February 24, 2011 § 8 Comments
Decided to do a song post! My playlist in general is a rather limited affair. It’s 50% sermons, 20% Christian songs (of which 90% is Hillsong albums), 20% soundtracks and the remaining 10%, others.
These ‘others’ don’t often include many current or latest hits because I honestly feel very little for much of mainstream music. (Find it hard to listen to songs without meaningful lyrics). Most of my secular songs come from friends as recommendations, or random songs I hear used in short films on the internet. HAHA.
So for tonight here’s 10 songs from the 10% that are on my favourites list. Be warned that there may (generally) be a lot of Ingrid Michaelson and Regina Spektor on this list!
(In no particular order.) « Read the rest of this entry »
February 23, 2011 § 2 Comments
Honestly, I do, and I can’t think of anything else I would be happier doing as an intern.
I loved the experience because it was a bakery and I obviously Iove baking, the magic of ovens and the smell of freshly baked bread and how it just makes you feel all warm, fuzzy and homely inside. :] You can read more about it on Rediscover.sg.
You’ll be seeing more of it later on in the year when we launch our mini video series, there’s good news on that front that I’ll share more of when I can.
This time last year I went to Switzerland with 5 girls, this time this year I’m on internship with 3 guys. Somehow I haven’t managed to strike a balance on this front for reasons I have yet to comprehend.
Stay tuned. And if you see this by Thursday and want an A4 copy of my calendar at $20 a pop, let me know ASAP.
February 22, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Family went to MELT at Mandarin Oriental to celebrate our birthdays. Mom (21st Feb), sis (12th Feb) and I (4th Feb) are all February babies, 3 consecutive weeks worth of ‘em, so to save our stomachs and figures from obesity we try to celebrate it together.
This year we went to MELT, which is a great restaurant in Mandarin Oriental. This place is exorbitantly pricey during peak periods but the food is excellent as far as buffets go. Digressing, all the restaurants in Oriental are excellent. There’s Morton’s, of course, which needs no introduction. Cherry Garden, the dim sum place, which according to the author of ieatishootipost is the ‘sort of place you bring your future in-laws to when you’re going to break it to them that you’re marrying their daughter’. [There's the weekend dim sum a la carte buffet here at $45+++ per pax that is worth every penny.] There’s also Wasabi Bistro, the Japanese restaurant. The weekend brunch a la carte buffet is $58+++ per pax but is also worth every cent you put down. In short, you can’t really go wrong with any of Oriental’s offerings. It may be a little pricier than some others, but I subscribe to ieatishootipost’s Leslie Tay philosophy of not wasting my calories on yucky food. (Almost) nothing makes me feel grumpier and more dissatisfied than poorly prepared food especially if it’s going to my waistline.
COMING BACK TO MELT, yes… This isn’t the first time we came here, probably the second. We were here one Christmas as well. Because it’s her birthday month Mom had the option of having 15% off or 1 person dining for free (we took the latter option) when using UOB. They also gave us complimentary yummy praline cake, two big slices of it (which we were so full we had to tar-bao).
Now I don’t know about you, but to me the two most important parts of a buffet are the appetizers (read: sashimi and/or cold seafood) and the desserts. Everything else in between is a filler and forgivable if it isn’t up to par. So I always rate my buffets by how good the sashimi and desserts are.
Sashimi here is one of the best you can get on a buffet line. Fresh, not a hint of having been left out too long. Wasabi that kicks you in the nose and makes your eyes water. [No tuna for me, personal choice the same way I don't take sharks fin.]
Cheese platter. I love cheese. Almost every kind of cheese. Except maybe blue cheese. It’s always nice to go for buffets with expansive cheese selections to have a taste of stuff you normally only get on European breakfast tables. [If you really love cheese, try the buffet at Fullerton hotel. They have a cheese selection that will leave you dumbfounded.]
If you want to eat anything from the mains, go for the Indian cuisine, of which there is a lot of. They also have an entire Chinese section, pasta, western and all your usual suspects in an international buffet, but the Indian food is pretty yummy. I think it tasted better to me the last time we were here. This time I don’t think anything about it has changed, but my tastebuds have tasted the awesomeness of the cuisine while I was Sri Lanka last year, so it wasn’t as yums to me as it was previously. MELT has one of the most expansive buffet selections ever. I don’t have many pictures of it to share because I nibble on the mains and my plate therefore looks fairly pathetic and unphotogenic. So we’ll move on to the desserts.
Now they don’t stinge on their desserts either. Seriously, they offer more than any dedicated dessert shop any day. There’s drawers and plates full of cakes and creams and fondue with not just fruit but cookies on sticks.
And then the servers brought out two slices of this cake! It’s a praline with a crunchy nutty base. [Conrad has this cake too which we ordered some years for birthdays that is really really good.] Two slices because Mom told them there were 3 of us celebrating birthdays. We tarbao-ed them home because we simply couldn’t eat any more.
The service was great. I guess it’s not peak season for students to work there so most of the servers were filipinos and there was an ang moh manager. (Actually I don’t know if Oriental takes in waiting staff who are students, their service has always been impeccable in my memory.) One of the staff charged us wrongly for one of the glasses of wine and they gave it is to us complimentarily after mom notified them of the mistake.
Good service accompanying a satisfying meal, which is just about all you could want for a happy tummy and a happy mind.
MELT is definitely on my memorable-buffets-list, but it comes in somewhere after Oscar’s (Conrad) and The Line (Shangri-La) and before Town (Fullerton) for international buffets. This is not even including the Chinese and Jap buffets.
(I love food too much and should shut up now.)
Sometimes I think I should just blog about food because it makes me happy.
Kay off now.
February 15, 2011 § 1 Comment
For those of us who have been in church for a while, our leaders have often mentioned that there are many life lessons that can be gleaned from serving in ministry, lessons that will accompany you in the workplace and shape you as a person.
I’ve been serving for over 4 years now, and I’d have to say there this statement is true. While I am always, still learning, I have taken several key lessons with me from the pulpit out into the working world.
1. Remain teachable
No one likes a know-it-all, even if you really (think you) know-it-all. Carry yourself with a spirit of humility, not false humility and general Singaporean ‘paiseh’-ness (no lah no lah…). If someone praises you, accept it humbly and say thank you. It is not a crime to be good. It is only a crime to be full of yourself. If you do something wrong and get corrected, take it with a heart of teachability, accept your mistakes, take responsibility for your actions, right the wrongs as well as you can, and move on and be excellent. No one is beyond correction. Don’t wallow or remain shell-shocked at your mistake and ruminate in it, because that is arrogance and self-pride in thinking that you are beyond making mistakes. We are young, we are fresh, we are inexperienced, we live, and we learn.
2. Have an excellent spirit
Be the best _____ you have been called to be. Your job may not be glamourous, the hours may be long, the tasks may be demanding, seemingly unreasonable at many times. I have been called upon to do work in a few hours, to make more changes than would be considered ethical, to do ‘grunge’ designs I feel nothing for, but at the end of the day, to represent the heart and vision of the ministry. Having an uncomplaining spirit is part of being excellent. The saying goes: If you cannot be trusted with little, no one will trust you with much. So do all that is allowed into your hands, well. For if you cannot manage the small responsibilities (though they may seem menial to you, and ‘beneath’ what you think you should be doing), no one will give you big ones.
3. Honour your leaders/superiors
So you might think (or know) you’re better than them at this or that. They may not be as knowledgeable as you about certain things, but they have still been placed as an authority above you. Honour and give them respect regardless of their competence. You don’t disrespect your mother for not knowing how to use an iPhone or shut down your Mac computer. You don’t treat a person according to their ability or inability to do their jobs, or do your job. Again this goes back to the above statement: if you cannot be trusted with little, no one will trust you with much. If you don’t respect those placed above you, it is unlikely that you will respect those who will be placed under you in future. A good leader is a teacher, not a dictator. A good teacher starts with being a good listener and a willing learner. Honour is a choice. You may submit to a person because they are stronger than you, not because you respect them, and this is not out of personal choice but inevitability. But to choose to submit even when you know that person is not as ‘good’ as you think you are, shows your true weight in worth as a person. That is honour, that is respect.
There are many lessons I have taken away from church, these are but some that have made me who I am. Many of the things I’ve mentioned above I’ve learned the hard way, but I’ve learned anyway, and am still always learning.
February 13, 2011 § Leave a Comment
So Derek and I received free tickets to Chingay from @visitsingapore on Twitter (courtesy of our boss @claudia10 who volunteered us for tickets). It was an interesting experience to watch Chingay as an adult (according to Derek, the last time he watched it live he was 80cm high… so he says).
Derek’s working on our Chingay entry for rediscover.sg now so do look out for it.
In the meantime, here’s some of my own pictures from the event. I was on the 70-200mm f2.8 L IS markII… it is a freaking amazing lens my friends, and so definitely the next major purchase I’m going to make. (Rented it this time around). Derek was on his 24-70mm f2.8 and doing video, because he said I was bullying him with my big lens.
Our seats weren’t great, we were behind the staircase rail and at the second last row from the back. Our footage and photos are hence pretty limited by the little silver of space we were standing in and trying our best not to capture too many humans from the rows in front in our shots (with limited success).
But otherwise, it was a nice experience, one I haven’t had in a long, long time, a little bit like watching NDP. There were lots of tourists enjoying the festivities and pretty fireworks too.
The lights on the red section (more expensive tickets), where the main bulk of the action took place. We were in the yellow section.
Another excited angmoh kid!
And another one!
What I liked: Enthusiastic participants! Even though Singaporean audiences are generally a passive lot, there are some performers whom you really don’t mind sharing a smile with.
Not sure where this particular group of dancers were from, they were one of the earlier ones.
A ‘Stingray’ from the Resorts World contingent.
I think this is from Segment 2, Thiruvizha Melam.
The National Danish Performance Team members were doing flips and flips and more flips!
There were quite a few belly dancing groups too.
Think this is probably a group from NUS or SIM. Nice energy and smiles!
This grandma was in her evening best and carrying herself very elegantly.
Malay community performing arts. Love it when performers really bring you in with their high energy and smiles.
What I liked the most: This particular, super high energy Jap contingent! Not sure if they were really Jap, but if you told me they were I’d believe it because the energy in their item was many times that of every other group that went past. Budo, presented by Nippon Damannaka Festival.
Outfits that (almost) knocked my socks off: Some of the outfits that were insanely aunty/crazy.
Edna Mod gone wrong?
Not a flattering fit!
Harley girls… But well, they ARE Harley girls you know, so I cannot comment.
This one, honestly, was a little bit scary in many ways.
I admire this grandma for prancing around in that outfit, but she didn’t smile once. Nope.
Outfits that were pretty funky: The animals! Somehow the seahorse cracked me up because I couldn’t imagine walking around in it.
Didn’t your momma ever teach you not to touch animals with rabid glowing eyes?
Zebra with a lot of stripes.
The seahorsies they do not look too pleased.
O hai Singapore Garrison: 501st Legion! You guys seem to be everywhere!
And yep, that’s my summary of the night’s festivities. There were fireworks too.
No great pictures of the fireworks because my 70-200mm was too close to capture anything wide. (And also I wasn’t expecting them, didn’t know there’d be fireworks!) Apart from the fireworks, they also released a whole bunch of balloon lanterns that seemed to be very Tangled inspired (for the non Disney fans, yes I am talking about the latest Disney animated remake of Rapunzel). But it was either a last minute addition or not well co-ordinated because the performers seemed a little unsure about when and whether they were supposed to release the balloon lanterns at all.
If you want to see more pictures of Chingay 2011, they’re up on my Facebook album.
Till the next entry, which I hope won’t be too long from now.
February 5, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Since my birthday has just passed I thought I’d blog. I’ve given up doing #postaday2011 because the topics are self-indulgent and inconsequential, and I’ll really rather not answer questions that I’ve seen in quiz memes since I was 12 and first discovered the internet.
So I’m 22, my birthday just drifted past more than an hour ago. Every year it gets less and less important that people remember or do something fancy for me. My best birthday to date remains my sweet 16th spent in TKGS. While I do love surprises, thoughtful and meaningful preparation from friends, and presents that leave me touched by the effort put in, it’s just not something I get anymore these days.
In part, it’s also because I have become rather impassive and no longer as enthusiastic and thoughtful about other people’s birthdays/christmases as I used to be. 4, 5 years ago I would always make sure I prepared very personalized gifts and cards for friends during birthdays and Christmases. I would be careful with my selection and think hard about whether they would enjoy my gift, and whether it would show them how important they are to me. But years come and go, and it gets hard to keep being the one who does the special thing for friends who often don’t remember your birthday, do nothing for you (or worse, give half-hearted gifts that I’d rather you not try and give me at all, and so on. (Maybe doing nice elaborate things was always something every TK girl leaves TKGS with, because we always, really, cross my heart, used to literally sweat and bleed over the special things we made for each other.)
I hope to rekindle that desire and passion for doing special things for people and not expect anything in return, but cut me some slack la, I try okay? I’m not Jesus. I’m human and sometimes I also enjoy being told in one way or another that I am appreciated.
For my 22nd year of existence I would like a couple of things. Of course there are many other earthly wants that I have, but these are the 2 that have sat on my heart even before I turned 21 and remain there.
1. I would like my family to become a family again, something that is slowly happening more and more thanks to this no-longer-so-little-ball-of-fur that entered our lives in the shape of a corgi called Noodle. God has a plan for every turn, and how I came to be Noodle’s human is part of that plan too.
2. To be able to stop taking regular allowance from my mom and be able to earn (even post-internship) enough for my basic needs (plus more to spend on pretty things like lenses) and not have to rely on my mom so much.
If anyone is even interested to know what I want materially, it would probably be; something cheery from Kate Spade (probably one of the only fashion brands I like, maybe because I have magpie like instincts and really love the bold colors), and a 32GB Sandisk Extreme III CF card. If not, Noodle likes soft toys that squeak.
Very extremely different things, I know, but somewhere in between I do actually reconcile my tech love with my more feminine side that most of my guy friends ignore/pretend don’t exist. It helps them draw the line between girl-that-can-be-considered-and-pursued and girl-who-is-a-friend-and-bro.
So yes. Thanks everyone who remembered my birthday or were reminded because you saw someone else posting on my wall/tweeting me etc. I don’t blame you, just our reliance on technology about important things that used to matter more to us.
Thanks for taking this journey with me and being a part of my life.