Rays of Splendour

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Been so long since I updated this blog!

The last update on this blog was last year! It’s not that I do not want to update this blog. Many times over the course of the past few months, I’ve been wanting to update the blog. However, so many things have been happening at one time and I’m just so exhausted to do anything else during my free time except to sleep or just do mindless stuff like look through my Instagram feed.

Some of the things I’ve been wanting to write a blog entry about:

  • The lead up to my preparations for my wedding which took place on 7 and 8 July
  • My thoughts about being newly-married
  • The first time I found out I was pregnant
  • My pregnancy journey
  • My labour story
  • My thoughts on being a new mother
  • My thoughts about my new baby
  • My thoughts on my confinement and breastfeeding journey

So many blog entries that I’ve been wanting to write about but I don’t think I’ll be able to write all of them! Nevertheless, the above serves as a good summary of what’s been happening in my life since the last time I blogged!

I need to end the entry for now cos I just heard my baby make some noise. Gonna check on her…

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Life since October 2017 update

It has been six months since I last blogged. Over the months, I’ve wanted to blog on many occasions but my resolve is always broken by other things which demands my attention.

So since the whole house is already asleep except for me (I’m unable to sleep tonight and am blogging this at 2.08am), I felt that now would be an apt time to pen my thoughts down somewhere.

Here’s a list of the events that have marked my 6 months:

  1. Sat for the final exams of my MA life
  2. Went for thesis defense and passed it
  3. Finally sent my thesis for binding and submitted it after weeks and months of working on it
  4. Flew back and forth from Seoul to Singapore a few times to settle the last few things needed before officially completing my MA life and closing the chapter to Seoul
  5. Basked in about 1 week of happiness and gratitude travelling in Jeju with R and my youngest brother.
  6. Officially graduated from uni and attained the MA on 26 Feb
  7. Packed all my belongings in the Seoul apartment, gave away stuff and officially flew back to Singapore on 27 Feb.
  8. Started full time work yet again on 2 Jan after 2 years of no-pay leave. Since work started before I officially graduated from school, that explains the need to fly back and forth a few times from Singapore to Seoul.
  9. R and I collected the keys to our first apartment together on 10 Jan (I remembered this date as it’s my youngest brother’s birthday!)
  10. R and I have been spending the last few months scouting for an interior designer or contractor. I acknowledge that I do get wistful when I see IG updates from others who got the keys later than us and already had their houses done within 3 – 4 months.
  11. Planning and settling all that needs to be done for 7 July.

It has been an intensive 6 months. Some days, I managed to squeeze in only 3 hours of sleep.

Hence when I got to stay at home for the past 2 days, I found that to be such a deviation from the norm that I found it odd!

At this point, I just feel so unsettled inside. With everything that has happened, is happening AND going to happen, I think that it is inevitable I’m feeling this way.

Regardless of the tsunami of activities that is occurring, I still find myself craving to have a quiet moment with Allah deep down inside. Just me and Him.

I feel that this is a connection that I have not been successful in ensuring its strength and stability in these past few months.

Hence Ramadan really comes at an opportune time. It’s currently Ramadan as I’m writing this. Unlike the previous Ramadans, this is the first time that I’m realizing how blessed it is to be able to perform your ibadah in this month.

I pray that Allah keeps me in a state of purity for the remainder of this month so that I’m able to taste the sweetness of ibadah and connection with Him. Amin.

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Wk 5/15

I’m finally getting myself to be disciplined and write the summary for Wk 5/15.

As mentioned in the previous post, last week was the long-awaited 10 days of public holiday in Korea. Life in the aspect of work and school will resume again from 10 October onwards so I’m looking forward to that!

Wk 5 has been on in which I spent the most time at home! Seriously, I was home on 5 out of the 7 days. I think that I have really fully utilized the money spent on rent cos I stay in the house so much! The reason why I stayed in on so many days is because 1) I do not feel like spending money cos I know I will definitely do that if I’m out and 2) Since most of my work these days revolves around reading and typing, I really do not feel all that motivated to step out of the house since I have all the materials I needed to fulfill my tasks.

The past few days made me realize how the life of a researcher can be like. Unless your research requires you to be out in the field and collecting data, you’d end up spending most of your time settling your work indoors. Of course there is the option of taking your laptop and reading materials and working on your research either at the library or cafes which effectively means you can spend some time travelling from point-to-point. But still, a large part of the work will be done indoors!

Anyway research work aside, I think my sleep timings are really inconsistent. Some nights I can sleep by 10pm, be awake by 5.40am for the fajr prayers and then be up all the way till noon where I’ll take a 1.5 to 2 hrs nap before doing my zuhr prayers. Some nights like now, I’l still awake at 3.30am. When I’m awake this late, it means that I will end up sleeping till 2.30pm when I eventually sleep again at 9 or 10am later in the morning.

Just what am I doing to my body??!

Ending off this entry with a reminder to myself that 1/3 of the journey is done. I have 2/3 more of the journey to go before I conclude the semester insyaAllah.

I really, really, really miss my family and friends. It makes me wonder why is it that I could never get used to being apart from them. That ache and deep desire to be by their side again and also live in my house in Singapore again? Only God knows.

But, the mind is a powerful thing. I need to remind myself everyday that Allah has assigned me a responsibility to be fulfilled here. He says to be patient, to stay here for now and complete the tasks He has assigned so yep, I’ll do that insyaAllah.

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Wk 4/15

10-days holiday

The school week have ended and we’re now headed into the 10-days public holiday here in Korea. It’s going to be National Foundation Day, Chuseok, and Hangeul Day all into one.

I’ve been trying to get tickets to fly back to Singapore for this 10-days holiday. I figured I’d rather be home and spend time with my family. However, all the air tickets out of Korea are either:
(a) Mad expensive
(b) Most of the tickets left are the premium economy and business class tickets which I obviously cannot buy since I’m an unemployed student for now.
(b) Sold out – I kid you not when I say the tickets are sold out. Not just to Singapore but to many places: Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka, etc!

So I’ve sort of given up trying to get out of Korea. That required a huge shift in mindset which saw me spending the past few days coaxing myself to remain positive and embrace God’s plans of placing me here for now.


Besides that, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the process of acquiring knowledge. That sparked off from the experience I had in school this week. I had a lesson in which I felt very, very, very humbled by my classmates.

As usual, we had a seminar session where we’re supposed to contribute and express our opinions on the issues being discussed.

I’ve came to class prepared. I’ve been catching up on the latest news that have occurred in the past week and even read the required readings prior to class. I had understood what I read so technically I should be able to participate in the discussions too.

The discussions happened. Opinions, thoughts and questions were expressed. But by the end of the lesson, there was no contribution from me.

When the seminar took place, it unfolded very, very fast. Points were expressed swiftly. No sooner had I digested what was being said and tried to formulate my own thoughts based on the point which was just expressed, someone else had interjected in agreement or to disagree with it. That left me humbled.

I was humbled at how fast my classmates were in grasping the complexities of the issues and points being brought up and then responding to them. Seriously, they have such brilliant brains!

On top of that, they are very well-read. They were making references to all these different books they have read. It’s books okay. Not just articles!

I realized how little I’ve read when I talked to a friend who is doing her PHD. I was talking to her about my thesis hoping that the process of talking would give me some clarity. As we talked, she brought up all these books she had already read and was suggesting to me as she felt they would be useful.

That made me reflect a lot.

These people not only have such brilliant brains but also, are really committed in the path to seeking knowledge and gaining deeper insights. Compared to them, I’ve such a looooooong way to go to catch up!

It makes me really re-consider the PHD route. If I were to go down that path, it would entail also having the discipline to read a lot. It’s no wonder my professors’ office are filled with thick books. Those books are not there for posterity, mind you. My professors would be able to tell you exactly what’s inside those books as they’ve read it from cover-to-cover!

Autumn song

Since it’s now autumn, this song is back on my play list. In fact, I’m listening to this song as I’m blogging this entry!

It’s been a few years since its release but this song still remains my autumn song.

I didn’t think of it when I listened to this song today but after singing along to it a few times, I started to be cognizant of the words I’m saying. It made me recall that version of myself back then and why this song was so relate-able at that time.

2012. Hmmm… I was 28 years old then!

A 28 years old me was a woman still full of idealism and one filled with lots of energy to chase aspirations. Nothing was impossible to me. I believed then that as long as I set my mind, heart and work towards it, I could achieve those goals.

It was also a time when I craved changes and constantly looked for new opportunities to experience. At that time, I felt like I needed to experience as much as possible, learn as much as possible and achieve as much as I possibly could in order to attain a fulfilling life. The 24 hours given to me simply wasn’t enough!

I even felt that work tied me down geographically and temporally such that for a few hours every day, I wasn’t able to do the other things I’d prefer to be doing and achieving.

I also used every opportunity I had to travel. Money was no issue and I was willing to spend as long as I could explore the world.

It’s not that I do not have aspirations to chase now. It’s also not that I still do not crave to experience new things and travel. But I think that I’m so much more grounded and settled for now? I still have goals but I do not define my time with pursuing just that.

I’ve reached that point in life whereby I’m okay with having a day or days when I’ve made no plans except to go with the flow of things and where alhamdulillah, I’m okay with work and don’t find that it keeps me away from achieving other things I wanted to. I still love exploring places but I also know that with financial responsibilities elsewhere, it is not my priority.

I miss that 28 years old me sometimes but alhamdulillah, I love my current 33 years old self too!

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Wk 3/15

It’s presentation week for one of my classes. Thus Wk 3 started with me trying to complete the readings required for the presentation. I do not know how I pulled it off but I eventually managed to come with up a set of PowerPoint slides, presented it, as well as submitted a critical review paper (albeit a day late!) related to the presentation.

On the thesis front, I’m still struggling to find a proper footing with regard to its direction. *Sigh*

Anyway Chuseok (the Korean Thanksgiving) is coming up so what better way to check out the hype than to head to the supermarket! I went to eMart on Saturday and the throng of shoppers furiously shopping for food-related products remind me of the pre-Chinese New Year and pre-Eid marketing back in Singapore. I guess communities everywhere are similar when it comes to commemorating important events for themselves. The scene I witnessed yesterday were of the Koreans buying ingredients to make preparations for the charye (memorial service for ancestors held during Chuseok) as well as cook festive meals for the family during the long Thanksgiving holiday.

I took advantage of some of the great sales going on. For instance, I saw that fresh salmon was selling at a pretty cheap price so I bought for myself some! Bought some kimchi which were on sale too. Since I suddenly have a craving to eat some gosari namul (Korean fernbrake side dish. Click on this link if you’re curious to know how it looks like!) I bought some fresh ones as well with the intention to cook them some time next week. I even bought a packet of dangmyeon (sweet potato starch noodles) so that I could cook myself some japchae!

The Korean traditional snacks were on sale as well. Koreans typically buy these as gifts to present to the people whose house they’re visiting during Chuseok or to just eat it for themselves. I’d have bought some for myself and given it to my family to try if I was flying back to Singapore (it’s literally a 12-days holidays for me) but since I’m not, I gave it a miss.


Instead, I bought some frozen pumpkin songpyeon (rice cake) for myself. It’s a traditional food eaten typically during Chuseok too and made of glutinous rice and fillings like sesame seed, honey and chestnut paste among others. All I had to do was steam it which I did as soon as I got back and ate them as my dessert after dinner!


The songpyeon are the ones on the left. I kinda like it cos it’s not too sweet.

My friend came over for dinner yesterday so I cooked some salmon-prawn pasta for her which I served together with the songpyeon and kiwifruits.


Sunday was a stay-in day for me. I’ll probably try to squeeze in some reading before I go to sleep though.

I’m heading fast into Week 4 which means it’s going to be almost one month since I last saw the people I love. I’m torn between forcing myself to stay in the present moment and really enjoy these last few moments of freedom here and wanting to finish everything as soon as possible and be back by the side of people who matters to me.

As humans, we can be such indecisive people!

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‘Let’s meet in Jannah’

It’s almost 2.30am and sleep still evades me. I’ve cooked a bowl of instant noodles (I don’t eat them usually but tonight, I felt like I needed to cook something really quickly) hoping that I’ll be sleepy once I’m full but instead my eyes are still wide awake.

I guess tonight is one of those nights when I feel much more lonely than other nights. I feel lonely from the lack of companionship. No matter how many times I’ve done this (almost two years now!), I really cannot get used to turning in for the night alone.

I still crave and prefer the feeling of having someone by my side and being able to exchange final words for the day with them. Those words exchanged right before falling asleep are usually nothing important. It can be as minute as ‘Can you pass me the pillow from your side?‘, ‘Can you put my handphone over there?’, ‘Have you set the alarm?’ or ‘Okay okay no more talking. Let’s sleep!’ but it’s truly comforting to hear and utter them anyway.

As I reflect on this concept of living alone, I’m fully aware that I’m not the only one in this position. I have many coursemates who are living alone as well and this particular part of Seoul where I’m staying has the highest rates of single-person households. That knowledge should technically soothe my loneliness. People always say that knowing someone else out there could be experiencing the same things you do usually refocuses the issue away from yourself so that you will feel less troubled over it.

Yet, it still does not stop me from feeling lonely every night. It also still does not stop me from missing home and the people there. When it comes to missing people, there’s never been a night since my arrival in Seoul that I’ve gone to sleep without my heart aching for my family and friends.

All these led me to ask myself another question: How would it feel if the people I love were to leave this world permanently?

My parents who have always been there for me. My siblings. My bffs whom I have experienced a lot of life together and in recent times, R whom I also spend a lot of time as well as share things with.

For now I still have the assurance that I’ll get to hear from them again. It’s just a matter of picking up the phone to call, text or meet them. But there will be a time when I won’t ever get to hear their voices nor be able to spend time with them no matter how much I miss him or her. There will be a time when my phone would not beep indicating I have a text coming in from them nor would I be looking for their names on my handphone so that I could send them a message either on WhatsApp, Instagram DM or even Facebook. That perhaps the next time we meet will be in the afterlife, by His mercy.

That sentence ‘Let’s meet each other again in Jannah‘ that we sometimes utter to a person when we part due to various reasons could be light on the tongue but laden with far deeper meanings. It entails a future whose length of time is unknown to us. It entails a reality and journey whose nature we are unsure of before we eventually reach its destination.

So when I reflect on the reality that there will be a time when I’ll part with my loved ones, I really pray that Allah allows us to meet again in Jannah and that He eases our path to reach that coveted destination.

Lastly, I pray that I always remember to embrace the present and the people I have in my life right now. Life is really too short to hold on to your ego, grievances, anger or whatever negative feelings you might have that could result from your interaction with your loved ones. As I think back to times when I might be angry with a family member or friend, I find that it’s always easy to respond either by snapping at them or giving them the cold treatment in such situation.

But life isn’t permanent. Death and separation can occur at any point in time. Time isn’t on our side even though we always deceive ourselves that it is. Everyday that passes is a day less with the people in your life. May I always remember to appreciate and embrace the presence of the people I have today. Amin.