acceptable and it shall be one of my resolutions for 2017: to pay people back in a timely manner.
 

My granny used to tell me to never borrow money as it ruins relationships.
She did not elaborate beyond that, and it didn’t make sense to me then. I now understand why she said that.

Have you ever lent money to someone who said they are really tight and cannot afford to pay it back, only to see them buying new things, enjoying life at expensive restaurants and worse, going on holidays abroad? Think about how that would make you feel, especially if you are a person careful with your own spending.

I found myself in a conversation once with someone who had tried to borrow a sum of money from a mutual friend. The would-be borrower was actually annoyed that her request had been rejected, on grounds that the other person “is so rich and has so much money”. I couldn’t believe the sort of sense of entitlement I was hearing.

Is this not intrinsically wrong? Everyone gets by and earns money in some way; some end up richer and some have less. Perhaps the richer one got so by working extra hard; two jobs, maybe, while the one who has less decided time and enjoying life is more valuable and chose to work less and play more. Is it fair then to expect the richer person to always willingly give lend hard-earned money?

I am by no means rich, but I have seen too many cases of my granny’s words come true that I have stopped lending large sums of money out to people, no matter what my relationship with the person is.

 
Unless someone is dying, everyone should work hard, earn their own money, and most importantly, live within one’s means.

 
My family is your typical, HDB-dwelling, middle class Singaporean one. Both my parents worked to support us – and both are still working. We led simple lives as we were not rich, but neither were we in the poorhouse – although sometimes compared to my friends while growing up, it almost felt like we were. We were taught that most things in life were luxuries, not everyday items and definitely not necessities.

Soft drinks were luxuries. (I tasted my first Coca Cola in Secondary school.) New books were luxuries. (We were taken to the public library weekly.) Toys and candy were definitely luxuries.
 

So it’s been drilled into my head from a young age that a person doesn’t need a lot to be happy – and that living beyond what one can afford is unacceptable.

I’ve been brought up with the mindset that borrowing money in general is taboo – and that borrowing simply to upkeep a certain lifestyle is terrible. I have never done that before, but it also doesn’t excuse my tardiness in returning small sums of money owed to friends for meals and drinks!

So in 2017, perhaps we could all strive together to not only live within our means and not put relationships in jeopardy (or loved ones in a spot) by asking to borrow money, but to also make the effort to prioritise returning any money owed – no matter how insignificant the amount.

I’ve said it here to commit myself to making it happen as well – no more procrastinating on making that transfer!