Greedy Birds

I’ve been curating and archiving my photos, and came across these that I took a couple of years back, in Sydney Fisherman’s Wharf. Just sharing them here, enjoy!







Coffeeshop memory guy

There’s a drinks shop near my workplace manned by just one worker who is super efficient. He can remember everyone’s faces and what they order after just one visit. He’s always making the right drinks with the right quantity of sugar and milk and hot or warm without needing to be told.

I used to order different drinks everytime and didn’t realize how much I threw him out of his rhythm because I would have tea one day and coffee the next!

I don’t think he makes any special effort to remember though, he just doesn’t forget. I wonder what else he doesn’t forget.

There was a teenager who told me he couldn’t forget a phone number once he had keyed it into his phone. He couldn’t understand why some people couldn’t remember and he couldn’t forget. Off my head I can probably only recall 4 phone numbers without checking, and one of them is my own… How many can you remember?

Reading Comprehension

Mom got a letter, and she read it to herself.

Read it to us! we said. Can you read it?

She laughed, Of course I can! I want to know if you can read it!

We said, But we want you to read it to us. Read it aloud!

And so she did, with a loud clear proud voice she read the whole letter, hesitating over words she could not decipher. Yet she could remember the pronunciation of names that were not English, and said them correctly.

When she finished, I asked her what the letter said. And she told me what she understood, passage by passage, reading again from the letter to remind herself what it was about.

I would give her 50% for reading comprehension.

  • She knew what a sentence meant, even when she could not remember the event it referred to
  • She knew most of the people in the letter
  • She was happy to read the letter, recognising it was written with love

It doesn’t matter the parts she did not seem to understand, which were the parts referring to the passage of time, someone’s accomplishment, or illness, or future plans. She seemed not to recognise the significance. Or she might have understood after all, and I didn’t see it.



Facing Dementia

Last year, a Singapore documentary maker filmed a short series called Facing Dementia, spurred on by his experiences with his mother. Galen Yeo interviewed persons with dementia and their caregivers, giving a poignant view of the struggle to live with dementia and the available support in Singapore.

Some memorable people in the series:

  • A woman acting violently towards caregivers because she didn’t like what was going on,
  • An artist expressing his feelings as a caregiver for his mother through visual art,
  • A woman with young onset dementia who lost her job and stayed home until she was properly diagnosed and started on dementia day care,
  • A retired man with dementia who was living as well as he could and making plans for his future,
  • Persons with dementia and their caregivers experiencing a support group.

Every person with dementia has a different journey, and the series portrayed the variety of challenges faced. Some of the persons with dementia were able to afford and hire caregivers, others were reliant on family members, some of whom had to downsize their careers.

I strongly recommend this series for anyone (especially in Singapore) who wants to know about dementia and the treatment and support available. Singaporeans are at a higher risk of dementia than the developed Western world, for reasons that are not obvious.

You can watch a 10-minute trailer on Galen’s mother here:

The same page has links to the other 5 hour-long episodes which are:

Episode 1 – Do I Have Dementia?
Episode 2 – The Long Road Ahead (about young onset dementia)
Episode 3 – Caregivers and Loved Ones
Episode 4 – Beyond Medicine
Episode 5 – What the Future Holds

If you prefer Youtube, see the link below:


O Cock!

I text a lot, it’s just the nature of communication these days. Instead of a phone call, we send a short missive across, and the other person replies when they are able.

Sometimes I’ll concur by typing “Okay” or “Ok”, or use the “thumbs up” sign, or the “ok” sign with the thumb and forefinger making a circle.

And others texted back the same way.

About a year or so ago, I encountered the “okok”. It took me some time to realise this was “Ok, ok”. It’s getting more common and I don’t like it.

“Ok, ok” sounds impatient and rude. See some examples below.

A: Are you free for lunch?
B: Okok
A thinks: (Look, you don’t have to join me for lunch if you don’t want to)

A: Can you forward the email to me now?
B: Okok
A thinks: (Are you saying I’m being a bother?)

A: Can you bring the dog to the vet?
B: Okok
A: (….)

One Ok is enough. Two is O Cock!


Super Blue Blood Moon

The weather in Singapore is often so cloudy that we cannot be sure we will see any astronomical phenomena. So it was with some surprise that the January 31 moon was well visible through most of its phases. For the record, it was a Blue moon (the second full moon in a month), a Blood moon (due to a phase in the eclipse when partial sunlight hits the moon) and a Super moon (as the moon is closest to the Earth at this time).

These are my intermittent attempts to catch the moon through its phases over four hours, as seen from Singapore!

Super moon rising, shining brightly
Eclipse starting
A little bite in the bottom left corner as Earth casts its shadow
Blood Moon!
Blood moon!
Closer View
A closer view of the blood moon
Full Eclipse
Full eclipse with a bright crescent where the Earth’s shadow is leaving the moon
Eclipse is over
It’s the super moon again, almost directly overhead
Wolf moon?
The clouds give the moon a blue and red halo


Mom hates to move about, she has become very fond of just sitting. She still walks around the home and is mobile, but is becoming increasingly stooped. Getting up from her chair takes long moments of concentration to coordinate the right movements and exertions.

After an attempt to bring a physiotherapist to the home to engage her in exercise, I realised it wouldn’t work. The physiotherapist felt she was still alright, and encouraged us to get her more active throughout the day. Scheduling exercise with a professional might do more harm than good if we didn’t do anything in between sessions.

So here we are, trying to staunch the decline by exercising Mom 5 minutes at a time (*contrite expression*). I’m still figuring the best things to make her do, the most “value-for-money” movements – for example, half-squats seem to be particularly effective, and she is getting out of her chair a little quicker. Stretching upwards several times improves her posture within minutes.

Mom finds it funny and often giggles and laughs, which is good breathing and abdominal exercise, so I encourage it. She has lost the coordination to be able to “blow out a candle”. I shall practise that next.