Extremely Satisfying: Beo Crescent Hainanese Curry Rice

Been avoiding a lot of places due to covid, but now that we’re living with Covid and the situation is better with herd immunity, we finally got our curry rice fix. My fave is the cabbage but the egg, sunny side up, was missing today. I prefer that to the prawn fritter.

We missed this delicious mess so much. Couldn’t get a table at first as people in the queue were reserving their tables by leaving their umbrellas and even car keys on it.

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There’s a wework at Funan

Surreal to see this after seeing Jared Leto’s mesmerising performance in the We Crashed TV show. I still don’t fully understand the concept. It’s independent freelancers? But usually freelancers won’t be able to afford the pretty high monthly fee. It does look cool though. And I have to admit I like the concept of community at work.

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Thomson Plaza: Interesting Signs & Sights at a Retro Mall

This mall has been around since I was a teen so even though it’s changed quite a bit after being renovated it’s cool to see some old stores going strong.

Reminds me of the nursery rhyme of the old lady who lived in a shoe
Something new that children love
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Chocolate Cake at the Coffeeshop

Rich and moist chocolate cake that tastes like it’s been steamed rather than baked. A great dessert after Kok Kee Wanton Mee.

It’s rare to find this at a coffeeshop that sells hawker food. Only $3.50 at one of the branches of Pancake King. A tad too huge and rich for me but my sister loves this.

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Pink Blue Morning Sky

So beautiful at a quarter to seven a few days ago. So glad I forced myself to get up and resisted the urge to sleep in.

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Playing the Piano Again

My piano
Loving Haydn

I’m feeling so happy today. I bought a new piano book at Yamaha (the old time piano studio that still exists in Singapore after all these years).

Playing something new helps me assess a different party of my brain, the way learning anything new does, like new words. No matter how old you are learning new things is essential for your brain just like movement is for your body.

Out of everything I’ve failed at in life, I’m glad that I am still able to do some things pretty well. There is no monetary value to what I do (although I’m keen to teach adults basic note reading) and I can’t do it without notes. I don’t have the natural talent to play by ear. But I sure am glad that I’m now able to get up to the same speed as a concert pianist (I listen to recordings on Apple Music or YouTube in order to improve) and it gives me such a thrill.

You see, prior to the pandemic I struggled to read notes beyond the stanza, and especially sharps and flats. Currently this is still a struggle and I prefer pieces in a key with fewer sharps and flats. C major is my favourite.

But I now feel it’s true, that practise makes perfect and the more times you do something the easier it gets. So if you’re struggling with anything, just go slow and repetition truly helps. (Watch the movie Groundhog Day) You’ll definitely get there. It took me since the April 2020 Lockdown, so essentially 2 years and just 10 minutes a day.

On days I don’t get a chance to play I truly miss it. Then I come back with a vengeance, and am motivated to play for about 30 minutes instead. I used to worry that the neighbours would write a complaint about the noise pollution but they never did. Just my paranoia I guess.

I’m thankful to the pandemic for bringing classical music back to me. Never knew how much joy I would get out of it. It’s the only time I don’t feel like I’m having a brain fog and that chemo has caused permanent damage or impairment to my cognitive function.

It’s the only time I feel I can focus and have a kind of peaceful clarity. A serenity. It helps that my mum always mentions she loves hearing me play. She always boosts my ego.

I just wish my Papa could hear me play too because he always made me feel like I was the Bee’s Knees. Maybe he can? I wish.

Pianos at Yamaha,
The sight of musical instruments make my heart sing

I also have this same feeling when I write. It allows me process my thoughts. It’s almost meditative. Writing, playing the piano and walking.

These three things. Thankful I get to do these.

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Love the Wok Hei of this San Lau Hor Fun at Ang Mo Kio

My second time at Hong Kong Street Zhen Ji. It’s famous for the Sliced Fish Hor Fun. The Wok Hei is out of this world. The Hor Fun (flat rice noodles) and Ngor Hiang cost S$23 altogether. My partner thinks this is money well spent compared to food at a cafe which most often costs more. But I feel that at a cafe you’re also paying for the ambience and air conditioning. In terms of the skill of the chef, it’s always a better deal at the hawker centre or coffeeshop, especially the really good ones. This would definitely be on the list for many revisits. I’m sure the other wok items are incredible too and I’m keen to try the sweet sour pork. Pictures posted on Instagram look tempting.

I’m usually not fond of bean sprouts but I love the charred smooth noodles beneath.
Pity there was no sambal just sweet sauce
Essential to me

There are very few coffee shops left that use the old style marble top tables. It’s really nice. The kopi here was nice too – not bitter.

Location: 158 Ang Mo Kio Ave 4, #01-590, Singapore 560158

Hours: Daily 11am –10:45pm (Sundays they take a break 2.30pm to 5pm & may change on public holidays)

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Best Spot at Jewel: We love the French Toast and the View

Haven’t been to Jewel in ages. When we are here, we keep returning to Fun Toast for the view. It’s also not too atas or expensive.

Kopi is how I like it
B always goes for Teh O Kosong
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Tried the Dark Meat Hot Chicken Burger at Shake Shack

Been bombarded by images of this on food blogs, so their social media campaign worked even though I only go for breast meat usually. Seeing the pinkish hue of the meat after I took a bite put me off. Also it’s not spicy as advertised. But I still love the tasty combo of the coleslaw, lettuce and pickles, so I will be going for the regular white meat chicken sandwich. Definitely tastes like a more premium chicken burger compared to McDonald’s McSpicy burger, but the later is actually spicy and way tastier. Perhaps it’s the salt?

Also no more cheese fries for me when I realised that something that doesn’t fill me up at all was 470 calories or perhaps more with the cheese.

Melted cheese is always yummy
The seats are a bit hard. I love me a cushioned seat with back support.
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My Sinnamma

My mum’s younger sister is, in one significant way, like me. We are both childless by circumstance. I know for sure that my aunt always wanted kids, but in a selfish way I’m glad she didn’t or I wouldn’t have had such an amazing childhood. She’d have been too busy with her own children and we would have had a different dynamic. I would have absolutely adored her kids, of course, like I do the rest of my cousins. My aunt and uncle were a handsome pair, so their children would have been gorgeous.

In Tamil, because she is my mother’s younger sister, I call her “Sinnamma” (it’s how I personally pronounce and spell it phonetically) and it means small mother. And she really is. She was the one who voluntarily insisted on staying overnight with me for what amounted to weeks of hospital stays when I was undergoing surgery in relation to my cancer. I’ve always felt bad about this as she never got a proper night’s sleep. We jokingly called her my night nurse. But in all seriousness, she was better than any nurse or doctor. Often the call bell wasn’t answered and I was so glad my aunt was there. She also helped advocate for me when things went wrong. It really helps when you have someone knowledgeable and protective of you, in your corner and the medical staff are aware of that.

When I was a teenager, I was so proud and excited when she picked me up from school in her sleek red car. Dad picking me up was embarrassing, but my aunt coming? That was cool. She was supposed to drive me back to her place to teach me chemistry, but actually she took every chance to pamper me (and my sis who didn’t wanna miss out) with high tea and a taste of my first alcoholic beverage (frozen lime margarita). She was my young, cool, gorgeous and also very intelligent aunt. I scored a 100% in chemistry soon after she taught me. I was so motivated, because she explained things so clearly and also because I wanted her to be proud of me. The other girls in class copied my answers and I beamed with pride over that.

Rewinding back to my childhood, she was so beautiful to me. I felt so ugly next to her and wondered why I couldn’t look like her. How could we be genetically related, but I be so ugly in contrast. Would it be like the ugly duckling and I’d transform into a swan as I got older? It was the greatest compliment if anyone thought I looked like her.

When I knew she was going to visit me I would wait for what seemed like hours, longingly by the window. My mum felt sorry for me so she resorted to not telling me and the visits became a nice surprise instead. I realise my mum was super generous this way. She appreciated all the relatives who loved me in my life and was never one to be possessive or jealous (now that’s unconditional love). She actually encouraged more visits and was proud of her sister. Later on my aunt got busy helping my uncle, the solicitor, with legal stuff. She was a supergirl, energetically doing a million things a day. But I missed her on my birthdays especially. She would sometimes drop in a while to give me a present. On my tenth birthday she gave me my first grown up watch, a Timex.

Rewinding even further back, on the day of her wedding, I was so worried hearing screams from her, coming from upstairs. It made me so upset. Why was my grandma and those ladies dressing up my aunt for the wedding, torturing her. I’m never ever getting married. My aunt can’t recall this of course, but I can imagine it must be painful with the heavy hairdo and veil. Probably some clips or pins were stuck into her painfully and my aunt can be dramatic. But she did look like a princess in her jewel pink sari and dreamy white veil. I looked very grumpy in her wedding pictures.

I was very worried when I heard she was going to London for her honeymoon. I didn’t quite understand what a honeymoon was and almost imagined she would never return and it was quite upsetting. I hated sharing my aunt with anyone. She definitely liked my uncle a lot though. She was always giggling around him and they looked at each other with those eyes. I was a very jealous, possessive kid. She asked me what I would like and I said snow. She laughed telling me it would melt. I told her to keep it in the fridge. I was 5.

I wish I could do more for her (she practically gave me the rings off her fingers when I asked to try them), but I don’t have much apart from my writing and this blog, so I thought I would wish my very young, vivacious aunt a happy birthday here.

My partner always reminds me how lucky I am to be in my family with my amazing parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Not everyone is this fortunate and to many, their closest relative could be like a stranger they see only once a year. This fact is definitely not lost on me.

I hope she knows how my life would pale in comparison without her in it, and I wish in some small way she’s happy that I ended up being one of her bonus kids. Number 3 out of 11. Now, counting her grand nephews and nieces, a grand total of 18. With all the school kids she taught and inspired over the years, the number of lives she has impacted, is just exponential.

She and I are both in fact child full and blessed to be so.

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