Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Meeting James Marsden

James Marsden and me
My last couple of posts have been rather gloomy in tone so I'll change this up a bit. Yes, I've been down in the dumps for the better part of the year. OK, come next Thursday it will be a year to the day that it all started, but I'm finally getting over it. So when I found out James Marsden was coming to town for the SGIFF (Singapore International Film Festival) and a Westworld press junket and he was scheduled to walk the red carpet at a charity gala dinner at Marina Bay Sands, I knew that heading on down there would be just the thing to cheer me up.

Red carpet events at Marina Bay Sands are pretty hit and miss affairs. I got Chris Evans to sign an autograph for me on the red carpet for Capt America, but Tom Hanks just walked straight past me at the Inferno event, and there were less people there. 

IWC Schaffhausen was sponsoring his appearance so my guess was that he would make an in store appearance at some point. So on a rainy Saturday afternoon I uber-ed it to the Marina Bay Sands to see if I could catch him there.

And by the time I arrived, there was a security guard standing at the store entrance barring customers from entering.  I peered in the window and James was being interviewed by some members of the press. Score! Ronnie, another fan, was hovering nearby, and as there was  only one entrance to the shop I was sure the chances of meeting him were quite high. I immediately called my friends and fellow fans Ray and Song Ping who high tailed it over to the store.

We waited for around an hour  as press members came and went and then there was sudden movement in the shop. James started moving towards the exit with his minders, then he stopped to look at some watches. Ironically James was running late and I'm sure that his minders would rush him if they could so there was no guarantee he would stop. But I had heard he was a nice guy and very accommodating to his fans.

Then security opened the doors and James walked out, minders in tow. Ray has the habit of always wanting to be the first to ask for an autograph, so I let him to his thing.

So he jumped right in and James kindly stopped and signed an autograph and posed for a photo.  I held out two copies of my books that I intended to give him for his son. "These are for William," I said. His eyes widened in surprise and he flashed the megawatt smile that he is famous for. "Thank you!" he said looking at them. I then quickly asked if he could sign my X-Men DVD cover and an index card.

Ronnie and Song Ping asked him to sign their items and he asked me if I could hold the books while he signed their items, which of course he did after that they asked for photos and he graciously obliged. 

Then his minders began to rush him and I handed him the back the books and I thanked him for the autographs.  "Thank you again," he smiled as  he turned to leave.  Wait! I hadn't gotten a photo.  Ray called out, "Do you have one time for one more photo. He hasn't gotten one yet. 

Without missing a beat, James turned back, put a hand on my shoulder, flashed a megawatt smile and I had my picture. I shook his hand again and thanked him and he was off. I have to say he is one of the nicest if not nicest stars in Hollywood along with Jessica Chastain.

While Song Ping had to dash off, Ray, Ronnie and I decided to wait to see what the red carpet set up would be like. Darren Aronofsky was due to make an appearance as well, but girlfriend Jennifer Lawrence stayed away. Fans had spotted her a few days before and she refused to sign autographs and pose for photos.

With the heavy rain, it was uncertain if the red carpet appearance would be cancelled, but the weather let up. And sure enough, security told us that fans weren't allowed to wait at the red carpet, then we were told we could stand some distance away, and finally a handful of us were allowed to stand at the end of the carpet.

I met a young fan, Matthew who had an X-Men poster ready to be signed. So we waited and waited as guests decked out in their gala best stopped, posed and preened on the carpet. Darren Aronofsky dashed past and there was no sign of Jennifer Lawrence.  HSH Prince Albert of Monaco walked by with Film Festival Chair Mike Wiluan.

HSH Prince Albert of Monaco and Mike Wiluan

James hits the red carpet
And finally, James hit the red carpet and was immediately besieged by photographers and reporters for interviews and photo ops. With that done, he walked over to Matthew and signed his poster for him before he proceeded to sign autographs and pose for selfies for anyone who asked for one.

James signs Matthew's poster
James stayed in town for the rest of the week for Westworld promos and a meet and greet organised by HBO Asia and he signed autographs and photos for everyone who asked for one. As I said he's got to be one of the nicest stars around.

Friday, December 2, 2016


"Appreciate those who love you. Help those who need you. Forgive those who hurt you."

Thank you to all those who supported me over the past year. I love you loads and it's been a hard year and I would not have gotten through it without your love, support and understanding.  

Now It's been exactly a year since I was badly hurt by someone and I  now realise I tend to be too trusting and I over extend myself  and go all out to help and support some friends who in the end don't appreciate me, take me for granted or abuse my trust. This is not the first time it's happened but it certainly is the most painful and it definitely will be the last. Never again will I put anyone's worth above my own, never again will I allow someone to say things or do things that hurt me egregiously. 

When it comes to people, the old adage is 'Never judge a book by its cover'. This is so true.  One should study the book's contents first before deciding to pick it up or to leave it on the shelf. I've finished the last chapter and closed the book. I'm leaving it and walking away. 

I'm not perfect...I'm the furthest thing from it but I am struggling to change for the better and hopefully I will. I have come to respect myself enough to realise, I deserve the same returns in friendship that I invest. I don't ask for much from friends except a listening ear, mutual support, kindness, loyalty and respect. And it breaks my heart when others can't or won't afford me that.

With me, I don't wear masks, what you see is what you get, like it or not. 
But I now realise I cannot take other people at face value. I have to build a wall around my heart to protect myself from those who do wear masks, and many people do. 

As it is the Christmas season, it's a time for forgiveness and letting go. To the person who hurt me, I forgive you for inflicting so much damage to my self-worth. I was never afforded the opportunity to say what I wanted to say at the time but this is what I have to say now.

I cannot deny there were good times and times we laughed a lot, but you hurt me deeply that day last December. You made me feel smaller than small. You made me feel completely utterly worthless and totally dispensable. But thank you for teaching me something I had to learn. Thank you for hurting me to the core. Thank you for letting me know how my friendship was of little value and how little I was thought of. Thank you for denigrating me in front of others. Thank you for showing me words really do more damage than sticks and stones.  In a way I needed to be broken. It had to happen. And thank you for doing it. And thank you for teaching me I have to have self-respect. 

Am I sad about things? Yes. Do I regret how things turned out, in hindsight? No. I wouldn't have learned a thing. I've learned that though I can care a lot I can hurt even more; that when I'm wrong, to admit it, and when I'm right, not to gloat; and that to apologise is not a weakness, it is actually a strength. I am filled with an inordinate amount of love and gratitude to my family and those who have seen me through this year. I Thank them for all the prayers and I thank God for helping me through each and every day, especially the hardest ones.

But I have learnt the lesson I had to learn and come through it. Maybe not with flying colours but at least with a 'B' or a 'C'. OK, let's be honest, a 'D'. So thank you for helping me realise that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. I've come to realise, you can still care for those who have wounded you but you can't have them in your life in any measure. I survived the pain and I'm still here, standing.


Believe it or not, I bear no ill will or malice; there is no point for that and it achieves no good purpose. I know you don't care and you, in all probability,  won't read this blog post. But I do wish you the very best, I really do.  I hope you have peace and get everything you hope for and desire. And above all I wish you happiness always. Have a nice life... God bless you and GOODBYE.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Another year older…not any wiser...

Birthday with the family and our new baby boy: Kobe Bridge

Birthdays are a time for us to reflect on the year that’s passed. I know there are some people who dismiss birthdays as just another day in the year of the life of…. But my family always goes all out for anyone’s birthday and this year they did so again for mine and 
I’m very grateful.

But birthdays also make me a little sad because though I am thankful for what I have, it makes me reflect on the previous year of my life…or previous years. It also makes me wonder whether I’ve spent so much of my life writing children’s books for nothing and sadly each year seems to confirm that fact, but I keep plugging on.  With writing kids books, especially here in Singapore, you put in so much effort for so little pay off that it really does not seem worth it at all.

So has another year made me any wiser, I don’t think so. I’m still writing and venturing into middle grade and YA territory. I have a few more projects I have to finish up and then we’ll see what I do next.

It also makes me sad because I’ve been told time and time again  that when people first meet me they think that I’m nuts. I’m off beat and it takes time for them to realize that I’m not so different from them. Just goes to show, you should never judge a book by its cover, pardon the pun.

Hopefully the year ahead will be better than the last for me. I don’t think I’d be able to survive another year like the last.  Thank you to everyone who sent birthday wishes.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

International Tolerance Day: A Rip in our Quilt

“Human diversity makes tolerance more than a virtue; it makes it a requirement for survival.”

― RenĂ© Dubos

Have you watched the movie How to Make an American Quilt? It’s a fairly old film that most might dismiss as a chick flick, but if you look beyond that stereotype and get past your prejudices, you’ll find it an extremely engaging film about a young woman, Finn, who is writing a thesis on her grandmother, grand aunt and the cross-generational relationships with their friends while they work together to make  a wedding quilt for Finn. Each works on a patch representing her life experience that they will sew together to create a collective timeline of their respective pasts, fraught with the frayed edges of regrets and mistakes, to their present lives and ultimately onto Finn’s future.

Today is International Tolerance Day and as another year draws to a close, it’s given me pause to look at life. Mine’s been fraught with snagged ends and frayed edges. Mostly due to my many mistakes, my impatience, intolerance and without doubt occasional selfishness.  

The more I think about it, the more I realize the world it really is like one big  quilt, each of us a single patch,  different, yet each equally valuable, each astoundingly beautiful in spite of the imperfections; through time, the seams have loosened and the patches have become worn and frayed. 

Instead of a collective desire to be repaired, the patches strain against the quilt’s fabric of the quilt, Each patch believing their own image, picture, or story is right. With such disregard for the diversity, the overall whole, the once beautiful quilt begins to fall apart. Each believes their preferred stitch is the only method to put things right. There is no compromise, only discord. And ultimately the patches  not only successfully manage to ruin the once beautiful quilt and but in the process, they destroy themselves.

It sad that we can’t see and appreciate what each of us has to offer, how much good everyone is capable of. Instead we bicker and argue, we value degrading others above uplifting them, we look more at we can take rather than what we can give. We rattle our sabers, we make threats. If we think someone is not like us they’re wrong, we find it so much easier to hurt without remorse, to disparage rather than encourage, to gloat rather than to provide hope. And to discard rather than to hold on fast and hard. 

This election season has been particularly nasty and vindictive with supporters of the opposing sides gnashing their teeth and tearing into each other, some more viciously than others.

In the news today I saw two ladies in public office making derogatory and racist remarks about the ever elegant and graceful FLOTUS. Those who hold public office should set a good example and lead the way forward positively, with dignity and decorum. 

The same could be said of the manager at Chilis in Texas who refused a veteran of a free meal on Veterans Day because he believed another patron who said the veteran was not a real serviceman and then to add insult to injury, the manager snatched back the free meal and asked the veteran to leave. Rip….Rip…Rip.  It’s unravelling threads in the fabric of the quilt that makes bigger tears, irreparable tears.

When will we all sit up and take notice of how ridiculously so many people are behaving? The thing is people only seem to realize it is wrong when they are caught out. And then they delete their posts from facebook or make half-hearted sorry attempts at apologizing. Wake up, people! 

Years ago I interviewed Yossi Ghinsberg, a man who was lost in the Amazon and what he said was quite telling. He said that man was less civilized that the wild animals he encountered because at least they obeyed the law of nature; man does not.

So the year is drawing to a close on a negative note; it’s my wish that we all take stock and realize that we’re not perfect and but we are more alike than we think and that if we accept ourselves, in the little things  perhaps we can slowly then perhaps begin to mend the tears in the quilt we call our world.  We might like to start by reading this book. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.

We’re all human. We’re not perfect. We have to put our egos aside and accept that about one another.

“Somewhere beyond wrong and right, there is a garden. I will meet you there” -Rumi


Monday, November 7, 2016


Last week, Pastor Joel spoke of moving on from pain in his sermon and it resonated with me. Mainly because we've talked about it a lot and also because I know many people  have been through indescribable pain as have I. 

Four years ago I wrote my book If I were a Blue Kangaroo…. It’s about how one could have the most fantastic experiences that life has to offer but they would mean nothing if one didn’t have a good friend to share them with. But you don’t just share good times with your friends, you share all times with them, good, bad and the in-between times.

Now, I’m not one to make friends easily but when I do make a friend, I value them and treasure them and I intend to keep them for life. I will do anything to help, support and encourage them in any way that I can and likewise I hope they will do the same for me. We may not always agree on things and we may occasionally have squabbles and spats, but that is part and parcel of life. But I always appreciate their honesty and their opinions. I try never to take advantage of them or take them for granted because friends never do that to one another. And most of all, I never intend to hurt them or cause them pain of any kind.

From the end of last year and through a great deal of this year,  I have been in a period of unspeakable pain. It was so unbearable that it began to manifest in physical symptoms, so much so that I had to be rushed to the hospital for a cardiac check up.

My family suffered and stood alongside me as they always have  and always will  and I love them so much, though my grumpy exterior may not show it. 

My few close friends were there for me to provide warm words of comfort, to listen when I needed to talk and to give much needed hugs whenever necessary. They allowed me time and space; they let me cry freely and picked up the shards of my shattered self from the ravine of complete utter devastation;  then gently pieced back parts of my soul that I thought irretrievably lost. They made me feel valued and worthwhile again.

I would like to thank them for being there for me. They don’t know what a blessing they have been to me throughout this insufferable time and they can count on me to always be there for them whether they want me to or not. Thank you to my family, Pastor Joel and the rest of my friends both far and near who have always helped me through so many things. I’m still not 100%  but I am getting there slowly. I’m getting there and I’m moving on and not looking back. 

Now if you’re down and suffering with no one to talk to you can always contact #SOS or me if you need a confidential listening ear. If you’re in pain know you’re not alone.  Sending lots of love your way to you all.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Welcome Back Ian and Jacquie.

It’s that time for the Singapore Writers Festival again and my good friends Jacquie and Ian Harvey are back in town. Jacquie, the phenomenal best selling author of the Alice Miranda and Clementine Rose series of books will be conducting readings and workshops during the first weekend of the festival.

I caught up with both of them at Jacquie’s packed in store appearance at Kinokuniya and then we headed to my favorite cafe Gastronomia Da Paolo for a quick drink and then home so they could meet Kobe before going to dinner with Mum at Din Dai Fung.

It’s always great catching up with both of them. Thanks for a fun day, Jacquie and Ian.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Emma's Elephant Storytelling

A Fun Story telling. Thank you.

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