My daughter turns nine this year. She is onto her third year in primary school, and the feedback I have been getting in the first month already is about making sure she’s motivated.

That sounds like a polite way of saying, ‘Your daughter needs help, fast!’

I struggled to understand my daughter and her ‘school style’ the first couple of years. Whenever she had to learn spelling or do homework, any activity that would require her to spend at least five minutes to sit down and concentrate, she would precede it with a huge meltdown that would last for at least half an hour to an hour. Only after much tears from her end and frustration from my end, she would then breeze right through her work and get it done.

This was frustrating as to my best memory, my childhood was not like that. Every day, I would have some form of tuition, or enrichment activity. On top of that, I would have to also independently complete my homework, practice piano (for at least an hour), and read. I did not have my parents coaching me through piano or rushing home from work to test me on my spelling. And I even found plenty of time to read.

She did an about turn in her attitude towards work, when we had an informal study group recently with my cousins’ children. Only then did she realise that she wasn’t the only one tortured by the amount of work she has been given, and that everyone else has plenty of work to do, some more than her! After that, she has picked up the slack considerably, improved on her handwriting and tries her very best to stay on top of things.

Of course, Rome wasn’t built in a day. And on the occasion, she still forgets to hand in her homework or has incomplete work, especially when it requires a bit of perseverance to complete the task.

I saw her teacher in school again this morning, and again, she kept saying, ‘Clare’s very adorable, but she really needs to be motivated.’

But really, what is motivation? I’ve coaxed, cajoled, dangled rewards, punished, yelled, smiled with gritted teeth, spanked, hugged, left little reminders… all of which fail to achieve the very effect that I was hoping to, which is… my mini me. (But then again, I could really be laying on too high a set of expectations on her.)

And when you break it all down, it all boils down to this little infographic that I made:


The age-old topic of hard vs soft parenting style.

As ‘new age’ parents, we subscribe to parenting styles that we can label, such as attachment parenting, helicopter parenting, natural parenting, tiger parenting, free range parenting, serenity parenting… which is unlike our parents’ time when they simply just parent.

There is no right or wrong to parenting, and I’ve always believed that every parent should choose the path that is comfortable for them and beneficial for the child. I took the good from my childhood, dropped the bad and try to mix it up with my personal style of how I would like to bring my child up.

I am consciously aware that I sometimes overcompensate on areas that I felt were deficit while growing up. Which could very well have resulted in my daughter turning out to be quite different from me when I was her age.

As a child, I hated it when my parents were too strict and punishment was like the next level of hell. But I also realise that it is the reason why I was such an independent kid and was very self-motivated to make sure that I did things right. My margin for error was probably 1%.

As a parent, I hate it when I have to punish and discipline my child, and always end up cuddling up with her as soon as she comes up to me with a heartfelt sorry. But I also realise that it is the reason why she lacks motivation to do things right. Her margin for error is probably 50%.

Nine years into parenthood, and I still struggle to find the balance. To do what’s right for her, to not repeat mistakes of the past, to find new ways of doing things better, to arm your child with the right tools to get through life.

But one thing is for sure, I love her so much and unconditionally, and she is never in doubt of that. At least that is one thing I am doing right.

CNY Eve 2015

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep – Baby H

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

I took this photo when I was on my way to the hospital to help a family photograph the birth of their baby girl, a little more than a week ago. (I wasn’t driving.) It wasn’t an ordinary birth – the little girl’s precious heart stopped at 23 weeks in utero, after a hard fight against Turners disease and hypoplastic left heart syndrome. She was very brave indeed, and that’s because she also has very brave parents who believed that baby H should be given a chance of survival, despite the odds stacked against her.

I volunteer for this organisation, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, and this is what we do for families who call upon our services, to help them capture the memories of their babies through such difficult times.

I can only hope the photos help them preserve the memory of their beautiful girl, and to help them get closure. I have so much respect for her parents – their strength, their courage, their faith, and especially the way they handled such a difficult situation with so much grace.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this special moment, and thank you for letting me help you guys.

Day Off

We spent all day at home yesterday and today because we have been down with a stomach flu. And it seems like the only way to rest these days is to actually fall sick.

So we are done with Clare’s exams. Done with major productions. Didn’t think about work, or anything else and just spent the time relaxing and recuperating, without having to rush to places. (I had a really long and glorious nap yesterday, which was exactly what the doctor ordered!)

Today, we opened one of Clare’s presents. She was gifted kinetic sand, which is pure sand that sticks together, so it can be easily moulded and doesn’t creative this mega mess with sand flying all over the places. We took it to another level when I told her to create scenes for me to photograph (and practise using the macro adapter for my M), and it was great fun!

Playing with Clare

Playing with kinetic sand

Playing with kinetic sand

Playing with kinetic sand

Playing with kinetic sand

Playing with kinetic sand

Playing with kinetic sand

Playing with kinetic sand

Playing with kinetic sand

Playing with kinetic sand

Playing with kinetic sand

Playing with kinetic sand

Playing with kinetic sand

Playing with kinetic sand

Playing with kinetic sand

Playing with kinetic sand

Jaws at Work

We had a shoot at our place tonight and guess who was hard at work?

Jaws at Work

Food Pre-constructed

Broccoli patty cake.

Food Pre-constructed

Finished product here.

Lunch today

Leica T

The Leica T launch took the world by storm a few months ago, when it first launched. It seems to fill the space between the X2 (now re-branded as just X) and the M systems. I’ve got my hands on a loan unit and am really loving it for the following main reasons:

  1. It is lightweight. I pop it into my handbags and I don’t feel a huge sag or that I am carrying a rice sack around.
  2. It allows for different lenses. And again, not much weight on that either.
  3. Sexy design. The unibody is world class and the slim form of the lenses, even with the hood on it, makes it look like a lean, mean, machine.
  4. It’s power packed with technology with a touch screen interface and the ability to control the camera through your iPhone. With the new software update, you can touch the screen to focus AND shoot too!
  5. And of course, the image quality is top notch, bar none. The creaminess, the sharpness of the lens, and the texture…

Here are some sample images in day time and at night time, when we went for a car wash. At ISO3200, the noise is not intrusive. I really, really love this camera, and am so tempted to add this one to the collection.

The haze is back

L99At the car wash90023

At the car wash

At the car wash

At the car wash

At the car wash

Sunday Night

I love that we are able to enjoy the long National Day weekend, right here in Singapore. It has been a fairly chilled one, before we hit the road again. I’m looking forward to see the team and put another show out there. But I am really exhausted from the travelling as we have been so busy.

(On a similar work-related note: I’ve been having weird dreams lately. Last night’s instalment was of us at the International Emmys and winning an Emmy for ‘Asia’s Next Top Model’, which would actually be fantastic in real life. But also for ‘Boston Legal’, which somehow I also produced in dreamland. Absolutely bizarre.)

Hungry Ghost Festival
The Chinese believes that the gates of hell open every seventh lunar month, and the ghosts come out to play in our world. To keep them happy, we offer them food and drinks. Yesterday was the Hungry Ghost Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month.

Skateboard Kid
Clare, back on the skateboard after a few months’ hiatus, and bum skating around the house.

Playground Dogs

Playground Dog

Leica M240

Leica Macro Mount

So I recently acquired a Leica M240. It has been interesting, yet frustrating at times. Frustrating because it is like learning a whole new language altogether, especially having grown up in the digital/automatic era of photography. The Leica Rangefinder, is like a mythical beast of magical tales, and when confronted with it, one doesn’t quite know what to do except to tread carefully, get to know it and savour the experience.

I paired the Leica M240 with a 35mm and 50mm Summicron; and today, I bought the macro adapter, along with Erwin Puts’ Leica Practicum.

Am now really wishing that I have some time to read and tame the beast. Life really needs to be less hectic.

Tuesday Fun Day

It’s Tuesday fun day today as it is a public holiday. (All photos taken with the Leica M9 / 35mm f/2 Summicron lens.)




I can’t believe how fast this girl is growing right before my very own eyes. She thinks and behaves far beyond her years. And she has a gorgeous personality that I am so proud of. 7.5 years on, I still can’t believe I got this lucky.

A Mighty Girl

Sometime ago, my friend Bridgit recommended this website to me – A Mighty Girl. The website touts itself as “The world’s largest collection of books, toys and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls”. I love what this site has to offer, and especially so, being a mother of a little girl. While I don’t know what it is like to raise boys or grow up with boys (I have four sisters!), I have never thought so much about about the image I portray as a woman until I had my little girl.

Unconsciously, I tried emulating my parents. I wanted my child to be always feel safe and protected by me. I sometimes slip up and she does see me hurt by other factors in life. But I aways want to be the super parent to her and I try very hard to live by a set of principles that hopefully will pass down to her and guide her through life.

One of the things most important to me is to cultivate in my child a sense of courage. Courage to face her fears. Courage to take the unknown path. Courage to pursue her dreams. Courage to make mistakes. Courage to pick herself up and be better and stronger than before. Courage to be herself.

I love that the website has resources, especially with books on women who made a difference. The first book I picked out from a local bookstore, based on their recommendation, was on Amelia Earhart. The one I managed to find was slightly junior to Clare’s level, but it was a simple and easy read for her to learn a bit more about the flying legend. Clare loved the book and loved the way Amelia Earhart lived her life. She actually said that she wished she could be like her.

@bridgitod recommended this website - the other day. Through it, I got the idea to get C this book, which turned out to be a great hit! C was inspired by Amelia's bravery and brains and hopes to be like here.

I also liked that we expanded the activity in which I explained a little more to her about Amelia’s life and how she actually got lost eventually. And we got into talking about her and discussing what she did.

I am definitely looking forward to more bonding with Clare through these stories, and hopefully, one day, Clare would regard me as one of those heroes that made a difference too.

© Copyright 2007 As My Life Is . Thanks for visiting!