Friday, December 25, 2009

A visit to "Quest for Immortality"

For those who are fascinated by the ancient Egyptian world, there is now a special exhibition held at the National Museum of Singapore (22 Dec 2009 - 4 Apr 2010). The exhibition "Quest for Immortality – The World of Ancient Egypt" is presented by the National Museum of Singapore in co-operation with Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Egyptian and Near Eastern Department.

As stated in the publicity, this exhibition "offers an insight to the ancient Egyptian’s attitude to life and the afterlife, and the preparations they made to ensure their transition from earthly existence to immortality."

There are 230 artefacts spanning from 4000 BCE to 950 CE on display. The exhibit shown in the photo right above is a statue of the god Horus and King Horemheb. According to the explanatory notes, "Horemheb was believed to be an earthly incarnation of the god Horus." On the other hand, "Horus, the god of the sky or sun, is depicted with a human boday and the head of a falcon". This statue has a stately aura that caught my eyes. Furthermore, I understand that this is the most expensive artefact in the exhibition in terms of its value.

In the exhibition, visitors will also get to appreciate the process of mummification. There are also mummies of animals and humans on display. I learnt that the English word 'mummy' is derived from medieval Latin 'mumia', a borrowing of the Persian word mūm, which means "bitumen". Because of the blackened skin, bitumen was once thought to be used extensively in ancient Egyptian embalming procedures (source: Wikipedia)".

Non-flash photography is allowed for this exhibition. My personal experiences at the exhibition reminded me that rather than being pre-occupied with taking photographs of the various artefacts, one could see and learn more by taking time to view the various exhibits with his/her own naked eyes. Attending one of the guided tours that will start from 4 Jan 2010 will also be a great help to give one a deeper understanding of the ancient Egyptian's attitudes to life and afterlife. I intend to visit this exhibition for at least a second time.

There is an activity section in this exhibition that will certainly entertain and keep children (and adults) occupied. At this section, one can write one's name using hieroglyphs, which was used in written communication during the Old and Middle Egyptian eras. One can even have a chance to play a few ancient Egyptian indoor games.

On the whole, I like the way that the exhibition was thoughtfully curated and organised. I had wanted to attend one of the Curator's Tours, only to find that all the tickets have been sold out! I reckon that this meant that this exhibition is one that is worth going for.

More information about this information can be found here:

Many thanks to the National Museum of Singapore and all the parties involved for making this exhibition possible.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Exploring Singapore with RL

17 Dec 2009, Thu:

This is a special post dedicated to one of my good friends, RL, who has so generously and graciously lend me her time to explore parts of Singapore with me. This kind gesture of hers has helped me put my skills in exploring Singapore to good use.

It was a day that needed a bit more sunshine. We decided to explore East Coast Road and Joo Chiat area. One of the first landmarks that we saw when we were in the area was the Red House Bakery, also known as the Katong Confectionery and Bakery. According to infopedia, the "bakery was a popular breakfast haunt among Singaporeans living in the eastern part of Singapore, dishing out its signature cakes and curry puff." I learnt that this building is put in trust to the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) by the great grand-daughter of Hajjah Fatimah. 

Hopefully, one day the Red House Bakery could be restored to its former glory. This building may look humble yet it is precious because it holds the priceless memories of countless people who had made it once their favourite breakfast haunt.

When we were exploring for a shop that was selling pancakes, a drizzle started. We decided to use the opportunity to enjoy a nice bowl of laksa at 328 Katong Laksa stall located at 51 East Coast Road. The laksa tasted delicious, so was the chilli that was served with it. The best part was the hospitality of the gracious lady boss. When yours truly tried to ask if she could please take a photo with me and my friend, the lady boss very gladly agreed. I personally think that she has the sincerity and foresight as a business-lady.

After treating ourselves to Katong laksa, we strolled along the shophouses of East Coast Road. We visited Rumah Kim Choo and Rumah Bebe. Visitors to these two shophouses can clearly experience the rich Peranankan influences when they set foot into these two shophouses. Colourful kuehs greeted us when we were at Rumah Kim Choo.This place also sells nice Nonya dumplings.

There are lots of good food along East Coast Road and Joo Chiat Road. We stopped by the coffeeshop along 125 East Coast Road to treat ourselves to Mary's Corner's Tau Kwa Pau. Tau Kwa Pau is a dish consisting of fried beancurd skin stuffed with various ingredients such as minced meat, egg and cucumber. It certainly looked more delicious eating a Tau Kwa Pau than eating a plain beancurd on its own.

After the meal, we gave ourselves the challenge to walk the long stretch of Joo Chiat Road. One of my intentions was to accompany my friend to check out Kway Guan Huat at 95 Joo Chiat Road in the hope to see the traditional art of making popiah skin. We did not see get to see how the popiah skin were made, but I shall share a photo that I had taken when I was at Kway Guan Huat sometime last year. I simply think it is a fine art to make popiah skin by hand.

The making popiah skins at Kway Guan Huat.

When we were walking along Joo Chiat Road, we couldn't help but check out the various food establishments in the area. I was also admiring the interesting architectural designs on the shophouses in the area. There are some beautiful shophouses along Koon Seng Road that are worth a look.

What has made our tour of the Joo Chiat area complete for my dear friend was our stop-over at the Four Seasons Durian Cafe at 212 Joo Chiat Place. The reason is simply because my dear friend deems herself to be durian obsessed. It would be a challenge to resist fresh durians! Many thanks to my friend for her treat to durians. They were delicious and fresh.

On that very day, RL and I also visited Chinatown and Orchard area. What I appreciate about the day out with RL was the great company in her. We managed to catch up a bit on many things. The sights, good food and lovely places that we had experienced that day, were in my opinion secondary to sharing time to connect with a good friend.

Here, I thank RL for inspiring me in her own ways and for her generosity in exploring parts of Singapore with me. I salute her for her tenacity and endurance for walking hours with me. Thank goodness for wonderful friends like her. I wish her all the best in her endeavours.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Read: The Essential Spontaneous of Fulfillment of Desire

A few weeks ago, I read Deepak Chopra's The Essential: Spontaneous of Fulfillment of Desire - The Essence of Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence.

In some ways, arising from a few personal encounters I have had, I would like to believe that every coincidence can serve as a message. To a large extent, I have reasons to infer that certain people come to our lives for special reasons.

In this book, the concept of synchrodestiny amazes me and makes me think deeply about some of the things that have happened in my live. The author stated that
the ultimate truth of synchrodestiny - (is) that the sum total of the universe is conspiring to create your personal destiny. To do so it uses "acausal nonlocal connections."

While I still need a lot of wisdom to understand the gists in this book, I am glad that I had taken the first step to read it.

What do you think about the coincidences in our life? How are we to make wise sense of them?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A quarterlife crisis related article

I came across this online article by Robyn titled A Restless Generation. I would like to share it here for the purpose of reminding myself that career wise, I wish for a career that allows me to use the skills I enjoy using most:

- integrating ideas.
- reflection
- analysing
- use of empathy
- self-expression
- learn while travelling
- write

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Words of wisdom from a client

This is a post to thank the many clients whom I have worked with as a social worker for sharing with me lots of their wisdom.

With respect to the privacy and confidentiality of a client of mine, I shall share words of wisdom that came from a client when I met this client for a discussion a day ago. This client has gone through many challenges (personal, familial, financial, health etc) in life.

By the end of the session, this client shared words of wisdom. Basically, the gist is that what may seem to be bad days are to prepare oneself for the much better days. The client reflected and shared that "Pain and struggles in life are to help one gain wisdom and knowledge".

My client's words reminded me to keep my personal struggles and challenges in a more positive and broader perspective. I hope I could find the ways to overcome the existing challenges at hand, and be wiser in self-knowledge.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Read: Learned Optimism

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph. D. 

New York: Vintage Books

I have recently read the above-mentioned book. I was recommended to read another book titled The Optimistic Child and ended up reading Learned Optimism by the same author instead.

This website gives a very good summary of the various chapters from The Optimistic Child.

In brief, the author explained how he came about doing a research in the topic of optimism. He also outlined how pessimism may have a functional role to play. At the same time, he outlined how one's explanatory-style could contribute to making one more likely to experience learned helplessness compared to another person.

What I found was deep and am still mulling over was the author's attempt to address what he thinks could be contributors to the rising of depression in the American's society. He examined two trends: the waxing of the self and the waning of the commons, in his attempt to hypothesise what could be the contributors of rising depression.

This book can be an interesting read for anyone who is keen to find out how changing one's explanatory style could facilitate one to be more optimistic when the situation calls for it.

For those of you who would like to find out how optimistic you are, check out this link.