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.

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:

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

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

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 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.

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.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Choosing Happiness, part 4

I have just finished reading Stephanie Dowrick's Choosing Happiness: Life and Soul Essentials, and I shall continue my humble project to blog about some of my learning points from the book.

This is a joy-inducing book to read, and I am grateful that I have found the time needed to read it from cover to cover. After reading the book, I have a better idea how happiness can indeed be a choice.

What does it take to be happy then?

The author, Stephanie Dowrick, gave a list of suggestions that can help make happiness easily available to anyone. I will attempt to list some of her suggestions that I have found worthwhile to share:

- Think well of ourselves. Give ourselves plenty of reasons to do so. When we let ourself down, learn something, make the change that's needed - and move on.

- Pay attention to what's uplifting - and be uplifted!

- Think and speak positively about ourselves and others.

- Choose work that supports one's integrity.

- Give time and attention to our close relationships.

- Be the friend we would most like to have.

- Practise kindness. Live kindly.

- On a daily basis, relish the wonders of nature.

Spread the happiness spirit. If you have anything you have found useful to make you experience happiness, share with us through your comments. Or, you could pick the book, read and learn.

And after reading this book, I could better realised what had made my dear friend, XS, experience joy from within such that she sang one of the most lovely and joyful tunes when she drove me about Sydney in her car. With this post, I pray for happiness to be with her each and every moment.

Best wishes XS. I thank you for being the friend who pointed out to me that happiness can be a choice.

Entries in the series:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Friday, October 09, 2009

Having Dunkin Donuts with Mystic

Thank goodness for good friends. They can make ordinary meals seem so full of cheers, joy and good humour.

On 5 Oct 2009, I went out with one of my good friends, Mystic, for dinner. After dinner, we had a tour about part of the Orchard area. Mystic was very kind to accompany me to look for a book at various bookstores. It turned out that the following bookstores, Prologue, Borders Singapore, and Kinokuniya, did not have any stock of the book that I had wanted.

Anyway, we ended up having dessert and a chat in the night at the Dunkin Donuts outlet at Ion Orchard. We ordered the following donuts: Apple, Nutty Chocolate and Boston Cream. Mystic liked the custard filling in the Boston Cream donut. I personally prefered the nutty chocolate for its nutty taste.

Both Mystic and myself agreed that the apple filling in the Apple donut reminded us of the apple-filling in MacDonalds' apple-pie. The taste of the apple filling was acceptable, just that it felt ordinary.

Mystic wanted to know who were the developers of Ion Orchard. If I have got it correct, Ion Orchard is a joint development by CapitaLand and Sun Hung Kai Properties.

Well, it seemed that Mystic has such a love for food, I would end up reviewing food when I am with Mystic. I may have to seriously consider if I should start a new series of posts entitled Meals with Mystic whenever I have meals together with Mystic.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Choosing Happiness, part 3

This post is part of a humble project that I had started a while ago. In appreciation to my friend, XS, who have introduced me to the concept that happiness is a choice, this series of posts is specially dedicated to her. May happiness and joy be with her.

I have been focused on reading Stephanie Dowrick's Choosing Happiness: Life and Soul Essentials such that I have managed to read about 90% of the book by the time that this post was written.

There is a chapter entitled Build Self-Respect, and I would like to share this section titled Turn a Difficult Situation Around. The author suggests that self-respect is gained when a person turns a difficult situation around.

I have found some of the questions that the author has suggested that we ask ourselves when we are in a difficult situation to be useful. Here's to share:
- What can I learn from this situation?
- What past experiences can I draw on?
- What values and qualities do I need to help me?
- How am I going to put those qualities into practice?
- What question am I not asking?
- What issue am I not seeing?

And if you have found some of these questions to be useful, do pick up this book and have a good read. I think it is better to read the various strategies in their proper context.

Entries in the series:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Mid Autumn Festival at Hua Song Museum

Many thanks to the National Heritage Board, I was one of the folks who were invited to the private party, By the Light of the Lanterns, held on 2 Oct 2009 at the Hua Song Museum.

Hua Song, means "in praise of the Chinese". The museum which is located in the new wing of Haw Par Villa, "offers visitors the chance to appreciate the spirit of adventure and enterprise of the early Chinese migrants around the world, who made countless sacrifices, seized opportunities amidst adversity, showed great fortitude and industry to make good in their adopted land." (source:

Participants of the party, By the Light of the Lanterns, could challenge their mind by attempting to solve the Chinese lantern riddles found on strips of paper that were hung from selected lanterns. Admittedly, I have found the riddles to be very challenging. Participants will find the riddles easier to solve if they were to have very strong knowledge of the Chinese culture and Chinese idioms. I managed to solve two of the riddles only and won myself two prizes.

Mooncakes seem to be the must-have for any Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations. At the party, one could find various types of mooncakes, from snow-skin to the traditional ones. There was even a demonstration of how to make snow-skin mooncakes.

The party also gave participants a chance to know a little more about the art of Chinese calligraphy. Participants could enjoy watching a Chinese calligraphy master demonstrating the art of Chinese calligraphy.

For the participants who want to get their hands a creative work-out, they could make their own lanterns using the colourful papers that were provided at the event. I wonder why people in Singapore associate lanterns with Mid-Autumn Festival. Anyone could please enlighten?

There was a special guided tour of the Hua Song Museum. I gave it a miss for I was feeling in need of some early rest after a demanding week. For the readers who have never visited Hua Song Museum and wanted to catch a few glimpses of the museum, do check out a post that I had written quite a long while ago: In praise of the Chinese.

In the meantime, have a joyful Mid Autumn Festival.

(Also see Seeing the Light (of the Lanterns) by peacefrog)