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The weekend is finally here! It’s the perfect time to relax, unwind, and charge up out batteries for the coming week.

But do you order take-out or go out to eat?

As much as it’s easy and tempting (with so many options, restaurants, and even fast food places to choose from), the prevalence of home-cooked food is slowly fading in favor of eating out.

But this isn’t just because of being lazy – we really don’t have the time to do so. For many Singaporeans, it’s become a hassle, with hectic work schedules leaving people too tired or hungry to take the time and cook.

However, this doesn’t mean that the kitchen should be counted out just yet. Here are three key reasons why you should cook your meals at home instead of eating out too much:

1. Going out to eat has become a global trend (and it’s still more expensive).

This isn’t in itself a bad thing. There are a lot of reasons in life to celebrate, and that celebration often comes in the form of having a good meal in a nice restaurant. However, doing this often can have consequences, not just on your waistline, but also on your wallet.

One advantage that cooking at home has in particular is that it saves you a significant amount of your budget. You don’t have to pay for a single meal every night – any leftovers on hand can easily be stored for extra portions you can reheat later on, or cook as ingredients for other meals.

2. Home cooking has some direct benefits.

You’ll be able to control your portions, you’ll know exactly what goes into your food and how it was prepared and cooked, you can add all kinds of lean protein and healthy fats and oils, and all you need to do is take the time to buy the ingredients and learn how to cook them properly.

You’ll also be able to learn a valuable skill that you can practice over time to be good at. What more could you get out of it?

3. It strengthens relationships.

If you still happen to live with your parents, it will be no surprise that learning to cook will definitely help to ease up on some of the responsibilities at home. If you plan on moving out, having this invaluable life skill will make anyone want to be your roommate.

Cooking can also be a good hobby you can get into to de-stress, pick up and master new culinary skills, and be a way to meet new people over something you enjoy doing.

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  • In order to be prepared for any emergency, one of the first things you need to do is to keep your medicine cabinet (this will be your home pharmacy) well-stocked.

    However, this can be confusing. There are countless types of medications being manufactured, and most medical providers can’t give you working knowledge on every single one in circulation. This means that certain medicines that are available in certain countries may not be readily available in Singapore, and vice versa.

    But the good news is that by following some guidelines, you don’t have to worry. Here’s what you can do to get started:

    1. Make a list of the different medications your medicine cabinet will need.

    Most of the time, this will consist of over-the-counter medicines, such as the following:

    • Pain and fever medication – For reducing symptoms of high fever and providing relief from mild headaches or migraine, paracetamol should be a staple in any medicine cabinet.
    • Topical Antibiotics – Ointments that reduce minor skin infections come in different kinds, all of which are just as effective.
    • Antifungal – Athlete’s feet, fungal rashes, or even yeast infections can be easily treated with over-the-counter antifungal medication. 
    • Mild Laxative – Constipation and low bowel movement are things that can be alleviated with a mild laxative, such as docusate sodium.
    • Antihistamine –You can control non-stop itchy nasal allergies or dry up a watery nose using over-the-counter antihistamines.
    • Decongestant – Congested noses in the house will be sure to thank the existence of decongestants after a hard rain. Be sure to take them during the day so that you can blow your nose.
    • Cough Medicine – Be sure to know the difference between the two types: expectorants (which makes you cough by loosening up mucus), and suppressants (which control or reduce coughing).

    Don’t forget the other non-medicines that need to be in your cabinet! Items such as antiseptics (rubbing alcohol, Betadine, etc.), Band-Aids, bandages, gauze, medical tape, or anything that you would see in a first-aid kit are also needed.

    You should also keep in mind that your medicine cabinet should be far away from any sources of heat and moisture. This allows them to keep for longer.

    Tip: Don’t buy hydrogen peroxide – it has no effect on wounds and only makes them take longer to heal.

    2. Keep an inventory of how often you’re using them.

    While you think this shouldn’t matter (people don’t often get sick), it’s easy to rush to your medicine cabinet only to find that either you ran out of one particular type of medicine or that the medicine is already expired.

    Throw out medicines that are past their expiry date and restock with ones that aren’t expired. Always be sure to check the label.

    3. Know when to see a doctor.

    If certain symptoms persist after a few days despite taking the over-the-counter medications, consider seeing a doctor immediately for early diagnosis and treatment.

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  • Fishing is a good pastime to get into as a way to relax and get in touch with friends, and since Singapore is home to a wide variety of freshwater and saltwater fish, it’s a great way to get acquainted with the different bounties that nature has to offer.

    Whether it’s a carp, barracuda, or simply a catfish, there’s definitely something you can catch if you cast your line in the right at the right time.

    Before you decide to go into fishing, there are a few terms that you need to know to be familiar with the hobby as a whole. Here are some of the essentials to get you started:

    • Bag Limit – How much you’re allowed to catch at a given time, usually a daily basis. This is to allow the population to replenish itself and prevent overfishing.

    • Bait – Anything used to attract or entice fish to the hook.

    • Bait-casting – Fishing using a spool reed mounted on the topside of a rod specific for casting bait. In Singapore, only artificial bait is allowed to preserve the water quality.

    • Blind-cast – Casting your line in no particular area, which does little to increase your chances in catching fish.

    • Bottom Feeder – Refers to fish that feed at the bottom of riverbeds, such as carp and catfish.

    • Brackish – Mostly freshwater with a bit of saltwater mixed to it. Areas with brackish water can support both freshwater and saltwater fish.

    • Catch-and-Release – A conservation practice where the angler unhooks and returns the fish to the water rather than keep it. This is encouraged by the angling community as it helps maintain the ecosystem.

    • Catch-and-Keep – Also called “catch-and-kill”, where you take home your prize instead of releasing it back to the water. Typically, you want to keep only the fish that are abundant or harm the freshwater ecosystem.

    • Channel – A riverbed or streambed. Bottom-feeding fish usually spend most of their lives here.

    • Tackle – Refers to any fishing equipment in general

    With more reservoirs and bodies of water being recently made open to the public, now is the perfect time to start getting into the hobby.

    If you’ve always wanted to find something that doesn’t take too much energy while still being able to enjoy nature and fresh air (the perfect formula to unwind if you’re feeling lazy during the weekend), then fishing is the perfect thing for you to get started on.

    The best part about angling is that anyone can do it. All you really need is a good fishing line, artificial bait, and the free time. With a little practice, you can even get something big on your hook!

    (Disclaimer: this list is compiled in no particular order.)

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  • Music is a great way to invest your spare time in, and there are a lot of ways you can get started. It’s also easier to do so as an adult, since you already know your tastes and you have easier access to a much wider range of instruments.

    In fact, if you don’t know where to start, here are a few that would definitely peak your interest:

    1. Piano/Keyboard
    The piano can be as versatile as it can be complicated to pick up, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many guides and tutorials you can look up online, and there’s a lot of sheet music for you to get started with.

    If size is your main concern, there’s also no need to have a baby grand installed – in fact, an electronic keyboard give you just as much options, and can even let you experiment with various sounds.

    You’ll be surprised at what you can actually play and how fast you can get past the learning curve.

    2. Guitar
    The piano and guitar often come hand in hand as the most versatile instruments that anyone can pick up and start learning.

    Today, the guitar is more popular than the piano because it’s used in so many music genres all over the world, and a good quality one is certainly more affordable than a piano. You can also learn songs more easily with chords.
    You also have more options to choose: electric guitar is easier to learn, and acoustic guitar is cheaper to pick up.

    3. Flute
    If your home is quiet enough and you want to pick up something that’s slightly more inconspicuous, then you definitely won’t regret picking up what is perhaps the oldest instrument that’s still played today.

    It’s much lighter and easier to transport than the first two instruments, and even cheaper and easier to master. Once you do, the sound it a flute makes can mesmerize any audience from a distance, and the farther they are, the better the sound.

    There are also different types of flutes for you to choose from, such as end-blown flutes, side-blown flutes, and various flutes in different registers and keys.

    4. Drums
    If you’re looking to join or start your own band, investing in a good kit will mean that you won’t have to upgrade or buy replacements as often as you would your counterparts who play the guitar or bass.

    However, when you do decide to play it at home, make sure you also include soundproofing panels in your investment to avoid upsetting your neighbors – they can also be quite noisy.

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  • Not everyone is aware, but colorectal cancer is one of the few types of cancer that can be treated when detected early. But like most cancers, the symptoms are so subtle that the condition is often ignored until the disease has progressed.

    Look out for the symptoms of colorectal cancer.
    The symptoms of colorectal cancer will resemble other diseases of the bowel such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Some patients do not even notice that their constipation or diarrhea is a symptom. As the disease progresses, however, the symptoms become more severe and persistent and it becomes difficult to determine if you have colorectal cancer when you already have an existing bowel disease.

    Some symptoms of colorectal cancer include diarrhea, constipation, changes in shape and size of the stool, bloody stool, inability to empty the bowel completely, rectal pain, abdominal pain, stomach cramps or gas pains, changes in appetite, sudden weight loss, feeling full or bloated, and fatigue.When the cell lining of the large intestine develops cancer, it causes blockages and results in bloody stool.

    Get to know the function of the colon and the rectum.
    Colorectal cancer, sometimes called colon cancer, affects the colon or the rectum. The colon is part of your large intestine, while the rectum is a passageway that connects the anus to the colon. The rectum is the last part of the large intestine, which is only 15 cm long, and its location makes it highly likely to spread the cancer cells to other organs. Taking care of your large intestine through healthy diet and lifestyle can lower the risk of having colorectal cancer.

    Get diagnosed when you feel the symptoms.
    If your family has a history of any type of cancer or you have a history of ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease, you should be screened annually because you’re at risk of developing the disease than most people. Most cases of colon cancer start off as abnormal growths inside the colon or rectum called polyps. These should be removed to prevent them from becoming cancerous.

    Most people affected by this cancer are aged 50 years and above, although are cases among young adults who have inherited conditions such as non-polyposis and familial adenomatous polyposis. Among the male patients in Singapore who suffer from cancer, colorectal cancer is the most common form, while it is only second to breast cancer among female cancer patients.

    Several screening methods are used to diagnose colorectal cancer such as rectal examination, sigmoidoscope/colonoscope exam, and barium enema.

    Know the available treatments for colorectal cancer.
    Sometimes when the cancer cells spread from the colon to the lymph nodes near it, treatments are quite successful in hospitals in Singapore through surgery and chemotherapy. Treatment becomes difficult, however, if the cancer cells have spread to the other organs.

    Surgery, such as the removal of the fat, lymph glands, and the cancer, is the first form of treatment. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy might also be recommended.

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