Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Looking back: The year of 2008

It is the end of year 2008. I looked through my blog posts for the year 2008, and it was heartwarming to realise that I have grown and developed in positive ways. This year of 2008 has been in many ways a meaningful year for me in terms of my personal development.

Year 2008 has its ups and downs. I am thankful that I have managed most of the down moments, and have emerged at least slightly more matured, and at least realised that I am actually slightly stronger than I had thought.

I have learnt that when obstacles come in the way, there are actually tests that help me see how much I want to achieve my goals. The goals that would require me to overcome the obstacles in order to be achieved. I have gained a deeper level of self-awareness, of my strengths, my weaknesses and about the things that would excite me.

In terms of exploring the world, literally, the year 2008 was a special one for I went travelling overseas once again on my own. I visited Sydney and Melbourne this September. The last time when I was travelling overseas on my own was in the year 2005 when I visited London. For me, it has always been a liberating and yet a humbling experience travelling overseas on my own. Here, I thank my friends whom I have met on this journey to Australia for lending me their treasured and much appreciated friendship and company. Thank you RL, XS, HQ and SG. I have had very precious memories of my short visit to Sydney and Melbourne.

I thank a cherished friend of mine, XS, for sharing her insightful ideas on happiness being a conscious choice. This idea on its own has helped me greatly. After I have started putting those ideas into practice, I have found that even though I still meet as many challenges, if not more, in my life right now, the challenges do not look as daunting as they used to be. I could learn to experience joy and happiness simply because I make it a choice to. Life feels more meaningful and fulfilling simply because of a shift of mindset and outlook. Thanks XS. I wish that she herself is already experiencing the good outcomes from the ideas that she has shared with me.

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Where it came to my study and practice of the double bass, I am starting to realise that what may seem a setback and a halt may be a blessing in disguise. Many thanks to my dear friend, Mystic, for lending me her encouragement, listening ears and support, especially when she first heard the news that I had failed my last double bass exams in Nov 2007. With a lot of deliberation, I had decided on using the year 2008 to work on strengthening my foundation in playing the double bass instead of retaking the exams. Admittedly, there were several times when I felt very frustrated being slowed down. I am thankful that the Life's events this year somehow helped me see many of the setbacks and the halts that had happened in my life could be blessings in disguise. I am pleased to share that my rendition of many of the exams-repertoire has improved at least to some extent.

I looked back and am deeply grateful that the year 2008 was a year when I had the honour to strengthen my friendship with a number of wonderful people. I thank them for the care and concern that they have showered on me. Particularly during the down moments of the year and during the times when my health took a plunge, their care gave me the support that I badly needed.

Delightfully, and this was quite out of my expectations, I have found my interests in Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and personality type reignited in the year 2008. First, there was a situation at work that calls for me to use concepts related to personality type to analyse the situation. Next, I could not fully figure out why I could end up talking quite a bit about MBTI and personality type when I met up with dear RL in Sydney. Whatever it is, there is joy in re-experiencing the enthusiasm and excitement that I had felt in year 2003/2004 when I first read the book, Gifts Differing. I thank RL for her interest and patience in listening to me share about personality type. The entire experience has been a meaningful one for me.

Where it came to blogging about heritage and the museums, the year 2008 has been a fairly rewarding year. Thanks to the help of a number of fellow Friends of, I managed to secure permission to take photographs of the NUS Museum (specifically the Ng Eng Teng Collection) and to use approved photographs to the exhibition titled The Legacy of Tan Kah Kee & Lee Kong Chian. NUS Museum even graciously gave me a personalised tour to the exhibition, Sculpturing Life. The tour greatly enhanced my appreciation of Ng Eng Teng's works. Remembering Ng Eng Teng and Some noteworthy exhibits from the Sculpturing Life exhibition were two posts that I had written this year, inspired by my visit to the NUS Museum. Earlier the year, I even had the privilege to blog about a major art exhibition, i.e. Xu Beihong in Nanyang.

Blogging wise, I have made a simple yet hopefully significant move to write positive things on this blog. May this simple move somehow contribute its part towards spreading positive energy around the world. My wish is that the positive energy would also reach my friend, XS, who has inspired and advised me to write positive things on this blog.

The year of 2008 has been a meaningful year. I am thankful that in this very year, I have made a couple of significant steps forward in terms of my personal growth and development.

With gratitude, I share the joy that I have had in the year 2008 with you. Wishing you a joyful and meaningful year of 2009.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 13

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore continues because each post serves to convey my heartfelt blessings to a treasured friend of mine to whom this entire series is dedicated to. Wishing my friend inspirations and joy!

In this post, I shall share about the Garlic Mashed Potato from Breeks! Cafe.

8 Dec 2008: I was at the airport, to fulfill my cravings for Popeye's buttermilk biscuit and to enjoy the open spaces of the airport. I managed to do some reading too while I was at the airport.

My instincts to search for good mashed potato somehow brought me to Terminal 2 eventually. I realised that Breeks Cafe sells garlic mashed potato. I was rather hesitant to try it because I was rather worried if the garlic taste from the mashed potato would be too overpowering and strong for my liking. It turned out that my worries were unfounded.

According to the description of the garlic mased potato that was found on the menu, it says that this dish is "pleasantly gluey with fluffy consistency, garlic aroma, and the unique shell-shaped scoop makes us want to eat more; beautiful to look at, even better to eat."

Sure enough, I was delighted to see that someone would think of presenting mashed potato in shell-shapes. The garlic taste was just right, in fact, mild and pleasant. It proved to me how garlic could work well with mashed potato. Somehow, the garlic aroma lifted and enhanced the taste of the mashed potato.

The sauce was pleasantly delightful. Even when I was trying it on its own, it did not taste salty. The sauce has a refined aftertaste, and this mashed potato is indeed nice to eat and nice to look at.

However, my advice is that please share this dish with someone. After my second serving eating it alone, I began to experience a bit of salty aftertaste that was probably a result of the accumulation of eating many mouthfuls of the garlic mashed potato and the sauce. My solution to this was to cleansed the palate with plain warm water from time to time.

Overall, it was still a nice eating experience. Each garlic mashed potato cost $3.50 ++ (before GST and service charge). Good quality potato appears to be used for this dish, and I like the fairly consistent texture of the mashed potato. This garlic mashed potato worth trying for anyone who does not mind some dash of garlic in their food.

Where to find Breeks! Cafe in Singapore:

Changi Airport, Terminal 2
Breeks Cafe @ 036-0871-01,
Viewing Mall North, Level 3, Terminal 2 (T2),
Singapore Changi Airport
Tel: 6543 1339

And more...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Wedding Dress test

The results happen to give a fairly accurate picture of what I see as a perfect marriage and my current philosophy towards marriage. Actually, my ideal wedding dress does not look like the one below, but the image below shows the closest match to my ideal wedding dress.

If I have a choice, and if I get married in the future, I would like to hold my wedding at one of my favourite museums in Singapore (either the Singapore Art Museum or the National Museum of Singapore).

What Your Ideal Wedding Dress Says About You

Your Personal Style:

Classic and elegant. You prefer to make a statement with a few quality pieces.

Your Ideal Wedding:

Traditional and formal, but not tacky. You think the most beautiful weddings are understated.

Your Philosophy on Marriage:

It's a serious commitment, and the couple entering it should be ready to work for their relationship.

Your Perfect Marriage:

Is calm, stable, deep, and meaningful.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A meet-up with ex-classmates

Hokkien Mee.

A friend and ex-classmate of mine, SM is in Singapore for a short stay. I was lucky to learn about her return and managed to have the pleasure to meet up with her and a few of my ex-classmates from my Junior-College class last evening.

Time flies. We have known each other for at least slightly more than a decade. We went to have our dinner at Food Republic, at VivoCity, and it was quite a good choice, for there was a range of local food to choose from.

Hakka "Thunder Tea" Rice.

We have had some nice time catching up with each other. It has been a while since the four of us got together. There were quite a bit of updates from each of us ladies, and we had the pleasure to browse through the photographs of WL's son.

We took a couple of photographs together. These were considered rare since it has been a while that we took photographs together. Many thanks to the kind lady who has helped us take two photographs for us.

After dinner, we settled for treats to ice-cream at Ben & Jerry's. I indulged myself with the Chocolate Therapy flavour ice-cream. It was an indulgence since I was advised to avoid eating cold food where possible. Anyway, it tasted good. It was not too sweet, and yet there was enough doses of chocolate flavour in it.

Here's to wish SM a meaningful stay in Singapore.

Week 52 of year 2008 on the double bass

Finally, it is the last full week of the year 2008. I resumed my practices on the double bass after a short break.

21 Dec 2008, Sun: I practised selected passages from the second movement of Keyper's Romance and Rondo very slowly. The goal was to help the fingers familiarise themselves with the passages so that eventually, they could play with accuracy and precision, without much thought.

22 Dec 2008, Mon: I practised Faure's Apres Un Reve and my rendition is improving by a bit. I still need more work on the vibrato technique and the right-hand technique so that the tone would sound warm and more legato where needed.

Afterwhich, I practised selected passages from the first movement of Schumann's First Symphony. The greatest challenge was to practise playing notes that were more than two octaves apart in their intervals, slowly to ensure precision and good intonation. More practice shall make perfect.

25 Dec 2008, Thu: I played two studies from Bottesini's Method for Double Bass Part One in hope to prepare myself for sight-reading tests.

Afterwhich, I practised the first movement from Dragonetti's Concerto in A major. I practised selected passages at a slower tempo so as to work on the intonation and articulation. I am starting to learn that slow and steady do help one to win the race. The tone of my playing on the double bass is improving, at least to some extent. I am loving the double bass.

26 Dec 2008, Fri: Close to 11 p.m., I took some time out to practise Faure's Apres Un Reve. To be considerate, I put on a practising mute on the bridge of my double bass, so that the double bass would not sound as loud as it would usually be. I would still need more work on the vibrato technique and to improve the intonation.

Meantime, one year has almost passed. I have managed to keep up with practising on the double bass four days per week, except for weeks that I had declared taking a break from practising. Cheers.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 12

7 Dec 2008: I was running out of ideas of where to find good mashed potato in Singapore. So I walked about from Asian Civilisation Museum, to Stamford Road, to Middle Road, and towards Bugis, walking aimlessly looking for a food outlet that serves mashed potato.

The first food outlet that I came across during the aimless search (excluding all those outlets whose mashed potato I had already tried) that serves mashed potato was "Saucisse Cafe".

It was located at 159 Rochor Road, Singapore 188426. Tel: 63365407.

This place does not serve mashed potato on its own. Mashed potato was served with main dishes. I ordered the (Half) Roasted Chicken. It's served with seasonal vegetables and roasted potato. Thanks to the staff who gave very good service, I was offered the choice to change one of the sides to mashed potato. The Roasted Chicken costs $9 each (excluding GST).

The mashed potato has a buttery and creamy texture. If eaten on its own, I would find it a little too salty for me. However, the sauce which contained herbs saved the mashed potato. I later learnt that the sauce was meant to go with the Roasted Chicken. Just add a tinge of the sauce, and it greatly enhanced the flavour of the mashed potato, and in fact, its pleasing herb-fragrance covered the salty aftertaste that the mashed potato had. I was amazed at the wonders that a good sauce could do to enhance the flavour of an otherwise average mashed potato.

Having said all, I may not want to go back to this place for mashed potato. Afterall, it does not serve mashed potato on its own. Then again, the nice waitress did offer to help me check if the chef could prepare mashed potato just to meet my request. This is what I call attentive service.

On the side, "Saucisse Cafe" appears to sell German-inspired food.

If you have followed through this series of posts, you would have realised that the key objective of this series of posts is not in the review of mashed potato in Singapore. The key objective is to send goodwill to a friend of mine with each and every post. I care.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A lovely Christmas eve exploring and chilling out

National Museum of Singapore. Photo taken by RL.

Christmas eve 2008:

The original plan for Christmas eve was to visit the Singapore Flyer with one of my friends, RL, in the afternoon, after work. However, the Singapore Flyer met with technical glitches on 23 Dec 2008 afternoon and its flight operation was deferred.

Photo of the Singapore Flyer. Taken on 15 Nov 2008.

Maybe it was a blessing in disguise that RL and myself that we could not take a flight onboard the Singapore Flyer on Christmas eve. We ended up, on a rainy day, visiting one of my favourite places in Singapore, the National Museum of Singapore. It was an enriching trip for me even though I have already visited the museum for umpteen times. The fascinating thing about visiting museum is that each visit is a unique learning experience. I am very biased. I think a short visit to the National Museum of Singapore is far more enriching than a flight onboard the Singapore Flyer.

Here are some photos that I had taken of the National Museum of Singapore quite a while time ago:

The Rotunda Dome.

The Glass Passage.

The Glass Rotunda and the escalators leading to The Canyon

There are a number of worthwhile exhibitions that are currently held at the National Museum of Singapore that I would recommend visitors to check out. I shall not attempt to write about these exhibitions unless the museum invites and grants me the permission to write and blog about these temporary exhibitions. Meantime, there are already a couple of good online posts that have featured these worthwhile exhibitions.

Here are the links, do check them out please:

Voom Portraits: Robert Wilson
by Simply Jean.
Doubleness: Photography by Chang Chien-Chi by Simply Jean.

In addition, I recommend that visitors check out the Singapore History Gallery and the Singapore Living Galleries of the National Museum of Singapore.

Here is a relevant post that readers may wish to browse:
Tales From The National Museum by Weichong.

During my visit to the museum with RL, I have learnt from my dear friend and companion about "Access Audit" and some of the criteria to look out for so as to determine if a building is accessible to everyone, including people who are physically challenged. I've learnt that the toilet doors of the toilets in the National Museum of Singapore which are meant for the people with physical challenges are too heavy to be opened with ease. Try it for yourself and you will agree with me too.


After our visit to the museum, we continued walking about Singapore. I was impressed with RL for her keen interest and stamina in walking from places to places instead of taking public transport. It looks like I have found my match when it comes to walking about Singapore.

While we were deciding on a place for dinner, we walked past a number of interesting buildings:

Previously the MPH building.

Stamford House.

Capitol Building. Singapore.

The Peranakan Museum.

For our dinner, we ended up, partly because of the weather, at Capitol Building and we treated ourselves to Hainanese Chicken Rice and other food from Hainanese Delights.

After dinner, we continued walking, and I insisted that RL take a view of the Singapore River from the Elgin Bridge. If it had been a clear night, the view would have been awesome.

View from Elgin Bridge at night. Taken in Aug 2007.

Afterwhich, we tried to look cold and uninterested when walking past the entire stretch of Boat Quay that ran parallel to the Singapore River. We had to look cold so as to attempt to deter the staff from the restaurants from asking us questions such as "What would you like to eat?", "Want to have something?" etc. However, we somehow seemed to attract a lot of such questions.

After a hearty stroll, we reached one of our destinations, The Fullerton Hotel. It was here that I have had a lovely and relaxing time chilling out with RL. Surprisingly, there were fewer people than I had expected at the hotel's courtyard. That meant good news for me since I prefer to be away from the crowd. Throughout the night, we were treated with live background music provided by a pianist as well as a choir.

Fullerton Hotel and Cavenagh Bridge

One thing I love about chilling out at the Fullerton Hotel's courtyard was that I was just sitting right below a lovely air-well! Please pardon me, I have a special liking for air-wells and tall ceilings. Maybe it is my love for spacious environment at work, subconsciously.

Courtyard of Fullerton Hotel. I love the air-well!

RL and yours truly indulged ourselves in the Fullerton Dessert Sampler. It was quite a treat to have on a Christmas Eve. The dessert sampler was thoughtfully presented, and one of the staff patiently introduced us to each and every item on the sampler. The service at Fullerton Hotel Courtyard was excellent. It was a lovely time chilling out, and I was glad that I have made time to chill out with RL.

Fullerton Dessert Sampler.

After chilling out at Fullerton Hotel, we headed for the Merlion, and the Esplanade Bridge. The satay-club that had used to exist just below the part of Esplanade Bridge near the side of the Merlion Park was no longer there. It was replaced by a Starbucks Coffee outlet. We continued our walk until we reached Anderson Bridge. I personally think that there was a pretty nice view from Anderson Bridge. It would be a good place to be standing on and to sing one's worries and sadness away.

Merlion, Singapore.

Anderson Bridge.

There are things on my mind that I have yet to have the answers for. I simply hope that those things that are out of my control would somehow work out well by themselves. If there are still things that are within my control but I am ignorant of, I hope somehow I could be enlightened.

My words of appreciation to RL for lending me company to explore Singapore and to chill out on Christmas eve. It has helped me spent the day meaningfully, taking me away from worrying about things that are beyond my control. I am thankful that I have found a friend in her. Here, I shall dedicate a post to RL one again to thank her for the most appreciated company on Christmas eve.

Here, I wish that everyone who reads this post will enjoy a peaceful and safe festive season. Keep safe please.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Here's wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and a joyful New Year.

If you are wondering how you could spend your time meaningful on Christmas Day, you may be delighted that the National Heritage Board (NHB) Museums have in store a number of very special programmes on 25 Dec 2008. During the Christmas Day Open House, all admission to NHB museums and special exhibits are absolutely free!

For more details, do read Christmas comes to the museums.

On the side, I did a couple of tests related to winter and Christmas. Just for fun. Try a few of these yourself.

Your Snow Test Says You're Independent

You feel like something good will happen to you in the next few weeks.

You love to work, especially when work is creative. You have the makings of a successful artist.

You are an independent, individualistic person. You thrive when you're doing your own thing.

Your biggest worry in your life is your health. You tend to be a bit of a hypochondriac.

When it comes time to relax, you always go the extra mile. You take relaxing as seriously as anything else in life.


You Are Considerate and Mature

You approach the holidays with responsibility and cooperation.

You'll do your part to make sure that everyone else has a happy holiday.

You aren't particularly picky or high maintenance during the holidays.

You're happy to be in the company of people you love, and you're willing to "go with the flow."

Of all the types, you are the most likely to give someone exactly what they want.

You're also the most likely to wrap all your presents well - to prevent peeking!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Managing fears: I have conquered a bridge

On 20 Dec 2008, I was thankful to be able to be onboard a special trail. The trail to explore the old Jurong Line.

I had first seen a section of the old Jurong line, i.e. the bridge over River Ulu Pandan, and the bridge over Sunset Way, more than a decade ago, and had kept wondering why I did not seem to see any train running along the railway tracks. I did not even know that the railway tracks on those bridges were part of the Jurong line. During my recent tour of the old Jurong line, I learnt that the old Jurong line was officially closed in the year 1993.

More than a decade after I had first got myself acquainted with a section of the old Jurong line, I read about the old Jurong Line from the blog Good Morning Yesterday. The post on the lost railway line did not interest me until I saw photographs of the railway bridges that ran over River Ulu Pandan. On Good Morning Yesterday, Peter Chan wrote two posts about his memories of the old Jurong Line. The links to these two posts can be found here: Ulu Pandan Heritage Trail (9) – The Lost Railway Line: Part 1 (by Peter Chan) and Ulu Pandan Heritage Trail (10) – The Lost Railway Line: Part 2 (by Peter Chan).

Subsequently, another blogger, Icemoon, wrote about the old Jurong Line in two of his posts: Old Tracks, New Trail (1) - The Bridge on the River U.Pandan and Old Tracks, New Trail (2) - In Search of the River Pandan Railway Bridge. I was similarly just attracted to a particular segment of the railway trail simply because that short segment of the line was familiar to me.

It brought me great delight and pleasure when blogger, Chun See, initated a tour of the Old Jurong trail. It meant that I could explore a part of Singapore that was relatively unknown to me.

I will probably blog about my tour of the old Jurong line in another post when schedule permits. Meantime, I hope to share that I have conquered a bridge that stretched across the River Ulu Pandan. It was a railway bridge that I had often seen on my bus-trip to the university, if I had paid attention to the sceneries around me.

Please visit this post by Icemoon titled Old Tracks, New Trail (2) - In Search of the River Pandan Railway Bridge to get a glimpse how this bridge would look from a distance.

Admittedly, I was feeling afraid when I started crossing the bridge. After I had covered the first one-third of the bridge, I had to walk the next one-third of it without any railings to hold on to. I had to be careful. I do not fear death as much as I fear dying for nothing, without a good cause. The next thing was that I have a fear of heights especially when I were to be high above the ground with limited support. Yet, I realised that if I do not manage my fears well enough, they would cripple me from enjoying the walk across the bridge.

The gentlemen who were on the old Jurong line trail with me were encouraging and urged me forward. I used talking as a way to distract myself from my fear of heights. The walk across the bridge became a practice for managing fears, and being courageous to take steps forward, one at a time. Eventually, I am pleased to share that I have walked the entire length of the bridge, from one end to the other.

The next time that I would have to cross similar bridges again, I hope that I would be able to cross with greater confidence. More importantly, I hope that in future attempts, I would be able to feel at ease to enjoy every single part of the scenery along the way, than to simply focus on getting safely to the other end of the bridge.

Anyway, at the very least, I have made a first step in managing my fears. Cheers!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 11

Despite the fact that I have been very biased and have announced on this very blog that the mashed potato that is made by my maternal grandmother is the best in Singapore, and perhaps in the world, to yours truly, I shall continue with my search for the best mashed potato in Singapore.

With this post, I wish my friend whom I dedicate this series of posts to, wisdom. In addition, I wish for my friend that Life is, at all times, generous and kind with her. May she experience joy every moment.

From a tip-off from Carcar, she said that she was told by a friend that at Raffles City, there's a take-away stall with nice mashed potato. I didn't know which stall it is, but I figured it could be the "Chippy British Take Away".

Chippy British Take Away sells "The Original Cheese Sausage with mashed potato" for $4 each. I wasn't in the mood for cheese sausage as I don't have a particular interest in meat nowadays. I ordered the mashed potato which costs $2.70 per serving.

As I watched the staff prepare the mashed potato for me, I noticed that the mashed potato was dispensed from a "Maggi" mashed potato dispensing machine. The mashed potato was piping hot. Smoke oozed out when I opened the lid of the container. The mashed potato has a very soft, fine and smooth texture. To achieve such a texture, there is a high likelihood that the mashed potato was prepared from liquidified potato flakes.

On its own, the mashed potato from Chippy British Take Away was of acceptable standard. However, the sauce was too salty for my liking. It even left a salty and thick aftertaste which I have found undesirable. I don't think I would try this again, and shall probably give the Original Cheese Sausage with mashed potato a miss since I don't quite fancy meat. Anyway, for $2.70 per serving of mashed potato and the fact that the mashed potato wasn't that desirable for me due to its sauce, I would probably not try the mashed potato from here again unless improvements have been made.

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting idea to eat mashed potato with Cheese sausage. I have just one advice to Chippy British Take Away for its mashed potato, do something about the sauce and improve it please.

Where to find Chippy British Take Away mashed potato:

252 North Bridge Road
#B1-58 Raffles City Shopping Centre

And many more outlets.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A tour about Chinatown with RL

18 Dec 2008 (Thu)

Photo taken by RL

Many thanks to my friend, RL, for setting aside time to meet up with me while she's back in Singapore. She has been a lovely company to check out some parts of Chinatown with me. I felt a sense of nostalgia visiting Chinatown and touring it like a tourist.

Our meeting point was at Chinatown MRT station. After we left the station, RL showed me where one could get interesting fashion wear in Chinatown. There were quite a lot of things that I had learnt from my lovely companion and friend that day.

On our way to a hawker centre to try local food, we passed by Sri Mariamman Temple, which is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Singapore. I suggested visiting the temple so as to have an appreciation of how a Hindu temple would look like. The truth was that I have already visited that temple many times. I had thought it might be an interesting exposure for RL to visit a Hindu temple for a while. I now keep my fingers crossed that I did not come across as an overly zealous tour-companion. Hopefully the visit did not leave my dear companion with headaches and cries. Whatever it was, I was doing my best to point out to her parts of Singapore that she might have otherwise overlooked.

Sri Mariamman Temple.
Singapore's oldest Hindu temple, founded by Naraina Pillai.

Our stop for good hawker food was the Maxwell Food Centre. Patricia Schultz wrote in the book 1000 places to see before you die - A traveller's Life list that one of the places that one must see is the hawker centre in Singapore. Good food at reasonable prices. Different cuisines are available from one single hawker centre. A visit to a hawker centre is definitely a "gastronomic and cultural experience".

Photo taken by RL.

Photo taken by RL. Peanut soup and red bean brown rice soup, which I believe was from stall number 75 of Maxwell Food Centre. Yummy!

RL generously gave me treats to peanut soup, red bean brown rice soup, watermelon juice, vegetables and bee-hoon soup. I was very well-fed with great food that afternoon. Many thanks to RL for her treats, though she needn't have.

Nearby the Maxwell Food Centre stood the URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) Centre, and I suggested that we could spend some time taking a look at the Singapore City Gallery. I have visited the Singapore City Gallery a couple of times, and am still fascinated with the three-dimensional models that can be found there. I personally think that the Singapore City Gallery is worth a visit for anyone who wants to get a quick appreciation of the Singapore city within less than an hour.

Photo taken by RL. Singapore City Gallery.

After our visit to the Singapore City Gallery, we eventually ended up at Telok Ayer Green, nearby Amoy Street and Telok Ayer Street. We did not explore the part of Telok Ayer Street that was near Thian Hock Kheng Temple. If anyone insists on getting a glimpse of how that part of Telok Ayer Street looks like, please refer to one of my past posts titled The Original Singapore Walk: A Chinatown Walk

Sculpture at Telok Ayer Green

Nagore Durgha Shrine. 140 Telok Ayer Street.

That afternoon, we walked along a section of Amoy Street and then walk towards the part of Telok Ayer Street that was where Far East Square stood. We came across a traditional Chinese pastry shop, Tan Hock Seng. I have learnt from RL about a kind of sweet that was made from glutinous rice. I tried some of it, and it was yummy. I wish that Tan Hock Seng will continue to enjoy good business so that it will stay strong and steady many decades later. Otherwise traditional pastry shops like Tan Hock Seng may one day become a part of history only.

Tan Hock Seng Cake Shop: 86 Telok Ayer Street, #01-01 Far East Square.

We also made a short visit at Fuk Tak Chi Temple. This site first began as a temple for the Cantonese and Hakka immigrants. They installed a shrine of the deity Tua Peh Kong at the current site of Fuk Tak Chi Temple sometime between 1820 and 1824. Subsequently, the site underwent a series of changes. It was later redeveloped into a street museum and re-opened to public on 19 November 1998 (View source: Singapore infopedia).

Below is a model of how the vicinity near Fuk Tak Chi Temple had looked like in the distant past. I believe that the model showed how the vicinity had looked like before land reclamation took place at that part of Chinatown. I am rather curious to learn about how Telok Ayer Street had looked like before the land reclamation, so this model that you see below is probably one of my favourite exhibits at Fuk Tak Chi Temple.

Photo taken by RL, at Fuk Tak Chi Temple.

After walking kilometres and kilometres, we treated ourselves to beverages at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. If I could drink cold beverages without a single care, and if I could tolerate the caffeine from coffee (without ending up with sleepless nights), I might have been sold to RL's recommendations and become a fan of one of her favourite beverages, the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf's Ultimate Ice Blended. Anyway, I had double hot chocolate with marshmallow instead. I have learnt that I should have chosen the small-size version and not the regular-size version. Nevertheless, in whatever outings and meet-ups, it was the company that matters most, not the food.

I thank RL for her friendship and her most appreciated company that day. Meeting up with her has helped me get in touch with my love for exploring places in Singapore. It's lovely to find peers who find pleasure in exploring Singapore. I am thankful to RL for her kind patience and understanding when I had to attend to a couple of phone calls and texted-messages while we were exploring the Chinatown. She also kindly lent me a listening ear, when I needed to remind myself to stay composed and calm to handle a particular situation more effectively. Thanks RL.

This post is dedicated to RL.

I wish her joy, every moment.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Week 51 of year 2008 on the double bass

The 51th week of year 2008 has be officially declared as a week of break. Anyway, if my urge to play on the double bass does come, I shall not refuse to do so.

14 Dec 2008, Sun: I practised a couple of studies from Bottesini's Method for Double Bass Part One. The goal was sight-read the studies, and improve my sight-reading skills.

16 Dec 2008, Tue: I practised Faure's Apres Un Reve and after which, I practised selected passages from the second and fourth movement of Marcello's Sonata in G major.

17 Dec 2008, Wed: There was orchestra rehearsal. It was the first rehearsal after a long break. We rehearsed Smetana's The Moldau and the first movement from Schumann's First Symphony. More practice would be needed.

I hope that the short break from the double bass would do me good in some ways.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mission Darkstar: Heritage Gaming Redefined

National Heritage Board (NHB) has launched its first online gaming competition entitled Mission Darkstar – Heritage Gaming Redefined

Divided into two stages, the competition invites members of the public who are keen to produce online games to submit their detailed proposals to NHB in the first stage. The top five proposals will each receive S$4,000 seed funds to execute their projects. In the second stage, the top three teams who produce the best online games as judged by a panel along with votes from the public, stand to win a total of S$13,500 worth of cash prizes. Visit to find out more!


Friday, December 19, 2008

Passing forward a good will

I am thankful for the goodwill and kindness that others have showered on me. All these goodwill and kindness are constant reminders for me to count my blessings, and to continue to pass the goodwill forward to people around me. Perhaps one day, the world would soon be a kinder and better place?

Last month, I published two online posts related to an exhibition titled "The Legacy of Tan Kah Kee & Lee Kong Chian". The posts were:
Deeply moved by "The Legacy of Tan Kah Kee & Lee Kong Chian"
What legacy can we leave behind?

As a result of seeking permission to get photographs for my two online posts, I have got to know the Project Manager of the exhibition.

I am hereby privileged to share that she gave me a copy of Selected Manuscripts, Speeches and Letters by Lee Kong Chian, Compiled and translated by Jane Wee & Ina Zhang. Published by National Library Board Singapore. Printed in Singapore by Chung Printing.
ISBN: 978-981-08-1843-2 (pbk). There are only limited copies of this booklet, and I felt privileged to be able to have a chance to read it to get a glimpse of Lee Kong Chian's outlook on various things.

After reading this booklet, I decided that the best way to respond to the goodwill was to pass it forward so that more people could enjoy the booklet. As such, I passed the booklet through a good friend to the library of one of the non-profit organisations in Singapore. I hope somehow it would be of use to some researchers there one day.


By the way, The Legacy of Tan Kah Kee and Lee Kong Chian, “承前启后 继往开来:陈嘉庚与李光前” is held from 18 Jul to 31 Dec 2008, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Closed on public holidays).

Exhibition website:

Venue: Level 10, National Library,
100 Victoria Street
Singapore 188064

Free admission.

Do check it out soon!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Doing good well

One of my good friends has very thoughtful got me a copy of the book titled Doing Good Well: What Does (and Does Not) Make Sense in the Nonprofit World authored by Willie Cheng. Here, I would like to thank her for her thoughtful and kind gesture. I am feeling very blessed to have a friend in her. This post is dedicated to her!

I had only briefly asked her for some details on the book, and numerous weeks later, she told me that she has gotten me a copy of the book. Many thanks to this friend of mine for keeping me in her thoughts.

Briefly, this is what the book is about: "Doing Good Well is a thinking man's guide to the nonprofit world. It surprises and challenges even as it seeks to explain charity-specific issues such as charitableness, bridging the rich/poor divide, informed giving and social entrepreneurship."

Here is a book review on this book:
October 04, 2008 in Knowledge@SMU

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 10

My hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore continues. I wish the friend whom I dedicate this series of posts to, good health and wisdom. May all the good things in life soon find their way to her.

I am very biased. I would say that one of the best mashed potato in Singapore is the one that is made by my maternal grandmother. The ingredients used are potato, salt (minimal), a bit of evaporated milk, butter (or margarine).

Here's snapshot of the making of the mashed potato.

This mashed potato is made with love and care. The very fact that my grandmother only add very minimal salt to it so as to cater to my preferences for less salt, makes this mashed potato the best in Singapore. I love the texture of the mashed potato made by her, maybe because it was a texture of mashed potato that I have been familiar with ever since I was a child.

My grandmother started making mashed potato for me and my siblings to eat, from time to time, starting from the time we were young, and old enough to eat solid food. It brings me positive and good old memories to eat the mashed potato made by my grandmother. It is so good that I can finish it even though the serving is big enough for two persons. I suppose any food that is made with love and care will taste fabulous?

I felt privileged that my grandmother made mashed potato for me when I requested for it. Hopefully I can find the chance to learn from her how to make nice mashed potato.

Thank you grandmother for the delightful lunch and the comforting and delicious mashed potato. All these were expressions of her love.

This is the lunch that my maternal grandmother cooked.
One of the dishes was the mashed potato.

Whet your appetite

A couple of days ago, I have the honour to celebrate Carcar's birthday with her at Paulaner Bräuhaus.

Carcar has a natural flair of taking good photographs of food. All readers here are in good luck to be able to take a peep at some of the photographs that Carcar has taken during our recent Sunday Brunch at Paulaner Bräuhaus. I thank Carcar for graciously shared her photos with me.

Feast your eyes, and whet your appetite.

Note: All photographs on display in this post are taken by Carcar.


Here I am writing a post as early as 5.47 a.m. Singapore time. I am asking for good luck, kindness, wise guidance and wisdom. Your good-wishes will be very much appreciated. Thank you in advance. I wish you a day that is enriched with care and blessings.