Monday, 31 December 2012

To A Better Tomorrow

It seems as though I owe it to myself to write a self-reflecting post to cap off this passing year. However, try as I might, it's difficult to contain all that has happened throughout the year into one single entry. Many things have happened, be it a global event that has catastrophic ripple effects, to things that occurred that has affected me personally.

December was an emotional month for me. The Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting affected me in ways I never thought possible. Friends know that I am not fond of children, but watching the news and seeing the devastation that occurred was just heart wrenching. The eulogies being read out by the parents, siblings, and relatives of those little lives lost were very emotional. They could have been someone, I keep telling myself. Six years on Earth is a really short time to live. Maybe that's why I'm so affected.

Other than that, as usual, I am torn about faith. It's such a scary thing because it's something I was taught to believe in, and for me to consistently question it somehow scares me because I don't want to not believe; to be a cynic, and be in a state of anti-religion, but so many things happened and it's such a sensitive issue to talk to people about. I hope my mind clears up because I think my curiosity about the ultimate path to salvation results in me questioning everything that I believe in.

2012 has been a year that got me to question who I am, and what I want to be. I am so much more comfortable with who I am as a person, and who my friends are. When I wake up tomorrow, it's going to be a new year, one that will definitely be filled with new school, new friends, and new adventures. Yes, 2013 will be filled with adventures and I'm going to colour my life with all these new experiences, so that one day, when I look back, I would have known that I had actually lived a life. 

Monday, 5 November 2012

VeganBurg With A Dressing Of Rain

What happened yesterday was that I headed down to East Coast Park for a gathering to celebrate the boys who are leaving conscription soon. It was raining cats and dogs and not the kind of weather you'd want to be hanging at the beach but we had no choice since it was an official platoon event. I met up with Shawn and Jonathan and because the weather so so terrible, we did not go down to the beach straightaway. We took a detour and ended up at VeganBurg that in my opinion, has the best fries served. It was crispy and soft all at once. The price were a little on the steep side for a fast food restaurant, but they served healthy food, so I suppose I could make an exception for it.




 I find these kind of platoon event to be very awkward, because no one really wants to be there in the first place. The whole point was to bond as a unit outside of a working environment, but we mostly stick to our own group of friends. Granted, there's only thirty of us in a platoon, yet they were plenty of drama to go around. Luckily, I get along with the majority and the minority few are the ones that nobody can stand to be around. Thank God they're leaving soon. Anyways, the three of us decided to ditch the cohesion halfway and went down to Parkway Parade to get a few items from the Uniqlo sale. I ended up getting an ombre grey oxford shirt. We left the 31's since they rented the bicycles and never came back.




We didn't take much photos from the cohesion, but above are the photos that were taken on Thursday night when we had our own little cohesion of "The Boys I Like." The guys in the first picture are my team members, and their fates rest on whether they're nice to me because I'm the one planning their duty schedules. Mostly though, they're nice to me except when they decide to pull a prank every now and then. That last photo, they were cheering for me to "cross the finishing line" and it's an homage to me never putting an effort for IPPT. Boys, they can be bitches sometimes too. 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Woods In The Books

On Saturday, I met up with Jun Xian and we had lunch at Parco Millenia Walk. It's been about two months since we last caught up with one another, what with his military exercise in Taiwan, and the fact that he went to Japan thereafter to cleanse his soul after being exposed to unearthly sights in Taiwan. Jun Xian was sweet enough to get me souvenirs from the land of the rising sun. There is this beautiful handkerchief with blossom motifs on it, as well as a talisman that wishes luck upon the receiver. I jokingly asked him whether the talisman has been blessed by the priest of an ancient temple, like the one I see on Channel News Asia during Japan Hour, and it turns out that he really did get the talisman from a Shinto shrine. How thoughtful!


We had lunch at this place called Octa Hotel International Market, and it's this cafe that also sells beautiful home-ware items. It felt as though I was on a cobbled street in a hamlet town in Britain because the place felt really homely. Another plus point was that the whole area was not crowded despite it being a weekend. The raindrops splattering against the window sills were a nice touch to our little booth and I like the blue velvety cushioned chairs. The food was good and it felt honest and that's more than you can ask from an establishment and the staff were mild-mannered as well.


We then found this little gem of a bookstore called Woods In The Books. It is such a calming place and the kind of wonder-world you can just get lost in with the soothing music and the children's books. I felt like I was in another place and time altogether I just stopped and admired the books. They were all so beautifully handcrafted and I just felt the labour of love seeping through the pages. There was one book in particular, called "The Black Book Of Colours" that just took my breath away. It was all black and white with braille wording to describe to the blind about colours all around us. Here is an excerpt;
"Red is sour like unripe strawberries and as sweet as watermelon. It hurts when he finds it on his scraped knee."
It just felt so raw and so honest and it got to me a little bit because it just showed me how life can be cruel and unfair and how some people are just not able to see the beauty that this world has to offer. Yes, there are horrible things happening, but there's also beauty everywhere, and it's just heart-wrenching when children suffer. Simple words, written in the most innocent of prose, can be so instrumental in affecting someones outlook on life, I think.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Skyfall

This dismount has shaped up to be a hectic one, but it's also been a good one thus far as well. On Thursday, after we dismounted, me and a bunch of people from my platoon went out together. Hence, I'm going to name them, "The Boys I Like." It's significant that we went out because we never go out together unless it's an official platoon event, considering we've been seeing each others faces for the past one week, every single day. So, to want to meet up with them shows my very high tolerance level towards these people.



We met up at Marina Square to have buffet at Hotpot Culture and we stayed there for two hours. When you have a bunch of boys together with food, you know that somehow, it will get a little rowdy. But thank goodness nothing embarrassing happened since we just minded our own business and everyone was just famished. After dinner, we walked around and that's when things got very dramatic. But I suppose that's what happens when you have a bunch of 'normal' guys going out together. And by no means is that a disrespect to my other guy friends I hang out with. I have no qualms in saying that we're the exception. We like theatre and the arts a little bit more than the average dude on the street. And we conduct ourselves a little differently as well. So, for me, it's an eye-opening experience when I go out with TBIL and the conversation is the kind you'd expect to be having in the locker room.

We proceeded to Marina Bay Sands to hang out a little bit at the rooftop. The Singapore skyline is gorgeous and the breeze was just relaxing it was the perfect spot to hang and chat a little bit. We talked about the different people, and the different batches and how each batch of guys differ from the rest. It doesn't come as a surprise to me when they said that my batch was the quiet one, yet we're also the close-knit one. No one in my batch is fighting with anyone else, and we look out for one another. Unlike other batches, where there are conflicts and infighting, my batch was labelled as the peaceful one. Probably because none of us really care too much about meddling with affairs of the platoon, and neither do we sidle up to people of power. Basically, we just minded our own business. The thing is, despite being a 'senior' batch, we are the younger ones, age-wise. So when others have conflict, it's amusing to see adult men fighting and bickering with one another. It's entertaining, yet so very disturbing. There is an issue that has gotten some guys riled up, and rightfully so. I just hope the issue gets settled quickly.

On Friday, I had an interview with Yahoo! for an editorial internship I hope I hear from them soon. I really liked the location and there's a Starbucks nearby I can just imagine myself getting coffee to kick start the day. The whole day, since I was already dressed up, I was just imagining myself as Andrea Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada. it's a little fantasy of mine and I absolutely loved this make-belief world that I created for myself that day. I then met up with Asaad for lunch and we watched Skyfall together. I am not a Bond fan, yet I loved the movie. It's completely ripped away the misconception that Bond is tacky courtesy of the Pierce Brosnan era. Daniel Craig defined the role in my opinion and the movie was just so raw and visceral despite being a blockbuster project. The third act was set in Scotland and my God were the scenery breathtaking. Critics felt the finale was a bit of a letdown yet I felt that it was the best part of the film. Judi Dench more than did her role justice and it's sad to see her let go of the role. However I have to admit that Joseph Fiennes is mighty fine; how can you dismiss Corialanus and Lord Voldermort all rolled into one?

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Hurricane Sandy

It is scary looking at the pictures surfacing on the Internet of New York City looking all battered and bruised with the Hurricane Sandy pounding on everyone's doorsteps and with floodwater gushing into everything underground rendering so many modes of transportation hopeless. Landmarks like Broadway had to be shut down and power outage has left the Empire State Building as that beacon of light everyone will be clinging on to. My thoughts are with all those affected.

Right now, the sky is looking overcasted and it is the perfect weather to stay home. I've wizened up and did not make any plans for the day unless I am absolutely sure that they will be met, and that usually involves setting up appointments with other people so that I will not cancel on those plans at the very last minute. And considering that today is the middle of the work day week, no one is free, and so I'm happy to stay home and catch up on some light reading, but mostly, just lazing on the bed doing nothing except look at the darkening sky with Lana Del Rey's Ride humming softly in the background. It really is the perfect companion for my day as it is so smooth, and velvety and just wraps around you making you feel safe.

Anways, the St. Jerome's Laneway Festival is coming to town next year in January and it will be the start for me to pick up the pieces of my life that has been left unhinged due to the simple reason that I was being called up for consription. I've been doing up my CV and like I said on Facebook, writing one's own curriculum vitae is akin to tooting one's own horn.

I have some interviews lined up already so hopefully all goes well, and I get to intern somewhere next year. I'm looking for experience to beef up my portfolio, hence I've been very choosy with the companies that I'm sending my resumes to. I'm looking for quality and work experience that I can be proud of, so excuse me for being choosy. And some of my friends are wondering why I'm starting out so early considering it's only October and I still have four months left before I officially leave the system behind, but I believe in starting out early and have everything planned out in order so that I don't waste any more time than I already have. Plus, I'm a Virgo, and that explains eveything.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

There Will Be Blood

Yesterday, I got down and dirty for a paintball war at Crossfire Paintball @ Singapore Discovery Centre. It may be a game, but once I got into the arena, the only thing running through my head was that blood was going to be shed, and that the blood was not going to be from my team. And indeed, we did emerge victorious. And with war, there will be battle scars. I've got huge welts of bruises on my thighs the size of my palm and some on my arms as well.

I didn't expect myself to take the game as seriously as I did, but I placed a scenario in my head that I was a dignitary in a foreign country and my embassy was getting attacked and the only obstacle between me and survival were the group of eight masked men right in front of me. And shoot them I did, even causing one of the opposing team member to start bleeding. People know me as this quiet, genteel person in base, but give me a rifle and the paintball rounds, and I will get the job done. I managed to take down three out of eight opposing personnel in the game. That's how vicious I can get.

After the paintball session, I went down to the new mall at Buona Vista called The Star Vista with Shawn and Jonathan. The mall's name sounds so academic I think its befitting since Buona Vista is the education hub of Singapore what with the Education Ministry's headquarters being set up there, as well as other research facilities. We went to eat at the newly opened Boston Seafood Shack, and I can safely say that they probably have the freshest fish and chips that I've ever tasted here in Singapore. The portions were generous and I thought it was fairly affordable. I especially liked the decor of the eatery, what with the fish nets strewn across the ceiling, and the sailor buoys hung on the pillars within the place itself. The lighting was soft, and the advent of naturally setting sunlight in the evening was a plus point.


After that, we went to have deserts at Pinocchio. I admit the only reason we went there was because the name was cute and appealing, and as people might have realised by now, I get very excited whenever eateries, cafes or things in general uses names from childhood stories or series I've read or seen. Matilda district in Punggol is one example. I also bought plasters that were exorbitant in price just because they were a tie-in with Sesame Street. The cakes weren't outstnading, but they weren't bad. The owner was a little pesky; a nice middle-aged man who justified the pricing of his cafe as though he was a used car salesman. The blackforest cake that Shawn had was good it tasted so much like nostalgia; from those quaint neighbourhood cake shops with their neon-lit signs.


Today felt a lot as though I was rushing for time for everything. Wednesdays are always a hassle. It's the equivalent of a Sunday night if I were still back in JC, trying to finish all the work and maintaining a semblance of normal life.  I was running around trying to accomplish as many things as possible and it was simply exhausting. We were released late from base since there was a last minute vaccination exercise. Then, we were told to tidy up our bearings since the Fleet Commander would be visitng the base soon. On top of that, I had to return my library books, download a few items for mounting, and renew my passport. It was indeed a hectic day.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Laura, You're More Than A Superstar

Today the weather is splendidly wonderful I am spending time at home just wrapping myself up with a pullover and a cup of hot tea. There was a thunderstorm earlier and it made for a nice wake-up call as I got awoken to rainwater splashing on my face despite the considerable distance from the open window to my bed. It's been quite some time since I really took the time to listen to some music, and not just listening to them as I commute from one place to another, so I decided that today is the day that I blast out some tunes and just let loose in my room, no inhibitions whatsoever.

Grizzly Bear - Yet Again
 
"Take it all and strike. Speak don't confide. Barely had a chase. It's done before we try. Stop it and deny. Does it end your phase?"
I decided first to listen to Grizzly Bear's new album, Shield, which I've had for a while now and I found a track that I really liked called Yet Again. The music just consumes you and there's such a lush feeling and undertone to it I cannot help but feel myself being cocooned inside this warm , fuzzy cloak of sweet goodness.

Bat For Lashes - Laura 
 
"You're the train that crashed my heart. You're the glitter in the dark. Ooh, Laura, you're more than a superstar."
Then I decided to listen to The Haunted Men by Bat For Lashes. Natasha Khan is such a wonderful singer I've adored her since secondary school when no one in school even knew who she was. Her songs are just so fragile and gloomy and transient you just feel for it, and you're swept away into her tunes. Laura is my favourite song so far; it is just love at first hearing.

Yesterday though, was a day that I spent outside. I met up with Erfi and Asaad and we had dinner at Eighteen Chefs. The double cheese combination of rice sprinkled with more Parmesan cheese atop was far more than my stomach could handle and I had to face the ramifications of it later into the night. We intended to have supper at Domino's Pizza but parking was such a hassle I bought P.osh brownies in the end which I gave to the both of them as I rushed out the car and into my apartment to have a little date with the bowl.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Sora Choi




This post is dedicated to the beautiful goddess, Sora Choi. Just marvel in her beauty. No explanations needed. Korea's Next Top Model, a show I watched but don't fully understand, has produced a stellar winner.

Now, I believe in the beauty of Asian women.

The Perks Of Being A Walflower

On Friday, Asaad and I watched The Perks Of Being A Wallflower and there were so many feelings that washed over me throughout the entire time in the cinema. After getting over Emma Watson's neither-here-nor-there accent, I began to truly appreciate the film as it was rolling in front of me. For I did not read Chbosky's book prior to this, I had no basis of comparison, which is good, because then I could truly appreciate this gem of a film. If the eighties had The Breakfast Club, then I truly believe that The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is the movie that could define a generation, specifically, my generation.

The nineties and the noughties, to me, are close in relations because there is not much difference between the two, and perhaps also because I distinctly remember these two decades very well. I am a child of both era, and I remembered a time when Internet connection was slow, and you had to use the dial-up service. I also remembered using my grandfather's typewriter because I was the only one who was brave enough to get his permission to use it.

Aside from technological advances, I believe the issues that the characters faced hit somewhat close to home, and that's probably the reason why the film resonated with me so much. There are facades of each character that I could identify with and the problems they faced seemed real, and unforgiving, and all-encompassing. Their hopes and their fears, their joy and their happiness, their carefree life and the deep dark secrets they harbour; it seems like it could very well have been mine.

It could have been my story, my friends, my life.

For some reason, I am thankful that the film came out now, when I am at an age where I could fully comprehend it. Should it have been made earlier, I would squirm with discomfort, thinking about the things that could happen in my future. Now that I have gone through some of those life experiences, I could appreciate the nuances shown in the film; its depth and the rigour with which it delves into the human psyche. Perhaps, for some reason, despite the dark subject matter; the abuse, the humiliation, the loss, what matters most is that the film ended on a hopeful note, and that hopefulness extends out to moviegoers that identified with the film. We all need that little glimmer of hope to sustain us through the darkest of days, I believe. 

Friday, 19 October 2012

Beliefs & Happy Endings

I believe everyone is complex, some more so than others, and circumstances, and experiences in life shape who you are as a person. As I'm writing this, I am shaking with anger, with disappointment, with a sense of faded hope for the future. I've thought about my life, what I have accomplished, what I want more out of life. The things I want to see, and do and experience. And I foresee a future where I weed out all the negatives from my life, and live the life as it pans out for me.

People have often found me peculiar. Many don't say it outright, but I have a feeling that people are thinking about it. My own family members have voiced their concerns, about who I am as a person, who I want to be, and I always shrugged it off, because I don't think I need to be defined by people's expectations of me, and I shouldn't have the need to explain myself to people all around me. Sometimes, I feel like I'm living a double life; who I really am, and someone whom I project out for the world to see. I think it's better to sort out one's own problems, than saddle people around you with them. To that end, I don't see the need to label myself as 'such' and 'such' because I believe everything will come into its own one day and I'm hopeful for that.

Then there's that question of faith. I've had my share of lingering stares whenever I don't go for the Friday prayers, as dictated within the Koran. I believe in God, yet I am not practising. Sometimes I feel part of the reason I am the way I am is because I am jaded with people's take on religion. You are either good, or you are bad. Because you don't do this, you are bad. Because you do this, then five points for you.

Do people practise because they are honest in their beliefs, or is it because it's something that they were told to do? I don't see the point of putting up a front by doing certain things just so you can feel better about yourself and about your relationship with God. Just so that you feel it is within your right to tell others of what they're supposed to do. Some people; they don't live by the pillars and the virtues of Islam, yet find it within themselves to criticise others. I have come across many a character like that, and sometimes, I would love to call it as it is, but I held back. I believe in salvation, yes I do, but I also believe that religion is a personal thing. You're born alone, and you die alone and that's the reality of things.

I foresee the future in University where I will be faced with this dilemma once again. Somehow, one person has made a proposition for me to join a Muslim Society, just because I am one. Does that mean I should join the Boys' Brigade because I am a boy? Such a reasoning is flawed. I am going out on a limb here by saying that chances are, activities would involve preaching, games where the genders are divided, and a slew of other restrictions. I cannot live by that cardinal rule. I feel that to join such a society seems like a showy thing to do, a proclamation that "I joined and you didn't and therefore I have a reason to judge you."

Then there's this whole another thing called 'Family'. Friends find it amusing to learn about my squabbles with either my parents or my sister but for me, the root of the issue is that I've never felt like I belonged, ever. The only thing we have in common is that strand of DNA, and the fact that my parents consummated to have me. I'm not saying they're bad parents. They clothed me and they fed me, but I've always felt like I could live without them, and I had. For the first twelve years of my life, in fact. When my grandmother died, I learned about loss at a young age and I dealt with it and I've moved on.

Because my parents were working most of the time, I never had an emotional connection to them. They were people I called 'mom' and 'dad' because I was told to call them that. There is no affection from me to them. In fact, during Basic Military Training, as my fellow recruits phoned home crying, I was there, on the phone, with my good friend on the other line. I never did call them throughout my time there, except once, where we were made to call home to say that the first day of training was over. I didn't feel any sadness when my sister left for Australia to study and I am in fact angry that I won't have the chance to be the one saying the sayonaras next year.  

I place more importance on friends, and the traditionalist's view on this is that it's unhealthy. Family should always be your priority because friends come and go. But I believe friends are family members you choose, and you better make an effort to treasure them. And the fact is, I am a loner by personality so even if I were to get deserted, I'd still have myself at the end of the day.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Wunderkinder

I seem to be on a repeat mode whenever I'm on leave. I would have a carefully laid out plan on where to go, what to do and what to eat, and I get all lazy and the plan goes to the bin and I stay at home watching my television series with a tub of ice-cream and it may sound depressing, and it may sound like what an old spinster would do, but that is my life. It's certainly more blissful than all the complaints I've been reading on twitter from the girls in university. The stress, the pile-up of assignments, the nauseatingly annoying people around them. So right now, if this is my life, then I am contented.


And I am officially with these clothes from Topman. It's not practical to wear them here but a boy can dream, and those dreams are of me walking down a boulevard during the fall season with the leaves cascading down before me. That red ensemble is to die for, and I would literally starve myself again to fit into these clothes. Gaining weight is a bitch and I don't have the discipline to keep them off so it really sucks. 

On another note, the German Film Festival is coming up and there are so many movies I want to watch but I have to be selective of what I will eventually be watching because it clashes with my mounting week and there is only one day for me to take liberty. Actually, because I'm the team leader I could just go as I please but I don't take advantage of my position like that so it's back to their pamphlet to see what movie I will be watching in the end. Wunderkinder is tugging at my heartstrings, but so is Kaddish For A Friend. I just learnt that kaddish is a Jewish prayer. The things we learn everyday.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Comfort Food Are Comforting

Today was a good day. I checked my account and my marksman monetary reward has been debited into my account. For once, this organisation seems to be on the ball. Pity though, since there are still a few others who have yet to receive their share of the pie despite waiting a few months for it already. And then, there are also others who are complaining yet again about how their pay has been deducted this month because of wrongful back-pay on the organisation's part for the past few months, and making it seem as though it's the end of the world. To this person, I say, the money wasn't meant to be yours in the first place, and I don't see the point of you being extremely upset about it. It only makes you seem to be an extremely petty person, and trust me, there are a billion other things you've done and said that has already labelled you as a very difficult person to be around.

I baked Triple Layered Brownies With Marshmallow Smores today. They were really good, what with the Hershey's bar I snuck between the layers of brownies and marshmallows. Unfortunately, the results weren't very pretty and I shall not post the picture up here. They were just meant to be eaten, and that's that. The marshmallows sort of didn't melt as I thought they would, between the layers of brownies, so they popped up the the surface, and anything less than perfect as far as presentation goes, isn't perfect. But they were great since they acted as comfort food for my throbbing headache which subsided as I enjoyed the therapeutic activity of baking.



Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Being Sick Is God's Way Of Punishing You

I like being fake sick. The kind where you wake up and don't feel like the day is going well, and you decide to go to the doctor's for an excuse to legitimately skip school. And how, after, when you're clutching the medical certificate in your hands, you have that inexplicable adrenaline rush of feeling because you've managed to somehow do something forbidden, like lying to the doctor, and exaggerating your conditions just so you can skip that one economics lecture, or miss the deadline for the maths assignment.

Being sick in real life, though, is ultimately the worst feeling in the world. Your body feels cold on the outside, but burning from the inside. Your nose leaks like a faucet and your eyes gets blurry for no reason whatsoever, rendering watching television series on your laptop a hassle. Your head thumps like a bitch, and you're super sensitive to noise, and light, and everything annoys you. When a slight movement causes so much discomfort, and when you find that one perfect spot, you just want to lie down there forever, but alas, you have to get up and go to the bathroom because the flam is getting caught up in your throat. When tilting you head causes you to feel nauseated, but nothing ever comes out. That's right, being sick in real life really sucks.

But the good thing about lying in bed and having a friend overseas is that I get to live my life vicariously through him, so in my suffering, I envision the kind of joy my friend is feeling and seeing, and I imagine myself doing the same very things he'd done. Jun Xian is in Japan and he is detailing everything he's done so far, via live updates on whatsapp, and I feel like I'm floating on air. Traditional Japanese guest house, check! Outrageous Japanese fashion, check! Hot Spring Resort, check! Gorgeous picturesque landscape, check! Somehow, it's so apt that in my feeling of death, I'm thinking of all these beautiful things. Isn't that what most people think during that last few moments; all those beautiful mortal things they're leaving behind? Unless of course, you die from a sudden tragic death.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Buffet Lunch @ Cafe Brio

The Earth is this huge spherical blob of mass in an otherwise wide expanse of nothingness, but today, it felt considerably smaller, more accessible, more claustrophobic. Within the span of ten minutes, while I was out, I bumped into three different people, all of whom were at some point, and some still are, my commanders. It's funny how we don't talk to each other much in base, but when we're out, everything just spews out. It's as though everyone's trying to make up for that lost time, where everyone had to act within their capacity as commanders, as leaders, as men and as followers. Norman and Nian Phong were from base, whereas Leslie was on leave despite being an instructor back in Changi Naval Base. If it weren't for this accidental bump, I would never have known that Norman and Nian Phong would be starting school in January, one doing law, the other economics, whereas Leslie would be reading accountancy at NUS.

The reason we all managed to find each other in Kinokuniya was because Shawn and I were there hunting for books after our very wonderful and filling lunch buffet at Cafe Brio @ Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel. The seafood buffet was glorious, filled with tiger prawns and clams and salmon fillet, and other mouth-watering dishes. The desert table was just stacked precariously with shot glasses of the most sweetest of deserts I felt as though I was Alice In Wonderland. Speaking of which, I found the English literary classic book illustrated by Yayoi Kusama I think I found the perfect gift for someone I know.

After parting ways with Norman and Nian Phong, because Leslie was with his other group of friends, Shawn and I made our way around and lo and behold, Typo was having a sale, and knowing me, anything eclectic and pretty catches my eye, and I made out of the store with buys that I reasoned would be used when I'm staying in hostel next year. Come to think of it, a lot of my buys have been boxed carefully with the idea that they would be used next year, for when I rejoin society again.

While walking around, Shawn enlightened me on the whole debacle that's happening right now, of which I have no idea that something like that could warrant such an intense reaction from the public. I mean, if half the wacky, obnoxious things I said were made known to the public, it'd probably end up with me at the stakes ala the Salem Witch Trials. Shawn and I parodied what the post could have been had it been directed to the different races and we channelled our inner-most Singaporean hillbillies and the results were so outrageously crazy, we threw caution to the wind. The things we said, it could only remain between the two of us.

But on a more serious note, and everyone seems to have an opinion about it, I honestly believe that the lady should not have been fired from her job. Everyone, at some point of time or another, must have said something insensitive but nothing to the point of it being labelled as a 'seditious' act. The lady was just dumb enough to have it posted on her Facbook account. As a society, we should be better than this, and we should be able to sieve out the fact that she was merely complaining about the noise, but had decided to include other reasons, which might I add, were not completely false. Goodness me, have we not seen the statistics of the divorce cases in Singapore?

This whole debacle serves only one purpose, and what it does is that it magnifies the Singapore society's gravitation towards a witch hunt. We love massacring one individual and time and time again it has happened; the most recent one being that girl who called NSFs weak. Personally, I feel we could all be better than this. We count ourselves as a forward society, but when the time calls for us to be one, we easily turn our backs and we return to the age old tradition of pointing the blame at someone else. We need to learn to differentiate between callous remarks and remarks that could really divide a society, and I feel that there are other things out there, more pertinent issues, that are so blatantly divisive, yet no one addresses them, simply because they are the ones rooted from the top-down. Everyone knows about them, yet no seems to question them. Instead, we go all out to bring down this one lady who made an insensitive, not completely untrue remark, about a specific group of people. What a society we live in!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Dorm/My Girl

I don't always watch horror films now because I don't want to put myself through hell just before I go to sleep. That wasn't the case when I was growing up. When you're surrounded by cousins, and being the youngest at that, you don't really have a choice of what television show or DVD you'd be watching because someone else always gets his or her way. And horror shows were always on the television screen for most of the time, especially Asian horror movies, and let me just tell you, Asian horror films are always the worst, most horrible kind there is out there.

Anyways, I managed to watch a Thai horror film on television just now called Dorm, and it's something that I've watched a few times before. For one, the reason I'm able to watch this show alone in my room is because it's more of a drama film with interjections of horror; not just a meaningless, scare-the-shit-out-of-you kind of show. It's such a poignant drama that explores the idea of loss, of getting left behind, and of carrying the burden of your past actions. For that, this film is one of the few Thai films that I remember watching, the other being My Girl. Coincidentally, both film stars the same child actor who seem to be genetically blessed and didn't undergo that awkward phase of growing up. I remember watching My Girl years ago in secondary school after examinations were over and it's funny how the film has always stayed in my subconscious for the longest period of time.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Calories Be Damned

Yesterday, after our dismounting debrief, which was all kinds of wonderful news, I headed down to Casie & Mum's, together with Shawn, Jonathan and Yu En for some afternoon tea. It's a recently opened cafe at Albert Court Village Hotel down at Albert Street. The cafe reminds me of the ones in Australia, where when you enter, you immediately feel as though you've entered someone's home. At first, I expected something posh but after taking a step back, I kind of appreciated the fact that the owner meant for it to feel homely, as though you're visiting a friend's place, where they open up their kitchen and pantry for you to bake, and mingle, and build a rapport. The banana cake was superb and sipping it down with hot tea was just a nice way to relax and have a chat with friends. It helped a lot that the cafe is situated within the compounds of renovated pre-war shophouses, because you know, ambiance is really important to me.

We then headed down to Amoy Street to collect my order of chocolate cupcakes from Matt's The Chocolate Shop. They were honest to God, the best, most simple cupcakes I've ever eaten in my life. The chocolate glaze was just nice. It didn't overwhelm the cake, and there was that perfect balance between bitterness and sweetness. And the cupcakes themselves just glided down my throat that calories be damned. Getting there, however was a hassle when you have four boys, each thinking they know the best way to get to the damn place. We ended up taking the bus, walking a little bit and reaching the oasis of chocolate-y goodness. On the way however, the bus took a route I've never taken before, and it opened my eyes to how small and compact Singapore is. I never knew that Little India was just behind Bugis Junction by way of Bencoolen Street, and that you could pass by Dhobby Ghaut to get to Chinatown, and visit Raffles Place on the way. Small little things we learn each day!

Today however, was not a day of gourmet taste-testing. It was a day of back-to-back movie screenings with Asaad at Shaw Lido down at Orchard. We watched Celeste And Jesse Forever and The Words, and is it just me, or do I watch a lot of movies about relationships despite not being, or even believing in one. Celeste And Jesse Forever was excellent mainly because I love Rashida Jones and the fact that the premise was really compelling, and that it made Los Angeles look beautiful and that they made Elijah Woods to be gay. Divorced couple remains best friends, whatever could go wrong? The Words, however didn't get my love as much, even if the slow burning drama tried to be stylistically beautiful with the interjections of the past and the present. But the show did get one thing right; Paris is beautiful, even during wartime.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Day Of Doing Nothing

You know, how when you're younger, you're excited when the adults took the days off, and they stay at home, and you think, "Hey, today's gonna be a good day. We're going to go out shopping at the mall!" And then your excitement gets deflated because the adults don't seem to want to go out because they'd much rather stay at home, and you think to yourself, "How boring! What a party pooper."

Well, I fully understand that "adult" sentiment now because that's exactly how I'm feeling. I had the most beautiful of plans; of walking around the city, of going to the museum, of visiting that quaint little cafe down at River Valley, of reading the book I've been putting off for the past few weeks, and of course, I never did any of those things. I woke up early thinking today's gonna be the day that I fully take advantage of the nice weather and after booting my laptop and going about my usual business, I decided to laze around on the bed at around 10am only to wake up at 6pm. My nap lasted for 8 hours! 8 hours of which I could have had a very fulfilling day. And the only thing I remember doing was eating warm, delicious muffins from The Muffinry for breakfast.

And so, to keep up with this restlessness and laziness, I decided against doing anything for the rest of the day. No going to the library to return my books. No going to the post office to pay my bills. No watching of television. Just the very blissful thought of lying down and doing nothing.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Cold War

It feels good to be out and about on a mounting week when the rest of the guys are back in base. That's what happens when you manage to store all your leaves until the last few mountings of the year to quietly savour and enjoy. Speaking of savouring, I dropped by The Muffinry for a chat to possibly take up a part-time job there and although I was super excited initially, after talking about it to Gary and Shawn on two separate phone calls, they made me realise that the service line is not my kind of job. For that, I am thankful to have friends that are able to shake me from my allusion that I'm this super cool, barista-waiter persona in this chic-artsy enclave in my own make believe world of Southern California ala The O.C

I left base early because I had a breakfast date with Nadia. It's been ages since we last met and we've always been toying with the idea of meeting up and nothing ever materialised so when the opportunity arose, we decided to just grab it. Today was a good day because I was leaving base and Nadia had to go to NTU for a group discussion in the afternoon so a breakfast date was in order. I love talking to Nadia because, and I have to say it here once and for all, she keeps me in touch with my Malay roots. There I said it. Whenever I talk to Nadia, I have this urge to mix Malay responses to whatever I'm talking about. That's as far an extent to which I've spoken the Malay language after I left secondary school. On the way to meet her though, there was a horrible accident where this lorry crane smashed into a bus stop, thereby obliterating that poor structure before being split into two after hitting this huge ass tree.

In other news, and this is petty news, but the month-long cold war between my mother and I finally reached a truce when she talked to me when I reached home this evening. The thing with me is, I can drag on a petty issue for as long as forever, and I don't usually yield on anything, so even my mother has to bend to accommodate my rules. And even funnier is that, I don't even know why I wrote that.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Guy Fashionable

I met up with Benjamin today and it's so good to finally be able to meet up with him after a long period of time. We may not meet up often but our conversations always run smoothly and we never run out of things to talk about. From the general to the personal, from relationships to politics, we get each other's train of thoughts, and I think it's important that you have a friend in your life that's able to follow and not judge you and who's able to see your point of view.

Benjamin has been busy finishing up his final year project and he finally submitted it in last week, and that's how we managed to squeeze in the time to meet up today at Clarke Quay. We had lunch, walked around, ate some deserts, walked around some more, browsed through books at Kinokuniya at Liang Court and basically caught up with one another's life.

Unlike when I meet up with some old acquaintances, where talks are stalled by thoughts of whatever's appropriate, like the weather, we just got into the groove of things, the last time we left off. We talked about stuff happening to our circle of friends, how we don't see them moving forward, how certain people are better of being single than in a relationship and how the future would look like. Career, life aspirations, the special someone. Everything was laid out bare in the 6 hours we caught up with one another.


Benjamin is also 'guy-fashionable' and that's me trying out his Henry Holland for Le Specs shades. They're super cool, super fun, super suave, and of course, something that I would never ever get for myself. I'm interested in fashion as an art form, as photographic stills taken to commemorate a moment in time. Benjamin uses fashion as an inspiration for daily life. He's planning to get the Givenchy nose ring, and he's the only person I know who can pull off that look.

Aside from that, I also realised that we're both really similar in terms of how we view friendships. You don't need a lot of them to be happy. Having a small, intimate group of friends, who's also your support system, is more than enough, and probably the only thing you need against the big, bad, dark world out there, as opposed to being that centre of attention.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Compulsion

I couldn't sleep last night so I decided to do something random, and that's to count my piggy bank collection. I have this weirdly obsessive compulsion of saving my one dollar coins which started last year because for some reason, there was a period of time where I was inundated with with the coins and the thought of saving them just popped in my head, and that compulsion has continued to this day. I suppose it's a good compulsion to have and it benefits me in the end because suddenly, I have this lot of spare cash on me that i don't have any plans for. Hurray for me!

Anyways, we had a talk at Changi Naval Base with a certain Dr Maliki Osman. Politicians have a certain way of answering questions directed to them without really answering any of those questions with concrete evidences, and I suppose a lesser person would have taken any of the answers at face value, but that's not the case for me, and dare I say, for my group of friends, because we are smart, young people savvy enough to see through whatever they're trying to convey. At the same time, we are not renegades who would shoot off whatever we feel, whenever there is a chance to. There was a moment where I wanted to ask a question, but I decided to let it pass because some words, even if they're meant to be told, are not meant to be heard.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Turning Twenty

I think birthdays put a lot of pressure on people and that's why I generally don't indulge in them for myself. Planning one for others is a lot of fun, but I generally don't expect much for myself. It's nice to receive gifts, I suppose, but at the same time, you're in this sort of limbo, where you're expecting something, yet don't want to be expecting anything.


I turned twenty yesterday and I feel the same as I did the day before. No magical transformation, no magic dust to suddenly make me wiser. I'm still the same cynical person and I doubt that I will ever change. Celebrations this year was low-key, as with last year. I think the last big birthday bash I had was in primary school, and to a lesser extent, in Year 2 at Meridian Junior College. That was when I received this huge birthday gift basket filled with everything from plush toys to chocolates to pretty little stationery items to a bottle of Chanel perfume which I've yet to even use. That was also right before my Geography examination so as one might expect, there was a spectrum of emotions going on back then.

This year, I celebrated my birthday with people who truly mattered and I feel contented. I received a pre-birthday celebration in base from my two good buddies in my self-made blanket-pillow fort like the ones seen in episodes of Community. Jonathan gave me a Lady Gaga coffee table book because for some reason, I'm labelled as a fanatic after attending her concert earlier this year. Shawn gave me this wall art-deco canvas print of the Big Ben which is truly wonderful because it's also filled with names of cities I hope to cancel off once I start travelling and seeing the world.

Asaad then met me on the actual day of my birthday and we watched Ruby Sparks and Hope Springs and we also went to this quaint little place at Portsdown Road called Laurent Bernard Chocolatier that had the best chocolate dishes one could ever taste. They're so exquisite they melt in your mouth I hope the area doesn't get commercialised because it was housed in this colonial army barrack and next to it was a performing arts school.

Ruby Sparks is so beautifully written Zoe Kazan is so talented there is one scene near the end where the guy made the girl do all these stuff because he can; he basically created her in his mind that as a Literature student, that scene was so poignant because it was like Taming Of The Shrew, where men literally impose their ideals on what women should be and I think that was the basis of this whole story. And I find it quite funny that we watched Hope Springs right after because it's like they're two similar movies, yet showcasing people of different age groups. And Hope Springs made Maine look like such a kooky of a town I love it.


Today, I met up with Naeem for classic manicure and pedicure and Gary joined us for tea at Max Brenner Chocolate Bar. They gave me a cheeky gift my heart was pounding so hard as I was opening the Victoria's Secret gift box. Erfi and Asaad then attempted to surprise me and we went to De La Creme and they gifted me with a boxset of Audrey Hepburn's movies. We ended the day by getting supper at Tenderbest, which is the basis of all nostalgic childhood moments whizzing by in the car at night looking for food and then chilling at my house to watch television.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Spectrum Of Jumbled Thoughts

It was an abnormally long mounting, I feel, so it's nice to finally be at home, away from all the people, all the hassle, and all the drama. Which is also the reason why I declined Erfi's invitation from a few weeks ago to attend Jemimah's birthday party. All my life, I've been the only September baby in my family, and my group of friends. It's only later on in life; in Junior College, and in National Service, that I met people who's birthday falls on the same day as me.
An organisation where black is not always black and white is not always white. Where the grey area is muddled by people who are none the wiser, yet who somehow hold all the power. Where biasness is a deeply entrenched culture, and a place where in order to stay afloat, you'd have to bury all fragments of humanity to stay alive.
I wrote that quote at the start of the week, because that's honestly what I really felt at that point of time. And as a sane, logical person, instead of blowing my top off, I expressed my inner-most thoughts through words. I honestly feel that I'm wasting my time here, meeting people whom I would have otherwise not taken a second glance at. These people; they're so full of themselves, so out of touch with reality, that even though you're mad at them, you can't help but feel a sense of pity, because they're lagging so far behind in terms of maturity that it's sad that these are the people whom Singaporean parents entrust their kids to be taken care of. 

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't in the best of moods this past week, so I was a little extra sensitive, a little bit more prickly than usual. But as someone who's excellent at putting on a veneer, who's able to hide my exact thoughts and feelings, the week went by uneventfully. Because no, I'm not that sort of person that requires people to hold my hands, to ask if I'm okay, to smother me with questions. I'd much rather mull over it on my own, which is what I did at the Tower, with the morning chill and the sea breeze accompanying my spectrum of jumbled thoughts.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

What It Means

Yesterday marks the 11th Anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks and although it is unlike me, it got me thinking; what is it that I am defending and fighting for? What is the one thing that drives me to push on every single day, knowing that I'm wasting two years of my life when my peers have gained invaluable knowledge in university. The answer is simply, my future life.

It seems so grand, but  it is what will keep me going. Because the future is where all my hopes and dreams are stored, and it is this vacuum of space that exists solely for me to strive forward to. Because yesterday is the past and the present is now, the only thing I can look forward is, is the future. It could be good, it could be bad, and I wouldn't know, but it is the 'not-knowing' that ensures that it is something precious worth fighting for.

I am fighting for my right to a secure future. I am fighting for my right to travel the world, experience different cultures, meet different people, get lost along the way, break down and pick myself up. I am fighting for my right to make silly mistakes, to laugh and to cry and to reflect upon my journey thus far. I am fighting for my right to live my life the way I want it to be, not under an authoritative rule, and not under the false pretence of freedom. I am fighting for my right because not fighting means that I would have given up, and then there would be nothing left to live for. Because at the end of the day, contentment is never enough, and contentment is when the weak says enough is enough.


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Bangkok Reflections

I came back from Bangkok on Saturday and the trip just reiterated the fact that (a) I cannot travel with my parents and (b) I cannot follow a tour guide. My first impression of the city wasn't exactly a pleasant one as I'd hope for it to be a metropolitan city bursting with energy, but instead it was sort of a letdown. Traffic was horrible and I've come to expect that since I actually did a case study of this city for my A-Levels preparation a few years back. Apart from that, the Geography student in me kicked in and I made the point that the infrastructural development of the city is poor. You have slums besides high rise, expensive-looking apartments and you wonder how people here actually get by.

After spending a day, I've come to accept the city for who and what it represents and then I see the beauty of it. You have carefree schoolchildren not bogged down by the need to get home to prepare for tuition classes. They don't carry huge bags full of heavy schoolbooks. Instead, they're happy to skip along the pavement with what I see is a jotter book and a small pencil case. You have street vendors enlivening the streets with rowdy catcalls to attract customers, lending this unique vibe to an otherwise drab and generic street corner. In Singapore, that would be called 'illegal hawking.' You have a truly Asian country that accepts the eccentricities of its people regardless of how they define their gender. The people may not boast of high qualifications but they do seem to take pride in their jobs, be it being a street hawker, or a shop assistant.


So, no trip to Bangkok would be complete without a shopping spree. In fact, that's the whole purpose of this trip, especially for me. I got great bargains on a lot of things and it's satisfying to pay so little for so many items. I would have loved to explore the city a litle bit more, to explore the arts venue like the Bangkok Art And Culture Centre but alas, I was with people who had dragged me down so all I can do, was make do. I suppose a future trip would be coming up, but this time, I'll make sure it's the kind of holiday that I want.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Adult Conversations

I'll be off to Bangkok tomorrow and I'm not exactly ready for my trip. I only got back home from base in the evening since I popped by my cousin's place to collect the DSLR camera for my trip. He wasn't at home since he's also serving National Service so I ended up chatting with my uncle for a full 2 hours. I think somehow, I have crossed that threshold where adults feel like they could actually talk with me about 'worldly' issues. Being the youngest one on both sides of the family tree meant that I'm always excluded from conversations, and as my grandmother had taught me, it's not polite to interrupt when adults are having conversations. Even now, whenever they have a conversation in front of me, I try my best to excuse myself because I consistently see myself as 'the-one-who's-not-supposed-to-be-in-the-conversation.' So, when my uncle sat me down to have a chat, I was quite taken aback. But it was all good, and somehow, I find myself opening up a little bit more and managed to express my opinions succinctly.
 
At the same time, it baffles me whenever my nieces and nephews, and I'm using that term loosely, do not have the social decorum to behave themselves whenever there are adults having conversations. It's also partly the reason why at family gatherings, I'm always in the corner with a book, because I think I would explode and slap a child if he/she were to interrupt whatever conversation I'm having with someone else.
 
My aunt will be having a family gathering at her place in Compassvale during the middle of the month and I'll be mounting duty by then I'm not exactly sure if I would like to actually apply for leave because then, it would affect my pretty, little, neat schedule and I am not very fond of messing up my own plans. Decisions, decisions that have to be made rather quickly since time seems to be moving at lightning speed these days. 

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Simple Joys

I think there's something so satisfying as having breakfast for dinner because it defies convention and it's so, so good I'm gonna miss cooking me some scrambled eggs and chicken sausage and chicken ham and toasted bread with maple syrup when I start mounting for another week yet again. I used to hate eggs, and when I started to tolerate them, I really hated the gooey kind of scrambled eggs I needed them to be cooked thoroughly to the point of dryness. But I suppose as I grew older, I began to enjoy different things in life and began exploring gourmet food, and although scrambled eggs are the most basic form of anything, it took me 20 years of my existence to cook the perfect plate of fluffy, light scrambled eggs.

I also realised after today's training session that I have relatively good hand-eye coordination that allows me to be a decent player of sports whenever I partake in those activities. Granted I don't do much of them, but when I try out new sports, it's quick and easy for me to grasp. When I started with badminton all those years ago, it took me a few sessions to get a hang of it. And when I switched to recreational tennis, I was horrible, but at least I could hit those balls. Then there was basketball which I recently started dabbling in and after being so scared of the hoop, I actually managed to conquer my fear. We played dodge ball today and I was always the last few remaining players in the team and I managed to oust quite a number of opponents and it's a good feeling when those people are the very same people who are into sports and health and the kind. I'm sorry I can't help it that I'm competitive.

I'm going on a short getaway trip to Bangkok next week and I don't have much expectations of it since both my parents are going to be there as well. I am, however, looking forward to the duty-free shopping at Changi Airport. All those products, and too little time, I wonder how I'm ever going to be satisfied with my haul when we have to catch our flight to Bangkok.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Bounce In My Step

We had a mobilisation exercise conducted today which meant that we had to report to base within a specific time period in order to stimulate an incident whereby this country is attacked by red forces. It seems unlikely that that would happen so when we got the call to report back to base, we weren't too excited about it. Moreover, the only thing we did when we got back to base was to scan our identification cards and that's that. I'm one of the few people who live furthest away from the base, so the amount of time that it takes me to reach the base itself is at least five times the amount of time I actually spent being physically present there.

So, after this whole activation scenario, Shawn and me went to Rocky Masters The Choice Cafe near Raffles Hotel to have early dinner. It was a quiet little place that I always ass by but never tried out so I suggested that place to Shawn. I had breakfast for dinner and though the food wasn't excellent, it was filling and the ambiance was nice. It was a nice place with a mixture of comfortable sofas and low tables that's just begging me to visit again to lounge and have earl grey tea and read some magazines.

So, yesterday, I and Maya visited Naeem at her hall of residence at Nanyang Technological University. Maya had a long break before her last lecture at 6pm so she decided to pop by all the way from National University of Singapore whereas I had gotten back from base after a simulation shoot. It's our first time visiting Naeem at her dorm and thank goodness she is living alone. Otherwise it'll be awkward to have her roommate around whenever we drop by. I brought along the baked goodies I did the day before and we even called McDonalds since it was raining and we were too lazy to pop by any of the cafes nearby. We talked about school and rummaged through Facebook to look up the profiles of people whom we have no recollection of. It's funny how you can go to lecture for 2 years straight with these people and not remember their names and faces and having to identify and relegate them to 'loud girl who always sleeps' or 'too thin girl with unstable walk.'

After Maya left, I stayed behind and had the longest talk of my life with Naeem. It's been a while since we've talked face to face and it's good to finally be able to do that. We talked about our deepest most feelings, how we really are scared for the future and how it's going to be like. How we don't want to be suppressed by familial expectations(her fear) and how much we yearn to break free, start afresh, and leave everything and everyone behind and never looking back(me). It's gratifying to reveal what you're thinking to another person and know that you're not getting judged for it. I eventually left for home with a lighter feeling, with a bounce in my step, and to a very good and long night's sleep.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Sandwiched Chocolate Chips Oreo Cookies & XXL Chocolate Chips Cookies


After thinking for a few days, I decided to forgo the Accidentally Into Food blog, and instead, incorporate my baking adventures into this personal blog. Part of the reason is because I only bake sporadically so it doesn't make sense to have a dedicated blog that's only going to be updated once a while. Also, there are a lot of food blogs out there with marvellous people behind them, who put their time and effort to invent new recipes, and I'm just a college kid who's trying to have a little fun baking.  

I was browsing through the web and I came across this one recipe from Picky Palate. I've decided to rename it Sandwiched Chocolate Chips Oreo Cookies, because it's literally just that. I actually met up with Erfi yesterday, so after zipping around town eating ice-cream and driving around the city area, we made a pit stop at the supermarket to get certain items. Let me tell you, butter and chocolate chips are hella expensive. I'd probably have to set aside a portion of my allowance if I'm going to continue baking, which I probably am.



It's a relatively easy recipe to make, and ever since I got my new electric mixer, mixing all these ingredients have gotten a lot simpler. It feels old school to use a mixer, and I'm totally loving that vibe. I was quite apprehensive since the cookie dough was quite sticky when I mixed all the ingredients together, so I panicked for a moment before deciding to forgo the exact measurements, and make this cookie by "feeling", as my aunt used to do. I suppose the "feel" was right since the cookie came out looking good and tasting delicious. 


I made 27 of those Sandwiched Chocolate Chips Oreo Cookies since I only bought a box of those oreo cookies. Plus, the recipe actually made a whole lot more of those cookie dough than needed so I had a surplus of cookie dough. It didn't occur to me that I could make regular chocolate chip cookies as I headed to go to the supermarket but as I were about to leave the house, I had an epiphany. Thus, the XXL Chocolate Chip Cookies were born.



These were really good. They were crumbly and crunchy and the perfect companion for tea. They're jumbo sized since I was extremely lazy to make small bite-sized ones and because I'd wanted to spend the rest of my Sunday reading my fashion magazines. Oh, what a wonderful Sunday it has been.


Saturday, 25 August 2012

A Very Dark Place

Whenever I read the blogs of some of my friends and acquaintances, I feel like I'm stuck in a rut with nowhere to go. I had a conversation with Gary a few months back about how everyone else seems to be moving forward, and we are stuck serving the remainder of our conscription service. It just doesn't seem fair that the girls get to move on with their life, and I'm doing nothing, waiting for time to pass by. I know that it's what every single male person has to go through, but it's just not a good feeling at all. Whereas some of my friends are in England, Canada, Australia and even Norway, I'm left wondering when my time will come.

Because I went to junior college, my parents had always expected me to go to the local university. It's not that local university is bad. In fact, it's ranked quite favourably against some of the world's top universities, but I have never envisioned myself going to one. Perhaps it's because my mind has been filled with imagery of American and English universities from pop culture, or because of the fact that I've visited my sister countless of times when she was studying at the University Of Queensland, I feel like it was my destiny to go out there in a foreign country, explore every nook and cranny and discover myself. I feel like the opportunity to live in a foreign country would be fully utilised by me because I won't be calling home crying because I miss the people back home. I would have been too busy checking things out and making sure that I leave no stone unturned.

Don't get me wrong. I am grateful for the fact that I got a placement at Nanyang Technological University to study Communication Studies. But I can't help but feel shortchanged by my parents for their constant expectations of having me study in Singapore. My sister went overseas because her grades weren't good enough for local university, and my parents readily supported her. Those very things were the ones that hampered my dream to study overseas.

Next year, my sister is going back to Australia to get her Master's degree. My mother is helping her pay for her lodging and other miscellanous. I think that's completely irresponsible because I know that the money being channelled to my sister was originally meant for me, and because I'm getting subsidies for being a local student, that floating income is being funnelled to my sister. I would have liked for that money to be saved for me, when I go overseas in the future. I did not study hard in junior college just so that I could be shortchanged. Is this the reward for being a better student than my sister ever was? Is this the reward for all those late night study sessions at Starbucks, not going home until the first light breaks through the horizon?

I don't think so. Maybe that's the reason why I demand so much from my parents now. It's coming from a very dark place. A place where I'm always comparing and never feeling satisfied. It's probably the reason why I never want to have children. I don't think I have the heart to shortchange my future children of anything. What kind of a parent are you when you deny your child of opportunities that they should have grabbed? What kind of a parent are you when you know that your child yearns to break free, yet you are saddling them down to roots that they'd rather have chopped away?

I may never be truly satisfied with my life until I ultimately break away from the confines of relationships that bind me and cause me to sink to the bottom of the ocean floor. Sometimes, I wish I'd have the ability to choose my own family because it will make life so much easier. That's probably why I'm closer to friends that to people who share the same blood as me. That's also probably the reason why when I'm gone, I would truly be gone.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Accidentally Into Food

I watched Rock Of Ages with A today after giving him a call last night. Because we're the only people in our group of friends who's free on Friday, we decided to meet in the afternoon to exploit the student-priced tickets at the cinema. A and I practically have a similar schedule so it's easy to meet up with him as compared to the rest of my friends. I've not seen G for the longest time and it's so difficult to get a hold of him, since he's either busy with consription, or buffing up his arts portfolio.

Rock Of Ages is the kind of movie you watch because it's easy to digest and everything skims on the surface. It was a 'pop' movie despite being marketed as this 'rock and roll' gritty movie. Russell Brand is annoying he has a difficulty in differentiating his real-life persona and whatever character he's supposed to be portraying. The gay subplot, for once, was not needed and I think it's just the director's need to be inclusive which ended up backfiring because it seems forced, lackdaisical, and ultimately offensive because the gay couple ended up being a parody of the gay lifestyle.

In other news, in view of my moving away to university next year, I was thinking of things that would get me to stay connected to home and come back every weekend. Considering how small this country is, where you can get from one end of the city to the other in one hour, it seems like this plan might work out. I'm coming home to do something I love, and then returning back to my future dorm with goodies. So with that, presenting Accidentally Into Food, a baking and food blog I've started. There's really nothing there for now, but I'd thought I'd save the domain name first. I've got a few recipes lined up over the weekend to try out so it'll be filled up in no time.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Scream For Ice-Cream

The food in base was horrible the moment I returned back from my sabbatical I went out and had dinner at Holland Village at Hatched. Holland Village is just this quaint neighbourhood that has a brilliant mix of high-end residential condominiums and old-school walk-up apartments it's a good place to walk around and explore, and with names like Jalan Kelabu Asap (Charcoal Grey Road) and Jalan Merah Saga (Blood Red Road) intersecting one another, it's a really cool place to hang out and chill and get on with life.

What's really cool about Holland Village is also that they have this small little independent baking goods store that's European-chic you go in wanting to buy everything, leave with nothing, but reach home pinning for something until the moment you go to bed. Considering that it's relatively easy to commute to the area because of the circle line, I'd probably be heading down to the area more often.

Coming back from dinner, an incident happened in base that was part of the whole dynamics to ensure that we stay vigilant but I saw it coming from a million miles away. How can one fool the master of deception? It's sad to see people scramble and caught off guard but I guess it's because these people are all too familiar with the powers that be that they never ever guard themselves against any surprises that could be thrown at their faces.

Despite the surprise, it was a pleasant week as we sat in bed contemplating about our future in our shared room on the bunk beds with the air-conditioning at full blast and the blankets covering our toes. I feel that when boys open up, we actually let the flood gates open so wide it'll take a garagantuan effort to stop the onslaught of emotional waves. Or at least until we're done talking. It's eye-opening to see alpha males open up about their hopes and fears and everything in between.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Shining Star

My paternal grandmother died when I was 7 years old. She was also my most favourite person in the whole world. Despite the generation gap, I can safely say that in pop culture terms, she was the Meredith to my Christina. Despite her having passed on for most of my life, I would always revert back to "What would Grandma do?" in situations that are less than desirable. I think she is the single most amazing person I've encountered in my life. She was strong when she was frail. She was stern, yet she was approachable.

Most of my childhood memories that I keep close to heart would usually involve having my Grandma in the picture. Because she died when I was in Primary 1, most of these memories occurred when I was in kindergarten. I remember her cooking black squid ink fried rice just because I don't like eating the gravy sauce for fear of turning dark. I also remember the time when I underwent the procedure every Muslim boy goes through and having her around just to take care of me. I remember the time when she would fetch me from kindergarten that one day and the lights in the lift were flickering. I remember the time when she was warded in the hospital and she would save a portion of her meal because she knew I loved hospital food. I also remember the last time I saw her alive, just as I was going to school in the afternoon session.

My grandmother was gone too soon but I think her death matured me as a 7 year old boy. At a very young age, I got to know that life isn't always fair and the people you love will die. That's a very poignant lesson to learn and I think it's shaped me to be a strong person. When my grandfather died 2 years later, I didn't cry because I knew that it was his time to go. This was a man who was married for 50 over years to the same woman, and after her death, he was never the same person. Yes, he was still a grandfather to me, but even then I knew he missed he too much. Up until now, whenever I hear about the death of a family member, I would utter a silent prayer and then remain stoic because I knew death would eventually claim its intended person.

In a way, I am grateful that both my grandparents passed on when I was still young, when I hadn't yet develop the emotional capacity that I have now. Ironically, despite maturing as a person, I don't think I could handle their death now because I think it will literally crush me emotionally to see their health deteriorate. When you are young, you are rarely kept in the loop and visits to the hospital were a treat to roam around in the car. The family had this habit of going to the beach after visiting hours were over. As a child, it was fun to build sandcastles and enjoy the cool breeze. In hindsight, the adults probably needed the reprieve from having come to the realization that their mother was slipping away from them, hence the excuse to bring us out.

As a child, I was extremely quiet. I think that's the reason why I had gotten special attention from my grandmother. I started looking through picture books even before I would speak and my uncle had initially thought that I was autistic. Every single family event, I would be reminded of how I was an obedient child whom my grandmother doted on so much and whom she would protect because I literally did not speak to anyone, not even to my parents. I did not run around like my cousins. I would just sit in the corner and read my pop-up books. I only ever owned one toy train set and the only reason I remember them was because there was a picture of it.

Because of my demeanour, I never know how to appropriately convey my condolences to friends who has had the misfortune of experiencing loss. There is no guidebook for it and it makes the whole thing too damn difficult. I don't want to run the risk of trivialising the loss yet I don't want to sound like I'm in as much pain as they are because obviously, how could an outsider even compare to that feeling of loss. Only someone who's had to experience loss at a young age could have this sense of emotional guardedness that many would label as insensitivity.

I miss my grandmother too much I don't think there's enough words in my vocabulary to express what I'm really feeling. I think because of this, I keep every relationship I have at arm's length, even with my parents, because I know everyone's going to die and there is no way I can handle the kind of loss similar to that of my granmother's. The kind of loss that's so gut-wrenching that even after 11 years, I can still remember the look on my grandmother's face the last time I saw her alive.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Blue Moon


I wore blue for this year's Eid. It wasn't even a new set of baju kurung, just something I dug up from 2 years ago. It doesn't make sense to me to get new clothes this year since I won't be going out much anyways. In past years, during my pre-jc days, I would get at least 4 baju kurungs of different colour because I felt that Eid was a time to splurge. Of course, back then, I also had religious classes so I  could actually wear them to my Koran recitation classes. Now, even getting one baju kurung seems like a hassle for me.

I find the dynamics of Eid to be very funny. You go to people's homes and have small talk. Then you wish them a blessed Eid and then seek forgiveness from them. These are people, at least for my mom's side of the family, whom I only meet once a year, effectively only during Eid. So, is there really any point in seeking forgiveness from people whom you've already asked for forgiveness the year before? Or are you seeking forgiveness for not seeing them at any time other than during the Eid period?

My sister commented that any Malay tradition in the family would be lost after me. Well, I don't fancy children, so I think it's safe to say there won't be any generation after me. But that aside, she also commented how I don't eat the ketupat, the staple rice cake that is all the rage during Eid. In my opinion, why eat squashed rice cake, when you can eat normal rice. It's not as if my family eats rice all the time so to eat the traditional dishes with rice is truly a novelty for me.

The usual small talk involved me explaining to them what I do in the Navy and them expressing their surprise that I'm even in the Navy because of the whole dynamics of the SAF which I don't really want to talk about. Then there was also the talk about University at every single household it's getting on my nerves. I mean, going to University is no longer a novelty. Every one of my friends are going there/already there so to keep discussing about the courses I'm going to take even before I actually step foot in the University itself is kind of premature, isn't it?