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Lake Toya, Japan

Spot of Tranquility.

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Little India, Singapore

Spices, gold and splashes of colour!

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Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay

Garden City, City in a Garden.

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Bryce Canyon, USA

Thor's Hammer

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Chocolate Test, Singapore

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." -Charles M Schulz

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Recurrent Corneal Erosion

The good thing about technology is that it allows you to obtain a lot of information and with an informed mind, filter the information that you require and those that you do not.

Especially with medical conditions, the internet can be a valuable resource and it was through this vault of information that I looked up a condition I was suffering from- recurrent corneal erosion. I wished more people had written about their experience with recurrent corneal erosion so that I knew what I was dealing with. 

This entry is therefore for those who suffer from recurrent corneal erosions and are looking at treatment options. 

Around mid last year, my colleagues were getting conjunctivitis one after the other. One morning, I woke up with a sharp sting in my eye and tears couldn't stop flowing. I had conjunctivitis before so I thought, it might just be another episode of conjunctivitis. However, my eyes were not red at all. It was just that the stinging pain didn't go away and my vision became a little blur.

After I visited a general practitioner, I was referred to an eye specialist and was diagnosed with recurrent corneal erosion. 

Recurrent corneal erosion is a condition where the cornea's epithelial cells fail to attach to the underlying basement membrane. The pain sets in when you are sleeping or upon wakening because when the eyes get dry at night, the eyelid can stick to the epithelium. When the epithelium is not firmly attached, the opening of lids can cause the epithelium to tear off. 

I was prescribed with Systane Ultra and Genteal. The doctor said that applying the eye drops and lubricant would typically solve the problem for most patients because it was supposed to keep the eyes moist. Alas, it was not meant to be. 

With every episode of recurrent corneal erosion, leaving aside my disrupted sleep which consisted of an extremely painful eye (imagine your eye being stabbed) and non stop tearing (it's the body's way of trying to heal itself), my vision would be blur for a few days.
Couple this with the fear of wondering when the next episode will be, this condition was potentially causing a drop in the quality of my life. When the episodes become particularly bad, there was once I had to ask my colleague to hold my arm and lead me to the taxi stand and then ask the concierge at the hospital to bring me up to the clinic. Another time, I was in a discussion with my boss when my tears started flowing involuntarily (I had just suffered an episode the day before) and my boss was shocked.

I became such a familiar sight at the clinic and the ophthalmologist would say, "Oh dear, not another episode?" With my swollen and teary eyes, I could only sigh and shrug, "Yes, again." 

As with many other conditions, surgery is often a last resort. Besides numerous rounds of eye drops and lubricants, the doctor once scrapped off a layer of epithelial cells, in the hope that it will help the epithelial cells be stronger. To put it in the words of my mother, it looked like he was taking out bird's nest. The pain after that was akin to a recurrent corneal erosion, maybe slightly worse.

Besides that, I was always hoping that the doctor would put bandage contact lens into my eye which was always a welcome relief. With bandage contact lens, you had to drip antibiotics because contact lens are after all a foreign body and not meant to be in your eyes for prolonged period of time. But I loved the relief when I wore bandage contact lens- I could sleep in peace and did not have to worry about having an episode. However,  it was not a long term solution because even after the cells healed, it was inadvertently tear again 2 weeks down the road after removing the lenses. 

After many false hopes thinking maybe this time it will finally work and countless of google searches, I decided it was time to just get surgery done to solve the problem. I just had Epi-lasik done on my eyes and crossing my fingers that this is a solution that finally works. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Lake Tekapo (New Zealand)

Frankly, the only reason why I ended up choosing New Zealand as my travel destination was because I saw pictures of these plants floating online. I was hard pressed to find what these vegetation were and my google skills involved typing "purple flowers in New Zealand", only to find out that these were weeds, called lupins. 

The moment we got down from the car, the only thing that came out from my mouth was "Wow." Seeing the beautiful turquoise blue of the lake with these lupins in the foreground, it was as though I had just stepped into a painting. 

We walked across uneven pebbles and eventually reached the lake. We were so fortunate to enjoy such glorious weather.

After what seemed like eternity of taking countless shots of the lake, we went to the Church of the Good Shepherd which was a short walk from the lake. The Church was built in 1935 as a place of worship for the pioneer families of the Mackenzie country.

Despite the few hours drive right after touching down in New Zealand, the picturesque setting of Lake Tekapo took away any hints of fatigue. There has to be so much more to life than rushing about on a daily basis.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (New Zealand)

One of the things I dread the most when visiting national parks or outdoor places is bad weather. 

Bad weather makes people miserable- the scrambling around when the rain pours without warning. Bad weather makes photos look miserable. 

Before we left for Mount Cook, we checked the weather forecast and were dismayed to learn that there will be rain. But if we have to go, we have to go. 

We decided to go with the Hooker Valley Track which is supposed to be a 3 hour return hike. We took slightly longer than that, mostly because we were dealing with the rain and slippery ground. 

The landscape kept changing and it was a relatively easy trail for most part, except when we were going to reach the end of the trail when it started to get a little steeper and a bit narrower. 

There were 3 suspension bridges on this trail and everytime I got onto one and looked down, I'm thinking, "Oh gosh, I need some help to cross this bridge."

Good things come to those who wait. I am not saying that the scenery at the beginning was not beautiful. But if you gave up after half an hour, this scene of expansive mountain ranges and clear water will not greet you. 

At some point, I got really trigger happy despite the rain.

It was one of the rare occasions that I didn't feel like it was a wasted trip because of bad weather- the scenery is more than enough to compensate for the bad weather! 


My mum told me that she and her colleagues really liked the food at Sufood. I have heard about Sufood for some time but only got about visiting this establishment which is meat-free and inspired by Italian cuisine. 

We ordered the Set ($29.80++) where you could choose from a variety of salads, soups, mains, desserts and drinks.

Our Sufood Appetiser consisted of a trio of poached Japanese yuca root drizzled with a blueberry coulis, a stack of oriental, white water snowflake greens and a cherry tomato jelly. The server told us that we should eat the appetiser from the right to left. I thought I would enjoy the cherry tomato jelly but it tasted like sour plums (which I do not eat).

Next up was the Rosemary Breadsticks which were soft and fresh.

I ordered the Mushroom Salad which came with button and shiitake mushrooms in a vinegar dressing. I liked how light and refreshing this salad was, with the vinegar to get your stomach juices flowing!

The soup was a Misto Mushroom Soup which was mixed mushrooms simmered in vegetable stock. The mushroom overdose was starting to kick in at this point in time. It was light and tasted a little flat.

This was my favourite dish of the lot and I am glad I ordered the Wild Mushroom Charcoal Tagliatelle. The tagliatelle, mixed with fragrant garlic and chilli, went well with the chewy king oyster mushrooms.

I ended off the meal with a Mango Frollino which is a cake with mango cubes, blueberry and custard sauce. This was decent with crispy strudel crust.

I had high expectations of this place because of the rave reviews that I had seen online. However, I found the food here, at the most, slightly above average. If I had craving for vegetarian food, unless I am looking for a place that looks presentable and has nice plating, this would not be my top choice. That said, this place has a fresh offering of vegetarian food that is not offered at usual vegetarian stalls. Service is also friendly. 

Raffles City Shopping Centre
Tel No: 63335338