61 | I’m Alive

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Bottom picture (L to R): Juan Jackson (Doctor), Nathan Hartono (Gabe), Sally Ann Triplett (Diane), Adrian Pang (Dan), Julie Abueva (Natalie), Linden Furnell (Henry)

Pangdemonium has nary a time disappointed me completely with their productions. In fact, most of them are stellar. I’ve watched quite a few in the short span of a year or so: Swimming With Sharks in 2011, and more recently, Rabbit Hole. Now, it’s a fantastic staging of Next to Normal.

This is the fifth performance so far and already people have been saying that it’s better than the Broadway version (which is a really high call). To be honest, I’d been skeptical of local musical theatre, and even more doubtful when people told me it’s better than Broadway. Yet NTN went far and above my expectations for a local musical theatre piece, and I am now a diehard fan.

First of all, let’s start with the stellar cast. Sally Ann Triplett plays Diana, the bipolar mother who is still reeling from grief. Her powerful performance each night makes you wonder how she summons the emotional strength to keep at the role powerful at a visceral level. Although frankly speaking I should have expected this gut-wrenching performance from her after the sitzprobe I watched, I still got socked by the depth of the paranoia and fear portrayed. Adrian Pang plays Dan, the stricken father who is trying to hold his family and wife together as he struggles not to fall apart himself. Oh, Adrian, your performance was the most heartbreaking of the nights. Never mind that your role was meant to illicit tears, but your depiction of the unerringly faithful, vulnerable partner was heartrendingly realistic and beautiful.

Nathan Hartono as Gabe was a splendid choice for me. He has enough exuberance and the energy to bring the whole concept of being alive to another level entirely. His voice, although lacking in vocal power, has a metal edge and even takes on a really sinister undertone as he sings Aftershock. For a soothing singer like him I was really surprised. Julie Abueva packs a punch in her performance of Natalie, the angsty teenage girl who is forced to bury her own desires and hunger. She was angsty, yet not overbearingly so, leaving space for the audience to empathize and love her back. Oh, and as Matthew Lyon of InkpotReview puts it, she still sings like God’s younger sister.

Juan Jackson and Linden Furnell as Doctor & Henry were commendable as well. Juan Jackson put up a great showing with the rock parts yet a persuasive performance when trying to convince Diana to stay in treatment. Linden Furnell is a spectacular rendition of younger Dan/faithful lover who doesn’t give up. I don’t think anyone left the theatre untouched by Henry’s devotion and love for Natalie!

Overall, I felt that the set design of this local production was better than the Broadway one, if not least for the fact that the Broadway production had 3 levels which could leave one feeling a little distanced. The set of the local production left you feeling like Gabe was constantly either running about in Diana’s mind or manifested himself in her delusions. He was very rarely out of her mind, in fact. The two-level set also made it convenient for Gabe to run around while singing I’m Alive, a perfect example of how ubiquitous he is. The set definitely worked in his favour.

I watched this production twice, and I have no regrets. Next to Normal is a musical that gets under your skin and pricks you long after you have left the theatre. Again, this is a thought-provoking piece, and definitely not for the feel-good musical theatre lovers. If Pangdemonium restages it, I would rewatch it (again) and purchase anything they’ll record. This is definitely in the running for my top 5 favourite stagings of the year.

My tracklist of NTN songs has been looping since the day I left the theatre, and here are my top 5 favourite showtunes:

1. I’ve Been – Aaron Tveit and J. Robert Spencer
Perfect track to showcase Dan’s undying love for his wife even through the most shocking and tough days. And that harmonization is simply a piece of Heaven, it moves me to no end!

2. A Light In The Dark – J. Robert Spencer and Alice Ripley
Persuasive husband convincing wife to take treatment. Another really tear-jerking moment in the musical. Sigh!

3. Why Stay? – A Promise – Alice Ripley, Jennifer Damiano, Adam Chanler, J. Robert Spencer, Aaron Tveit
A very brutal question thrown right into our hearts and then a reminder of a promise that Dan/Henry made to Diana/Natalie. Heartwarming!

4. Perfect For You – Jennifer Damiano, Adam Chanler
Isn’t this the most unorthodox confession song ever? I still love it though.

5. Make Up Your Mind/Catch Me I’m Falling – Next to Normal Cast
I think this has the whole play summed up. Damn. The feels.

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60 | Chempaka

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So.

Packed up and hightailed it to Batam on Friday because I was feeling exceptionally cooped up and restricted. We’d booked a suite at Tempat Senang, a secluded resort in Batam, to enjoy and relax for a few days. It’s just been very overwhelming recently (which is odd cuz this is the holidays isn’t it) but I’ve just been trying to tolerate it until I realized there’s only so much rubbish I can take. I wasn’t stressed, just feeling terribly uninspired, which is never a good state to be living in.

We took a ferry to Batam early in the morning and reached the resort about 9AM. Headed first for two back to back spa massages which were holy grail. If you guys visit Tempat Senang, and like gentle, warm massages, try the Hawaiian Lomi Lomi and the Hot Herbal Compress. I guarantee you, you won’t regret it.

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Before the spa. The bamboo gives the whole place a really homely feel.

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In the spa room. Crazy cozy! 

To give you an idea of how shiok the massage is, I slept the whole way through. When the masseuse asked me to flip, I just flipped, and then continued sleeping. The Lomi Lomi uses the forearms in wave-like motions which are soothing and relaxes large areas of muscle gently. The Hot Herbal Compress uses 2 steamed herbal sachets to pound and then work heat into your muscles! Both very therapeutic. Each massage is worth SGD 50 which is pretty cheap compared to local prices!

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After the spa. 

Day 1 OOTD: Black fitted hoodie – Uniqlo, chain camisole – Uniqlo, black harem pants – Uniqlo. Yes, I am a Uniqlo girl.

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My wonderful mommy! 🙂 Das right, I’m a mommy’s girl.

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Ever youthful aunt. She looks like she hasn’t aged a day since I first met her!

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My one and only Cowfu. 🙂 

Had a sumptuous lunch of nasi champor and baked pizza which, my goodness, was heavenly. The handmade pizza gives Pizzahut a serious run for their money! I requested for ham, mushroom and pineapple, which might actually be a healthier and better combination than the normal Hawaiian that I love!

Headed to Nagoya Hill shopping centre after that. Honestly, I was looking for a bunch of cheap deals to spruce up my wardrobe but only found two. Bought a lace panel chiffon blouse and a red infinity belt from The Executive as well as a galaxy blouse (which I’m sure y’all will see up here soon).

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Second OOTD – off for shopping!

Day 1 OOTD: White pouf sleeve top – Uniqlo, rose gold teardrop necklace – pushcart, green frilled maxi skirt – pushcart, nude gladiator sandals – leather shop in Bukit Timah.

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Found an A&W and got a root beer float. Score!

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Went back to the resort to enjoy our dinner of the famed Beer Can chicken, which, when served on the table, really looks like a chicken with a beer can up its ass. Tastes nothing like it looks though, it is absolutely savoury. We cut the chicken into quarters and the thigh was so juicy and tender – I can’t even describe it sufficiently! Wish they sold such odd delicacies in Singapore.

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Chicken with the beer can up its ass.

Had an early night and I watched Cloud Atlas and Inception. Honestly, I dislike Cloud Atlas. It lost me in the first fifteen minutes and from then on it was really a lost fight. Inception was minimally better but I didn’t like it very much as well. The premise and concept are fantastic but sci-fi movies are just not my thing. Good for you geeks, this must have been like a treat from Heaven.

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Day 2 Breakfast!

Second day – time to start work. I don’t know if you can see but I was working on one of my scripts tediously with the 36 Dramatic Situations and Soriau’s Six Functions. As well as comprehensive notes and stage setting drawings from my time reading up on theory. Polished up one or two scripts but didn’t write anything new. Sigh. Told you being uninspired was a terrible way to be living. 😦

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My working alcove.


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OOTD Day 2: Grey asymmetrical maxi – Uniqlo, gold bohemian buckle bracelet – Scape Underground, silver crystal C necklace – pushcart.

The rest had gone on a tour of Batam’s Six Bridges which honestly didn’t interest me because.. it’s just a bridge. Spent my time chilling around the resort writing before I decided to go and explore. Then the urge to swim hit me like a comet and in a moment of craziness I went to buy swimwear and go for a dip! Had to cool off, it was so sunny.

Relaxed myself in the pool before getting up to shower and went upstairs to continue my day’s work. Ordered a fruit salad w/ yogurt and sat down with my iPod in my ears and Complicite’s A Disappearing Number in my hands. Ah, bliss.

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I must say, this play really fascinates me. Especially Simon McBurney. For someone with such astute directorial artistic vision, he can also write a text based on the relationship between mathematicians and physicists (which, arguably, is on the other end of the creative spectrum) that is in turn based on complicated mathematics such as partition function, zeta function and whatnot. Of course, for someone who cowers at the mere mention of infinity as a mathematical concept, all the beauty of numbers to be found in there simply whizzed over my head, but I enjoyed the text as a mesh of both ends of the spectrum, and have a deep-seated respect for Simon McBurney and Complicite’s work now – as if I didn’t have enough after Shun-Kin!

Went back to the room and caught one of the best shows I have ever watched – This Means War. Honestly, it’s not easy for a movie to catch my attention but.. but.. CHRIS PINE.

Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know why I was rooting for FDR all the way, right?

It was good but I feel more could’ve been done with the whole Heinrich scenario. It almost felt like Heinrich was just put in there to antagonize the situation or to provide a conflict. If it had been developed a little further and longer, who knows?

Dinner, then back to bed. Honestly, I was dead beat.

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Chocolate fondue. Not to my liking.

Last day – woke up for a buffet breakfast and then headed for another spa session! Maybe I should call it physiotherapy because for me that’s really what it is. My shoulder muscles are so tense that if someone so much as squeezes it, I’d bend and shirk from the pressure. It is that stiff and painful! They’re much more relaxed now – I repeated the Hot Herbal Compress.

Packed up and headed back to Sekupang ferry terminal. Had to leave with a last purchase of a Ralph Lauren polo in navy blue w/ red embroidery though! Ahhh, I’m such a sucker for those colours.

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Day 3 OOTD: Black merino cardigan – Uniqlo, pink swallow camisole – Uniqlo, rust lounge pants – Uniqlo, gladiator sandals – leather shop in Bukit Timah. You see, told you I’m a Uniqlo kinda girl.

Oh, and the ferry was playing Just for Laughs videos and when I watched this i just couldn’t stop laughing!

It was all fine until I saw the dog running the hell away from the zombie, then I completely lost it.

Pictures of the resort for those who might be interested in visiting:

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Mini pool.

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Even a saltwater pool for those who don’t like feeling landlocked.

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Tell me this is not the freakiest doorknob you’ve ever seen.

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A very, er, warm welcome.

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Ceramic storks which look positively rustic.

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A gateway to Heaven, perhaps?

Overall, my experience was a positive one – I’ll definitely be back for more weekend getaways! I do wish I had had more time there – I mean, there’s wi-fi, there’s scenery, there’s a peaceful and tranquil ambience, there’s spas and massages – what’s not to love? Oh, and lastly, the post is called Chempaka is because the fragrance in all our rooms is called Chempaka! Grown accustomed to the smell over a few days. 🙂

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Ciao, until disillusionment or cheer next hits me.

Tempat Senang
http://www.tempatsenang.com/
Tel: +62-778-325-616
Mobile: +62-813-644-19313

While I’m at it – my playlist for the trip:

  爱是最大权利 LOVE IS THE BIGGEST RIGHT – Ping Pung
BLACK – GD
삐딱하게 CROOKED – GD
니가 뭔데 WHO YOU? – GD
남자라서 BECAUSE YOU’RE A MAN – 거미 GUMMY
I’ve Been – Next to Normal
Light in The Dark – Next to Normal
Why Stay? – Next to Normal
Make Up Your Mind/Catch Me I’m Falling – Next to Normal
Hey #3/Perfect For You – Next to Normal
情歌王 PRINCE OF LOVE SONGS – 古巨基 Leo Ku
Take Me Home – Nathan Hartono
Thinking ‘Bout Love – Nathan Hartono

59 | Monotone Romance

Because the girlfriend finished her exams, she called me out to go on a relaxation trip: and the River Safari was the first thing to come to mind!

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Headed to the Zoo on a drizzly morning and bought tickets to the River Safari. They currently retail for SGD 25, by the way!

The River Safari has an interesting concept comprising of a few themed exhibits named after famous rivers such as the Nile, Ganges, Yangtze, etc. They also have little enclosures like the Squirrel Monkey, Giant Panda and Flooded Amazon which I absolutely love! The boat rides were not ready yet so that was kind of a downer but we started with the river exhibits first!

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First sight: three fat ducks perched rather unhappily in the drizzle.

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A praying turtle?

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Sturgeonshuge-ass fish that’ve stuck around since prehistoric times.

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Really photogenic Indian Gharial that stuck around for photos.

But of course, we sped through this because we were excited about spending time with the pandas!

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Sleepy red panda.

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Kai Kai which means, according to the zoo video, victorious.

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Pandas have such benevolent eyes, don’t you think?

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And Jia Jia means beautiful – since the Jia is the same as the one in my name does that apply to me too? 🙂

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Jia Jia concussed after lunch – apparently we were quite fortunate to catch her crunching bamboo!

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Piranhas: the stuff of your nightmares.

Most people would walk into River Safari expecting to spend most time with the pandas (as we did) but no, I actually spent more time with the manatees. I could not get over how clumsy yet graceful and majestic this mammoth creature is!

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You can almost hear my squeals when the manatee pressed up against the glass, can’t you?

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Three manatees frolicking about gaily!

I’m guessing the River Safari will operate in this body of water – it rounds a bend that I can’t photograph around so I’m excited to try the real boat trip! By the way, the panorama function on my iPhone is amazing.

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Saving the best pictures for the last: this manatee really had me at hello. What a quirky creature!

IMG_1349Go and try the River Safari if you haven’t – you’ll love it, I promise!

58 | Not A Height to Scale

Had a leisurely time the past few days despite the rushing because nothing really ruffles my feathers when I can still cough out time to relax with my friends, esp my closest ones! 🙂 Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Folded this heart at Macdonald’s on Saturday just before Trojan Women. The paperclip was supplied by Liansheng, and you can imagine the look of surprise on my face when he magicked this out of his wallet. A man who carries paper clips around in his wallet all the time. I like.

I really liked the young actors’ rendition of Trojan Women. It was my first time watching this piece performed so great job Vanessa, Deborah and Vignesh, you guys have gotten this piece so imprinted in my mind now. The lyrical feel of the entire text is simply amazing – thank you Ellen McLaughlin for adapting this! It’s a simple tale with not so simple repercussions and messages that almost ask you to get up and do something about the way things are at present.

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Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset Mahjong with Fraser, Yuanchen, Kimtat, and Haikal on Monday 🙂 I’m improving, and I have never been more attracted to this game before. IMG_1142 New iPhone cases from society6. I am smitten – both of these are very me, don’t you think? Also, don’t even try putting a name to the kind of style I like. It’s very erratic, eccentric, eclectic, whatever you call it. It’s anything but ordinary. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset   Hit Pies & Coffee with Mummy on Tuesday – nothing beats Flock I still say! We went there primarily for The Cheese Ark where I bought a block of Francine cheese. Lovely salty taste that melts on your tongue. Mild yet not bland and definitely still flavourful. What’s not to love?

Happiness is accumulated like a tub of water after a downpour, and it’s never something that you have to actively search for. Sometimes happiness is simply looking around and being aware enough to collect it as it pours down on you.

57 | Take Me Home

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I’ve been really occupied for the last week what with all the packing for the Kuantan trip and all – but I don’t regret it one bit. Now that I’m back in Singapore feeling more relaxed than ever, I’m ready to take on the world. Sometimes I just need short getaways like this to get refreshed and kick myself back in action!

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After a late night at a youth policy discussion, I headed home to finish packing and didn’t sleep much, resulting in my drowsiness throughout the six-hour journey into Kuantan. We did stop at a Macs for breakfast but I slept through the rest of it and when we reached Endau and stopped at Restoran Nusantara I believe I was grumpy. Very grumpy.

I limited my mom and uncle to a speed limit of about 80km because I fear for my life and they had to abide by it. Stringent and frustrating but I rather reach in one piece!

First afternoon there, we hurriedly checked in and had some snacks before rushing off to my Sixth Grandaunt/Fourth Grandaunt’s place. Had a great time making mixed nut and lotus mooncakes!

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As you can see, they’re quite literally master bakers.

By the time we’d finished, all of us were tired and could only muster enough energy for some bak kut teh (my favourite!) and splendid chicken rice. Every time I go there I’m fed until I’m fat! They really do take good care of me 🙂

Second day was spent gallivanting around Kuantan’s two biggest malls – East Coast Mall and Megamall. I cannot believe I walked into a fragrance section and actually came out empty handed! Must have been really quite tired that day. After those two malls we basically just went over to my uncle’s place to have a family dinner and quickly went back to the hotel to sleep!

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Last day – headed over to grandaunts’ place to make walnut cake for my grandmother. Had a good heart to heart talk and found out a lot more about my family history! By the way, I saw an old photo of my grandfather and by golly he is the most handsome man I have ever laid my eyes on! I’m a granddaddy’s girl! 🙂

I’m also very privileged to see my cousins grow up – I am almost one full zodiac cycle older than the oldest of the cousins in Kuantan! We might have a different upbringing and environment but as far as I can see the basic culture and values inculcated are one and the same. When I’m older I’d want to bring my kids into Kuantan as well, to see the family home, the portraits and their uncles/aunties to be!

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Over the past few days I’ve been speaking and improving my Cantonese, which is not easy because I am not a Cantonese by birth, I’m a Teochew. Apparently when you’re born with a certain dialect group, your ear picks up that dialect better. If I had the interest to learn Teochew I would probably be a lot faster at picking it up than Cantonese, which I’ve been exposed to my whole life. In any case, I have made it a personal mission to go back to my ancestral village when I’ve learnt Taishanese (or what my grandmother and great-grandma call Sze Yap) and it’s quite distinct from Cantonese so.. that’ll be my “dialect”!

I place a lot of importance on family and I really enjoy learning about my family and just spending time together. It’s not worth it if I have the whole world but I lose the ones closest to me.

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Photos from first, second and last day as a concluding note to this post!

TAG: Wanderlust & A Place I’d Like to Visit

In keeping with the 30 Day Live For Tomorrow Challenge and the Wanderlust tag: here are my voyages across the seas!

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I have taken a keen interest in Tibetan culture after watching Chinese Idol so Tibet is pretty straightforward. Korea – even more straightforward. Greece because who doesn’t like posh white houses on cliffs that hang over beautiful blue seas? And Bora Bora – for the sunshine-sand-sea girl in me.

1. Your most treasured passport stamp?

I think my most treasured passport stamp would be the one to Cairns, and I had a blast there. I was actually young enough to have the energy to try every single thing, but old enough to remember all that I did. I mean, I went to the Great Barrier Reef and spent a day snorkelling, as well as took a hot air balloon and ate the most exquisite outback steak in my life ever. I cannot forget that.

2. Can you recite your passport # from memory if asked?

I could probably do half of the numbers, but I think I have better things to remember!
3. Preferred method of travel; planes, trains or automobiles?

I think any mode works. I don’t mind, in fact, I love long-haul flights, road trips. I haven’t properly taken a train before but I can’t imagine it’ll be bad. By the way, am I the only one around who loves airplane food? I love how compartmentalized everything is. I’ve always loved compartmentalized food! Or it could be just me being strange.

4. Top 3 travel items?

I would feel very handicapped overseas without my phone. I will not travel without my trusty chapstick/lip balm. And some identification because let’s be honest, if I ever run out of cash, I could always sing on the streets and be a busker, right? Yep, people would actually pay me to shut up.
5. Hostel or hotel?

Oddly enough I have always felt terribly afraid of staying in hostel or hotels. Too many stories of such haunted places and so many rituals to observe, such as knock the door, occupy the whole bed, don’t talk trash, etc. I’m probably being superstitious but I suppose it might be better to err on the side of caution. If I honestly had to choose, not the hostel. The last time I stayed in a hostel in Lake District I had to lug my almost 20kg suitcase up the stairs. Not enjoyable at all!
6. Are you a repeat visitor or do you explore new places?

I am.. a repeat visitor. I always miss the places I have visited and have rarely or never felt an inclination to go explore some godforsaken corner of the globe before. I am just not the adventurous type. Oh, and I hate anything and everything plant-related, so that means no tropical rainforest trekking for me, no matter how people try to make it sound exotic.
7. Do you read up on your destination (culture,history,safety) or do you wing it?

The places I’ve visited have been pretty familiar. I mean, Singapore is a global cosmopolitan city so we pretty much have experienced a large number of world cultures. I have read up extensively on a few countries I’d like to visit: Tibet, Alaska and Nordic countries!
8. Favorite travel website?

None. I usually find out about travel experiences from my favourite youtubers’ vlogs or @pameloho on twitter, who’s my friend 🙂
9. Where would you recommend a friend to visit? Name city & why.

Stratford-upon-Avon. Other than it being the birthplace of the Bard, which makes it fantastic for literary geeks, it is also a really quaint town. I remember enjoying a good meal of English fish and chips and buying Beatrix Potter books for 2 pounds each. What a steal! They also have cobble-stone paths, which I absolutely adore.
10, You’re leaving tomorrow, money is no option, where are you going?

I’m hightailing it to Tibet! It’s a dimension of its own entirely, the rooftop of the world. I have been so fascinated with the culture there and I would really like to visit! Second choice would be Greece, simply because it is breathtakingly beautiful (from the pictures I’ve seen of it). It seems that the city is mostly white and surrounded by blue seas and it’s like a dream come true for me.

Blogtember: Love Letter

Write a public love letter to someone in your life.

Cr: x

Dear you,

Many people have tried to define life, but my favourite definition by far is this: “Life is an accumulation of miraculous meetings, and it’s unpredictable.”

Do you know what my chances of meeting you were? Almost the same as the odds of catching lightning. In such a huge crowd, not only did I manage to suss you out, I had the privilege of getting to know you. Isn’t that a miracle? A beautiful collision of fates? Intricate intertwining of two otherwise unconcerned, unrelated lives?

What then, are the odds of me loving you for who you are?

And to think all of this is stark truth and none of it is romanticized.

It’s exactly because this is so rare that your role in my life was redefined to someone of paramount importance. Someone to be treated with utmost respect and cherished. Someone to be grateful for. You took on all these new roles in my life and I hope you don’t regret any of it.

When our intertwining lives finally break free from the woven fabric, it will be time to part and go our separate ways, bounding toward different futures.

Perhaps it’s also because we’ve had this chance encounter that I feel no compulsion to forcefully get you to stay or insist that you reciprocate anything.

Even as you leave you have created imprints on my life that I will be hard-pressed to erase. I carry your memory like a glimmer of sunshine in the deepest recesses of my heart. There is no way to stop loving someone, only that with time you learn to function without them. You will be the part of my life I never regret, the memory I will fondly remember in a decade or two, the love that I know I had not given in vain.

Lingering thoughts would be that I wish I could let you see yourself through my eyes, let you witness first-hand what I see in you. I will keep your sunshines in my pockets so that I can give them back to you when the torrents of rain come.

There is a very subtle difference in knowing when to give up and when to persist. I have given it my all, and I regret nothing. Your happiness is mine as well and whether you move mountains or whisper to the pebbles I will be equally proud of you. When you have nothing left to offer the world and are broken, I am here for you. When you have given your entire being up for a cause or created something for the world to marvel at, I am here to rejoice with you. And whatever the circumstance, whenever it is – I am always here, full of love for you.

Always true to self,

Chels

TAG: Top 10 K-pop Biases/Someone You’d Like To Meet

Hello sunshines!

I’m currently in the process of giving my blog a makeover/reorganization. Meanwhile, this space will be used for IG tags/Blogtember posts, so don’t miss out on those!

I decided to keep my Instagram solely for pictures that I took myself, therefore all posts with curated pictures won’t be up there and will be here instead. If you’ve been following my 30 Day Live For Tomorrow Challenge, you’ll see some days where I will be forced to post here!

This is a mashup of two tags: 30DayLFTChallenge’s Someone You’d Like to Meet and the Top 10 Kpop Bias tag.

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I am personally quite proud of this editing hahaha.

Anyway, lest you all think me as superficial, there are more people that I’d like to meet, including Lee Kuan Yew & Ban Ki Moon. However, I’m just mashing those two tags together and posting on it 🙂

Introducing the 10 handsome men above: (clockwise)

1. Xiah Kim Junsu (JYJ of TVXQ)
2. Kwon Jiyong (GD)
3. Shin Hyesung (Shinhwa)
4. N (VIXX)
5. Park Yoochun (JYJ of TVXQ)
6. Jung Yunho (TVXQ)
7. Shim Changmin (TVXQ)
8. Roy Kim
9. Taeyang (BIGBANG)
10. Kim Jaejoong (JYJ of TVXQ)

Please note that only the top 2 are ranked. The rest are simply jumbled up.

From this list it is probably quite clear that I’ve been a Cassiopeian. In fact, I’ve been a Cassie since 2008 which makes it five years now. Woah there. That’s quite a good long while!

I started with Changmin as my bias but I think somehow throughout the course of your fandom you tend to gravitate towards the one who most calls to you. For me that was Junsu and I have since never looked back. I love all the five boys of course, but I think Junsu is my favourite one of all. Also, just to clarify once and for all, I basically am an everything stan, I just support the boys in any way I can. So any of you batshit crazy stans who just want to see the fandom go down in flames please buzz off! My favourite track from them.. hmm. There’s You’re My Melody, Flower Lady, Wrong Number, Insa, Holding Back The Tears, Like a Soap, The Boy’s Letter, etc. There’s a lot of tracks from IN HEAVEN that I like but not so much from CATCH ME or TONE. Of course their old performances are to-die-for as well – Love In The Ice, Why Did I Fall In Love With You, Wasurenaide, Taxi, all these are favourites of the fandom. Sidenote: I still can’t watch Wasurenaide without crying. Four years after the lawsuit began. Sigh.

I became a Changjo back when Shinhwa came back. I mean before that it was just kind of like they were extinct. There was no news about them. Then they came back with Venus and Andy caught my eye. I still like him for being dorky, but Hyesung in the end was the little prince who won my heart 🙂 My favourite track from them so far has to be This Love because the choreography is just breathtaking. Unfortunately they’re not always blessed with the best cameramen and some just don’t know how to film the choreography well. I think their performance at Chinese Idol was filmed really well tho!

It’s not that I like the group of every single idol here though. I like GD as a standalone artist, Taeyang as well. As Big Bang, I appreciate their music, but I won’t be buying tickets for their concert the way I did for GD. I think GD is for me an outlier, an anomaly. In K-pop there’s a lot of being forced into moulds, and GD makes the moulds. He’s a crazy talented composer, lyricist, rapper, singer and a fashionista. I think his passion, drive and dedication inspires me. He seems to be so different on and off stage – he’s quiet and composed backstage but on stage he’s a riot. I am so addicted to him! As for Taeyang – well, he’s another one. He’s all religious and sweet offstage but on stage he’s a walking fire.

All these are all old warriors except VIXX, of which my favourite is N (and Ravi, but top 10 is top 10!) because a quick google of him shows just how talented a dancer he is. As compared to the rest he probably isn’t much right now, but I think he’s a fantastic leader and he’s an all-rounded idol, with the potential to be something big. Perhaps he’ll walk in Yunho’s footsteps?

The only solo artist here is Roy Kim, and who can resist his voice? His mellow, warm voice just seems to encapsulate emotions so well, and ever since October Rain I don’t believe I’ve really turned back. Passing By was a another great hit of his on my iPod, despite me not liking his newest Bom Bom Bom because once is already enough repetition for me. That song was annoying, but the rest of his repertoire is fantastic by my grading.

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I hope you enjoyed this post and please do credit back here if you take out the image!

Blogtember: Online Shopping

Share links to your favorite online shops, preferably with a few photos of your favorite items in each shop.

As you all probably know, I am a pretty crazy online shopper. It’s my retail therapy in the weeks that I get cooped up and horribly claustrophobic at home. I think it’s pretty convenient and there’s that pleasant surprise you get when your parcel arrives – I love it! Anyway, because I love to share all that is good, this post will be kind of shameless promotion for the various online shops I’m going to introduce – bear with me!

I like to think of Luxola as the beauty equivalent of Zalora.

Before I begin singing of its merits – here’s my favourite product from this store!

I did mention that I’m a hoarder, right?

Basically this is a 12-brush cruelty-free set from Sigma, which is right up there with Real Techniques and M.A.C for having the best brushes ever. I can totally see why it’s so raved about. There have been incidences where I’ll be just randomly brushing my hand with the huge fluffy powder brush and oh, it’s just worth the money.

What I love about Luxola is that they have delivery.

Nothing really beats knowing that your parcel arrives safely at your door – in less than 2 days. Seriously, I’ve never had a delivery where I had to wait for more than 3 days! Order and it comes right to your door, why not?

To top things off, Luxola carries brands like Sleek Makeup, butter london, covet london, REN, and z-palette. Icing on the cake would be my favourite brands Rachel K and Leaders Insolution! I would really recommend trying the eye palettes (especially Storm) by Sleek, which, as a matter of fact, I got last week, and Rachel K’s CC Cream & skincare range!

Ending off today’s post would be dolltodollcosmetics.

Dolltodoll is owned by Juli, of bunbunmakeuptips and carries hard-to-find brands like Lioele, Sugarpill, etc. She also carries Sigma, Real Techniques, Urban Decay, Monistat, Physician’s Formula and K-palette so it’s pretty much like a one-stop shop. Many of these items cannot be found in Singaporean stores, like certain shades of the Revlon Colourstay Foundation (which is pretty brainless if you ask me) and Maybelline mascaras like Full N’ Soft, Great Lash etc.

If you visit any of these stores based on my recommendation and do buy something, share with me! 😉



Blogtember: Pearls of Wisdom

Cr: x

In a bid to make my September more fruitful, I’ve decided to take on two challenges, namely, the Blogtember Challenge by Story Of My Life and the 30 Day LFT Challenge by Live For Tmw (to be done on Instagram). Of course, I won’t be posting excessively, just whatever inspires me. So do keep an eye on this space as well as my Instagram, I promise you it’ll be an exciting month!

 Let’s begin with the first prompt:

Pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered.

Because I was brought up in a very Chinese family, there are certain life lessons Grandma taught me that I will remember for life.

“帮你是人情,不帮你是道理“

To help you is a favour, and not to help you is logic.

Impactful words.

I remember having moments when I was young where I’d approach someone for help and I’d be rejected. My reaction would always be one of indignance, thinking, “Why, got so hard to help me meh?” or “Come on, I’ve helped you so many times. Shouldn’t you be fair?” But this taught me that nobody owes you a favour. Having said that, if they help you, you owe them one. And if they don’t – well, it’s to be expected, isn’t it?

I live by this now. I don’t expect people to help me – as far as possible, I try to do things on my own. I believe this has an integral role in nurturing my fiercely independent streak, and overall made me a more resourceful person. When you stop asking for favours and get up and do it on your own you realize that not everything is as easy as you’ve made it out to be.

Another influence that really shaped me was one of the most prolific teachers I ever met. Since P4 she has rejuvenated and impassioned me with a love for Chinese. Not just the language – everything Chinese. Now, before P4, I was not as receptive to languages as I am now. I was a voracious reader, yes, but I hated Chinese to the core (and to those who claim that Math is a language, yes, I hated that too). As you can probably imagine it took a great deal of nudging and prodding for me to appreciate the Chinese language, all its intricacies, rich culture and history.

One of the first lessons this teacher taught me was: You must not say “I don’t know.”

Indeed, in class, she was strict about never allowing us to get away with “I don’t know.” In retrospect, I can see why. “I don’t know,” is more often used as an excuse for being lazy to think than it is used for its true meaning. She forced us to think. Never mind that the answers were usually never beyond “Umm..”, and never mind that the answers that we came up with were really crappy. The important thing was that we hadn’t given up at get-go.

The second quote she left me with was also something that I’ve never forgotten:

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How true.

You grow your altitude by improving yourself. The more you improve yourself, the wider your scope of vision, because you now can see the world with a variety of perspectives. The wider your scope of vision, the higher your level, because you are gradually coming to understand more and more concepts of this world we live in. And as we “level up”, our state of heart grows – we become more forgiving. Loving. Peaceful. Grateful.

What are some of your pearls of wisdom?