Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 60



The quest for the best mashed potato has evolved to such an extent that often when I feel the yearning to send good wishes to my friend, I would often be inspired to look for mashed potato to review. May the best wishes and positive vibes reach my friend.

I was at Bishan on 26 Oct 2009 and I searched the entire Junction 8 for mashed potato. I had tried the one at Cafe Cartel and that seemed to be the only food outlet in Junction 8 that serves mashed potato. So I continued walking and I ended at the food centre (GM Food Centre) that was above the Bishan Bus-interchange.

There was a humble-looking Western food stall named "Robin's food experience". Someone blogged about this stall here.

I found out that the daily potatoes for the day was mashed potato! Of course, I had to order one! Each serving costs $2.

The cook was so lovely that he made mashed potato for me from the very scratch. I have a serving of mashed potato that was made with care and thoughtfulness. The mashed potato has a generally smooth, creamy and fine texture.

The sauce has an interesting colour. My tastebuds sensed that the sauce was made with some kind of vegetable broth added to it. It seemed that there were traces of carrots in it from the colour of the broth. However I can't be certain on this. The sauce was just right: not too salty nor sweet. For its affordable price, this mashed potato is worth checking out. I hope that this stall prosper in terms of its business. Food establishments like this who care about making quality food ought to enjoy good business.

The daily potatoes from Robin's food experience are also served with grilled items.

With this post, I wish my friend to whom this series of posts is dedicated to: thoughtful people who add delights to the day.

***
Robin's food experience
GM Food Centre
Above the Bishan Bus-interchange

Friday, December 25, 2009

A visit to "Quest for Immortality"






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

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





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

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




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

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

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

More information about this information can be found here: http://nationalmuseum.sg/nms/nms_html/index.asp

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

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 63



I surfed the internet to look for leads for good mashed potato in Singapore, and found out that Oomphatico serves mashed potato. When I visited Oomphatico on 26 Sep 2009, I ordered the mashed potato with feta.

One serving of this costs $5 before tax. Real mashed potato was used, and its texture is of a fine, smooth and compact nature. The mashed potato has cubes of feta cheese in it. The feta adds a flavoursome tinge of delightful sour taste to the mashed potato dish. Interesting the feta is chewy when chewed, and it melts in the mouth with time. I think the feta went well with the mashed potato in terms of taste, and colour. I think lovers of mashed potato and cheese would like this one for its simple yet sincere presentation and recipe.

After reviewing mashed potato from about 60 different establishment, I felt I needed guidance to learn the necessary vocabulary to better describe the mashed potato that I have eaten. Does anyone know any such experts and could recommend to me please?

In the meantime, to my friend whom this series of posts is dedicated to, I wish you blissful moments each and every day.

***
Oomphatico's
163 Tanglin Road
#01-35 Tanglin Mall
Singapore 247933

http://www.oomphaticos.com

Monday, December 21, 2009

Exploring Singapore with RL



17 Dec 2009, Thu:

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

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

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





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





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





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





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



The making popiah skins at Kway Guan Huat.


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





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




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

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 62



On 25 Sep 2009, I was at Cafe Cartel. I've found out that Cafe Cartel serves mashed potato with some of its main courses. However, I didn't like to try many of its main courses when I was there on 25 Sep 2009 as I did not want to eat red meat and anything that was fried that day. So I asked if I can have a special order of one serving of mashed potato, and was pleasantly delighted that Cafe Cartel allows for that!

One serving of specially ordered mashed potato costs $2 before taxes. The mashed potato has a fluffy, fine and smooth texture. From the taste of the mashed potato, it appears that real mashed potatoes were used to make this dish. I wonder how the mashed potato could be made so fine. This is a mashed potato that I won't mind having again if I were to dine at Cafe Cartel.

The brown sauce is slightly on the salty side, and it left a 'dry' aftertaste. However, overall, that was still bearable.

With this post, I wish my friend to whom this series of posts is dedicated to: pleasant surprises to cheer the day.

***
Cafe Cartel's website: http://www.cafecartel.com.sg

Monday, December 14, 2009

Read: The Essential Spontaneous of Fulfillment of Desire

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A quarterlife crisis related article

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

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

Week 50 of year 2009 on the double bass

6 Dec 2009, Sun: I worked on few studies from Bottesini's Method for Double Bass, Part One (Yorke Edition) in the hope of improving technique. Thereafter, I practised the third and fourth movements from Eccles' Sonata in g minor.

9 Dec 2009, Wed: I practised the third and fourth movements from Eccles' Sonata in g minor.

11 Dec 2009, Fri: During double bass lesson, my tutor got me to play several studies from Bottesini's Method for Double Bass, Part One (Yorke Edition). I was told that if I could work steadily on the studies, that would help me to improve hnique in time to come.

I continued to work on the Eccles' Sonata in g minor. I wish I could play as well as my tutor one day. The way to do so is to practise and practise well.

12 Dec 2009, Sat: I played selected passages from Marcello's Sonata in G major, Capuzzi's Concerto in D, Faure's Apres Un Reve and the fourth movement from Eccles' Sonata in g minor.

I shall have a break from my regular double bass practices for the next two weeks.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 61


It was 28 Aug 2009 (Fri), I ended up at Ilmaz Western stall at Blk 728 Ang Mo Kio Ave 6 coffeeshop. This is a stall selling halal Western food. It was the Ramandan period, and the person at the stall asked if I could wait for him to prepare the food for the Muslims to break fast first. I gladly agreed.

I ordered a hot-plate grill chicken. It comes with vegetables, fries and mashed potato. The mashed potato was average in terms of its taste. The sauce used was the black pepper sauce that came with the grill chicken. This place doesn't seem to serve mashed potato on its own. The hot plate grill chicken costs $6 per serving.

I waited close to an hour for my dinner, and while I was waiting, I decided to read a book so that at least I could have food for the mind and the soul. I experienced hunger while waiting. Anyway, reading the book has helped me manage the feelings of hunger and enabled me to wait graciously. I suppose the long wait was because there was only one person working at the stall yet there were a lot of orders that evening.

That evening, I had a first-hand experience of hunger. I felt grateful having food to eat when the food was finally served.

While I don't think I would go back to Ilmaz Western food just for its mashed potato, I won't mind going there for the Western food if I don't have to wait so long for the food.

With this post, I wish my friend to whom this series of post is dedicated to: lots of lovely things and people in life to be grateful for.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Week 49 of year 2009 on the double bass

29 Nov 2009, Sun: I began the practice with one exercise. This was followed by practising the last movement of Eccles' Sonata in g minor to improve the intonation and the articulation.

30 Nov 2009, Mon: I continued practising the entire Eccles' Sonata in g minor. What I hope to achieve is to express the music as best as I can.

2 Dec 2009, Wed: The practice focused on working through orchestral excerpts from the works by Tchaikovsky that the orchestra that I play in are rehearsing. Interestingly, I felt I have improved in my playing when I went through those parts. The greater challenge was understanding how to approach Berlioz's Symphony Fantastique.

3 Dec 2009, Thu: During the double bass lesson, I played the first two studies from Bottesini's Method for Double Bass, Part Two (Yorke Edition) for my tutor. He suggested that I could work on studies that are slighly easier so that I could focus on improving technique, rhythm and intonation at a greater ease.

Afterwhich, we worked on the fourth and third movements from Eccles' Sonata in g minor. I shall be reviewing the audio recordings of the lesson so that I could hear how he manages to play the third movement so musically.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 60



Eager to hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, I ended up at Sour Puss Cafe on 19 Sep 2009. The mashed potato costs $3.90 before taxes if it was ordered on its own. I ordered the grilled chicken set (with teriyaki sauce) which comes with mashed potato and side salad. This costs $14.90 before taxes per set.

The mashed potato here had a plain and tasteless taste. From the texture and taste of it, I deduced that it was made from potato powder. My guess was confired when I spoke with one of the staff from the cafe after I had my meal. A mashed potato that lacks the earthy potato taste simply does not delight the taste bud. Even eating the mashed potato together with the teriyaki chicken had failed to make the mashed potato taste a little better.

The positive thing was that the waitress was kind enough to ask for and listen to my feedback. In a gist, I gave my feedback that the mashed potato made from potato powder lacks the potato taste, and asked the cafe to consider switching to use real potato.

I shall not go back to Sour Puss Cafe for mashed potato, unless it decides to change its recipe and use real and tasty potatoes!

With this post, I wish my friend to whom this series of posts is dedicated to: Wise and wonderful mentors who will lend invaluable guidance.

***
Sour Puss Cafe
Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, #01-13E.

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu and Public Holidays 10.00 a.m. – 11.00 p.m.
Fri-Sun and Eve Public Holidays 10.00 a.m. – 01.00 a.m.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Words of wisdom from a client



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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Read: Learned Optimism

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph. D. 
(2006)

New York: Vintage Books

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

This website http://www.shearonforschools.com/learned_optimism.htm gives a very good summary of the various chapters from The Optimistic Child.

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Week 48 of year 2009 on the double bass

22 Nov 2009, Sun: I continued working on Bottesini's Method for Double Bass, Part Two (Yorke Edition) to improve the intonation. Afterwhich, I worked on the first and fourth movements of Eccles'Sonata in g minor.

23 Nov 2009, Mon: I continued to practise the first study from Method for Double Bass, Part Two (Yorke Edition). Intonation is better and I was working on improving the tone quality.

That was followed by playing the first movement from Capuzzi's Concerto in D major. I focused more on intonation.

Afterwhich, I worked on improving the left hand technique for the last movement of Eccles' Sonata in g minor. I also played the first movement of the sonata.

25 Nov 2009, Wed: I worked on G major scale. In addition, I practised the first and second exercises from Method for Double Bass, Part Two (Yorke Edition). Intonation is improving. There are still more to work on in terms of the tone quality.

Thank goodness that Eccles' Sonata in g minor is interesting enough for me to keep working on it for the past few weeks. I worked on the last, third and first movements. My fingers seem more familiar with where they could place themselves on the fingerboard with regular practices.

26 Nov 2009, Thu: I worked on the study from Method for Double Bass, Part Two (Yorke Edition). I still have much to work on improving the tone quality produced. Afterwhich, I worked on improving intonation as I practised the last movement of Eccles' Sonata in g minor at a moderate tempo.

27 Nov 2009, Fri: When I needed a mood lightened, playing the double bass helped to provide relief and the outlet of expression. I spent some time working on Eccles' Sonata in g minor and afterwhich, played on the double bass spontaneously whatever tune came to my heart.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thank goodness for my double bass

When I needed very much a mood lightened, thank goodness that I took the effort to play on my double bass. It has brought relief and comfort. Even though some of my concerns have yet to be resolved, a lightened mood has helped reduce the torment of the growing-up pains that a life crisis may sometimes bring.

Thank goodness for the double bass.

Alright, maybe I also need a lot of guidance and care to learn not to take myself too seriously?

Lunch with Mystic

Cherry Jubilee


To thank my friend for her invaluable help, I had invited Mystic to lunch at Le Aranda.

Mystic is a marvellous person at searching for information. I suppose she has found out about my quest for the best mashed potato in Singapore and so she was very thoughtful to do some search so as to lend me some leads. She found out that Le Aranda serves mashed potato and we decided to head there for lunch.

The ambience there was good. I like the music. Mystic seems to like the elegant decor of the restaurant. Service was great too.

We had the semi-buffet lunch. It comes with free-flow of salads and soup, and a choice of a main course, a dessert and a choice of either coffee or tea.


Pan Fried Salmon with Saffron Sauce, with mashed potato and garden vegetables


I shall hold my review of the mashed potato for the moment. In short, it is worth a consideration if one is dining at Le Aranda. Mystic, who has high expectations for food, seemed pleased with the food there.I like the carrot soup and had to be mindful not to over-indulge in it. The bread was nice too. Mystic sang praises of the salad with the house dressing.

I believe the photos that you see here were taken by Mystic. Her passion for good food seems to bestow her a gift in food-photography.

Many thanks to Mystic for her help, and for her company over lunch.

***
Le Aranda
Aranda Country Club
60 Pasir Ris Drive 3
Singapore 519497

Tel: (65) 6585 1770

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 59



On 13 Sep 2009, in search for the best mashed potato in Singapore, I ended at Chili's Restaurant located at Tanglin Mall. I ordered the Loaded Mashed Potatoes.

Chili's also serves Mashed Potatoes with Black Pepper Gravy. I shall consider trying it another time.

Each serving of the Loaded Mashed Potatoes costs $5.90 before taxes. The loaded mashed potatoes has a chunky texture. It is not very creamy, and is slightly drier in texture than the mashed potato from Tony Roma's. The loaded mashed potato here has a nice earthy potato taste. It's topped with bacon bits and cheese. These toppings enhanced the taste of the dish. The mashed potato contains bits of potato-skin which added a country-like rugged feel to the dish.

I won't mind going back to have this Loaded Mashed Potatoes again.

By the way, I had the loaded mashed potatoes with the Guiltless Chicken with Pita. It's consider ''guiltless' because the chicken is grilled and the ingredients used contain comparatively lesser calories. The pita is good. I don't eat pita very often but this pita is the best that I have eaten by far!

I send my blessings to my friend whom this hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore is dedicated to. Good luck and joy!



***
Chili's Restaurant
#02-23 Tanglin Mall,
163 Tanglin Road,
Singapore 247933

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I ask for care and guidance



In a time when directions and purposes need to be clarified
When much is unknown
Hope is there
Answers yet to be found
What brings a moment of relief to the day
Is being kind to oneself to find beauty in the daily mundane.

Week 47 of year 2009 on the double bass

15 Nov 2009, Sun: I worked on a few studies to improve sight-reading skills. Afterwhich, I worked on the fourth movement of Eccles'Sonata in g minor.

16 Nov 2009, Mon: Other than playing scales and practising the vibrato technique, I continued to work on the first, second and fourth movements of Eccles' Sonata in g minor.

18 Nov 2009, Wed: I played a study before taking time to practise the first, second and fourth movements of Eccles' Sonata in g minor. The focus was to improve articulation and bow techniques.

19 Nov 2009, Thu: My double bass tutor got me to sight-read a few studies and that reminded me that I have to focus on work on improving my techniques. Anyway, I spent much of the lesson working on the last movement of Eccles' Sonata in g minor. I worked on how to achieve as clear an articulation as my tutor did.

20 Nov 2009, Fri: I worked on one study from Bottesini's Method for Double Bass, Part Two (Yorke Edition). While it was relatively challenging, I trust that if I worked on it till intonation and rhythm is perfect, I would be able to reach a higher level of playing in terms of technique. After some time working on the study, I played the first and third movements of Eccles' Sonata in g minor. Thereafter, I worked on the fourth movement of Eccles' Sonata in g minor.

21 Nov 2009, Sat: I continued to work on the same study from Bottesini's Method for Double Bass, Part Two (Yorke Edition) so as to achieve a better tone on the double bass. Much of the rest of the practice was spent working on certain passages from the fourth movement of Eccles' Sonata in g minor. I was aiming to work through the challenging finger shifts and bow-changes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 58



It has been slightly more than a year since I have started on the hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore. It came about as a humble way to identify the best mashed potato in Singapore so as to delight a friend of mine who has a liking for mashed potato. Each and every post is also my humble way to send caring thoughts and wishes to my friend. I hope that readers of this series have also enjoyed the caring wishes and delights that each post aims to bring.

My hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore got me ending up at Pump Room on 5 Sep 2009.

The mashed potato here has a chunky texture to it. There seems to be no much butter added to the mashed potato, so I suppose it would be a choice for people who do not like to have too much butter in their mashed potato. There was a dash of salt added to the mashed potato for taste. It's $8 before tax.

With this post, I wish my friend to whom this series of posts is dedicated to: tenacity.

***
The Pump Room
3B River Valley Road,
The Foundry, #01-09/10,
Singapore 179021

http://www.pumproomasia.com

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My experiences onboard Invasion Singapore!




I went for the bus tour entitled War on Wheels, Invasion Singapore! during the weekend. This event gets its participants to discover more about Singapore's World War II history.

The bus tour brought the tour group to several important sites to better appreciate the significant events that had taken place when Singapore was invaded by the Japanese military in 1942. It also gave us a glimpse of the civilians' experience of the Japanese occupation and the end of the occupation.

Read more about my experiences on the bus tour here: Back to the time of WWII Singapore

There will be more of such bus tours on 21 and 28 Nov 2009 (Saturdays). Please see this site for more information:  http://www.museums.com.sg/es09/war-on-wheels.html

Monday, November 16, 2009

Read: Refuse to Choose



The recent book that I have read is Barbara Sher's Refuse to Choose!: A revolutionary program for doing everything that you love.

This book is about people who are drawn to many interests in their lives. In this book, the term "Scanner" is used to describe a person who has multiple interests. In this book, it proposed that Scanners who are people with multiple interests aren't suppose to choose just one particular talent of theirs to get started on a career. They were designed to put their multitalented brains to contribute to the world. Each has his/her special gifts.

In this book, Barbara Sher described that there are various types of Scanners, each with their unique characteristics and needs. She also described some strategies for each type of Scanners to do everything that they love.

The types of Scanners that were described in the book were:
-Cyclical Scanners
-Double Agent
-Sybil
-Plate Spinner
-Sequential Scanner
-Serial Specialist
-Serial Master
-Jack-of-All-Trades
-Wanderer
-Sampler
-High-Speed Indecisive

Some of the things that were mentioned in the book got me thinking if I happen to be a Scanner described by Barbara Sher. I remembered that I had a very challenging time making decisions what to major in when I was deciding on my preferred course for junior college. My grades were good enough to have quite a reasonably wide variety of choices. I struggled between making the choice between Science and the Humanities.

Then when it came to choosing a faculty to study in university, I also had good enough grades to have a large number of choices. Even after the choice was made, I still wondered if I had limited my options by deciding on a particular course of study. There were many times when I had wished that the education system could allow one to take as many majors as they would like. Then again, if that was allowed, I wonder if I would have the means to pay for the tuition required to study so many majors.

Anyway, in short, I find it quite liberating to read and realise that it is actually alright when one finds it a challenge to make a choice between one's various interests. In fact, the book proposed that it is possible to refuse to make a choice so that one could do as many things as one loves. It is quite a worthwhile book to read especially for anyone with multiple interests who wish to make a career out of his/her various interests.

If writing down things could help me get closer to my dream career, I would like a career that would allow me to do the following:
- sketch landscapes
- perform on the double bass in either a chamber or orchestral setting
- the honour to serve others
- travel and see new places
- paint (acrylics or paint)
- use reflective skills
- use analytical and thinking skills
- generate ideas and implement some of them
- allow integration of large pieces of information

- read and share about culture and history of the world
- share with others about places in Singapore
- write, e.g. poems and travelogues
- refine my existing skills
- learn something new that would interest me

My personality profile also reminded me that my ideal work environment would preferably have the following characteristics:
- a place where I could produce work that helps people
- a place that puts minimal emphasis on office rules and procedures
- a place where I can work independently on my own time-frame
- a place the emphasis is placed on tasks that require routine or rote memory
- a place that emphasise harmony (versus competition)

Would 'refusing to choose', and finding the strategies to help me do as much as I love get me closer to the dreams? I ask that the answer be a positive one please.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Week 46 of year 2009 on the double bass

8 Nov 2009, Sun: The practice started out with a sight-reading of a study. Afterwhich, I continued to work at a moderate tempo the last movement from Eccles' Sonata in g minor. Much of the time was spent practising the first half of the movement, ensuring clear articulation, steady rhythm and good intonation.

9 Nov 2009, Mon: I played the first, second and part of the last movements from Eccles' Sonata in g minor. Music-making is therapeutic. I felt a sense of relief.

11 Nov 2009, Wed: For the pleasure of playing music, I worked on two studies, played the first movement from Capuzzi's Concerto in D major and the first to third movements from Eccles' Sonata in g minor. There could have been more focus. Nevertheless, the practice had indeed brought me a sense of pleasure and relief.

12 Nov 2009, Thu: I worked on the first half of the fourth movement of Eccles' Sonata in g minor at a moderate tempo so as to work out the fingerings and the shifts in positions.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 57



I was at the National Museum of Singapore on 29 Aug 2009 (Sun). There was an event titled A Taste of Belgium that was held in conjunction with the exhibition A Story of the Image: Old & New Masters from Antwerp exhibition.

You bet I was excited to try this mashed potato when I realised that "stoemp" was sold at the "A Taste of Belgium" event.

"Stoemp" is a dish in the cuisine of Belgium and the Netherlands. It consists of pureed or mashed potatoes, other root vegetables and can also include cream, bacon, herbs or spices. (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoemp). This stoemp contains bits of carrots. The mashed potato is made from real potato, and the inconsistent texture gave it a rustic feel which I quite like. The bits of carrots is soft. It was served not too warm, which I like!

This stoemp was from Brussels Sprouts Pte Ltd which took part in the event. Each serving costs $5 at the event. According to http://www.brusselssprouts.com.sg, the daily stoemp would costs $6.50 per serving before taxes at the Brussels Sprouts restaurant.

Frankly speaking, I don't think my friend to whom this series of posts is dedicated to may like the stoemp that I had at the event. I remember that my friend does not like to eat carrots. Whatever it is, I wish my friend: persistence to be true to oneself.

***
BRUSSELS SPROUTS
80 Mohamed Sultan Road #01-12
The Pier@Robertson
Singapore 239013

Tel: +65 6887 4344
http://www.brusselssprouts.com.sg

Monday, November 09, 2009

Read: The monk who sold his Ferrari


Image source: Amazon.com

Robin S. Sharma's
The Monk who sold his Ferrari.
New York: HarperTorch, 1997
NLB Call Number: 158.1 SHA

I have just finished reading Robin S. Sharma's The Monk who sold his Ferrari (A Fable about reaching your destiny). I went to borrow this book from the library to find out what I could learn from the book.

This starts with a story of a very rich lawyer who had a wake-up call of his lifetime when he suffered a heart attack in a courtroom. The heart attack forced him to confront the condition of his life. In search of happiness and fulfillment, he sold his material belongings to travel about places in the world to find his answers. He learnt about a powerful system from the Sages of Sivana who live in a village away from modern civilisation.

This book offers a step-by-step system of how one could live an enlightened living. I like the way that this book strive to use symbols to help one better recall the seven timeless virtues of an enlightened living.

For those who would like to know, the book speaks of the following seven timeless virtues of enlightened living:

1) Master Your Mind
2) Follow Your Purpose
3) Practice Kaizen
4) Live with Discipline
5) Respect Your Time
6) Selflessly Serve Others
7) Embrace the Present

These virtues were represented by symbols. These symbols were the magnificent garden, the towering lighthouse, the sumo wrestler, the pink wire cable, the gold stopwatch, the fragrant roses, the path of diamonds.

Many of the concepts make sense after I understood the principles behind the strategies. The challenge would be to apply them on a consistent basis. This book has clear concepts just that I felt I was comparatively not as inspired by it. Perhaps it was because I could relate better to a book that is more intuitive in its style of writing.

Personally, I would prefer a inspiring fable such as Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist which speaks of similar topics. I find that while The Alchemist may not offer a clear step-by-step system on how one could live an enlightened life, it has a greater capacity through its story-telling to help to instill the hope and inspiration for one to fulfill one's dreams.

Nevertheless, it was still quite worthwhile to read The monk who sold his Ferrari for its clarity in presenting the various concepts to live an enligtened life.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Week 45 of year 2009 on the double bass



1 Nov 2009, Sun: I started off with playing scales followed by sight-reading a couple of studies. The rest of the practice was spent playing Eccles' Sonata in g minor. I needed clearer goals for my practices.

2 Nov 2009, Mon: The practice was therapeutic. I played a study and worked on improving intonation and the tone of sound. Subsequently, I decided to focus on having fun playing clear and well-articulated short strokes while playing the second movement of Eccles' Sonata in g minor.

4 Nov 2009, Wed: The practice was therapeutic yet again. It was the vibrations and deep resonating sound of the double bass that had soothed. I worked on two studies to improve intonation and articulation. Afterwhich, I played the first, second and third movements of Eccles' Sonata in g minor. More work is needed to refine the phrasing.

5 Nov 2009, Thu: My tutor demonstrated how I could play the triple stops from the second movement of Eccles' Sonata in g minor. In the night, I worked on the second movement of the sonata.

7 Nov 2009, Sat: I did a reading of the fourth movement of Eccles' Sonata in g minor at a fairly moderate tempo so as to have an idea how it would sound like. This will be what I will working on in greater depth for the next few weeks to come.

***
The good news of the week is that I have learnt that I have passed The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, Music Performance Diploma, Double Bass. I am deeply thankful to the many people who have given me guidance, support and encouragement. Thank you very much.

Friday, November 06, 2009

More sketches



It was 1 Nov 2009, Nature beckoned me to be in its arms. I headed for the Singapore Botanic Gardens to enjoy the beauty of Nature. Here is one of the photos that I have taken. The structure in the center of the above photo is a gazebo. It used to serve as a Bandstand.

A few months ago, I saw a photo of the same gazebo and I sketched it for one of friends.

When I saw the gazebo in person, I felt I just have to sketch it while observing it in real life. Here's the sketch that I did on 1 Nov 2009 of the gazebo. I hope this post brings you simple delights. Nature is beautiful.


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 56



While I was Serangoon Gardens on 21 Sep 2009, I found my way to Bistro @ Gardens. It used to serve mashed potato on its own, but it does not now. This was told to me by one of the staff.

I ordered the Salmon Teriyaki, served with mashed potatoes, seasoned vegetables, and deep fried leek, from Bistro @ The Gardens. It costs $15.90 nett. The mashed potato used is real potato. Using real potato definitely makes a lot of difference to the taste. The taste of it is above-average.

The mashed potato is not the creamy and fine-textured type of mashed potato. Instead, its texture is slightly coarse yet generally smooth. Such a texture gave it a rustic feel that I like. While I find it slightly salty for my preference, (for less salty food) in general, the mashed potatoes here is made with sincerity and care.

I won't mind coming back if this place allows me to order mashed potato on its own. In general, the food here is affordable and of reasonably good quality. By the way, I ordered the mushroom soup, and it is nice.

The Salmon Teriyaki dish with mashed potatoes here tastes way better and is more affordable than the Grilled Norwegian Salmon from The Mussels Guys Seafood & Steak Restaurant.

With this post, I wish my friend to whom this series of posts is dedicated to: lots of caring moments.

Bistro @ The Gardens.
4 Maju Avenue
Serangoon Gardens Estate
Singapore 556682

http://www.bistro.com.sg

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The city test



Your City is Istanbul



You are hip and modern. You are an expert on what's hot, and you are always up for trying the newest things.

You play so much that people may ask if you ever work at all. You're the type to party until dawn, even on a work night.

You are liberal and progressive. You may have grown up around conservative elements, but you reject them completely.

People can't help but notice your style and flair. You are getting more popular every day.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Week 44 of year 2009 on the double bass

25 Oct 2009, Sun: I played the first and second movements of Eccles' Sonata in g minor so as to work on the intonation and to be familiarised with the fingerings.

26 Oct 2009, Mon: I continued to work on the first and second movements of Eccles'Sonata in g minor. I may need some time to hear how I would like the sonata to sound.

29 Oct 2009, Thu: During the double bass lesson, I worked on the first movement of Eccles' Sonata in g minor.

30 Oct 2009, Fri: I sight-read a few studies so as to improve technique and sight-seeing skills. Afterwhich, I played the second movement of Eccles' Sonata in g minor. More focus is needed.

Then I attempted to sight-read the first 20 bars or so from Bottesini's Nel cor piu non mi sento.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sketching, sketching and more sketching







Posted by Hello I was sketching from behind the trees in the background.



I have bought for myself a smaller sketch book today. For the past few days and weeks, I have been needing a mood lighten very much. I would like to seek more care and guidance. I reckon it may be best to start off by lending care to myself by doing something that I like. I chose to sketch.

It was therapeutic to sketch. At the very least, sketching has helped to shift my mind to focus on creating a nice enough image.

Today, I did four different sketches in the early afternoon. Much of the time was spent walking. Hopefully I would feel better soon.

I wish I could find some guidance to the quest that I am now seeking. Wish me good luck please.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sharing a snapshot from Singapore



On 24 Oct 2009, I was walking across Coleman Bridge. The weather was good that night. I managed to get a snapshot of Elgin Bridge. I hope you may like this snapshot from Singapore. I like the reflections of the lights on the waters of the Singapore River.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 55


On 23 Aug 2009 (Sun), I was so keen to continue to hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, I ended up at Werner's Oven.

The menu did not stated that the mashed potato is available on its own. Anyway, since I was hungry for lunch, I ordered the crispy pork knuckle served with mashed potato & sauerkraut. This costs $21.50 before GST. There's no service charge here. The set proved to be too large a serving for yours truly, particularly because I haven't been eating so much red meat for a long time!

The crispy texture of the pork knuckles is a good contrast to the soft and fluffy texture of the mashed potato. The mashed potato is made from real potato and not potato flakes, this I have learnt to tell after trying out so many mashed potato. The mashed potato has a pleasant tinge of sour flavour which reminded me of the taste of sweet mustard. I suppose butter had been added to achieve the creamy and buttery texture and taste.

Personally for me, I find the pork knuckles too heavy in serving for me. After having a few bites of it, I felt I had enough of the pork knuckles. The mashed potato as a side dish surprisingly refreshed the palate after eating too much pork knuckles. Frankly speaking, the pork knuckles here were crispy and juicy. However, I simply am not fond of eating too much red meat nowadays. It may be a long time before I would eat so much pork knuckle on my own.

The mashed potato from Werner's Oven is quite a delightful side-dish. I asked the waiter, and he shared that although it is not listed as an item on the menu, one could order the mashed potato as a special order!

With this post, I wish my friend to whom this series of posts is dedicated to: the wisdom to make good choices.

***
Werner's Oven
6 Upper East Coast Road,
#01-01/02/03,
Singapore 455200,
Tel: 64423897.
http://www.wernersoven.com.sg

Monday, October 26, 2009

I think best outdoors

Going out to Nature or for a good walk about Singapore can be great for the mind. Nature inspires. I ask for care and guidance.



You Think Best Outdoors






In order to be able to think, you need to clear your head. And in order to clear your head, you have to get moving.

There's nothing like getting your heart pumping and breathing fresh air to drive you to greatness. Exercising outdoors makes you feel on top of the world.

There's nothing more awe inspiring than the beauties and challenges of nature. Being outside really puts your life in perspective.

You feel powerful when you're moving through a natural setting. You're more likely to think boldly and trust your instincts.



Sunday, October 25, 2009

Week 43 of year 2009 on the double bass

18 Oct 2009, Sun: I sight-read study no. 33 and 34 from Yorke Solos for Double Bass Volume 1.

19 Oct 2009, Mon: After practising scales, I worked on a few studies from Bottesini's Method for Double Bass Part One. After that, in the mood to play more melodic lines, I attempted the first and second movements from Eccles' Sonata in g minor.

21 Oct 2009, Wed: I was given medical leave for the day. I decided to go slow and worked on a few studies from Bottesini's Method for Double Bass Part One. Afterwhich, I played the first movement from Eccles' Sonata in g minor.

22 Oct 2009, Thu: Much of the double bass lesson was dedicated to working on Eccles' Sonata in g minor. I have a feeling that my tutor was trying to guide me to develop a ear to play a musical phrase in the most musically pleasing way.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Read: In the presence of high beings: What dolphins want you to know



I have just finished reading the book In the presence of high beings: What Dolphins what you to know written by Bobbie Sandoz-Merrill. Lovers of dolphins and whales will especially find it a compelling and interesting read.

I have never seen a dolphin in the wild yet. After reading the book, I found myself hoping to have the opportunities to see dolphins at some point in my life.

In this book, the author shares with us about her personal experiences with the dolphins. In addition, she shared her thoughts about what she believes could be the dolphin's unique formula for rapidly attaining a high level of joy. To much extent, I think that they are indeed a number of ways in which we, human beings, can learn from the dolphins.

Reading this book reminded me how important it is to steer away from doubts, and to focus on our dreams, while being attractive to our dreams. One of the insights that I thought was most powerful was that of playing while we wait for our dreams to arrive. I suppose it was a reminder to myself to stay hopeful yet continue to find joy and to play while waiting for dreams to be realised.

The book also covers an important part to alert us mankind to the lethal harms of military sonar. We can do our part for the lives in the ocean if we could lobby for the use of military sonar to stop. I have found one link on this topic if you would like more reading: http://www.nrdc.org/wildlife/marine/sonar.asp

Most importantly, after reading the book, I think we can learn from the dolphins to be more joyful and loving. I am still learning.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 54



It was 22 Aug 2009, and I decided to continue my hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore. A search up the various food directories got me to check out the Uno Beef House.

The mashed potato from Uno Beef House is shaped into a ball, lightly coated with crumbs and lightly fried. It is made of real mashed potato. The sign said that the mashed potato is sold at $0.70 'per additional serving' and since I was too full to have dinner at Uno Beef House, I ordered the apple salad to go with it. I didn't think it was appropriate to just order a mashed potato ball from the stall as the wordings had stated "additional mashed potato at $0.70 each". I figured it would be proper if I had ordered something else in addition to the mashed potato?

The serving of each mashed potato ball may not make a person full, but the taste of the real mashed potato that has a crispy thin outer fried layer gave a delightful texture. Just imagine, crispy on the outside, soft and warm on the inside. In general, I noticed that the mashed potato comes at no additional charge with the most of the grilled items.




By the way, this place is well known for its affordable and delicious Western food.

Please check the map for proper directions before visiting this place. Out of sheer wish to be spontaneous, I did not check the map (which is not the norm for me) and I of course ended up doing a lot of walking (about 45 minutes) just to figure out the exact location of Blk 51 Toa Payoh where Uno Beef House is located.

With this post, I pray that my friend enjoys the joy and good fortune of being spontaneous.

****

UNO BEEF HOUSE
Block 51 Toa Payoh Lorong 5, 01-60
Tel: 9677-6007
Open: 12.30 to 11pm, closed on alternate Wednesdays.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Breakfast with Mystic, Part 2




Friends open us to new experiences and learning opportunities. On 18 Oct 2009, about three months after my last breakfast with Mystic, Mystic drove me to Dempsey Hill for breakfast together. I went along with the flow and followed her suggestions to try out the breakfast at Jones the Grocer.

We ordered the English Breakfast Set and the pancakes. I can't remember the full names of the dishes. Whatever it is, I was delighted by the tall ceilings at Jones the Grocer. The outlet is located in a pre-war building. The building used to be part of a former British army barracks.

The concept behind Jones the Grocer is interesting. The cafe operates in the same premise as the grocery. I later found out that the use of the long tables at Jones the Grocer was intended to create a sense of community. Many of the ingredients used in the food served at the cafe are also available for purchase at the grocery.

The English breakfast set was good enough. However, I have been watching my diet to minimise my intake of pork and red-meat. As such, it is unlikely that I would go back to Jones the Grocer for more English breakfast set. The eggs and the tomato were good. I find the rest of the items to be average. Maybe it was because I just do not have an appetite for red-meat nowadays?

The pancakes tasted good and they have a nice puffy texture. I find it a little too sweet for my liking yet it was worth to try it at least once.



Whatever the food may be, it was the company of good friends that matter most at the end of the day. Many thanks to Mystic for having breakfast with me at Jones the Grocer.






Jones the Grocer
Location: Blk 9 #01–12
Dempsey Road
Open: Mon 9:30am - 6:00pm
Tue - Fri 9:30am - 11:00pm
Sat - Sun 9:00am - 11:00pm
Tel: (65) 6476 1512
URL: www.jonesthegrocer.com

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Week 42 of year 2009 on the double bass

11 Oct 2009, Sun: I sight-read study no. 30 to 32 from Yorke Solos for Double Bass Volume 1. I had attempted study no. 33 but decided I shall work on it another time.

The rest of the practice was spent playing Capuzzi's Concerto in D major.

12 Oct 2009, Mon: I played the G major scales on the double bass. Afterwhich, time was spent playing Eccles' Sonata in g minor. I may have to take a break from double bass playing for a week just to rest physically.

14 Oct 2009, Wed: I went for orchestra rehearsal. The rehearsal got the orchestra rehearsing Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Overture and reading the first movement of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4. I think to some extent, my body found relief and therapy in the turmoils of the music rehearsed. Somehow, I felt a moment of relief from the baggage of the days. Perhaps that is why many say that music has healing powers and is therapeutic?

15 Oct 2009, Thu: During the double bass lesson, I started with playing scales while focusing on achieving a focused and warm tone. My tutor showed me that I could play the bow by holding it in the middle for just a while, so as to help my hand find a better way to hold the bow with greater balance. Afterwhich, I played a study and then worked on Eccles' Sonata in g minor. The entire lesson worked on phrasing, sound quality, use of the right hand, vibrato and many more.

17 Oct 2009, Sat: I practised scales and then played through Faure's Apres Un Reve and the double bass parts from Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Five years of blogging



I had realised sometime ago that this year marks my fifth year in blogging. On a fine day on 16 Sep 2004, slightly more than five years ago, I was on medical leave to heal from a surgical removal of two wisdom teeth.

Along the way, I realised that there have been a few major changes to the topics that I blog about. One of my dear friends, Mystic, had commented ages ago that she had found my earliest posts in need to be more accessible to read.

Subequently, I have found joy in sharing about the various places that I visit. Sight-seeing was a pleasure. The joy is doubled when I could share some of the beautiful visual moments from my sight-seeing trips with people through the internet. I hope you would find some beauty through the photos from my trips that I have posted.

In the year 2006, I was honoured to be given the chance to be one of the Friends of Yesterday.sg. In the hope to share the joy of visiting a museum and heritage places with the online community, I started making a little more efforts to pen my thoughts and experiences down through blogging when I write about such topics.

Thanks to blogging, I have the pleasure to meet a number of wonderful people. To all my readers and friends I've got to know through reading, thank you for enriching my blogging experiences through your friendship and encouragement.

Fast forward to the year 2008, a meaningful and rejuvenating visit to Australia got me to decide to be conscious to choose to spread positive energy through all my blogs that were accessible to others. The credit goes to one of my friends, XS, for she was the one who had inspired me to make this conscious choice.

Right now, I have blogged for five years. My priorities have changed over the five years and that in some ways show through my posts. Whatever it is, this blog continues to serve to be a window to part of my inner world. Of course, you would have realised by now that I have a liking for personality tests.

Last but not the least, I wish you good health and happiness. May you find joy in spreading some good-will and encouragement through your blogs too.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Egg test

Maybe the results of this test help give me a clue why one of my good friends, Mystic, often described me as being "straight as a ruler".



You Are a Hard Boiled Egg



You are down to earth and hard to rattle. You have a good head on your shoulders.

You can be a bit stubborn at times, and your determination has only paid off for you.

You are straight with people, and you expect them to be straight with you in return.

You are very no nonsense. You don't have time for pettiness or drama.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 53



I visited Tony Roma's to try its mashed potato on 16 Aug 2009. I could say that its mashed potato is worth a try. Made from good tasting real potatoes, Tony Roma's mashed potato comes with shreds of cheese and fried bacon bits on its top. These toppings add flavour, colour and texture to the mashed potato and makes it a tasty one. The mashed potato has a buttery flavour, thanks to the dash of butter that's added to it.

I had ordered a take-away mashed potato as I realised I was solely interested in eating the mashed potato and not the other items. A take-away would help free up one space at the restaurant on a busy weekend.

Each serving of mashed potato is $4.90 before taxes. The serving is reasonably small and good enough for one person with a small appetite. For its size, I suppose I would get one serving of mashed potato per person. It is certain not meant to be shared. It makes a good choice as one of the items for a picnic.

May my friend to whom this series of hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore is dedicated to receive the blessings and good wishes that comes with each and every single dedication. With this post, I wish my friend, faith in life.

***
Tony Roma's Singapore

442 Orchard Road #01-04/05
Orchard Hotel Shopping Arcade
Singapore 238879
Tel: (65) 6738 8600

3 Temasek Boulevard #B1-007
Suntec City Mall
Singapore 038983
Tel: (65) 6337 9055

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Enjoy a meal with live Chinese instrumental music



Last Saturday, I was at City Vibe located nearby the Clementi MRT station. Most eating places in Singapore that provide live music usually use performers of Western instrumental music. As best as I am aware, places that provide live music usually get the service of performers who play one or more of the following instruments: piano, guitar, and violin.

What if one would like to enjoy a meal while listening to live Chinese instrumental music?

I have one answer to the above question. At the Uncle Sam's Claypots restaurant at City Vibe, #02-11/12, one could enjoy Chinese cuisine and various meals cooked using claypots while listening to Chinese instrumental music played on the yangqin.

The yangqin is a Chinese hammered dulcimer. Its origin is believed to be from Central Asia. Mallets are used to strike the strings of the yangqin so as to produce the music.

The combination between claypot-meals and Chinese instrumental music worked pretty well. The balance of the music was good for a restaurant setting. One could enjoy listening to the music played at a moderate and comfortable volume. Having live music played by a Chinese instrument adds a refine ambience to the dining experience at the claypot restaurant serving Chinese food.


Claypot Ipoh Hor Fun

If you ask me what food I would recommend, I will be biased to suggest the vegetables and the claypot Ipoh Hor Fun. Firstly, I love vegetables and I must say that the vegetables at Uncle Sam's Claypots is fresh and tasty. Next, I personally prefer claypot rice whereby the rice has a crusty and hard texture. The claypot rice dishes at Uncle Sam's Claypots did not quite fit with my preferences when I ate there on a separate occasion. I am however not insistent for claypot Hor Fun to have a hard and crusty texture. That makes the claypot Ipoh Hor Fun and its nice tasting sauce win my vote.




My reliable source says that unless the restaurant decides to change its mind about providing live Chinese instrumental music, diners at the Uncle Sam's Claypots can look forward to listening to live music played on the yangqin at the following times:

From Mondays to Saturdays:
12.00 p.m. - 2.00 p.m. and 7.00 p.m. - 9.30 p.m.
Uncle Sam's Claypots
3151 Commonwealth Ave West
#02-11/12 CityVibe
Tel: 6778 3088

By the way, I had specially went to have my dinner at Uncle Sam's Claypots last Saturday because I was there to support my friend who was the yangqin performer.

If you would like to enjoy the experience of listening to live Chinese instrumental music while enjoying Chinese cuisine, I hope that this post points you to one possible place to check out.