Sunday, 23 May 2021

The Fortune Teller and I

TW: self-harm, mental health, anxiety 

On the first day of 2020, I went to a fortune teller outside Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple on Waterloo Street.

He appeared to be in his sixties, and had a permanent furrow etched between his overgrown brows. Card and palm readings were $10 each; I asked for the cards. He shuffled a well-worn deck of generic poker cards before laying them out one by one in a circle. 

After laying down the last card, he took a quick glance at the cards and shifted his gaze to something in the distance. He looked almost bored. 

You're having trouble in your career.

Monday, 31 August 2020

Why Delane Lim Embodies Everything Wrong With Singapore's Work Culture

Disclaimer: I have no intention of attacking Delane Lim or his organisation. This is a larger commentary about how we perceive value and how we work in Singapore. I will not partake in any hateful discourse surrounding Lim as a person, nor do I condone it. 

Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably would have seen a post by one Delane Lim making its rounds on social media. In his post, Lim talks about his experience interviewing candidates for a position in his company. He goes through 7 candidates, each with their own demands and conditions surrounding the offer. He concludes that millennials are entitled, "not hungry" and unrealistic for asking for such terms in the midst of a global pandemic. He even goes as far as to say that this is the reason why some companies prefer hiring foreigners. 

Somehow, his post ignited hoards of disillusioned millennials and we've used this an opportunity to unleash all of our frustrations about working in Singapore. It's obvious his post touched a raw nerve, and I think it's because Delane Lim's post embodies everything wrong with Singapore's work culture. 

Here's what I think we got wrong:  

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Best of Chloe Cake?

Now, now. I know it's more than a tad pretentious to write a 'best of' post when I'm no famous blogger, but I was looking back on my archived posts when I remembered how much I enjoyed writing some of them. Many have become outdated by now - feelings have settled, some friends have moved on - yet I still have fond memories thinking about those times.

I've republished some of my favourites, not necessarily because they were the most popular but because they mean something to me, both then and now. Here we go!

Sunday Squares

Back in 2015 I started a series called Sunday Squares, where I rounded up my week in 4 frames:

A Tale of 3 Cities
About that time I had the energy to visit 3 cities in UK within a week

England and Other Things
All about my first week in UK and exploring Stratford-upon-Avon, which has since become one of my favourite places on earth

Visiting Santorini was a dream come true but a nightmare for my legs

Stuffed Peppers at Mambo no. 5
Making cheesy stuffed peppers with my flatmates in Whitefields back in the day, and a glimpse of my life as an exchange student in Warwick. Even comes with a recipe!


The story of how I got into Warwick again... and again.

I Got into Warwick... Again
The story of My First Time.

Changing of the Seasons
The story of How I Met Your Father(ish).

Weak Bitch's Handbook

Yet another short-lived series about learning how to travel and navigate life while at it. My therapist has told me to speak to myself more kindly so if I ever revive this series I will have to think of a new name, oops.

Don't Miss Your Bus in Lyme Regis
The charms of fossil finding coupled with the horror of missing the last bus at 6pm.

Packing for Short Trips
Aka how to backpack when you have chronic shoulder and back pain, and that time I grossly overestimated Birmingham and thought I need 2 days to see the city.

Travelling the UK
All about how to get around UK without a car. The guide I wish I had!

The Strong Bitch's Guide to Surviving Sexual Harassment 
In 2016, I was sexually harassed by a stranger at a bus stop outside a supermarket. I still cannot adequately describe how powerless I felt in that moment, but this was how I tried to process it back then.

Special Mentions

Mini Bundt Earl Grey Cakes 

Joy's Poached Pear and Almond Tart

Nowadays Joy bakes from her own bakery and I have the privilege of helping out as a cashier on some weekends. A reminder of humble beginnings :')


And that's it from the archives. Happy reading!

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Love in the Time of Covid: Non-bs LDR Tips

Holding hands - something we won't be doing for awhile

I write and speak quite extensively about long-distance relationships because it's one of the most challenging things to experience as a couple. I've learnt a lot about myself and relationships along the way, but I was glad to be done with LDRs when Terence came back for good last year.

Now, thanks to Covid, we've found ourselves in a pseudo LDR once again. Everything feels eerily familiar, and I find myself drawing upon all the coping tactics I'd developed while we were apart. Even though I've gone months without seeing my partner previously, whatever we're dealing with isn't easy and I'm ok with admitting that.

For all those who are struggling with the "distance", I did some thinking and came up with these tips to help you be less miserable. As always, I'm no expert, just trying to keep it real.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Periods, Pools and Perspective

Went there for the 'gram

Once upon a time, I really wanted to visit the Szechenyi thermal baths in Budapest.

Call me bougie, but I've long had a fascination with baths and spas and other things that combine water and relaxation. Baths are really a thing of luxury in Singapore, considering most of us live in apartments with small toilets and we grew up being told that we had to save water because Malaysia could cut off our water supply any time. (Imagine taking a shower halfway and suddenly Malaysia declares war on SG. You'd die with suds still on your body!)

So, when I first found out about the baths on social media and I was mesmerised. The accents of yellow and blue, the water glinting under the sun. The fact that they looked straight from a scene from The Life of Pi. Such architecture! So bath!! Very history!!!

In fact, I was so determined to visit Szechenyi that I packed a bikini when I went on exchange in 2016. To UK. In winter.

Fast forward to April, and the weather was finally warm enough for a bikini. I found two other awesome girls from uni who were keen to go to Budapest. We scheduled an entire afternoon to spend at the baths and we even bought disposable razors from the corner store to shave off 4 months worth of armpit and leg hair accumulated over winter.

Our bodies were ready - or so I thought.