Is FIRE even possible when inflation is so insane?

FIRE stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early. I first heard of the term several years ago and was very intrigued by it.

I started reading a bunch of finance books and also watched countless Youtube videos to see how I could implement it into my life.

After all, I don’t want to work until I am 65. I want to get to the point where working is something I choose to do, and not something I have to do.

However, with prices going up 3x in the past fifteen years, it feels almost like an impossible dream.

The same meal that used to cost $7 now cost $16 (so around $20+ after tax and tips). But wages have not kept up at all. It is getting more and more unaffordable to eat out. Not to mention, the tipping culture here is insane (15-18% on average on top of 13% tax).

Experts suggest that you should take out 4% of your total portfolio and aim to have enough to survive for 30 years. So, if you have $1,000,000, then you would take out $40k, and basically take out money annually and gradually use it all up during your retirement.

However, that’s based on a 30-year retirement AND assuming your investment is beating the inflation. If inflation far exceeds 4%, then you’d need to take out more than 4% in order to have enough purchasing power to maintain your quality of life.

I can’t even imagine how someone would survive if they had retired in the 1970s when prices have gone up 10-15x since then (or probably more).

In all the books I’ve read, they say 1 million is a good number to aim for. But now, you can’t even buy a house for a million.

In fact, retiring with 3 million might not be enough with how things are going. Continue reading “Is FIRE even possible when inflation is so insane?”


Travelling to Paris: My experience and helpful tourist tips


Narrow streets: I didn’t expect the streets to be so tiny! I could literally cross some streets in six steps (I counted). It is not wise to drive in the heart of Paris, and most of the time, you could probably get to your destination faster by walking if you’re already in the area.

Uphill: I had no idea that everywhere would be like climbing a mountain/hiking. The streets are so slanted that it’s a huge workout every day if you’re outside. If you’re not physically fit and able to walk a lot, I would NOT recommend going to Paris. Many places don’t have elevators because the buildings were built hundreds of years ago.

Police presence: I did not expect the police to be holding all these gigantic assault rifles on the streets. They were alert and ready to fire. You wouldn’t want to mess with them!

Chinese: The airport has Chinese signs everywhere. The Chinese tourists must bring in so much money.

Fit people: I did not expect the Frenchmen to be so fit/skinny. I would say the majority (at least 75-80%) has the body type like One Direction when they had first debuted. I think it must be all the walking.

Note: I was only in Paris, so I’m not sure if it’s the same outside of Paris

Not many fast food chains: Apart from several McDonalds and Starbucks, I did not see any of the fast food/American chains that I commonly see in North America. I was surprised since there are quite a lot of fast food chains in Asia. It seems like the French really protected themselves from Americanization.


Things to Note

A lot of security: If you’re planning to go to a tourist attraction, expect to go through heavy security check. You’ll need to remove all your belongings and go through a scanner like at the airport. So, avoid carrying a lot of stuff. If your bag is over a certain size, they might not let you in. They do not allow carry-on either.

Wear comfortable shoes: If you’re a tourist, and you’re outside exploring, expect to walk thousands of steps and hundreds of stairs a day. Even if you are getting driven to your destination, you’ll need to walk a lot when you’re inside.

Museums tend to close on Mondays: We did not know this ahead of time; if you’re planning to get the Paris Pass, make sure to go to all your destinations before Monday or don’t activate it until after Monday.

Note: I would NOT recommend getting the Paris Pass unless you plan to check out more than 5 attractions in a day. It is extremely expensive, and most often than not, you’d probably be exhausted after 2-3 attractions in one day. The pass will activate the moment you enter your first attraction, so if you have a 2-day pass, you’ll need to see as much as you can within the next 48 hours. For more info, check out

Warning: I will go into detail about the attractions we visited and include pictures, but the post is very long since there’s also my own story + experience.


Why Did I Choose Paris?

I had always wanted to go to Europe. Back in 2020, my brother and I were going to take my mom to Italy. However, the trip was cancelled due to covid. So, when one of my family friend asked if I’d like to go to the UK in April 2023, I thought it would be nice.

Jasper, my colleague at the time, is from the UK. I thought it would also be great to see him again since we had gotten so much closer during our time in LA.

So I mentioned it to Jasper, and he suggested that we could also do a Europe trip since he’s already there, and we could travel to multiple countries!

It sounded like a wonderful opportunity as I had always wanted to explore Europe. However, I never had the courage to go alone as I was afraid of pickpocketers, being kidnapped, being scammed, and etc.

Since I was going to the UK with my family friend and my brother’s friends, it wouldn’t make sense for me to ditch them to go on a Europe trip with Jasper, so I told Jasper it would probably have to be another time, and we decided to go sooner (in Dec) instead.

I had asked Jasper if he would like to invite our other colleagues since a few of us had met in LA back in July 2022 and gotten covid. But Jasper said that it was already quite difficult to plan for two, so the more people, the more complicated it would be.

It made sense, and we had gotten so close, so I didn’t mind.

Later on, when Cosy (our colleague + friend) found out that we were going on a Europe trip with just the two of us, she bombarded me with questions.

“What? Just the two of you? Is this a couple trip or something?”

I, of course, denied it. I told her that me and Jasper were just colleagues who had gotten a lot closer since we spent ten days stuck together due to quarantine.

She replied, “Stop lying! Why would you go on a trip with the opposite sex if you do not want to progress things further?”

I told her she could join us if she wanted, and Cosy messaged Jasper to “test” him. Hahahaha.

When Sangria, my previous assistant and friend, found out, she was grumpy!! Sangria and I had also worked together for 3 years or so, and she had always wanted me to end up with Jasper. In fact, she was/is so hardcore that she created a fan name called, “Grasper” (the combination of Grace and Jasper lol).

Sangria had always thought that we would make a good couple for some reason. This was way before me and Jasper had even met. She’d imagine that Jasper was a respectful, calm gentleman with the British accent, while I was the friendly, excited girl who could help him open up.

Anyway, Sangria did not want me to invite other people to our trip. She said, “Grasper only!” LOL she was serious.

Cosy eventually said that she could read the room and was not going to intrude on our trip. (Awww, Cosy, don’t worry! We want to go on a trip with you too!)

At the time, I was a bit conflicted. I had just gotten out of a relationship, and I wanted to move to Asia for health reasons. After all, I’m allergic to all the trees in Canada. Birch, willow, elm, fir, maple, cedar… you name it. And I’m severely allergic to ragweed and pollen in general. Moving closer to the equator and near the ocean would help me immensely, and that was my plan.

That was why I had gone to visit Singapore in Sept. I really want to move to Singapore!!!! (I still do, but it’s a lot harder than it looks, and it doesn’t seem like a realistic option.)

Hence, getting into another relationship was not something that was on my mind. Not to mention, me and Jasper don’t even live in the same country!

But as time went on, people who knew we were going to go on a trip together started to tease me a lot. They really wanted me to view it as a couple’s trip even though we weren’t in a relationship.

One of my male colleagues messaged me and asked what I thought of Jasper. I responded, “Jasper is a very nice guy. We get along very well.”

His response was, “Okayyyyyyyyyyy.” (Clearly unsatisfied)

He then said, “You know, Jasper wouldn’t go on a trip like this with anyone else but you.”

I thought long and hard and figured that Jasper probably does like me to some extent, since we were going on a 2.5 week trip, and that’s a lot of time to spend with someone you didn’t like!

For me, I felt positive emotions towards him, but I wasn’t sure. And it was stressing me out.

I told my colleague that Jasper never said he liked me, and he had never even flirted with me! His responses had always been so professional. We had worked together for three years, and I’d say it was just a work relationship. He was a great listener and helpful, but he had never shared anything personal about himself. However, Jasper was a lot more open with me after we met in LA.

My male colleague said, “Flirting is not his style.”

Meanwhile, one of my close online friend/reader/supporter/ex-colleague, Dimple, was grilling Jasper like crazy and trying to be an investigator. She was super hardcore and even gave him multiple choice questions to respond to. It was hilarious when they told me about it afterwards.

Dimple stated she would be happy with whatever decision I make for myself, but I knew she was also a Grasper.

At this point, I was still unsure. Not only was I older than Jasper, but I also have a lot of health issues due to my autoimmune condition. I didn’t want to drag him down, and neither did I want to be accused of being a cougar.

My real life friends would tease me all the time and ask why I am always talking to younger guys. It just happened that the discord community tends to be younger people. It’s not like I go looking for a bunch of younger men and decide to talk to them because they’re young!

I’d say probably the majority of the people I meet online are younger than me, but we’re generally in our 20s-30s.

Anyhow, I had a lot of doubts, and even on the day of the trip, I wasn’t sure. After all, it wasn’t like Jasper confessed he liked me, so it doesn’t really count until he does, right?

Continue reading “Travelling to Paris: My experience and helpful tourist tips”

Day 7: Sept 15th (last day)

Today is my last full day in Singapore! I had to check out by noon. Several days ago, Rozen told me there was a delicious dim sum place close to where he lived, and he asked me if I would like to try it. He said it had a Michelin Star!! I said yes, but because I will have my luggage with me, I told him it would be quite inconvenient.

Hence, Rozen told me he was going to order and then bring it over so we could eat it together before I checked out. He was so considerate!!

I think he knew it would be way too difficult for me to travel to his area to have dim sum. We were going to go to the Artscience Museum afterwards, so it would have been probably an hour of commute there and back.

Anyhow, Rozen arrived and we ate before I checked out! It was so yummy! He said he knew I would like it because it was Cantonese dim sum. He was aware of my shellfish allergy and ordered items I really liked! I thought it was so much extra work for him to come all the way, and I was very grateful he didn’t mind.

Rozen told me it was better I picked up my luggage at the end of the night, but I told him that I had to rush to the airport right after karaoke since I wanted to take the subway there, and I think the last train would be at eleven something (Karaoke was from 8-11pm). I didn’t want to pay for an Uber.

He said that we could pick up the luggage before I head to the dinner meet-up then. So, I asked the counter if I could drop off my luggage and return to get it around 5-5:30pm.

They said it was fine, but I realized my SIM card was no longer working without wifi. Fallen had gotten me one on the 9th, but it only lasted 7 days since that was the only option unless I wanted to pay for a 30-day one. So now, another problem had occurred. People who were meeting up with me would have a hard time getting a response from me since I no longer had data.

Rozen told me that he would be with me, so I didn’t have to worry, but he wasn’t coming for dinner or karaoke, so I told everyone who was meeting me that night to message Cosy if they needed anything. Thank you for all your help, Cosy!

Anyway, we took the subway down to the Artscience Museum. When we got there, we decided on the mental health exhibition because Rozen was going to go to the main exhibit with his online date another time. Because Rozen signed up for some membership thing, it was a lot cheaper for both of us.

I was actually so impressed by the exhibit. It was one of the most touching exhibits I have ever been to. It really made me feel a lot of emotions.

If you are currently living in Singapore, I would highly recommend you check it out before they take it down.

A lot of it helps you understand what a person with mental health issues is going through.

Here are some pictures since it is very difficult to put into words:

The pill one really made me want to cry. The description was, “What do you use to cushion your mind?”

I also thought the pink expanding balloon was very powerful. I was actually getting anxious as it kept expanding. I wasn’t sure if it was going to explode or not, and the uncertainty put me on edge.

There was also another part of the exhibit where you could write notes to strangers to cheer them on. I really liked that. Visitors could take the notes home if they found some that would help them in any way.

When we walked further in, there was a telephone where you could pick up and talk to someone, and they would respond to you. I think it was AI though. It was still a very cool experience.

I feel like this type of museum is much more of a “feeling” museum than a “knowledge” museum. You really get to experience what it feels like to be in another person’s shoes. The exhibit is until February 26th, 2023, so do check it out if you’re in Singapore. Here’s a link for more info.

I think those who have mental health issues would feel like they were being heard or understood.

After we were done at the museum, I wanted to check out the Singapore Flyer, but it was so expensive that it wasn’t worth it. It was like $50/person or something ridiculous like that. Rozen said it was a tourist trap, and we decided to head elsewhere.

Rozen then said when I come to Singapore again, he would take me to places that the Singapore government didn’t want me/tourists to see. We passed by areas that were not so nice, and he said that some people still litter even though it was against the law. But he also said that some of the not so nice areas have the most delicious food, and there are many hidden gems.

At this time, I told him I wanted to try that buttermilk chicken from McDonalds, and I asked if he was willing to split half with me since I wouldn’t be able to eat the whole thing since the dinner event was in a few hours. Rozen didn’t mind, so we went to McDonalds.

It was a pretty delicious sandwich, and something that we don’t have in Canada. Fallen and Choufleur had told me previously that McSpicy was the best burger, but I have a very low spice tolerance, so I chose the buttermilk chicken sandwich instead.

After we were done eating, it was probably 3:30pm or so, and I still had 2 hours before I had to head to dinner. Rozen and I decided to go to a temple that was somewhat nearby! (I think it was a 15-20 minute walk)

Because I was wearing a dress, I had to cover up before entering. The monk said that the knees must not be shown, and I was given a brown apron-like thing to cover myself.

You basically tied it around the waist. A lot of women had to use it since most women wore shorts or skirts due to the Singapore heat.

I was very fascinated by the interior design, and thought it was so cool. They also had a museum upstairs, and it was nice to check out all the different types of Buddha and learn more about the history.

We went to another floor that required visitors to take off their shoes to go in, and no pictures were allowed. I told Rozen I was just going to wait for him, since I didn’t want to take off my shoes, and the people working there said that they were closing in five minutes (at 5). So Rozen dashed in and prayed, and then we left and went back to my hotel to pick up my luggage.

We picked up my luggage, and I read and answered some of the discord messages with the hotel wifi. At this time, I was so sweaty because it was SO HOT. I think Rozen was also sweating like crazy. We stayed for about ten minutes to cool down and then headed out to wait for the bus to go to Somerset.

Rozen told me that he would stay with me until the first person arrived. He said he had to go home to prepare something for work the next day. I tried to convince him to stay, but he had already spent the whole day with me, so I must not be too greedy.

Anyhow, we arrived at Somerset, and there were still almost 45 minutes before 6:30pm.

Rozen asked me if I was going to buy anything for my parents, and I told him that they were just going to say everything is a waste of money. He asked me whether I was going to buy souvenirs for myself, and I said that I had already bought three clothing items a few days ago.

He asked me what Singapore has that Canada doesn’t. I told him I liked milo, and we don’t have it in Canada (it turned out we do, but it’s not a common drink here, so you would never hear anyone say or order milo).

We were looking around in a supermarket trying to find milo, but it was almost 6:30pm. So, I told Rozen that we should go. After all, I didn’t want to be late as the organizer, and I didn’t know what half the people attending looked like.

I arrived at Marche and didn’t see anyone outside that seemed like they knew me (I told them I had a purple carry-on luggage, and was wearing a turquoise dress). So, I went downstairs to the seating area and asked if I could get a table for around 10-14 people. I wasn’t sure if there would be people who’d cancel last minute.

The waitress said it was first come first serve, so I was free to take whichever seats were available.

I went to combine five tables together and used their free wifi to read my messages. Starve had said he had arrived already, but I had never met Starve, so I wasn’t sure what he looked like.

However, I had often joked with Starve, and made a lot of starving jokes on discord. I think Starve realized who I was and made a 3 second eye-contact with me. I hesitantly asked, “Starve?”

Starve replied, “That’s me!” (lol I am really bad at remembering people’s real names since I have been using their discord names for the past few years)

I was very excited to see Starve because he is a SUPER pro and experienced translator. You could probably google Starvecleric and find out more about him if you’re curious. At this time, Rozen said he was going to leave since Starve had arrived and I was no longer alone. So, I gave him a farewell hug and thanked him for taking the time to meet me and doing so much.

Then, I told Starve that his name was a lie. I told him he should have named himself “Buff” instead! HAHAHAHAHA. I think Starve didn’t know how to react since it was a compliment, but a very strange one. Starve probably exercises a lot. Or maybe he lifts lots of heavy weights. His chest and arms looked so nice. Good job, Starve!

Anyway, shortly after, Cosy, J.Andie and Chai arrived! And then Limit came too! Then, it was Yeow, except I had never met Yeow, so when he asked, “Is this the Wuxiaworld gathering?” “I was like, yeah! Who are you?” LOL

I was really happy Yeow came though! I wasn’t sure if he would actually show up since he was close to three other translators, and two of them, OMA and Thy, had cancalled the day before.

Yeow seemed like the quiet, shy type. Shortly after, Wei arrived! I didn’t know what Wei looked like, but Yeow recognized him and Wei said, “Hi, I’m Wei” so I knew. HAHA.

Both Yeow and Wei have been translating on Wuxiaworld way before I started working there, but I manage their current projects.

Now that most people had arrived, I brought up my fair price joke again, and Cosy was so fed up since she had heard it for the past few days. BUT IT IS A DIFFERENT GROUP, OK? She facepalmed.

Eventually, Hilda and Iris showed up too!! They were a bit late since they were coming from work. I was very touched that they came since I’ve worked with these ladies when I had become the manager on volare probably in 2019.

They had finished their projects several years ago, and we don’t really talk much. Hilda translated Split Zone 13, and she also helped finish Their Love Stories. As for Iris, she translated Adorable Creature Attacks and had helped out on Bone Painting Coroner.

I had told them that I would be coming to Singapore, but I wasn’t sure if they would be willing to come out since our relationship wasn’t that deep. However, the day before the karaoke event, they both said they would come out! Yay!!

Iris and Hilda didn’t know each other prior to the event either. I think they found each other since they both seemed confused and figured out they were attending the same event.

Oh! I forgot to mention, Marche is a place where you get a temporary card, and the restaurant is designed like a marketplace with all sorts of different booths. If you find something you’d like to eat, you just line up and order, and scan the card. There is someone cooking/standing in every booth. At the very end of the night, you would check out after tapping your temporary card and paying the final balance. Continue reading “Day 7: Sept 15th (last day)”

Day 6: Sept 14th

Day 6: Sept 14th

If you haven’t read my Day 5 post, please read that before this one! Initially, I had wanted to go to Universal Studios Singapore today with Cosy and J.Andie, but because it looked like it was going to rain, I didn’t want to risk it since we wouldn’t want to be rained upon if the rides were mainly outdoors. Furthermore, me and Cosy had only gotten 2 hours of sleep or so the night before.

So, I messaged in the Sept 14th group chat and postponed breakfast by an hour, and I think we met around 10:45-11am.

There were six of us in total. Mel, Cosy, J.Andie, Chai, me, and Victor. This was the first time I was meeting J.Andie and Victor. J.Andie is one of the managers that help us manage the Korean translators on Wuxiaworld, and Victor is an artist that helped us draw covers for I Shall Seal the Heavens and Desolate Era ebooks!

J.Andie is Cosy’s best friend in real life, and also an extremely hardworking staff that has helped us tremendously. We don’t know each other too well, but she is a very patient, thoughtful, responsible, and calm person to be around. I was happy she came out! Thank you, J.Andie!!

As for Victor, I had found him on reddit years ago, and got him to work for us around three years ago. We got along quite well, and sometimes we would chat about random stuff, so when I was coming to Singapore, I wanted to see if he would come out to meet. I knew he has a young daughter, so it was difficult. Furthermore, his wife was on a business trip the week I was here, so he really didn’t have time. Luckily, he had some time after dropping his daughter off at Kindergarten and said he wouldn’t mind meeting for brunch.

Meanwhile, Chai had work, and she couldn’t actually take time off since she had recently changed into another position. As a result, she brought her laptop and had a bit of time to spend with us. I really appreciate you for coming out, Chai!! NEXT TIME WE NEED TO SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER!!

If you’ve read my Day 4th post, you’ll know that I’ve already met Chai and her family. But we didn’t talk much since I had spent the majority of the time talking to her mom.

Anyway, Cosy was truly giving me a lot of face since she had already come out MULTIPLE times and she was dying from exhaustion, but she still came out again. Thank youuuu! And Mel, even though he said he probably wouldn’t have time again, he came for brunch! I appreciate it very much, everyone!

We went to Ya Kun for brunch, and this place has many branches in Singapore. Before coming, I actually went on the website and read about its history and founder. I find that stuff very interesting.

Anyhow, I tried the Kaya toast, and it was SO SWEET. I did not expect it to be *that* sweet. It was good, but a teeny bit was enough for me.

Kaya is basically coconut jam. It’s yummy yummy!

The combo also came with an egg, and you could dip your toast into the egg. Mmm.

Since I was the first one there, I tried to hog a table for us all, but I was worried that it would be difficult since the seats filled up so quickly, and it was hard to try to save a table for six people if I was the only one there.

About five to ten minutes later, someone sat down and I almost said, “Yo, this is taken!” But I realized it was J.Andie! I didn’t know what she looked like prior, so I didn’t know. Haha. I gave her a look and she revealed her name. Haha.

Mel came shortly after and then Victor joined us! I also didn’t know what Victor looked like, and he wasn’t sure either, so when he came up to me, he was like, “Grace?”

I thought Victor looked really cool with his semi-pony tail. Very artistic. He mentioned how my itinerary was so hardcore.

Initially, I had wanted to go kayaking, and Victor said he would have been interested too. In the end, it seemed too difficult to organize, so I decided to do something else instead. I think next time I would try to go kayaking, but maybe just ask a handful of people so it’s not too difficult to plan. It’s SOOOOOOOOOO much work to organize events!

Anyway, Chai and Cosy showed up soon and we all ordered and ate! We went to Starbucks afterwards, because we couldn’t stay at Ya Kun since there is limited space in Singapore, and you really can’t sit around and hog the seats once you’re done.

So, the six of us went to Starbucks within the same mall. I was REALLY shocked by how expensive the drinks were. Starbucks is very expensive in Canada, but it was even more expensive in Singapore! I felt like most of the drinks were $8 or higher. Meanwhile, their bubble tea was half the price. For us, it’s the other way around.

Something interesting to note is that in Singapore, usually one person orders, and then everyone just pays that person. I’m not sure what they use, but it’s like an e-transfer but with their phone numbers.

They want to save the server time, so it’s very common for them to do this. But in the west, we usually just pay separately. It’s less efficient, but I think because it’s too much work to calculate everything separately since we have to add tax and tip on top of our bills. In my province, tax is 13%, and tip is typically 15%.

Anyway, we sat at Starbucks and chatted some more. I was telling Victor how Singaporeans don’t like to be touched. I complained about how people don’t like to hug, and in general, it seems like no one wants any physical contact with people they don’t know (and even if they know, it’s still a very “don’t touch me” kind of vibe).

Victor agreed, and said he definitely notices a difference between people in Singapore and people in North America. I think in the west, we’re generally a lot friendlier to random strangers. It’s not uncommon for people to talk to you and have an actual conversation even if they don’t know your name or know anything about you. You could walk on the street, and someone might compliment your outfit or appearance in a genuine way.

However, I’m not sure if this is more of a Canada/US thing, as I went to Europe, and I don’t think anyone really tried talking to me except to get me to buy souvenirs or sign stuff (most likely a scam).

Since I was sitting next to Victor, I spoke to him the most in Starbucks. Victor told us about his family’s reaction when he decided to become a freelance artist. It’s not easy to pursue your passion and also earn a stable income, so Victor was very brave. Asian parents usually want their children to choose a more stable route, and they look down upon the arts. Victor says now that he’s doing alright, his parents think he’s ruining his eyesight by being in front of the computer too much.

Soon, Chai had to leave and return back to work, and Victor had to go home, so me, J.Andie, Mel and Cosy went to the National Museum of Singapore!

I had wanted to go to multiple museums, but time was limited, so I picked only one. The National Museum of Singapore is free for Singaporean citizens. Cosy said it’s because the government knows that most people won’t go even if it’s free. Haha.

The National Museum of Singapore

When I got there, I was really impressed. Singapore has such nice exhibits. I got to learn about the history of Singapore, and it was so touching reading about it. Singapore became a country in 1965, and they used to be part of Malaysia before they were kicked out.

Since they got kicked out, Singapore had to basically figure out how to survive on its own. I am not an expert, so I can’t tell you too much, but Singapore went from a place with nothing to a mega city in a generation. The first prime minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, is a very impressive man.

I even watched some of his clips on youtube before, so it was very touching seeing how he was so determined to help Singapore become prosperous and successful.  here is a short one.

Just see how powerful his speech is!!! I feel like he has the ability to move people. Sigh. I’m not Singaporean, but I felt so emotional in the museum while reading about his contributions and achievements. Continue reading “Day 6: Sept 14th”

Day 5: Sept 13th

Today was my birthday! I did A LOT today, so hopefully this post won’t be too long. I promise it’ll be interesting though!

I ate a piece of pork jerky for breakfast as usual, and then I headed to Chinatown. The closest subway stop to my hotel was Fort Canning, and Chinatown was only one stop away. Previously, I was planning to walk, but Mino suggested it was better to take the subway.

The walk would have been 15-20 minutes, and honestly, I would usually walk if it’s under an hour in Toronto unless I’m in a rush. But it was so hot that I did what a Singaporean would do; take the MRT.

I was meeting Mino and Cosy at noon, but decided to leave earlier to check out the mall and look at the nice stores around. When I got off the station, I entered the mall that was right there (Chinatown Point?) and began checking out each floor.

There were so many different food options and also shops to see! I saw a supermarket that was called, “Fair Price Supermarket” and decided I had to go in to check if the items were fair priced. See what I did there? 😉

I was so proud of my joke that I kept telling everyone, and Cosy was so fed up that she complained she heard the same joke 7x on the last day! HAHAHAHA.

Sorry for repeating myself so many times, but it was with a different group each time, ok? So I’m not that sorry.

Mino used to translate on Wuxiaworld. He was also one of the twenty translators I had chosen back in the summer of 2019. Mino is a lawyer, but he was on a sabbatical and was taking a break at the time.

Mino was/is a super pro translator because he is so articulate. I think having a strong vocabulary really made/makes him stand out! Sadly, his workload became too much, and he stopped translating last year in August.

Nonetheless, we still talk once in a while, and I said I would come to Singapore to meet him one day. When I decided I was coming, I asked him if he had time. I also asked him if his wife or Adrian would like to join as well. Adrian had edited the first 700 chapters of Keyboard Immortal, and he is PRO. Adrian was Mino’s referral, and his friend in real life, so I thought it’d be nice to meet if they were all free.

Unfortunately, Mino says neither his wife nor Adrian were available, and due to his busy schedule, he only had time to meet for lunch. We met at Chinatown because his office was in the mall.

Mino said he usually eats at a hawker centre, but because I couldn’t handle the heat that well, I wanted somewhere with A/C.

Then, he suggested the Breakthrough Café. Mino said that the café is actually run by previous drug offenders. Their mission is to help them integrate into the society again. I find that very admirable, and thought it would be an interesting experience.

Mino and I met at the mall, and when he arrived, I gave him a hug! He did hug me back, but I think hugging is just too weird in Singapore, so he wasn’t that comfortable. Sorry Mino! LOL

We then went to the café first because Cosy was running late. When we got there, Mino ordered a bunch of items so that I could try; he ordered everything in Mandarin.

I praised Mino for having great Mandarin, and he said, “No, I suck. I cannot do business in Mandarin at all. It’s too hard to get my point across. I can only say simple stuff.”

This reminded me of my brother. HAHA. My brother has very lousy Cantonese, but extremely great English. I recalled he wanted to tell my parents that he went to see the Northern Lights with Charlene (his lovely girlfriend), but he told my parents he saw the green sky. LOLOLOL. (I wonder if he’ll read this? *hehe* Charlene convinced him to read Day 1-3, so I think he might see this. What kinda bro are you. You should care about your sister!) Continue reading “Day 5: Sept 13th”

Day 4: Sept 12th

If this is the first time you’re seeing this post, please check out Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 before reading this!

I met Bunbun and Prem today!!! Both Bunbun and Prem translated on volare before I did.

At the time, I was translating on my own site. Etvo had actually tried recruiting me six months prior, but I didn’t want to give up on my site, so I refused her at first. Later on, I became Prem’s reader, and we started talking. We got along really well, and we would joke around a lot. He is my second Singaporean friend; I had met both him and Fallen during the summer of 2016.

Hence, I was more receptive to translating on volare when Prem brought it up. Eventually, Etvo found out we were close and asked me to join a second time. This time, I agreed! I probably wouldn’t have joined volare if it wasn’t for Prem, and things would be quite different now. (I eventually ended up managing volarenovels, and working on Wuxiaworld, hiring over 30 people for Ren)

Anyway, I remembered Prem was very punny and we would talk for hours about random stuff. At one point, he told me he had a crush on Bunbun, and I was supporting him from behind my laptop. I had also read Bunbun’s translations, and knew of her since we were all translating on the same site. But at the time, I didn’t know her well since we had never spoken privately.

Eventually, Prem and Bunbun met in person, and they started dating shortly after. Hehe. Because Prem and I used to talk A LOT, he told me all the juicy details and the thoughts that were running through his mind. It was actually so cute. Good job for being brave, Prem!

And now, they’re happily married!!

It’s so neat because they wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for translating, and then they would’ve never gotten together!

Sadly, Bunbun and Prem stopped translating several years ago, and they are doing their own thing now. Nonetheless, I still message them once in a while, and funnily enough, I have spoken to Bunbun more over the recent years instead of Prem!

However, when I told them I was coming, they were both looking forward to seeing me. They took off Monday because they thought it would be less crowded and wanted to take me around the Marina Bay Sand area.

That morning, I took the subway and got off at the Bayfront stop (I think). When I exited the station, I saw a casino entrance in the mall, and there were a lot of luxury brands around.

I was a bit early, so I took a brief look around the mall. The mall had a canal and a whirlpool thing in the ceiling. It was hardcore.

Soon, Bunbun and Prem messaged me and said they were already in front of Bacha Coffee.

I could see them from where I was, but because of the canal, I couldn’t actually walk right over. I had to walk up some stairs and cross over a bridge and then down some stairs. They were looking around, but I could see them from above. I sound so creepy, right? Haha.

Anyway, I had already known what they looked like because I have their social media, so there weren’t any surprises there. I exclaimed, “Bunbun! Prem!” And they saw me!

They both gave me super nice hugs, and they were the best greeting hugs I had in Singapore. I give them a 5 star rating!!

We were actually a little dressed up since we were going to have lunch at a fancy restaurant (I forget the name lol. It’s up on a very high building). There was a business casual dress code. Continue reading “Day 4: Sept 12th”

Day 3: Sept 11th

If this is the first time you’re seeing this post, please check out Day 1 and Day 2 before reading this!

Today is actually one of the days I’ve planned the earliest. I had messaged Dray several months before I was coming to let him know that I’d be arriving in Singapore in Sept, and wanted to meet him! He had previously met a bunch of volare translators back when Etvo (my previous boss and ex-owner of volarenovels) went to visit in 2017.

Anyway, I had met Dray probably around 2017 in the volare discord server. At the time, I still hopped on voice chat once in a while, so I recalled karaoking with him a few times. We don’t talk that much, but I’d say we have a pretty good relationship. Throughout the years, he has been helping us moderate the discord server, and tries to help me motivate/message the translators to get them to release more frequently. Thanks, Dray!

As for Mel, I had met him years ago through singing on discord as well. I remembered I was so amazed by his voice that I joined his personal server just to listen to him sing! AHAHAHAHA. That was so many years ago. We had stopped talking for three years. But when I decided that I was going to go to Singapore, I messaged him because I wanted to go sing karaoke with him!

Next, Rozen was also someone I have known for years. I think he was translating/helping Sigil out years ago. Back then, I remembered people teased him and called him Rosie. Hahaha. Rozen and I used to talk more, but we’ve spoken less over the years. However, it was very easy to reconnect with him. I was looking forward to meeting him in person as well! Continue reading “Day 3: Sept 11th”

Day 2: Sept 10th

Please read Day 1 before reading this. Today, I met up with Limit for lunch! He said he was going to pick me up from my hotel. I didn’t realize he was actually going to pick me up with a car. Haha. After all, it is extremely expensive to drive in Singapore. I was told that in order to get a car, you would need a piece of paper to bid, and that paper alone would cost nearly six figures already. The car itself is probably another $50k. To make matters worse, you would only get the car for 10 years (I forget what happens afterwards). Oh, and gas is super expensive too.

So, unless your family is rich (or you are), you probably wouldn’t be driving. Singapore has a super amazing subway system anyway, so you don’t even need to drive. It’s AMAZING. To prove my point, here’s a picture:

Hence, when people tell me that they will pick me up, I would automatically assume that they’re coming over via public transportation and then walking to where I am.

So, I was very stunned when Limit actually drove over. Now, before you think I’m insane for going inside a stranger’s car, Cosy has met Limit before, and Cosy’s brother is Limit’s classmate (or schoolmate? I forget).

Anyhow, it was nice to meet Limit! Limit is one of the twenty translators I had hired back in the summer of 2019 for Wuxiaworld. At the time, I had chosen the top 20 applicants out of the 300+ we had received. Successful applicants had to pass both the novel test as well as the manhua (comic) test. I had chosen ten for novels, and ten for manhua. Limit was one of the people I had chosen for manhua.

I had only briefly worked with Limit because I wasn’t in charge of managing the manhua translators at the time. So, there were probably two years or so that we didn’t chat. It wasn’t until last year that he started editing a Korean novel for us that we talked from time to time.

I recalled he seemed quite chill and friendly, and I figured we should meet up in Singapore since he was a Singaporean! I wanted to go to a 2D café and also an escape room, and invited him to join me, Coca, Corliss, and Blip.

Limit wanted to have lunch first though, so I said, “Sure, let’s go eat somewhere! But could we meet near Bugis because that’s where we’re going to meet the others later?”

Limit was fine with it, and said he’d come to get me at my hotel and we could go together. I thought we were going to take the subway, but it was nice to get a ride.

When we were in the car, we asked for each other’s age. I asked him to guess mine, and he said, “Twenty five.” But for some reason, “twenty” sounded like “thirty” to me in the Singaporean accent, and I nearly shrieked. “YOU THINK I AM 35? DO I LOOK THAT OLD?”

And Limit quickly clarified and exclaimed, “I said 25! 25!” LOLOL

I was like, “Oh. Ok!” I smiled and calmly replied, “I’m actually 34…” And then I was super sad about how old I was. Sigh.

I think he was a bit surprised, but Limit was focusing on driving, so he wasn’t looking at me. Then, he told me he was 26 or 27. I was like, “Ohhhh.”

Honestly, it’s quite hard to tell with Asians. We don’t look too different in our 20s-30s, so it could be a wide range.

Limit mentioned he usually doesn’t drive during the weekdays, because parking would cost $50-$60 downtown if he were to drive to his office and stay there all day. I don’t remember how much parking was during the weekend, but it was cheaper.

But I guess, if you have a car, you might as well use it. If you’re not going to drive it, it’d be a waste of money!! However, I do feel that if guys/girls were going on a date, they should be careful and probably not drive too soon; just in case the person is after their money instead.

Anyway, we arrived to Bugis, and Limit asked me what I wanted to eat. I muttered, “I just want somewhere with A/C.” It was SO HOT!!!

We parked underground in a mall, and then went upstairs and walked outside and quickly found a restaurant. It was a Japanese restaurant where you grill your own meat. I do not remember the name (Sorry, I’m really bad at remembering the names of food or places).

I checked the time, and it was around 12:15pm. I was a bit worried we wouldn’t have enough time to eat because I had booked the escape room for 1pm. Luckily, the food arrived by 12:26pm!

By the way, Limit is EXTREMELY tall. I think he said he was 187cm. I giggled, “Limit, your name is Limit because your height has no limit!”

Limit just stared at me. “…” Hahaha. I guess he didn’t think I was funny.

Me and Limit chatted about his work, and how he was going to quit and vacation in Japan before starting his new job. He seemed to enjoy travelling a lot, and so do I. I felt like he’s been to a lot more places than I have though. I think he likes Japan the most. I have never been, but I’d like to go one day!

I also told him to come out on Sept 15th, since that’s the night where I had invited a bunch of WW translators + volare people to go karaoke. I got Cosy to help me book a party room that could fit 30!

Limit said he would be coming right after work, and would be dressed in his work clothes. I replied, “It’s fine. No one is going to judge you based on what you’re wearing!!” (Actually, I was judged when I had arrived at the airport but that’s beside the point) Continue reading “Day 2: Sept 10th”

Day 1: Arrival (Friday, Sept 9th)

Back in May, I found a SUPER good deal to go to Singapore for a week (hotel and flights included) for $2000 in September. I was very excited because I was finally travelling again after five years!!!

Actually, for the past decade, prior to my San Diego + LA trip, I had only gone to China in 2014 for treatment, and to New York City for several days back in 2017. I had been so sick that I couldn’t really go anywhere. That is why I’ll be travelling A LOT this year and in 2023.

Anyhow, I only told several people I would be coming after I had booked my ticket because I wasn’t going to arrive until September, so I didn’t think I’d need to give people four months of notice. It seemed too much.

Because I deal with Chinese to English translations, I know quite a lot of people in Singapore, and probably had met roughly 30 people on this trip. As a result, I’ll be breaking down my posts into seven or eight (one for each day). It would be impossible for me to describe my experience and everyone in one post.

Quite a number of people had told me that my previous post was way too long, and they couldn’t remember who was who, because the letters confused them too much. So, I’ll be using their discord names or a shorter version of their discord names instead. Hope you’ll enjoy!


The first two Singaporeans I told were Fallen and Cosy. I had met Fallen over six years ago on a translation discord server. Back then, I was translating on my blog because I wanted to grow my audience, and wanted people to read my blog posts.

Meanwhile, Fallen was translating and editing on volarenovels. However, Fallen actually can’t read Chinese. He read/listened based on the sound of the word (pinyin), instead of reading the characters themselves.

I thought he was nuts because it seemed so much extra work, but I eventually met more people that translated based on listening as well. Some people could read, but not speak. Some people could speak, but not read. In the end, I guess as long as you can process what the text is trying to say, it doesn’t matter!

Anyway, Fallen was asking for help in the translation server, and I helped him out back then. I think eventually, he privately messaged me and asked me to read his novel (and I did). At the time, I was also promoting my novel and my blog.

Back then, because I wasn’t really working due to my poor health, I had quite a lot of time. I would hop onto discord voice chat and talk to random people from all over the world and karaoke with them. I really enjoyed listening to different accents, and songs in different languages!

People might find it really odd, but I’ve actually met and maintained quite a few close relationships through discord (both male and female). However, most of the really close ones were formed years ago when I used to have a lot more time to chat leisurely.

Anyway, at the time, Fallen would hop on VC (voice chat) sometimes, and listen to either conversations/people singing. I remember I would tell him to hop on sometimes to chat/listen. He rarely spoke, but he would type a lot. I even remembered playing pipa for him once and he played the piano for me before as well. But that was soooo long ago, and I haven’t touched my instrument in years.

Throughout the years, I had made numerous Fallen jokes that he did not find funny. Ex. I told him he should name his future son “Trippin” since he’s “Fallen” LOLOL. I thought it was hilarious, but he just thought I was lame.

One of Fallen’s hobbies is reading, so he read all my translations from the time we met online (and probably most of my blog posts). From time to time, he would ask me for book recommendations. We would go for months without talking, but when we did talk, it would be quite a lengthy conversation.

However, Fallen never sent me any photos of himself. I had asked for years, but he said I would only see if I came to visit Singapore. He is not a fan of social media. (Disclaimer: I did not go visit Singapore because I wanted to see his face, BUT I did want to meet him. He’s the first Singaporean I had ever spoken to!!)

Anyway, Fallen told me if I was coming over, I had to give him a lot of notice, since he had to take time off work in advance because of his job. So, after I booked my flight, I told him I was coming!! He offered to get me from the airport if I wasn’t arriving in the middle of the night; I arrived at 7am.

Anyhow, when I arrived, I messaged Fallen and told him where I was, and took a picture of the area around me so that he could easily find me. I was grumbling and sad because I wanted to get a SIM card, but the lady at the booth told me I’d need to pay $60 for a 100GB one that would be valid for a month. But I didn’t need 100GB! I was only here for a week! Sadly, she said that was the only option. Fallen told me to wait until he got there; he was probably fifteen minutes away.

Later on, I noticed a good looking guy walking towards me. I didn’t know it was Fallen. Then, he stopped in front of me and said hi, so I was like, “Uh, are you Fallen?” LOL

And he said yes. I blurted, “Why wouldn’t you send me a picture for the past six years? You look fine!?! So cute?!?!” Continue reading “Day 1: Arrival (Friday, Sept 9th)”

My San Diego and LA trip: Chaotic airport, meeting my colleagues + catching covid

Several months ago, my boss decided that it would be a great idea to have a staff meet-up with the five of us in LA after the San Diego Comic Con. My boss has been residing in China for the past couple of years, and I had never actually met him or my colleagues since we all work remote.

We had a booth in San Diego, and my boss had flown J over from the UK to help out. The event was supposed to last until the 24th, and then we’d meet in LA from July 25th to the 31st.

I was extremely excited and slightly anxious since I hadn’t travelled in over five years. However, my boss was covering for the flight and the accommodation in LA, so I was like, “Hell yeah!”

I decided to head to San Diego to meet some of my discord friends prior to LA. On the morning of July 23rd, I arrived at the Toronto Pearson Airport four hours before my flight because I had received multiple notices that the lines were terribly long, and I should arrive more than three hours in advance.

I had already checked in online, and I was also NOT checking in a bag, so I didn’t think it could be that bad. But when I had arrived at the airport, the situation was insane. There were at least thousands of people waiting to enter Gate F at 4am, where we needed to go through security check.

I got into the line immediately, but after ten to fifteen minutes, I was told to show my ticket and was told that I was TOO EARLY, and I had to go all the way back to 15 (I don’t know what they’re called, but it’s the number 15) and wait until it was later before I could get in line. The airport representative said that I should not be in the line unless my flight was 6:30am or earlier (at the time, it was 4:15am or so, and my flight was at 8am).

Chaotic airport situation

I mentioned about the email, but was basically told, “Too bad.”

Why are they telling me to come so early if they’re not even going to let me get in line? UGHHHHH.

Anyway, by around 5am, I was finally able to get in line without getting sent back for the 4th time. After an hour of waiting, I thought I was nearly there, but it turned out that there were even MORE lines inside Gate F. And the security check was so hardcore. I needed to use 6 boxes: one for my laptop and electronics, one for my jacket, one for my backpack, one for my carry-on, one for my shoes, and one for liquids.

After passing by security, I foolishly thought I would be close. But nope. There were still several more hundred people ahead of me to go through customs.

In the end, it took me over THREE hours to actually get to my gate. And my flight was also delayed for another TWO hours. Holy moly. What a pain.

Anyhow, I arrived to LA and knew I had to go to the Union Station and then take the train to San Diego. My friend, T, was going to pick me up from the station.

However, I had never been to LA before, and even though I knew I had to take the Flyaway bus, I had no idea where it was.

So, I asked a random airport staff, and she told me to exit and then find the green pole. But when I got to the green pole, it turned out it was not the right spot. I had to ask another person, and they told me to go to the blue pole. Luckily, it was a minute away, so it wasn’t too bad.

When I got to the blue pole, I was going to scan the QR code to buy the ticket. I hadn’t booked in advance since I figured my flight was going to be delayed, so I decided it was safer to buy the ticket when I got there.

But the bus suddenly arrived, and the driver was telling everyone to hop on!! I exclaimed, “But I haven’t bought my ticket yet!” He said it was fine. I thought it was extremely strange since I thought it was only normal if people paid prior to getting on. Otherwise, how would you get them to pay afterwards?

Anyhow, the ride was approximately 30 minutes. The moment we arrived, there was a lady that was waiting around to scan tickets. It turned out that they had a booth there where people could pay AFTERWARDS. Interesting.

The ticket booth at LAX station

The ride was around $9.75usd. I think it was pretty good since it would’ve been far more expensive if I had taken an Uber. (Note: It looks quite ghetto though.)

I was now in the Union Station of Los Angeles. And oh dear, it smelled like urine everywhere. Also, there were a lot of homeless people walking around. I was lining up for a subway sandwich, and I almost fainted from the scent despite having a mask on.

There were also a lot of police or security everywhere. It did make me feel a bit fearful, but I was also busy being stressed since I needed to buy a ticket to San Diego.

I found the booth and asked, and it turned out it was only $36 to get from LA Union Station to the stop I needed to get off. Not bad! The ride was approximately 2-2.5 hr.

I didn’t have enough time to get a drink though, since the ticket lady told me the train was departing in three minutes, and I would have had to wait THREE HOURS for the next one if I had missed it.

So, I ran like the wind and caught the train just in time. It was actually quite weird for me since I had never actually taken a train to go somewhere far before. Everyone had their own food on their laps and were just on their phones or tablets or whatever.

The lady next to me got off earlier than me, and so I took her spot and charged my phone. I notified T that I would be arriving soon, and she told me where to wait for her.

It wasn’t difficult to find T, and she picked me up without issues! I was actually quite excited. I had known T since 2015?? Back then, a bunch of us would go on discord to chat and sing karaoke. T has an extremely low and sexy voice. LOLOL. (It’s true though). Anyhow, we stayed in touch throughout the years, and even though we haven’t talked all that much in recent years, we still have a pretty good relationship. She is also a fellow translator, but we have different sites. If you’re confused, just imagine Asian youtubers meeting up with other creators in person. Continue reading “My San Diego and LA trip: Chaotic airport, meeting my colleagues + catching covid”