Monday, 28 February 2011


What an amazing weekend. We flew EasyJet, cheap no frill airline. After all, we had merely wanted a quick weekend getaway. A friend of ours got us a deal at a 5star hotel at a crazy amount of EUR60 and we were even upgraded for free to a corner suite. What a nice chap he is.

The flight itself was pretty uneventful other than a loud Englishman that was drunk before the flight and more drunk during the flight itself. The airline really shouldn't be so irresponsible in plying him with more alcohol, yes, EasyJet profits but he could become a handful. He was a rowdy and boisterous. Typical of an Englishman abroad, shame really.

The weekend blew past rather too quickly for my liking. The city itself with its combination of building, pre Communist, post Communist and during the Soviet era were a mish mash of style and architecture shock, horror and delight. Cobblestone walks runs in tandem with the 1970s massive Soviet style square box buildings. Food was a delight, I was pleasantly surprised how the food is so intrinsigically Modern European wherever we went.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011


So far so good. Life is good. Calm, nothing exciting. Work is good and constant. I now have a sattelite desk just located in between settlements/operations and floor.
I hear everything and see most things. At first, its proved to be disconcerting for the traders but now I am part of the furniture. Day passes quicker, they make me feel welcome, a lot of joking and banter around, something that I have missed all these years tucked away in the comfort and isolation of my office.
I still have my office for when I need some quiet time to read and catch up with paperwork.

Monday, 21 February 2011

R & R

Took 3 days off work last week. It was well deserved  rest, I must say. We drove up to Leeds for a few days, came home on Friday. It was nice and relaxing up in Leeds, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Chris and I chatted and discussed what we would like to do with our lives, individually and collectively as a family. It was a heartwarming conversation and one that was long overdue.
Came back home on Friday with a clearer picture. We met up with Lars on Friday. It had been months, but its so good to meet up with friends that I haven't had time for recently what with everything that went on. We drank too much milo ice, ate too much roti canai, satays and popiah. We had a good laugh though.
Met up with Merry on Saturday afternoon - cream tea, yummy. It was great to be able to talk to her face to face after months of chatting online and on the phone sometimes. She is such a bubbly lady and ever so posh too. I don't know about her but I had a fantastic few hours with her.
Back in the office today, Monday and its a real drag.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

A few days off

Now this is bliss. The last time I had a few days off was in October. No work until Monday. How cool is that! Dinner with friends on Friday. Merry, coming down on Saturday? I bet you she doesn't make it.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Teenage Daughter & Angst

Give me strength. Tons of strength to stay the course. Deep breathes, count to 1,000 before I speak.  Especially with her. She is smart, quick wit and really good looking kid due to the blended looks of Caucasian and Orient.


My first real enthusiastic effort in looking around the job market. My initial feelings were self doubt, whether I am in over my head, way too far outside my comfort zone or if I would feel too out of place in such a place. I was surprised that I didn't feel intimidated nor out of place, the hiring manager whom I met up with did try his best, I thought. Steve did stressed that it has to be someone that has the techical knowledge, legally qualified and seniority within the industry. Also someone that has the "intellect" and fit their "brand". These were his words, not mine, intellect and brand. To be what exactly? Someone befits a person that is capable of working in UBS, what a joke.

Anyway, dye is cast. I have been, I have seen and I have chatted. I am surprised and reasonably happy and proud of myself for even getting a toe into their doors.

CICC approached me again yesterday. I supposed you do get what you paid for in life. I told the headhunter to speak to their Global Head and get their approval of the salary range. I am not interested in going down the road and it all fell apart as it did last time due to salary. Its no point being cheap, in the city, you do get what you paid for. Pay peanuts you will get monkies.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Should I stay or should I go now?

The Clash.

This is my sixth year here. I have been thinking and debating about my prospects here, since more than a year ago we exited from the LME. Its not because the company was not making money on LME but the future doesn't lie with being a category 2 member. Its no longer cost effective.

I still have not decided to stay or leave. I am casting out my nets and for the first time in 6years looking around and see whats on offer. I don't know. On one hand the idea of going back to being a generalist sounds promising, as I do have experience in most products now, well with the exception of one or two.  The job market in my field is bouyant, surprisingly.

If I stay here, I earn a steady income, not bad but not hugely fantastic either, but the benefits are quite decent and the work life balance is quite good. However, the increasing office politics, do put an unnecessary strain. Promotions and climbing the ladder is non-existant here. I am at the top of my game here and have been for a few years. When I first joined, I didn't have much knowledge of derivatives; especially commodities derivatives. Now, six years later, the story is different.

I was shocked when I put the word out in the market, that I am looking around, I was surprised by the response and the level in which I am now pitched at. On one hand, I am quite excited with doing more, new challenges ahead, the global or group level that I am pitched at. However, the size of the investment bank concerns me, the working hours and the work life balance concerns me.

I'll see how it goes.

The Clash - Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Sunday, 13 February 2011

My Chemical Romance

We took Isabella to Wembley Arena for her first ever really really huge rock concert - My Chemical Romance. She loved it. MCR totally rocked the place. It was awesome. I couldn't believe that I enjoyed myself so much.
I thought knew 1 or 2 songs by them but I actually knew more. Maybe its infectious, seeing Isabella jumping up and down at the arena together with the other 20,000 other fans.

This is definitely one of the great thing about living in London

Saturday, 12 February 2011

The Reply- My Reply

Last Wednesday evening, I replied. I felt compelled to reply, I needed to reply. My reply was short. I decided to reply before I could change my mind. Took out my phone and replied whilst waiting for the bus home.
My reply, "Dumbstruck. Speechless."

Friday, 11 February 2011

Sick again

I am fed up of constantly being sick. I was sick as a dog after Kenya and it took the doctor months before he would give me medication. It was late November before I got better. I hate this cough. I want to be rid of it NOW

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

School Mates

Maybe its an FB quirk, but I was presented with one friend's request/match. She used to be my school mate in Ipoh. Then before I knew it, I acquired a boatload of former schoolmates. How utterly delightful, beguiling yet strange. I have yet to process this newly or re-acquired friends.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Oxford Street Tube revamp to cause 8 months of delays | News

Oxford Street Tube revamp to cause 8 months of delays News

As usual, the commuters like me are hit. Rising ticket prices, revamp, renovations, bringing it up to date. Why can't the work be done at night? After the last train at 1am?
This is after all a develop country. This is London, not some sweaty icky backstreet. World class city should have a world class public transportation system, not some backwater, creeking tube system thats being held together by a shoelace.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Self Examination

I read the FT Weekend and this last para from an article jumped out at me. Its about an insight into a OW's mind and the moment when realisation dawn. It jumped at me, absolutely and totally. The words applied in its absolution.
"In the past after such occasions, Helen's focus is on Robert - why won't he give me a baby, but this time she talked about her friends' closeness. She could see that their intimacy had deepened and would continue to do so. And she had the thought that since meeting Robert - almost 10years  earlier -she had become frozen in  time.
A little later during dinner with her friends, she saw herself through their eyes - passionately involved with someone who was not real, and disengaged from the people that actually cared about her. She often thought that her fantasies of Robert might be keeping her from a husband and baby, but for the first time, she realised that its keeping her from the love of her friends. I felt sick with sadness thinking what I had lost."

Thats me. That was me. I compromised and compromised myself, changed and morphed into someone that sometimes I had not recognised. I allowed him to change me, it was done ever so subtely that I had not realised, maybe it was not him per se, maybe it was the situation itself, the affair, the OW syndrome, I wanted to be his soft place or maybe its my chinese nature, whereby it was drilled into me to give give give.

Whatever it is, it doesn't matter. I wanted a full time permanent relationship with a man that I love. Someone that isn't afraid of committment. Someone that loves me and want to share his life with me. That someone isn't him. He doesn't love me. I know that much.  I used to have theories about this, but whats the point? It is what it is. I can't change a single thing about that. I am only grateful that my friends have not abandoned me because of this episode, I had realised how obscure I had become in their lives. I had been so out of touch with reality, now that he's been out of my life for the past 14months, I had rediscovered time, friends, self appreciation and hobbies.

Like I said previously, Chris and I had a talk yesterday evening. For the next 12months, I will go all out and try and find the ideal job out in Spore. The deadline is 12months. If after 12months I have not succeeded, I give up on Spore. In the meantime, this upcoming trip in April and subsequent trips, I will slowly have a look around and buy a small place in KL. This time its for keeps, it will not be rented out and its not an investment. Its my home, 2nd home.

I love London because of its culture and its diversity. I love the museums, galleries, the ballet, theatre, concerts,etc thats readily available and at hand. Whilst all that is true, I don't want to live here forever. A bolthole in London is enough for me. I understand that Isabella is a BBC and London will be her home and because of that I will spend time here too.

So. I will look for a place in KL. I will keep pedalling away at the bike until one fine day, its become second nature and I will no longer feel the pain. Easement of the pain. And its better to stay with the devil I know than the devil that I don't.

Aftermath of the Weekend

I was speechless. The ballet on Friday evening was breathtaking. The sets were beautifully constructed, woodlands, complete with trees and cottages. The orchestra's performance was faultless. I had forgotten how mesmerising and captivating the ballet can be, especially beautifully and lovingly performed.

We arrived at about 6.30pm and were seated immediately for our starters and main course. Food was good, but at that price, I had expected much better quality food, I have to admit. I ordered the monkfish which was beautifully cooked but the portion was skimpy. For £19.20, I expected a larger size fish and the bones taken out.

I bought the tickets months and months in advance. For Giselle and Seasons Greetings. And now as I sat in the dark theatre, it dawned on me, starred crossed lovers, doomed. Didn't I just timed it well?

Saturday dawned bright and early and I strolled down to my local Waitrose to buy all the ingredients needed for the CNY celebratory dinner. I was determined to finish cooking and have it all under control prior to Agnes showing up. I wasn't up for her to meddle and take over.

Luckily for me, I only decided to cook 6 dishes and 2 desserts. Soup was cooked first and foremost and the rest slowly followed. I was done cooking by the time Chris came back from the gym. We walked to Belsize and had brunch at Chammomile, came back home and we sat around reading the papers and watched more of West Wing. We are so addicted to the show at the moment and we are only on Series 4.

Agnes came nearly an hour earlier than scheduled. Thats fine. She saw the car and asked me a few times about it. And the Jag. Whatever. I no longer have anything to prove to her. Conversation was a tad strained, after all what is there to chat about when her sole aim is just to play the victim and extract money out of her family members? Her friends showed up for dinner, late of course, Lai Chan, Moses, Wai Meng and Becky. Becky is a Downs kid and she is nearly 22 now. She is finally living independently in a home funded by the council. The parents do not want to pay much, which its a pity as they can afford it.

According to Lai Chan, Moses and Wai Meng, its been 9years since they had been invited to our home. And now, I can clearly say that Saturday's meal was the last. The days when I was fresh off the banana boat, looking up to them as the successful immigrant, those days are long gone. Now I remember clearly why I had decided to cut them out of our lives 9years ago. Its all about money and wealth. After calling Isabella Isabelle for 20mins, I snapped and started correcting them. Or how many times does Isabella have to say that she now goes to NBH, her favourite subjects are English, French and Sciences. She is constantly asked that evening if she is going to study medicine. And of course, what did we do with the flat in Holland Park.

Moses will be 60 in a fortnight. He will be retiring, or so he said. On and on he went about the land that he bought and the house that they built in Kingswood. How Ashley Cole nearly moved there. Whatever. Am I impressed? No. Does it impact upon my life? Nope. Now looking back when he was made redundant at Kroll, he must have been 50. I remembered Agnes, Moses, his sister Lai Chan made such a big deal out of how much he was earning then and indirectly hinted that I was such a loser, how I lacked the ambition, the drive as well as the intelligence to be in his league. At that time, I had just came back down to London from Leicester and was merely starting out at ABN AMRO. I had thought that he was at that time mid to late 40s. It was then I made a promised to myself that come 40, I would be earning that amount of salary too. And I am proud to say, I achieved it and surpassed it. And I am proud of myself for achieving that. Now I know, he was 50, earning that amount at 50 is the norm. How stupid was I to be taken in.

It was strange evening. The need to look up to them, admiration and all the baggage is all gone. I looked at them and they are so stuck in their existence. They talked longingly about buying a place back home and retiring there and in all honesty what is it that's holding them back? Nothing. They have the money. Its all a pipe dream. Moving or buying a second home means committing money, they are all way too stingy and mean to do anything like that. Look at Becky. Thats a classic example.

So, duty done and dusted. Its over. I am glad  that its over.

Sunday dawned, I had a lie-in.  It took us 1.5hours to travel 4km to SouthBank. It was all due to the CNY celebrations at Trafalgar Square and Chinatown. It turned out to be a story about a middle class family during the Christmas festivities.  Catherine Tate bored in her marriage, felt neglected and unloved, nearly had an affair with a guest.
How tragic! Sometimes I wonder if I deliberately walk into these situations subconsciously. Strangely enough, it made me realised a lot.

Chris and I had some frank talks yesterday evening. I came to some realisation. I was back on the bike. I will pedal away at the bike until I am well again. What was the mantra? Fake it till you make it. Its not so much as faking it, its recognition, realisation and understanding.

But thats another post.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Weekend is almost here, I can almost smell it

I am firmly back on the bike. I am at Giselle then dinner at the Ampitheatre Restaurant. Tomorrow Agnes with her friends will be over at my house for a early dinner, Chinese New Year celebratory dinner. Sunday will be lunch with friends followed by Season's Greetings over at the National Theatre.

I may even catch the Lion Dance as I will be over at the South Bank.

Refocusing on myself. Right. Here I go.

2011 and Plans

I have decided. I need to. I resolve to.

Relocation and Plan A

I saw 2 recruitment agencies towards the end of last year. I am going to give myself 12months to find a suitable position in Singapore. Isabella is already on the waiting list for Chatsworth and she is willing to move. I chose Spore as career wise its the more sensible approach. Its also near home, across the causeway bridge.

I am not just going to accept any job. I am not willing to move for its sake. It has to be the right job, right environment with the right culture. At this point of my career its really important.

So, I will play a wait and see game. This is, of course, Plan A. A suitable Singapore job. Last resort is to explore a transfer to Singapore, after all, our Asia headoffice is in Spore but the idea of being in Legal, scares me. The daily routine grind of contracts and legal amendment, that may drive me to drink


This is my 6th year. This I have to admit its the right job with a good work life balance. I took this job 6 years ago, when Isabella was younger, I was needed more at home. Mentally this job isn't particularly pressurised, well, not all the time. I have learnt an awful lot here and cross jurisdictional too, but now it lack a certain je nais sais quoi. I do like what I do for a living. I enjoy my work, its like a huge ball of messed up box of jigsaw puzzles and I have to with the help of various people put all the jigsaw puzzles and form a picture.

I missed the adrenalin of a huge trading floor or the frantic pace in investment banking, the deal flows at rapid pace. The dealers and traders speaking in rapid quick fire succession. Research papers that have to go out like yesterday. There are days when I miss all that. There's also a camaraderie as well as bawdly talk. Its really sexist environment and the jokes that these guys make, O M G. Its where I learnt how to take as well as dish out. At the same token, I don't miss the long hours, the parties and the heavy socialising either.

I have been to 2 interviews past month, a French bank and an SA. I was initially excited with the SA bank as it is similar in size to where I am now but the more the CEO talked about their business, the less enthusiastic I became. I learnt insurance rules and regulations when it was first introduced here and I remembered Dave dragged me kicking and screaming into the world of ICOB. I hated learning it. I learnt it but its not because I wanted to either.

The French bank meanwhile, I had worked there years ago, when I was a junior. I was not keen on the location of the bank, it meant changing trains but can't be help. I was interested because of the European Head is someone that I admire, Jonathan. We had a good chat about the role and the shoes that I would be filling, however, a fortnight after my interview, the entire department was up for reshuffling and had to be restructured. So, I await further news.

If I can't find anything suitable out in Singapore and if I can find something more suitable here, I may go and work for someone else. But here's my dilemma, Isabella now only has 6 more years before university. When she is at university, I can afford to take my foot of the financial pedal.

Freelance/Consultantcy and Plan B

This is my plan B. This will enable to the freedom to live where I want to live as well as provide me financially as well as mental stimulation.
I will need maybe 5/6 clients and I will be set up and be financially profitable. I have 2 now and soon it will be 3.
With this, there's no requirement that I have to live in London. All I need to is a highspeed broadband system and work during GMT hours. I will have to come back quarterly to visit the clients but thats about it. Its a win-win situation. The clients pay less since I work from home and my home can be anywhere in the world.

A home in Malaysia

Up until 3 years ago, I had a condo in KL. I sold the property for 2 reasons - (a) Mont Kiara was begining to be over populated and overbuilt. (b) I suspect that the financial crisis was lurking and at that time there were rumours abound about the property bubble bursting. I sold, made a tidy profit and paid my father's hospital bills.

This visit in April, I will once again have a quiet look around. I fancy a home in KL. A home. My home. Not to be rented out like my Mont Kiara condo, but my own place. A sanctuary, a place where I can hang my hat when I am home. It doesn't have to be big or palatial or even luxurious. Just a home for me.

Investments and Pension

My private pension is not going to be enough, even coupled with the State Pensions. My SIPP (Self Invested Pension Plan), thats not been doing too badly but it was "play" money, its not enough to give me a sensible return on my investments. I will continue to utilise my SIPP fully as its tax efficient.

Chris and I are thinking about investing in buy-to-let properties abroad. We have now 3 cities on the table - SF, NY and Sydney.  We had a look around when we were in NY in October and there were some bargains to be had and the rental yields are pretty solid. SF, we will investigate further in the summer. Sydney? I had a look at a development last year, yes yes yes, when the job offer came about, my conclusion is overpriced and the returns aren't favourable. Maybe I am bias lol.

Choos, Manolo / Louboutin

I want to buy a pair of these shoes. It symbolises freedom. Freedom from his clutches.

Keith Urban-You'll Think Of Me

Anger List

I need to exorcise and exercise too. Lists, I like lists. I like organisation. I like neat, tidy and being organised. I am not very good at holding onto anger. I get angry really quickly and I lose the anger momentum, hence a list to remind myself constantly.

1. Breakfast Buffet at Excelsior. I looked at him in the eyes and asked him straight off the bat- do you love me? His reply - I don't love you, I can't love someone thats hardly there for me. I left and 2 days latter I flew back to London. I came back to work 2days earlier than plan.
2. Legend. Did I say that I was spending the evening with you? Well, I am out with my friends now. You do what you want. And with those words, I was abandoned for the day, even though I had initially planned and agreed to spend time with my friends but he said that he's alone without plans.
3. If only I lose some weight. Or translate to being that I am fat.
4. I have big tits. Thats quoting him verbatim
5. I am too opinionated. Why do I have an opinion on everything?
6. What are you wearing? You look taller than I am.
7. You spend all your time with your friends, what about me?
8. Legend and the Viagra episode. His wife called several times those few days and screamed and screamed down the phone. The words she used, her screams and his pleadings, I could see hear them even now. And the lies that poured out in order to placate his wife and me. I didn't even know about the viagra prescriptions. I offered to cut short the holiday and asked that he goes home and placate his wife.
9. San Siro. The outrageous flirting that evening it was so awful that even the managress said to me that evening. Made me feel like another spare parts.
10. Put away your things, hide them, my friends are coming.
11. Bali. Three incidents. (a) at the temple. Openly asked the monk about "sampling" with a wink. The monk said that its disrespectful to me and he shrugged his shoulders and told the monk that I am not his wife. Made me feel like a heel. (b) at a local restaurant. The waitress came to sit us down and started asking polite questions only for him to wink and flirt, words littered with innuendos. (c)timeshare sales pitch where he made a pass with a sales lady behind the bank of desks. I am not a jealous type woman nor am I suspicious, I don't mind mild flirtations, but these sort of behaviour in front of me is being disrespectful. Its sends out a message, the message says you are not even in my list of priorities you rank lower than my dog.
12. Indulgence. I said no. No, do not come over. He came over, had sex, got up from the bed went to the toilet, got cleaned up, flush the toilet, put his Farah pants/shorts back on, a peck on the cheeks and told me that he has to get back to his hotel. Am I some lowlife, pond scum or prostitute?
13. Novotel. Please do not let my friend know that we have been in KL together when he comes to take us to the airport tomorrow. Please say that you bumped into me at the hotel lobby and I agreed to take you to the airport. I mean, come on, hotel lobby is full at 5am, how stupid does he thinks his friend is? I made my own way to the airport that day.
14. 4months. He vanished, no word nothing. One day at the airport, each of us flying back to our homes, next thing I know, he dropped off the face of the earth. One morning I woke up crying endlessly, so I texted him to call me. He did. I asked him what happened? His words - I demand too much. I am selfish, too selfish. I doesn't love me. He cannot love me as I am a really selfish person.
15. Apparently, I am exactly like my father, abusive- emotionally and physically abusive.
16. I told him that his cousin looks fantastic. He ranted, of course, she is single with no family or kids, of course she looks good. I was gobsmacked.
17. Where were you last year, when I needed you just to be there?
18. After Douglas has passed away, I spoke to him, his words - I told you he will die soon anyway, whats the big deal? You hated him. Yes, indeed Douglas was an asshole but he was a figure in my life for over 20years. I call him Dad, he was my father in law and Isabella's grandfather.
19. Taxi Midnight Incident. The cabbie was making creepy passes at me, I had wanted someone to speak to me, keep me company until I reach the airport. It was midnight I agree that its late. All he did was sent me a text and asked me to text him once I arrived at the airport. Instead Kanden kept me company and the weirdo at bay.
20. I will only speak to you between the hours of 8.30-10.30pm.
21. You are required to text me first thing in the morning - my morning and your morning.
22. My way or the highway - I want, I require.......

Wise Words Indeed

My friend, Earth told me to get angry. Anger is good. Anger will get me back on my bike. In the past 5 years, I have had fallen off this bike a few times. I am now a seasoned pro, I can get back on the bike. I will get back on the bike. I need to be able to draw a line under the sand. I am sure occasionally I will fall off my bike thats to be expected, I suspect, but I will eventually get the hang of this bike riding and slowly but surely will not fall off so often.

These were wise words from my dear friend.

" Get angry with him primme it helps. Well angry is better, he gave you nothing and promised you all. He is playing with you. He has made no effort before he lost you. So why now? He knows you wanted commitment so offer it now and hope you come back but then don't give the commitment he promised. And move on, he is trying to reel you in (as I predicted) but you need to realise you have nothing from him except empty promises."

And so she is right.

I deleted my Yahoo and Gmail Inbox a few months ago and had myself a meltdown. A fortnight ago, I started clearing debris off my FB Inbox and found his emails. I debated, re-read those emails so many times now that the path is well worn. I deleted those emails now. I had to.  As Lynn Anderson said in her song - I never promised you a rose garden. Nope siree, he never promised me a rose garden.

official music video Leona Lewis - Better In Time

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

The message that threw me off track

He sent me this message back in July 2008. I found this message last week as I was cleaning and clearing up my FB inbox. I have taken care of the rest of his stuff, not that there was anything much. 5 years of a relationship and it didn't even filled a plastic bag. How sad is that. My tally - 3 birthday cards, 2 Christmas cards, 1 $2 lottery ticket, a pair of white polyster g-string, a pirated copy of a Bee Gees DVD, a pair of rusty clip on earrings, a pair of pierce wooden earrings (it was not made out of wood, made of out raffia strings wrapped around to look like wood) and a State Transit t-shirt. That was it.  I took care of those together with the emails and photos months ago.
I sat reading and re-reading this message. Nothing has changed, if anything it made a mockery of the entire relationhip, I feel. I am still debating whether to delete this message or not.
A friend said this, "Delete the messages... You would probably not enjoy the day to day reality of living with him 24 / 7 and he could probably not cope with the reality of you either..................". Maybe she is right, I should just delete and save myself an awful lot of aggro.

This is the message
"As far as my wife is concern, I have not loved her for the past 20+ years, and I am not capable of loving her again, ever. Care perhaps and sad it has to end like this.

The reason I took that decision is mainly of you, being able to truly and genuinely share the rest of my life with you. You wanted no compromise as you have told me so emphatically, and I have made that decision. Irregardless whether physically or in spirit, I don't want anymore of this 'hide and seek' games, had enough of it.

We'll wait till october and see what the outcome is. As I have said before, first I will have to regain your trust. And I'll will be very open, none of those gwi giw sie sie business anymore. And furthermore, if you feel that you want to abandon it as it is, please do so cleanly and quickly. I don't honestly believe we can still remain friends, as in very good friends and live as if nothing has happened between us. I certainly cannot live like this.

The decision to spurn my approach is entirely up to you, but what I ask of you is to give it a go in October and then decide.
This time you will have the chance to 'toss' me into the bottomless rubbish bin, and leave me forever. "

Chinese New Year's Eve

Tomorrow is the new year, the Year of the Rabbit. Isabella asked about reunion dinner tonight. We will eat simply at home tonight - curry noodles soup with fish balls, stuffed beancurd and asssortment of "liew".

Mom is better after her laser treatment, her right eyes have recovered after the membrane had been lasered. She had a scare yesterday when she woke up to a bloody red right eyes.  She is chirpy, after all she can see better. She will have her left eyes done late March. She will go home in May thus begins her 6months back home and a chance to travel to places that she wants to visit. I sincerely hope that my sister will put aside her own selfishness and stinginess with money and see that mom is getting old, she needs to spend time with her. As with father, it doesn't matter that he hurt us when we were younger, its all water under the bridge. Money spent can be re-earned, time spent with parents are precious. Regrets will not bring them back. Mom has expressed a desire to visit Korea and Taiwan and I will pay for those trips, it doesn't matter. She will spend Isabella's birthdays and Christmases with us for as long as she is able to. Isabella is growing up, she is going to be 12 next month. How time flies.

Isabella feels conflicted. Whilst she wants and needs her independence, she loves her grandmother a lot. After all, she is the only grandmother that she has. I feel sorry for her. I too faces the same dilemma. Whilst I appreciate my mother's hardwork and immigrating for me, I wished that she quit being so manipulative. My life isn't the chess board and certainly it isn't a series of moves to be traded. I also feel that as she grows older,  the simpler lifestyle at home will suit her better.

I had a job offer soon after he went back to Sydney after his visit to UK. I thought about it and thought about it, never telling him and didn't tell anyone. It was a Asia Pac job, same company, right on his patch.

Bruno Mars - Grenade [Official Music Video]

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Odessa Wharf

Its strange how a person can have constant pin prick of niggling doubts, seeds planted yet with amazing strength one pushes it away and cast it aside, brush it aside, chalking it up to nothing but one's own peculiarity. Yet all it took was a random comment and that was the defining moment. It turned out to be the comment that broke me.

I sat on the bench with the winking lights overlooking Canary Wharf in the middle of the night. I saw a lady, she came out of her house to smoke and we exchanged glances. I must have looked strange; sat there on the bench, freezing in the middle of winter with tears streaming down my eyes. Tears of recognition, sorrow, shroud of sadness that has descended. I knew then that this could not go on. I could no longer keep giving, keep making execuses for him in my own head as well as in front of my friends from home that knows him. After sitting there for hours, it dawned on him that it was quite late, he called frantically and he sent me endless text messages, all of which I ignored. I went back to the apartment when I finally regained my composure.

That was the begining of the end. That began my easing out campaign. Strange, I came back into the flat, he hugged me but I felt as if it was gone already. He never brought up that evening and neither did I, until today. Today I brought it up. Today, I text him and left him a message on FB to call me. I felt that after 14months, its time to face it head on. I needed to close a door and open a new one.

Chinese New Year is afterall 2 days away. This time last year, was my first proper family holiday- going back home, for a long time. It was also the most difficult trip too. Before I went home, he called me to inform me that he no longer wants to have all my phone numbers or email addresses and will accordingly delete all of them. The only avenue left was FB, that was his wish, unless I initiated the contact. Imagine that, a week prior to my holiday, this bombshell. Fine. Its not as if I had a choice in the matter, the man doesn't want to contact me.

I had a lot of hand holding during that holiday, friends came to my rescue. There were places that I went to before and the memories came flooding back. Unfortunately for me I have a reasonable recollection. A ray of sunshine amongst the clouds, I found myself begining to re-emerge from the shadows of him and the relationship. I relearnt the art of family holiday and I quickly learnt to relax and enjoy myself. I was able to be me, when was the last time I could be just me, a long long time, I always had to watch myself because criticism are always flying across the world - too fat, what are you wearing, too high a pair of heels, too outspoken, too opinionated, the list is endless.

I came back from that holiday, with colour on my cheeks knowing that a dawn of a new day isn't that far away from my grasp. Even then, I no longer have my mobile phone tied to my hip at all times. I was not governed by the time zone + 10hours GMT, no longer having to exist only between the hours of 8.30-10.30pm during those times. After all Operation Easing Away was already making strides. It was amazing how much time I found that I had once I was no longer tied to those hours and the mobile phones. I began to reconnect with my friends, here in London or back home. I travelled for work again, networked, rejoin and show my face again amongst the people of my profession.

On Christmas Day 2009, Chris took me aside and told me that this would be Douglas's last Christmas. He was right, I have to admit it was not something that I dwelled upon as I had always thought that Douglas would still be here when Isabella graduates from university, he comes from the old school after all. The  fun and games began after Boxing Day, the constant chasing of lab results to consultant visits and chemo sessions. Gamesmanship, like a card game was to be played out with the Margaret and us and a bewildered Phillipa. Daily visits after work, all the days seemed to roll into one. Weekends with the family were replaced with spending entire days at the hospital, including Isabella. Poor girl, she's young yet she was so devoted to her grandfather. She sat there in the chair, with her diary and her books and with the sweets that she bought for him or some sweet dessert to tempt him into eating. I would always caught him staring at her, with love tinge with regret. Regret that he didn't spend more time with her, regret that he didn't treat her better when she was younger.

There were evenings after the hospital visits that I found myself walking aimlessly through Marylebone, sometimes with Chris. There had been times when I called up F and asked if I could come over and then told Chris that I couldn't go home yet. She understood. Flora did. She enveloped me in a hug when I walked through her doors. She said that I was shivering, I couldn't stop. The sicker Douglas got, the more manipulative games Margaret played, the cards were dealt with rapid pace. I have to admit, I have yet to see how shallow and cold a human behaviour, it certainly shook my faith in humanity. For what? Money? There weren't much, this was a man that was in his 80s, supported his daughter's family- educated, clothed and fed them. He wasn't an endless well to be tap by all, Chris and I were the only ones that never asked for money from him. We lived our lives under our own terms

Douglas passed away late May, he died under his own terms and I, for one was relieved that he passed away under those circumstances before it got any worse. The games didn't stop there. The games if anything intensified. Phillipa crumpled and each time she fell, I picked her up, prepared her for her next battle ahead. Where were her family?

During all those months, when I wanted and needed the one person to just be there for me, where was he. I did what my friends recommended, shelve him for the time being, concentrate on my family and healing. Those were wise words indeed. All these were little pebbles of realities, realities that couldn't be ignored, it now make itself known and will not be ignored.

It would have been too easy after the chips had all been dusted and collected to just pack up and gone east, home to recover. Instead Chris, Isabella and I sat down and decided to go and be together as a family, to reconnect, regather our thoughts and just be together, so we chose somewhere entirely different and what we thought would be outside of our comfort zones. Kenya. Kenya turned out to be godsend, it turned out to be an enriching experience for all of us in really different ways. We talked, we laughed and we cried. I bought a diary at the begining of my trip, there were two sections to my diary - (a) Kenya (b)me. As I sat on the plane heading home, back to London, I reread the entire diary and wrote an ending. It was an ending in a thousand ways, it had been a journey for me, in more ways than one.

New York, wow. I had an amazing time. All of us had such a great laugh. It was a trip to reward Isabella for doing ever so well in her SATs. We walked, we took the subway, we took the hop on hop off bus, except that we were so tired that we didn't hop off. We shopped at 11pm, we gorged ourselves with food; Japanese food which we love. The dancing M&M. I posted our photos and a friend came back and said that all of looked happy, especially me, I look happier with Chris. And know what? He was right. I was happier. I was calmer. I was more collected. And so the months passed.

I came to awful realisation that I will always be the person that love him with my entire being but it will be forever unrequited. I have reconciled myself to this fact, I no longer hide from it because it truly doesn't matter anymore. I tried my best, gave it my all and thats all that I can do. I gave an awful lot more than I ever gotten back. I was never seeking for monetary compensation or a life in luxury. All I wanted from him was a committment and for him to love me. His constant criticism drained on me, he was always picking - too fat, too arrogant, too opininated, such a bad lawyer, constantly chipping away. Finally, the illusion that was him shattered and I saw. If it had been just one or two friends that had advised me of this ending, I would have rubbished it away, in actual fact I did. I rubbished away my friends advise and despite it all they stood by me. One told me - I looked happier now that I had been for years, I was never happy with him. Another said and this is a friend of his strangely enough - he could never ever give me what I want and need, because he doesn't have it to give away, it was given away 25years ago and he never recovered from it. Another said yesterday - that he was not worthy of me. My Welsh friend said - he's selfish and disrespectful.

It had been coming and I, of course finally took the initiative yesterday and asked him to call me. I tried to get him to admit that he never did love me and never could but him, being him became cagey. He needed a Plan B, just in case he couldn't find someone else. He turned the table on me as I expected - it became that he wants someone there with him, someone to share his life, someone to share his day. How I would never be there for him. How I would not moved for him. How pathetic. This was what I had wanted from him for years and he refused. And still he said that I was nagging and being long winded. He disappointed me. I thought that he would at last be honest, with himself and with me. Instead its more about what he wants, more of me, myself and I.

I am calmer. I am happier. I cut my hair short. I wear heels. I wear a lot of dresses. I go out with friends. I travel more for work. I rediscovered the pleasure of travelling other than trips back east. I no longer have to apologise for what I like and what I dislike. I rediscovered my strutt. I will buy a pair of Louboutins this year or Choos, it doesn't matter if I don't wear it. Its my resolve, my new year resolution.

That was the finality of 14months struggle with myself. I closed that chapter yesterday. With that, I sent what I thought was a final email to his friend. I didn't expect a reply but I did and the contents was equally as shocking. And that was a lesson that took me 5years to learn.