Friday, July 31, 2009

Frozen Treat test

Possibly, it is my closer friends who will have the privilege to see the more goofy side of me?

You Are an Ice Cream Sandwich

You are well grounded, reliable, and very balanced.

You love to work hard, but you also know how to take it easy.

People might be surprised to know you have a very goofy side to you.

You like to let loose and have fun. You just don't let yourself go too crazy!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 43

I met up with one of my good friends, Mystic, on 10 Jun 2009 (Wed)and she obliged with my hunt for the best mashed potato yet again (even though the hunt was not dedicated to Mystic).

We ended up at Outback Steakhouse. This restaurant generally has good air ventilation and that greatly pleased yours truly. I ordered a plate of BBQ Quarter Chicken. It came with coleslaw and garlic mashed potato. The BBQ Quarter Chicken costs $20.90 before taxes. The mashed potato if ordered on its own would costs $8.90 before tax.

The mashed potato contains bits of cleaned mashed potato skin. The mashed potato has a refined, buttery, smooth and creamy texture that delights. It was a little on the salty side, yet the texture and generally delightful taste makes up for it. It is not oily.

The ambience of Outback Steakhouse makes me remind of Australia, and it does have a "No Worries" feel to it. I suppose this is the "Let go" mantra that the people in Australia subscribe to? Furthermore, I have one good friend to dine with, and the company makes the dinner more delightful.

So all these makes it a rewarding time to taste the mashed potato, and makes the mashed potato here an above-average mashed potato. I won't mind coming back again with a good friend to try the mashed potato.

With this post, I wish my friend to whom the series of posts were dedicated to: freedom and blessings to live out her destiny.

Outback Steakhouse - Singapore:
Millenia Walk
9 raffles Boulevard
Time2 @ Millenia Walk
Telephone: (65) 68373242

Store Hours:
Mon-Fri: 11:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. (Daily)
Sat-Sun: 11:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Read: ODDitude: Finding the Passion for Who You Are and What You Do

A week ago, I finished reading a book that I had borrowed from the library. The title of the book was ODDitude: Finding the Passion for Who You Are and What You Do. This book is written in a magazine-style in that each chapter is self-contained and can be read on its own. This makes the book very accessible. I could read one chapter at a time on my way to work, and back home. While this is not the usual kind of book that I would buy and collect, it is a refreshing read nevertheless. It offers perspectives that I may otherwise not thought of on my own.

I think it was a good idea that the author consolidates and lists the insightful quotations from this book at the last few pages of the book. That, I think, allows for easy recapitulation of the essence of the core messages from this book.

Here are a few of the quotations that I have found useful:

"Never walk a road that doesn't lead to your heart."

"You do what's right because it's right. (The Jimmy Flasken Rule)"

"Losing and learning to go on and live again is the only kind of winning that truly matters."

When what one needs is some healthy dosage of learning to appreciate one's unique talents and qualities, this may be one book to read to affirm one to be true to oneself.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A short visit to Hort Park

Silver Garden

My adventurous walk on 19 Jun 2009 (Fri) from Mount Faber Park to the Reflections at Bt Chandu brought me to visit Hort Park for a short while.

HortPark, I personally find, is rather a challenge for yours truly to pronounce correctly. If I am not careful, I end up pronouncing it as "Hot Park". As such, I am more in the favour of referring to HortPark as the "Gardening Hub".

There were some interesting attractions at the HortPark. I am particularly attracted to the Bamboo Labyrinth. I felt a sense of peace and tranquility simply by being there. There seems a lot more interesting attractions at the HortPark but I was more keen to head towards Kent Ridge Park and the Reflections at Bt Chandu that day.

Bamboo Labyrinth

33 Hyderabad Road, Off Alexandra Road

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Week 30 of year 2009 on the double bass

19 Jul 2009, Sun: I practised a few studies. Afterwhich, I worked on a couple of the pieces such as Faure's Apres Un Reve, Marcello's Sonata in G major and Capuzzi's Concerto in D major. The goal was to enjoy the playing while being mindful of keeping a steady sense of pulse.

20 Jul 2009, Mon: Many thanks to my tutor for testing out the sound of my instrument at the concert halls. I was mesmerised by the sound of the instrument in the concert hall when my tutor played on it at VCH. That was inspiring. Hopefully I would play better soon.

During the lesson, I worked on the Capuzzi's Concerto in D major. It looks like I have to continue working with the metronome, perhaps at a slightly faster speed.

22 Jul 2009, Wed: I am growing to like the sound of my instrument. I worked with the metronome to practise Faure's Apres Un Reve and selected passages from Capuzzi's Concerto in D major. I love the way it sings.

23 Jul 2009, Thu: I worked on a few studies from Hartley's Double Bass Solo Book Two. It was more to focus on my sense of rhythm. I need more focus.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Telok Blangah Hill adventure

Terrace Garden.

On 19 Jun 2009 (Fri), I went for a walk to be close to Nature. My starting point was Mount Faber Park. After walking across Henderson Waves from Mount Faber, I reached the Telok Blangah Hill. I explored the Telok Blangah Hill by walking along the direction-markers that would lead me to the Forest Walk. Forest Walk is "a steps-free elevated walkway with earth trails that meanders through some 50 metres through the secondary forest of Telok Blangah Hill and connects to Alexandra Arch."

There is a beautifully landscaped garden on Telok Blangah Hill. It's called the Terrace Garden. Terrace Garden offers a beautiful view of neighbouring housing estates as well as of the island of Sentosa. On a good day, one can be treated with light and cool breezes. It was a fairly good day when I was there.

After enjoying moments of good view and cool breezes at the Terrace Garden, I headed for the Forest Walk. Along the way, I could get close to the plants of the secondary forest of Telok Blangah Hill. Occasionally, I get to hear birds singing away. It was quite a pleasant and relaxing experience. Perhaps I had slowly accustomised myself to walking on structures that are built above the ground after crossing Henderson Waves, I did not have as much fears walking along the elevated walkway of the Forest Walk. Furthermore, I learnt that Forest Walk is a a "disabled-friendly" structure.

I could not help but felt more refreshed and energised just simply by walking alongside Nature. I took my time enjoying the moments close to Nature. It was a pleasant walk on my own. The Forest Walk came to a close when I reached Alexandra Arch that spans across Alexandra Road.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 43

It was 6 Jun 2009 and I was at Plaza Singapura. I ordered what was known to be one of Hot Tomato Express' specialities: The Roast Spring Chicken (Half). This comes with lettuce, corn and mashed potato, and costs $7.90 before taxes. The mashed potato would costs $2.50 before tax if ordered on its own.

Hot Tomato Express' mashed potato has a soft and smooth texture. It comes with brown sauce that has a dash of herb-like flavour. The flake-like soft texture of the mashed potato makes me wonder if it was made from mashed potato flakes with water added? Whatever it is, although I find the taste of the mashed potato from Hot Tomato Express pretty average, it fared better than the Maggi mashed potato from Chippy British Take-Away because of a comparatively better tasting brown gravy.

I won't come back specially to eat the mashed potato from Hot Tomato Express. However, I won't mind ordering it if I were to eat at Hot Tomato Express with my friend to whom this series of mashed potato posts is dedicated to.

The mashed potato did complement the roast spring chicken. Actually, the speciality roast spring chicken was just average. The corn was overdone. What had brought me delight was the lettuce with its zesty and refreshing dressing.

With this post, I wish my friend to whom this series of posts was dedicated to: the passion to live life fully.

Hot Tomato Express
Plaza Singapura
68 Orchard Road
Singapore 28839
Tel: 6341 9162
Operating Hours: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Serene Centre: During my childhood days

In a mood for nostalgia, I shall find some time to blog about the Serene Centre located at 10 Jalan Serene. Basically, I very often associate Serene Centre with the MacDonald's fast-food restaurant that is located there.

My maternal grandparents' place is fairly nearby the Serene Centre. I fondly remember that during the times when I visit my grandparents' place when I was a child, one of the occasional treats was a visit to the Serene Centre's MacDonald's outlet. More than two decades ago, the MacDonald's outlet at Serene Centre had a much bigger floor area that spanned two storeys. It was so big that there was enough space to accomodate a modest indoor playground within its premises. One of the highlights of my visits to the outlet was not to eat the food, but to play at the indoor playground.

I remember that the indoor playground had a lot of colourful plastic balls that form a sea of balls that one could jump into and play with. The playground, with its slides and built-in obstacles, was simply a fascinating ground for yours truly as a young child.

Come to think of it: As a young child, I did not quite comprehend that it would probably cost my grandmother, who was usually the one who would take me to the MacDonald's outlet when I was a child, quite a bit just to have a simple meal there. The thing I could understand then was that it was fun and novel to be at the playground. That was all. I hope that it had brought her some delight to watch her grandchild enjoy the moments at the playground.

I shall take this chance to express heartfelt gratitude to my grandmother for her care, encouragement and love. She is one person in this world whom I am deeply thankful for.

Footnote: As I was writing this post (which would be published on 22 Jul 2009), my heart guided me to give my grandmother a phone-call to find a time to meet up with her.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Henderson Waves adventure

I have heard about Henderson Waves from friends and fellow-bloggers but I had not visited it until 19 Jun 2009 (Fri). I was in need of a breather from work, and greatly needed to spend time close to Nature. All these lead me to decide to start a leisure walk from Mount Faber to Telok Blangah Hill, to Hort Park, Kent Ridge Park and finally to the Reflections at Bt Chandu.

In this post, I shall attempt to share about my walk along Henderson Waves. According to the information that is found on the National Parks Singapore's website:

At 36 metres above Henderson Road, Henderson Waves is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore. It was built to connect the two hills of Mount Faber and Telok Blangah Hill.

To reach Henderson Waves, I took a bus from 131 from the HarbourFront and alighted at the bus-stop along Henderson Road. Bus service 145 also gets one there. Then I crossed to the other side of the road and took the staircase up to Mount Faber Park. That eventually led me to this part of the Mount Faber Park that bears the sign Henderson Waves.

My walk along Henderson Waves then begun. I realised that I have a fear of heights when I walk on structures that seem to be suspended high up in the air. I felt fears that I would wobble down and fall from the bridge! It was strange that while I trust that the engineers did a great job to make sure that the bridge will be stable, my body could not help sending me signals of fear when I started to cross this bridge. It took me a while before I could concentrate on enjoying the views from the bridge than to worry about falling down from the bridge!

The official National Parks Singapore's website wrote that Henderson Waves "has a unique wave-form made up of seven undulating curved steel “ribs” that alternately rise over and under its deck." I was pretty attracted to the wave-like form of the bridge. This bridge gets one a very down-to-earth feel. Slats of yellow balau wood are used in the decking. When one gets tired, one could rest on benches that were well blended in with the overall structures of the bridge.

Well, I shall end this post with a photo taken at a slanted angle of the snapshot on Henderson Waves. If it makes you feel wobbly. That was how I felt when I was on it. Alright, I do need more encouragement to conquer my unrealistic fears of walking on structures that are high above the ground.

Getting to Henderson Waves:

By Bus: Take bus service number 131, 145, 176 or 648. Alight at bus stop along Henderson Road, take the staircase up to Mount Faber Park.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Breakfast with Mystic

Starbucks Breakfast Platter.

Friends can inspire!

This morning, one of my good friends, Mystic and I met for a breakfast to chill out. I suggested to have breakfast at Starbucks Coffee since I have never tried having breakfast there. Mystic so kindly obliged.

Mystic, I can say has a passion for food. She has her way to describe the taste of food. One thing I keep learning from her is her good eye for taking photographs of food. Obviously, the photos in this post were taken by yours truly. Mystic did play a part to suggest that I remove the cutlery but otherwise, if the photos turned out uninteresting, it is because I have yet to master the art of taking photographs of food from my dear friend, Mystic.

Breakfast with Mystic was spent catching up, and learning to enjoy the moments. During our breakfast meeting, yours truly was inspired by Mystic's passion for food to write a post specially dedicated to her. After discussing with Mystic my ideas, we decided to call this post "Breakfast with Mystic". Here, I proudly announce the publication of the blog-post titled "Breakfast with Mystic". Mystic shall be my secret advisor for this post. However, if you do not like what was written, please come after the writer, i.e. yours truly. Whatever it is, lighten up when you read this post. Afterall, breakfast is intended to be a time to refresh and rejuvenate for the day!

For this post, I shall write about the new breakfast items at Starbucks Coffee. While we were queueing for the food, the Strawberry Yogurt Parfait from the Breakfast menu caught Mystic's eyes. Out of curiosity, I went online to search for the definition of "parfait". I found this:

1. a dessert made of rich cream, eggs, syrup, etc. frozen together and served in a tall, slender, short-stemmed glass
2. a dessert of layers of ice cream, crushed fruit, etc. in such a glass

Spinach-Egg Frittata, Turkey Bacon and Cheese.

Other than having learnt a new word today, I managed to have a good time reviewing our breakfast with Mystic. Please remember that this review is written by yours truly who decided that I would spend breakfast with Mystic in a light-hearted mood.

Mystic ordered the Spinach-Egg Frittata, Turkey Bacon and Cheese. This costs $5.90 with a cup of tea of one's choice. Mystic said that the price of the breakfast from Starbucks is comparable to Mac Donalds, and the Frittata is better than the breakfast item from MacDonalds. She enjoyed the fact that the egg contained spinach and that there was tomato in the Frittata. She ordered a cup of wild sweet orange tea to go with the Frittata and she said it is a good complement with the Frittata.

Mystic's suggestion for anyone who orders the Frittata is to request to have it cut into half. Firstly, that would allow sharing if one finds the portion to much for one person. Secondly, it will allow the Frittata to be more manageable to be consumed.

As for myself, I ordered the Starbucks Breakfast Platter. For $5.90 as well, it came with a cup of tea of my choice. I chose the Berryblossom white tea. It has a tinge of berry flavour and is a refreshing change from my usual choice of chamomile tea.

The platter consists of grapes, banana, a hard-boiled egg, multi-grain bun, and a slice of walnut-raisin bread. Since we were reviewing the breakfast together, Mystic definitely was asked to try some of my order.

Mystic thinks that the walnut-raisin bread is a unique choice of bread for a breakfast menu. I like the walnut-raisin bread for I have a liking for walnut!

The multi-grain bun is good on its own. Mystic can testify to it. I like its rustic texture and taste.

On the other hand, I don't like the fact that the hard-boiled egg was cold. This is possibly a personal preference. Mystic felt that the items on Starbucks' breakfast menu do not quite fall under what she would consider "hot breakfast item". It seemed like she considers parfait, boiled eggs, breads, buns, waffles and cereals as "non-hot items".

Mystic's suggestion for Starbucks is to consider serving the egg and the fruits on separate plates from the bread and bun. I suppose cold food items (grapes) and warm food items (toasted bread) should not mix. Furthermore, non-cooked (banana) and cooked item (egg) should be separated too.

Last but not the least, if you have found this post interesting enough to read, please keep your fingers crossed that Mystic and I would meet again for breakfast, and be game enough to review our breakfast together yet again. Until then, please find delight in having breakfast with your friends and family.

Week 29 of year 2009 on the double bass

12 Jul 2009, Sun: The focus continued to be on working on my sense of rhythm. I worked with the metronome clicking away in semiquavers so that I can work on the dotted-quaver rhythms and the semiquaver rhythms found in the first movement of Capuzzi's Concerto in D major. For the second part of my practice, I set the metronome clicking away in triplets so that I can work on the passage with triplet-rhythms.

13 Jul 2009, Mon: I continued to work on the dotted-quaver rhythms and semiquaver rhythms found in the first movement of Capuzzi's Concerto in D major. Afterwhich, I worked on vibrato technique. I ask for inspirations.

15 Jul 2009, Wed: I am trying to believe that steadiness will get me there. So even if it takes quite a bit to overcome the self-doubts and inertia, I continued to work steadily to practise at least four times a week.

The practice today got me working on studies and more studies. I felt I needed to use more time to know my current double bass at an intimate level. Studies provided the avenue to get me to better understand how to play the various intervals on my double bass.

After working on studies, I worked on Faure's Apres Un Reve. The focus was to achieve a steady rhythm and improving the vibrato technique.

Closing the day's practice, I worked through the second and fourth movement of Marcello's Sonata in G major.

16 Jul 2009, Thu: It must be that I was in the mood for contemporary music, I worked on the first half of Lennox Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro. Subsequently, I worked through Faure's Apres Un Reve.

17 Jul 2009, Fri: Work with the metronome continues. This was in hope to improve my sense of rhythm. I worked on the first and second movements of Capuzzi's Concerto in D major.

18 Jul 2009, Sat: During the double bass lesson, I worked on the 3rd and 4th movements of Marcello's Sonata in G major. The goal was to achieve a smooth change of bow and a good vibrato technique. Subsequently, I worked on the last page from Lennox Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro and managed to sort out some figurings.

During the lesson, while working on sight reading, my tutor taught me a way to better gauge the A-flat note that lies on the G string.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The room test

I prefer a laid-back approach to life. At the same time, I think my preference to have closure makes me strive to get things done too.

You Are the Living Room

You are laid back and casual. You can have fun in almost any situation.

You believe in being easy going. Life's hard enough, and you're not going to make it any harder.

You are sociable and friendly. You welcome almost anyone into your life.

You are completely unpretentious. You prefer living in a comfortable home to living in a showy home.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 42

On 2 May 2009 (Sat), I visited the Changi International Airport. I noticed that one of the stalls, specifically the Western Food stall, at Changi Airport Terminal Three, Basement Two Mall, Kopitiam (Kopi @ Terminal 3) Food Court, sells mashed potato. Being on the hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, it became so natural for me to order a serving of the mashed potato to do a review.

This mashed potato is sold at $1.50 per serving. The mashed potato was average and just palatable. The texture of the mashed potato was worse than average for my liking. As for the brown sauce, it did not quite bring out the flavour of the mashed potato. In fact, it gave an aftertaste that I had found too peppery and undelightful to my liking.

I don't think I would go back to this stall to have mashed potato again. It is just below average.

Anyway, I shall continue to send heart-warming thoughts to my friend to whom this series of posts was dedicated to.

I wish this friend of mine the faith and humour to deal with the times when things have yet to turn out right.

Where to find this stall?:

Changi Airport Terminal Three
Basement Two Mall
Kopitiam (Kopi @ Terminal 3) Food Court
No. 65 Airport Boulevard.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

11 parts blog posts about the National Museum of Singapore

On recently, noelbynature points out that Alicesg has written a massive 11-parts blog-post about her visits to the National Museum of Singapore. There is so much to know about the museum.

Find out more here: How many times can you blog about a visit to the museum?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Conquering Quarterlife Crisis: One Blog at a Time

Yesterday, I blogged about a book on the topic of quarterlife crisis that I have read recently. This morning, I was pleasantly surprised to hear from Molly Hoyne, Executive Director of Stratejoy, Inc.

Stratejoy is a site dedicated to helping 20 & 30 something women define success on their own terms and lead an authentically joyous life.

Here's quoting a few parts from Molly's email to me:

Stratejoy is thrilled to introduce four amazing women – Robyn, Kendra, Andrea & Marisa – who will be blogging about their Quarterlife Crisis starting Monday, July 13, 2009. They are allowing the world to be part of their journey as they tackle unemployment, big moves, soul sucking jobs, relationships, finding joy, staying true and all the other life-changing experiences that go along with being a Quarter Lifer.

These gutsy girls are helping challenge the stigma that this “crisis” is considered a failure and that somehow they should have avoided it. They’re not blaming anyone; they’re simply admitting they don’t have it “figured out” at the time in their lives when they thought they would. Through their weekly posts, these four women from across the country – DC, New York, Chicago, and Portland – will encourage you to think about your life, to challenge expectations and to carve our your own definition of success.

I have spent some time browsing Stratejoy and found that it has some useful resources and insights. Do make a visit.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Read: Who Cares What You're Supposed to Do?

This is a book that I would recommend women who are in their twenties and early thirties to have a read. In today's world, women have the privilege to have more options opened to them as compared to many decades ago. Strangely, having more options may create unknown pressures and doubts because there is possibly no exact road-map for women today. Furthermore, many of the societal expectations from many decades ago continue to prevail.

There are expectations that seem to suggest that women of that age are supposed to:
- have a fabulous career
- be financially independent
- be married with children
- have your own home
- enjoy a busy social life
- have a great body
- do it all right

Such expectations can unknowingly create pressure, doubts and feelings of guilt for those who felt that they cannot meet up to the expectations. What I find useful about this book is that it explores how one can put the pressures and expectations into perspective.

In addition, I find that it gave some useful strategy on how to steer away from self-doubt so that one could be in a better position to figure out what one would really want of one's life, rather than let the society dictate how one should live one's life.

The authors proposed the following four steps to resolving self-doubt:
1. Recognise and name the problem.
2. Understand and challenge the expectation.
3. Connect to what you value and believe.
4. Seek allies against self-doubt.

Essentially, Who Cares What You're Supposed to Do? Breaking the Rules to Get What You Want in Love, Life and Work is a book that explores the issues that women who are experiencing quarter-life crisis are likely to face.

While I find the case-examples a little hard to follow at times as they are scattered over various chapters of the book, these examples did help to illustrate many of the issues that are commonly faced by women in their quarter-life. I find it an insightful read as I admittedly experience issues related to quarterlife-crisis from time-to-time.

I also like the fact that this book was written by a psychologist. That seemed to make the writing style fairly appealing to yours truly who likes reading non-fiction books related to social science issues.

I took about a slightly more than a week to finish reading it. I look forward to overcoming some of my self-doubts and claiming the power to define my life on my own terms. May you too.

Online ites on Quarterlife crisis:

Title: Who cares what you're supposed to do? : breaking the rules to get what you want in love, life, and work
Author: Dickerson, Victoria C., with Fine, Carla.
Publisher New York : Berkley Publishing Group, 2004.

Available for loan from the National Library Board Singapore. Call Number: English 158.08422 DIC

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Week 28 of year 2009 on the double bass

5 Jul 2009, Sun: I started off gaining the momentum by practising studies to warm up. Afterwhich, time was spent practising Capuzzi's Concerto in D major.

6 Jul 2009, Mon: It was my first day rehearsing with my piano accompanist for the DipABRSM. We worked on Capuzzi's Concerto in D major and Faure's Apres Un Reve. It was my very first time playing these two works with piano accompaniment and it helped to know the areas that I would need to work very closely with the piano.

One thing that I need to work a lot on would be to work with the metronome to get the dotted quaver rhythms and triplet rhythms accurate, and to distinguish between the two. I need to count diligently too.

Next, I need to practise and have greater control over the way I do the vibrato. I need to have good control over the speed that I do the vibrato. In addition, I need to be able to keep my vibrato sustained. Practice and more practice. If I need help with the vibrato, I suppose I could ask my tutor for some guidance.

One thing somewhat new that I have learnt from the rehearsal was that I could help cue myself in by writing the rhythms for the piano parts on my parts, especially at places where there are rests.

I feel very grateful that my accompanist suggested that we work on Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro. It was something I have found challenging to work on and yet it was exactly so that I need to work on it more often. If not for my accompanist's suggestions, I might have postponed working on it to another day. While there are many details that I need to work further on, I was pleased that I had actually managed to rehearse this entire piece, and finally appreciated how the piano and the double bass relate to one another, during my very first rehearsal. This was a milestone in itself.

8 Jul 2009, Wed: I practised Faure's Apres Un Reve. The goal was to explore ways to vary the speed that I perform vibrato on the double bass.

9 Jul 2009, Thu: During the double bass lesson, my dear and kind double bass tutor allowed me the chance to play on his double bass that was strung with solo-tuning strings. The solo-tuning strings are already by nature, brighter in tone. His double bass further projected a warm and bright tone. Many of the times, I would have to manage my own self-doubts when I play on good instruments like his.

Anyway, during the lesson, he gave me tips on the vibrato techinque. Yet, nothing beats spending time to practise, and practise. We worked on Faure's Apres Un Reve and the first movement of Capuzzi's Concerto in D major.

Towards the end of my lesson, my tutor played a lovely rendition of Dittersdorf's Second Concerto on his double bass. That was inspiring.

In the evening, back at home, I worked on a couple of quick-studies.

11 Jun 2009, Sat: I worked with the metronome clicking at semiquaver-rhythm. The goal was to improve my rendition of the semiquaver-passage and the passages with dotted-quaver rhythm in the first movement of Capuzzi's Concerto in D major.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Another lovely evening at Little India

Colourful Little India, it is quite an interesting place to visit when one is in Singapore. It has charms of its own that intrigue me.

Firstly, other than a love for air-wells, I have an interest in the pre-war shop-houses in Singapore simply because I have a fascination with walking along five-foot ways. Secondly, the fragrance of spices and flowers in the Little India area are simply treats for the senses, at least for yours truly.

Today, I visited Little India with one of my good friends. She is kind and accomodated to my request to visit one of the South Indian temples in the Little India area, Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. We had the honour to observe a religious ceremony (temple worship) when we were there.

I am pleased to share that I have learnt something new as a result of my visit to Little India. That has to do with the theories to answering this question: Why are certain Hindu Gods and Goddesses depicted in blue?

"One of the theories is that Vishnu, because of his association with water, is depicted blue; therefore all his incarnations including Krishna, are shown as such. In Hinduism, persons who have depth of character and the capacity to fight evil are depicted as blue skinned. ...

"The theory of the blue coloring of Krishna goes to the fact that the Creator has given the maximum of blue to nature i.e. the sky, the oceans, the rivers and lakes. The deity who has the qualities of bravery, manliness, determination, the ability to deal with difficult situations, of stable mind and depth of character is represented as blue colored. Lord Krishna spent his life protecting humanity and destroying evil, hence he is colored blue."

(Source: Yahoo answers)

Many thanks to my friend for noticing that some of the statues of the gods in the temple were depicted as blue-skinned, and for sharing her findings on this with me. Yeah! One new thing I have learnt today! Our friends help us see things that we may otherwise not have noticed on our very own. Thank goodness for friends.

The delicious dinner that my friend and I had at a stall near Desker Rd.

An evening at Little India

This is a short post with a photo that I had taken while I was at Little India with one of my good friends, Mystic, on 19 Jun 2009. Mystic suggested for a dinner at one of the vegetarian restaurants.

I thank Mystic for her patience with me over the dinner. I think it was a rather challenging situation for her that I seem to take ages to decide on my order that night.

One thing I appreciate about my friends is that they have been patient and kind with me despite the flaws that I have. Thank goodness for good friends.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Merit in ABRSM Grade 8 Music Theory

A few months ago, I travelled to Ipoh, Malaysia to sit for the ABRSM Grade 8 Music Theory exams. The reason for sitting for the exams in a foreign country was because the date for the Grade 8 Music Theory exams in Singapore for the month of March 2009 clashed with a concert that I was performing in.

I am pleased to share that I was awarded a Merit in Grade 8 Music Theory. Thank you for your support and well-wishes.

Most importantly, I thank my music theory tutor for his patient and wise guidance.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 41

On 24 May 2009, I walked into Bobby's @ CHIJMES to try its mashed potato. I managed to strike a conversation with the staff who was serving me that day. It was nice of him that I could just simply order a mashed potato. He got to know the purpose of my visit, i.e. to sample the mashed potato so as the review if it is the best in Singapore. He told me that I'm the first customer that he knows who walked into Bobby's @ CHIJMES just for the mashed potato.

This mashed potato is served with brown sauce that is made from beef stock, I was told. As usual, I like the fact that the brown sauce is served separate from the mashed potato so that one could have greater control over the amount of brown sauce that would go with the mashed potato.

The mashed potato is simple and plain on its own, and has a no-gimmick, down-to-earth smooth texture. If eaten on its own, I would rate it as average. It would fare better than Kenny Roger's mashed potato of course. However, it lacked a distinctive flavour that would delight the taste-buds of yours truly so it did not ace itself as one of the best mashed potato in Singapore.

On the other hand, bearing in mind that the mashed potato here is more intended to go with the drinks and the main dishes, Bobby's mashed potato's plain and simple taste may have its mass appeal since such a taste would usually go well and compliment most drinks and meals. So the key is, the mashed potato here does not work as well if eaten on its own. By the way, I heard that the Ribs from Bobby's Taproom.Grill.Ribs is a hot favourite. If you do try the ribs, let me know if the mashed potato goes well well the ribs please.

Each serving of the mashed potato is $3 before taxes.

With this post, I wish my friend to whom this series of posts is dedicated to the power to connect and be accepted. Cheers!

Bobby's @ CHIJMES
Bobby's Taproom.Grill.Ribs
30, Victoria Street
#B1-03, CHIJMES Fountain Court
Singapore, 187996

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Oh, I'm stylish!

The results of this test said that I am stylish. The thing I don't quite agree is that I must have a gold watch. I have no fancy for gold watch because I usually have to take off my watch and throw it into my pocket when I play the double bass or write. A gold watch just does not fit the bill to be thrown about anytime.

What This Outfit Says About You

You are a stylish example for all. You are very put together.

You are glamourous and modern. You're the type of person who starts trends.

Besides wearing the right thing, you often say and do the right thing.

You are the perfect mix of wit and poise.

Your high end fashion designer match: Michael Kors

Your must have accessory: A gold watch

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The A&W at Crown Centre?

On 4 Jul 2009, I was taking a leisure walk from the Singapore Botanic Gardens to my maternal grandmother's place to spend an evening with her. On my way there, I passed by Crown Centre. I remember that there used to be an Angie the Choice cake-shop there about a decade ago.

I vaguely remember having lunch once in a blue moon at one of the food establishments that used to be located in Crown Centre when I was a Secondary School student studying in one of the secondary schools that was located nearby the area. Yet, I can't exactly remember what food establishment it was.

A couple of months ago, I walked past Crown Centre with one of my good friends and she commented that there used to be an A&W fast-food restaurant that used to be located in Crown Centre, during the times when I was a Secondary School student. That was more than a decade ago. Alas! When she mentioned that to me, my mind somehow could not recall the A&W fast-food restaurant that used to be there! My memory bank had almost no memory of the A&W restaurant that used to sit in Crown Centre.

Speaking of A&W fast-food restaurant, I have enjoyed its curly fries and waffle. The Root Beer Float was also an occasional treat for yours truly when I was a young child.

When I passed by Crown Centre recently, I decided I need to do something to recollect a bit of my memories of the A&W restaurant. If you happen to know anything about the A&W fast-food restaurant at Crown Centre, its exact location, its decor and whatever about it, I would greatly appreciate it if you could please drop your comment here to jolt my memory back. Better still, if you happen to visit this very A&W restaurant with me, remind me what we did there, if you could remember.

I look forward to hear from you in the hope to recall the memories that I seem to have temporarily lost.

In the meantime, I shall point readers to a few online posts related to the A&W restaurant that used to be located in that part of Singapore:
Trip down memory lane - Photo Gallery
Singapore's First Fast Food Restaurant (by Lam Chun See)

At the time of writing this post, I was informed by dear RL that the A&W restaurant was located where the Irish Pub now stands.

Week 27 of year 2009 on the double bass

28 Jun 2009, Sun: I practised all the three movements of Capuzzi's Concerto in D major focusing on securing a steady sense of rhythm especially for the first two movements.

29 Jun 2009, Mon: Time was spent practising Faure's Apres Un Reve to achieve better intonation. I also worked on Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro. In the hope to play from memory, I attempted to play the first movement of Marcello's Sonata in G major without referring to the scores.

1 Jul 2009, Wed: It was double bass lesson. It began with sight-reading. Much time was spent practising Faure's Apres Un Reve. Following which, I played Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro. What impressed me was when my tutor played a rendition of Marcello's Sonata in G major, he knew from his heart how music in the Baroque style would sound like.

2 Jul 2009, Thu: I worked on quick-studies of a few excerpts from contemporary orchestral works. I needed to work on counting the rhythms and to achieve a good musical line, and not merely play the notes.

Friday, July 03, 2009

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 40

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore continues. I received a tip-off from heritage-enthuasiast, Peter, to check out Botak Jones' cheese potato.

Following the tip-off, on 15 May 2009 I tried Botak Jones' cheese potato. This was said by the staff of Botak Jones to be Botak Jones' closest version to the mashed potato. I ordered a regular plate of Fish & Chips which costs $7 per plate. It comes with two sides. I chose of course the cheese potato and the coleslaw.

This chunky tasting cheese potato bears a tinge of aroma and taste of cheese. One can find bits of potato chunks in it. It has a rather gluey texture. It has its merits on its own.

I may not go back specially to Botak Jones to eat the cheesy potato since it doesn't seem to be offered on its own. Furthermore, I prefer the cheese potato to be served at a warmer temperature. Nevertheless, I could consider ordering the cheese potato as one of the sides the next few times that I eat at Botak Jones. It is quite a delightful choice compared to the usual fried fries.

With this post, I wish my friend to whom this series of mashed potato posts were dedicated to, a carefree and enthusiastic spirit.

Where to find Botak Jones outlets in Singapore:

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Read: Passion for Life

I was at the library on 20 Jun 2009 with a good friend of mine. The weeks before that visit to the library, I was experiencing inner turmoils feeling rather uncertain and clueless about how to make sense of life that may come. The feelings were what I would call growing-up pains.

On one hand, I am thankful that there are possibly unlimited choices about how my life could turn out to be. Yet, the unlimited possibilities have often left me clueless and stuck. There is an inner yearning to understand myself better, to understand my needs and aspirations that are deep down in me, so that I have an inner compass to guide me to make wiser and more effective choices that would allow me to follow my heart.

I suppose when one yearns hard for an answer, one's mind would direct one to choose books that could help get one closer to the answers? So I wasn't surprised that my hands somehow picked up the book Passion for Life: Lifelong Psychological and Spiritual Growth by Anne Brennan and Janice Brewi.

I still don't know all the answers that I seek to find. Nevertheless, it was somehow a comforting read for yours truly who is searching for some mid-life directions.

The book mentioned a quote by Carl Jung several times:

"I have treated many old people and when the unconscious is apparently threatened with the complete end, it ignores it. Life behaves as if it were going on. So I tell old people to live on as though they had centuries and then they will live properly."

I wonder whether it is because when one live as if one is here for eternity, one may live with greater grace?

Another insightful statement in this book that in some ways suggest that challenges and difficult times can be moments that signal areas for growth:

"At times of major transitions, like the movement from youth to midlife, often experiences a disharmony and a dismemberment that is a call for growth in consciousness and a change in life. The felt psychic disturbance is nature's way of calling a person to stop, pay attention, discover what is amiss and make the called-for changes."

If you are like myself searching for directions for the next phase of your life, this book can be an interesting read. I hope that I can find the wisdom and strength to live each day of my life to come with grace. May you too.