Sunday, November 30, 2008

Going with the flow

30 Nov 2008 (last revised: 1 Dec 2008, 00:19)

The night before, I met up with MY to attend a concert together. After a concert, we had an interesting conversation over fruit juices, and I was sharing with her one of the ways that I try to recharge was to plan unscheduled time. Then upon her asking, I shared with her briefly how this would be helpful for people with similar MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicate) preferences like myself.

For much of today, I had planned for unscheduled time. Except the fact that I would take at least 15 minutes in the morning to practise (I realised I spent close to an hour practising) on the double bass, for the rest of the day, I shall go with the flow and follow my instincts.

It was strange. While I had a lot that I could still practise, and I was way early to set off home for my lunch-date with my friends, JY and SH, I had an urge to go to a nearby bookstore near the lunch venue to get myself a copy of Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. A good friend of mine had recommended this book to me a few days ago and there was a compelling force to get the book and to read it soon.

The MPH bookstores nearby City Hall MRT station ran out of stock of this book. So I went with the flow and ended up walking to where the lunch venue was, and got my copy of the book with delight. That left me way too early for the lunch-date that I had the pleasure to sample the mashed potato from Secret Recipe and I must say I was pleasantly pleased with the service there and the lovely presentation of its mashed potato.

The next strange thing for the day was that when I later got the news that JY and SH would both be arriving later for the lunch-date, I did not feel any sense of irritation nor disappointment even though things did not go as planned. What a lovely thing it is to simply go with the flow. There was a sense of acceptance that things do happen for a reason, whether or not I would be wise enough to know the reason. It turned out that I could have time for myself, which I am greatly thankful for, to read The Alchemist.

Over lunch, SH spoke about an issue that has been on her mind for the past week. I surprised myself to find myself pretty directive in giving my analysis on the matter. Partly due to my training in social work, I would usually first articulate empathy for the person whom I speak with. However, there was just a voice that was telling me how I should sharing the analysis with her, even if it should be straight in the face. That inner voice was powerful, and came with a degree of certainty. Anyway, I wonder whether the analysis would eventually be of real use to her, but I hope it would pave the way for SH to find the answers that are closer to her heart.

I left the lunch two-and-a-half-hours after the proposed starting time. I was simply following a hunch that it was time to leave. A good friend of mine would be flying to overseas in the evening. I had wanted to see her off to offer her my blessings in person. She asked that I do not, so I respected her decision. I resisted the thought to call her too, for somehow, it felt against the flow of things to do that.

The next thing on the mind was to read The Alchemist. I have a lot of books at home, and from the number of books that are still waiting to be read, I realised that I would need a conducive place to read! Trust the flow of life to tell me that the best place to go for a conducive read was the Changi Airport. That was where I could also get my craving of Popeye's buttermilk biscuits fixed. The biscuit from Popeyes Chicken & Biscuit is one food that I would at times crave for so much that I would travel all the way from home to the airport just to eat one biscuit. Alright, when I got to eat the buttermilk biscuit in the evening, I got myself two and was enjoying both of them. Lovely.

Wind time back a little. I had initially wanted to take a bus to the airport, but decided that I wanted to have more time to read the book, so I chose to take a cab to steal time. I was trying not to consciously meet up with the good friend of mine who will be at the airport for the flight so I asked the taxi to stop me at the arrival hall of my favourite airport terminal. It turned out that taxis are not to stop at the arrival hall, but it could stop at the departure hall. What could I do but to go with the flow and trust my hunch that I would be brought to the right place and the right time. My goodness, I was pleasantly surprised to see my friend after I alighted from the taxi and walked into the departure hall. It was something beyond my imagination for I did not plan for that to happen, though I did wish to send her my blessings in person deep in my heart. Since I have decided to respect her wishes not to see her off, I gave her a smile and said "hi" and left. Hopefully my positive blessings could get to her even though it was a meeting by sheer accident.

Later, when I continued to go with the flow, I marvelled at how beautifully things can unfold when one simply move along with the flow of life. Some days ago, I was reading about the topic of being open to life's gifts on one of my favourite blogs, and it has been a day of adventure for me to simply go with the flow and see what materialises.

The airport proved to be one of the conducive places that I could read in. I cannot recall how many times I have read chapters from books simply by being in the large, open and relatively quieter spaces of the airport. I am pleased that in less than 10 hours, I had read half of The Alchemist. This is an accomplishment for yours truly for I have often need more time to read a fiction book than a non-fiction book. Perhaps that is because I have often find that I needed more time to ponder and reflect over the embedded meanings behind a fiction book. That was the best way to do justice to a well-written fiction book. Cheer for me please, that I have read half of The Alchemist. I have found it an insight read and I too recommend that you could please read it.

While I was at the airport reading the book, somehow my mind needed a rest to reflect on the insights discussed in The Alchemist. Also, I needed the toilet to relieve the bladder. My feet carried me to the nearest toilet that I could see, and it was next to the Departure Point. And I saw my friend. It was an awkward meeting by chance. I needed the toilet, yet it was hard to resist catching my friend's attention so I walked up to her, bid her farewell before rushing to the nearby toilet. For once, it felt scary how coincident things can go when one go with the flow. I hope my friend managed to get over any unintended freak-out that she might have had over that chanced meet-up at the Departure Point. I reflected, and it probably felt scary because the force of life, when one goes with the flow, can be very powerfully. I have no full idea of her responses to the chanced-meeting. I can only ask for the courage and wisdom to face whatever consequences and risks that going with the flow and living life fully may bring to me.

Whatever it is, I wish this good friend of mine the necessary qualities to realise the dreams that she has, with integrity. Best wishes.

I have one of my friends, Mystic, to thank for having reminded me about "Going with the flow" every now and then. In addition, many of the books that I have read in my life, for example Barry Green's The Inner Game of Music, Zander & Zander's The Art of Possibility, the short workshop that I had on Alexander Technique etc, and even The Alchemist that I had just started reading today, seem to suggest concepts related to going with the flow, and listening to the intuitive mind.

I am amazed by the power of simply going with the flow of life. It is with hope and excitement that I write this long blog post. It is like there's a positive force of enthuasiasm sparkling in me. When this same energy sparkles off in me again in the future, I hope that by writing this post, I will be able to remind myself to go with the flow of life, and to see how life would unfold with amazing grace.

May this post be a reminder to all readers, including myself, that since going with the flow of life can align oneself with powerful forces, please use it positively, with positive intentions and compassion. Maybe that way, the world would soon be a slightly better place each day.

Wishing you and the world good vibes and peace.

Week 48 of year 2008 on the double bass

23 Nov 2008, Sun: I was in the mood to practise the first movement from Dragonetti's Concerto in A major. It has been a long while since I had played this work. I did not practised the entire movement, but I spent quitea bit of time focusing to improve on my rendition on the first half of the movement. Time was spent improving the rhythm and the articulation. I was pleased to hear some slight improvements in my rendition.

24 Nov 2008, Mon: I practised Pachelbel's Canon in D arranged for the double bass quartet. It's a challenging work to play on the double bass, and I do hope that one day, my playing would be good enough to play it. If I could find three other double bass players to play this work with me, it would be a lovely work to listen out for.

27 Nov 2008, Thu: I practised part of Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro with the metronome so as to secure a better rhythm. It proved a challenging task. I also played through Faure's Apres Un Reve.

I managed to get myself to double bass lesson, and much of the time was spent working on Faure's Apres Un Reve. I realised I need to start working more on Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro and practise more SIGHT-READING!

28 Nov 2008, Fri: I decided to take annual leave from work for the day, and had the time to practise the double bass at home! It has been a while since I worked extended hours on the double bass. I started the practice with playing some simple scales (F major, F melodic minor and F harmonic minor).

Afterwhich, needing more work on sight-reading but realising that I prefer to sight-read works from the Baroque and Classical period, I sight-read the first and second movements from Vivaldi's Sonata No. 1 in Bb major, RV 47.. That got my eyes, arms and mind to have a good work-out.

Later, I worked on a section from Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro just to recall the fingerings. I need more concentration when it comes to playing contemporary pieces. Does anyone have any tip on interpreting contemporary pieces? I have tried to look for recordings of works by Lennox Berkeley but I could not find any in the National Library.

The country test

Admittedly, I need structure in my life. The test results seem to coincide with what some friends have been telling me, i.e. I strike them as being "formal and polite", and "serious" too. I like structure too. Maybe I could start learning German soon?

Actually, I already have a mini German-English phrase-book to start me off. I had previously thought of learning German so that I could visit German-speaking European countries with greater ease. The thing is when do I feel ready to start learning German?

You Are Germany

You are a formal, polite person... even with those you know well.

You are quite serious. You are responsible and good at following rules.

You enjoy organization and planning. Structure helps you thrive, and you don't like surprises.

You take pride in your personal appearance. You keep your clothes and home tidy.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Reading books on Tan Kah Kee

After my visit to the exhibition "The Legacy of Tan Kah Kee and Lee Kong Chian", aside from writing two blog posts on my visit to the exhibition, I went to borrow two books on Tan Kah Kee from the library.

Here are the two books:

Ward, A.H.C., Chu, R. W. Salaff, J. (Ed.s. & translators) (1994). The Memoirs of Tan Kah Kee. Singapore: Singapore University Press.
(Call Number: RSING 338.04092 TAN dilb)

Yong, C. F. (1989). Tan Kah-Kee: The Making of an Overseas Chinese Legend. Singapore: Oxford University Press. (Call Number: 338.4092 YON)

Personally, I found the latter to be much more reader friendly. In some ways, the latter very succinctly sums up some of the key ideas that can be found in the former, i.e. The Memoirs of Tan Kah Kee. Of course, for the academics, they may prefer to read the original Nanqiao Huiyilu written by Tan Kah-Kee so as to get first-hand information about how this remarkable person views his life.

For both books, I did not read from them from cover to cover. I merely browsed through the pages, and read sections that appeared to be of interest to me. I suppose for folks who would like an easier read, in the English langyuage, to know about Tan Kah Kee, I would recommend them to read The Making of an Overseas Chinese Legend rather than The Memoirs of Tan Kah Kee.

Meantime, if you are keen to learn about Tan Kah Kee, you could check out Wikipedia too:

Many things in life to be grateful for

28 Nov 2008.

This is a post to wish all my readers happiness and lots of things in their life to be grateful for. I decided to choose 28 Nov 2008 as a day to write about. Perhaps when we examine each day closely, we will find that there are many simple things in life to be grateful for. Wishing you a day of simple bliss and good luck.

28 Nov 2008, Fri:

- I took a day of leave from work. I'm still feeling grateful for having annual leave so that I can take some time to practise on the double bass. Playing on the double bass has often energised me from within. I got to sight-read one of Vivaldi's sonatas.

- I had the privilege to meet up with one of my good friends who is here in Singapore for a very short stay.

- Many heartfelt words of thanks to another good friend of mine, J, for giving very helpful directions when I called her on the phone to consult her on a matter. Some questions may seem minor to the giver, yet they are very significant to the receiving end. I managed to get the task at hand done at the shortest possible time I could imagine, thanks to J. Sometimes, I don't know how to thank J enough, and I think I may have to thank her to paying her kindness forward. Thank you J.

- The taxi-drivers that I met for the day were friendly and helpful. They were so kind to bear with my analytical comments that I had made while I was on their vehicle with one of my good friends. The best part was that they drove me and my friend to our destinations promptly and safely.

- My words of thanks to the customer service personnel who manages the taxi-booking hotline of ComfortDelGro Corporation Limited. I must have called at least four times yesterday trying to figure out where the nearest possible pick-up location was so as to book and to board a taxi from city area on a busy Friday night. They have been extremely patient with me and managed to assure me that they would get me a taxi as fast as possible. I was also pleasantly surprised that I didn't have to wait longer than one minute to speak to the customer service personnel on the phone even though it was a busy Friday night. Thank goodness for good luck.

- If anyone were to visit the Information Counter at Bugis Junction, please give the lovely ladies at the counter a heartwarming smile so as to thank them on my behalf. Dedication and helpful service came from one particularly lady who took time to check for information so that she can answer my enquiry with full confidence.

- I have been aware that the civil service in Singapore is one of the most efficient ones in the world. This day, I experienced it so deeply first-hand, with my friend, the efficiency of the civil service. Heartfelt thanks to the dedicated, thoughtful and efficient staff for their excellent service. The officers/ staff whom I have met for the day were very dedicated and helpful. They went beyond the call of their duty, stayed past their official working hours, to help my friend process her applications, one after another. May these folks be amply recognised and rewarded with fulfillment, good health and happiness.

- Many thanks to the counter staff members at one of the Singpost outlets. They had been very nice and patient in serving me and friend when we needed to send two parcels overseas. They even lent their help when we needed some advice and help to pack the items properly into the parcels.

- Thank goodness to the simple, unexpected pleasures that life would have install for everyone, even on a hectic day. These simple sightings allowed us to take time to enjoy the simple beauty that life has to offer.

One of the works from the Christmast Tree of Life Project 2008.

While rushing to travel from one place to another, my friend and I saw a lovely mini-Christmas tree at Bugis Junction. Later the night, we even had the pleasure to come across The Christmas Tree of Life Project 2008, organised by The Christian Outreach to the Handicapped. Even though the time we spent there was very short, I was impressed by the conceptualisation behind this entire project.

The overall purpose of this project is to encourage people in our society not to write off seemingly “useless things” such as used plastic bottles and People with Disabilities. I was impressed by the beautiful lamps that were made out of recycled bottles and items. I heard that for this project, people with intellectual disabilities have been empowered to teach and to inspire more than 2000 mainstream students from 18 schools to do their part in conserving the environment. Do give your support to this project by visiting Tanglin Mall, Singapore. From 14 Nov 0 31 Dec 2008, 6.30 p.m. to 10 p.m. every evening. For more details, please visit:

Last but not the least, maybe I may have overlooked, I am sure that they are many other things to be grateful for in our everyday life.

Wishing you bliss and good luck.

~~~Photo credit: The first photo in this post was taken near Tanglin Mall. It's one of the works of the Christmas Tree of Life Project 2008.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 5

This mashed potato salad ham is from the Western Chow stall located at Blk 19 Ghim Moh Road, #01-229, Singapore 270019, (KOPITIAM) near Ulu Pandan CC. This dish is served cold.

It contains chunks of cucumber, onions, ham. The mashed potato is pretty smooth. I like the nice and cheerful looking presentation of this dish. The mashed potato has a fairly creamy taste, and an onion taste that's easily detected. Each set costs $2.50. Western Chow prides this dish as one of its "Must-Try item".

Website of Western Chow:

Update (21 May 2009): Please take note that Western Chow no longer operates a Ghim Moh Branch. Please visit its website for the updated locations of its outlets.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

One year has passed

How time flies. I was looking at my archives and realised it has been a year since my walk about the Chinatown area.

One year ago, it was a heart-warmimg day out on separate occasions with two good friends. I wonder what the same day this year would bring me?

Time flies so fast, I wish I have the good luck and wisdom to make good use of each moment of it. Wish me good luck and wisdom please.

Reflections after visiting an exhibition

My visit to the exhibition, The Legacy of Tan Kah Kee and Lee Kong Chian, with one of my good friends, Mystic, prompted me to write yet another post inspired by my visit. It is now published on

Here's the link to my second post on the exhibition: What legacy can we leave behind?

Your comments will be appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A visit to the library with Mystic

On 23 Nov 2008, aside from checking out Kenny Rogers Roasters' mashed potato with one of my good friends, Mystic, we visited the National Library along Victoria Street.

I was arguing that food for the mind is more important than food for the body. I wonder if this statement of mine had somehow brought us to stroll all the way from Marina Square to the National Library along Victoria Street after our short meal at Kenny Rogers Roasters'?

Mystic was interested to find out how I would usually go about browsing for books to read if I were not using the online catalogue system of the library. I simply showed her the shelves that I would go for, which simply boils down to the following section: Psychology/Self-help, Business/ Leadership, Music/Arts, and History.

I took a copy of Libby Willis' Happiness: The Feel-good factor illustated by Debbie Lush, published by Andrews McMeel Publishing to read, while Mystic found books that she was interested in.

It seemed like I need to find a more conducive environment to read. I generally have difficulties reading in noisy environment, and home can be too far from being quiet for me to read (unless I were to live on my own). It seemed to be a better option to read in the library.

That day, at the library, with Mystic, I managed to read about 60 pages, and that meant about 60 different ideas about how to experience happiness in one's life. As I read the book, I am thankful to my dear friend, XS, for pointing out to me that happiness is a conscious choice. It was a challenge to practise this conscious choice. Yet, amazingly, when I did, I could experience happiness at my heart's core even when things aren't going perfect yet. It was even more amazingly how choosing happiness could make me enjoy a sense of inner joy no matter how my outer world would be. Thank you XS for the invaluable gift of wisdom you have showered me.

Meantime, I hope Mystic has found some joy in enjoying the simple pleasure of visiting a library to get some stimulation for the mind.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Good food and heritage at the Big Eat Out!

As pointed out by Kimberly's post titled Eat to your heart's content at Explore Singapore!, Explore Singapore! together with hosted its first charity event, Big Eat Out!, at The Peranakan Museum last Saturday, 22 November 2008. I have had quite a bit of fun sampling some good food and visiting the Peranakan Museum. Furthermore, I get to contribute a part to charity.

I dedicate this post to one of my friends, RL. May the sight of nice hawker food bring her delight and simple joy.

One particular food that I wanted badly to have at the Big Eat Out! was the Hill Street Char Kway Teow. Many years ago, when it was still operating at Hill Street, it was one of my favourite stalls to patronise whenever I happened to be nearby Hill Street. It brought me lovely sense of nostalgia when I could finally taste it at the Big Eat Out!. On a regular day, I won't make a special trip to Blk 16 Bedok South Road to eat it due to the lack of cost effectiveness. Yet, there was nothing to stop me from spending three coupons to treat myself to a nice, hot plate of Hill Street Char Kway Teow, that was fried with care and thought. Yummy! Can you smell the piping hot nice Char Kway Teow?

Hill Street Fried Kway Teow
Blk 16, Bedok South Road, #01-187
Opened for lunch till about 4pm. Then around 6pm till all he runs out of food.
Closed on Mondays

I had read about Kwong Satay but had not tried it before. So at the Big Eat Out!, I ordered a plate of Kwong Satay. Interestingly, Kwong Satay sells pork loin satay. I am biased. In general, I do not eat red meat, particularly pork, nowadays. As such, I did not enjoy the Kwong Satay as much as I had enjoyed the Hill Street Fried Kway Teow. To be fair, if I had enjoyed red meat, I would have love the satay for its tender texture.

Kwong Satay
396 East Coast Road
12pm to 9pm
Closed on Mondays

I have also heard raving reviews of the Peranakan dishes from PeraMakan. As such, I made it a point to sample its dishes. As I do not wish to eat red meat, the choice was clear for me to try its Ayam Buah Keluak. The serving that I was given had more chicken and had no Buah Keluak. While I was feeling a little disappointed not seeing any Buah Keluak, the sauce that was derived from the Buah Keluak made up for any disappointment. The sauce was great! That made the dish fabulous to the tastebuds.

Peramakan Level 3 Keppel Club
10 Bukit Chermin Road
S (109918)
Open for lunch and dinner

While enjoying my food, I walked about the fair. For every $5 spent at Explore Singapore! event, one would be given a chance to win a Subara Forester. That made me wonder why I wasn't given any lucky draw coupon when I was purchasing quite a number of coupons from the Big Eat Out! event. Anyway, the kind soul shall be blessed in other pleasant ways, I suppose?

Another must-try dish that I must have was the Kway Guan Huat Popiah. I can't figure out what makes it nice, just simply get one and try it for yourself.

Kway Guan Huat Joo Chiat
Original Poh Piah Skin & Kueh Pie Tee
95 Joo Chiat Road
Zita 96773441
Open 10am to 8pm daily
Closed on Mondays

I was quite attracted to the Old Chang Kee's van. There were also many other delicious food available. However, by that time, I was too full to eat any more food. That was the disadvantage of attending such events alone: I had no one to share the food with. Anyway, I preferred being alone that day to have some time for myself. Perhaps it would be good for future such events to offer smaller servings? Then everyone can enjoy a bit of every kind of food available while contributing to charity. I was glad that I brought along ear-plugs that had helped to protect me from the deafening noises from the speakers. My sense of hearing is precious, so is yours.

Aside from enjoying the good food, I had the pleasure to visit the Peranakan Museum. The Mark Lee's tour was so popular that all places were reserved by the late morning. As such, yours truly had no privilege to be onboard Mark Lee's tour. Anyway, that was alright with me. I went on a tour of my own and was enjoying the company of myself. For now, let the photos tell the story of my visit to the Peranakan Museum.

For more about Explore Singapore! 2008, please visit

Monday, November 24, 2008

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 4

Corn Muffin and the Mashed Potato with gravy. Photo taken by Mystic.

This post is part of a series of posts that search for the best mashed potato in Singapore. Sometime ago, I had received a tip-off from one of my friends to consider checking out the mashed potato from Kenny Rogers Roasters.

On 24 Nov 2008, I was out with one of my good friends, Mystic, for a day out to chill. Mystic very graciously accepted my suggestion to visit Kenny Rogers Roasters just to sample the mashed potato. We were lucky. That day, there was complimentary corn muffin for every guest at Kenny Rogers Roasters. We were at the Marina Square outlet in the mid afternoon.

One regular serving of the mashed potato with gravy costs $2.80.

The mashed potato from this restaurant was edible but it did not meet my expectations. The gravy had bits of chicken in it. Somehow, the mashed potato dish as a whole tasted like chicken porridge, not mashed potato. I could not figure out what had went wrong such that it tasted like chicken porridge! Furthermore, I felt the sauce was too thick for my liking.

Mystic thinks that a good gravy should bring out the natural flavour of the mashed potato. Sadly, the mashed potato from Kenny Rogers Roasters did not managed to do so. At least not the one that we have had that very afternoon at that very outlet. Mystic felt that the gravy was too overpowering for the mashed potato.

The corn muffin saved the day. The best part was that it was complimentary. The muffin which was a little too sweet for my taste was nevertheless delicious, and I was enjoying my corn muffin. If not for the corn muffin, I might have given up trying to finish the mashed potato. Among all the mashed potato that I have tried so far, Kenny Rogers Roasters fare the worst.

The mashed potato aside, I believe we should give credit to what was done well. I generally like the affordable chicken from Kenny Rogers. Mystic also said that Kenny Rogers Roasters sells yummy ribs. The service there that day was good too. The staff said "Thank you" to us when we were leaving. Overall, I had a pleasant time at Kenny Rogers Roasters that day despite a less than average mashed potato. Many thanks to the good things at Kenny Rogers Roasters.

Meantime, I shall forget about checking out the mashed potato at Kenny Rogers Roasters until one such day when there is significant improvement to this very dish.

Where to find Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurant in Singapore?
  • #02-138A, 6 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square, Singapore 039594
  • 3 Temasek Boulevard, #B1-064, Suntec City Mall, Singapore 038983
  • 1000 East Coast Parkway, Singapore 449879
  • 1 Kim Seng Promenade, #01-06 Great World City, Singapore 237994

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Week 47 of year 2008 on the double bass

16 Nov 2008, Sun: I started with playing the G major scale so as to improve right-hand technique. I felt it would be more helpful to have a tutor guiding me along to help me have a better appreciation of what constitutes good right-hand technique. On my own, I could not fully determine if the tone of my playing has achieved a full and warm sound. Having an experienced ear beside me may help me gradually acquire the skills to perceive and judge the quality of the sound of my playing.

I later worked on Faure's Apres Un Reve with the metronome. I may need to work a few bars with my tutor. On my own, I felt I have yet the skills to overcome the technical challenges of securing a good appreciation of what constitutes a good vibrato and a full-sounding slow bow.

17 Nov 2008, Mon: Close to 11 p.m. I started practising Pachelbel's Canon in D major scored for the double bass quartet by Daivd Heyes. I worked on it using the metronome. The focus was to improve my intonation and to secure a steady rhythm. Hopefully, one day, I could master this pretty difficult work and play it for my friends who love this piece of work.

Playing Pachelbel's Canon in D seemed to give me a lot of positive vibes when I play it on the double bass. First of all, the double bass is a huge instrument, and so when it vibrates when I play on it, it vibrates in a significant way. Secondly, an instrument will give out positive energy when its player play it with love and care. Alright, I am rambling away. The thing is I am thankful to be able to play the double bass!

19 Nov 2008, Wed: Double bass lesson was rescheduled to Wednesday for the week. I went to double bass lesson feeling so tired from the work day but it was pleasant to realise how the vibrations from the double bass could recharge me from within.

I started the lesson playing scales. I hope to do more of such so as to improve my techniques. After which, I played Faure's Apres Un Reve. MJ shared with me the steps that I would need to consider when I practise so as to eventually work towards achieving the kind of sound that I want. I started learning about how I could convey the emotions that I wish to convey through the sounds of my playing on the double bass. May my playing move the audience one day. He showed me how I could achieve the emotion of "missing (longing for) something" with the use of the left-hand and right-hand technique and a vibrato at the right speed. I was moved by the sounds created.

Ah! The vibrations from the double bass has made me sing from within.

20 Nov 2008, Thu: When I was listening to the radio station 92.4 FM, I heard Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony, and was attracted to its interesting bassline. I could not help but play excerpts of this symphony when I got home. Strangely, while I was feeling very tired from the work day, after warming up on the double bass, the vibrations from the double bass simply got me energised. I love those vibrations and the sounds from the double bass.

Afterwhich, I practised Faure's Apres Un Reve so that I could gradually achieve the sounds that I have in mind.

22 Nov 2008, Sat: I spent some time reading through the basso continuo parts of Antonio Vivalid's Winter from his Four Seasons. Out of sheer curiosity and fun, I sight-read the violin solo part of the second movement of Winter and played the parts on the double bass. It proved a challenge to play well at sight. Furthermore, I was transposing from treble clef to bass clef. Anyway, I managed somehow, though not so ideal.

I continued to practise Faure's Apres Un Reve, and for a few selected bars, I practised till I was satisfied with my interpretation. Playing the double bass proved to be recharging.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 3

This is one of the posts of a series dedicated to a good friend of mine.

This mashed potato is from the "Oktober Fest" stall located within Chinatown Complex. It is served warm. It appears that quality potatoes are used to make this dish. Occasionally, one can get to chew on some small potato chunks that are not mashed. The brown sauce is pretty nice, and has a pretty smooth and refined aftertaste. The mash potato costs $2.50 per set.

I quite like this mashed potato.

As best as I am aware, here's the address:

Oktober Fest
Blk 335 Smith Street
#02-83 Chinatown Market & Food Centre

Operating hours: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Update on 10 Apr 2009: I was at the Chinatown Market & Food Centre on 5 Apr 2009 and found that the stall was now closed and was for rent.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I've won a PhoneBAK (For BlackBerry)!

Many thanks to fellow blogger, Eastcoastlife, for organising the PhoneBAK Contest and to for its generous sponsorship, I am pleased to share that I have won a PhoneBAK (For BlackBerry).

If my winning of the PhoneBAK (For BlackBerry) is due to good luck, may this good luck spread to you too. Wishing you good luck!

For your information, PhoneBAK BB (WipeOut) is the latest mobile security software from BAK2u Pte Ltd that wipes out all information and reports back the identity and location of the thief!

When I took part in the PhoneBAK Contest, I thought of a good friend of mine who uses a BlackBerry and decided that I could take part in this contest so that if I could win the contest, I could give the prize to her as a gift. So I decided to indicate that I would like a PhoneBAK (For BlackBerry) as the prize if I should be one of the winners, even though I have no BlackBerry at all.

I suppose good luck will find its way to people with good thoughts? I was chosen to be one of the winners!

Eventually it turned out that my friend's BlackBerry belongs to the company that she works with, so the offer of the gift has to be declined. I suppose it was the thoughts that count? Meantime, I am pleased to share that thanks to one of my colleagues, I have found a suitable owner for this prize finally.

Last but not the least, I hope this post sends you positive vibes to know that there are still a lot of things to be grateful of, each and every day. Wishing you good luck from within.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

People to be grateful for

I am inspired to write a series of posts of people I am grateful for in my life. I do not know how this series of posts would turn out. I do not have a concrete plan in mind who would be the people that I would write about. It will be a pleasant surprise for me to see how this series of posts would unfold by itself.

Heartfelt gratitude to my maternal grandmother:

I would like to begin this post by expressing my heartfelt gratitude to a very significant person in my life. She's my maternal grandmother. Both my parents have been working even before I was born. It was my maternal grandmother who has made sacrifices to take care of me and my siblings when we were young, when my parents were working.

I thank her for her encouragement and her belief in me. I believe it was her constant encouragement that has helped me aspire to do my best possible. I believe she deserves quite a bit of credit for my eventual completion of tertiary education for she has given me the much needed encouragement and moral support during some of the most difficult times of my life. Without her constant moral support, I might have lost sight of the bigger picture and given up on my academic pursuits prematurely.

Heartfelt thanks to my maternal grandmother for the love and care she has showered me, and all her loved ones. She has taught me some good values that I will probably find forever useful in my life. I have a lot to thank her for which I shall not attempt to list out. With deep thanks to my maternal grandmother.

Explore Singapore Today!

Experience the fun and vibrant side of the museums. From my point of view, a day spent at the museum is way more fulfilling and enriching than a day spent at the shopping malls. Alright, I am biased. I generally don't like shopping.

Anyway, one can have lots of fun at the museum. Explore the museums in Singapore in the upcoming "Explore Singapore!" event that will be held from 20 Nov - 7 Dec 2008. There's so many interesting activities to check out that I could only lament that I have limited time for everything.

Here's the website of "Explore Singapore!":

By the way, Second Shot has a pretty well-written short post that's titled Heritage with a modern twist: Explore Singapore 2008!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 2

For the second part of this series, I shall write about a possibly well-known mashed potato: The whipped potato from KFC.

Possibly, many people would have tried the whipped potato from KFC. This can prove to be a comfort food for many, especially for people who grew up eating KFC during special occasions when they were young. I suppose KFC whipped potato may bring back some childhood memories for some? Thanks to popular culture.

One regular-size KFC whipped potato costs $1.80 at the time of writing.

Personally, I think the potato used for the whipped potato is average. The sauce is rather not too refined, and leaves a rather thick and fairly salty aftertaste, especially when one goes for the medium-sized whipped potato. My suggestion for anyone who wishes to try KFC whipped potato for the nice childhood memories it may bring: Just go for the regular whipped potato, and no more.

Having said so much, I think KFC is still one good place to get good-enough mashed potato. Furthermore, it is fairly easy to locate KFC outlets in Singapore. I will go for KFC whipped potato just to trigger the fond memories that I have of having eaten at a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in Ang Mo Kio Central that used to serve food the sit-down restaurant style, when I was a young child. Some years after that, that KFC outlet became a fast-food restaurant and then I begin to lose interest in KFC.

Anyway, may the KFC whipped potato bring you some fond memories.

Where to find KFC outlets in Singapore:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's Alaturka again!

17 Nov 2008: I had a meal at Alaturka again. This time, I have had the pleasure to have the company of Pinkie who blogs at her private blog, Love always....

While I have been reading her blog every now and then for the past three years, we hardly have the chance to meet up to chat and get to know each other better face-to-face. I'm glad that I have the privilege to spend some time with this fellow blogger finally. It was a long overdued meet-up. In August 2008, Pinkie had requested that I 'jio' her (i.e. bring her along) when I next visit Alaturka. This visit to Alaturka with Pinkie took about three months to materialise. I suppose it was worth the wait?

Pinkie was lucky! She managed to get to drink the Iced Apple Tea. The last time that I was eating at Alaturka, with eastcoastlife, the Iced Apple Tea was not available. Personally, I prefer the hot apple tea because my throat seems to get irritated easily when I drink too much cold drinks. I find Alaturka's apple tea to have a nice fragrance and a rich taste. It's worth a try.

We decided that we must take a picture of the Iced Apple Tea to satisfy the curiosity and yearnings of eastcoastlife. That is if she still cares about drinking Iced Apple Tea from Alaturka. I don't know how it tastes like, so I shall wait for Pinkie to make comments on this. Now, let's cheers to good health and fine food!

Other than the apple tea, we ordered the Lavash, chicken musakka and the coban salata. The coban salata was a healthy choice. Pinkie's strong observation skills got her to notice that one of the guests ate an entire coban salata dish by himself! In contrast, Pinkie and I had to share the same dish so that we could finish it.

I was impressed how Pinkie's strong observation skills enabled her to notice the various ways different guests ate their lavash. It seemed that different guests ate it in different ways. it seems like I have got the wrong way of eating lavash. According to this Wikipedia site, the "soft form of the lavash tastes better and is easier to use when making wrap sandwiches". Does that mean that I should eat the lavash like wrap sandwiches? Truly, I have no idea how to eat the lavash the authentic way. Maybe Alaturka could consider giving a short "Introduction to eating Turkish food the Turkish way" briefing for any guest who is curious? This is a way to educate its guests and make the dining experience memorable.

On the side, in my attempt to learn how lavash is being made, I've managed to find a YouTube video on this subject. Be patient and enjoy this video for 12.5 minutes:


I am biased. When it comes to the musakka from Alaturka, I think the mutton version is still nicer than the chicken version. Anyway, the chicken version was acceptable though I would rave more about its mutton musakka. The presentation of the musakka is nice, and I noticed that many of the guests would order the musakka!

If you ask me if I would go back to Alaturka again. I would say that I would. The apple tea is nice. I heard from my friend, XS, that the Turkish coffee from Alaturka, is nicely rich too. Pinkie suggested Alaturka can be a nice place for tea. I shall consider going to Alaturka for tea one day. In fact, I realised that visiting Alaturka brings me fond memories such that I am likely to visit it just to trigger and to relive those fond memories of my past experiences eating there. I suppose I am quite a nostalgic being.

Here's the address of Alaturka and its contact number for those of you who would like to visit it one day:

Turkish & Mediterranean Restaurant
16 Bussorah Street Singapore 199437
Tel/Fax: 62940304

Last but not the least, wishing you delight simply by looking at nice food.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Week 46 of year 2008 on the double bass

9 Nov 2008, Sun: I managed to find time to practise Faure's Apres Un Reve. I practised it with the metronome and deliberately focused on securing those passages with the triplet-rhythms. Finally, I could make the double bass sing Faure's Apres Un Reve reasonably alright. I still need some work on using arm-weight properly so that the long notes would sound beautiful yet strong.

(View source)

I did some research and learnt that the text in Faure's Apres Un Reve, originally written for voice and piano, is based on an anonymous Italian poem translated by Romain Bussine. Please visit this URL to find the French text by Romain Bussine and the English translation.

Here's the English translation for my own reading pleasure:

After a dream

In a sleep which your image charmed
I dreamed of happiness, ardent mirage;
your eyes were sweeter, your voice pure and ringing,
you shone like a sky lit up by the dawn.
You were calling me and I was leaving the earth
to flee with you towards the light;
the skies parted their clouds for us,
unknown splendours, divine half-seen gleams...

Alas! Alas! Sad awakening from dreams!
I call on you, o night, give me back your deceits;
come back, come back resplendent,
come back, o mysterious night!

10 Nov 2008, Mon: I practised Faure's Apres Un Reve. Most likely I would take up my tutor's suggestion to play this work rather than Faure's Sicilienne for the DipABRSM exams.

12 Nov 2008, Wed: I practised Faure's Apres Un Reve and Capuzzi's Concerto in D. The double bass soothes my soul!

13 Nov 2008, Thu: For the first part of the double bass lesson, I was playing scales so that I could work on getting a better right-hand technique so as to produce loud and powerful sounds on the double bass with a slow bow. More work required.

The rest of the lesson had me working on Faure's Apres Un Reve. I need better vibrato and right-hand technique to achieve the sound that I want. My tutor, MJ, left me in awe with his demonstration.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

An exhibition that I would recommend

I am pleased to share that my post on my recent visit to the exhibition, "The Legacy of Tan Kah Kee and Lee Kong Chian", has been published on

This exhibition has moved and inspired me deeply. Find out more about my visit to this exhibition here: Deeply moved by "The Legacy of Tan Kah Kee & Lee Kong Chian". If you have the time, please visit this exhibition by 31 Dec 2008.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore

Where in Singapore can one find the best mashed potato?

The answer may be a subjective one depending on the eater's preferences. Whatever it is, I shall attempt to search for the best mashed potato in Singapore. This series of post is dedicated to a good friend of mine. I overheard her saying that she has a liking for mashed potato. May she find simple pleasure reading about nice mashed potato in Singapore.

If you should know of any place that I should check out for nice mashed potato, please leave me a comment, would you? Thank you.

I shall begin this series of posts with the mashed potato with Cajun sauce from Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits. The reason is that I have a liking for the buttermilk biscuit from this fast-food chain-restaurant. As such, it did not take much effort on my part to travel to a Popeyes Chicken & Biscuit outlet to sample the mashed potato with Cajun sauce.

I ordered a 2-pc chicken set that comes with a biscuit, 2 pieces of chicken, a regular drink and one regular side (I chose the mashed potato). I then ask to add a regular coleslaw. All these for a total of $9.40.

One regular-size mashed potato with Cajun sauce would cost $2 on its own.

The Cajun sauce is delightfully interesting. It's mildly spicy but not hot. The mashed potato has a rather chunky texture rather than creamy texture. Yet, it remains generally smooth. The only thing is that I find the Cajun sauce a little too salty for my taste. I would just settle for the regular-size instead of a larger size.

The mashed potato aside, I love the buttermilk biscuit from Popeyes and would travel long distances just to satisfy my craving of it. The buttermilk biscuit, with maple syrup, will be a lovely and delightful treat for me.

Where to find Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits in Singapore:

- Singapore Changi International Airport, Terminal 1, Viewing Mall Central, Level 3
Opening Hours : 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.

- Singapore Changi International Airport, Terminal 3, B2 Mall @ T3 (Basement 2)
Opening Hours : 6 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Tel : (65) 62475521

- Singapore Flyer,
30 Raffles Avenue, #01-07
Singapore 039803
Level 1, #01-13
Opening hours: Daily from 9 a.m. - 12 midnight
Tel: (65) 6338 8300

Other posts in the series

KFC whipped potato
Oktober Fest mashed potato
Kenny Rogers Roasters mashed potato
Western Chow's mashed potato salad ham
Belly's Western Food mashed potato
Astons Express mashed potato
Secret Recipe mashed potato
Billy Bombers' mashed potato
Simply the best mashed potato to yours truly - made by my grandmother*
Chippy British Take Away mashed potato
Mashed potato from Saucisse Cafe
Garlic Mashed Potato from Breeks! Cafe
Yes! Asian Cafe baked mashed potato
Mashed potato from Paulaner Bräuhaus' Sunday Brunch
Ragazzi the Italian Kitchen mashed potato
Mashed potato from My Dad's Kitchen
Jalapeno's Pepper's Home Style Mashed Potatoes
The Mussel Guys Seafood and Steak Restaurant's mashed potato
Brewerkz's White Cheddar Mashed Potato
The mashed potato recipe
The making of my grandmother's mashed potato
Madam Lin's Restaurant Asian Street Food's mashed potato
Faz's Grill's mashed potato
Hog's Breath mashed potato
BBQ chicken's mashed potato
The mashed potato on Secret Recipe's Shepherd Pie
Border's Bistro's mashed potato
Kenny's Western Food's mashed potato
Miss Clarity Cafe's mashed potato (One of my favourite)
Mashed potato from Gourmet Martz Western Food
Arnold's Fried Chicken's mashed potato
Aerin's mashed potato
Cosafe Maid Bar & Restaurant's mashed potato
NUS Arts Canteen's Western Food Stall's mashed potato
Seasons Reasons' cheesy potato
Big O Cafe & Restaurant's roasted garlic mashed potato
Miss Clarity Cafe's country mash
Brotzeit's mashed potato
Lava Rock Grill House's mashed potato salad
Botak Jones' cheese potato
Mashed potato from Bobby's @ CHIJMES
Mashed potato from Western Food stall, Kopitiam, Changi Airport Terminal 3.
Hot Tomato Express' mashed potato
Outback Steakhouse's mashed potato
Vittles' mashed potato
MEGAbites Cafe's mashed potato with bolognaise
Mashed potato from SOUPerlicious!
Mad Jack Cafe's mashed potato
Mashed potato from Western Cuisine Stall (SMU's food court)
Mashed potato from Fromage
Recharge station's mashed potato with mushroom sauce
Empire State's mashed potato
The better ones thus far
Mash 'n' Spuds, and hand-whipped potato from Potato Farmland
Tony Roma's mashed potato
Uno Beef House's mashed potato ball
Werner's Oven's mashed potato
Mashed potatoes from Bistro @ The Gardens
Stoemp from Brussels Sprouts
Mashed potato from The Pump Room
Chili's Loaded Mashed Potatoes
Sour Puss Cafe's mashed potato
Ilmaz Western stall's mashed potato
Cafe Cartel's mashed potato
Oomphatico's mashed potato with feta
Robin's food experience's mashed potato
Tierney's Gourmet's mashed potato
The Grinning Gecko's mashed potato
Mash with assorted green from Sunset Tavern
Fisherios Fish N Chips' mashed potato
Chili's mashed potatoes with black pepper gravy
Erich's Wuerstelstand's mashed potato
Lava Rock Grill House's mashed potato with gravy
Le Aranda's mashed potato
Swiss Butchery's mashed potato
Hooters' mashed potato
Te Gem's mashed potato
Oui Oui the Food Stall's mashed potato

Thursday, November 13, 2008

On Karl Blog: Wake Up to Happiness

In my efforts to consciously choose to embrace happiness every moment, I would like to point my readers to this post on Karl Blog: Wake Up to Happiness!

My words of heartfelt thanks to my dear friend, XS, for sharing similar tips on consciously choosing happiness, two months ago. I'm amazed at how consciously choosing happiness have brought me inner joy even when I was faced with feelings of fear, sadness, anger and more to resolve.

I wish that she experiences happiness at her heart's core.

Many thanks to XS for her friendship. It has enriched my life greatly.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The apple with worms

As best as my imperfect auditory memory recalls, a treasured friend of mine asked "If you have to give a friend an apple, what kind of apple would you give to your friend?"

My natural response was to give the best possible to my friend even if I were to be left with a rotten one.

My treasured friend later made a statement that left a strong impression in me, and it went, "If the person is a good friend, the good friend will be willing to share the apple that's full of worms with you and help pick out the worms from the apple with you."

The verbally-reserved yours truly did not tell this treasured friend of mine that when that statement was made, my response deep within was that "You are a friend whom I'm willing to pick out the worms from the apple with. Could I?"

I wish for the wisdom and the skills to be able to be of service to this friend whenever that is needed.

At the same time, a part of me reminded me that I need to be mindful of the way I go about doing so. I've came to realised through many painful lessons of self-awareness, that when I deeply want to do something, I can do it with such great intensity, it can get overwhelming. One example is that of practising on the double bass when I deeply want to practise. I would practise even if it is weird hours of the night, e.g. close to midnight.

...Thank you for being a treasured friend of mine and for the many positive and very precious memories that you have given me. Please let me know if there's any way I can be a good friend, of yours.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bravo! I'm inspired

I am feeling greatly inspired by Guennadi Mouzyka's rendition of Bottesini's Gran Duo Concertante on the double bass. Read about my short account published on d'Bassists official webhome.

I wish that in the near future, there will be more public concerts featuring the double bass.

Meantime, it's practice and more good practice for me! Practising is fulfilling!

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Today is the day that one of my younger brothers gets married. The wedding day!

Here's wishing him and his bride everlasting bliss. May they find happiness and fulfilment in nurturing their marital relationship, and growing together as a couple.

My recent post on

The City Hall building. It was in this building where the Japanese surrendered to the Allies in the year 1945.

What memories do I have of the City Hall building? Find out more in my recent post on (Singapore's Heritage, Museum and Nostalgia Blog): Glimpses of City Hall building at Singapore Biennale 2008.

Do visit the City Hall building top catch the Singapore Biennale 2008 by 16 Nov 2008. Afterwhich, this building will undergo major conversion into the National Art Gallery, and it won't be opened to members of the public for quite a while.

Your feedback on the article will be most appreciated. I am hoping to gather feedback on my heritage-related posts. Thank you in advance.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Week 45 of year 2008 on the double bass

2 Nov 2008, Sun: I practised the second movement of Dittersdorf's Second Double Bass Concerto with the metronome. Afterwhich, I practised selected passages from the first movement of Dragonetti's Concerto in A major. The practice session got me feeling a positive sense of euphoria. My face was glowing in healthy-pink colour after I decided to call it a day. I love practising on the double bass on such occasion. It gives me a lovely 'high' feeling.

3 Nov 2008, Mon: I practised Pachelbel's Canon in D arranged by David Heyes. The intonation is improving with good practice. I also tried to play the first section of Faure's Sicilienne from memory. I managed it. Future practice would require me to practise the middle section and master it.

I also practised the first movement of Autumn from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons to get the fingers to remember where they should be for this movement. I cannot explain why, my ears like the structure of this movement. It somehow worked out well. The bassline is also interesting.

Kennedy play´s Vivaldi´s Autumn, first movement. (View Source)

6 Nov 2008, Thu: It's double bass lesson day! My tutor specially got me a few scores to sight-read. Many thanks to my thoughtful tutor. He even allowed me to use his bow so that I could feel the difference in balance between a bow made by a master
and an average bow.

I sight-read Faure's Apres Un Reve (After A Dream(). My tutor was of the opinion that it would be a more secured piece to play for the exams compared to Faure's Sicilienne. First is that it's easier to achieve better intonation in Apres Un Reve. That would free me to work on expression. My tutor gave me a demonstration of his rendition of Apres Un Reve and I was moved by the deep singing voice of the double bass. He gave an expressive rendition. I hope to get to his level of playing soon.

After which, I played the first and second movement of Marcello's Sonata in G major as much from memory as I could. I was pretty impressed by my tutor's strong auditory memory. He could remember the entire work by ear, and he was able to hear that I have made a mistake without referring to the scores!

After lesson, I couldn't help but sing aloud. Music brings depth to life!

7 Nov 2008, Fri: At about 11.20 p.m., I started practising the first section of Faure's Apres Un Reve with the metronome. At that hour of the night, I decided it was necessary to put on the practising mute. The goal was to work towards securing the rhythm. Faure's Apres Un Reve sounds very lovely when played in the dark hours of the night.

8 Nov 2008, Sat: I continued my practice of Faure's Apres Un Reve with the metronome. Other than working on securing the rhythm, I strived to achieve play lyrically on the double bass. It shall sing! The vibrations from the double bass are extremely therapeutic. They allowed me to release the inner cries that I have within me.

I just reached home from a concert in which Guennadi Mouzyka performed an inspiring rendition of Bottesini's Gran Duo Concertante on the double bass! I simply love it and was all ears throughout the performance of this work!

9 Nov 2008 is the wedding day of one of my younger brothers. Our family will be hosting two of our relatives at our place for most of next week. I hope that I would still have the chance to keep up to my goal of practising at least four days per week.

Australia 2008

My recent visit to Sydney and Melbourne has been a recharging one. Aside from the time that was spent sight-seeing, the recent trip to Australia was a very meaningful one because I had the pleasure to spend some time with a few of my friends.

It is with great pleasure that I dedicate this entire series of posts of my recent visit to Australia to one of my friends, XS, whose friendship I cherish. For it was the power of her call that led me to choose to visit Sydney as the venue of my overdue overseas vacation. Many thanks too to XS for her sharing on ways to achieve happiness. I have found myself benefiting from her sharing, and am happier as a result.

Here's a chance to savour the bits and pieces of this trip to Australia by reading the related posts I have published. The links to all the related posts can be found right below.

Do let me know which post is your favourite, and which has left the deepest impression in you.

Last but not the least, I wish that XS will soon find the appropriate avenues to fulfil some of her ideals, if not all, and make this world a better place to be in.

May this world be a better place for everyone.