Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Into the New World

The National University of Singapore Symphony Orchestra (NUSSO) will be presenting the concert "Into the New World". This concert is part of the NUS Arts Festival 2013.

Yours truly will be performing in this concert, and your support will be greatly appreciated.

Details are as follow:

Into the New World
NUS Symphony Orchestra
10 Mar 2013 (Sun)
8.00 p.m.
University Cultural Centre, Hall
Tickets at $19 and $16


1) Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 (From the New World)
2) Chen Gang and He Zhanhao: Butterfly Lovers' Concerto
- featuring soloist Mr Foo Say Ming from the Singapore Symphony Orchestra
    and also Chinese instrumentalists on Sheng, Dizi and Yangqin.
3) Kodály: Háry János Suite
- featuring Ms Qu Jian Qing, Yangqin principal from the Singapore Chinese Orchestra.

About this concert:
"As our world becomes more and more globalized and migration increases, our identities as communities and individuals shift and change to the point where we are no longer sure of what defines us. Communities change as citizens have become more cosmopolitan and new migrants become influenced by their new surroundings and yet, the issues are not new.

Under the baton of Maestro Lim Soon Lee, the NUS Symphony Orchestra will explore the convictions of composers who have wrestled with this problem of cultural accommodation and preservation. The programme comprises Dvořák’s New World Symphony, Kodály’s Háry János Suite and Chen Gang and He Zhanhao’s Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto. Award winning Singaporean violinist Foo Say Ming whose interpretation has been praised as accomplishing the fusion of Western and folk idioms will be featured in the concerto."

Please reserve your tickets from SISTIC now.

Queries about the Concert are welcome at nusso.contact@gmail.com

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/408432742570819/?fref=ts

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Read: 图解道家人生智慧


出版商: 香港中华书局

It has been a while since I have read a complete Chinese publication. Usually, I would merely be reading online articles and newspaper articles.

After reading books such as Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth, I became increasingly more intrigued and curious to learn about Tao Te Ching and Taoism. The philosophies behind Tao Te Ching and Taoism seem so mystic yet so profound.

Interestingly, when I asked my father about Tao Te Ching, he was actually reading a book that he had borrowed from the library. This book discusses the Taoist's approach to living. Illustrations were used to illustrate some of the concepts. There is an appendix in the book with the entire Tao Te Ching. I still require more time to understand Tao Te Ching. At the very least, I have gotten myself started on learning more about Taoism and Tao Te Ching.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Peranakan Heritage Tiles Collectors' Sales, Exhibition and Workshop

Photo credit: Mr Victor Lim.

If you appreciate the beauty of Peranakan Tiles Art, you may be interested in an upcoming Peranakan Heritage Tiles Collectors' Sales, Exhibition and Workshop.

Date: 2 - 3 Mar 2013 (Sat and Sun)
Time: 1000 hrs - 1700 hrs
Venue: Midview City, Blk 22 #08-72, Sin Ming Lane, S (573969)

More information can be found from the following links:
Places: Peranakan Heritage Tiles Collectors' Sales, Exhibition and Workshop

Delicious pizzas at Verve with a good friend

Verve @ Marina Bay City Gallery.

1 Dec 2012 (Sat): 

It was an eventful day. I visited the NUS Museum. Subsequently, my accompany friend gladly joined me to visit the NUHS to catch a glimpse of Ng Eng Teng's Asian Symphony (1971). After a long day, as if I was eager for more adventure, I requested to head for the Marina Bay area.

Eventually, my friend and I decided to have dinner at Verve @ Marina Bay City Gallery. On a day with reasonably fine weather, Verve @ Marina Bay City Gallery offers a good view of the Marina Bay's marina waterfront and a relatively pleasant ambience. The music was generally pleasant to my ears though I cannot remember what was being played that evening.

My friend and I ordered a pizza to share. I cannot quite remember what we have ordered. I suppose it was the signature Corleone pizza? Since I was not taking notes of my experiences of the meal, I shall simply share the photographs that were taken that evening. May the photographs show that I have had an enjoyable dinner. Tasty food, nice ambience, good company of a good friend, pleasant music, a fresh evening breeze and a good view of Marina Bay area all contribute to a wonderful dinner. All these for less than $15 per person excluding the drinks.

The view of Marina Bay vicinity after a five minutes walk from Verve.

By the way, I learnt that pizza slices and pasta from Verve start from just $7. I read that one of the highly recommended dishes at Verve is its homemade Gelato Italian Ice-Cream.

We observed that Verve is a family friendly pizza bar, so this place is worth a consideration for guests with children. The view of the marina waterfront and the dancing water jets near Verve would keep children pretty entertained. Go to Verve for the pizza. I think the pizza from Verve is very delicious and meets my mark for a good pizza.

Verve @ Marina Bay City Gallery
11 Marina Boulevard
Ground Floor
Marina Bay City Gallery
Singapore 01894

Tel: 66343220

Opening hours:

Sun – Thurs: 11.30am – 11pm
Fri, Sat & Eve PH 11.30am – 1am

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Places: A morning at Bukit Brown

There was no air-conditioning. There was no proper toilet. Yet, I felt blessed with the great riches that Nature has to offer when I spend a morning at the Bukit Brown Cemetery. Here is a web log of my visit to the Bukit Brown Cemetery last December: Places: A morning at Bukit Brown

Saturday, February 16, 2013

11 Nov 2012: Remembrance Sunday Ceremony at Kranji War Cemetery

11 Nov 2012 (Sun):

It was the very first time in my life that I had attended a Remembrance Sunday Ceremony at the Kranji War Cemetery.

The motivations to attend the Remembrance Sunday Ceremony were far greater than my inclinations to wake up later on a Sunday morning. A few months before 11 Nov 2012, I had learnt from the tour guide who led the tour End of Empire - Singapore 1942™ (Battlefield Tour), A Changi Museum War Trail™ that each year, on the Sunday that is closest to Remembrance Day, a Remembrance Sunday Ceremony will be held at the Kranji War Cemetery and the Singapore Memorials.

When I checked the calendars, I learnt that for the year 2012, the Remembrance Sunday Ceremony would take place on Remembrance Day itself. Such a coincidence plus the fact that year 2012 marked the 70th anniversary of the fall of Singapore gave me compelling reasons to attend the Remembrance Sunday Ceremony on 11 Nov 2012.

I learnt that the memorial would start at about 7 a.m. in the morning so I arranged to wake myself up very early in the morning so that I could hopefully reach the memorial by 7 a.m.

When I reached the Kranji MRT station, I saw a considerable number of scouts and members of other uniformed-groups at the station. Some of them were marching their way towards the direction of the Kranji War Cemetery.

I had mistakenly thought that taking a taxi from the Kranji MRT station was the best way to reach the Kranji War Cemetery. Normally, this would have been the best mode of transport for someone who does not drive. However, on the day of Remembrance Sunday Ceremony, only authorized vehicles were allowed to drive into the Kranji War Cemetery. Taxis and buses are not allowed to enter the premises of the cemetery unless they had special passes.

So, I asked the taxi-driver to allow me to alight along Woodlands Road, near a bus-stop which was two bus-stops from the Kranji MRT station, so that I could briskly walked into the Kranji War Cemetery. The walk took about 10 minutes.

11 Nov 2012: The skies just after 7 a.m.
Kranji War Cemetery.

I reached the Kranji War Cemetery slightly after 7 a.m. The air of the morning and the fresh scent from the cemetery's grasses welcomed every visitor to the cemetery. Many of the visitors were wearing uniforms or were in suits and ties. I observed that a number of the attendees of the event were military officers, diplomats, representatives from religious groups and members of the public. I felt a little out-of-place even though I was neatly dressed in T-shirt and jeans.

The ceremony
The Remembrance Sunday Ceremony is organised by the British High Commission and the Singapore Armed Forces Veterans' League.

The Service commenced at 7.15 a.m. Members from the Tanglin Trust School Choir sand and recited "Morning has Broken", "Make me a channel of your peace", and "In Flanders Fields". The songs seemed to fill the air of the cemetery with a sense of peace, solitude and dignity.

At 7.30 a.m., the guard of honour, the buglers, the drummers and the pipers take their post. This was followed by the British High Commissioner reading the Act of Remembrance. Next, the British Defence Advisor recited excerpts from Pericles' Eulogy.

During the later part of the service, everyone observed minutes of silence. Official wreaths were laid. Three songs were sung by the attendees of the service. These were "Amazing Grace", "Abide with Me" and "I vow to thee, my country". After the end of the ceremony, private wreaths were laid.

Wreaths were laid on Remembrance Sunday.


After the ceremony, I took a stroll about the grounds of the cemetery. I learnt that the staff of the Changi Museum were conducting complimentary tours of the Kranji War Cemetery after the service, and I registered myself for it.

Lance Naik Papayya, the youngest person to be buried in the Kranji War Cemetery.

I have found the tour to be enriching. Many thanks to the staff of Changi Museum for conducting the tours.

Folks who have missed the tours on Remembrance Sunday and would like a guided visit about Kranji War Cemetery and other sites could check out  End of Empire - Singapore 1942™ (Battlefield Tour), A Changi Museum War Trail™. I strongly recommend it if you like tours that lend you indepth insights to the fall of Singapore back in 1942.

Kranji War Cemetery
9 Woodlands Road
Singapore 738656

Nearest MRT station: Kranji
Bus services to get there: 160, 170, 178, 960, 961, 961C
For directions to get to the cemetery, please read: How to get to Kranji War Memorial by Leone Fabre

Please also see:
Remembrance Sunday at Kranji War Cemetery by British High Commission Singapore
Remembrance Day by Angloinfo, Singapore
Cemetery details: Kranji War Cemetery by Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Siong Leng's pilgrimage to Kusu Tua Pek Kong Temple

Kusu Tua Pek Kong Temple. Nov 2012.

3 Nov 2012 (Sat):

On the evening of 3 Nov 2012, thanks to the kind invitation of a friend, Victor, I joined Siong Leng members and supporters on a trip to Kusu Island.

To get to Kusu Island, one has to take a ferry from the Marina South Pier. To get to the Marina South Pier, take the MRT train to Marina Bay station, exit from Exit A, walk to the nearest bus-stop on the same side as the station, and take bus service 402 (red plate). The Marina South Pier is about three 3 bus-stops away. Due to the number of constructions along the way, it was difficult to count the number of bus-stops while I was on the bus. I have found it helpful to ask the bus-driver to give me a cue when the bus reaches the bus-stop nearest to the Marina South Pier. The details of the ferry schedule can be found here: http://www.islandcruise.com.sg/index.html

Marina South Pier.

One of the ferries that took us to Kusu island.

I learnt that for many years, Siong Leng has been visiting Kusu Island during the 9th lunar month of each year. Kusu island is one of the Southern islands in Singapore. Its name means "Turtle Island" in Chinese. On this island is a well-known Chinese temple, Kusu Tua Pek Kong Temple. I heard that when the Siong Leng members and supporters reached the Chinese temple, they chanted a Buddhist mantra to Tua Pek Kong and the resident deities in the temple.

Kusu Island

During the trip to Kusu Island, I also ventured to the nearby Kusu Keramat that was up a hill to offer my respect. After the visit to the Keramat, my friends and I explored the beach of Kusu. I felt calmed by the beauty of Nature.

To get to the Keramat, one has to climb a flight of stairs.

The beach.

When I was back in the Tua Pek Kong Temple, along with the other visitors, we settled ourselves down to enjoy a simple yet delicious packed vegetarian meal. I had a bowl of green bean soup. The green bean soup which was served by the temple was delicious.

Performance by Siong Leng. Nov 2012.

Thereafter, there was a performance dedicated to Tua Pek Kong. It was an informal performance where the performers sang and performed in plain clothes. The music was soothing. The cool evening breeze made it calming to simply listen to the performance and forget about everything else in the world temporarily. Actually, the weather was drizzling much of that evening.

Performance by Siong Leng. Nov 2012.

On the whole, it was a memorable trip, with soothing music, and thoughtful company. I felt thankful to join Siong Leng in its pilgrimage to Kusu Tua Pek Kong Temple.

Directions to get to Kusu Island
- Take bus service 402 (red plate) from Marina Bay station to the Marina South Pier.
- Take a ferry from the Marina South Pier, No.31 Marina Coastal Drive, Singapore 018988

Also see:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Places: A visit to Defence Science Revealed

This exhibition, Defence Science Revealed, at the Science Centre Singapore would possibly intrigue anyone who is curious about Defence Science. In A visit to Defence Science Revealed, I share some of my experiences at this exhibition.

Defence Science Revealed
20 Oct 2012 - 17 Feb 2013
Annexe, Science Centre Singapore
(Please click here for information on ticket prices.)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DefenceScienceRevealed

Monday, February 11, 2013

My pizza-making endeavours

The Caramello Sam Pizza. Taken during the pizza-making class.

Sometime last year, I had an inclination to learn to make pizzas. I felt it would be more affordable and better to learn to make good pizzas on my end than to end up eating merely adequate yet expensive pizzas that are sold in the stores. Furthermore, my hunch tells me that pizzas will be a good food to serve when entertaining guests.

At about the same time, I came across a pizza-making hands-on cooking class that was organized by ToTT. The class was taught by world pizza champion Theo Kalogeracos. I have had a good previous experience attending a hands-on cooking class by ToTT, and so I set my mind to go for this class.

During the hands-on pizza-making class, me and all the other participants learnt to make the basic pizza dough. We then moved on to learn to make the King Prawns Pizza and Caramello Sam Pizza. The former includes succulent prawns as one of the ingredients while the latter is a dessert pizza.

To enable us to make perfect pizzas within a short span of time without having to preheat the oven, we were introduced to the use of a counter-top electric pizza oven designed by Theo Kalogeracos called the Pizza Perfector. This pizza perfector cooks a perfect pizza in about 10 minutes without the need to preheat the oven. The end result was good. I felt very tempted to get one for myself. In the meantime, I shall be budget-conscious and be contented with a normal electric oven. Perhaps one day, I could get a sponsorship to a pizza perfector when I master the art of pizza-making?

One thing that I have learnt from Chef Theo Kalogeracos is that good food is made from the heart. If one puts in one's heart and mind into pizza-making, the pizza will eventually turn out well. In addition, consistent good practice will be essential to master the art of pizza-making. At the end of the class, I was motivated to continue to practise making pizzas from time to time so as become better at making pizzas.

Pizza-making time. Placing the ingredients on the flattened pizza dough.

Making the pizza dough is a therapeutic activity in itself. While it takes quite a bit of effort and concentration to make the dough, the process enabled me to focus on the now.

The end result.

May this post with photographs of my pizza-making attempts entice you to embark on your very own. In the meantime, Happy Lunar New Year.

I made pizzas for this year's Chinese New Year's eve's reunion dinner.
This pizza contains ham, pineapple, mushroom and etc.

By the way, do check out ToTT's website to see if there is an upcoming pizza-making class by Chef Theo Kalogeracos:

ToTT Store
896 Dunearn Road 01-01A
Singapore 589472

Also see:

Places: Fujians: The Blue Ocean Legacy

The exhibition, Fujians: The Blue Ocean Legacy, at Marina Bay Sands opened last year in November in conjunction with the 7th World Fujian Convention.

If you have an interest in the Fujian culture, the maritime trade in the Far East and perhaps the Thian Hock Kheng Temple, I will strongly recommend that you visit this exhibition before it ends on 28 Feb 2013.

Here is a compilation of notes from my visit to the exhibition: Fujians: The Blue Ocean Legacy.

Fujians: The Blue Ocean Legacy
24 Nov 2012 - 28 Feb 2013
ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands Singapore
Nearest MRT stations: Bayfront, Promenade

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Read: A New Earth

Source: Amazon.com
Title: A New Earth
Author: Eckhart Tolle
Publisher: Penguin Books (2005)

One of my friends had recommended this title to me sometime last year, and somehow, I decided to follow-up with the recommendations, borrowed this title from the library, and read it.

In this book, the author, Eckhart Tolle, stated that the main purpose of this book is to bring about a shift in consciousness, i.e. to awaken. It is intended to change the reader's state of consciousness. This idea of "bring about a shift in consciousness" is rather profound that I have to salute the author for illuminating such a profound concept in a clear and accessible way. This book reminded me of that "the joy of Being is the joy of being conscious".

There are many noteworthy quotes from this book. There is a compilation of the quotations here: http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/2567181-a-new-earth-awakening-to-your-life-s-purpose. One of my favourite quotations is:
“Life is the dancer and you are the dance.” 
― Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose

To learn more about the teachings of Eckhart, it will be helpful to check out this website: http://www.eckharttolle.com/books/newearth/

I am glad that I had read the book. Many thanks to my friend who had recommended the book. This is one of the books that I would be happy to receive as a gift. Perhaps I shall get this book as a gift to myself in the future to come.

I hope to get to read other books by Eckhart Tolle, especially The Power of Now.