Best Apps for Seoul: Subway 지하철

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Korea’s subway system is kickass.

Trains that arrive on time, are clean, travel fast, have racks for you to put your bags on, segregated carriages for those who need seats – I was so impressed by their system while I was there. Taking the train no longer felt like a drag, I actually enjoyed my commute. (The bus system was something I didn’t try because it was mind-boggling to say the least) Their app is the cherry on top of the already delectable fresh cream cake, and it’s equally, if not more impressive.

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Best Apps for Seoul: Introduction

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WordPress.com has now officially implemented their paid plans – which means I have only 3GB of space for images on the free plan. What a bad time to be uploading image-heavy app posts!

In any case, all the apps pictured above are apps that I found immensely useful in Korea. I’ll be doing a quick introduction of Airbnb, Accuweather, XE Currency and Skyscanner in another post, but since they’re in English they should be simple to navigate. Daum Maps, Subway, and Yogiyo are apps that are in Korean, so I’ll be going into detail in the hopes that you’ll be able to use the app!

PS: Keeping the images on the post to a minimal to save space for the three Korean apps which will need more explanation! Bear with me.

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The Case for Solo Travel

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One year ago, if anyone asked me, “Hey, why don’t you do university overseas?” I used my standard answer on them.

No lah, why travel overseas? Singapore is good enough. My family is all here, 我始终放不下 (I can’t let go). And it’s so expensive to travel overseas! If you tell me go for 3-6 months, maybe, but 1 year and above, no way! I’ll start asking to come home after 1 week!

It honestly never occured to me that I’d be eating my words one day, haha! In the past six months, I’ve been to Florence, Milan, Paris, and now Seoul.

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103 | Grazie di Cuore, Italia

It’s coming close to 2.30AM and I can’t sleep, but I wouldn’t call it jetlag, rather, the reinforcement of an already screwed up sleep schedule during the Italy trip. I slept at about 4AM in Singapore prior to the trip and it was about 10PM Italian time – so I followed a most comfortable sleep-wake cycle there. Unfortunately not very conducive for social life back here in SG, but until I can rectify that, am making the best of it by coming by here!

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Firenze is located in central Florence and is quite honestly a great place to be. When I went there the weather averaged 16-18 deg. celsius, a little cold for me but otherwise perfect, with sunny, clear skies. I heard the summer is hell though, and wouldn’t dream of heading there in that kind of heat (39 deg.)

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A close friend was telling me how the charm of Florence was not the city itself but its vicinity and after this trip I can’t help but concur. If the nearby places like Regello, Barberino are so tranquil, I would love to see Chianti, which was recommended. Almost guaranteed to have breathtaking scenery and brilliant weather.

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Don’t ask me how, but landed in Prato Centrale somehow – godforsaken place, totally not touristy, no cabs no nothing. Quiet suburb, a welcome break from the city but not ideal for staying long. Not even a single restaurant open, probably good for just looking at how people live in suburban Italy.

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Never fully understood the attraction of sunset/sunrise, but I felt this was a mandatory travel shot, haha.

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Was immensely blessed to have been able to go for nightly walks/H2H time in Italy. Much of the time my schedule in Singapore doesn’t allow for this – every meal and spare time is planned, and I miss spontaneously spending time with my inner circle. My estate is boring, though I do enjoy nightly drives. Italy was brilliant for walking at night. Quiet streets, awe-inspiring architecture and food available at night just makes for very conducive, lucid rumination. In a sense this was healing for me, with just the right company and right setting to be able to recuperate. This made the entire trip more than worth it. Visited Ponte Vecchio and the Baptistry of St. John at night and they were stunning. Won’t lie, it’s a bit dangerous especially when I headed out alone, but for the healing I got, very worth it.

All in all, Italy is pretty and a place I would want to revisit. Maybe not Milan, but definitely will head back to Florence. Needs extra care when travelling alone but I can deal with that.

Five days worth of healing felt like soothing salve on a wound that had been left to fester for too long. For the longest time since the term started I feel like I’ve been walking on a tightrope, my commitments and obligations stretching me in different directions. I would overpromise and then come to default on my promises, which stresses me out a great deal. I think the question right now would be how to balance out career and personal growth, but academics are getting in the way by taking up so much of my time. Hopefully with the pitiful 2 modules this semester I have a little more time to work on my other ventures (ie. writing, theatre) and not be one foot in, one foot out of everything.

Career will require a good amount more devotion these coming few months as I pick up the ropes. There’s a very pressing need for me to fill the gaps in my skill set, which are not entirely pleasant, and that has me a bit worried. For every unpleasant thing I force myself to go through, I take extra time to recuperate and it just doesn’t add up. Guess as always, it’s a balancing game. At this point in time I can confidently say career comes first, excluding my family and inner circle. Writing has been subordinated for the time being and I flat-out refuse to be ashamed about it. As I said, balancing game, finite resources, make the best of it. Shouldn’t, and don’t want to penalize myself even more emotionally for making choices that look wiser in long-term. Other than finite resources there are also some tough choices to be made, involving my area of specialty given that I won’t be going to university, and how I can buff myself in that area, leveraging on my strengths. I have been procrastinating on this because I haven’t been particularly pulled toward anything, which is unusual – so I think this might be one of those decisions that just take time to make. So be it. I would rather take more time with this than have to backtrack (note: not reiterate, backtrack) somewhere down the road.

I am very lucky in that I have a massively supportive inner circle and family. Though they begrudge the spontaneity and my overly macro modus operandi, they do their best to provide scaffolding or support, whichever is more critical. I am even more blessed in that they are all people who actively learn and share – though we stagnate sometimes most of the times we are progressing, and I think that’s important for growth as a unit. I really appreciate and cherish them, which would justify why I am constantly ready to drop all my shit for them at any given time of the day. They are my biggest priority for now – for some, it’s relationship building, and for others it’s collaboration. Either way the mutual understanding and differences we share make me extra grateful to have found these incredible people, and hopefully I will be able to give them even more before I turn 20 next year.

I have been neglecting my physical/mental health to an extraordinarily large extent this year – find it hard to even recall the number of MCs and medications I’ve taken. Think it’s high time I placed more importance on this since I’ve never truly honoured it as a priority.

Wrapping up the year is never easy, especially not finding dozens of loose threads that you need to fix in the last few months. Just one last final push before the new year comes along. This Italy trip was timely – stay in a place for too long and you stagnate in mindset and perception, and that was what had happened to me. In retrospect it was a humbling learning experience, and I came back refreshed and with a slightly clearer idea of what I need to execute to make this year count. Now I just need to get down to it – that’s an encouragement in itself. 🙂

101 | Full Plates

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We’re drawing to the close of May, and I just concluded one of the most.. deranged weeks ever. Sometimes I don’t understand why I choose to pack myself like that (although I’d argue that most of these seemingly unimportant tasks are oft the most important) and end up burning myself.

Monday was supposedly my first and last day at work for the week, and after a futile attempt to hack away at a week’s pile of work I headed to the 50 Schools, 50 SMEs event. I don’t exaggerate when I say that I love such events. There is a very real need for youth to learn about all things Singaporean – our music scene, our literature scene, our startup scene – and be proud of them. Also, my favourite minister was at the event! Missed a photo opportunity, but still.

Tuesday to Thursday was spent madly clearing projects – couldn’t do much else with a presentation each day of the week from Wednesday to Friday. I didn’t even have the time to rehearse for Thursday’s presentation, which was my entrepreneurship module, but somehow managed to come through, mainly because I was proposing a product I would love to build anyway.

Thursday night ended late, and began early (three 8AM days in a row are just no joke..) on Friday. Friday was just a mess – I flagged a cab and hightailed it to work the moment I ended my presentation. Simply too eager to be back in the office. Sat myself down and desperately tried to clear work before cohesion began – office cohesions are the highlight of every month! This month I planned the Bingo and I thoroughly enjoyed facilitating it and finding out about everyone else in 2359 Media. Wish we could have a session just sitting down and talking – over food, of course.

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With Aankita, one of the loveliest project managers you can ask for.

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Facilitating the Bingo game!

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With Yuko, our design intern and the intern who came in right after me!

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#internsof2359

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Jasmine, angel of Accounts in 2359. So much love!

After cohesion, hung out in office till around 10PM and then flew all the way back to Ten Mile Junction for karaoke at 11pm till 1am with Jean. Madness, I know. Two girls walking into a petrol station to buy drinks at 1.30am must be quite a sight to behold.

Once I got home, I *tried* to pack for my Melaka trip, although it was less of trying to pack then just stuffing everything I needed in and trying to stay awake. The moment I got into the car I all of collapsed and was out cold till we reached Melaka and checked into the new kid on the hotel block. Perhaps more about them after I’ve completed my stay!

When I come back on Tuesday I’ll be bombarded by the first of 3 papers that conclude this term. Can’t wait to be back in the office full-day from Thursday onwards – finally! Clearly I have issues with work-life balance. Actually, I believe it’s a myth. I’ll probably be one of those mothers who leaves work at 5.30PM sharp only to come back to it at 9PM when the kids are asleep. Then again, nothing much fulfils me more than my work now. Creating workplaces that people enjoy working at is just one of my biggest dreams, and that propels me more than ever to create it right here and now. That’s probably the only reason I managed to juggle six weeks of school/work and not come out worse for it.

In short, if you don’t feel deeply for what you do, don’t attempt this kind of lifestyle, not even to climb the career ladder. It will wear you down faster than you know it.

87 | French Villages

Over the holidays, Mum, Cowfu and I headed to the nearby Berjaya Hills resort for a 3D2N staycation. Sort of staycation, since it’s so near to home! Drove over from Kuantan and I slept all the way up the horrifying, spiralling hill. It’s as though I have a magical alarm clock that wakes me at all the right moments, because I was awake just five minutes before the distinctive silhouette of Colmar Tropicale began to loom over me. 

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Colmar Tropicale is a French-themed villa/resort in Kuala Lumpur, Berjaya Hills. It’s beautiful. The weather up there is cooling, which explains the beanie. It’s not unlike Cameroon Highlands or Genting. I just have a very poor resistance to cold, especially when there are winds blowing. 

Of course, first on our agenda was exploring the villa.

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These swans were spotted at the front of the resort, and the black ones were separated from the white. I suppose this is because the white ones (contrary to expectations) were more hostile. The black ones were friendly, although they tried to peck me. I suppose it could be a show of affection.

We basically lazed our days around. I fully intended to write while I was there but I couldn’t concentrate. Things weren’t as dandy as they seem though. One of their power sockets scorched my laptop’s charger and the lights in the room, other than a few decorative bulbs, were non-existent. Sheesh. The nights there were sure unpleasant for someone so terrified of darkness, especially in a foreign place.

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The lights on the streets at night are pretty beautiful but hard to photograph. I enjoyed dinners both nights there, with the first night at the rotisserie and the second at the fine dining restaurant. Breakfast was decent but not spectacular. We had one lunch at the pizzeria and the lasagna (as with the quarter chicken at the rotisserie) is to DIE for. Food is gorgeous, fine dining’s not worth a try, neither is the coffee. I gorged myself on so much orange juice there!

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Staycations (or even short getaways) are hard to come by now that I’m in my second year, swamped with numerous projects and even more um, challenges, shall I say? I’m juggling many things at one go and trying not to drop any of them so let’s hope for the best. 

76 | Generations

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travel essentials: rayban cockpit sunglasses – sincere optics | clinique chubby stick in 04 mega melon – sephora | shiseido multi-defense uv – robinsons | crabtree and evelyn avocado hand cream – crabtree & evelyn | travalo – sasa w/ versace yellow diamond – sephora | ipod touch gen 5

This trip to Kuantan was (as always) full of the best food in town, bonding time with the children and family stories that I lap up as fast as they come. On a sidenote, I also discovered that my ability to sleep everywhere was not to be slighted – I slept on speeding cars, rattan chairs, and the infamous cement floor of the family home that basically every person in the family has slept on as a child. It’s always nice to see the century-old family home, and see the family portraits, go around Kuantan and hear about the property my great-granddaddy owned, etc. Nothing beats family time.

PS: It’s definitely true when they say that pigs are very family-oriented people.

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