Mangrove and Its Benefits

Mangrove is a small tree that grows in coastal brackish water. Many people know that it serves as a home for fishes and other sea creatures. However, there are still other benefits that mangrove does. These are the following:

  1. It protects shorelines against storm, waves and flood. Its tangled root systems help in destabilizing sediments which prevent erosion.
  2. It improves water quality. It filters pollutants and traps sediments coming from the land.
  3. It supports biodiversity. It is a place where endangered and threatened sea animals live some if not most of their life.
  4. It is used in making furniture and building houses and boats because it is water resistant and durable.
  5. It is a source in making charcoal. Woods of the black mangrove and buttonwood trees are used in producing charcoal.
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The Istana

The Istana, which means “palace”, is one of the important landmarks in Singapore as it is the official residence of the President and the working office of the Prime Minister. It is close to the public on most days and is only open for people on public holidays such as follows:

  • Chinese New Year
  • Labour Day
  • Hari Raya Puasa
  • National Day
  • Deepavali

There is a $2 admission fee for foreigners and $4 additional fee to be able to view the function rooms of The Istana such as the Reception Room and the State Room. You will also have the chance to see all the gifts that was given to the President by other countries. However, just do take note that photography inside the building is not allowed. 

Singaporean citizens and permanent residents have free entrance to the Istana and an additional $2 fee to see the selected function rooms.

6 different types of cheese (you might have not known)

I love cheese! Well, who doesn’t? However, as an Asian, I only know few kinds of cheese such as mozarella, cheddar, parmesan, among others. 

Last week, I encountered six types of cheese that were new to me. These were the following:

1. Gruyere Reserve – a hard, yellow cheese from Switzerland

Price: 75sgd per 1kg

2. Drunken Goat – a goat cheese from Spain. It is white and soft with an acquired taste.

Price: 70sgd per 1kg

3. Lincolnshire Poacher – a hard unpasteurized cow’s milk cheese from England

Price: 84sgd per 1kg

4. Prima Donna – cheese from Netherlands

Price: 53sgd per 1kg

5. Mimolette – cheese traditionally produced from France with a distinct color.

Price: 85sgd per 1kg

6. Boer’n Trots – cheese from Netherlands. It is different to all other cheese because of its white spots.

Price: 66sgd per 1kg

Among all these cheese types, I like Boer’n Trots the most because it tastes very similar to “Carmelado”, a milk candy traditionally made of carabao’s milk and sugar from the province of Masbate, Philippines.

Watch the review of these six kinds of cheese here.

    State of Desolation

    What do you feel when you think everything has shattered and you are left in despair? What is going in your mind when you think the world conspires against you? Do you feel alone? Depressed? Angry? Upset?

    Whatever you feel at that chaotic moment of your life, feel it! Do not be in denial of what you really feel. Be accepting. Accept it! It is only when you accept that you will be able to find out the root cause of the problem and come up with sound solutions. If you need to isolate yourself, be alone for a while or stay away from others and reflect, then by all means do it if that what will help you alleviate the pain.

    I was in the same state six years ago. I had relationship problem, and then issue at work. I had problem here, problem there, problem everywhere. I had great friends and colleagues who were there to listen, advice and comfort me or even served as my clown just to elicit that smile from my face. But, I still felt messy! I had to introspect, and from that introspection, I realized that time that my friends and colleagues could only help on the superficial level of what I was going through. If I had to eliminate the root cause of my problems, then I had to deal with the inner part of myself. That’s because problems stemmed from the inside and not from any outside force! Only when I dealt with the problem myself that I was able to move on and be happy with life.

    In a nutshell, be accepting and move on! There’s no point to be stuck somewhere… let your life flow!

    Five things to do during volcanic eruption

    After witnessing and experiencing a volcano erupting in Sumatra, Indonesia last December, the following are the things I have learned on what to do during volcanic eruptions:

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    1. Stay calm. It is something that is out of our control because it is part of natural forces.

    As you all know, the third largest earthquake that hit the world was the 9.1 up to 9.3 magnitude that was felt in the West Coast of Sumatra and triggered the deadliest tsunami killing 230, 000 up to 280, 000 people in 14 countries with Indonesia particularly Aceh in Sumatra as the most damaged place.

    Not only Sumatra has tsunamis and earthquakes, it has also active volcanoes. In fact, Mount Sinabung of North Sumatra had its biggest explosion last year. Curious, thinking that the place was a disaster-prone area, I asked our tour guide, “Why are you still here?” His answer was simple… because he was “born” there. Then, I further asked, “So, what did you do during the 9.1 earthquake. What would you do if Mt Sinabung erupts?” His reply was, “Nothing we can do. We just need to dance to its rhythm”.

    So, during volcanic eruption, stay calm and dance to its rhythm! It is something that we cannot control.

    2. Follow government warnings and heed to the authorities evacuation orders. When the authorities said leave the place, then leave. I know it is painful to leave your house, land and your livelihood, but your life is more important than all of these.

    Mount Sinabung started to erupt in 2010 after its last eruption in 1600. Government advised people to evacuate in 2013 but only in 2016 that all people have evacuated the danger zone when there was a pyroclastic flow that killed 7 people. Do not wait for this incident to happen. Evacuate right away when it is needed.

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    3. Stay indoors with all windows and doors closed especially if you have respiratory ailments. When there is falling ash, remain indoor with windows and doors closed until ash settles. In Sumatra, there were cases of deaths of people who suffered from asthma. So, if you have asthma or any other related ailments, stay indoor or evacuate the place immediately.

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    4. Wear mask and goggles. When a volcano erupts, ashes are flying everywhere. Protect your eyes by wearing goggles or eye glasses (not contact lens) and use mask or damp cloth to help you breath.

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    5. Do not run your car or truck engines. It can stir up volcanic ash that can clog engines and stall vehicles. Not only that, when the car is running fast, it can trigger ash to fly around, thus drivers will not be able to see the road or the upcoming car. Road accidents can happen. If you have no option but to run your car, then run it at 35MPH or slower.

    These are the five basic things to do during volcanic eruption. Keep safe everyone! Stay calm and evacuate immediately!

    What Hari Raya really means to the Muslim Community

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    Ramadan is a fasting month, and Hari Raya Aidilfitri signals the end of Ramadan. Hari Raya is not only a festive occasion for Muslim to be happy about because of delectable food, but there is a more important reason than that! Hari Raya is a time to ask for forgiveness, reconcile and renew relationship with others and strengthen their bonds amongst relatives and friends.

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    “Day of Celebration” is the literal meaning of “Hari Raya”. “Selamat Hari Raya”, which means “Happy Eid”, is the main greeting used in Malaysia and Singapore. “Maaf zahir dan batin” which means “I seek forgiveness (from you) physically and spiritually” is another greeting that we also hear during this festive season.

    Today, we were invited by our colleague, Teacher Ariffah, in their house. Malay has one month of fasting, and one month of celebration to end Ramadan. On the first and second week of Hari Raya, they open their house to their family and relatives while on the third and fourth week of Hari Raya, they invite their friends in their house to have a sumptuous meal together.

    It was a nice gathering today with Teacher Ariffah as our gracious host! Thank you, Teacher Ariffah and husband, for inviting us and opening your beautiful home to us!

    It is always great to learn other’s culture. Learning about other’s culture is an amazing and priceless experience as you get to have a deeper understanding of how other people live.

    No matter what our race or nationality is, we are all the same… We are all human! It does not matter whether you are Malay, Chinese, Indian or whatever your nationality is… we are all human beings… We are one! We all must live in peace and harmony!

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    Selamat Hari Raya! Maaf zahir dan batin!

     

    Reference:

    http://www.themalaysiantimes.com.my/hari-raya-aidilfitri-%E2%80%93-seek-forgiveness/

     

    Three things to do when you feel suffocated at work

    No matter how driven you are and committed to the world you have chosen, there will come to a point wherein you will be overwhelmed by the heap of work you have to accomplish, and that makes you reach the highest peak of exhaustion. Worst comes to worst, it leads to unhapiness when you realize that you are no longer meeting the standards or producing the best results you are aiming for. You are feeling not happy, too, because you neglect to complete the tasks you have set for yourself.

    What should be done in case you are suffering from exhaustion at work? Remember, G…O…D… GOD which stands for…

    G – Give yourself a time to be alone. Drop all the things you need to do. Being alone will provide you tranquility. Introspect. Is it still the life you want to live? Are you still walking towards the achievement of your goals? If yes, then, go and breathe! Have a break. Your work will never leave you. It will always be there waiting for you until you are energized and ready to get back and sit and finish them all.

    O – Out to a new place. Seeing a new environment which you have not been to gives a relaxing feeling. Sometimes, you are tired or even unhappy because of your routinary activities. Try something new! See something new! Being in a place entirely different from what you always see makes you recharged. This will make you gain back the strength and energy to do the things you need to accomplish in your work.

    D – Date your friends. Nothing can beat it to be out with good friends. It drops down the stress level when you are with them laughing together and doing the things which all of you enjoy.

    We are like computers. When a computer has too many tasks, it hangs. What do we do with it? We shut it down, and restart again. Just like us, when we have a lot of things to get done, we need to suspend our work for a while, gain the strength that we need, and restart again.

     

    Behind every great person is a great mother: Famous business leaders who were inspired by their mothers

    I came across this article published in Forbes about famous business leaders who attributed their success to their mothers. Let’s know some of them and see how they were inspired by their mothers!

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    Image via Google

    Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, credited her mother as the most influential role model in her life. Her mother made her feel that she could reach for the stars. If she failed along the way, it is okay. “Failure is not the opposite of success, it is a stepping stone to success”, her mother would say.

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    Image via Google

    Kat Cole, Chief Operations Officer of Cinnabon, received an assurance from her mother. When she was presented with an opportunity to grow into management ranks from being a Hooters waitress, she did not believe in herself and was afraid to step out of her comfort zone. Her mother encouraged her and said, “You can do anything and I’m expecting you to do everything”.

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    Image via Google

    Bill Gates was inspired by his mother to see the bigger picture. On his wedding day, his mother wrote, “From those to whom much is given, much is expected”. Gates’ mother “pressed her son” to get into philanthropy after Microsoft’s stock made Gates wealthy. Eventually, Gates began a program at Microsoft to raise money for the United Way.

    It is true indeed that behind every great person is a great mother! Mothers are always there to inspire, assure and directs their children to discover themselves and be great at the field they chose!
    Cheers to all the great mothers in the world!

    A mom who chose to raise a son with cerebral palsy; son now in the world’s top university

    Probably, you have already read about this story. The first time I read this story was last Tuesday, 15 May from the South China Morning Post. Then, I encountered the same story last Friday, 18 May from the SgAsianParent website.

    This story brought me back some memories. We had a family friend who had a daughter with cerebral palsy. She could not walk and talk just like how a normal person walks and talks. It’s because people with cerebral palsy have a problem with body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. Also, cerebral palsy affects their fine motor skills, gross motor skills and oral motor functioning. She would sit on a wheelchair and she needed assistance doing day to day activities. Because of her condition, she was not able to go to school.

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    A Chinese boy (or now a man) named Ding had a different story. He had cerebral palsy. Her mother, Zou, was advised by the doctor to give him up because he would be mentally retarded. The father agreed with the doctor and told Zou that their son would be a burden to their family. Amidst the father’s decision, Zou was still persistent to save Ding even if it cost her marriage. Soon, they were divorced. To survive, she took up several jobs – a full-time position at a college in Wuhan, China and part time jobs as a protocol trainer and insurance seller. Though she was busy with her job, she did not forget her responsibility as a mother. In her free time, she regularly took Ding to rehabilitation sessions. She would massage his stiff muscles. Also, she would play games and puzzles with him to improve his intelligence. From the very start, Zou was very strict with his son and insisted on him to overcome his disabilities.

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    Zou’s sacrifices had paid off! Ding graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Peking University’s Environmental Science and Engineering School in 2011 and enrolled for a master’s degree at the university’s International Law School. He worked for two years before furthering his studies at the US Ivy League Harvard University last year. You are awesome, Ding! Good job! And most of all, excellent job to your mother Zou!

    A tribute to a mother who supported her family with a Teacher 1 salary

    Fourteen years ago, the salary of a teacher in the Philippines was around P10, 000 a month. We were that family who survived in that amount of money. It could even go lower! If a teacher had loans, the money she could get would go as low as P3, 000.

    The Sacrifices

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    My mother was a public high school teacher; my father did not have a stable income. Basically, we were living with a Teacher 1 salary. We are four children in the family. When my older sister was in fourth year college in PUP Quezon, I was on my third year in UP Diliman and my brother was a freshman in PUP Sta Mesa (then in San Beda and transferred later on in Ateneo de Naga). Given the fact that we needed to pay for monthly accommodation, food and allowance, how would a P10, 000 salary or may be even less suffice the expenses of our family?

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    It was not easy to raise four children, provide their needs and make sure they finish their studies till college with little amount of money. But, my mom was able to do that! She was able to send us to university in spite of financial difficulty that we had at that time. She had undergone a lot of sacrifices so that we would have what we have today. Luckily, her hard work paid off! Now, my sister works in the Accounting department of an American company, I am a preschool teacher in Singapore, my brother is Operations Manager of a call center company and managing Atlas Finder Travel and Tours, his own travel agency, while my youngest sister works in HR department of an American company. This we owe to the extraordinary mother we have!

    The Party

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    The hard work and sacrifices of a mother cannot be paid. But, as a sign of gratitude for having a wondrous mother, we threw a birthday surprise for her. When she retired this year, we surprised her of a birthday party at Romulo Cafe in Bel-Air, Makati. We did it so secretly that she thought we forgot her birthday.

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    The Encomium

    To my mother, I witnessed your uphill battle and sacrifices in leading us to have a better life. We cannot reach this, we cannot have what we have now if you did not face all the tribulations. You are the epitome of an amazing mother one want to have. I thank you for standing strong and courageous during those times we needed you most. Know that, at this time, you have additional four mighty children who can stand with you in facing all life adversities. I am very blessed to have you, we are very blessed to have you! Happy, happy Mother’s Day! I love you, we love you beyond words!

    Behind every great person is a great mother!(4)