Tag Archives: rachel chan

Introducing a new writer on Alvinology.com – my wife, Rachel Chan!

It is about time.

With traffic growth and higher exposure, I am getting way too much blogging invites and requests that I can handle alone. 

I tried to search for a regular guest contributor to collaborate with on this blog, but it is hard to find the perfect fit. 

In the end, who else knows my personality and blogging style better than my wife, Rachel Chan? 

Actually, she has written posts on this blog previously, but without proper attribution. You can read all of Rachel’s post on Alvinology.com here. 

A quick introduction on Rachel:

Rachel and son, Asher in Hong Kong Disneyland with Mickey Mouse
Rachel and son, Asher in Hong Kong Disneyland with Mickey Mouse

Rachel has nearly a decade of experience as a print journalist for my paper (English)and Straits Times Life! and has also worked as a news producer for Mediacorp Channel 8.

She won a nomination for a Special Award for Excellence at Singapore Press Holdings’ (SPH’s) annual English & Malay Newspapers Division Newscom awards in 2010 for her investigative story on self-proclaimed celebrity hairstylist, Jonal Chong.

Rachel has since made a career switch into education to spend more time with her young son and young Alvinology, Asher Lim and is a guest contributor to this blog.

With a stronger writing background than Alvinology, you can clearly differentiate her blog posts from Alvinology’s from the use of difficult and obscure vocabulary and more words than visuals. :)

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过大礼 – “The Big Gift” for Traditional Chinese Wedding

The basket of goodies I brought over to my in-laws
The basket of goodies I brought over to my in-laws

This took place on a lazy Saturday afternoon on 5 June 2010, a week prior to my traditional wedding ceremony with Rachel.

I remember waking up very early to get dressed smartly to impress my in-laws. I also remember checking through the gift basket repeatedly to ensure I got all the required items.

Via Baidu Baike:

过大礼是中国传统嫁娶礼仪之一。订亲过程中最隆重的仪式,约於婚前15至20天进行。男家择定吉日,便携同礼金和多种礼品送到女家。

“The Big Gift” is a traditional Chinese wedding custom. It is the most grand ceremony to take part in the engagement process and takes place between 15 to 20 days prior to the actual wedding. The groom’s family is to select an auspicious date and bring along cash and gifts to present to the bride’s family.

As both my family and Rachel’s family are not too particular about the details, we did not follow the 15 to 20 days rule nor picked an auspicious date. The particular Saturday was chosen because it was one of the only day in a weekend whereby everyone is available – this to us was auspicious enough. 🙂

Me downstairs of Rachel's home - Pardon my stoned expression
Me downstairs of Rachel's home - Pardon my stoned expression
The basket of goodies and hard liquor
The basket of goodies and hard liquor I prepared

What I prepared on my end:
8 giant oranges
Ang pows for my in-laws
2 x Martell Cordon Bleu
20 x wedding cakes (in the form of vouchers)

The basket of goodies I got back
The basket of goodies I got back

What I get in return:
8 giant oranges
Ang pows from my in-laws
A bottle of orange concentrate
8 x wedding cakes (in the form of vouchers)
2 x pair of trousers
1 x new wallet with some cash inside
1 x new watch

Upon reaching Rachel’s house, the gift exchange went quickly and seamlessly. Our parents then sat down and chatted for a while over tea to discuss some details on our traditional Chinese wedding to take place the next week. This concluded the simple ceremony.

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Project R in the media

Project R was reported in the two evening Chinese newspaper, Shin Min Daily and Lianhe Wanbao yesterday (27 Oct). You can read the article HERE via omy.sg. There’s also a vodcast covering the proposal process and photo gallery in the omy.sg article. 🙂

Shin Min news report on 27 Oct 2009
Shin Min news report on 27 Oct 2009
Wanbao cover page - 27 Oct 2009
Wanbao cover page - 27 Oct 2009
Wanbao inside article

Rachel and I also went on air at Radio 100.3 last evening at 7pm with radio deejays, Anna and Ken. Here’s the interview if you missed it (I edited away the songs and commercials):

Rachel and I have both been receiving well-wishes aplenty since yesterday and we are both thankful and appreciative that so many people care for us.

I know this proposal is not perfect and some have voiced concern that it’s a tad gimmicky and I seem to be using “gatecrashing” tactics on Rachel. To clarify, I spent three months planning the execution of the proposal so that everything would go smoothly. Would a person playing hard to get put in so much effort?

I wanted Rachel to have an enjoyable time solving the clues instead of feeling like she is being “sabo-ed”. For instance – I knew Rachel had classes that day, and had planned the clues such that she can solve them quickly during the lunch break and continue after her lesson ends at 5pm. Transport arrangements were also made for her so she did not have to run around tired and sweaty. The collaborators who helped me also knew about this and were helping to manage the timing.

Both Rachel and I are not fans of cheesy gate-crashing and ragging where the groom is made to do silly, meaningless things like putting underwear on his head or drinking questionable fluids, in the name of fun. That’s why I paired a resolution and a gift with each clue. The last thing I want is to humiliate and shame the love of my life on the day of proposal day.

Having said that, as both Rachel and I are work for a media company, we understand the workings of the mass media and communication. Hence, we are taking both positive and negative comments (and headlines) in our stride. Our mood hasn’t been affected at all and we are just glad to have each other. The only reason why I am blogging about this is because some of our good friends expressed concern. 🙂

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Project R: A success!

Thank you everyone! 🙂

A quick update. Rachel said yes to the Project R proposal yesterday night at Relish restaurant. 🙂

Rachel and I would like to thank everyone who made this union possible. I would particularly like to thank Mark, Meiyen, Wei Chian, Rachel’s parents and my parents, Han Joo and the rest of the omy.sg team, Josh from Advertlets.com, Uzyn from Ping.SG, Lai Chow from Youth.SG, all the bloggers and friends who helped viral my proposal message yesterday.

A big THANK YOU!

Here are some screen grabs I managed to capture of the buzz yesterday. I did not manage get screen grabs of the banner run on Youth.SG, Ping.SG and Advertlets.com. If you have them, please email them to me. If I missed your blog entries, can also drop me an email or just post a comment below.

omy.sg home page
omy.sg home page
Banner tiles across omy.sg
Twitter - #alvinandrachel
Me, spreading the proposal on facebook
Me, spreading the proposal on facebook
Facebook well-wishes
Facebook well-wishes
Holly Jean's blog
Boon Ming's blog
Darren Ang's blog
Chim Kang's blog
Daniel Hii's blog
Daniel Hii's blog
Yong Wei's blog
Grace's blog

FYI, the story was picked up by Shin Min Daily and Lianhe Wanbao for tonight’s paper (27 Oct) – can grab a copy of each to read more. Rachel and I will also be accepting a radio interview on Radio 100.3 later in the evening at 6pm. Do tune in. 🙂

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Project R: Wedding Proposal 2.0

Thank you for visiting my humble blog. 🙂

Whether you are a regular reader or a first time visitor, I, Alvin Lim (Alvinology) needs your help.

You see, I was racking my brain juices for the past month, thinking of the best way to propose to my girlfriend of two years, Rachel Chan. How should a self-professed geek like me propose?

Online of course!

Rachel and I met working at an online portal, Youth.SG and our initial contacts were via long MSN sessions late at night. Even the solitaire ring I will be proposing with is bought online.

That’s how Project R came about: Project Rachel.

Here’s how you can help me:

Being a firm supporter and user of online social media, I am leaving my happiness to everyone to viral this message below to my wife-to-be:

“Rachel, will you marry me? I am waiting for your answer at a secret location. To find me, you need to unlock a series of clues which showcase my five resolutions to you. The first clue is in a video posted on my blog. I will be waiting for you till you show up.”

You can help me spread this on your blog, twitter, facebook, friendster of whatever other social media channels as long as it reaches people who knows Rachel personally and can inform her about this. If you know Rachel personally, you can do the same plus SMS, MMS, email her so she is swarmed with hundreds of proposal messages. A thousand and one proposal messages will be romantic isn’t it? Just leave the number 1001 for me.

Right-click to save
Right-click to save

If you wish to provide me with additional support for this wedding proposal, here’s a banner I have created for you to post on your blog, websites or anywhere else online and link back to this blog.

Oh! Btw, if you are wondering why I chose to propose on this date, 26 October happens to be both, Rachel and my birthday.

I will be carrying my laptop around and will be LIVE updating everyone on the progress via this blog and my Twitter account, including uploading photos and information about my five resolutions as Rachel solves them one by one.

Wish me luck and a big thank you to all!

Alvin would especially like to thank omy.sg, Ping.SG, Advertlets.com and Youth.SG for providing me with precious web banners today for this proposal.

I would also like to thank all my friends and colleagues who helped me to plan and execute this wedding proposal – you know who you are, I will not reveal your names now so as not to spoil the surprise for Rachel.

LATEST UPDATE:

Resolution 1 Solved:

Alvin promises to pamper and love Rachel, paying close attention to all her needs and whims.

Q: The message is embedded in the video above.

A: “Look for your closest colleague” – Wei Chian.

Alvin presents Rachel: A portrait he painstakingly hand drawn with attention to the smallest details.

Resolution 2 Solved:

Alvin promises Rachel a lifetime of adventures, just like that sweet old man in their favourite movie, UP.

Q: Someone in omy

A: Connie Woo who shares the same birthday with Rachel and Alvin.

Photo album

Alvin presents Rachel: A photo album detailing the three countries they traveled together to – Japan, Thailand and Taiwan.

Resolution 3 Solved:

Alvin promises to lavish and shower Rachel with gifts, presents and all that money can buy.

Q: Someone who taught you before.

A: Alvin’s mom who taught Rachel dressmaking.

Alvin presents Rachel: A joint account, Alvin’s two other bank accounts. Alvin’s money is now also Rachel’s money.

Resolution 4 Solved:

Alvin promises to keep the romance alive in his relationship with Rachel, even when they are old and wrinkly.

Q: Someone who we traveled with before.

A: Mark and Meiyen who went Japan with us early this year.

Alvin presents Rachel: A bouquet of flowers. Yes, it’s cliche, but it is still romantic.

Resolution 5 Solved:

Alvin promises to grow old with Rachel. Please be mine. 🙂

Solitaire ring

Alvin presents Rachel: A diamond ring.

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Monopoly Deal Card Game

Online demonstration of the Monopoly Deal Card game
Online demonstration of the Monopoly Deal Card game

Over the weekend, Mark, Meiyen, Rachel and I played a game of Monopoly – not the board game version, but a new card game version that Hasbro just launched.

You can try playing it online HERE. The folks at Hasbro had cleverly made a very accurate online demonstration of the card game being played.

When we started reading the rules, all four of us were rather befuddled and confused, being too used to the old way of playing Monopoly on a board.

The box of the Monopoly Deal Card game
The box of the Monopoly Deal Card game
Monopoly deck cards
Monopoly deck cards
The cards are shuffled using this specially-designed plastic box
The cards are shuffled using this specially-designed plastic box
Rachel demonstrating how to shuffle cards
Rachel demonstrating how to shuffle cards

The card game version is played using a SINGLE deck of cards – with action cards, money cards and property cards all mixed together. We were very puzzled by this at first and even tried sorting out the cards into three piles accordingly, defiantly following our instincts rather than the game rules.

Money, property and action cards are all mixed together
Money, property and action cards are all mixed together

It’s a good thing the game set comes with accompanying “Quick Start” cards. The card has the line “Start playing and all will become clear… WE PROMISE!” printed in bold. We were skeptical at first, but decided to take the advise anyway as we were getting nowhere arguing over the game rules which we each interpreted differently.

The Quick Start cards
The "Quick Start" cards
Still unclear about the game rules
Still unclear about the game rules

There were still some level of discomfort when we plunged into the game directly, still unclear of the game rules. However, the advise from Hasbro was proven right after we went through a few turns – it did became clear (and fun too).

To win the game, a player has to be the first to accumulate three complete sets of properties. During our virgin play… I looked set to become the first winner, having accumulated two and a half set of properties first.

My property cards
My property cards
A complete set of properties with an additional house
A complete set of properties with an additional house

Then, Mark drew a card and started laughing wildly to himself. Something was amiss. He drew a “Deal Breaker” card. The card allows him to steal a complete set of property from a player. He took mine gleefully. This was a high point during our game as none of us had played this before and were caught by surprise by the ruthlessness of this particular action card.

The most powerful card in the game - theres only two of them in the deck
The most powerful card in the game - there's only two of them in the deck
Mark going crazy
Mark going crazy

We carried on for a few more rounds. Eventually, the surprise winner was Rachel who quietly accumulated her properties without any of us noticing.

The silent assassin
The silent assassin

Initially, we wanted to just play one game and then head out for supper. However, we had so much fun that we  forgot about the time and went for another round. Mind you… the sum total of our ages is over a hundred years old, and there we were playing Monopoly happily like we were back in our teens again. It goes to show what’s fun then will still be fun again, even if Monopoly has shifted from board play to card play. 🙂

If you are interested to purchase the game, you can buy it online from Hasbro or visit the toy department in major departmental stores.

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Dinner at Home

For the past two nights, Rachel cooked dinner for me as my parents  and sister were away on holiday. I appreciate the gesture very much, given that she have to do her marketing early in the morning before heading to work and then rushing back to my place straight after work to whip up the meal.

In fact, for today, she even came back during lunchtime to prepare a meal for five – the two of us, Mark and Meiyen whom we invited over and my sister who got back from Bangkok yesterday midnight.

Here’s our dinner yesterday. A simple fish, bacon and vegetable dish mixed with brown rice. The portion was about just right and we managed to finish most of it. There was a little leftover which Rachel ate for lunch this afternoon.

Dinner for two
Dinner for two

The main dish to go with the rice
The main dish to go with the rice
Mixed together
Mixed together

Here’s our dinner tonight. There’s pumpkin soup; Jamie Oliver‘s chicken; vegetable with salted and century eggs; strawberries with cheese and vinegar for desert.

Home-made pumpkin soup - not the canned kind
Home-made pumpkin soup - not the canned kind
Vegetable with salted eggs and century eggs
Vegetable with salted eggs and century eggs
Poor fat chicken - I saw Rachel chopping the head and throwing into the dustbin
Poor fat chicken - I saw Rachel chopping the head and throwing into the dustbin
The sauce to pour on the chicken
The sauce to pour on the chicken

The desert
The desert

It’s sweet of her to do this. Thanks Rachel! 🙂

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