Photos of Chiangmai

I was cleaning up the draft folder in this blog and dug up this old post containing some photos of Chiangmai.

I didn’t take as many photos as I would have liked to because it was quite difficult managing a camera with a heavy lens and at the same time, swatting mosquitoes and scratching your legs, all the while sweltering under the heat.


















I have more photos here: Chiangmai: Botanic Gardens

While I am doing (frivolous) stuff like blogging right now, TBH is nagging at me to pack my lugguage for Hanoi. As an example of how different we are: he has almost finished packing his bags two days in advance whereas I am one who can-not start packing for a trip more than one day in advance.

The People I Used To Make Music With

^Photo taken with my iPhone by a staff in the restaurant.

This is the first photo of me and/or my friends on this blog. I thought about it for a while and decided that I really wanted to put this up because it brings me back to one of the happiest periods in my life.

I had dinner with a bunch of old secondary school friends sometime last month at Ikoi, a Japanese restaurant at Furama Hotel. The dinner was a farewell get-together for an old friend who was leaving for Vancouver.

We were not all from the same cohort: most of them were a year ahead of me, one was a year behind me and another was in the same cohort as me. But we were all in the school band.

Instruments we played: starting from me in an anti-clockwise manner, you have the trumpet, two clarinets, the drums, the saxaphone, the drums (again).

I haven’t seen some of them in the last 20 years. It is a little strange (and good in a way, I guess) that most of us do not seem to look very different since we were 16. See the short-haired girl in a white shirt next to me? She has had that same hairstyle since I knew her when we were 13 years old.

We had a great time catching up, gorging on sashimi, cam-whoring and making a din the entire evening. Exactly like how we were when we used to hang out at the KFC in Hougang after band practice every Saturday.

National Day Pow-wow

9 August 2011.

For some years now, it has become some sort of a National Day ritual (is there a better word to describe this..?) for us to hang out at a friend’s place over a home-cooked brunch, booze and plenty of yabber-jabber for hours until we become incoherent from food-and-alcohol-induced drowsiness.

It was no different for us this year. As always, we had a marvellous time eating very delicious food, downing fruit-based cocktails and just chatting.

Itadakimasu.  いただきます。

Onion, potato and gruyere galette.  とても おいしかったです。

I could go on and on posting photos of different angles of this tart…! Couldn’t decide which one I liked better.  Gosh, I feel hungry looking at these photos.

Fluffy shortcakes. Eaten with butter and jam.  I like it best when eaten au naturale.

Mini beef burgers cooking on the grill.

The burgers were made with freshly-minced-at-home beef.  I should have also taken a photo of the back of the chef standing at the grill.  That would really be a ‘smokin’ hot’ sight.


I had my burger California-style which just means eating the beef patty without buns, tomatoes, onions, pickles, the usual condiments, etc.  All the things associated with eating a burger that I am familiar with.

How is a ‘burger’ a burger when it does not come sandwiched between buns? The concept was a little alien to me at first. It is like eating chicken rice without the rice or kway chap without the kway.  While my mind took some time getting used to the concept, my palate and my stomach understood it immediately!

Strawberry slush with Grand Marnier.

An innocent-looking killer.  You think you are drinking a really healthy strawberry smoothie until you wonder why you feel so woozy.

Nutella bread pudding.

By the time we passed the half-way mark for brunch, my camera (or rather, the lens that was attached to the camera) decided that it had enough of food porn and just stopped functioning. Damn, why couldn’t the lens just stick it out until the meal was complete.  カメラを壊れてしまったんです。

I had to use my trusty iPhone to take photos of the rest of the meal.  We also had a berry crumble with freshly-whipped cream, Nutella bread pudding with creme anglais and TWO more fruit-based cocktails! But as we speak, photos of these are still sitting in the iPhone and I have not gotten around to downloading them.

I brought some crumble home and left it in the fridge.  I was happily eating cold crumble with cold creme anglais while typing this post.  These things taste even better after being left in the fridge for a couple of days.

We may never say it often enough.  But it is never too late to do so.  Candice: thank you for always making us such yummy food.  Candice-さんは 友達に いつも 美味しい食べ物を作ってあげるんです。I am sure there is a better of saying this.  Just that I haven’t learnt it yet!

Nori, The Dalmatian

I took this photo on my iPhone of Nori, my friend’s Dalmatian, when I was invited to his place for dinner last week. She is a very affectionate old girl.

I used to dislike dogs. When I was about 10 years old, my neighbour’s schnauzer decided to sink her teeth into my thigh for no apparent reason. It took me at least a decade before I overcame my irrational fear of dogs (should it be ‘rational’ since there was a reason why I got scared…?) and could let one come near me without (me) trembling in fear.

Back to Nori. On a whim, we decided to get Nori to sit down in front of a painting of a Dalmatian that is hanging in their dining room. We thought this would make such a pretty picture. And Nori obliged.

And was probably wondering why was there all this fuss over a painting when the real McCoy is in the house.

But no, that painting isn’t a portrait of Nori. Her owner just happened to see the painting in an art gallery and bought it.

I really like this photo.

Jeonju: Rooming Above The Hat Shop

When I was in Jeonju last year, I stayed in a room above a hat shop known as Luella, a French brand that designs and makes hats. It was a fun experience!

The entire three-storey building, located right smack in the Hanok Village, is occupied by Luella. The first floor is occupied by the hat shop and a really cool cafe. The second floor is used as an exhibition hall for hats and a room where they teach people how to make hats. The third floor contained several rooms which are used as living quarters used by the staff of Luella whenever they travelled down south from Seoul for work.

Whenever these rooms are unoccupied, they would be rented out to tourists who are looking for a place to stay in the Hanok Village (where there is hardly any tourist accommodation).

The room was very comfortable, clean affordable and conveniently located in the Hanok Village. The staff were very helpful (including carrying my luggage up and down 4 flights of stairs). When I wasn’t walking around the village, I hung out in the hat shop and the cafe, sipping coffee, surfing the Internet and trying to make meaningful conversation with the staff in English and a smattering of Korean.

I know about 6 Korean words which is clearly inadequate to carry out any meaningful conversation with a Korean.

I bought a hat from Luella as a souvenir to remember my stay. If I visit Jeonju again, I am definitely getting a room in Luella.

Explosion Of Colour & Grace

お久しぶり! O-hisashiburi! That is the Japanese greeting for “long time no see..!

And it has been a while since I last posted something here. I struggled to get into the blog because I have almost forgotten the adminstrator password.

I have not forgotten about the blog in my struggles to get through everyday. In fact, I think about writing a post everyday, or once every couple of days.  I make it a point to take a photo on my iPhone everyday because there is something that I want to remember about my day in this blog. I will be thinking to myself: “Ah, this is something I want to write about…” But as the Chinese saying goes – 心有余而力不足。

I was wondering what I should post today in my (yet again) “comeback” post. I decided on this photo which I had taken in Seoul last November.


There are a couple of Korean travel blogs that I subscribe to on my Google Reader and one of them is Seoul Selection, an eponymous Korean travel magazine run by Robert Koehler who lives in Korea.

When the magazine asked readers to send in photos of everyday life in Korea, I decided to submit this photograph on a whim and it was published on the blog’s ‘Photo of the Week’ section two weeks ago.   I chose this particular one because the vivid colours of the dancer’s costumes, make-up and facial expression made the photo pulse with life.

I was also asked to write a simple caption about the photo and the first thing that popped in my mind was “an explosion of colour and grace”.  Anyone who has seen one of these traditional Korean fan-dances will know what I mean.

I remember stumbling on this performance on a very cold windy morning at Insadong.  It was the third time that I was watching this performance, having seen it twice before in a theatre.   Watching it close-up on the streets, jostling with throngs of people in cold weather made the experience totally different, not to mention the photo opportunities.

It felt good to see my photo on someone else’s blog, besides my own.  気持ちよかったです!  The question that many asked me was – did you get paid for the photo?  Of course not!  And I don’t expect to.

This is the other photo that I was considering submitting.


Ahhh, I have nearly forgotten the nice feeling of writing here.

Japanese Curry

Yesterday, I had a Facebook discussion with an old friend about where we could find good Japanese curry in Singapore. We concluded that none of the curry which we have tried so far in the Japanese restaurants here were half as good as the ones in Japan.

I remember this Japanese curry shop in the Ikebukero train station which TBH and I frequented during our first trip to Tokyo together. Unlike most shops which served the ubiquitous katsudon with Japanese curry, this hole-in-the wall had a wide selection.

My favourite was the vegetarian option which consisted of eggplant (nasu), spinach and an egg. I don’t know what they added to the curry sauce – opium probably – because it was so tasty and unforgettable. I remember entertaining thoughts of setting up a Japanese curry shop in Singapore after I returned from that trip.

Now that I think about it, Japanese curry is farthest from my mind when I am in a Japanese restaurant here.

If I crave for curry, there is always Indian curry and Chinese curry to choose from. And if I crave for curry, chances are that I am wanting something very spicy, fragrant and lemak. Not the mild and sweet Japanese version.

Although I don’t eat Japanese curry outside much, I make it for dinner quite frequently. It is easy to put together, fail-proof and tasty. I usually use thinly sliced pork belly which I stock up whenever it is on offer at the Isetan supermarket. Plus onions, carrots, potatoes and bell peppers!

今日 夜ご飯に カッレを作りました。辛くなかったので、食べやすいです。食べてから、タイの映画を 見ました。とても 楽しかったです。いま 寝ればと 思います。

Peekture: Yummy Frozen Yoghurt

I have been spending heaps of money on lunch since I went back to work. Lunch options have shrunk with the terribly hot and humid weather.

Places without air-conditioning are not an option unless I am buying take-away or I have a masochistic streak of wanting to walk around the office stinking of perspiration after lunch.

Most days, I inevitably end up in some slightly pricier places for lunch just to avoid wilting under the heat.

Today, my colleague and I went to the Marina Bay Financial Centre Linked Mall in search of food. And we had frozen yoghurt from Red Mango for dessert!

I ♥ Red Mango – eversince I first ate it in Korea. I am really glad that there is an outlet so near my office which I can just pop by as and when I feel like having a yoghurt fix. They sell two specific flavours everyday and it was ‘original’ and ‘redcurrant’ today. I have to go back on Thursday to try their passionfruit flavour.

I really have to find little things throughout the work day to help me keep my emotional balance.

Red Mango was that one little thing for today.

Peekture: Neko No Shashin

Photobucket@Changi Village.

今日、Changi Villageで 朝ご飯を 食べました。朝ご飯まで、きれいな猫を みました。 とても かわいいね。 猫の写真をとりました。この猫はGarfieldのようです。

I thought the cat looks like Garfield.

The Best Curry


….is Mom’s chicken curry.

Very lemak. Just look at the deep orangy colour of the gravy. But it could do with ALOT more salt.

As she ages, her cooking gets more bland because she uses very little salt. Or maybe her tastebuds have gone haywire. I was literally dumping salt into the curry with her screeching away that I’m killing the family with sodium.

Happy Easter

I don’t go to church so a good breakfast was where TBH and I headed to on Easter morning. It has been a long while since we visited Yong He for Taiwan meesua, soybean milk and dough fritters.


I love the soybean milk at Yong He ‘coz they don’t add syrup to it. I don’t like the sickeningly sweet syrupy aftertaste in the soybean milk sold in many places. The meesua was yummy, as usual, but I was a little disappointed that my bowl didn’t have any intestines in it.

A good breakfast and a short stop at the Kovan nurseries where we brought home a new pot of yellow hibicus. H-A-P-P-Y.

Looking forward to Mum’s chicken curry tonight.


Left Neglected

Left Neglected is one of those books that I couldn’t put down after I started reading it.  It is a depressing novel about  Sarah, a career-driven woman, trying to manage a demanding job, three young kids, two mortgages, multi-tasking every waking minute of her life.  She becomes handicapped after getting into a car accident because she was distracted by her mobile phone and took her eyes off the road for a second.

We probably know several people like Sarah who thrive in this sort of fast-paced, hectic life.  Busy with something every minute of the day.  Juggling many balls in their professional and private lives and  just do not know how to, or wish to, slow down.  Life is a whirlwind of activities, running from place to place, ticking off the multitude of items on a mental checklist.  The kind of life that ‘makes one feel important’ eh?

As a result of the accident, she suffers from a serious brain injury known as Left Neglected, a condition where her brain becomes unable to process left information.  In other words, her brain is completely oblivious to the left side of her body, including vision. She cannot see food that has been placed on the left of her tray; or anyone standing on her left.  When she reads a book, she sees only the right side of the sentence and not the left, so whatever she reads makes no sense to her.  She does not know how to use her left limbs – as far as she is concerned, those limbs do not exist.  Even something as intuitive as turning one’s head to the left is impossible for her. When she paints a picture of a house, the painting shows only the right side of the house – the other half is missing – because her brain does not ‘see’ the left side of it.

Half of Sarah’s world literally vanished overnight. Being Left Neglected, she is unable to carry out daily activities on her own, has to undergo rehabilitation to learn how to use the left side of her body, and learns to accept the reality that she would never recover 100%.

The first half of the book describes her insane life before the accident while the second half focuses on how the life-altering accident gave her the time and opportunity to re-assess her life, tto rebuild a relationship with her estranged mother, spend quality time with her children and helping one of them deal with ADD.

The novel is an easy read.  The author, a neuroscientist, describes the medical condition, Left Neglected and the effects of the condition very vividly, in a conversational manner and without the use of “brain-damaging” medical jargon.  I enjoyed the writing in this novel so much more than Still Alice, the author’s previous book about a Harvard professor suffering from an early onset of Azheimer’s Disease.  Another depressing read.

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