There may be five years of difference and entire continents that separate us, but to be honest with you, I’ve always felt close to my brother.
My little brother, as he will always be to me, actually turns 25 today, and is really not that little anyore.
Happy birthday, you little big guy!
In fact, while I still refer to him as my baby brother, Ron really is a tall, dark and handsome young man that I’ve grown to admire more and more over the years. Here’s why.
(It’s hard not to be biased towards someone whom you’ve grown up with over the past quarter of a century, so I’ll try to be as objective as I can.)
Ron studied design at the NTU School of the Arts and I did economics and finance at SMU (which are worlds so hugely far apart), but we’ve always shared a great deal of similar interests.
The both of us have always loved to write – and while I do much of my long-prose writing on the blog and Ron’s is mainly short but succinct descriptions of beautiful scenes he’s captured on Instagram, we both tend to use that sort of whimsical, hopeful and dreamy sentences.
Coincidentally, or perhaps because our of shared love of writing, we both tend to be contemplative beings that enjoy spending plenty of time in solitude despite our sociable natures. In the same way that we are comfortable mingling and mixing with different people and meeting new friends, we always enjoy the luxury of alone time – that special space in which we can hear our thoughts, reflect on what we’ve experienced, or simply be still in the moment.
We’ve both also always enjoyed dabbling in various forms of art – but while my drawings and paintings mainly hang on the walls in my house or are hidden in sketchbooks, Ron’s love for sketching and design eventually led him to pursue a degree in graphic design. His work is extremely good – and I’m not saying this because I’m biased; I’m saying it because it’s the truth (his portfolio is proof).
When I decided to finally invest some money in a proper camera two years ago, Ron was naturally the first person I asked for advice. He’d already been shootng with his professional Canon DSLR for quite a few years, and had already started amassing a collection of high-end lenses.
I’d read plenty of forums and suggestions from other bloggers about which camera to get, but evenutally, it was Ron who accompanied me to Sim Lim square on my trip back to Singapore and helped me choose an inexpensive entry-level camera (my beloved Canon EOS 650D) and a separate Tamron lens.
While I later learned a whole bunch of tips on photography from my favorite food photography guide, Plate to Pixel by the amazing Helene Dujardin of Tartelette, Ron was also the first person to teach me how to use the manual settings on my new camera. He was also the one to insist that I learn how to make a photo’s composition interesting, and he also taught me how to post-process my pictures in Adobe Lightroom.
But apart from the fact that we are similar and people tend to like others who are similar to them, the reason why I admire Ron so much is this – he has a humble heart and helps others in the best way he can.
Ron’s schedule is extremely tight, but he always does his best to make time for people who need his help (he guided me on the aesthetics of my e-cookbook even though he was up to his neck in work).
Most importantly, he listens, and tries to understand.
There are so many things I am grateful for in this wonderful, wonderful life of mine, and one of the most important things is this – I am thankful for this amazing, selfless brother.
Thank you for being such an inspiration Ron.
I love you, little brother! Happy 25th!
Let’s celebrate with this creamy, delicious mango chia seed pudding.
- 2 cups of fresh, sliced mangoes + more for garnish
- 2 cups of milk
- ½ cup of Greek yogurt
- 4 tablespoons of chia seeds
- 4 tablespoons of coconut sugar (or 2 tablespoons of honey)
- Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
- Blend the 2 cups of fresh, sliced mangoes together with the milk in a blender until well combined
- In a large bowl, combine the mango-milk mixture with the Greek yogurt, chia seeds and sugar (or honey), and stir well.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let chill in the refridgerator overnight.
- Divide manage chia seed pudding evenly into two bowls and garnish with fresh sliced mangoes and mint leaves.