Friday, 27 March 2020

4 takeaways from covid

In just weeks, the newly conceived covid-19 had created much havoc in our livelihood locally and across countries. To some families, it's down to devastation. This unseen and formidable virus deemed as highly contagious spreads real quick like fire. It is a true silent creeper that respects no boundaries.

New measure on safe distancing kicked in the day before, and just the night before, news on the closure of entertainment businesses for a month. Reading news on how some courageous people went 'farewell' party one last night at these venues before businesses go silent, I realised how much of a weakling I am. I cringe at the thought of it. 

Every new day is now an uncertainty, students have halted their CCAs in school, competitions which Jazz had been training for are also put on hold. Indefinitely. Js' out of school activities - gym, badminton and music lessons are also on suspension. These kids of mine are keeping their eyes and ears glued to news, awaiting for school closure *face palm*. Oh well, one day closure per week, how about that?

These being said, the kids really enjoy more home time now, doing the things they love and enjoy. There's always a positive on the other side of negative. Such days are rare in the culture of busyness. It's quite worth a treasure too.

Covid-19 has changed our lifestyle quite a little. I took chance to talk to the kids about what we can learn out of this pandemic onset .

4 takeaways from covid-19

1. Domestic tolerance
During this period of time when most families are staying indoor, it proves a time of domestic tolerance. We are home with each other more often than before and cooping in does no wonders to the soul. While I appreciate spending more moments with the kids, I won't speak the same when squabbling occurs. Apart from family friction, staying home with home-bound activities is definitely a test of sanity. And not all families are cut to be home all time. In some places, domestic violence can actually happen when everyone is home 24/7. Try to find time for sanity boundary, even from home.

Thankfully, we are not in a lock down state. Staying home is advised, but we are still free to get out for play based on social responsibility trust, so don't take freedom for granted.

2. Early intervention
Early intervention is always a good save to an even more dire circumstances. It allows us to think ahead, mitigate the situation and keep it under control. Doctors were told to put non-emergency operations on hold, contact tracing is done urgently after each confirmed and quarantine venues were readily identified. Pandemic is not patient, its rapid spread prompted local healthcare system to be strengthened.

Likewise in life, if we intervene early and anticipate various scenarios, we can be better prepared in terms of readiness and expectations. Think of a juvenile who's on the wayward path, early intervention saves! And now think of preparing for an examination early, that's half the battle conquered.

3.  Save up for rainy days
The pumping of resilience fund into the economy is a very fine example of saving up for rainy days. The future is always uncertain, it's not quite right to say we should live in the now or live like there's no tomorrow, and splurging all money on good days. Saving up is a lifestyle we should cultivate. Good days are best days to create a security float that will keep us going through tough times. We should always encourage our kids to think of saving up.

This virus is an impactful one, livelihoods are affected and to some, it literally means bread and butter. Geography lessons have explained the detrimental impact of a society with increased unemployment. We don't want to get there.

4. Strong and wise leadership
Good or bad leadership is very much put to trial during challenging moments. Strong leaders are not led solely by speaking words from the pulpit, but with wise actions to back words up. Words that are clearly and frequently communicated to assure worrying and panicky public is essential in distraught moment like this. There will definitely be imperfect decisions, and society will never be balanced in comfort.

Though I feel that more measures can be done from a citizen point of view, like testing every patient that comes into the clinic with similar symptoms. Reason being, my kids took turns to fall sick just before the school holiday, testing for covid-19 was ruled out, but what if it really was?! Imagine the places they've been and the people they could have possibly infect after the 5 days of sick leave.

And of course, I do believe there must be some good underlying reason for decisions to happen. In times like this, there's nowhere to flee. You may have realised home is better than what the world is battling. When you are living on the bright side of a contrasting situation, you'll be grateful.

The resilience fund has something for everyone and we have done nothing to deserve this. We were however given and taken care of. Gratitude is remembering the storm when we are enjoying the sunshine. No doubt, the financial impact has to be mended with time. GST will not stay fixed and inflation will surface when economy booms again. But let's focus on containing and emerging out of this pandemic. I know this sounds like some PAP propaganda, but no, I had really want my kids to remember this brutal battle between a senseless virus and the human population that happened in their generation. To stay thankful, innovative, adaptable and not be a whiner and complainer.  

Let's protect the community like it's our family. Let's learn the lessons of today for tomorrow's history. We’ll never know exactly when a new disease outbreak will emerge. Let's stand united, not only during national day, but in tough moment like this. This time of hard moment is for all, regardless of our differences.

Monday, 16 March 2020

Sushi Delivery to home

Home delivered meals are getting common and frequent. We used to play and dine out often during weekends, but covid got us home bound more often than before. Last weekend was a savour, with one of our meals settled by Sushi Delivery. The kids and I were more than delighted to have sushi and sashimi delivered to our doorstep, for dinner. It simply means a well-deserved kitchen break for me.

Feast time

Thanks to Sushi Delivery, we received these yummies at our doorstep:

1. Salmon Aburi Maki, 8pcs ($15.90)
2. Avocado Maki, 8pcs ($10.90)
3. Hamachi Sashimi, 5pcs ($9.90)
4. Saba Shioyaki Set Bento ($12.90)
5. Tako Yaki, 5pcs ($4.90)

Sushi Delivery

Labelling can be improved though

I was rather skeptical about having sashimi delivered to home, time taken from preparation to arrival kept me wondering about its freshness and taste. To my surprise, the hamachi sashimi that came sitting on small ice packs tasted freshly good. That being said, we didn't delay eating upon arrival, freshness must not be compromise when it comes to sashimi. Sushi Delivery's fishes are sourced daily from Osaka and Hokkaido, best known for their premium sashimi. Their fresh fish selections are flown to Singapore within 18 hours to ensure maximum freshness. 

From the appetisers and sides menu, we had Tako Yaki. Tasted good, but best if it was pipping hot. The rolls were freshly good too. Avocado maki was filled with kani and cucumber, while salmon aburi maki was filled with tamago, kani and cucumber, topped with melt-in-the-mouth salmon. Sharing a little more here, as these ingredients were not detailed on the website. Hopefully, it's some work in progress for them. 

What's in your maki

And if you have kids, saba shioyaki bento is definitely not recommended. Too boney for the little ones. Needless to say, that was mine. There are other kids friendly bento choices of course. The bento sets are ideal for small parties, playdates or workshops. If sashimi or sushi is your favourite platter, go for the sushi or sashimi party sets. Sushi delivery will definitely be our party food choice for consideration. That being said, we do hope covid gets better for party planning.

Food freshness is assured with their chefs preparing the food only upon receiving your order. Get sushi or bento meals to your doorstep within 45 minutes. Free delivery for order $60 and above, or $5.90 for delivery less than $60. Comes along with disposable chopsticks and spoons, as well as wasabi and sauce packs.

So yeap, another option added to your food delivery list. 

[DISCOUNT CODE] Use karen10 for 10% discount on your first purchase. Code expires on 16 Apr 2020. Order online here

Instagram: @sushideliverysg
Facebook: Sushi Delivery Singapore 
Contact: (+65)8328 7438

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Patience in 2020

We arrived the end of year 2019. I hope the upcoming year will be better than this. We have so many things to be thankful and grateful for. When you start focusing on being thankful, there'll be no time left on being sore over unpleasant stuff.

I'm a stay home Mum with extremely little keep from freelance writing, and with the man being the sole breadwinner we managed to get on a 20 days California adventure this holiday. I've never dreamed this far since we went on single income. Thankful that we are never in lack.

Snow in Yosemite

Thankful too, that we managed to plow through each year without outsourcing any part of the kids' academic to tuition. No better satisfaction than looking at the amount of fees we saved. But honestly, when parents tell me the plunge of grades from primary 4 to 5, I get a little chicken out on containing everything to home. I hope I can continue to be chill about it.

As much as I love how the year ended, I've to confess the journey wasn't easy for me. Routines and schedules are nothing new to a stay home Mum, either it gets super packed that week or much fixed. Juggling kids of three different schedules, needs and demands, I felt I've lost a big part of sanity. I used to be really patient, like patiently taking down all their demands and questions even at the worst of me. This year, I noticed I couldn't do the same, my patience has been thinly spread throughout the year. I'm quick to get angry, I'm quick to scold and sometimes, I don't even bother if we are home or in public anymore. The disciplinary mum in me is just quick to jump in. If Motherhood is a test, I think it's an F on my report book. I'm flat out learning how to raise kids. 

I've spent too much time disciplining, correcting, chasing works and habits to be done. And as the kids grow older and busier, we have less time for quality bonding. I'm so glad we slotted in a vacation this year end. Family vacations are so essential, it compels us to put everything aside to just explore and play as a family. Nothing more beautiful than that. Wait, even so, the scolding and disciplining get into the holiday too. 

The toddler who is turning four next year, grows with a feisty temperament each day, and yes, he's still snuggling in my nest. I see some guilt sending him to school when it doesn't justify my role as a stay home Mum. It's a matter of time, I know. And cost too. But for some sanity, maybe it's worth that fee.

Don't stop playing!

While we still can, we should play more, while we still can, we should build home, esteem, confidence and character of our growing child. I was at the park with the kids last week, just thinking of how we can spend more time doing things as a family, before the kids start to really get busy with their own lives. I wondered if the rigorous weekend schedule kids have is worth trading over family time. What is the end goal and achievement of packing a weekend with classes and lessons. As much as I rejig, the daughter is still a victim of weekend classes because of gym. At least, it's just her for now, and we'll just have to be more focused on spending quality time together. All before those little hands and feet grow into adulthood. Growth is too fast. 

In 2020, I hope for nothing more, but patience. With home, with kids, with mess, with growing, with teaching, with failures, with successes and all the many thing that encompass around patience. 

May peace and patience be with you too. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Chinese Style Steamed Barramundi

Exams are near for school going kids. During this period of time, I would up their vitamins and fish intake. Fish being rich in Omega 3 is essential for brain health, which is most needed during this crunching moment.

If your child doesn't like fish, here's a starter fish that you can try, Barramundi from Kuhlbarra. Fresh from farm to your doorstep in 48 hours. Kuhlbarra's barramundi is antibiotic and hormone free with 5 times more Omega 3 than regular seabass, threadfin and grouper. It is known for its sweet, clean taste and firm texture. A good start with eaters who are resistant to fish.

Insulated box

The fish arrived chilled and nestled in ice within a sealed and insulated box for maximum freshness. Each portion of fish is vacuum-packed to preserve freshness and quality. It can stay fresh in your fridge for up to a week! Or freeze it if you plan to cook it beyond that. 

Individually vacuumed pack

And if you like cooking fish the Chinese steamed style, we have one recipe for share. Almost just like restaurant's taste.

Steamed Barramundi

Ingredients preparation

Chinese Style Steamed Barramundi
Ingredients (Serves 6-7)
1 kg Barramundi fillet portion
1/2 tomato (sliced) (optional)
3 tablespoon seasoned soy sauce for seafood
1 tsp Shaoxing wine
3 tablespoon oil
2 inch fresh ginger (julienned)
Scallion (julienned)

1. Wash and dry fish with paper towel.
2. Place fish on steam plate and spread tomato on top of the fish.
3. Steam fish for about 15 minutes.
4. While fish is steaming, combine soy sauce and Shaoxing wine in a small bowl. Set aside.
5. Heat oil in a small pan.
6. When fish is ready, discard excess water on plate. Spread ginger and scallion on top of the fish and pour hot oil directly over the ginger, scallion and fish. You should hear sizzling sound when pouring.
7. Drizzle the soy mixture over the fish.
8. Ready for serve!

Optional: I usually steam tofu and tomato along with fish for added protein and vitamins.

On the seasoned soy sauce for seafood, I use Lee Kum Kee. 

This is one extremely simply recipe, yet satisfying to the taste bud. Try it and let me know if you managed to achieve that restaurant like taste!

The fish was extremely fresh. So fresh that I didn't even pre-wash it with salt. There is absolutely no fishy or muddy taste. I'm much sure fussy eaters will easily include it as their food choice. My big kampong family loves fish loaded with ginger and scallion, so here's one you see crowded with it.

Scroll on for a discount code with your order of Barramundi... 

Get fresh fish to your wok today! Purchase above $90 to get 20% off total. Check out with code: kuhlkaren20. Code is valid till 31 October 2019.

Have a wonderful culinary adventure with fish!

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Ortho-K with Videre Eyewear

The daughter reads a lot and extensively. It is impossible for her to get by a day without reading her novels. When we found out that she was myopic at the age of 9 with power of 200 degrees for both eyes, I was upset with ourselves for not taking better control of her eyes. Nagged and reminded, reading habits just don't change. It is insane when she brags about being myopic due to reading, and not screen time *Face palm*. Oh well, this is Singapore where being myopic is prevalent. Truth is, there's no cure, it can only be slowed down by managing the progression of myopia. Children with high myopia face a greater risk of developing other eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts and retinal detachment at an earlier age in adulthood. All of them can lead to blindness.

We know it is some significant issue we are talking about now. 

Orthokeratology (Ortho-K)

A year on from wearing glasses, Jazz is at power of 300 degrees for both eyes. We took a first step to one of the options of myopia management, Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) treatment. I hear of its presence in the recent years, but has never given it a thorough thought because we are talking about children and lenses! How well are these little hands able to handle them, and how safe is it for their eyes? It was not without worry before embarking on this journey and decision.

Putting on the lenses

Ortho-K are gas permeable contact lenses that are worn at night to sleep and will gently reshape the cornea to temporarily correct short-sightedness. Myopia occurs when the eyeball elongates. Ortho-k contact lenses apply pressure to the cornea, flatten it and reshape the cornea overnight. Next day, Jazz has unassisted clear vision that lasts for one full day. After which the cornea returns to its natural shape. It takes some time for the reshaping and adjusting of her cornea from the first night of wear, before clear vision kicks in. Within a week, she was able to achieve vision as like wearing her glasses. More precisely, on her 4th day. 

Results may vary for different users base on their eye power.

Teaching of routine

The Assessment and fitting

While we were very much sold by the benefits and convenience of Ortho-K, not every candidate is a good fit for it. A series of assessment needs to be done. Jazz had hers assessed with Videre Eyecare, where she received a comprehensive assessment of checking her vision health, eye measurements and eye abnormalities. Videre has a wide array of technology advanced diagnostic equipment for eye examinations. The lenses were customised based on the topographical map of her eye. After these assessments, we waited about 1.5 weeks for the made to order lenses to be ready.

Assess vision health

These were some necessary tests needed to analyse if she is a good candidate for Ortho-K. She was! But, there was a 'but'. Her vision may still not be 6/6 even after being on these lenses. Her pupil size is large and there is an uncorrected of power of 25 degrees. I don't know how to explain much on its technicality, but we felt it was not a considerable problem. I appreciated this piece of information being given to us up and foremost before we decided to commit. Some perfectionists may decide against the idea of proceeding.

People with astigmatism are eligible for Ortho-K too.

Measuring the length of the eye

The Hold Back

I had a long chat with their optometrists. Like any worrisome parent, I questioned much to get our assurance before committing. Jazz was definitely excited about the idea, but her parents were more cautious about the cleaning and having lenses in her eyes during sleep. They were very patient in ensuring all we needed to know about Ortho-K lenses. Ortho-K has been around for long, it has evolved to get better and safer throughout the decades. It is a non-surgery and non-invasive treatment for myopia control. A safe treatment which we need to be diligent about the cleaning process.

I guess what accelerated the decision was that the daughter was keen and motivated to embark on the journey. The motivating factor was strong to keep her constantly putting in effort with the lenses.

The Routine

It is a new routine for Jazz who will have to put on her hard lenses nightly before sleep and remove them the first instant she awakes. Honestly, it is a hassle to have these included into her routine, but the freedom of being glasses free during the day impelled her much. She does rhythmic gymnastics actively, and this brought her immense convenience during training and school hours. She is today convinced of all the effort's worth!

The putting of Ortho-K lenses was a challenge for her, as a first timer. It took her three nights to finally put them on like a seasoned user. I was only by her side on the first two nights, after which she is independently on her own, taking good care of the lenses. I must credit Videre team of optometrists for patiently guiding and encouraging her through the process. There was even a detailed step by step print given by them for bring home.

Assembling her accessories

The accessories needed along with her lenses include saline, eye drops, conditioning and cleaning solution as well as the case for storing the contact lenses and suction stick for removing the lenses. These are probably the ongoing costs of maintenance.   

We got Jazz to clean her lenses at her desk, instead of the sink. Knowing how expensive these lenses are, we cannot afford any terrifying ordeal of the lens getting washed down the sink. Accidents do happen.

Rest days are also introduced after the first few weeks of usage. For now, Jazz's eyes get to take a day of sabbath every 2 weeks. After which, she can take a day off every week for rest. The incentive day we call it.

The Follow up

Jazz collected her Ortho-K lenses on a Friday evening where she was aided to put the lenses on. She went home with the lenses, and it was the earliest night for her to call it a day. It was not easy, and got so uncomfortable that the only ease was to shut her eyes for sleep. 

We were taught how to remove the lenses the next morning on our own. I learnt it too, just so I can be of help. The next morning, on Saturday, we went back to Videre to get her eyes checked for any potential dryness and cornea condition after a night of wearing it. All was good! Follow ups are really important. I am glad that there are strict follow ups the initial weeks, after which a 6 monthly eye health examination. 

Removing of the lenses

Checking of eye health

The toughest problem the optometrist shared with us for Ortho-k users was not dealing with infections or eye related risks, but the calling back of Ortho-K users for follow up checks. This is surely not a problem with young users who are accompanied by parents, but teenagers refusing to go back for checks. By sharing this, I felt the genuineness and sincerity of their clients' vision health being their top concern. And they really do follow up closely with our appointments. Making sure we do not miss any.   

So yes, follow ups are important. It not only tracks progress, it can help detect problems early.  

How long does the lenses last?

Each pair of hard lenses is designed for a year of usage. If taken into good and gentle hands, lasting up to 1.5 or 2 years is not be an issue. The only change that may occur is the power of the eyes, if there is a change, the lenses need to change as well. 

Young users whose myopia progression has yet to stabalise will be recommended on Ortho-K for as long as they can, till they are about 18 or early 20s when their eye power has stabilised.


The initial pair of lenses cost the most. It is $2200 for this first pair of Jazz's lenses. As of this date. They range from about $2200 to $2800, depending on how complicated the issues are. Subsequent pairs will be at about 65% the initial pair. It may not be affordable as it sounds, but the convenience it outweighs is rewarding. There is so much joy being free from glasses. The daughter testifies that.

Ortho-K is great option for young children, and we hear children as young as 6 years old on Ortho-K! The younger the eyeball, the more capable it is of changing shape. Early intervention is the best. These lenses are also great for those who need vision correction but have difficulty with wearing glasses or traditional daily contact lenses. For people such as athletes, or those who work in a dusty or overly dry environment, Ortho-k makes all the difference! So yes, adults are good candidates too.

Videre at Forum

Various machines for tests

Huge shop space

We are very much contented to have Jazz's first pair of Ortho-K assessed and fitted at Videre Eyecare. Not only are their equipment comprehensive and up to date, seeking out a professional and reliable optometrist brings us much assurance too. 

These being said, always encourage our kids to cultivate good reading and screen habits. Head outdoor frequently for play! If myopia is a tough prevention, delay it at least.

And yes, she is one happy girl being freed from glasses!

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583 Orchard Road
Singapore 238884
Tel: 6369 0041

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176 Orchard Road
Singapore 238843
Tel: 6219 3656

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