Saturday, March 31, 2007

Week 13 of year 2007 on the double bass

25 Mar 2007, Sun: In order to improve my rendition of Pachelbel's Canon in D major scored for a double bass quartet (arranged by David Heyes), I took about 20 minutes in the night to practise Canon in D major. I managed to have a better sense of how to play the last 24 bars for the first double bass.

26 Mar 2007, Mon: My parents were overseas, and I had my entire home to myself until one of my brothers returned home pretty late at night. I love the sound of peace at home. No sounds from the loud television. Somehow, the sound of peace gave me motivation to practise about an hour on the double bass, despite a very tiring day that day.

I practised all the four movements of Marcello's Sonata in G major and also spent some time playing Faure's Sicilienne. Somehow, I feel comforted by the sounds and vibrations from my double bass, affectionately referred to as my husband.

28 Mar 2007, Wed: There was no orchestra rehearsal for the evening. However, Emily, XM, QH and myself came together as a double bass quartet and played Pachelbel's Canon in D major arranged by David Heyes. With QH playing the fundamentally important bassline this evening, the ensemble sounded better than our double bass quartet rehearsal last week. I think I have rehearsed close to two hours on the double bass for the evening.

It was fun to hear at several points in the music how the various double bass parts relate to one another.

After the rehearsal, we had dinner at a nearby restaurant, Munchie Monkeys. I think Emily was looking forward to it even before the start of the rehearsal.



29 Mar 2007, Thu: I call Thursdays my double bass lesson day. My tutor demonstrated to me yet again how a penetrating and resonating double bass sound should sound like. I tried to imitate that sound and was only half-way close at times. Much later after the double bass lesson, I came across a blog-post titled Sound and Motion in Double Bass Playing written by Nicholas Hart. I want to achieve that lovely, resonating sound soon.

About 10 minutes of the lesson was spent on sight-reading. I still need more work on it. Does any one have tips to improve sight-reading skills?

The remaining part of the lesson was spent working on my rendition of the Marcello's Sonata in G major. I managed to play the entire sonata, but more work is needed to achieve the sound and quality of my rendition that I have aimed for. My tutor, MJ, instructed me to practise this sonata with the help of a metronome for practice purpose. I love double bass lesson because there is so much to learn.

He allowed me to use his bow to play the 2nd movement of Marcello's Sonata in G major and it felt so much easier to play with his bow. I wonder if it was his way to encourage me to consider getting a better bow? But if I were to get a better bow, the one that he had spoke to me about, that bow would cost almost as much as my current double bass, affectionately known as my husband.

30 Mar 2007, Fri: I had taken leave from work so that I could have more time to practise on the double bass. However, I did not foresee that a painful series of cramps would strike me throughout the day. My concentration level was affected when the pain got too much for myself to bear.

Anyway, I managed to spend quite a fair bit of time to practise on the double bass. I was practising intermittenly. Mustering endurance to endure the pain, I managed to play the 2nd and 4th movement of Marcello's Sonata in G major. I also managed to almost all the sections from Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro. I also managed to play Faure's Sicilienne.

31 Mar 2007, Sat: The pain that had struck me on 30 Mar 2007 has subsided. Thank goodness. With relief from the pain, I was able to muster enough concentration to practise.

As my tutor has specifically requested that I practise Marcello's Sonata in G major against a metronome, I gladly obliged and practised all four movements of the sonata against a clicking metronome. The drilling from the nearby lift-upgrading works was competing with the clicking sounds of the metronome for my attention. I won't mind the clicking of the metronome, but I very much mind the sound of the drilling.

I practised Faure's Sicilienne and my rendition was slightly more confident that that on 30 Mar 2007. However, the critic in me expected a better rendition. This means more practice.

It pleased me that I managed to play the entire Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro although I did so section by section. At the very least, I hope I could be familiar enough with this work so that I can get my tutor's inputs to work more in depth on this during one of my double bass lessons.

To end the day's practice, I played Keyper's Romance and Rondo. I should also practise Romanace and Rondo against the metronome one day.

**
In conclusion, I have reached my target (of practising at least 4 times a week, at least 15 minutes each time) yet again this week.

I am not sure if I could reach my target next week as I have just sent my bow for rehair. I have a spare bow but I don't quite like to use that bow. Anyway, I shall hope that next week would be a productive week too.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Too painful to bear

The pain from the cramps
Too painful to bear
From the abdominal area
It spreads to the head

Feeling weak
Judgement slurred
Such that I took the train
To a wrong direction

Couldn't endure
Such that I fear
I might faint any moment
Or land myself in a fall

I felt being robbed
Of my focus
Concentrating seems more challenging
When the pain attacks

While painkiller helps a little
I am reluctant to count on it
Until the pain gets
Too painful to bear...

Oceanskies loves blue

Your Psyche is Blue

You are deeply emotional and very connected to everything (and everyone) around you.
By simply understanding other people, you are able to help them heal and let go.
While you are a very deep and thoughtful person, you do have a very silly, superficial side.

When you are too blue: the weight of the world's problems hangs over you

When you don't have enough blue: you lack perspective and understanding

Unforeseen

Took leave from work
To practise on the double bass
But I did not foresee
That I am now
At home
Suffering from pain from cramps

May the pain go away
It is now too painful to play

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Evening out with JY and SH

Central


On the same day, but hours after I had brunch at the Chinese Swimming Club, I met my friends JY and SH for dinner at Central .

Central is located nearby Clarke Quay. It seamlessly integrates office and habitation all at one single site. For more information about Central, you may visit this link.



Central. I took this photo from Coleman Bridge


Facing Clarke Quay and Fort Canning Hill.


I am not sure if it was because of the fact that many of the retail shops and dining outlets weren't in operation when I was there, I simply felt that I could not connect with Central. But to be fair, I shall give it a bit more time.





Those parts of the retail mall of Central that were already in operation actually looked pretty chic and stylish. I heard that shoppers can find funky Japanese-inspired street wear at Central but I am not interested at such street wear at all. On the other hand, SH seemed to like the mall quite a bit.






We had dinner at Grains. This restaurant's mission statement goes as such: Grains is committed to serving healthier Chinese cuisine without compromising on taste, flavour or texture that are quintessentially Chinese...

At our table, at Grains.


The brown rice served there was pretty good. It is rather difficult to find restaurants in Singapore serving brown rice, and I am glad that Grains is one of those few that I know which does so.

Brown rice with a nice fragrance.


When I took a look at Grains' menu, the healthy-eating freak in me felt almost instantly drawn to the food. There are items such as: Nutritional ABC Soup, Wheat Soya Bean Milk (Warm or Cold) that sounded tempting to me. I heard from one of the staff who served us told us that the soya bean milk is organic.


Nutritional ABC Soup.
I think this soup is affordable and it has a pleasantly mild but sweet taste.


We also ordered the Braised Tofu with Fresh Mushroom & Vegetables.
I quite like its texture.


A list of our orders.


I also ordered the Sweet Yam Pudding with Gingko Nut. I find that the yam pudding has a nice texture and taste, but I was rather disappointed with the Gingko nuts. Those gingko nuts that I had had a bitter after-taste. I would think it might have been better to replace those gingko nuts with sweet pumpkin paste.

Both JY and SH felt that the Mango Roll with Sesame was too oily for their taste. So if Grains were to take our suggestions that we had written on its feedback card after our meal, we could consider trying this dish again another time.

Anyway, we found Grains to be a fairly affordable restaurant. Thumbs up to Grains for demonstrating to us that eating healthier choices can be affordable.

By the time that we had finished our dinner at Grains, the skies have turned dark. We went outdoors, just outside Central's premises to enjoy the night sceneries of Clarke Quay. Life seemed to have slowed down to my preferred pace for a brief moment. Having to be in the company of good friends made me feel good too.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Explore Singapore! series in bite-size clips





From a TV series to bite-size clips on YouTube, Yesterday.sg has certainly brought delight to readers like myself.

Due to high workload and my many other commitments, I am usually not at home to watch the info-tainment heritage show Explore Singapore!. Furthermore, I have absolutely no video-recording facilities at home to record the show and view it when I am free.

As such, I am pleased to share that Explore Singapore! is now available in bite-size video clips right at Yesterday.sg. For the first bite-size clip of the series, do check out: Explore Singapore! TV Series - 2nd Broadcast.

In the embedded short clip (about 5 minutes in duration) found in this post, viewers can look forward to learn about the "old-fashioned security cameras" that were used decades ago by people living in shophouses in Singapore. In addition, viewers can also look forward to find out how people several decades ago protected their properties with wooden planks!

This clip will take viewers to several parts of the Chinatown Heritage Centre, Singapore. I am certain that Kunstemaecker, Msfeline, and Simple American are likely to like it.

Till 15 April 2007 only: Mystery Men






If you have yet to visit the exhibition Mystery Men: Finds from China's Lost Age that is now being held at the Asian Civilisation Museum, please consider doing so. This special exhibition will be held till 15 April 2007 only. If you have yet to catch it, please do so now. I also recommend that you could join the guided tour.

If you have yet to take a peep at what goes on at this exhibition, please read a blog-post by yours truly, that was published on Yesterday.sg right here: At the Asian Civilisation Museum: Mystery Men.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Singapore's Monuments & Landmarks: A Philatelic Ramble



At the brunch meet-up on 25 Mar 2007, I was privileged to get a copy of Singapore's Monuments & Landmarks: A Philatelic Ramble written by Tan Wee Kiat, Edmund WK Lim and Kevin YL Tan. I even have my copy specially autographed by Dr Tan Wee Kiat himself. Many thanks to Dr Tan.

I am not a stamp-collector. But I was pleasantly surprised to find out through this book that there were several stamps issued in Mar 2004 and Oct 2002 that contain images of the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay. Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay is currently one of my favourite performing venues in Singapore.

Aside from featuring performance venues in Singapore, it also covers goverment buildings, nature parks, the Civic District and various other landmarks in Singapore.

Here's a synopsis: "This book presents the various stamps which feature Singaproe landmarks of the past and present. It contains full-coloured, enlarged prints of the stamps, as well as interesting information about the natural and man-made landmarks in Singapore...Discover our history, heritage and environment as you go on an enjoyable philatelic journey of our landmarks."

If you are a member of the National Library Board, Singapore, you can find more information on the loan status of this publication right here:
http://newarrivals.nlb.gov.sg/holding/itemholding.aspx?bid=12841100

To get your own copy of the book, I understand that this book is available from major book stores. (ISBN 978-981-05-7809-1)

Some of Dr Tan's other publications are also available for purchase here:
http://www.spm.org.sg/gifts_souvenirs/publications.html

Brunch at Chinese Swimming Club

The older wing of the Chinese Swimming Club.


It was bright Sunday morning on 25 Mar 2007, I took the bus and alighted at one of the bus-stops along Amber Road. What on Earth was I doing there?

The answer is being revealed here: The Friends of Yesterday.sg (yours truly is one of them) have arranged to meet at the Chinese Swimming Club. Brunch was a generously sponsored by Dr Tan Wee Kiat's lovely wife.

I beg your pardon. I have no idea what the Chinese Swimming Club is except that I had assumed that it should have swimming pools, but of course.

I learnt from Dr Tan that the Chinese Swimming Club existed even before I was even born! If I had heard correctly, Dr Tan became a member of the club about 30 to 40 years ago. To ensure I won't be the most ignorant blogger around, I did a search using google to find out a little more about the Chinese Swimming Club.

I learnt that the Chinese Swimming Club "was founded in 1905 by a group of six middle-class Straits Chinese men swimming enthusiasts." (view source). One thing that struck me was that during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore, "the Japanese soldiers used the three-storey club building as a recreation centre and an interrogation room. The platform of the club's swimming pool became a stage for the Japanese firing squad in the massacre of the Chinese during the Operation Sook Ching".

If Dr Tan had became a member of the Club about 30 to 40 years ago, I wonder if he was one of those privileged people who have gotten themselves a life-time membership at S$100 then? (refer to this source)

There are some very good information on the Chinese Swimming Club that can be found here:
http://infopedia.nlb.gov.sg/articles/SIP_628_2005-01-22.html
http://www.chineseswimmingclub.org.sg/milestone.htm


The new wing of the Chinese Swimming Club.



Rambling Librarian, Victor and myself were in time for Dr Tan's special tour of the Chinese Swimming Club. I dare say that the photo below will one of the most blog-worthy photos on this post. Why?





Look at the photo right above, and look for the lamp post. Dr Tan shared with us that 40 years ago, before the land in that area was reclaimed, the area beyond the lamp post was part of the sea! I tried to imagine that instead of those brown-looking tiles, it was sea-water beyond the lamp post, more than 40 years ago.

I heard that there used to be a salt-water pool further down, many steps after that lamp post. I can't quite visualise how the salt-water pool had looked like, so if any of my readers happen to have a photo of it to share, please do.

Dr Tan told me that pagar (Pagar is Malay for 'fence') were used as barricades, and children were told the myth that the pagar were meant to keep the sharks off. I think I would be one of those innocent children who would believe that the pagar were indeed meant to keep the sharks off. If I have heard correctly, the barricades were actually meant to keep the swimmers out from swimming into the deeper regions of the sea.

Dr Tan also pointed us to the Cashin Mansion that was located nearby. I was told that beyond those grill-like fences, it used to be the seafront before land reclaimation had taken place. It was about ten years after the land reclaimation before any development of the reclaimed land took place. It must have been the way Dr Tan related the past to me, I somehow felt exhilaratingly strange that I was standing on reclaimed land yesterday.

Cashin Mansion.


Cashin Mansion designed by Regent Alfred John Bidwell in 1912.



The next part of the tour of Chinese Swimming Club was to see its various facilities. Even though viewing the various facilities weren't as exciting as listening to how this part of Singapore used to be like in the past, I gladly obliged. I heard that the committee members of the club comprise of volunteers and I salute them for their great job in ensuring the smooth running of the club.


The pool.
























Otterman, A, Toycon, coolinsights came subsequently, and we started having brunch.

There was a lot to learn from the rest. Otterman, Rambling Librarian and coolinsights started sharing about Nexus 2007, and about museums having their own blogs. We can take a peep to the discussion by checking out these two posts by Otterman: Nexus 2007, Changi Museum News?, and a post by coolinsights: What Nexus 2007 is All About

Otterman also spoke about a financial model of funding one's publication. I found it quite an interesting stimulus to my brain while having a lovely brunch at the ManChu Cafe in the Chinese Swimming Club. Though I suppose I do need time to assimilate and digest the wealth of knowledge that has been shared during the brunch.

Dr Tan enlightened me of the previous locations of the Van Kleef Aquarium and the National Theatre, both which no longer exist now.




A suggested that I take a photo of Rambling Librarian and his plate of oysters from the buffet brunch spread. As Rambling Librarian seemed rather shy of my camera, I decided to take photographs of the oyster shells.




Otterman and his bowl of ice-cream.


In short, it was a pleasant brunch-gathering with folks, many who are older than myself. There was simply a lot to learn from these people.

Special thanks to Dr Tan and his wife for the lovely brunch.

Stay-tuned to this blog. I shall soon write about a specially autographed book that I had received when I was at the brunch meet-up.

Last but not the least, if you are keen in blogging about heritage-related issues or your memories of the past, you may wish to consider joining as a Friend of Yesterday.sg


References:
http://infopedia.nlb.gov.sg/articles/SIP_628_2005-01-22.html
http://singaporemagazine.sif.org.sg/focus04.html

Also read:
http://www.chineseswimmingclub.org.sg/milestone.htm
http://victorkoo.blogspot.com/2007/02/losing-someone-over-small-stuff-1.html
http://www.irenelow.com/
http://yesterday.sg/detail/national_theatre_a_different_view/
http://yesterday.sg/detail/vanishing_scenes_of_singapore_part_1/

Monday, March 26, 2007

Entrepreneur

You Aren't a Natural Entrepreneur

But you could be an entrepreneur with some work.
You've got the vision and guts to make it happen.
You just need a little more practice in the business world.
Find out what you truly love to do, and the money will follow.



While attempting to upload photos of the brunch that I had with some heritage bloggers, I decided to post my results to this test.

Maybe I can consider the possibilities of being a social entrepreneur? I wonder what are the foundations that I would need to lay if I want to be a successful and respectable entrepreneur?

Anyway, here's some links to readings related to social entrepreneurship:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_entrepreneurship
http://www.ashoka.org/fellows/social_entrepreneur.cfm
http://www.sse.org.uk/network/index.shtml
http://www.ncss.org.sg/ncss/lib/publications/ssj_Dec-Jan06.pdf
http://newshub.nus.edu.sg/ke/0503/articles/pg09a.htm

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Chun Chew and his outing with his father



When I was younger, there was a place in Singapore called Tang Dynasty Village, and I have had thoughts of visiting it. Yet I did not. I was probably put off by the admission price and the fact that it was quite a distance away from my home. Before I knew it, this place which was operated quite like a theme-park was closed down for good.

Perhaps subconsciously, I have always wanted to find out how Tang Dynasty Village was like and how visitors had experienced it. As such when Chun Chew's post titled A Day With My Dad – Lam Chun Chew was posted on Yesterday.sg, I could not help but check it out.

It seems to me that in between the lines of Chun Chew's post is a deep father-and-son bond between him and his late-father. Enjoy it here: http://yesterday.sg/detail/a_day_with_my_dad_lam_chun_chew/

Also read:
http://www.anniebees.com/Asia/Singapore5.htm
http://www.anniebees.com/Asia/Asia6.htm
http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tt/80c38/

Week 12 of year 2007 on the double bass




18 Mar 2007, Sun: I spent close to an hour at night to practise Pachelbel's Canon in D major scored for a double bass quartet, arranged by David Heyes. The focus was to work on the intonation and to find appropriate fingerings to play this work. I look forward to play it with other members of the double bass quartet.

21 Mar 2007, Wed: In the earlier part of the evening, I had double bass sectional. This was followed by orchestra rehearsal, where we played Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. The orchestra rehearsal was the last rehearsal for this academic semester. I will miss orchestra rehearsal for quite a while.

22 Mar 2007, Thu: This was the day when I had double bass lesson with MJ. He spent most of the lesson to work on my rendition of the first movement of Marcello's Sonata in G major. In this lesson, he demonstrated to me the differences in sound and colour between the works from Baroque period, the Classical period, and the Romantic period. He gave me a couple of assignments to practise on. I still need to work on my vibrato technique.

23 Mar 2007, Fri: I probably have spent at least an hour 1st, 2nd and 3rd movements of Marcello's Sonata in G major. I was working on keeping time.

This was followed by my practice of Pachelbel's Canon in D major scored for a double bass quartet, arranged by David Heyes. My pitching for this piece is improving, though slightly,

24 Mar 2007, Sat: A short 20 minutes was spent practising the first half of Faure's Sicilienne. I was trying to work memorising this work so that I can one day play this work from memory.

So this is yet another week whereby I have managed to hit my target of practising at least four times per week on the double bass, at least 15 minutes for each practice-session.

Yeah, give me a high-five!

**
Yet, to be truthfully, I wished I could have more time to practise. I am quite behind the schedule that I have set for myself. I had wanted to be able to play the entire Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro and three other pieces by end of Feb 2007, but I am now still working on Marcello's Sonata in G major, and I have only managed to play one-third of Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro.

But I think I have found out why my tutor does not want to spend too much time getting me to practise Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro yet. Introduction and Allegro is probably more easier to play musically than Marcello's Sonata in G major

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Listen to Emily's Qnic Fantasy

Photo taken at one of the rehearsals.
Photo credit: Taken from one of Emily's posts.


In one of my earlier posts, I have mentioned that our up-and-coming composer, Emily, will be showcasing one of her compositions, Qnic Fantasy, on 12 March 2007, 12.15pm at the Conservatory Concert Hall, Singapore.

If you were unable to catch the performance of Qnic Fantasy, performed by Qiang Xiao Xiao (violin), Tan Qin Ying (piano), please do visit: http://komponist.blogspot.com/2006/03/videos.html

If you enjoy it, do send your feedback directly to Emily.

Friday, March 23, 2007

To be honest, I am tired

You Are a Realist

You don't see the glass as half empty or half full. You see what's exactly in the glass.
You never try to make a bad situation seem better than it is...
But you also never sabotage any good things you have going on.
You are brutally honest in your assessments of situations - and this always seems to help you cope.


I am feeling tired
Today
The past few days

At times
The exhaustion reminds me
To go slower
Yet I wish I could have
More energy to do the things
That I wish to

Physically
Exhausted
I'm feeling drained
And my life seems the same way.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Improving vision

While visiting Eastcoastlife's blog, I came across a post titled PowerVision by NeuroVision

If you happen to be interested to find out about a little more about how to improve the vision of yourself and/or your loved ones, do check out the post

There will be an upcoming talk on 'How to improve vision for the Young & Old' at Woodlands Regional Library (Singapore) on 1st April 2007 (Sun) at 2pm.

Music from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest


My double bass desk partner at the orchestra was telling me that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is a good movie. However, woes were mine for I did not even bother myself with movie-watching and have hence never watched this movie.

What is this movie about?

Actually, I realised that I won't be interested to know this movie unless doing so would help me play the Symphonic Highlights From Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Muisc by Hans Zimmer, adapted by Paul Lavendel(?) better.

For the second half of the double bass sectional this week, and during this weeks ochestra rehearsal, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was the work that I was playing. Basically, I should say I was sight-reading this work since I had only received the scores at about 5.40 p.m. this Wednesday.

Looking back, I feel very glad the double bass sectional with double bass tutor, GM, has helped a great deal. He gave very good insights on how to manage the fairly challenging rhythms found in this work. I have still a lot to learn in order to reach his level of musicianship. I was greatly impressed how he was sight-reading this work, and was able to play everything with accurate rhythms on the piano (when the double bass is his principal instrument).

While I find the rhythms very challenging to me, it is actually a great idea that my orchestra's conductor wants to attempt this work. That way, I have all the reason to work on my sense of rhythm.

As best as I am aware, the orchestra should be playing Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest for our upcoming concert in August or September 2007. Details shall be released at a much later date.

In case you have yet to hear the sound tracks from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, here's an URL to visit:
http://disney.go.com/disneyrecords/soundtracks/pirates2/index.html

I think I will become a master in counting in triplets after a few months of playing Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Basically, swing!

If you like to listen to us playing Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, please check this blog for more information sometime in August this year.

**
Also visit:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000FTCF2M/disney-20/

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mystic's compliments

I am now listening to an audio recording of the concert Sturm and Drum.

How did that has to do with one of my friend's compliments?

I had a phone conversation with Mystic today, and she gave me compliments with regards to my performance at the concert. Her compliments were flattering. Whatever it is, I hope most, if not all, members of the audience for the concert could be touched in some ways by our music.

Once again, a special thanks to all those who have attended the concert. Thank you for allowing us to share the music with you.

**
It brings pleasant memories of the concert as I listen to the recordings of the concert. But if you were to ask me, I would still prefer to listen to music live!

Yes, if I were to choose between listening to music live and listening to recorded music, I would prefer to catch the concert live. Somehow, I find that I can hear a greater spectrum of sounds when listening to music live! And live music tends to move me, more than recorded music.

Well, after Mystic's compliments, I guess I could count on her to convince my parents to attend the future concerts that I will be playing in. Disappointing to say, my parents turned down my invitations to this concert. I think that there were many magical moments during the concert, it was certainly a concert worth going for. I can only admit that my weakness is that I do not want to over-promote myself, at least not to my parents.

My request for my parents is that if they deeply wants to bond with their child, it would be great for them to learn to appreciate the things that their child loves, even though those may not be instinctively the things that they enjoy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Grass Green

I am feeling drained. It would be good if I can enjoy some relaxing moments please. Life feels uncertain for now, actually. I do hope it will be getting better.

All I want to do now is to retreat to my own world. Smell the fragrance of the grass. Life is nicer when it is simple.

You Are Grass Green

Down to earth and a bit of a hippie, you are very into nature and the outdoors.
You accept the world and people as they are. You don't try to change things.
You are also very comfortable with yourself, flaws and all.
Optimistic about the future, you feel like life is always getting better.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Birthday Wants and Don't-Wants meme

Even though I usually don't follow-up with a meme even when tagged, I shall oblige so as to give lots of face to Mistipurple, who happens to be one of the first few readers to read my blog on a regular basis. She tagged me recently.

10 Birthday Wants:
1. I want good health.
2. I want to enjoy a delicious sumptuous spread of breakfast.
3. I want to be in the peaceful and good company of my friends or family members.
4. I want birthday cards specially selected and written for me.
5. I want a relaxed day which I can sit down and watch the world go by.
6. I want to enjoy some good sceneries and a good walk.
7. I want a peaceful and carefree day.
8. I want to be commissioned to tour and write about various places in Singapore, and the rest of the world!
9. I want to be offered a mentor to guide me to face the challenges that life may present to me.
10. I want to be awarded a sponsorship to own my dream Italian-crafted double bass!

10 Birthday Don’t Wants:
1. I don't want noise, please.
2. I don't want to be stuck in an awful crowd.
3. I don't want soft toy as present. I may like looking at some very excellent soft toys, but my nose is generally sensitive to put anything soft toy in my bedroom.
4. I don't want milk or white chocolates. I prefer dark chocolates unless the milk or white chocolate is superbly excellent.
5. I don't want to be sabotaged.
6. I don't want to be made a fool of myself.
7. I don't want to be forced to drink. I refrain from drinking alcohol in most situations.
8. I don't want an invitation to watch movie on my birthday. I generally prefer to attend concerts, musicals, visual art exhibitions or visit museums.
9. I don't want a tiring day on my birthday.
10. I don't want nagging from my parents and anyone else, not on my birthday.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Exclusive feature of The Popiah Party

Eastcoastlife has been very kind to invite several bloggers to a Popiah Party at her place. This post shall be an exclusive one, since I figured that all the other guests won't have experienced the popiah party the same way as I did.

The other invited bloggers were:
Chris
Paddy Tan - BAK2u and his wife, Izel
Victor
Cool Insider
and some of them came with their spouses and children.


Maybe I am generally not a party-person by nature, so folks, please pardon me if I were to disclose to all of you that the Popiah Party was my first Popiah Party in my entire life after having lived more than two decades.

For the benefits of those who like to find out what a popiah is, according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popiah, "it is a fresh spring roll... As a fresh spring roll, the popiah skin itself is not fried."

If one were to read more about the ingredients used for the fillings of the popiah, one might realise that it is actually quite a healthy food. I also realised much later that it must have been rather time-consuming to prepare the fillings in the first place. The turnip and the carrots have to be sliced or grated; the eggs have to be boiled and mashed, the Chinese sausages have to be sliced fine, then the lettuce have to be torned into portion.

I beg your pardon please, I would have rather buy popiah from a popiah stall so as to save all the preparation-time. As such, I am grateful that in this world, there are people who are willing to put aside time to prepare good food for people around them to enjoy. I know my maternal grandmother is one of those lovely folks who do so. So here's a special thanks to these people, and that includes Eastcoastlife.

Eastcoastlife's husband probably realised that I was rather helpless with making my own popiah, so he kindly made me one delicious roll of popiah, sliced specially for me. While he was making the popiah, I tried to watch from afar how the process was being done so that I could attempt to do so on my own, later.

Here's my very first attempt in making my own popiah using the prepared-ingredients provided:




To serve as a comparison, I shall show you a photo of a popiah that I have bought when I was at a shopping centre, Coronation Plaza, for a quick dinner:

Popiah from My Cosy Corner, Coronation Plaza.
I guess I still have to practise more before I get the skills to roll nice-looking popiah. But if you were to know me well enough, I will rather practise more on the double bass!



There is something special about the popiah skin. These are handmade popiah skins from Kway Guan Huat located at 95 Joo Chiat Road, made the traditional way. The skin has a unique texture somehow. Do read Victor's post: Joo Chiat - Past and Present (1) to find out more about Kway Guan Huat.


The handmade popiah skin.


Courtesy of one of the guests, Paddy Tan - BAK2u, who kindly became my model, I have the privilege to put into photographs some of the initial steps of making a popiah. Now, I shall leave it to your imagination to figure out how to roll a popiah.





I can't help but to write about the kueh pie tee casing, which I learnt were purchased from Kway Guan Huat too. The kueh pie tee casing at the party today has a very nice, crunchy texture. I learnt that these kueh pie tee casing were freshly made just in today morning. Gosh, Eastcoastlife has certainly pampered her guests today.


Kueh Pie Tee casing


Kueh Pie Tee

Despite having an injury, Eastcoastlife nevertheless went the extra mile to prepare for the guests a strawberry cake, mango pudding, pizza, porridge and her speciality durian puffs!

The strawberry cake has a nice fragrance though I find it rather sweet for my liking. The pizza was average, and Eastcoastlife was telling us that her son makes much better pizzas.





Cool Insider
's son seemed to love the wolfberries that Eastcoastlife had generously sprinkled over the delicious porridge. I must say those wolfberries tasted wonderfully nice. They are so good that you can simply eat them on their own.


The Wolfberries



Like any party, there were social exchanges going on. I prefer to be a listener for today. We even had the honour to tour Eastcoastlife's place.

Since I don't have any other plans for the rest of the day except for practising on my instrument, the double bass, I wasn't in a rush to leave and continued to stay after all the rest of the guests had left. The reward for doing so was that I had the chance to taste Eastcoastlife's durian puffs. To clarify, it was definitely not intentional on the part of our generous host that I was the only guest who ended up sampling these durian puffs.

These durian puffs are very delicious and yummy! You can see that a lot of durian puree had been used to fill the durian puff such that the puree oozed out so beautifully as one bit on it.


Eastcoastlife's durian puffs, made with tender-loving-care.



Special thanks to Eastcoastlife's husband for his patience in helping me hold the durian puff.


Eastcoastlife revealed to me the secrets behind her delicious durian puffs: She only uses the best, freshiest and tastiest durians to make the puree. In addition, she added coconut milk to enhance the taste and texture of the durian puree . Her husband also revealed that he and Eastcoastlife think that Bentong durians are the best kind of durians around. In fact, they find Bentong durians taste better than D24 durians. I learnt that Bentong is a town in Malaysia.

I was pleasantly surprised that the creamy texture and rich durian taste of the durian puffs continued to linger in my tastebuds even after I had bid farewell to the host and her family.

In addition to the durian puffs, I had the pleasure to taste a salak, which is also known as a snake-skin fruit. If you were to take a closer look at the skin of the fruit, it really does look like the skin of the snake, doesn't it?




It has a crunchy texture and a mildly sweet taste. Today's my first time eating a snake-skin fruit. Thanks to Eastcoastlife for giving me this experience. I learnt that this fruit is commonly found in Indonesia. Her domestic helper advised her that the sweetest salak comes from Bali, Indonesia.





Eastcoastlife and her husband also shared with me photographs of their son when he was much younger. I can sense that they have taught their son very well, and they are proud of him and his achievements.

I learnt that their son sometimes help to take guests to visit various parts of Singapore. I figured that their son may know Singapore better than I do, so I better catch up in touring and learning more of Singapore before he surpluses me too much.

Time had passed so fast that I did not realise that I had spent about five hours at Eastcoastlife's place. Fearing to hold the hosts up too long, I bid farewell. Furthermore, I have to make time to practise later the night after visiting the library@esplanade.

Here is a special word of thanks to Eastcoastlife and her husband for being wonderful hosts. Thank you very much.

***
(Edited)
Here's what the host and the other guests have to share about the party:
My 1st Bloggers' Popiah Party by Eastcoastlife
Popiah Party - EastCoastLife's house by Paddy

***
References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popiah
http://www.chennaionline.com/hotelsandtours/recipes/recipes/recipes21.asp
http://www.stomp.com.sg/stfoodiesclub/taste/14/index.html
Joo Chiat - Past and Present (1) by Victor.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bentong
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salak

Also read:
Kuih Pie Tee. Recipe by Amy Beh