Friday, December 27, 2013

Short cut to Hakka Yong Tau Foo

I must have been watching "The Voyage" too often these days, as visions of traditional Chinese dishes keep haunting me, like Hakka yong tau foo. Luckily, in these modern times, all the ingredients can be easily found in the supermarket, and there isn't even a need to mince and chop the stuffing! 

The fried beancurd, taupok, is cut into half, split, before being filled with a mixture of fish paste, minced pork and carrot bits. Because I made really fat bags, I steamed them for 20 minutes. This is going to be another of my easy, short-cut dinner recipes :) 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Yuletide Snuggle

Double disapproval

Well, have a restful Christmas anyway :) 

Monday, December 23, 2013

For everything there is a season

For everything there is a season
A time to travel, a time to remain
A time to drink, a time to abstain
A time to party, a time to do the laundry

No friends, this is not intended to be a spoof of Ecclesiastes. I was just reflecting on the comfort that comes from knowing that life comes in seasons. 

No situation is ever permanent, whether it is a good or bad one. A mature person who has lived through seasons is able to be patient in dull times because he knows that seasons turn and life changes. In the same way, it would be foolish to cling on to certain plans and desires even when circumstances have made it difficult to do so, far wiser it would be to let them go, and wait for a to pursue them afresh one day. 

Looking at the groceries that came home with me from the supermarket, I can't help thinking that, perhaps, I have become an "auntie" in the eyes of my younger self. Yes, I am keenly interested in cleaning agents and devices and ways to keep my home clean, in recipes and home improvement tips. My skating costumes have been tucked away. In fact, I cannot remember where they are. Alas, my brand new Riedell figure skates have been relegated to the storeroom before I could break them in. 

Yet life's seasons are such that, I know, one day I would be able to use them again. And in the meanwhile, I will just find peace and enjoyment in what I am doing, instead of fretting about when things would change. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sorry about my rabbit

"The white one is very naughty and strong," remarks Pet Groomer, ruefully checking the scratch marks on his arms. Oh dear, I hope Whitty didn't draw blood. I should have warned him first :P We left hurriedly, before they decide to charge us more for our naughty rabbit. 

Whitty, sulking after being manhandled. 

Still sulking, an hour later. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Money: In retrospect

Young couples (like we once were :P) are always tempted to spend a little more than they need to in the early days of their marriage. Extensive traveling, fine meals, anniversary and birthday gifts are par the course for any middle-class couple "before the kids come". But therein lies the problem.

By the time we actually settle down to manage adult affairs, like retirement planning, or  begin to have caregiving duties, we find that perhaps we should have saved up while the carefree days were still happening. A new mother told me recently that she wanted to stop working so that she could devote all her time to her baby. This would mean a significant drop in their family income. Ah, the price of love...and it got me wondering what the ways there are to mitigate this situation.

I suppose, a passive income stream from investments could help to boost the father's salary. Some of the relatively safe options I looked up are:

  • REITS - Happy to note that Cache Logistics is giving me 6% this year :) 
  • High yield bond funds - Such as UOB GEM Bond fund often give up to 5% a year
  • STI ETF - Gives only about 3% in dividends but it also may have capital gains
  • Short-duration bond funds - Fullerton Short-duration Bond fund actually pays out 1-3% a year, and it is also safe enough for me to use it as a saving vehicle. 

But alas, all these require a fair amount of capital before the yield becomes significant in any way. And so friends, if you are a young couple setting up your home, it would be wise to start building your investment capital first, and enjoy the fruits later, rather than spending everything too early. As for me, it is kind of late, but never too late to start :P

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A rabbit's rabbit

Whitty is spoilt to the core, being loved by the bunny slaves, and Blackie, who grooms her all the time. It isn't surprising, because she is such a very pretty little thing. As V commented, she is a "rabbit's rabbit". Just look at her, white, chubby fluffiness, lash-rimmed round eyes and short little ears. It is like she walked straight out of a Disney cartoon. 

Monday, December 09, 2013

Little India riot: While you were sleeping

Like everyone else, I was transfixed to my iPhone and TV late last night, watching the live coverage of the Little India riot in fascinated horror. The scenes seemed unreal, especially those of police cars overturned, burning. Is this Singapore? Finally, at 1am, I was exhausted and went to bed.

The next morning, I woke up to find that peace had been restored. The streets were cleared, and some culprits had been arrested. It was almost like magic, but of course, it was not. While you and I were sleeping, there were people toiling through the night to maintain the security and order that we have become used to. Thank you very much.

It was sad to read all the crazy, inflammatory remarks on the social media. Some inveighed against another race, others nitpicked at the way our police handled the situation. There was even gloating over the trouble caused. These must be people who are so bitter about life that all they want to do is to make everyone as miserable as they are. Haters will always hate, but friends, let's do our best to make the voices of sensible folks be heard over theirs.

Let compassion, common sense and truth be louder than hate and lies.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Party food, the Chinese way

Chicken wings are the ultimate party food, and here is one way to serve it in a relatively healthy way: braised with spring onions, garlic and ginger. Braising must be the easiest way to prepare food for a potluck. Little preparation is needed, and you can cook a lot at the same time. 

The wings were marinated overnight in oyster sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil.

I panfried crushed garlic and ginger pieces in a little olive oil before adding the wings. When the chicken was nicely browned, a little dark soy sauce was drizzled into the wok together with two tablespoonfuls of water. After simmering for 10-15 minutes on low heat, I threw the spring onions onto the chicken, covered the wok, and waited for 5 minutes more. And that was all!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

A Suggestion for Apple: iPhone Plus

It seems like Apple is running out of creative juices. The recent new launches are all variation on the same theme - iPad mini, iPad air.

What I would really like to have is a bigger iPhone, something the size of Samsung Note. In fact, the Note is highly tempting, and it is only inertia that is preventing me from trying to get used to a new operating platform. As the generations of Apple fans age, I think it is time to realise that some of us, at least, are tired of squinting at those tiny screens, but don't want to splash out on a tablet. The simplest way out for me is to get a smartphone with a more generous screen.

So Apple, how about giving us an iPhone Plus?

Monday, December 02, 2013


Hush...the fat, furry baby is sleeping.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Responsible Free Speech

Why should free speech be turned into free-for-all verbal assassination, reduced to our society's lowest denominator in civility?

There are voices on the Internet against recent governmental moves to bring back some semblance of accountability to online discourse, mainly by limiting anonymity and throwing the book against those who have written falsehoods. Is the government regressing by imposing these regulations?

Considering the level to which some netizens have stooped, I am one who would be very relieved to see people held responsible for what they said. While we all value the freedom and richness of what is available online, who actually benefits if falsehoods, defamation and cyber bullying are allowed to rule unchecked? Only the culprits themselves! The rest of us, who are willing to obey basic rules of decency in engagement, will only suffer at the receiving end of this behavior.

Rules exist to protect the peace loving from the aggressive, those who prefer order and stability from those who seek to disrupt and destroy. There is little to be said for the honor of those who insist on their right to speak without accountability. Perhaps honor has become an old-fashioned concept in this digital age. Personally, having no desire to defame or dissemble online, I would be happy to know that there is legal recourse for those who have fallen victim to the lawlessness that defines the cyberspace now.

FreeMyInternet? Certainly, if you come out from your hiding first. If barbs are received, the victim has the right to know who fired them. Why should the rights of internet trolls be protected above others' right to peace and safety?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Bonded rabbits

We were very lucky that it was so easy to bond Blackie and Whitty. They fell in love right from the start and are always so snuggly and affectionate with each other. 

Look at this! Maximum contact huh?

Still, there was one unexplained fight they had which I never understood. They started chasing each other around one day, and there were mouthfuls of fur everywhere! When I tried to intervene, someone bit me and drew blood. I couldn't tell which one it was.

The fight stopped just as abruptly as it started. And it never happened again. Well, it is just one of the little mysteries in life that we encounter, huh?

Monday, November 25, 2013

QR Code

Is this how the old folks in our society feel?

I had a moment of distinct obsolescence while booking movie tickets online. Mind you, I have had plenty of experience doing it. Usually, after paying for the tickets at the Golden Village website, I would find an AXS machine to print out the tickets. The last step was rather a nuisance, but I had the assurance of arriving at the cinema's door step with physical proof of purchase.

Abruptly, it all changed. After booking the tickets, I received an email with an e-ticket, and a square with a black and white pattern. The email instructed me NOT to print out the ticket, and all I have to do is to use QR code to enter. And so I wondered...

What is a QR code? That black and white square?
What does it mean to "use" the QR code to enter?

It was so tempting to print out that pattern and bring it to the cinema, but it would probably make me a laughingstock :P And so I googled what a QR code is, and how one "reads" it. My conclusion is, I will show my iphone with that email to the usher when the time comes :P and hope for the best.

If it is difficult even for someone reasonably literate and comfortable with technology, what is life like for the old people who do not even know English? It must be like living in an alien world where most of the ongoing communication is completely unintelligible. No wonder there are still people willing to queue up at ticketing booths or bank tellers to transact the old-fashioned way, but how long will these options remain available?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cheap replacement for BusyBunny

You know, I love Blackie, but sometimes he really has such Stitch-like, smackable moments! 

Not only has he been peeing in all the wrong places in his cage, the recalcitrant rabbit started peeing...outside his cage! He did it in his favourite place in the yard, and this, unfortunately, was the expensive BusyBunny mini haven. By the time we discovered his crime, the cardboard had soaked up all the urine, and could not be salvaged. The lingering smell would mark the mini haven as his pee corner forever. 

And so we discarded it and gave him a new cardboard castle. Guess what, he did it again!!! It must be his silly way of marking his territory. Maybe it is because V has been the one cleaning the rabbit area recently, and he didn't like the intrusion. 

There isn't any point splashing out on a new expensive toy in case he does it again, and I might really smack him then. For now, I made this cave/tunnel out of recycled materials. It was so easy - I only cut two holes, one on each side of the box. 

He seems to like it enough anyway, though not as much as his BusyBunny haven, of course. Too bad, he isn't getting one until he proves himself reliable again. And maybe not even then :P I could do with the extra savings.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A new start

Once again, I stand on the threshold of a new phase in my life, waiting for tomorrow, when I would report for another job. 

How time flies. It seems only yesterday when I left my former position and took up the masters course. I still remember that the first day of my masters. I woke up not knowing what to do with myself, since all responsible adults have gone to work, and here I was, pottering around at  home because I had no class. It was like a long, midsummer night's dream - of reading, cooking lunches at home, sharing snacks with classmates, skating during working hours and waking my cute little furballs from their naps to play with them. 

Memorable and enjoyable as it was, I would not have wanted it to continue forever. As a break from adult responsibilities, it was wonderful. But it is time to make use of all that I have learnt, and to producing practical work again. 

Lord, go before me and make my path straight. Let it be for me a land flowing with milk and honey. May You always cause Your face to shine upon me, and establish the work of my hands. Let my boundaries fall in pleasant places. And may I be a city on the hill, whose light cannot be hidden. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Potato wants food

Potato knows it is breakfast time. See the wheatgrass thrown carelessly unto his bedding? My macho hamster is no herbivore. He wants meat. Where are the mealworms? 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A sign of the times

These few sentences were found in this year's O-level English language paper:

"But obviously, this type of initiative should go beyond..."
"So this week..."
"And you won't be tempted..."

What struck me was that all these statements begun with conjunctions, "but", "so", etc.

When I was in primary school, a very long time ago, it was strongly emphasized that sentences cannot begin with these words. Hence, if one wishes to express contrast, he has to use "however", instead of "but", at the start of a new sentence. Maybe this rule is considered old-fashioned now, especially in the context of digital media, where texts tend to be much less formal.

I suppose, even the august Cambridge has to make concessions, and move with the times.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hungry rabbits

A hungry rabbit is an angry rabbit.

Whitty and Blackie are making their hunger known by circling their plate, sniffing scornfully at its emptiness, and tossing it around to make a frightful clatter. 

I hurried filled the plate with luscious greens before they wake our neighbours up with all the noise. Nom the rabbits are happy.

All was well until they decided to do their usual trick - grabbing the tastiest bits out of the other rabbits' mouth. Hey the two of you...when will life ever be good enough for you?

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Asiansons, Blumont, Liongold

My worst stock investment ever was Sino-Environment.

Once the darling of ALL stock analysts and experts, it suddenly ran into accounting scandals (fraud?), and became part of another company subsequently. My initial investment of $3000 became...$15 :( I still have a few shares of the new company, but it is worth so little that there isn't any point trying to sell it. Instead, it remains a reminder to me forever of the need to be wiser in stock-picking and to avoid the bandwagon. 

Looking at the recent bloodletting caused by Asiansons, Blumont and Liongold, I was reminded of this experience again. For all the books and courses on investments we go through, it is difficult to resist the euphoria of market darlings, especially if the early investors made temptingly huge profits. But my dear fellow retail investors, make no mistake about it. We are always the naive ones left holding the ball when the music has stopped. 

My only consolation is, the money was mine to lose. It was sore, but at least the damage was controlled.

It was a shock to know that many people suffered crushing losses because of they used leverage to increase the number of shares they could purchase, and now that the stocks are worth so little, they are hard pressed to cough up cash to pay for them. Sometimes I think that leverage is one of the worst inventions in investment, especially in the hands of amateurs.

In the wake of this maelstrom, some have called for official regulation to protect the retail investor. Though as responsible adults we have always been reminded of the classic "caveat emptor" principle, the truth is we often don't even know what we do not know. Why not ban leverage/margin trading altogether? Why should people be given the chance to trade with money they do not have? 

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Blackie's turn at obedience training

Since it was so easy for Whitty to master this trick, I decided to let Blackie try it too. 

First, I showed him the wooden toy. 

Sure enough, he got up to investigate it. Now the harder part is to get him to stand up, which is something he is more reluctant to do. I pulled up the toy slowly, as I did with Whitty. He merely looked puzzled, but did not respond. I repeated it a few times, but it was of no use.
 To encourage him, I jangled the toy a little, and the bell tinkered softly. In alarm, Blackie ran off.
Poor Blackie, bottom of the class again :P

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Rabbit obedience school - standing up

Pet rabbits should be put through some obedience training every now and then to stimulate them and prevent them from getting bored. It is such a pity that most people do not realise that they are clever, inquisitive animals and love to explore new things. 

Whitty aced this lesson effortlessly. I wanted to get her to balance on her hind feet for a little while. 

First, I dangled an attractive toy in front of her. She was clearly intrigued. 

I slowly pulled the toy up. When she did not respond, I lowered it again. After doing it a few times, she stood up, as you can see in the picture below.
Well done, Whitty! You get an A. Now, let's see how Blackie fares.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Group Hug time

The rabbits love a good group hug, especially if I am the only one doing all the petting and grooming :P 

Dogs have masters. Rabbits have slaves. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Preparing for retirement

Ok, I admit. I'm behaving like an ostrich burying its head into the sand. There are reminders everywhere about having strategically plan for retirement i.e. knowing how much you need, and how much you need to start putting aside now, but truth be told, I am only looking at our current mortgage. Further planning is unbearable, mainly because I can't bear to look at how much more I should probably be saving, and how far I am from the target.

Conventional wisdom has it that we need two thirds of our last drawn salary every month to sustain our desired lifestyle, but how can that be achieved without continuing employment?

It was great relief to find out about CPF Life, a kind of compulsory annuity that provides a small monthly income after the age of 65, if the minimum sum is met. The allowance isn't much, but it does mean never having to actually be impoverished.

In the meanwhile, like a squirrel saving nut by nut its winter store, I purchase a high-yield stock occasionally, whenever there is cash to spare. Nope, I'm still not taking a good, hard look at my overall finances, though I probably should :( Maybe when I get my salary back after graduation :P

Little Fish and I had a brainwave yesterday. After retirement, maybe I will offer pet boarding and grooming for small animals at home. What a fun job it would be!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Another tussle for love

Whitty wants some love. She wants Blackie to groom her face, and makes her request by squashing her face in front of him. 
 But Blackie wants some love too. He is pushing his face back at her.
Hey you two, be nice and take turns.

Friday, October 25, 2013


Psst...there is a secret tunnel here. Let's see where it leads to...make sure nobody is following me.
 It is a tiny tunnel, but nothing is too difficult for the rabbit

 I'm well hidden in the darkness. I cannot be seen, except for my white bobtail.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

How to write job advertisements

The newly passed "Fair Consideration Framework" takes on discriminatory job advertisements to ensure that Singaporeans get an equal opportunity for each vacancy. No potential employer is allowed to express preference for applicants of foreign origins.

Perhaps in principle, the requirement to give Singaporeans a fair chance is a sensible one, as anecdotal evidence suggests that some employers tend hire people of their own nationality, overlooking Singaporeans who may be equally qualified. However, the actual implementation of these guidelines baffles me, especially how these guidelines restrict the way these advertisements are phrased, and what is perceived as discriminatory language.

It is commonly recognized that language conveys more than their literal meaning, and hence it could be exploited to hint rather than convey, and thereby pass on certain hidden agenda that would make sense only to those who are cued into the intended, true messages. Still, the new guidelines seem to take this concept to the extreme, by claiming discrimination in sentences that seem perfectly innocuous to me. Take for example:

"Singaporeans and Permanent Residents are welcome to apply".

This is no longer allowed under the Framework as it supposedly suggests that bias for foreigners. How does one arrive at this interpretation? I would have thought that it meant that Singaporeans are welcome!

As rumblings of discrimination continue, I worry that we overreact by perceiving it everywhere, or worse, claiming victimization for our own failings. After all, it must be accepted that not every Singaporean would be suitable for the jobs that are available, even if they happen to be unemployed.

Monday, October 21, 2013

A picture of innocence

I was in the bathroom when suddenly loud crashes rang out from the yard. Wham, bang, thuds! Sounds like somebody dashing rapidly around the yard and kicking everything in his way!

Hurriedly, I rushed to check out what was happening. And this is what I saw: 

Two fat rabbits lying lazily on the floor, as if they had never run, never kicked anything, and never made a mess. 

Hm...just to be sure, I checked their furniture, but nothing seems damaged...that is not already damaged. In that case, I guess all's well that ends well.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Hamster in a bowl

The bowl is perfect for one hamster to sit and feast among his food. When we had two hamsters, they would both want to get in at the same time, and end up squeaking and squabbling a lot over it.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

His view, her view

His view: Whitty gazing up at him limpidly in submission. 

 Her view: Blackie watching over her, alert and protective

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Waiting for Oct 17

I sold off all my short-duration bond funds, which are supposed to be one of the investments with the lowest risks. I can accept the low rewards that come from taking less risks, but now it seems like even this option is not available! In a financial catastrophe, cash is king. Actually, cash isn't, because what we have is fiat money based on faith. I would buy gold...except that gold had already been subject to too much speculation.

Maybe some experts would tell me I just made a wrong move. Maybe I'm being "Chicken Little". But I can't help remembering that during the Lehman Brother crisis, even boring old money market funds broke the dollar. So, imagine how much worse things could get if the mighty American government decides not to keep playing the game of musical chairs.

I must admit, I am pretty cross with Obama and the Republicans, though without knowing enough to know who is right or wrong, and who should be doing what.

Just don't default! Is all this just a game for those in power? Now, in the event of US government default, Obama is still going to be President. The congressmen are still going to be congressmen. Those who are rich and powerful are still going to be rich and powerful.

It only matters for the REST of us, yes, even if we are not Americans. I How can so few people determine the fate of so many others?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Marauding Rabbit

Don't they all say that rabbits are prey animals who prefer to keep their feet on the ground? Not this one. Behold, Whitty the brave marauder. 

Knowing that all her treats and toys are kept on top of the cage, she makes repeated attacks whenever she has the chance. The bad girl tore through yet another bag of hay cubes.

There is no such thing as complete rabbit-proofing, only how much damage you are willing to endure.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Sleep tight

Potato - curled into a tight ball, head at the bottom. So cute :) Hamsters have the cutest sleeping poses.

Monday, October 07, 2013

RIP Peanut

Sad to hear that Mic's hamster, Peanut passed away suddenly.

Peanut was a true rescue story. Mic and family found her abandoned in her cage WITHOUT any water. Why do people keep treating living things like rubbish! They adopted Peanut and cared for her with much love.

Sadly, it turned out that she had a lump which was probably malignant. Is it why she was thrown away in the first place? Before they could bring her to the vet for further inspection, she passed away :(

But I am so very glad that at least for the past few weeks, Peanut had a wonderful life, playing in soft tissue paper, eating yummy food and playing on the wheel, so she wouldn't think that life on earth is all about suffering.

Bye bye Peanut :(

The Truth Will Set You Free

Now, I know many of my friends are aghast that I hardly ever go to the dentist. But it is because you folks have no idea what the compulsory dental check-ups were like in the bad old days when I was a child.

We lived in fear and trembling of the dreaded yellow card which would be sent to our classroom. In the midst of the class's collective gasp, our teacher read out the name of the unfortunate child whose turn it was to go to the dentist's surgery downstairs. The rest of us relaxed until the inevitable day when our turn came.

Our dentist in those days was a dragon lady, at least so it seemed to me. Wielding an extraordinarily sharp tool, she would determinedly chisel away plaque and tartar, digging into tender gums, even as I squirmed and cried. As I spat out mouthfuls of saliva, blood and water, the metallic taste made me want to vomit. One day, when I returned to class in a smeary mess of tears, my teacher marched to the dentist's surgery to demand an explanation.

So when it was finally time for me to go to the dentist again, I was a nervous wreck in the waiting room, filled with ominous drilling sounds. On the dentist chair, I screwed my eyes shut, resigned myself to fate and tried not to have a panic attack.

Oh boy, it must have been a truly long time since my school dentist's days. Dental treatments have transformed so drastically! Instead of that horrible needle-like gum-killer, the dentist used two machines that felt much gentler. There was none of that nasty scraping and digging which had caused me so much trauma when I was young. There was hardly any blood either. And yes, there was no one to shout at me, "open your mouth wider!"

Before my latest visit, memories of my former dental visits kept returning to haunt me, especially visions of water and blood swirling down the sink. I hated to experience that again.

Yet the actual experience is so different from my fears. Maybe children's terrors get magnified out of proportion, and I never grew out of them. In a very trivial way, this experience showed me that the best way to exorcise fears is to confront them with the truth. When I know what the truth is, the truth will set me free.

Friday, October 04, 2013

After a meal

Potato just feasted on wheatgerm and mealworms, ran on his wheel, and came out to play on my lap. Now, tired and satisfied, he went into a cosy corner and slept like a log.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Tuition: Less is More

I suppose, if a child is really failing in a subject, tuition could help to salvage the child's performance in crucial examinations. Beyond this fire-fighting assistance, is there really beneficial for a child to have extensive tuition even for subjects he can manage on his own?

Since time and resources are so precious, there are inevitable trade-offs for the benefits that tuition may offer. More tuition means less time for family bonding, for exercise, for pleasure reading, and for interacting with friends and growing in socio-emotional maturity. One may gain a little in academic performance but it seems to offer little else in the way of holistic personal development. If anything, it encourages a "crutch mentality" and excessive reliance on others' help. A child may have gained higher marks but has he really become better at learning?

I am pretty sure that entrepreneurs, pioneers in all fields, didn't get where they are because they had fantastic tuition. Rather, they probably had varied experiences, rich interaction with people, and occasions to put themselves to the tests, and yes, opportunities to fail.

Rather than trying to chase the extra point, the "plus" in the B, it may be better for the child in the long run to have the chance to become a more resourceful and resilient individual by relying on himself to improve his results.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Chubby rabbit

One day, V came up to me in alarm and said, "I think Whitty is pregnant." Luckily both the rabbits are neutered, so we know she cannot be. Still, looking at Whitty's fat tummy, it is obvious why V made that remark. 

The pellet rationing doesn't seem to be effective in reducing her weight, since she really gobbles down all the food much more quickly than Blackie. See, her whiskers are stained with vegetable juice! Greedy little girl.

 "Why are you picking on me? I'm being good about my veggies."

Patches of green around the whiskers

Thursday, September 26, 2013

How dogs became our best friends.

Occasionally, when the two rabbits are too cliquish and refuse to play with me, I would threaten to bring home a dog so that at least I also have someone on my side.

This article How dogs became our best friends made me laugh, because I cannot help remarking how differently rabbit owners and dog owners have things. The greatest contrast is, rabbits don't have masters. Rabbits have slaves.

See, Blackie and Whitty? See what good pets do? They are supposed to make themselves reasonably useful to earn their keep, and most importantly, love their human friends!

Too bad that my lectures never bring about any repentance from the rabbits. They are as indifferent and cliquish as ever.

Whitty: Why is she looking at us, Blackie? We don't need another treat yet. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Snuggle Bunnies

They look so happy and relaxed here, cuddled in a corner. Makes me want to rush over and pet them.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Three is a Crowd

Sometimes, the rabbits just want to be left alone, refusing to play with me because they are so caught up with loving each other :( *Sob* Can I join in please? 

Nope, three is a crowd, and besides, you aren't a rabbit :P

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Is tuition necessary?

Once again, there is renewed debate on whether tuition is necessary for students, and if it is, why are schools not doing what they are supposed to do? 

All things being equal, if two children possess the same amounts of ability and industry, we would expect the one receiving personalized expert teaching to perform better than the other who does not have this boost.

Yet this does not mean that the child who does not have tuition will not also excel. Surely the educational materials are not such rocket science that it takes many, many hours of revising, tutoring and drilling to master them. If the syllabuses in schools are adequately covered, and the child spends time on his own revising, is there any reason why he cannot perform his best in exams?

Tuition then, is usually used as a way for students to get an edge over others, to receive more than whatever their peers are having. If this is the goal, no matter what the school is doing, it would not be enough for one child to have an advantage over the next, and the only way is through additional instruction outside. 

For us to break the grip of tuition in our society, it is essential that some take the initiative to jump off the bandwagon. Yet because few are willing to be the first to do so, and risk losing out to the rest, everyone remains on the runaway train, reluctantly. 

Yet us not lose the purpose of education in the scramble for results. I have often felt that excessive tuition is rather like an intravenous drip - it keeps one functioning, even without much effort or will. How much long term benefit is there? Is it not better for a child to cultivate resilience and perseverance by letting him rely more on himself to solve problems?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Rabbit bowling

Maybe some of their naughty behaviour comes from boredom. If I spend more time playing with them, they might decide not to wreck so much damage :P 

Read on some websites that rabbits like to play bowling - knocking down standing objects with their noses. And it is true! I stood some cardboard cones in front of them, and sure enough, they cannot resist giving them a good hard push. 

Enemy neutralised. Whitty proceeds to toss the cone around to show it who the boss is.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Taming a hamster

People ask me how I play with my hamster. Well, it is pretty satisfying to handle him regularly so that he becomes tamer than ever. 

First, I attract his attention by tapping lightly on the cage grills or on his house. Then, I let him explore my hand. 

 See? He comes out on his own. I prefer not to stretch a hand into the cage, claw-like, to grab him. He might bite :P 

You can drape a towel over your lap and let him play on it. Give him a treat so that he would want to come out again the next time.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Rabbit on weight loss diet

Whitty has turned into a pudgy girl, the result of her grabbing all of Blackie's food after wolfing down her own. Now even her binkies are low and clumsy. She needs to lose weight, but something to stop her from gobbling up Blackie's share. 

Here we are: feeding Blackie separately

In the meanwhile, Whitty is locked up in their cage. She looks so indignant!

Silly Blackie got distracted with his playing. We have to bring the pellets to him to coax him to eat more. Now you see why one rabbit is skinny, and the other is fat.

Poor Whitty consoles herself with some stray hay on the floor :( It is for your own good ok, Whitty. You will soon be your svelte and agile self again.