Home is where our story begins…
Why HomeBlog by HomSkil?
When I was sixteen I asked my father what A level subjects I should take. The first subject he suggested was home economics. Although I didn’t have any career in mind at that point, I was disconcerted at the thought of studying home economics. What career would I pursue with home economics? My father left me free to choose, so I decided to remove the “home” from “home economics” and took up economics instead. I went on to do a degree in economics, and obtained a professional qualification. I worked for an international accounting firm, a management consultancy and an international publishing firm before going back to school to get a diploma in teaching. Every job was an enriching experience.
I can safely say that I have picked up a lot of knowledge and skills over the years, but the skills which have remained relevant and useful throughout the years have been my home skills: cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry, sewing, decorating the house, doing repairs, managing the household budget, etc.
I never imagined when I was sixteen where life would take me. It took me on an adventure. But there was always home to come back to. As I grew older, I understood better why my father wanted me to have home skills. My mother grew up in the times when girls were taught the art of homemaking. I remember the beautiful embroidered pillow cases and cross-stitch dining table mats at home, and my mother’s home-cooked Chinese meals. She had learnt a lot of her skills from her mother who was a excellent cook. As my grandmother was half European and half Asian, she mastered both European and Asian cuisine.
In my father’s last days, I was able to cook chicken rice for him. He said it was the best chicken rice he had ever had. It was indeed a compliment, but there was an obvious bias. He was happy that I had learnt some of the homemaking skills from my mother, who had leant them from her mother. I suppose we could call them family legacies.
What am I trying to say with all of this? We are human beings who work either outside the home or at home, and we live at home. Sometimes we think that by earning a good salary we will have a good home. One can buy a house, but a home has to be made, thus the expression “homemaking”.
The purpose of HomeBlog by Homskil is to create a platform for sharing the joys (and travails) of homemaking. Homemaking is not the exclusive domain of anyone. Most people think of their mother when they think of the word “homemaker”, but I would say that fathers are also homemakers, and anyone who lives at home and contributes in some way to the home is a homemaker. Come and join us in our new homemade happiness venture.
by Chayo, Homskil Editor 1, 28 December 2020
HomeBlog – A Reason to Smile
It has been just over a week since this blog was launched. You might be wondering how the blog has fared. To my surprise, people from a number of countries have viewed the blog. A law student told me that scrolling through the blog made her smile! It made all the effort worthwhile.
We are in a pandemic, so reasons to smile go a long way. A few months ago, I asked an economist what advice would she give to new graduates who may take longer to find a job. Among her advice was one related to the home. She suggested that new graduates learn homemaking skills while they look for a job. These skills will be useful throughout their life. Once they start working, it will be hard to find time to learn how to cook or do repairs.
Come to think of it, I learnt some very useful skills before I started working, like painting and wallpapering. You can save a lot of money doing your own painting and repairs. A few years ago, I called the customer service helpline to ask for a technician to come over to replace the door of a dryer. The customer support person suggested that I go over to buy a new door and replace the old one myself. I wasn’t sure if I could do it, but I decided to try. There was a certain sense of achievement when the job was done.
I remember meeting an elegant lady whose hobby was to repair shoes. She explained how she acquired the skill. She used to bring shoes to a cobbler for repair, but one day the cobbler couldn’t do his work because he had injured his hand. She asked him to tell her what to do, and so he taught her.
New practical content (home skill tips) will be added gradually, so watch out for them.
If you need a reason to smile, remember this blog.
(Click on the Menu on the Home page for a list of HomeGems categories)
By Chayo, Homskil Editor 1, 11 January 2021
Homemaking – the new cool
During Circuit Breaker a cooking enthusiast decided to organise a Vietnamese cooking class on Zoom, with the help of his wife and daughter. Since he had gained some fame with his pho, many people were keen to learn from him. Cooking was a hobby and love which he wanted to share. The youngest participant was a thirteen year old boy, who surprised everyone with his cooking skills. While some adults were struggling to keep pace, he breezed through all the steps to be the first to complete the dish. The adults were left wondering how a such young boy could be so confident in the kitchen. He was like a Junior Masterchef in action. While other people were ordering takeaways during Circuit Breaker, he was cooking Thai basil minced pork, spaghetti Bolognaise, laksa, honey garlic chicken, fried rice, chicken and asparagus, grilled dory, French onion burger – just to name a few dishes. It was a break for him to cook and bake while studying at home. His inspiration for cooking was seeing the faces of those tasted his cooking light up. Meal times at home were special moments for the family.
Circuit breaker did wonders to promote cooking at home. Since supermarkets and wet markets were among the few places we could go to, they became the most popular places in Singapore. Cooking classes on Zoom became an instant hit.
Father’s Day during Circuit Breaker was an opportunity for some to try whipping up a home-cooked celebration meal with a bit of help from the Zoom Chefs (an event organised by Homskil). It was a major operation to get the publicity out and to organise break-out rooms for different cooking sessions. The choices were: Japanese or Thai, or a combination of the two. The cooking demo sessions covered main courses, appetizers and desserts. A food science student shared her secret recipe for the perfect brookie (brownie and cookie rolled up into one). A nursing student taught the art of sushi making. The coconut ice cream by Home Chef Steph was such a success, one participant wrote to say that she was in shock because the coconut ice cream she made was so DELICIOUS! There were many happy parents that day, even though not all the dishes turned out well for first timers.
Yes, lots of young people are finding COOL TO COOK.
by Chayo, Homskil Editor 1, 29 December 2020
Home Alone w BBS
Meet the new kids on TikTok: Becky, Bianca and Sherine. What do three sixteen year olds know about homemaking? You will be surprised! They will show you how to make carrot cake, fruit cake, chocolate crinkles and how to spruce up the kitchen. Look them up on Tiktok @homealonenhungry.
Everyone looks forward to school holidays, but after the first few weeks it starts to get boring. The Covid 19 pandemic made the 2020 school holidays challenging. With Homskil’s help, Becky, Bianca and Sherine discovered that they could put their talents to good use: making fun homemaking videos.
by Chayo, Homskil Editor 1, 30 December 2020
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