My Twitchy Tomato

It was the sort of pleasure that burned. A slow burn. However small, however hidden. It started from the tips of her fingers, her nails raked his scalp lightly as she combed them through his hair, and ended where their lips met. She brushed her trembling fingertips down the side of his face, combing through the soft whisper of his beard as he buried himself in her heart. She marveled at the clear blue looking back at her, wondering if he knew what she saw in them. He sparked flames of desire to spread across her skin, begging to be soothed. Flickering. She fell apart at his touch like paper put to a flame. Reduced to ashes. Smouldering.

She’d been broken before. She knew what it was like. But with nights like these, she could forget everything for a little while. Escape. She had forgotten what it felt like to have someone look at her that way. To be held that way. To be kissed that way. To discover someone that way. To laugh that way. To forget the world.

Sometimes, when you experience something that overwhelms you. Something unexpected. That’s when your priorities change.

She could feel herself sliding off the course that they’d prepared. They lay there, a woozy youth whispering wicked words with a drunken slur. She sipped his silky smooth scent through her numb lips as his lips left their mark on her. Often. Tangled in a bed of warmth and limbs, she held him to her, their velvet tongues tied, floating before a sea of sky. He drew lines down her back as she laid in his arms, arching towards him, acheing for more. The fistful of stars behind her eyes blurred together like dizzy neon lights as they listened to the soothing thunder of their heartbeats.

She knows it’s going to be over soon. But it just seems so real. It’s almost like a cruel joke. They say wise women listen but don’t believe and leaves before they are left. But she wants to believe and she’s not ready to leave just yet. She has this nagging desire to be close to him. She can’t even begin to explain something that she herself doesn’t understand. When all is said and done, she knows that once he leaves, she’ll feel alone again. People are rarely surprising and usually disappointing. You surprised me potato.

2 Things I Learnt During My Internship

My apologies for the long delay since my last post. I have been in blog-paralysis. Mainly because everything I want to blog about would take an extremely long time to write. So I decided to write about something that has been tugging at my thoughts over the past few days. My internship.

This internship was not what I was expecting. Honestly, I thought I would be marching into the office, with a list of tasks just begging to done, a coffee in one hand and my laptop in the other, ready to sweep my department of their feet. Instead, I was in for a culture shock. Occasionally a day passes so slowly that my eyes are already shutting down by 11am. Sometimes it passes so fast that I barely notice that I have been taking calls non-stop for the past 8 hours. Sometimes I think, “Do I really want this?” It is easy to go through the day, living it while letting yourself overflow with ennui. It is easy to think that no matter what, you can never make a difference. But then I remember that these are just steps that will take me closer to a brighter future. Besides, all that hard work would just make the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow considerably sweeter.

During these 5 months, I have found myself with an extremely tight schedule that included way more office light than actual sunlight. Although on the bright side, there was that elusive freedom from classwork! Aside from all the technical learning, resume developing and coffee runs, I had a ton of fun. And being the new hatchling in the office, I definitely appreciated the titbits of ‘real-world’ advice that everyone offered. Of course, some were undeniably more useful than others.

One important thing I learned was the art of listening. There really is some truth behind the popular phrase “With age comes wisdom”. So no matter how much I wish I could deny it, I should really listen to my mom more. People like it when you listen to them. It shows that you really care about what they think. It shows that you acknowledge them as a person and you do not see them as just another faceless person who is helping you get to where you need to go. No matter how much you can try to convince yourself that you can experience everything on your own, you are always going to need people to help you fill in the gaps. I consider this as a great personal achievement as I had an unhealthy habit of constantly interjecting or talking over someone when they are in the midst of saying something. Simply put, because I thought what I had to say was more important. Now I finally understand that the quieter you are, the more you can hear.

Another valuable lesson I learnt, is that it is entirely okay to be wrong sometimes. Being wrong does not somehow make you less of a person. Some lessons ruthlessly require you to fall flat on your face in order to fully comprehend it. Learning from your mistakes is what matters. However, I grasped that, in order to learn, you have to let go of your pride. You need some sort of rejection in order to grow.

Embarking on an internship really takes you out of your comfort zone. An internship gives you a slice of what is in store for you in the real world. It is one of those exhausting, yet amazing experiences you would not trade for anything else. While my internship was not all fun and games, there is no doubt that I learnt a wealth of lessons. I will definitely miss my wonderful colleagues and the horrid coffee. I will miss getting stressed out. But it was so worth it. As C.S. Lewis once said, “Experience is a brutal teacher, but you learn. My god, do you learn.”

P.s. I’m just adding an extra (unnecessary) line here so that the word count isn’t 666 *makesthesignofthecross*

ECB Quantitative Easing: Yay or Nay? How is Singapore Affected?

Since the 2008 global financial crisis, the developed world has entered a deflationary environment due to overwhelming government debt. For many years, these governments have run deficits and increased debt load, and now deflation is magnifying the debt load.

To solve this deflationary problem, governments around the world have elected to venture into Quantitative Easing (QE) in the hope to cause inflation which would shrink their debt load. QE is essentially solving a debt problem by issuing more debt. However, high levels of inflation may destroy the currency.

In January 2015, ECB announced a huge asset-purchase programme, worth around €1.1 trillion, in a bid to resuscitate the struggling European economy. It would involve the ECB and the individual national central banks buying sovereign debt from the Euro Zone.  This unconventional policy began years ago when the US Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan embarked on monetary stimulus in an effort to kick-start their failing economies by boosting inflation.

The QE programme, together with existing schemes, will release €60 billion a month into the economy. The aim of QE is to create inflation by boosting economy growth and ward off deflation by lowering borrowing costs and depreciating the currency to encourage exports and tourism.

The Euro has been sliding for six months and after the implementation of QE, on January 30, the Euro plunged to 1.1291 against the greenback, hitting fresh 11-year lows.

One important thing to note in this programme is the risk-sharing ratio, being 20% going to the ECB and 80% falling on to the shoulders of the national central banks. Should a euro zone government happen to default on its debt, then the bulk of any potential losses would go to the national central banks. This would prove to be counterproductive for those countries with already existing sky-high debts.

One of the unintended consequences of QE is that after it was announced, the Swiss Central Bank’s (SCB) balance sheet blew up. This caused SCB to unpeg the Swiss Franc as they had decided that they wanted no part of it.

On the flipside, the benefits of QE are still being debated. The US recovery has been attributed to QE. Although, economists argue that much of the GDP and employment gains were due to US shale oil fracking in Texas and other mid-west states. In over 20 years of multiple QE, Japan has seen no appreciable recovery. In their case, the unintended consquences are clear. After their implementation of QE, deflation set in.  So instead of weakening their currency, it strengthened it. By performing monetary experiments on a grand scale, they have effectively destroyed their capital markets. You don’t know anymore how much their bonds are really worth. Price discovery has been thrown out in favour of ‘easy money’. ‘Easy money’ brings about a higher likelihood of misallocation of funds. With these questions in play, who is to say what is going to happen in Europe.

Looking at success stories of debt repudiation by indebted countries such as Iceland and Argentina, the implications are pretty obvious. The solution to unpayable debt is not taking on more debt. It is debt modification or repudiation.A clean slate.

Impact on Singapore and the Financial Industry

In theory, QE sounds like a brilliant idea. Like a simple solution. The Central Banks would simply print more money and use that money to buy up government bonds. That way, the sellers (governments) would have more cash to pump into the economy, increasing asset prices and generating a wealth effect. But in reality, the economy is much more complex.

We should not ignore secondary effects.  The Singapore Economy is linked to the Euro Zone in multiple ways. After China, the European Union (EU) is our second largest trading partner. Thus, with QE set to boost euro zone growth, it could benefit its trading partners, like Singapore.

With a falling euro, Singapore’s imports would increase. On the other hand, the dwindling Euro damages Singapore’s export competitiveness. This might compel Singapore to also devalue its currency. In fact, Singapore has already started to devalue the Singapore dollar by loosening the slope of their policy band.

Banks, would not be greatly affected as they have a low dependence on the Euro Zone. However, on the subject of trade credit, some Eurozone banks have cut down on their lending to Asian SMEs and corporations in an effort to conserve capital and liquidity due to the heightened risk aversion. Singaporean banks with strong liquidity positions have stepped in to fill this void.

In the financial services sector, sentiment-driven activities such as stock broking and foreign exchange trading have seen large increases in volatility. Consequently, risk and margin requirements have risen.

With all its varied implications, it is nearly impossible to forecast either positive or negative outcomes to QE. However, chances of unintended consequences would rise dramatically with the size and duration of the QE.  Singapore has to look at the horizon and look out for black swans.

My First Nomination.

real-neat-blog-award

My fellow blogger, Petrel41, of Dear Kitty. Some blog has mostly kindly nominated me for Real Neat Blog Award.  Thank you Petrel41! You have hit a record-high on the generous-o-meter. Seriously, i checked. I know you can’t see me but I’m totally doing a crazy happy dance! Wishing you the best of luck on your future blogging endeavours 🙂

Courtesy of Giphy.
Courtesy of Giphy.

Love his little eyebrow twitch in the beginning 😀

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

So here goes. I will try my best to answer these questions as truthfully as possible, or as my friend amusingly suggested to ‘ answer them real neatly’.

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?

Well, most of my views come from Singapore. But it’s closely tied with the United States and the Netherlands.

2. What is your favourite sport?

My love of running stemmed from my involvement in my secondary school’s cross country team. I haven’t run competitively for about 3 years. But i do try to jog whenever i can. There is nothing like a runner’s high.

3. What has been a special moment for you in 2014?

Deciding to get rid of old toxic habits and changing my life for the better.

4. What is your favorite quote?

‘When the rich wage war it’s the poor who die’ This quote was originally from Jean-Paul Sartre, but i first heard it from one of my favourite bands’ (Linkin Park) song, “Hands Held High”. It has everything to do with fighting a pointless war with countless unnecessary deaths. Virulent decisions that affect hundreds of millions of lives around the world, destroying lives with a single word, ‘Yes or No’.

5. What was your favorite class when still at school?

That would be Chemistry! Plus i had an amazing teacher aptly named Miss Champion.

6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?

Dutch. I think it would have been amazing if I could speak dutch, however, my Dad said that there was no point in teaching us Dutch when we were kids because majority of the people in Holland speak English. Still, i intend to learn Dutch at some point. Most definitely.

7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

Piano. Got up to Grade 2.

My 7 questions are:

1. What is your favourite colour? And why?

2. Why did you start blogging?

3. What is your favourite song/artist?

4. Name one thing you hope to achieve in 2015?

5. Name one thing you love about yourself.

6. What do you feel most strongly about?

7. What is your proudest achievement?

My nominees are:

1. Eddie Two Hawks

2. Great Books of the Western World

3. InfiniteZip 

4. Skywalkerstoryteller

5. WordlyWinds

6. Johncoyote

7. Cally Chantale 

8. Zoe’s Fashion Blog

9. A Opinionated Man

Once again, thank you Petrel41, for believing in someone you don’t even know 🙂

Happy Weekend Guys!

Ivana x

Red

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I had this seafood risotto at a Japanese/Italian fusion restaurant last night. Let me just say, it was absolutely divine!! The place is called La Grotta @Serangoon Gardens if anyone wants to drop by. Although the atmosphere was lacking, the food was pretty good. Their portions was quite decent too. Anyhoo, I’m off to clean my room. I’m sure many of you can relate to my messy room, or as I like to call it, an organized mess. So, I am going to leave you guys with another song that I have been recently hooked onto. It’s great for those who are still stuck in the festive mood 🙂

Ivana x

All It Took Was A Smile.

As I live directly outside the French school, I see a lot of kids and parents milling around outside my house in the morning. Normally I march past them with my headphones in and a polite smile plastered on my face. But this morning, I saw something that absolutely made my day. This little boy, who looked to be about 3 years old, was standing outside the entrance to the pre-school. His mother had just walked off, probably in a rush to get to work, assuming her son had walked in to school by himself. His older brother, around 5 or 6 years old I would assume, was walking off to the other entrance to the elementary school. But instead of walking into the pre-school, this little toddler waddled out of the entrance and up to his older brother and tapped him on the shoulder with a strange melancholic expression on his round, cherubic face. The older brother turned around, and upon seeing that it was his younger brother, exchanged a few words with him in French. After which, he bent down and hugged his little brother and kissed him on the cheek. While this was happening, the little boy’s eyes met mine and the innocence glimmering in them was so startling that it jolted me out of my morning daze. I just couldn’t help but smile at the love these two brothers had. That simple kiss, that simple hug. So innocent, yet so full of love. Nowadays, we are constantly caught up in our own worries and our own problems that we don’t have time to just let go and live in the moment. No matter how cliché that sounds, it just goes to show that even the most simple, most mundane acts can be seen, if considered deeply, to possess the most magical qualities. Just thought I should share this little golden nugget of joy and that it would brighten your day, like it did mine!

Ivana x