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Car Talks : Three Types of People and Their Responsibilities

17 October 2014 – 6:28 pm |

Living in Jakarta, I find myself spending a lot of time with the kids ON THE ROAD.
And after a while, I kind of realised that that’s where we discuss many issues and important values too.
Now …

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Brie : 3 Years, 5 Months

24 October 2014 | Posted in: Daily | No Comment


So how has it been raising Brie who is now 3 years and 5 months old?

Hmm. Let’s see.

Here’s how I’d describe what she’s like these days:

… chatty

… LOVES dancing

… LOVES singing and making up songs with her own words

… pronounces words quite clearly by now

… increasing vocabulary

… at times surprises us with her phrases, eg. When our car just avoided a close ‘touch’ with a motorbike, she said, ‘Puji Tuhan kita ga apa-apa ya, Mommy’ (Indo for : ‘Thank God we’re alright, Mommy)

… had three cavities treated last week! The first kid in the family who has problems with her teeth at such a young age!

It was her first time ever getting ‘treated’ at a dentist, and she did very well, I thought.

(The first time she sat on the dentist chair, she wanted to hold my arm for comfort. And I did sit next to her, opposite the dentist. After 3 minutes, she’s all fine)



… can pick her own clothes, put them on, comb her hair, brush her teeth, put on her shoes, all ready to go out

… likes to dance in front of the mirror (and make silly faces)

… likes to change her home clothes to a dress, though we are at HOME. Usually it’s when she’s watching ‘Hi-5′ or ‘Sophia the First’ on TV.

(Seriously, we never encourage her to be ‘princess-y’ at all. Brie somehow has this love for girly stuff since she’s little for some reason =)

… remembers things quite well (eg. When we passed one particular place, she’d tell me how she’s been there and who she’s with when she’s there)

… Recently, Brie can get extra tantrum-y. She’d cry over I-don’t-know-what. It is quite mind-numbing, and I simply hope that the phase goes away real soon.

… when interacting with others, I notice she often displays quite a ‘confidence’ in what she wants, eg. Brie can insist on something (when arguing with another girl her age – a good friend) and the other girl usually ended up crying for not getting what she insisted on Brie. Found out about this from the girl’s Mom. Interesting discovery of Brie’s character.

[Taken by my phone, at Pasar Ah Poong, Sentul City]


Well. In short, Brie is this happy, smiley and chatty little girl who likes to dance and move to the groove.

She’s such a blessed little girl, and so are we, for having her in our family.

Looking forward to seeing how she grows up =)


Car Talks : Three Types of People and Their Responsibilities

17 October 2014 | Posted in: Inspirational, Parenting | No Comment

Living in Jakarta, I find myself spending a lot of time with the kids ON THE ROAD.

And after a while, I kind of realised that that’s where we discuss many issues and important values too.

Now recently, this thought crossed my mind : It’d be nice to remember the kinds of things we talk about in the car.

Or even, the kinds of values we share with the kids.


That’s the reason why I’m starting my ‘Car Talks’ blog post series!

(I don’t know how ‘consistent’ I’ll blog about this , but oh well … we’ll just see, I guess =)

>> Daily parenting situation:
I find myself needing to repeat my instructions again and again for things to be done.
And quite often, they still are not done.
Drives me nuts.

>> Thoughts shared with the kids, on our way to school:

- Generally, there are three types people:

1. Even though he has been told/reminded to do something (ie. His responsibility), he still doesn’t do it.

2. He does his responsibility, ONLY when someone tells him to do it.

3. He proactively does what he needs to do, even BEFORE anyone asks or tells him to do it. He does it automatically, because he knows how it is part of his responsibility.


- The worst is group no. 1, because he simply does not care about anything. He is not responsible and the list of his excuses is usually endless.

- The better one is those in group no. 2. He does his work, his responsibility, whenever others tell him to do it. But, he doesn’t do anything if no one tells him to do it.

- The best out of the three is those in group no. 3, because these people not only know what their responsibilities are, they also proactively DO them WITHOUT being asked / told.


>> In reality, even adults – many of them – are in group 1 and 2.

eg. They ignore their responsibilities and/or they’d only work when they’re told what to do. They don’t initiate ideas, etc.


>> Main emphasis shared with the kids:
We should always strive to be like those in group no. 3, ie. Become someone who does NOT need to be told again and again about what he should be doing.

Someone who does his responsibilities without being told.

- Mommy and Daddy need to be like those in group no. 3, too. We still need to learn too, to be proactive, to be responsible in all things.

- Once we realise that we’re still in group no. 1 and 2, then we must try our very best to change towards the better, with God’s help.

So there you go.

The first of my ‘car talk’ series =)

Years from today, when our children read my posts, including this one, I hope they’ll remember the mornings, afternoons and nights we spent together on the road and the kind of things we chat about =)


To Anya, Vai and Brie,
We love you and we hope … together as a family, we learn to care for one another better, and strive to be better people, the kind of people God wants us to be.


Stripes for Love : Let’s Support and Help Children Heal Faster through Love

14 October 2014 | Posted in: Advertorial | 2 Comments


I saw this the other day as I drove past a hospital.

A man in his 50s helped a frail-looking middle-aged woman on a wheelchair (his wife, may be?) to get on a ‘Bajaj’, this three-wheeled public transport in Jakarta.

He folded the wheelchair and slowly placed it in the narrow and cramped ‘backseat’. Hardly any space for the woman’s legs.

Then, he himself went to sit ‘in front’, sharing the tiny driver seat meant only for the Bajaj driver.

Frankly, I’ve never seen such a sight before.



Within a second, these two thoughts crossed my mind:

> If everyone could ‘choose’, I assume NOBODY would want to ride a cramped, super ‘shaky’ and hot Bajaj home from a hospital.

> What a helpful Bajaj driver! The front area was meant for just one person, but he willingly took on these passengers, knowing that he had to share his tiny seat with the man!

(Seriously, if you’ve been on a Bajaj before, you know what I mean)

What I saw the other day got me thinking:

Nobody wants to be sick *obviously*

Nobody wants their loved ones to be sick too.

But the reality is, ‘everyone COULD fall sick’, and especially for those in Indonesia, millions of people do NOT have the privilege of having a cleaner home, acceptable hospital facilities, nor enough finance to cover for basic treatments of specific terminal illnesses.

Many simply don’t have access to them.

Sigh. You see, this is the reality for many, MANY people in Indonesia.

And as I often shared in my blog, (sadly) there is minimal facilities available (free and good ones) for families with children.

I mean, I truly can’t imagine how super tough things would be for me, if let’s say, one my kids are really sick (this alone is a heart-breaking, draining and tough phase to go through!) and I could only afford to take a Bajaj every time all of us visit the hospital for regular treatments =(

Having said that though, the other day I saw something encouraging.

At McDonald’s!



I saw how Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is running this ‘Stripes for Love‘ global campaign to help sick children ‘heal faster through love’.

I read on and found out that :

> Basically, RMHC is a non-profit organisation and it is NOT at all the same as McDonald’s the restaurant

> RMHC aims to create, discover and support programs that will directly increase children’s well-being and health, wherever they are.

> In Jakarta, RMHC has apparently built this ‘Family Room’ in 2012 at a government hospital (Rumah Sakit Cipto Mangunkusumo), with a hope to:

- provide better facilities and togetherness amongst families with sick children, so the children feel better and hopefully heal faster

- encourage (physically and emotionally) exhausted parents who need to care for their sick children everyday, and accompany them during regular treatments

(If you’ve been to government hospitals in Indonesia, you’d totally know what I mean when I say there’s MINIMAL (read: nearly zero)  facilities available for families with sick children!)



So I thought, okay, let’s do this!

Let’s support the cause!

We found out that to raise funds, they sell 2 things, at McDonald’s outlets:

1) This cute ‘Love Bear’

Selling price: Rp75,000 nett

(Btw, this ‘Love Bear’ comes with a special pen that you can use to draw and write encouraging notes on the bear. Children are then encouraged to give the bear – with the encouraging notes – to the children in the Family Room)



2) Shirts, selling at Rp55,000 nett each



Now wait, what does ‘Stripes for Love’ mean, you may wonder.

This is the specific theme of the charity drive in Indonesia, ie. The lines represent the children’s life line.

When children are sick (due to cancer or other illnesses), they spend so much of their childhood at the hospital.

And as this is something they must go through, RMHC aims to add : Love, Joy, Hope and Smile to their lives.

Hence, those words are on the shirts.

I thought it was a beautifully encouraging.



The shirts come in adults and children sizes. And in two colours: red and white.

At the McDonald’s outlet we went to, they only had Extra Large sizes available for kids.

Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large sizes are still available for adults.

And for each T-Shirt colour, you can choose which of the four words you’d like to have on it.



And so we ended up buying four shirts – two whites, two reds – with the four words on them, hehe.

Joy. Love. Hope. Smile.

(No smaller-sized shirts for Brie, and she insisted on wearing the smallest one, and it looked more like a dress on her =)




Glad that our kids get to learn about this charity drive and be ‘involved’.

We feel as their parents, it’s so important for them to realise that millions of other children do not have the same opportunities (or good health) as our children do.

And this is something that we as a family choose to support, willingly.

(And I hope more and more families contribute and support too)




The day after we got our shirts, I took Brie to the government hospital where they have their ‘one and only Family Room’ in Indonesia.

I mean, since it’s not THAT far away, and if I could see what I’m supporting, it’d be even better!

(The two of us went when Anya and Vai were at school)

It was my first time ever visiting this hospital.

I parked near Lobby C and walked quite a looong way towards the Radio Therapy Department where the Family Room is located.

Btw, as I walked past the long hospital corridors, I must say, the feeling was all gloomy and everything was just … serious.



No wonder our 3yo Brie shrieked in excitement when she saw this signage! Haha.

She was like, ‘Mommy! Mommy!! Look!! Let’s go in and see!!’

Yes, it was nice to finally see some HAPPY COLOURS at a government hospital here in Indonesia! =)



As we walked into the room, I was  pleasantly surprised!


I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we saw this … say, back in Singapore.

But for this to EXIST in a government hospital in Jakarta, it was really, REALLY nice!

Ah. Even I felt very happy! =)



Check out the books!

And the toys!

(Being a Mom myself, I’m happy to say that they’re all of GOOD quality! Which again is very, VERY hard to find in any free ‘children places’ like this here)



There’s a ‘kitchen’ corner where parents can grab some snacks, and make some tea or coffee for themselves.

Children can too have some boxed drinks or milk. All freely provided by the Family Room.



And guess what?

Brie found a friend! =D

Nelly is about the same age as hers, and she has cancer, which means Nelly needs to repeatedly (VERY often!) come for therapies at the hospital!



Really, we all could see how Nelly was just SO happy playing away there in the Family Room while her mom sat nearby.

Nelly was chatty and cheerful, just like any other happy 3-year-old girl would be!



As I sat there and observed the children (busily playing with the toys), I spoke with one of the parents there. She shared how her 4yo son is undergoing treatments due to a tumor on his left eye.

I thought, an eye tumor on a 4-year-old?


Anyway, I listened on.

She shared how her son has a series of 12 treatments at the hospital, and they’re there for the 4th treatment.

She also said, when she watched her son play and make new friends there at the Family Room, it’s such an encouragement.

It keeps them going!

*May God help these parents and children and give them hope, always*



I met the staff of RMHC too who happened to be there that day (usually there’s always one who stays at the Family Room throughout its opening hours)

And how nice it was to hear from them about their future hopes to build more facilities for families and children.

I mean, THIS is what we need.

And I’m glad to see that Ronald McDonald House Charities is contributing something positive for families with children here in Indonesia.

(Btw, the Family Room is open on weekdays, from 9am to 4pm. They regularly bring children there, ie. Those who stay at the hospital as well as out-patients)




Brie herself had so much fun in the Family Room that she REFUSED to go home!

There was so many things to play with, she said.

And when we finally managed to leave (with tears in her eyes), she asked, ‘Mommy, can we please come back and play again there tomorrow?’


Inside I felt blessed to see such a Family Room is available at the hospital for other children like Brie.

These children may be down with serious illnesses, and their parents may be feeling discouraged or simply feeling exhausted from the endless treatments and doctor visits, but these children can at least do what children do best, … they can happily play, even for just a moment.

As for the parents?

They too can have some rest at the Family Room. They can sit back, and hopefully be re-charged and encouraged too, especially when they see how their little ones enjoy themselves, just being normal little children, there.

Anyway, here’s wishing them all speedy recovery and extra strength from above!



Do check out their websites for more info on how you too can contribute and support this cause yeah!

Stripes for Love:

Ronald McDonald House Charities:

All I’d say is, the benefits are real and they go straight to the children and their families.



And what else can you do to support?

Two other things =)

1. Send your motivational greetings and wishes to these children.

Simply go to and leave your messages there!



2. Come on over to any McDonald’s Restaurants across Jakarta on Wednesday, 15 October 2014 in your ‘Stripes for Love’ shirts!

Share photos of you wearing the shirt and show your support for these kids.

I know I will =D

Have a great week ahead, everyone!

Learning the Piano : Learning to Wait, Learning to be Responsible (Photos of Anya’s 2nd Piano Concert)

30 September 2014 | Posted in: Inspirational, Parenting | 3 Comments


Many children I know started to learn how to play the piano since young.

Like, before they’re 6yo?

It’s a little different for our case though, because Anya, our firstborn, had her first ever piano lesson only after we’ve moved to Jakarta.

When she was 8.5 yo.

Now. Why ‘not earlier’, some may wonder.

I remember a friend asking me about this last year:

Wasn’t she interested in learning how to play when she was younger?

She was. Actually she asked and asked about WHEN she could have piano lessons since she’s around … 6yo.

Then why didn’t she have any piano lessons at the time, when she’s still in Singapore?

Mmm. I’ll be totally honest. Because we couldn’t afford it.

I assume everyone agrees with me if I say, piano lessons are not ‘cheap’.

Here’s one simple comparison:

Swimming lessons, 4x a month (one hour each lesson) = $50

One 45-min piano lesson = $40

Also, to learn the piano, you usually have one lesson a week.

Plus, you need to practice everyday, at home. Which means you’d need to own one at home too.

AND, once you start, it’s a continuous journey for many, MANY years (With extra expenses too, like exam fees, books, etc)

The reality was, given our limited financial resources, we had to prioritise ‘more urgent expenses’So for us at the time, as much as we would LOVE to give her piano lessons, and as much as most people probably wouldn’t believe it, … we couldn’t afford it just yet.

(I am being blatantly open about this)

The reality was, given our limited financial resources, we had to prioritise ‘more urgent expenses’.

Family’s daily meals, school-related fees, monthly home-related bills/payments, were more ‘urgent’, than … piano or tennis lessons (which to us were ‘extras’, ie. Not ‘basic necessities’).

*I felt sad actually, not being able to let her have lessons*


If it’s something that you’d need, it’s impossible for God NOT to give it to youSo, every time she asked about ‘when she could start having piano lessons’, I shared the above thoughts with her, and also this: 

Let us pray about it? God knows what’s best for you, and for our family.

And, sometimes we just need to learn to … wait.

If it is something you need and we could give it to you, it is impossible for us NOT to support and give it to you.

If it’s something that you’d need, it’s impossible for God NOT to give it to you.

Let’s learn to pray and tell God our wishes.

Learn to wait and see the plans God has for you.



Anya and I had such conversations many, MANY times.

Naturally, it wasn’t easy for a 6 – 8 year old to wait and not know if it’ll ever happen, but well … life is not about getting whatever we want, whenever we want, right?

To cut the story short, she finally could start her first piano lesson at the end of 2012!

After some 2.5 years of waiting, wishing and hoping.

Private one-to-one lessons. Once a week.

And I am glad we found a dedicated music educator who believes in exploring a child’s talent and passion for music, instead of simply ‘getting the certificates’ and passing the piano exams (which totally is NOT our philosophy when it comes to learning music, or learning anything, really)

And you know what?

All that waiting, not getting what she wanted ‘immediately‘, and praying and countless conversations … it allowed her to better appreciate her opportunity when it finally came.


Supporting her comes with a cost and sacrifice by othersTill today,  I still share with her these thoughts and values:

… Not everyone has the opportunities that she has.

… Not everyone has the privilege to have a family, to learn this and that, etc.

… As the parents, we’ll work hard to support her, in exploring her talents. Just as long as she is responsible in practicing at home, and doing her best.

… If she is not serious about learning (I need to force / scream at her to practice, etc), then we do need to consider not continuing with the lessons, because we could allocate the expenses to other family needs.

… Basically, we’ll do our part willingly, and she needs to learn to do her part responsibly.

(She does know and can very much see how we the parents have to juggle everything and work hard to support her, ie. Supporting her comes with a cost and sacrifice by others)

All I know is, it is a God-given opportunity. She is willing to be committed. And, we are willing to support her all the way as long as she is serious about it.So far, it’s been close to 2 years since she last had her first piano lesson.

And thank God, she has been committed and responsible so far.

Will she be consistent and continue with her piano journey for many years to come?

I don’t know.

All I know is, it is a God-given opportunity. She is willing to be committed so far. And, we are willing to support her all the way as long as she is serious about it.

So I guess, it is a journey, not just for her, but also for us her parents.




Anya had her second piano concert performance last weekend.

She performed at Erasmus Huis with other students of Miss Jelia, her piano teacher (There were a few other performers too)

It was a nice late afternoon spent together by our family of five.



Am anyway very thankful too that through the concert experience, she learned a lot.

Remembering her notes. Facing her fear of being watched by the crowd. Managing the stress and pressure prior and during the performance. Managing her emotions when she made mistakes. Managing her post-performance feelings.

All the above, to us, means so much more than just ‘delivering a great performance’.

Thank God for life’s lessons learned by our little family.


Walk the talk

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