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


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!

My Hair Secrets | Jade Seah

It’s funny how in recent times, quite a number of people have asked me about my hair. They say really nice, complimentary things, ranging from the generic, “I love your hair! It always looks so good!” to complimenting my awesome stylist at Shunji Matsuo Ngee Ann City, Fannie, by commenting on my ever-changing hair colour (she last gave me a lavender ash which has since settled in to a flattering ash blonde shade), to the kind that really baffles me, “Your hair looks so full and thick!”.

Jade Seah

I find this baffling because my natural hair is fine – and stick-straight. Only those who have known me from school days know this to be true. These compliments also baffle me because while I’m generally content with my God-given appearance, if I could change one thing about the way I look, it would actually be my hair!

This is my hair when it is not styled:

A photo posted by Jade Seah (@jadeseah) on

When rebonding was all the rage in the late 90s thanks to the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and company, people would then ask if my schoolgirl, natural hair had undergone the chemical straightening treatment! Looking back now I guess it was a sort of compliment, but it drove me nuts then.

I never understood why people would spend good time and money to get their hair flat and straight!

It was trendy then; many wanted Jennifer Aniston’s ironed look:

rachel green friends jennifer aniston

And Gwyneth’s:

gwyneth paltrow

And Posh Spice’s (when she was still known as Posh and not yet as Victoria Beckham):

posh spice victoria beckham 90s spice girls

I never understood why, when here I was buying every texturising product that promised waves/curls/body – which is also the reason why not many people know the natural texture of my hair!

I have chosen to fight the limp straightness with chemical treatments (NOT rebonding!), clever styling and the use of good hair products.

Tadah! (This was professionally styled, lol):

A photo posted by Jade Seah (@jadeseah) on

For the longest time, I would get my hair permed every three to six months. Here was my hair 7 years ago in 2009 – do not be fooled. This was permed and painstakingly professionally styled…to look like it wasn’t styled.

Jade Seah

Back when I was still in school, these perms would sometimes be disastrous, lol. The picture below was against my stylist’s advice NOT to perm my already short, damaged hair. I obviously was never great with taking advice…

Jade seah bad hair perm

It’s only this period with all the bleaching damage from the colouring and highlights that I’ve given the perms a break (not my choice, I’ll admit – Fannie thinks the current hair state will not be able to withstand a perm and has refused to do it for me).

The last time my hair was long and permed:

A photo posted by Jade Seah (@jadeseah) on

Over the years however, I have discovered products that work for me to give the illusion of the hair I long for – wavy, messy with natural texture and lots of body. (See Blake Lively’s for inspo!)

blake lively

The number one favourite product in this arsenal is dry shampoo. If you’ve never heard of dry shampoo, well, you’ll thank me later. I discovered this when I was in university. I was (still am!) a magazine junkie, and I would spend good money each month on fashion magazines, both local and foreign. There would always be some story on hair, and every so often I would see “dry shampoo” pop up as a way to either style, get out of the house fast or to refresh one’s look in the evening for a date. I was fascinated. A shampoo that could be used dry? Where would I find this sorcery?

It could not be found in Singapore then. I know; I looked everywhere.

Then I went to New York for a holiday and managed to find it in a drugstore. I brought it home and sprayed it at the roots of my day-old hair, just like it said on the packaging, then brushed it out. It was like magic. Not only were my roots no longer oily, but my scalp ad hair smelled clean again, and most importantly, looked fuller! Truly, what sorcery was this! I used to stock up on the stuff whenever I travelled and found it, or I would ask friends to get it for me when they did.

Klorane dry shampoo with Oat milk

Fast forward to today where the likes of Sephora have brought many products that once could not be found in Asia, to Asia, dry shampoo being one of them. Drugstores like Guardian and Watsons have also finally seen the light and have started distributing the stuff. There is more than one brand now that carries dry shampoo in their lineup of products, which means these days I actually have *gasp* choice. I have tried a few brands, but I find myself going back to the brand I started with those years ago, Klorane.

You see, some brands’ dry shampoos have a funny smell. I’m not going to mention names, but there are brands that try too hard with coconut/fruity smells. I like fruity smells in normal shampoo, but anyone who has used dry shampoo extensively will tell you that such scents don’t work when mixed with an oily scalp.

Then there are brands that have an acceptable scent, but they leave my scalp itchy. Some seem to get rid of the excess oil by piling on powder – this builds up to a look that is not attractive.

There was one brand that I thought to be decent. It however costs almost fifty bucks a can, which I think is a little extravagant.

The dry shampoo by Klorane is my top choice for a few reasons: it does the job of cutting shine, it makes my hair fuller and gives the appearance of having more body, it is kind on my scalp (it doesn’t itch and is supposedly sulfate, paraben, sodium chloride and silicone free) and it is well-priced at below S$15 a can.

I have also started using Klorane’s Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk just to add body and texture to my fine hair. It is especially good at giving a lift at the roots.

A photo posted by Jade Seah (@jadeseah) on

Another product I have recently discovered is Klorane’s Leave-in Spray with Flax Fiber. I spray it at the roots after a wash, and…done. It works better when you blow-dry your hair with your head upside down – but who has time to blow-dry one’s hair daily? (I personally enjoy playing with makeup, but I hate fussing with my hair!)

It works even without styling and it even works on dry hair for a boost of volume and texture, with none of that awful stiffness or dryness that are in some volumizing products (I should know; I always try the products that promise volume!). There, secret #2 revealed!


Finally, cleansing. I alternate between shampoos, mostly because I get bored of smelling the same thing all the time, but also because my hair has many needs and concerns (coloured, fine, limp, damaged) that I try to address with the different shampoos.

I use a colour one some days, but colour shampoos have the unfortunate result of being a little heavy and they leave my hair smoother and flatter than I would like sometimes. The same is true of shampoos for damaged hair. I use clarifying shampoos every so often to clear my hair and scalp of buildup and to keep it clean.

On the other days, I give my hair a break with mild shampoos that also clean well and leave hair soft – but not limp.

Jade Seah Klorane

One of the gentle shampoos that I like is the Klorane Shampoo with Oat Milk. I got this because I saw it contains the same ingredient of oat milk as my favourite dry shampoo, and found it to be really gentle on my hair and scalp. It has apparently been tested to be safe even for children, so it must be caring and good for frequent use. It also has that same clean, comforting smell that I like.

Jade Seah Klorane

These are some of my preferred hair care products that I’ve found through trial and error over the years. Share with me some of yours please so I can try them out too!

If you want a chance to try Klorane’s Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk plus my other favourite hair products featured here, go to my Instagram:

Simply ‘like’ and share the above post, and remember to tag me @jadeseah and hashtag #kloranesg in your shared post!

On Feeling Trapped in an Abusive Relationship

Came across this video and it struck such a chord in me. I too have been in such a relationship.

Many friends were/are surprised that I suffered emotional abuse in a past relationship. They think I’m “strong” and “would never have allowed” that to happen. The truth is, when you’re in love you sometimes don’t think straight; you let a lot of things go and you try to accommodate. I opened up on what happened in a Dayre post two years ago:

Abusive relationship
Abusive relationship

The full post below, or you can read more here:


On Feeling Trapped in an Abusive Relationship

Was at my usual hair salon & just read this feature in a local women’s magazine on abusive relationships. It really struck a chord, and was a not-so-pleasant reminder of my last relationship; although unlike the stories in the feature (one was flung from a 7-storey flat while pregnant!), I was lucky to have gotten out before really getting hurt.

It seems such a cliché pattern, but it always starts out good, great, even. A lot of friends are amazed someone who they deem as “strong” and “tough” as myself would stand for even a little of that kind of nonsense. I guess it’s true what Connie Francis sang in the 60s, “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool”?

Of course things started off great. He pursued me with great determination, even though I’d just come out of a relationship with someone I still care for (just not in the same passionate-romantic way) and said I wasn’t ready to be in another relationship. He was persistent and patient. He said all the right things and did all the sweet things – really went the extra mile, and then some.

Against my (and my gfs!) better judgement, I eventually agreed to go out with him. Always listen to your gut (and do consider your well-meaning friends’ gut instincts), ladies!!

I think there were small signs, I just chose not to think the worst (a terrible weakness of mine!). In one instance, we had a hen’s night party for one of my gfs at a club and he just “happened to be there” with a guy friend. He was really apologetic about it though, asking if I was okay that he’d be around as his friend wanted to go to the same club; although he wouldn’t hang out with me there as I was with the girls. I thought nothing of it – Singapore’s pretty small and I don’t own the club.

In the end, he kept sending drinks over to us before eventually hanging out at our table practically the rest of the night. I wasn’t too bothered as he wasn’t like clingy and he entertained himself trying to ingratiate himself with my friends most of the night.

But that was an indication of things to come, a sign I chose not to see. He had terrible trust issues. He hated when I went out on my girls’ nights out. He even hated when I hung out at the beach at night with my gfs just chatting. He would get very upset if I didn’t msg him every 30 mins – I was honestly just catching up! He hated that I had male running buddies – one of whom was years younger and the other married and my father’s age (plus I am friends with his wife!).

He would throw big fits whenever any of these things happened. Perhaps he’s used to more submissive girls who would listen and give in to his demands, but I didn’t feel I was doing anything wrong; I wasn’t hanging out one on one with other men; most times I was just chatting with the girls, and even when it was a night out partying, it was always responsibly and with no funny business. I think he realised I was going to carry on with my lifestyle, so he found creative ways to control me.

He would insist on picking me up whenever I went out. Although that sounds sweet (and in general, picking up your other half is a sweet gesture) it wasn’t quite as it wasn’t that he would come when I was ready; he would pressure me to leave early and make me feel bad about wanting to stay longer.

He would also guilt-trip me and get upset when I didn’t reply to his barrage of msgs while I was out with my gfs; usually msgs that were inconsequential and/or highly unnecessary.

While I didn’t completely give in and submit to his demands, I am slightly ashamed to say that I didn’t 100% stand my ground either.

To prevent big, dramatic fights (I absolutely HATE extra drama) I would make a conscious effort to indulge him and reply promptly to his 10000 msgs that inevitably came each time I went out with my gfs.

I would also try to leave earlier so that he wouldn’t get upset when he “offered to pick me up”, and I stopped meeting a few close guy pals completely as he would really go ballistic. (I actually explained the issue to them then, and also apologised after, and good friends as they are, they forgave me/understood and still remain my good friends today.)

I think the thing that hit me that I wasn’t happy was when he went on a work trip. Instead of feeling sad or even really missing him, I felt so free. I hung out at the beach till late, I hung out at my folks’ place just chatting; I went skating at night alone again…it was like being released from chains.

But still, I didn’t leave him.


When a relationship becomes a part of your life (you see this person a lot; maybe you even stay together), you sometimes do what you can to keep the peace. I’m generally confrontational but when it happens on the daily, you get tired of fighting and you just want stability and peace – at all costs.

If you’re currently suffering like this, please know that it doesn’t make you weak that you let it go on as long as you have – but it is definitely time to get out.

On that…once you have made up your mind, steel yourself. Getting out is not going to easy. I think the video sums it up really well. The abuser will look for you, will apologise, will be extra loving, will say it is just because he/she is “afraid to lose you”.

Be strong. Tell the ones who love you the full story (because likely as in my case, they had/have no idea this is going on). They will help keep you away and keep you from softening. You will cry. It will hurt. You will be tempted to go back because you miss this person. But stay strong and think about your long-term happiness. Not being able to hang out with your friends in peace or living in constant fear is no way to live.

Good luck, and please reach out if you need support.

Granny & I | Relationship Reconnect

Granny and I are both April babies – although she’s even less of a baby than I am! She is exactly 50 years older than me, and has been instrumental in bringing me up while both my parents worked long hours to provide for the family.

Jade Seah

I also shared a room with Granny for many years – first when I was a child all the way up to age 15, when she got sick; then again after my grandfather died and she moved back in with my folks, up till the time I moved out when got my first place a few years ago.

It wasn’t just me who Granny helped bring up. She took care of my older brother, my twin cousin (we were born two hours apart) and another cousin (who is six years younger) at the same time as well. Later on, she also looked after two other cousins and my younger brother.

We recently had an early birthday celebration for her with the entire Raeburn (that’s my mum’s side of the family) clan.

Jade Seah granny

Here’s one with Granny and many of the cousins (we’re missing Tracy and Gerard!). She is extremely loved by every single person in the family – with extra special places in the hearts of those she looked after as kids.

Jade Seah birthday Granny

My gran is a very spritely, strong woman. She was the one who taught me how to ride a bicycle. I remember her running and balancing me at the start until I got it right. She gave me my first advice on boys (“don’t let them take advantage of you”) and on feminism, although she is very traditional and would never think of herself as “feminist” (“if boys don’t help with the housework, then they don’t eat”).

Jade Seah

This has made it even more difficult hence to watch her slowly age over the years. For me especially, while I see the ageing process in small ways – I find her walking slower and slower and getting tired more easily each week when taking her out for our regular Saturday breakfast date after church (Novena) – it really only hit me how much she has aged after an operation a few months ago. While she’s been getting physically weaker, she has always been very sharp of mind and notices and remembers even the smallest things. However, she sometimes gets confused these days and it scares me to see her really ageing, in all aspects. =(

This video was recently shared with me and I admit that it made me cry.

The old Malay couple remind me of granny and my late grandpa. Although they were never that openly affectionate or expressive, it is the same strong bond and love between them that is similar. The woman at 5:17 in the video with her dad echoed what I’ve been feeling about Gran – that she has aged a lot, and that I want to spend more time with her while we still have her – both in body and in mind.

I found out that this video is part of Prudential’s #RelationshipReconnect movement, to encourage everyone to put aside time in our busy lives filled with job stress, stress about school, stress about being fabulous on social media and other things to find time to spend with the ones who matter the most.

Every week, I try to spend Saturday mornings with Granny, my mum and aunts and I really look forward to this time. However, when I have to shoot something, attend an event or work on something, this time is sacrificed and I don’t always make the effort to make up for it.

I find this movement so relevant and I am inspired to make the effort to spend more time with my loved ones.

The Saturday just past, the cousins decided we wanted to take her out for a day. We called it ‘Granny’s Big Day Out’. We had grand plans to take her to Universal Studios, the S.E.A. Aquarium and other spots, but in the end, we decided to keep it simple and take her to a place that she and Grandpa used to hang out at a lot: Changi Airport.

Jade Seah family Granny

She hasn’t been there in quite a while, and since Grandpa passed away 8 years ago, she lost her regular airport date. =( Granny has also not been in the best of health lately, especially having undergone the operation a couple of months ago, so keeping to a place that’s relatively near (we all stay in the east of Singapore, which is where the airport is) and familiar seemed a good idea.

Jade seah family

Mum said that Gran was so excited about this time with her grandkids. She apparently asked mum every day the week before if it was time to go on this outing, and also called some of us to check. (As i said, she has gotten more child-like in recent times…). She had also picked out her outfit for that trip days before (I obviously got my vain genes and obsession with clothes from someone!) and wanted to lay it out to make sure it was perfect.

Jade Seah family Granny

I could tell she was so happy to have everyone fussing over her that day. One of my cousins, Melissa, is working on a video she shot and I’ll hopefully be able to share that in time too.

When we sent Granny home and I asked her if she had had fun, she gave a big smile and simply said, “I’m so happy. Only that you all spent so much money!” (We had taken her to Crystal Jade for lunch and later to Swensons for ice-cream, which she loves.)

Jade Seah Granny Cousin family

And that’s just like Gran. Always thinking of others, always putting everyone first.

What Makes Me Happy

Someone recently asked me why I seem happy most of the time. I did some research on how to be happy (which I will share with you in a new video soon!) but then I also thought about the things that make me happy, then I realised that it is about finding pleasure in the little things in life.

Here are my top 5 happy-makers! What are yours?

Remember to subscribe so you don’t miss anything!

Sports Corruption & Doping

Am at an airport, enroute to my final destination & in transit now. Watched ‘The Program’ on the way here – it’s about the real-life rise & fall of Lance Armstrong – & am sitting now reading story after story online about doping in the Tour de France.

the program

I remember when the media started reporting news of his alleged doping. I wanted so much for it to be proven untrue, for him to still be a hero.

lance armstrong

Other than the joy from the adrenaline rush it brings (if you’ve never tried a sport & hence don’t get this part; you are really missing out!) I personally love sport for the strength & tenacity of the human spirit that it brings out. Because of this, every time there is some sort of scandal (doping, corruption, match-fixing, etc) reported in the sporting world, I feel very sad. It ruins the whole thing. The integrity of the game, the respect for the discipline & dedication of athletes, the belief of fans in their heroes – everything. My older brother – a real football fanatic who arranges his life around watching every single game he can – when asked what he thought of the FIFA scandals, said “I don’t want to believe it; it ruins the beautiful game”.

So while I knew the story & saw the countless headlines when the news broke a few years ago, I never wanted to sit down & really get into the case. Till today, when I found myself on a flight where this was the only movie on board I felt was worth watching.

lance armstrong

It was a marvellous performance by the actors (although I’m bad with following these things & I admittedly have no idea who they are or what else they’ve acted in) & I of course enjoyed watching the cycling scenes. There was nary much back story to any of the protagonists; no dramatisation, no love scenes, no sensational scenes of domestic strife. The focus was on the sport & in portraying the full story on what happened. I liked that.

While I am still saddened by the world losing another hero – Lance Armstrong overcame stage 3 cancer, coming back to compete at the highest level internationally; drugs or no drugs, that’s really amazing – it did give insight into the world of sport at that level & what really motivates world-class athletes to risk losing everything by doping. A top class athlete, apart from physical requirements, has to possess an almost-fanatic sort of single-mindedness. It is only with this sort of mindset that they can keep going, day in & day out, as they ‘punish’ their bodies each day at training: to win.


There was a scene where a young Lance Armstrong asks a doctor for help. This doctor dismissed him twice; first saying his frame was unsuitable for long distance cycle & a second time to let him know his VO2 max would never make him a winner. (The short explanation is that VO2 represents the body’s ability to use oxygen. The long explaination is that VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during exercise. It’s a combination of how much oxygen-rich blood your heart can pump, and the muscles efficiency in extracting and utilizing the oxygen. Since oxygen is critical to running fast, your VO2 max is the single best measure of how good a racer you are.) You can increase VO2 but it is largely hereditary. It’s the reason why even in early years of school, before kids have had the advantage of training, you would find that some children are just a lot faster runners than others. They were blessed with a higher VO2 max. I think that in this single-mindedness to win, he may have felt this was an unfair disadvantage & this justified it to himself to dope: it wasn’t cheating, it was simply levelling the playing field.


I still don’t condone doping in sports, but with just a smidgen more insight from the film, I at least feel more sympathetic now in understanding what drives such behaviour.

The thing that is making me sick now is reading in detail about all th doping that has gone on in the Tour de France (see Wikipedia here if you want to know the details). Did you know it was not only not illegal for 60 years, it was also accepted? I’ve a weak stomach for such things in general & I felt like throwing up after reading it all. But I looked it up because I wanted to know if what Armstrong said “If you take me back to 1995, when doping was completely pervasive” and “everybody was doing it” was true. And it seems to be so…

Maybe I’ll stick to just playing sport & the adrenaline rush I get from that.