All Posts By

Chevonne Cheng

Lifestyle, Reflections

Why Are People Marie Kondo-ing Closets And Not Their Digital Space

A woman carves a successful career out of her love for tidying rooms. She writes books to help people spark joy and makes a show on Netflix, which reinforces my beliefs in having less and being more.

Clickbait Youtube channels reveal her obsession stemmed from OCD, an acronym for a disorder we loosely use to describe the way we arrange our utensils in a neat row for the first time. But we don’t mind because her positivity is refreshing to watch among modern films of misery porn.

I respect Marie Kondo’s positive influence and effort. It’s easier to get famous with a sex tape these days, than with a book on thanking your clothes. I think friends and family of hoarders should have her face secretly set as a desktop wallpaper.

Slowing down

In a world of fast fashion, food and everything, it’s ironic how we crave the need to slow down. Just like Marie, many content creators reiterate the importance of knowing the true value of life.

Pinterest is flooded with ethical, sustainable lifestyle tips; Nas Daily made a video about how he lives out of a suitcase; 15-year-old Swedish activist, Greta Thunberg, sparked a global protest to stop global warming and climate change.

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Himalayas tibet
Reflections

rebirth & Spirits: My Oddest, Craziest Memory Before Birth

When I was a kid, I sat at the dining table with my mother and told her I had a vivid thought that often surfaced to mind. It didn’t feel like a dream. I was almost sure it was me, my identity, in a place that felt distant and familiar.

In my memory, I was asleep when I heard an echo of a woman’s voice. When the voice grew louder, I opened my eyes and saw thin red lines illuminating the dark. I told my mother, “I heard a woman’s voice repeat, ‘Would you like the blue marker or the red marker?’ And then I closed my eyes.”

I remember the look on my mother’s face that afternoon. When she was pregnant with me, she said that question was what she asked her class before every lesson she taught as a teacher in 1992.

Maybe my lurid, childhood imagination played tricks on me. It could have been sheer coincidence. But I wondered: why is the idea of rebirth/reincarnation so quickly dismissed by those who believe only humans exist among millions of galaxies, if we can’t even see dark matter that takes up 85% of total mass in the universe?

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Lifestyle, Youtube

Ringmaking Workshop: DIY-ed Our Rings In Singapore

Steph and I value experiences so instead of buying him a gift for his birthday, I surprised him with a rainmaking workshop instead.

Many couples asked me if they could make wedding bands here and I told them it all depends on you and your partner! If you guys are open to having something handmade, why not? A ring doesn’t determine the quality of a marriage. Some couples even choose to get wedding bracelets instead.

Personally, we chose to buy our wedding bands from a friend who owns jewellery stores in Singapore. There were four main reasons why: the customisation of colour (we wanted rose gold), less risk of skin allergies, warranty/a place to get our rings fixed if they were damaged, and durability. We didn’t think our amateur skills would have made the cut in our virgin ring making workshop.

Turns out, the biggest downside for me was not being able to wear it daily for the long haul as I developed small blisters around the ring area. This was possibly due to the lack of interior coating/smoothening and friction caused by metal bars when I lifted weights at the gym. I’ve since turned it into a necklace for keepsake.

At the workshop, some chose to have a more feminine, shiny design. While we loved the rings we made, we chose to smoothen and coat them with matte black, which faded into silver over time. For long-term wear, there will be scratches. We didn’t mind them but if others do, I’d recommend considering a design (e.g. with texture) that can conceal scratches better.

Location:Artisan8studio, 150 Orchard Road, Orchard Plaza #03-06 S238841, Sinapore
Duration: 2.5 hours
Where to book: through Airbnb experiences
Cost: approx. $89 per person. All equipment is provided.

Reflections

Happiness Is Believing Not Being Sad Is Good Enough

Here’s the gist: Millennials aren’t lazy; they’re just insecure.

Though I enjoyed most of my career life in publishing and marketing, I never wanted to write professionally in Singapore. It wasn’t because I didn’t love writing; I simply loved it too much to risk hating it by turning leisure into work and reducing my margin for error in exchange for mass appeal.

For four years, I did marketing and PR for a Michelin-starred restaurant group that served (mostly) Crazy Rich Asians. I hosted journalists from Japan to Russia, proofread menus in French, edited company material in English, and made small talks in calculated intervals to SOS out of awkward silences through 7-course media tastings. Life was a carousel of press releases, media interviews and photoshoots.

Two years later, at 24, I kickstarted a publishing company with a leading media group for Gen Ys. Backstory: I applied for their creative role instead.

As an editor, I spent hours weeding words from mental vomit and rehoming ideas in blank pages. Write-edit-pitch-write-edit-reject-approve-interview-hire-train, and repeat. Life was one advertisement after another; analytics on a spreadsheet; a social numbers game. I think I did a decent job, pushing a new team to go from 0 to 1 million views on Youtube and Facebook.

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Lifestyle

Dog Training Life Hacks By A Chow Chow Owner Too Busy To Read Guides

Note: All opinions about puppy training are the author’s own and do not replace professional advice.

Chows are often called one of the ‘Top 10 Fiercest Dogs’ on the internet. Aggressive and aloof, they once guarded Chinese emperors, pulled sleighs and hunted wolves, which made them the poster boy for stone statues found in Buddhist temples today.

But to the disgrace of his ancestors, 4-year-old Bibi is an overly friendly bear-dog that trips on his own feet. He has even done meet-and-greet sessions with his Instagram followers. I started his account back in 2015, which garnered over 10,000 followers within a year until I got too busy with my day job.

I can’t be sure if it was due to my excessive babying or his personality that turned him into a walking teddy bear that can’t ‘dog’ properly. He puts his soft toys back, dislikes barking, and once played dead on the grass when a dog tried to bite him.

Some of us assumed he was born with mild autism—a possible answer to questions I’ve received about Bibi’s unusually sweet nature. But through my personal experience, I believe a few simple puppy training techniques encouraged his good behaviour.

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Youtube

Vlog: Bibi The Chow Chow Growing Up

Where did you find Bibi?

I’ve always loved Chows but only got around to keeping one in December 2014. One day, I Google-ed ‘chow chows for adoption’ and found a newly listed Bibi through Gumtree Classified Singapore. He was three months old, sitting alone at a corner in a blurry picture. When I contacted his previous owner, they talked me into visiting him just so I could “learn more about Chows.”

But when I saw him, I knew he was The One. I squealed “oh Baby!!” only to realise that was his actual name back then. I eventually changed his name to ‘Bibi’ just because I didn’t want both my boyfriend and dog to get confused.

How much did he cost?

I paid a S$4.8k adoption fee and took over his vaccination bills. Let’s not talk about the rest of the damage.

How old/heavy is he?

He turned four in September 2018. He is 26kg (borderline overweight).

When is his birthday?

9 September 2014.

What does he eat?

Salmon from our nearby supermarket, salmon kibbles, and cooked vegetables with fish oil and other good stuff. My grandma cooks for him twice a day.

Must he be in an air-con room 24/7?

We switch our air-cons on for him and bought extra fans to place around the house. However, he enjoys basking in the sun during most afternoons. Our vet also advised not to coop him up in air-con rooms as it might affect his lungs. To ensure maximum comfort, his fur is shaved.

Did he ever have skin problems in humid Singapore?

He recovered from Alopecia X (black skin and fur loss), a common problem among Chow Chows. After one year of changing his diet and seeking advice from every person we could, we discovered it was a hormonal issue. Castrating him cured his illness within days. Seeing his fur grow made me tear!

Does he have friends?

He mostly hangs out with my brother’s Frenchie named Pogo, or my sister’s two Shih Tzus and one Maltese. He’s socially awkward with others.

Does he know how to do tricks?

He knows what’s sit, stay, paw, down, and how to put his own toys back—tricks that require little effort. As he has short limbs and naturally weak hind legs, I think he avoids doing tricks that do not benefit him unless we have treats. Also, we do not see a point in getting our dogs to do backflips and hi-fives.

Where does he sleep?

With me or with my mum, on the floor. He dislikes sleeping on mats or beds.

How did you train him if Chows are known to be aggressive?

I wrote a post about it here.

Travel, Youtube

A Diary From The World’s Highest Train To Tibet

The first time I skydived, I heard the pilot count down, the door swing open, my instructor murmur the seconds on his watch, a sigh (as an apology to my parents), and then nothing at all. The wind pressure blocked my ears, so I looked at the sky and emerald-blue sea in deafening, exhilarating silence while I somersaulted to my possible death with a last “oh f*ck”.

Yet, the smaller I felt, the more I revered things I could not control. I couldn’t figure if I was more afraid of giving my instructor full permission to control my outcome, or comforted in risking my life with another person.

While spending 21 hours in the world’s highest train was a saner version for an ambivert like myself to connect with strangers in the sky, it left the same strange impression.

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Reflections

Life Lessons By My School Teacher-Mum Who Taught For 30 Years

I never knew my mother was a teacher until I turned 10 or 11.

I knew she marked school papers till 1.00am and woke up at 5.30am religiously. But, somehow, I only saw her as ‘mum’; the person who cleaned my potty, braided my hair and sent me to school.

Every morning, I watched her pat on her makeup and tell herself “lipstick is what every girl needs to not look like a ghost.” And every night, I watched her prepare lesson plans with English Breakfast tea with Marks & Spencer ginger biscuits on her antique desk.

I eventually learnt she taught English, Literature, and Social Studies. That she met my dad while studying in Canada, came to Singapore, and never left her first job in teaching.

For 30 years, she carried on the same routine, even when she cried herself to sleep from the workload of raising four kids and over 400 students. I never understood why.

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