Grub with MPP

Saturday, September 28, 2013

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Saturday (yesterday!) was quite an exciting day for myself as I got to spend it with two groups of people I love dearly, namely my Moot Parliament Programme (MPP) group and Bellyboing. 

MPP was one of the best things that happened to me in my Year Three life and I was so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with a wonderful group of people where I could have fun with. We didn't really spend a lot of time together this year so we caught up with each other yesterday where we had lunch together! Christina, Jaclyn, Samantha, Melissa (Tan) and myself decided to eat at Grub, a café located within Bishan Park (I think it was renamed to Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park recently), under Sam's recommendation. 

I have never explored this place before in terms of its eateries, though I used to come here super often when I was younger to cycle and play, so visiting the park once again held quite a few memories for myself, which was nostalgic. The place did transform quite a bit, for the better, I would add. At first, we couldn't locate the café because the park was rather huge - if you intend on going there, do head to the Thomson part of the park (the part nearer to Mayflower Secondary School) but we finally found it, with the help of Jaclyn's mum who very kindly drove us around. 

When we were there, it was full so we had to add our names (and contact number) onto the waiting list, and they would call us once seats were vacated. I thought that the system was rather efficient and novel, especially since it didn't require us to be physically present in the line queueing, considering the heat of the park. The waiting time was set to be 45-60 minutes so yes, if you intend to go there, be prepared to wait in the park where it'll be difficult to find air-con (typical Singaporean) 

We then headed to the nearby shelter and entertained ourselves - we were good at coming up with nonsense to do, which is why I love hanging out with this group of people. Mel suggested playing "Heads Up", the charades app created by Ellen Degeneres, so we did :') It was really fun and we kept laughing, so time flew by. 

Chris hurhur

Samantha :-) 

Me! :-) Also, I'd like to clarify why my dressing was so inappropriate for the park - it's because I was going directly for the Watoto choir concert later at night, which explains what I was wearing. And my mum insisted I wear that pair of um shoes because I have never worn them before :-( I was super self conscious because I didn't think I could pull of such an outfit. 

Group photo :-) 

When we finally got the call from Grub, we were very happy people and didn't even complain when we were to be seated outside without air-con; we were happy and that was enough for us. 

This café relied very much on technology, including taking down of orders, which was a good move, speeding up efficiency, considering the overwhelming demand in the place. We placed our orders and waited. 

Their menu, which you can find online here, if you're interested :-) 

Sam's truffled egg cocotte! :-) 

Sam and her food hehe

Chris and I both ordered French Toast! :-) 

Chris and her food :-) 

Me and my food :-) 

The French Toast came with a sausage and was served with sour cream, strawberries and maple syrup. I have actually never tried French Toast before, though I did consider making it myself before but I thought that the one here wasn't too bad - it was really fluffy. I imagined sour cream to be weird but everything was really well balanced. 

Jac's GRUB Cheeseburger :-) 

Jac and her food :-)

I think the GRUB cheeseburger is a speciality of the café, hence the name. I think she was quite satisfied with the burger hurhur. 

Mel's pork steak burger! :-) 

Mel and her food :-) 

Iced honey lime juice :-)

The drink I got, iced honey lime juice, as pictured above, was quite unique and refreshing, especially in the hot weather so I was super happy with it - essentially, we were all very happy that day so everything was good. 

Even though we were seated outside, it was actually still very cooling and the ambience was good. Service wasn't too bad as they still had human interaction despite making use of the technology and the waiters were friendly :-) It was hilarious when Christina kept asking about their alcoholic drinks. First, she asked if their ciders were alcoholic, to which the waiter said yes. Then when she asked for the bill, "Can we have the bill?", the waiter said "Can you have the beer?" which was super funny, and I'm not sure if he genuinely misheard Christina or if he was trying to make a joke. 

Most importantly, the company was fantastic. However, we didn't manage to order their desserts because we were too late (last order closes before 2pm -  we thought it was 2pm and therefore we took too long to decide). I will definitely head there again just to try their desserts but my French Toast was both sweet and savoury so I wasn't that upset that we couldn't get dessert. 

We hung out for a while at the park :-)

Love them :-) 

HAHAHA Mel what are you doing :-)

MPP! :-) 

Here ya go Chris - she didn't take off her specs in time though hurhur

Jac being crazy - look at the sign: it says Wild Boars have been spotted in the area! 

Afterwards, Sam had to leave because she was going shopping with her sister so the four of us decided to head to Salted Caramel at Upper Thomson to satisfy the cravings of our sweet tooth! While waiting for the bus -

Look at the monkeys HAHAHA 

Saner ones - Chris and I! :-) 

I love this photo - Chris and I are somehow always playing a fool behind each other like in the Guides video :-) 

On the bus to Upper Thomson, which was just a few bus stops away! 

Jac and Mel's! :-) 

Chris' Matcha and my Earl Grey :-) 

Look at these two lovebirds and their coke float!

Chris - swiftly removing her specs this time round ;) 

Then we parted ways and I headed to Junction 8 with Mel to spend a bit of my time before heading to City Hall to meet Bellyboing for the second half of the day's programme, which I will be featuring in another blog post. I was headed for a performance put up by the Watoto Children's Choir and it left me feeling so very inspired. 

All in all, it was an amazing afternoon with my MPP group - I love them so much :') Thank you for everything guys. 

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The Time Keeper

Friday, September 27, 2013

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"To my faithful readers, the ones who picked up this book without even asking what it was about"

Indeed, when I bought "The Time Keeper" by Mitch Albom, I had no idea what the book entailed at all, I just wanted to read the book very badly, solely because it was written by one of my favourite authors of all time. Sure, I acknowledge that purchasing a book because of such a reason was silly and brainless but it was because I had that much faith and trust that this author would not let me down. 

And he didn't. 

Although this book hasn't been that well-received by several book critics, I personally found that the message he was sending struck a chord in me. Mitch Albom's books are always so inspiring and leaves me thinking so much about life, a theme that he constantly plays with in his tales. There are many who might think that there isn't really a climax to the plot in his books (which is true as his characters usually embark on a journey that isn't really cluttered with obstacles, though that may not necessarily be a bad thing) or that it is too simplistic to be considered a piece of good literature (that's what my brother always tells me and I do agree as well that there isn't a lot of depth of mystery in terms of the characters featured). However, there are certain things that needn't require to fit into the exact mould to be deemed good - why need depth or a typical rising-falling action plotline when the message being sent through is thought-provoking and engaging enough to leave its reader satisfied? That's what I think, at least. 

"The Time Keeper", after finishing it, is now one of my favourite books by far, alongside another of Albom's works "The Five People You Meet In Heaven", as it tells of a story (or perhaps three stories, one for each protagonist) of time and sends a message that I personally feel is important for every human being on this planet to understand and discover. I will try my best not to spoil anything for any of you and I highly encourage all of you reading this to grab this book and enjoy it - be it buying it, getting it from the library or loaning it from me (I don't mind lending my copy out, as long as you promise to be responsible with it - approach me!) Whether or not you've read the book, I would just like to share some of my thoughts about the main theme of time and how people constantly try to play with it, either by yearning to turn it back, fast-fowarding it or perhaps ending it. 

Somehow, this theme has been recurring in a number of books I've read this year, such as the Literature play I studied this year "Everything But The Brain" and even a recent movie I watched during Horror Movie Options "Pee Mak". For these two, both touch on the protagonist wanting to spend more time with their loved ones. For "The Time Keeper", though it's a bit different - and therefore fresh and unique to me, I won't spoil it though - it also showcases the innate human desire to control time in one's own hands. 

Why is this theme such a popular one to be used in fiction stories? Because it's parallel to what we really want in real life - living in this world, we constantly complain about time. 

"Why is time passing so slowly? I want Friday to come!"

"Shit I need more time; History exam tomorrow and I haven't studied!" 

Despite knowing that we won't be able to exercise control over the ticking of the clock, we still wished we could because time has defined who we are as people. Like it or not, it controls our life and how we live it. Our schedules, our activities are planned by the hour. We wake up at 6am in the morning because time tells us we'll be late for school if we don't. What we do when we're 80 years old would be so different than what we do when we're 16 because time has gotten the better of us. Time is like a silent dictator - it controls us and yet we keep trying to control it still, even though we know we evidently can't. Why ask for something we know very well we'll never get? Why can't we just live in the moment, not bothering about what time is doing to us? 

Imagine a world without time - you get up at sunrise, because the sun rays shining through your drawn curtains seeps into your eyelids, not because the shrill sounding alarm woke you up. You peer through your windows to admire the hues of red, orange and yellow. You live every day to your fullest not because you worry about time running out or death but because you know that every moment is precious - there isn't an end goal in mind because you won't know what time will lead to and therefore it is the moment that counts.

Without the measure of time, there would be no fear of time running out.  

The fact is, we are all so scared, so afraid that we'll one day finally run out of time. Because of this fear, we try to make use of every single second we have - which is a good thing, making full use of the time we have - but there are instances where things get out of hand; where we get so caught up that we become ungrateful for what we have and seek for more. Being naturally greedy creatures, we seek for more, we seek for what we don't have - we yearn for more time to do more things, to work longer hours, to earn more money, to study harder, to score better grades, to satisfy ourselves. However, if we keep living like this, will we ever know when to stop? We will never ever be satisfied enough because there are so many things we'll want to do with this limited amount of time we have. And the quality of what we do will then decline. If we didn't have this fear, we'll be able to invest all our efforts into perfecting something and not get distracted by multi-tasking, assuming that doing that will help us make use of our time better. 

Truthfully, there is no way that we'll be able to remove the element of time in our lives at this day and age, because everyone relies so very heavily on it. As long as we know that the time we have is limited and come to terms that that is something we'll never be able to change, I think it'll make us truly appreciate every moment, "to make each one precious". 

And I will try my best to. 
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Sarah's Sixteenth

Thursday, September 26, 2013

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As mentioned in the previous post, Sarah turned sixteen yesterday and it was quite an exciting day in general :-) The Boings decided to surprise Sarah in the morning since we'd all be split up into our various Options modules later in the day so the rest of us (excluding Shermaine and Sarah) headed to the canteen to get ready while Shermaine went to meet Sarah to supposedly go for "hot milo" in the canteen - we sometimes do that. 

While waiting for Sarah's arrival -

Phion! :-) 

Priya! :-) 

Swan! :-) 

Wang! :-) 

This photo is bad but it's me with the cake I baked :') 

And so Sarah finally came - yay she looks really happy :') Hopefully she was surprised! 

The candle failed to light up - we dragged the birthday song as long as we could possibly do it while Swan and I tried to light the candle up with matches. The matches did light up but the fans in the canteen extinguished it within seconds. 

The wasted matches! In the end, we still couldn't light up the candle - sorry Sarah! :-( 

And the cake is cut :-) 

Group photo with the Boings - thank you Yijing for helping us take the photo! 

And our natural faces! 

We didn't eat the cake immediately as we had to rush off for assembly in the morning so we saved it for recess/ lunch time. 

This looks quite cute! 

And the cake is devoured - so so happy that it was rather well received and that they actually managed to finish the cake; thank you Boings and thank you Sarah - really hope you liked it! 

After all the celebrations and Chinese class, I headed for my second Math Options class on Probablity and it was really fun because our teacher just gave us a whole packet of M&Ms - like one large pack per group of 5 people and what we did was to basically count how many M&Ms of each colour there was in each pack and calculate the probablity of picking a certain colour of M&Ms if you just reach into the bag and picked one. 

Counting didn't take too long so we spent the rest of the class eating the M&Ms - also because we had to unwrap everything, we couldn't bring the chocolates home conveniently and each of us had to eat at least 50 M&Ms there and then. 

Another group ended up making rainbows :-) 

I only had Math Options that day so I stayed in the library to sleep and read while I waited for Sarah as it was her birthday (evidently) and we decided to go to our favourite hang out - Orchard Central! When her options finally ended three and a half hours later, we headed there immediately. On my birthday this year, we went to the same place and ate the same things - it's kind of like comfort food for us.

EwF - skinny wings and original fries - one of the best combinations ever, although it might clog up your arteries because of the high salt content. 

Don't take a photo of me - I want to eat!

The birthday girl and her food :-) 

Yay I love how the fry is just there - great contrast against your pinafore hurhur and you have a neck! 

I find that EwF food is super salty and quite tasteless - it's really just salt but somehow I like it a lot because it just feels so unhealthy and it's a guilty pleasure :') 

After EwF, we walked around Somerset for awhile before heading back to Orchard Central for Cold Stone Creamery - we got Birthday Cake remix again; the exact same thing we got in February! 

The staff at Coldstone were rather strange though - they are usually warm and friendly but somehow, the service was quite bad and they didn't seem to understand what they were doing, which was disappointing. They didn't mix the brownie in properly into the ice cream as well, and mixing in toppings should be a Coldstone signature but they didn't do it well :-( 

Then again, ice cream is ice cream - so we were still very happy! 

Birthday girl with birthday cake remix :-) 

Coldstone - we actually saw two teachers from our school having ice cream there as well so it was a little bit awkward but we just ignored one another basically. 

This photo is quite cute - it's the giraffe that Priya gave Sarah that is facing an identity crisis because the tag attached onto is says that its name is "Waddles" and that it can swim fast but run slowly :-( Sarah thought that it was a leopard/ cheetah at first as well so this giraffe must be quite a confused one. 

Mmm satisfied :-) 

It was an amazing day spent well and I do hope Sarah enjoyed every bit of it, because she truly deserves it. 

Happy Birthday Sarah, once again! Thank you so much for being such an incredible person and even though you might not think of yourself this way, I think that you bring joy to a lot of people around you - you are so selfless all the time and are very nice. Trust me, I feel like I do actually know and understand you a lot and I think I'm in quite a good position to judge you as a person - you're fantastic! Support goes both ways - as much as you think that I have been your "rock", you have definitely encouraged and kept me going through everything that life threw to us these two years. I do admit that at the start it was difficult, because I felt like I couldn't help you at all and I used to be rather burdened but you've done it - and I'm so proud of you! :-) Thank you for always being by my side, for doing so much for me (such as getting your Waddle juniors to go for IHGs, just so you'd lighten my load of finding people) - have a great year ahead and trust me, I'll be with you every step of the way, really. 

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