This is a period in my life with a lot of uncertainties, a lot of growing and a lot of self-discovery. It is exciting yet scary at the same time. I hope that I can focus on what I want and do not be distracted by what other people have.
Tobias came to Singapore so I met up with him and his friends on the first day of 2016. 🙂 They came over to Singapore to play music at his friend’s wedding. His friend is Swedish and he got married to a Singaporean Malay girl and his friend made them dress up in traditional Malay costumes. They look quite cute! On New Year Day, we went to have a nice brunch at Cafe Melba before we went to River Safari to see the animals. In the evening, we went to Gardens by the Bay and finally we had food at Geylang. It was a day filled with plenty of laughter and I was very surprised to learn that SG50 celebrations last year made it to the news in Sweden. One of the Swedish boys dropped his phone in the taxi last night and he was surprised that the driver texted another friend and made an arrangement to deliver his phone back to him with a nominal fee. Thank god for taxi drivers like this who give Singapore a good name. That was also the first time that they have tasted durian and I was sure that they did not like it. We also had nice vegetarian food and Rochor beancurd. 🙂
We went to the airport to send my brother off to London. I remember I had to go to work on that Saturday and I was quite angry to learn that I needed to be in school on Saturday just one day ahead of time. Why so last minute? Oh wells. It is funny how quickly we got used to his presence and how long it took for us to get used to his absence in the house. Many relatives also came to send him off including both his grandmothers, and this is a happy picture of us before he went into the departure hall.
Valentine’s Day this year happened to be “Ren Ri” – the 7th Day of the Chinese New Year. I remember my family went to watch Singapore Slingers’ match. We turned up for almost every single home match of the Singapore Slingers since the start of the day. After that, we headed over to my grandma’s place for a very sumptuous and delicious home-cooked dinner. This is a happy picture of the younger generation with the grandmother and a funny looking cake. 🙂
My dad gave me a pair of Chingay tickets and I went with Kurinchi for the Chingay Parade. I remember Mediacorp was filming right in front of us and the artistes, including Li Teng, were just metres away from us. Because I hardly watched Mediacorp shows, we had to ask around to find out who they are. I remember the spotlight was shining on us and we thought it must be quite tough to be in the showbiz. They NG-ed a few times and they got us to cheer and wave our poms poms several times. Sadly, our faces did not appear on national TV, probably because we did not cheer as enthusiastically as we should. The show was okay, we absolutely enjoyed the performances from abroad, especially the dancers from Russia. On the other hand, the sing-along and the made-in-Singapore floats were not so impressive. Nonetheless, we had a lot of fun because we are always a bit crazy when we are together. 🙂
On the last weekend of February, I went with my mother to attend a free concert at Esplanade. On one of the Sundays every month, Esplanade Concert Hall will host free music performances. The one that we watched was a symphony orchestra concert and the name of their performance is called “Springtime melodies”. They played a wide range of music from Sound of Music soundtrack to Dance of the Yao people to Elvis Presley’s songs. We were very surprised by the huge turnout at the event considering the fact that it was not too well-publicized. I guess Singaporeans are more interested in the arts than what the critics think. Or we just like free things too much.
One Friday, I went for “Dining in the Dark” organized by the Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped (SAVH). We entered a completely dark room and we tried to find our bearings by our sense of touch. There are a lot of things that the visually abled take for granted. For example, in complete darkness, we struggled to pour water into our glasses and put sugar into coffee. The meal was quite sumptuous – it was a three-course meal with starter, main course and dessert. I remember there was an angsty old man who was angry that people were laughing and talking too loudly. But I guess you really have no right to control what other adults do. I left SAVH feeling a bit strange. The blind waiter shared with us some of his struggles in life, including shopping for items inside a shop. I can imagine his struggles but I will not pretend that I understand his struggles. If I can’t understand, how can I help them? What can we do?
I went with Singyee for a weekend getaway in Batam. I have not had such a relaxing holiday for a long time. We stayed at the Harris Waterfront Resort and it was quite chilled to swim a little, read a little and drink a little too much. 🙂 I remember we had really good seafood by the sea and it was funny because there was a blackout and we just continued to eat in the dark. The kind waitress came over and gave us a candlelight and that helped us to see our crabs a little. After a very short while, the candle blew and we just continued to eat in the dark. That reminds me of the story about the young man who told the farmer that his best skill was that he could sleep through the storm. Maybe we are becoming more zen. There was a poolside bar and it was really cool to sit on stools submerged in the swimming pool and drink beer. Unfortunately, I drank a little too much and I ended up feeling really sick on the following day. I need to make it a point to drink less as I grow older…Thank God (whatever form God may take) for Singyee, I am so glad to have her in my life. ❤
Singapore Slingers played against the Malaysia Dragons in the ASEAN Basketball League playoff finals and our family, as usual, went to give them our support. Besides my family, my dad also invited his friend from Junior College to bring his family to watch the basketball match at the OCBC Area. He lost touch with that friend for many years already when his friend went to work in China and it is pretty awesome how IT and cheap flights brought them back together. This is a happy picture of the two families. Slingers lost that night but they did enough to wow the home crowd. Towards the end of the match, there was a blackout as well (I seem to encounter quite a bit of blackouts these days…)
I went for Books and Beer event with Valerie one Sunday afternoon. Before the event, we went to attend a free Beautiful Sunday symphony orchestra concert at the Esplanade and she accidentally fell asleep during one of the pieces. XD Books and Beer is essentially a book exchange project in which you can bring your own old books and exchange for books that are donated by other people at the event. I like the event because it is quite casual, I like how you can just stamp your own books and leave them on any of the book piles and you can just take any book from the book piles. There is no formal check and I guess the event operates based on trust. Of course, another really attractive part about the event is that it is held at a bar (they apparently go to a different bar each time the event is held) and it is always nice to read a book with a glass of beer in one hand. For this particular round, the event was held at Highlander at CHIJMES and that is a really nice bar. This is a nice picture of us seemingly engrossed in our respective reading. 🙂
For the Good Friday long weekend, my family went to Kuala Lumpur for a bit of travel and to support Singapore Slingers in the decisive final Game of the playoff series. Singapore Slingers lost in the end but I was really surprised by the number of travelling fans. Kuala Lumpur was quite different from what I have expected. In Singapore, there are always stories about how less developed, dangerous and crowded Malaysia is. I cannot speak about the rest of the country but from what I see in Kuala Lumpur, development has been taking place quite rapidly, especially in the commercial center. I think Singaporeans are the misguided ones who think that we are ahead of the game and the other Southeast Asia countries are very far behind us in terms of development. To be honest, I think no one likes to stay or work in a stressful environment but the truth is if we don’t work hard, it is simply a matter of time before the other countries are more competitive than us. One thing that also struck me was how culturally similar Singapore and Malaysia are and that itself is pretty special, considering the fact that we are two different countries. For me, it is quite difficult to tell a Singaporean and Malaysian apart from the way they look or even the way they speak (besides the ones who speak with a heavy Malaysian Chinese accent).
We visited Batu Caves in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur and it was quite an eye-opener. We climbed the 272 steps and visited the Hindu temples inside the limestone cave. I wonder who came up with the idea of building a temple inside the cave. There were many cheeky monkeys along the way that tried to grab food or even water bottles from the unknowing tourists. During Thaipusam, believers apparently carried the kavadi up the steps. I really admire these believers for their sheer mental strength and determination. Besides Batu Cave, we also visited the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) and the Chinatown. We visited Junk Bookshop in Chinatown – a secondhand bookshop run by a couple that is filled to the brim with all kinds of books. Some of the books are out-of-print and I think people who appreciate vintage books will love that place.