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An Evening With The Ladies!

Nov 10th, 2006 | By | Category: Personal Stories

Last wednesday, I did something I haven’t done in a long long time.

I caught up with my old homies! You see, once upon a time a few years ago … I used to live with 4 gorgeous ladies & one very cool dude. We had a whole lot of fun together, cooking, cleaning, travelling all over the US.

Here’s a picture of the six of us at Tokyo airport. Chen Yan (top-right), Jingyi (top-middle), Huiying (top-left), Pris (bottom-left), Jane (bottom-middle) & Rachit (bottom-right).

The Six Homies @ Tokyo Airport in Jan 2004 : Chen Yan, Jingyi, Huiying, Priscilla, Jane & Rachit

It was the first time I learnt about Singaporeans!

The funny thing was, I went to live in the US … and I had room-mates from NUS! It was the first time I actually learnt about Singapore culture, Singlish and some very peculiar Singaporean habits (do all singaporeans fold their clothes army-style when they travel?).

Until then, in my NUS life … I used to hang out mostly with my Indian friends and knew almost nothing about Singaporeans in my first few years. Friends circles in NUS are actually very country-centric … Indians hang out with Indians … PRCs hang out with PRCs … and Singaporeans with Singaporeans. Of course, there are lots of divisions even in these groups, but that’s for another post.

Then We All Got Busy With Our Lives

Anyway, I really loved living with my homies … but then, we all came back to Singapore after a while. We got busy in school and our Singapore lives. Then some of us graduated and got busy with the real world. Yet others graduated, and pretty soon … almost six months had passed before we even saw each other.

But last week … we finally matched our schedules and decided to meet for a meal! Since this was such a rare meal, it was rather special. So, we decided to eat at Rochester Park (well actually Huiying decided … thankfully … if it was a democratic process, we would still be arguing about which country to dine in).

Now, Rochester Park is this upscale little community next to Buona Vista. It has a whole lot of rich restaurants, where ang-mohs can afford to come every night to drink at their bars and eat at their expensive salads.

We decided to eat at one such place – Da Paulo (sounds fancy, yeah?). According to the description on the website it is a Bistro Bar …

Da Paulo Bistro Bar @ Rochester Park, Buona Vista, Singapore

Da Paolo Bistro Bar’s casual cool European-style setting and the 16000sf of lush green landscape dominated by giant grandfather trees give an immediate sense of having entered a different world. Its rich sense of history is underlined by a vibrant modern edge sparked by the raw organic materials used in the furnishings and renovation. The black-&-white bungalow at its heart was carefully restored and the original patios were deftly renovated to create 4 different outdoor areas.


The decor looked like the carpenter forgot to finish the job and ran away with the crew. There were logs of woods piled up on the side. The tables were probably bought at a yard sale at some Holland V condo.

The menu looked like the printer had added an accidental zero to every dish. And the chef decided to play a cruel prank on all of us by inventing Italian words and feeding us different kinds of salads with those names. It wasn’t bad food … but had strange names and was heavily overpriced.

Think about this … to down the $45 meal, we had to get $5 dessert from the NYDC at Holland V :P

But the company made up for everything …

It was so nice to meet all these ppl after so long …

Sharon, NUS program director for their overseas program … since then, she’s left NUS, Joined “Doctors Without Borders”, lived in Africa for a year doing medical admin work and taking a break by working in the Psych ward of Changi Airport (this lady knows how to travel!). Ooh, and Sharon said that it looks like I’ve been working out … Yayy!! Maybe it takes people who see me once every two years to notice all my bodybuilding :D

Bronson, who dropped in late for a while, is doing well as usual. He became permanent at his job … and he’s still as perfectionist as always about girls :)

And then my homies (here in this picture, you’ll find Jingyi, Huiying, Jane & I … the last time we had such an expensive meal … at a rather posh restaurant on Broadway in Philadelphia)

A US$200 meal at

Huiying’s really taken to her consulting job. She’s travelling to Shanghai every week and even has a special pair of “consulting glasses” (She claims she looks 10 years older with them … old enough to be taken seriously as a consultant … hehe).

Jingyi’s enjoying her production job at some medical company. The only problem is that it is in Tuas. And she has only a half hour lunch break. And they’re not really allowed to talk at the job much. Haha … we were teasing her by calling her a factory worker job …

Jane’s finding the teaching job at Republic Poly a lot of fun. Was bitching a bit last week about having a lot of work, but I think she secretly loves the experience of being in charge. In other news, her bf’s moved in with her since he got kicked out of his own place (haha! his sister got a boyfriend home that left no place for him!) … anyway, those guys are meant to be together … so I’m glad they’re moving forward well :)

Oooh, and we all found that Pris (who’s not in this picture), quit her HSBC job … and became … (wait for it) … a Singapore Airlines stewardess!

Isn’t that cool! Pris gets to travel around the world, get great pay … and I know she hated that Investment Bank analyst job … and would’ve killed Bill Gates for making MS Excel. Anyway, chatted with her on the phone for a few minutes … she seemed real happy with the change :D . Also spoke to Chen Yan on the phone … he was just being his lazy self for not checking his email and playing PS2 after work, instead of dining out with us.

What We All Thought Of Each Other

I actively avoid judging myself on a day-to-day basis … but when I see people that only come by every few years, then I can’t miss that chance to have them judge my progress … and I was amazed at what I found!

The most obvious thing all the ladies wanted to find out was … “So, When Are You Making Your First Million?”

That question kept coming up again and again …

So I thought about why they were asking me so often … and then I remembered how I used to be twelve months ago …

A year ago, when I was about to graduate and start my business … I was gung-ho about business. Fresh out of PoE (an NLP motivational program), I was set on making my first million quickly … going full speed ahead with business progress … and really keen to achieve lots & lots more.

Now, not so much.

So, it was a little hard to explain to the girls that I really didn’t care about the money any more … my focus was to balance my energies in all three areas of my life – health, wealth & love. That I have planned and set my goals, but don’t measure myself nearly as much any more.

Of course, it’s hard to get such heavy thoughts across to ppl in a few minutes … but I think they all understood that I had matured a lot my outlook in twelve long months. Of course, that didn’t stop them from making fun of my “grandpa” approach to life and my “already retired lah” outlook :P

The other thing they kept bringing up was my consulting rate of $600 per hour (click here for details) …

Of course, they didn’t understand that $600/hour is the “billable” rate … and for every one hour I bill, I probably have to work 8-12 hours in the background. Oh well, I didn’t bother explaining also :P

It’s nice to catch up with old friends … The next update will be in six months … when we all meet again!

Leave a comment »

  1. this is a nice lovey-dovey post :P

    i like it.

  2. hey dude,
    when’re you going to make your first mil?

  3. You mean … make the first million ladies … fall in love with me ? ;)

  4. well i suggest you learn italian before you start criticizing the dishes.
    in fact i love bistro bar. its not too indian looking :) .
    too bad its in singapore. bet you’d appreciate it more if it was in india. :)
    so yeah they do cheap courses for italian. ciao bello

  5. Oooooh, looks like I offended “unknown”

    Next time, leave a name dear … so we can continue the conversation, yeah?

  6. Hi!

    Just stumbled upon your blog. Was reading this entry of yours, bet it must have been a great catch up for your and your friends, was a very entertaining entry to read i must admit.

    Actually, would like to ask a favour from you. Understand that you have a friend called Sharon who has worked in Doctors without Borders before, thus not sure if you mind linking us up as i m interested in joining the mission, but would like to find out more abt it to make sure i am ready for it.

    Thanks for your reply in advance! =)

  7. Hi nice post, i read your blog from time to time but i was wondering something. I also run a blog on a similar topic, but i get 1,000′s of spam comments and emails every day does that happen to you.. Any ideas to stop it? I currently have commenting disabled but i want to turn it back on.. Thanks!

  8. Hey Lulu,

    Spam comments are normal – the easiest way to deal with them is to install the Akismet wordpress plugin – that keeps ALL my spam comments out. A few comments a week is all I have to deal with.

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