#27022017 – First Visit to Loyang Tua Pek Kong

Woke to great news – managed to secure another two interviews for the film I’m working on! :)))) Restores a bit of faith in humanity, ironically, bringing more consolation than from people I knew.

Was intending to check out Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple later in the day, so when my mum asked what I wanted to have for breakfast, I decided to have a vegetarian meal. Not sure who said what, but I thought I remembered something about some deities festival and devotees not consuming meat prior to visit. Just wanted to be safe!

First Visit to Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple

I’ve heard a lot about the Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple over the years – how they would distribute free bags and books to students in need, and free food for visitors. Somehow I’ve always pictured the temple to be a small place, even though I knew that they also worship other deities of other religions there.

It’s Tua Pek Kong birthday today I think? Decided to finally see the place for myself. ūüôā Mum and dad came along too. Dad had his fair share of ‘wise man’ fun – I was looking at everything in awe and he kept giving me the ‘I already knew, duh’ expression. 

“Eh dad you see this? Woah!”

‘Yeah? #notsurprised’

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Was actually hoping to catch the puppet show and Teochew opera, apparently they only perform at night! (Smiles sadly) Dad wanted to get out of there before the night crowd and traffic jam build up.

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Even the details on the ceiling are so mesmerizing. Would I ever get the chance to make a full documentary about the temple? #dream

Another thing I really appreciate about the temple is how big-hearted they are. I went with my DSLR and no one once came forward to say anything. Do you know how rare that is in Singapore religious landmarks??

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Aside from the Taoist figures of faith, there is also the Indian ones sharing the temple space. 

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Then there’s the ŚĻ≥ŚģČś°• (roughly translates to Bridge of Safety). I am guessing that followers cross the bridge in hopes of a good and safe year? They were still setting up the queues when I was there. 

I have only seen a bridge at a Taoist funeral when I was very young. So when I saw ŚĻ≥ŚģČś°•on their website, I thought, okay la. Must be a small one. Turns out-

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 Holy moly. That’s one huge bridge!!

“OF COURSE LA. YOU THINK WHAT?”

That was my mum. Yeahhh. They got to be the wise one all day. Haha. 

That kind of concludes the whole trip! Sometimes visiting the temples of other religions really give you a different perspective of life. Try it someday! 

Just remember to be respectful and open-minded. You may not agree with all that they do but there’s definitely something worth learning from them. ūüôā

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#26022017 – Trying New Food + A Heavy Subject

Some places just don’t come up¬†off the top of your head.

Went to meet my eldest brother at Punggol Waterway for a quick late breakfast before he has to rush off. Mum wanted to go to Toastbox but it was packed. Then we went to ŤģįŚĺóŚźÉDesserts, they said most items on their menu are out of stock (-_-). So we went to Tuk Tuk Cha, but even as I rang the counter bell, the staff was in the kitchen using her phone. Two employees, and neither even bothered to look up.

Left with no choice, we crossed over to the other wing of the mall, and settled for Soup Spoon Union. Yeah, because Soup Spoon is one the food places that I really really dislike. But aye, gotta give them credit for the great staff service!

Ordered spicy wedges for momo, but turns out the wedges are the usual, and the killer spiciness was in the nacho cheese. So… Momo had bland wedges while my brother and I (we¬†can’t eat spicy food) almost died in our attempt to enjoy the cheese.

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I was the only one who hadn’t had breakfast, so I wanted to order a Portobello Chicken burger. Well… Bad luck streak hasn’t ended apparently, as they¬†ran out of Portobello mushroom. Whatever it was they recommended was pretty good, minus the black mushy chunk you see in the picture – it wasn’t very fresh. The rest of the burger was pretty good.

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After my brother left, it was mum’s turn to feel hungry. So we went to the śĖįŚľŹŚíĖŚē° one level down, where NTUC is. Momo wasn’t impressed with their Laksa.

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I ordered their¬†muahchee because I was curious what kind of¬†muahchee standard deserves double the price of normal ones. Turns out… It was okay! Maybe more for fans who love chunky peanuts. I prefer grinded down peanut. I guess it was worth the price of $4 because of the portion – ended up packing for takeaway!

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On A Side Note…

My mum and I discuss the weirdest things sometimes and there’s this topic that I really want to share¬†about. We were discussing the classic drama scene, where the doctor comes out of the operating theatre asking the dad to make the most difficult decision of his life – should they save the mother or the baby?

My answer is without a doubt, the mother. It may sound rather selfish, but I can have another baby after recovery. Sure, I’d be¬†heartbroken to lose a baby, but at least I can pray for him/her, and then¬†treat the next one even better to make up for the loss.

But if I were to save the baby, the baby would be born into a broken family. He/She may live with the burden that her life came at the expense of her mum. She may¬†have to suffer the horrible words from traditional elders (jinxed child) and be laughed at in school. Her father may be emotionally broken; she may have to face a new family if there’s a stepmother.

Maybe¬†there’s a void in my emotional spectrum, but I really see just one choice in this scene. I’d rather be the one living with the pain and loss than placing the burden on a young innocent child. If anything, I’d want my child to have the best.

…which is probably why I would never want to give birth to a child anyway.¬†There are these hereditary flaws in my genes that I’ve suffered through and I don’t want an innocent life to go through what I did. Not a chance.

Then again, maybe it’s just another one of those cases where¬†you don’t know until you’ve been there.¬†Just wanted to note down that this is what I think at this stage of my life, at the very least.

#25022017 – Of Cats, People and Food

Started the day with breakfast at the newly-renovated Divine Realm Vegetarian Restaurant with my eldest brother and sis-in-law.

We were actually running late but… I saw Ginger lazing at the playground! Ginger has been MIA since it was raining for the past few days (eh I thought our gahment said not enough rainwater), so I was glad to see that he’s okay! So I told mum to go ahead and that I’d catch up with her later.

So I took a few pictures of sleepy Ginger… And I looked up. Saw my mum in a distance, waiting for me with a -_- expression.

‘I thought you said we running late?’

Haha, that’s right. But I can’t say no to Ginger. Just look!

 

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Been going to Divine Realm since it first opened, but the variety and standard have been going straight downhill for the past few months. Decided to give it another shot today.

The restaurant is now air-conditioned and offer indoor seating only. They halved their kitchen space so the seating area is more spacious and well-organized now. It’s all stools without the backrest, so there’s still the occasional problem of ass-butting, haha.

There’s no menu on their signboard anymore but the food is still the same in general. The chicken rice is a little too oily (seemed more like oily rice than chicken rice) but the fried chicken is nice and crispy. Portion reverted too. ūüôā

We ordered 2 x kway chap with tofu dish, 2 x chicken rice and 1 yongtaufoo, total was $17.

Hopefully they’d get better and put up a new menu soon!

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We parted ways after the meal – my brother was going for their maternal lesson, and I was going to Buddha Tooth Relic Temple to catch Animal Human Alliance documentary screening on animal welfare.

The initial plan was to go with a friend and both our mothers, end up all the three of them (including my mum) couldn’t make it at the last minute. T_T

Thank goodness another bestie Miao came to save the day, and I didn’t have to catch the film by myself!

We attended the second session, where there was a Q&A segment after the screening with volunteer from the Saint John Island. What struck me the most was the following uncle.

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He pointed out that our government should build a place for these animals that people don’t want in their housing estates. The AHA organizer’s answer echoed my sentiments.

Here’s what I think –¬†firstly, it’s ridiculous to think that our government owes us a living. Sure, they are overpaid and not doing enough for the people, but that doesn’t mean that they have¬†the obligation to solve every petty issue that arises in our lives.

Also, what does that make of our society?

First, there’s¬†condo for the aged and sick, so they wouldn’t be alone and helpless in our estates. Then there’s¬†centralized hostels for foreign workers in Singapore, because so many locals ‘feel unsafe’ to see them chilling out in housing estates.

I mean, is that how it’s going to be, creating a separate zone for people that we don’t want or don’t like in our estate? Now it’s old people, foreigners and animals. What’s next? Separate estate for karaoke lovers, for nocturnal workers and for families with rowdy children?

Doesn’t that show how our people are becoming worse, being less tolerant, more petty and¬†having an unreasonable sense of entitlement?

As my poly lecturer once said,¬†when raising problems in Singapore and proposing issues, don’t start your statement with “Our government should”, but “As Singaporeans we should”.¬†It would give us a sense of empowerment and responsibility. Only then, would¬†we know what we can do, and how to start doing things better as a citizen.

Another thing that inspired me was the film. To be honest, it wasn’t well-made. The content is there, the statistical research is there, but not the technical aspect.

At the end of the film, Miao turned to me and said, “I bet the technical flaws are bugging you.”

Yes, it was. The audio quality, narrative quality and edit could have been better, and it would have been more engaging. I would be more than happy to help, and to add bilingual subtitles but… I don’t know them?

My point is, I felt inspired as a media worker. If someone whose expertise isn’t production has the courage and motivation to produce their own film, what am I so afraid about? What am I waiting for? What excuse do I have to turn my back against my dream? What’s most important is the content and the intention. The rest would only get better with time.

Lots of respect for the organizer who produced the film Р100% passion, sincerity and compassion. Would love to help with their media production if the chance arises!

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Miao and I went to Chinatown Point after the movie. We had Genki sushi and then… She was craving for Nine Fresh. Which I just had last night. (chuckles) But oh wells, #YOLO! I could eat the same 2 dishes with rice for six years straight in primary school, what’s so tough about one repetition aye? ^_^

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Meeting with Miao was one of the few stress-relieving things that happened since February began, as with all our besties gatherings. ūüôā

Received a text message on my way home, that my parents were meeting our in-laws for dinner. I didn’t eat much because I was still full from lunch, but I couldn’t resist a bit of durian that we had post-dinner. ¬†Still love the yellow wrinkly ones though!

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Later at night… I felt extremely exhausted. Haven’t slept well worrying about the shoot yesterday, and¬†been insomiac for the past few days. But tonight… I was really¬†really exhausted, so much so that I could feel my eyes closing even when I’m walking home.

But as I got home to shower… I felt awake again! Thus writing this entry, haha.

So far things have been great! Prays that this continue all the way to March!

#24022017 – The First Shoot at Cat Cafe

After much discussion and preparation, today’s the day, the first shoot for the short film that has been work in progress for a while now.

The first interview took place at¬†The Company of Cats, thanks to the help and cooperation from Chan, Animal Human Alliance representative and Shuyun from the cat cafe. ūüôā

Everything went smoothly, and it was hard to resist the fluffy cats! Before this visit, some of friends who had experiences at cat cafes locally and overseas said some cats may be too pampered and too much character, ie not wanting people to touch them at all, unfriendly or even a bit aggressive. Another problem I heard from people was the cleanliness and odour problem.

But I daresay now, neither problem came up at The Company of Cats, I soompah!

Sure, there was a brief whiff of cat smell when¬†they first open the door to the space, but that’s about it. The owners had air-conditioning and fans on to ensure circulation, and heck, there’s even music playing in the background. Even better life than me!

And as soon as we walked into the space, the cats came forth to greet us. They were such a lovable fluffy bunch~ They were curious with my bag, and got a little excited to see my headphone wires and cables. But as soon as we stroked them, they walked away to chill. No obsessing, no bad temper.

It was close to evening when we went, and the cats were taking a nap. One in particular, Meringue, decided that my tripod bag was its fengshui spot. 

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It was such a funny sight! Meringue slept on my tripod bag throughout the shoot, and when we were done, everything was packed. Well, almost everything. 

I wasn’t sure if the cat has a temper (from waking up), and so we had to ask the owner for help. (chuckles)

Um.. We need your help with the tripod bag.

But even then, Meringue was okay being woken up, simply walked to another corner to continue napping. Sad to say, they are way more reasonable than some human kids nowadays.

After the shoot, went to Chinatown Point with Terry, where I went to Daiso to¬†buy a container for the imminent¬†carnival next month. Momo wants to make sure the ingredients are tidy and laid out nicely. ūüėÄ

Then after more chatting, we went separate ways. I lugged my equipment to Hougang Mall, to buy Nine Fresh desserts for my family! My sis-in-law and elder brother were coming home for dinner, prepared by momo.

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Let me take a bit of time to express appreciation for my mum – it’s frickin’ tough cooking for our family because each of us have SUCH different food preferences.

Dad loves the pungent smelling meat, like pig intestines, fish, jellyfish, etc.
My eldest brother is a vegetarian, but he likes pungent smelling herbal soup, like Codonopsis.
My elder brother loves pork… Eh, actually, anything but seafood.
For me, it’s boiled vegetables, prawn, chicken, tomato sauce based food, and vegan soup.

So my mum has the habit of preparing individual dishes for us and so the dinner table is always filled with a wide variety. Really appreciate how tough it is to be her! ♥♥

All in all, it was a pretty great day. Glad that the first shoot went smoothly, and happy to have family dinner! It’s always hilariously rowdy. ūüėÄ

Hopefully everything picks up pace from here, fingers crossed!

#30012017 – A Full Proper Meal, Finally!

Final day of the long festive weekend!

Began the day with an awesome meal at New Fut Kai vegetarian restaurant at Jalan Besar. As we were finishing up the meal, I told my mum how this was the FIRST proper and filling meal for me since CNY celebrations began. To my surprise, my sister-in-law said that she felt the same way, hahaha.

I mean yeah, there were lots of food, lots of house visits but there’s always the¬†worry of judgment and inconvenience of finding a toilet. So I would refrain from eating the food and drinks. Let’s just say New Fut Kai saved the day! ūüėÄ

We’ve been going to this restaurant since ages ago and they’ve undergone several major changes, such as relocation and change of management team. But their food has been nothing but impressive and I really recommend vegan food lovers to pay them a visit.

Two best dishes – vegan sharks fin soup and roasted pork. The latter is much more expensive during the CNY period though, just FYI.

My eldest brother and sis-in-law went to Suntec City to check out the baby fair after the meal. My initial plan was to take a walk at the nearby City Square Mall but mum was feeling too cool to walk. (hahaha) We decided to the bus down to Chinatown Point instead, another one of my favourite places to go!

Saw the CNY rooster mascot from afar and mum was like…

‘That hardly looks like a chicken, more like a vase.’

I’m sorry, whoever designed this. (chuckles)

I spotted the magazine and newspaper vending machine in Chinatown Point and was telling my mum how more people would be losing their jobs.¬†My only problem with it is how they only accept payment by EZ-link cards. (-_-“)>

My mum and I wanted to try out the machine, and we literally had to rummage through our bag to find an EZ-link card. Mum uses a concession card while I’ve already changed to NETS Flashpay for convenience.

The machine is similar to the snacks¬†machine¬†back in my poly days but improvised with a new rod on top to nudge the paper after the rolling process. That means the item will definitely drop! Yay to no more scamming machine. Can’t even count the number of times I was cheated of my lunch back in school.

Many of our friends and relatives were saying how the Chinese traditions are dying, with seemingly lesser people hiring lion dance troupes, making it a quieter festive celebrations. Mum was saying that by the time the older generations are gone, these cultures would be fading too.

Then we saw this sister and brother duo at Coffeebean, playing with their lion dance getup. I believe they are foreigners? And it wasn’t¬†just wearing the lion head and playing mindlessly. You can actually see them mimic some of the classic moves, even kneeling down to do the bow. (^_^)

Mum was telling me how one of them seems to be doing a better job, then she realized the other one (sister) was wearing qipao.

“Ah, she’s wearing qipao no wonder her actions are more confined~”

Not sure why but I found her observation amusing, in a loving sort of way. ūüôā

Ch√Ęterais√© – My Must-Visit at Chinatown Point

Another¬†highlight of Chinatown Point that I love has to be the¬†Ch√Ęterais√© outlet, which by the way, seems to¬†have a variety of pronunciation. Share-To-Rah-Zee or Share-To-Hai-Zee? For my friends, it’s just “that Share-Ter something bakery”. XD

I really love their double fantasy puff, which is more fragrant than sweet and not filled to the brim, just as I like it to be. Also decided to try out their shaved ice ($2.20) and it was great, similar to snow ice. :)))

Working Out to feel less guilty

As much as I’ve successfully avoided snacks and sweet drinks during house visits, I still feel¬†a little guilty after all the¬†Ch√Ęterais√© and New Fut Kai awesomeness.

So… Time to get on the gym bike!

Can I just say… I’ve been having immense fun on my gym bike? It’s the one time I can shut out everything else (worries, people, thoughts) and just focus on working out.

Some time ago, I’ve been watching The Fat Doctor series on YouTube.¬†It’s said that¬†there’s a high success rate for gastric bypass surgeries patients but the one case they’ve featured where the patient didn’t wake from the anesthesia was actually a young patient with heart problems.

Somehow that made me realize the importance of keeping my heart healthy, and one of the main reasons why I wanted a gym bike.

An Hour with my gym bike

I can’t ride a real bike and even if I can, I feel like there’s so much to worry about – danger on the road, pedestrians, routes, road condition and possibly the worst of all, the idea that it’s a journey from point A to point B, which is mostly likely to be a place with food.

With gym bike, you’d end where you started, in the middle of my room! (chuckles)

Days ago when I first began riding the bike, I could only ride for about 10 minutes. It’s¬†been close to a month since I first started and I managed to ride over an hour, completing about 40km!

Got to give credit to the music too. I¬†use the 20-minute workout house music I found on YouTube and –

First 20 minutes: Music Speed 0.9x
Casual riding (about 20km/h speed) for first 2 minutes
Intense riding (40km/h) for next 2 minutes
Slowing down to about 18km/h during song transitions
Most of the time resistance set to 1.

Second 20 minutes: Music Speed 1.1x
Alternating speed for roughly every minute (depending on song beats)
Slowing down during song transitions
Resistance set to 4 during intense riding

Third 20 minutes: Music Speed 1.2x
Casual riding for 30 seconds
Intense riding up to 45km/h for 1 minute
Slowing down during song transitions
For the last few minutes of alternating(I lost count, haha), resistance set to 6

As the music was sped up for the 2nd and 3rd replays, I’d then set bike resistance to 4, riding about 20km/h to sort of cool down until the time was up!

Oh! I made it a point to drink water when I hit 10km, 15km, 20km, 25km marks, and then during the song transitions thereafter. Then it was a lot of stretching and walking around before sitting down to rest. Completed the routine close to 10pm, then it was doing some work before bathing time, and then more stretching of muscles before bedtime, especially for the hips.

I find the hips stretching important because gym bike is slightly different from actual bikes, and when you’re riding, I feel that the legs tend to be stretching more… outwards? So¬†stretching the hips help to sort of… realign everything and relief the strain.

 

So far so good! The gym bike looks set to be my best friend this year. I’ve completed¬†my first 100km on it so far~ Woots! Feeling inspired and ready to get back to work. (Nah, not really. HAHAHA)

 

#26012017 – What Financial Crisis?

Counting down 2 days till Chinese New Year!

After another day of hard work, it’s time to immerse in the festive spirit at the neighbourhood market. :))

Mum and I were waiting for the bus home, when she remarked on how incredibly crowded it is. Just look at all the empty carton boxes, crowd and emptied pasar malam stalls.

Amused, we looked at each other and asked the same question –¬†what financial crisis?

It’s something people seem to say habitually. Business is bad, times are bad, but when you look at the buying power of these civilians, it’s hard to believe the problems they are saying sometimes. I think that’s a good sign!

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As soon as we got home, mum and dad slipped out for a date, ditching me at home! But¬†I don’t really mind, that just means more time to myself with the gym bike.

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2017 has been great so far, except when life gets a little too busy for my own good. But no complaints, seeing how dejected I can be when I have too much free time on hand.

Looking forward to family reunion dinner in my room. Wooots!

#24012017 – Dreaming of a Getaway

Like I’ve said previously, I think turning 25 feels like the new 18. Suddenly I’m open to things I wasn’t comfortable with previously. And one of them is going overseas.

If anything, it’s probably because of my appreciation of my homeland, how I’m able to go to bed assured that no one is going to break in through my window or toilet (thanks, HDB). On the other hand, being able to go out for a meal without worrying as much about losing my valuables. My favourite part, is being able to stroll through the empty streets in the middle of the nights. ūüôā

That being said, I feel inspired to explore other countries this year.

Okay, I’d admit it’s partially because my horoscope and zodiac state that I’d have better luck in career and life with more travelling, gaining luck, inspiration and even business opportunities. (chuckles naively)

It was nice and fun to discuss this with my buddy before her bedtime!

Recently I just noticed TigerAir holiday packages function on their site and¬†gosh, it’s tempting! I mean, a 4day3night vacation in 4-star hotel in Malaysia for SGD$200 per pax? (starts dreaming)

Okay so here’s the catch! I’m ready to travel… but more of resting in a foreign land!

I hate extensive transportation journeys, especially when I’m stuck to a seat, ie bus, car, train. And no toilets. UGH.

So yeah, I think I’d even appreciate just staying in the hotel and enjoying their facilities!

And on that note, I sent my 9-5 buddy to bed. I bet she had sweet dreams.

And here’s a photo of the care package she gave me in a ziploc bag when we last met. The book is my annual journal, just using it as a background.

A little funny story about the chocolates she gave me – I believe she said the chocolates ar from her sister’s recent trip overseas and while she was packing them, her mother walked by and pointed to a bunch of chocolates, beckoning her to pack some for me.

Then she told her mum that those are alcohol-filled chocolates and it would somewhat drug me? Haha. Because I don’t drink alcohol of any kind! Just thought it was funny how ‘ethical’ a friend she was. XD