Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye, 2013

Before this year ends, I think it would be good to do a post about how the past twelve months have been for me, so that in future, I can look back and see how much I’ve grown since then (which is now) ((do you get me)). This year has been particularly eventful for me because not only it being my O-level year, well…okay fine maybe that’s just it. I’m just kidding, of course, because this was also the year I discovered a bit more about myself, and the relationships I have with other people.
(Also, a disclaimer: this will be an extremely selfish post because the subject is, well, myself.)
I’m not sure how to start this so…
First and foremost, I realised that I am really bad at maintaining a relationship. I find it hard work to ensure that the bonds I have with others are constantly “refreshed”, in a way. It could be that I’m really lazy to talk to other people, even my own friends. Either that or I really cannot be bothered. For example, some of the closer friends I made last year or even the year before are now “demoted” to just ordinary friends. Due to the inconvenience that interacting with them brings (self-initiated conversations etc. as we hardly see each other in our daily lives), I kind of just gave up talking to them. As a result, there is now an awkward distance between us that can still be bridged, but as of now, I’m still too lazy to. I recognise that this is a really bad problem and want to change that. Human relationships are of great importance, not least since they would give you connections and could potentially be of great use. Also, with this laziness/don’t-care attitude, I’ve now only a handful of friends who still are in my close and trusted circle of friends. It makes me really regretful to realise that I’ve lost the once-close relationships I’ve shared with a few of my ex-close friends (what a way to put it). :-( I’ll try to work on that more in 2014.
Aside from that, I also learnt that I am immensely “competitive”. It is not so much of being competitive than wanting to do well. It’s just that along the way, you realise that in order for you to “do well”, you have to be better at (whatever you’re doing) than other people. Many people mistake this as competitiveness. I don’t know what it stemmed from, but I can make a few guesses. My first guess would be that it is my desire to prove myself to others that causes me to strive so hard, maybe even maniacally, for success (again, a very broad term but just bear with me here). I used to often do poorly in exams/competitions/etc. and was used to the disappointed faces of my parents/etc. It’s a very depressing feeling, to know that you are inferior and I got really sick of it. So after my first taste of “success”, I craved the approval of other people whenever I would do well and thus go after the metaphorical trophy like a mad dog. My second theory is actually very close to my first. I could be “competitive” because I enjoy basking in my own glory. HAHAHA this sounds very crude and I’m just kidding. What I mean is that I enjoy the recognition and praise that comes with achievement in various fields. Whenever I get compliments, or hear that other people use myself as a benchmark for themselves, I feel really good about myself. I know this can be quite unhealthy because I’m using other people to help me appreciate myself. Well, that’s just how I feel right now and hopefully I’ll grow out of this childish phase soon.
On another note, I also learnt how to “control” myself with regard to my reputation. I became more aware of my image and realised the importance of having a good reputation. By that I mean that I don’t freely post Facebook statuses/tweets/Instagram photos, but rather think twice (or thrice or four-ice or five-ice) before pressing “Post”. I also don’t talk so much nonsense as before because I do tend to speak without thinking/processing what I’m actually saying and how it may sound like to its recipient. Occasionally I am still guilty of talking faster than thinking but then again, nobody is perfect.
This also applies to my physical image. I now know that everyone is beautiful is his/her own way and that includes me as well. I am very self-conscious about the way I look and it was only this year that I discovered that I am not as horrendous-looking as I had thought myself to be. Granted, this took compliments from other people and my own obsessing over hundreds of photos of myself to realise. Also, I used to go out in whatever clothes I was wearing at home and this consisted mostly of camp T-shirts and sports shorts so that wasn’t exactly very flattering to my image. Anyway, I’m thankful that I’ve finally reached the conclusion that I am decent-looking and no longer have to feel like I’m not. It’s a terrible thing to feel.
Finally, I have cultivated the habit of doing daily devotionals and having QT. Previously, I would do them on an irregular basis, finding excuses to skip it out of pure laziness. However, I’m proud to say that I have made it a habit to read my devotional and Bible every single day. It has made a small difference in the way I live out my life, day by day.
2013 has been a eventful year, definitely. It’s had its fair share of ups and downs, and I wouldn’t mind doing it all over again. Sadly, that’s not possible. So all we can hope for is that 2014 will be a greater and better year for us all. :-)

Artisan Boulangerie & Co.

I had the best molten lava cake here on New Year’s Eve. I didn’t even anticipate this or anything, which made the experience even more wonderful. The outer “crust” of the cake was a little crispy and best of all, warm. The molten chocolate inside oozed out, staining the blanc plate a deep brown. It was love at first sight/bite.
?!?!? Too delicious too resist. Looking at this photo, I’m starting to crave for it again.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Seniors' Farewell 2013

(The theme for this year’s farewell was Disney princess)
 Very witty names for the food provided. Off the back of my mind, I can recall the following;
Chip and Dale – Chocolate chip cookies
Princess and the Pea – Pea salad
(?) – Fried rice
WINGx Club – Chicken wings
Broccoli and the Beast – Broccoli and potato salad
(?) – Cocktail sausages
(?) – Chicken satay
(?) – Spaghetti in Prego sauce (hahaha) ((it was good nonetheless))
(?) – Brownie/Cupcake/Muffin (I’m not very sure what it is but it’s something like that)
and last but not least, the
Mac Hatter – Macaroni and cheese
I thought the naming of the food items was pretty clever. The food was all home-made by the committee members and it tasted much better than catered food because it was made with ~love~. Ha ha, I’m just kidding but it really did taste good (most of them, anyway). Ms Chang also bought mini Cornettos and chocolate éclairs which were, thankfully, still cold.
Kimberly and I, literally the double-reeds HAHAHA. Ok that wasn’t very funny. :-(
I think Mo Fei was one of the best dressed. She came as the Mad Hatter!
I was supposed to be Ana (Frozen) but felt too lazy to bring along my winter coat so…oh well.
Myself, Victoria and Sandra!
Sandra brought her Stitch along because that’s the only way people are going to know what she’s dressed as. I thought she was Mulan at first because the dress was so oriental-ish.
Myself, Emily and Kimberly
Mo Fei and I
(She wants to go to RI too!!! YAY)
Doublereeds 2013 sans Lim Ning and the oboe Sec 1
“If you want (to enjoy) the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain”
 Naasyidah and I! A pity that Ze Hui left earlier and Sang Ah is in Korea or we could’ve taken a complete MTDC-shot (ish)
(Turned out pretty cool eh?)
 Winnie and I
Afterwards, Victoria, Sandra and I headed to Botanic Gardens to walk off all the food we had earlier. It was quite a nice walk because it was quite windy that day. However, it started raining pretty soon and ended the whole thing.
This year’s Farewell was quite all right I suppose. The only gripe is that most of the seniors didn’t turn up because they were overseas/couldn’t be bothered/whatever. Only the clarinet seniors, tuba section, Victoria, Kimberly, Sandra, Min Hui, Ze Hui, Naasyidah, Nicole and I were present! (If I missed you out please don’t be offended, oops) The program was pretty normal as well, with games and all. I don’t really know what I was expecting though.

Photos: I

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Rise dinner buffet

A "punter" punting through the "river" in MBS. I don't mean to offend, but, how touristy.
I celebrated my sixteenth birthday with a buffet dinner at Rise last night. Rise is a restaurant located in the posh Marina Bay Sands and is well-known for it's exquisite and high quality of food. I have always wanted to try the buffet there, but it was just too expensive that I never got around to it. So it was really a pleasant surprise when I found out that my parents had planned a dinner there for my birthday.
Open layout and high ceiling (if there is one at all) all make for a wonderful evening.
View of the restaurant from an (indoor) bridge.
The spread:
From breads to raw foods to honeycombs and a roast turkey, there is a relatively large variety of foods on the buffet line. I say "relatively" because it isn't really that much, but it is fully compensated for by the quality of food. Also, these are the foods that most people tend to "whack" at a buffet (hehe).
The "centrepiece" which is essentially what greets you as you enter the restaurant. A colourful and vibrant greeting, no less.
What is there not to love about a whole table full of sweets?
The white chocolate fondue can't beat the green tea one at Lime (PARK ROYAL @ PICKERING), but it's still something interesting, as compared to the done-to-death milk chocolate fountain.
The brown cubes there are chocolate marshmallows! I love the marshmallows at Rise - they are unbelievably soft! Like roasted/BBQ-ed kind of soft!
 You know you are paying for quality when you find ice-cream flavours like such in lieu of "strawberry", "vanilla" and the like. ;-) 
 Portugese egg tarts!
((to die for))
The fresh fruits station, next to the salads...how apt.
 SALMON SASHIMI (a.k.a the only sashimi I dare to eat)
The way in which the chef slices the sashimi is really professional as each slice is fat and juicy! Even the "miserable" slices left when all the "good" ones have been pinched off!
Mussels, scallops, oysters and prawns 
 The roast turkey was tender and succulent, or, in other words, perfect.
 Bread bar which had, unfortunately, awesome-tasting breads. I say "unfortunately" because bread is practically solid carbohydrate which fills you up pretty quickly: something you don't want happening at a buffet. :-(
Assorted cheeses. My favourite was the Brie cheese. :-)
What I ate: 
Hot drinks were complimentary, so I had a (two, actually) pot(s) of Jasmine Queen (Green?) tea from TWG! They also served drinks like hot chocolate but I'm more of a tea person. Anyway, I'm impressed that they use TWG and not commonplace brands of teas such as Lipton etc. Then again, I guess that has all been included in the price!
Clockwise from left: Roast turkey, pork thingamajig, roast beef, Croque Monsieur, braised beef cheek and chicken (centre)
The turkey was, as I mentioned earlier, FANTASTIC. I really needn't go into more detail about that. The rest of the meats were all right, but pretty hard. As I had a minor toothache, I couldn't really enjoy them as much as I wished. The Croque Monsieur was a surprise ((to be on the menu)), but also surprisingly good. :-) (well, most things at Rise should be good)
Salmon sashimi, marinated scallops and assorted sushi.
Also, I happened to take the soba sauce instead of the soya sauce...but it complemented the salmon anyway! :-) Ha ha, what an accidental discovery. I could be the next Isaac Newton, heh. Ok, I digress.
The salmon was really really really really really good. Fat and juicy and such a deep orange, everything is appealing to my senses. Well, except for touch I suppose. That would be rather queer. (or not)
Sadly, the scallops were a bit too salty (over-marinated?) and the sushi too ordinary. Not something I would expect from a restaurant in MBS.
 Mussels, clams, prawns and scallops. I don't dare touch the oysters because of their insane cholesterol levels, as much as I do want to eat my money's worth. The best of this plate were the prawns, but prawns are such a chore to eat! I hate peeling them as it is literally as if a battle has erupted on my plate, ugh. Oh well, convenience (laziness, more like) > gastronomic bliss I guess.
More roast turkey, grilled saba in soya sauce and some haddock dish. I nearly mistook the haddock for mashed potatoes! Anyway, everything on this plate tasted delicious, though the saba could be a little dry if you don't scoop up the sauce with the fish. The haddock thingamajig was really tasty, like mashed potatoes except that it tastes like fish and chips. It's so weird to describe it, but tastes absolutely amazing.
Rum and Raisin, Strawberry sorbet and Coconut sorbet.
Only the R&R was nice here. I was hoping that the coconut sorbet would be like the one I had in Bangkok (Chatuchak market) but it pales in comparison. Maybe it's the rum that mars my tastebuds, but I feel that none of the other ice-cream flavours taste the way they are supposed/expected to.
Also, R&R is my all-time favourite ice-cream flavour so I may be a little biased here.
 Crème brulée, yoghurt mochi, vanilla bean thing, yule log cake, almond and apple tart, chocolate eclair, blueberry tart, poached pear, chocolate mousse and marshmallows drizzled in white chocolate fondue
This was literally a guillotine for diabetics. Everything was SO SWEET. Not that I'm complaining, since it is dessert, after all. But.
Personally, I enjoyed the blueberry tart the most. The crème brulée was just sweet, the mochi starchy, vanilla bean pie-thing odd, and the poached pear was quite hard. I have never had poached fruits before so I'm not very sure what to expect, but this was far from what I had sort of expected (especially after seeing the glorious delight that are poached eggs).
 Portugese egg tart, bread and butter pudding, Christmas stollen, panettone, grapes and strawberries and a marshmallow dipped in fondue
The egg tart was really good, but quite small, so you can't really taste the eggy custard unless you eat a lot of egg tarts. The rest were simply meh. Also, I have discovered that I have no appreciation for stollen and panettone.
Raisin bread, tomato focaccia, haddock thingy, saba fish (with cheddar and brie at the side)
LOVED the tomato focaccia bread the best. It was soft and had nuances of olive oil and garlic (???). I would never have paired these together but somehow it just clicks! I love love love bread so much... :-)
Madeleine, kaya roll, rock melon, blackberries, grapes and strawberries
The madeleine was rather dry and disappointing, while the kaya roll could not hold a finger to Rich and Good Cake Shop's. But it was still acceptable, I guess. The fruits were nice (when are fruits not nice), and I was especially thrilled that most of the strawberries were sweet and not sour! It is so difficult to get sweet, juicy strawberries here as most are either sour to begin with, or they mould very quickly.
My birthday-cake, compliments of Rise. It was really rich and intense and I was explosively-full by then that I only managed two bites before I surpassed the point of no return...
It was a good cake, though, but maybe a little too overwhelming and jelat.
In total, we spent about $300 for the four of us. Yes, it's a very steep price to pay for a dinner but it's more of the ambiance, company and quality of food that would draw customers there. It was very nice to sit back on our cushioned chairs and just chat with one another, as the Christmas tree not far away twinkled. Also, the soundtrack for the Notre Dame de Paris musical was playing in the background, so it was a very different but enjoyable experience for me. :-)
Even if it meant skipping breakfast and lunch the next day, I would not have traded this meal for anything else in the world.
Rise Buffet Restaurant
10 Bayfront Avenue Tower 2,
Lobby Level Marina Bay Sands Hotel Singapore
Tel: +65 6688 5525