Monday, June 30, 2014

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I feel that as students, or at least in my school, we undermine our health a lot - for seemingly "bigger" and more "important" things like grades and commitments and doing good things and co-curricular activities and just really trying to make the most out of the little time we have - 24 hours a day. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, because I have indeed been there and life just seems a lot more meaningful when we pile expectations onto our plate and actually fulfil them - the sense of achievement and pride. 

But then, I can't reiterate this any more but I think young people like us need to slow down and take breaks and by breaks I don't just mean relaxing things but actually really - sleeping. I feel like a lot of us has this mindset that "oh, we're young, man - we still have the drive to push on without sleep!" or things like "sleep is for the weak" but that really isn't true at all. 

Perhaps I'm still bitter and slightly angry at myself for what happened yesterday, on the first day of school, when I was due to sit for two exams in one day - History and Economics. What happened was that I was down with a sore throat on Sunday night, which is really uncomfortable and I was getting increasingly worried but instead of resting early as I should have, I ended up stubbornly staying up late, attempting to save my throat by trying all sorts of quick remedies as I memorized a bit more History to make myself feel a bit more secure because the facts didn't seem to come to my head as quickly as I would have liked. I was even awakened by my throat at 4AM. 

The next day (i.e. yesterday), when I woke up, I knew I was in for something terrible. My throat hadn't really gotten better overnight - in fact it might have gotten worse - and the pain was just making me feel all around terrible. During History, I was really trying my best to put aside all the discomfort I was feeling to focus on my paper. To add to everything, I had forgotten to bring tissues into the exam hall and I had coughed out this huge chunk of phlegm but I had to swallow it down (sorry for the graphic description - I just thought I'd share), which was a terrible experience. The air con didn't help at all - I was uncomfortable and cold and that's just nasty. I'm honestly just really thankful I managed to finish both essays in time.

We had three hours in between History and the next paper - Economics - so I headed to the library to study with Sarah and I was just a nuisance in the library, blowing my nose like crazy and by that time, my head was throbbing really badly. By that time, it was too late to head home to rest or anything and I just told myself to get Economics over and done with, since History and Economics were by far the two subjects I studied the most for - especially History. 

During my Economics paper, I was just this ball of discomfort - I felt an impending fever because I was really nauseous and giddy, my throat was not helping and my nose was just leaking. I blew my nose throughout the paper (really sorry to those sitting around me) and I used up all my tissues and even had to reuse them - it was insane. I could barely concentrate on my paper, but I did manage to finish it as well, though I'm pretty sure I performed a lot worst than I would have if I was physically well. 

As I headed home, I just felt horrible all around, and started blaming myself and my body for being sick on such a crucial day. It's kind of ironic that in my previous post, I mentioned that I can be sure that I won't regret anything because I've actually studied this time round - wow, I guess fate just wouldn't let me go through academic examinations feeling good about myself - I haven't for a long time, and I initially thought I would. 

I ended up vomiting a lot the moment I got home and I had to rest through the entire night. I'm thankful that I get a day's break in between before I sit for my Literature paper tomorrow but the bottom line is: it's important to take care of one's health while aiming to achieve things, be it academics or other commitments. I wouldn't want anyone else to go through what I just have, because it's horrible and I think this is the first time I've been sick during any exam, and I'll make sure that it's my last time :-) 
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This Month

Thursday, June 26, 2014

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At this point of time, I feel incredibly blessed. 

Usually, near the end of the school holidays, I'd be going crazy - because I would feel like I haven't used the no-school break productively and I'd be wishing as much as I can to rewind time, though I know very well I won't be able to. This time, somehow I don't feel that way, at least not as much as I normally do and I appreciate the slight improvement in the way I'm thinking. Of course, I will never be fully contended with the way I spent my holidays because there's undoubtedly pockets of time where I'd "waste" it by doing frivolous things but then again that's natural and I suppose it did give me happiness at that point of time. 

This June though, it feels extremely different, in a good way. I remember, before entering JC, I told myself that I'd be focused more on my academics because in secondary school, I've already had the time of my life doing amazing, wonderful things (though that doesn't mean I'm any less amazing now - hello? hehe) and I think I stayed true to that promise this holidays, spending more than half of my time in the school library learning. While I can't say that I'd do well for the upcoming common tests because I don't feel that prepared in all honesty, I can be sure that I wouldn't regret anything (unlike if I didn't study at all or left everything till the last minute). 

Apart from spending my time with my books, I haven't been all closed up this holiday though because that'll be really unlike me - I still need fun in my life and so I did! I spent quite a bit of time this month catching up with people who mean so, so much to me such as several of the Boings, Emily, Ragini, amongst others, having a lot of quiet and alone time, doing a lot of envisioning and getting a direction for the year ahead for Interact, visiting quaint caf├ęs that I've been dying to visit for a long, long time (and which I'll blog about soon) and also doing things I love such as baking and cooking. It's been a lovely time, truly. 

Also, I feel incredibly loved almost constantly, it's so crazy. Sometimes I don't know what I do/did to deserve all the wonderful company and friends and people around me because they're always so supportive no matter what. They always make me feel like I'm so much better than who I really am, making me feel like I'm actually an inspiration to others (which is crazy, that's like the biggest compliment anyone can ever give to me?) and it makes me feel like I should push myself even more to be kinder and to show more love and reflect more positivity and influence people around me, so thank you everyone - you guys are what makes me continue being who I am and I'm suddenly really feeling so thankful right now, I can't really express myself properly.

There's around three more days till the first paper of the upcoming CTs and while I still have a bit to do, I'm incredibly thankful for everything that has occurred this past month and I hope everyone's been feeling good about themselves because we all deserve to, whether or not you feel that way or not :-) Please do treat yourself to a little something nice before term three starts - it can be anything, such as grabbing an ice cream from a nearby shop or brewing yourself a warm, lovely cup of tea or spending half an hour on a comfy couch with your favourite music playlist - it doesn't take long but I can assure you that it'll give you a little boost; all the best everyone! 
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Spanish Doughnuts

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

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Hello there :-)

It's been a while since I've posted anything food related here, but two Sundays ago I got to try Spanish Doughnuts with Sarah! It's a churros speciality shop, which is a pretty new concept here - the other only one I know of would be Churrosity at Holland Village, which is Phionna's favourite shop and churros really isn't that big in Singapore as of yet. I tried the one at Universal Studios last year and it was terrible - no standard at all - they probably just sold it because most theme parks overseas sell them. 

Spanish Doughnuts is quite a new shop, in fact it opened only last month and on the day which Sarah and I went to try it, there was an article in the Sunday Times about it, and increasingly there are more people posting photos of the churros from there on social media platforms like Instagram. The shop is located on level 5 of Orchard Central (my favourite shopping mall in Singapore to hang out ever, though I was shocked to find that it now has Orchard Gateway linking it with 313@Somerset, so it's been revamped and I have mixed feelings about it now), where the temporary library/ resting place used to be. 

Choco Churrito's ($9.90)

We got the most well known item on the menu, which was the Choco Churrito's that came in a cute cone shape container with three types of chocolate dipping sauces - white, milk and dark - which looked extremely appealing and they were very generous with the sauces as well. They didn't come "hot" as promised on the menu though. The churros are dusted with powdered sugar. 

Sarah felt like they tasted vaguely like french fries, and I agree. There was a very obvious oily - and greasy in fact - taste to them. The chocolate sauces kind of mask that taste but without the sauces, it would taste extremely plain. Compared to Churrosity's regular churros that's dusted with cinnamon and sugar, this one definitely falls short in terms of taste. The texture, however was really really good. Crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside.

If you ask me, I doubt I'll come here specially for the churros. However, I think it's a pretty good place to hang out and if I find myself in the Somerset/ Orchard Central area, I can safely say that I would definitely drop by again, though I'll probably want to try the other things on the menu. I don't think I can ever accept savoury churros though (they have those on the menu!), such as how I can't handle savoury pancakes.

Afterwards, Sarah and I headed to EWF for our favourite skinny wings! We are glad to find out that they aren't as salty as they used to be anymore :-) So that was a pleasant surprise. I think fried chicken wings will forever be our guilty pleasure - there's no mistake about it, we shall not take anymore risks when it comes to food! 

Skinny wings for fat liyin :-( 

On that note, thank you Sarah for being one of my constants :-) It was a refreshing time with you - we definitely needed this after the first week of holidays flew by us and I think we sort of carried out the plans we set out to do last week. We only have about eleven days more, but I believe we can do it, honestly. 

All the best to everyone as well, and I honestly need to catch up with so so so many people after common tests are over - I miss so many people right now. 
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A Conversation

Saturday, June 14, 2014

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The smell of second hand smoke from afar, cordoned off at the "smoking area", the loud whirring of the fans, the occasional old uncle beckoning for the beer lady over to his table, the busy chatter of families having dinner. I had my mum sitting opposite me at the neighbourhood coffee shop. Dad and bro were both not with us - had their own activities which I can't remember at this point of time but we were the only ones left at home on that very Sunday evening. We had ordered from the "zi char" stall  (for the purposes of those who don't know, it's essentially one that serves Chinese dishes), two dishes off the usual four we usually order as a family since it was only the two of us that night.

The food was taking way, way, way too long to arrive and my mum was getting increasingly impatient but I was just feeling quite nonchalant about the whole situation - it was still the June holidays, I didn't have school the next day nor homework due, so I had time. Besides, I had something else on my mind.

I glanced at the people around us. Families, couples, children, the elderly, coming to the coffee shop, getting their dinner and going off afterwards, back to their lives. So many people coming and going, each living different, separate lives. I reckon, there's so many people in the world - each doing their own thing, getting a job, raising a family, most not being that contended with what they do and yet having to continue the same way for the sole sake of survival. Growing older, falling in the mundane nature of it all - was there anything more they wanted? I paused and looked at my mum, who didn't look happy at all at this point of time.

"So mum, how do you find your life?"

She gave a slight smile, and paused before proceeding to tell me how she felt pretty settled at this stage of her life - afterall her son was heading to university this year - med school at that - and her daughter... well her daughter refers to me and the impression she has of me is that I'm doing pretty okay in junior college - and I shall let that impression remain, as far as anything goes. I suppose, as people grow older, their priorities mainly centre around their children so their well being equates to theirs but isn't that quite a tiresome and fairly unexciting life?

"But hmm... then where will you move from here? Like, are you satisfied to see your life remain as it is... wouldn't you want to take steps to make it more fulfilling? Like to challenge yourself, to make your life more exciting?" The questions I was asking seemed akin to an interview's but she didn't seem to mind at all.

Perhaps she didn't fully understand me or the basis of my question but she started telling me about how at the workplace, she was recently asked if she was keen to take on bigger, newer responsibilities.

So essentially everything's just circled around family, and work. And money perhaps. That's really it, and that's really scary. I always have the feeling that people somehow immediately lose their sense of wonderment and creativity once they hit thirty and maybe that's true. But I don't want that to happen to me. I like working on creative projects related to craft, I like photography, I like writing, I like doing crazy stuff, I like experimenting and adventures and really just trying to make my life a bit more exciting - really, I go all out to do unconventional activities to make myself more busy but I enjoy them so much. But I have a feeling all these will stop once life hits me in the face and I get into the horrible cycle of trying to earn money and make a living and that becomes all that I'm fixated on.

I'll soon disappear in the same crowd that surrounds me - when all I care about in the world is my family and myself. From some angles, that's pretty sweet and it sounds like a comfy way to live one's life but at this point of time, it doesn't sound enticing at all. I've always had this noble dream of making an impact in the world positively - or at least, large groups of people - and I still want to fulfil that in the best way I can and not chuck it to the back of my head as the reality of everything overwhelms me.

The food came shortly thereafter, and the prawn paste chicken was exceptionally tasty. As we ate, there was a comfortable silence but it felt as though the conversation that came before was forgotten by my mum. It came as a surprise the next day though, when my mum asked me if she could come along with me when I did volunteer work, or at least contribute in some way to the society.

"Oh my, were you thinking about the questions I asked you yesterday?"

She nodded, before going back to her usual routine.
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Catchup with Ragini

Saturday, June 7, 2014

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Hello friends :-) 

Ragini is so gorgeous and we finally got to catch up after around three months last Wednesday (4 June) and it was great. I love how we still stay in each other's lives even though we don't really have anything in common anymore - unlike CCA in the past - but she's really one of my best buds and I'm extremely thankful to have her. Honestly I feel like all my friends have grown into such amazing people and I feel incredibly blessed when I get the opportunity to catch up with old friends - it transports me momentarily back to the old times again but at the same time I feel so proud that everyone's morphing into great people of their own right, a bittersweet feeling in essence. 

Anyway, all that aside, the night before while we were deciding where to go, I actually had a pancake craving and wanted to go to Strictly Pancakes quite badly and then Ragini comes along asking me "do u wanna eat pancake" - it was meant to be! 

Ragini's spread of pancakes ;-) 

Looks really really good - both of us downsized our pancakes from three to two because honestly three would have been way too much. 

With my favourite "Lemon Curd for the Nerds" which doesn't really look good in photos but it definitely wins in the taste department. But if you look at our table, you'll see that we ordered chicken wings and to be entirely honest, the chicken wings are definitely the victors of Strictly Pancakes - they are amazing! 

It then started raining, which seems like something that occurs every single time the two of us together and it's a terrible inconvenience. We wanted to go to Fort Canning Park to have a chat but ended up seeking shelter at Park Mall instead. It was quite funny because we bumped into Mr Azahar who was Ragini's CMPS mentor and he never taught me though I remember him being my examiner for some Social Studies oral presentation - we tried running away before Ragini decided she wanted to say hi and he was quite surprised to find students in Park Mall because the place is basically filled with furniture shops. Afterwards, the rain kind of stopped and we headed to Fort Canning and sat under a little shelter where Ragini updated me on her life (which is very exciting, may I add).

Hotgini too pretty :-) 

Can I just say that I really like this skirt of mine :') It makes me feel like a princess every time. 

Teach me how to be glam, master 

Nope, not working :-( 

Anyway, after our little Fort Canning heart to heart, we headed to the National Museum to check out some of the exhibitions there. It was actually kids season, so many of the exhibitions were meant for kids, which made them very interactive so that was pretty cool. We didn't spend a lot of time there though. 

Thank you Ragini for the lovely, lovely afternoon, for the wonderful company and most importantly, the friendship for the past couple of years - I really appreciate having you in my life and I hope that you'll be strong no matter what comes your way these two years in JC because you are so beautiful and capable of so many great things. I'll be here for you, if you ever need someone. I look forward to our next catch up! 
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Morning Musings

Friday, June 6, 2014

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Well, it's one of those mornings. 

It's a chilly, dark morning - not exactly what mornings are meant to be like. It's a morning where I wake up early (early, by the likes of a Saturday morning) and the first thing that comes to mind isn't exactly what I'd expect to be plagued with. It's a morning that feels like the middle-of-the-night where one tends to over-think and when thoughts and insecurities and emotions come crashing down upon me.

Ahh well, I suppose the thing about these time periods is that there's practically no one up together with you (apart from the occasional dude-who-doesn't-sleep-at-all, who might even possibly be reading this) to distract you and that fully allows your innermost feelings to fight the blankets you've been desperately trying to cover them with and emerge victorious to take over your mind. Okay - overly dramatic but you get the point. It's scary, and some people do like to blame the night for causing them to go into this "emo nemo" mode but honestly, think about it - it's nothing to do with the period of time, but rather all these thoughts are innately within ourselves already.

It's all about ourselves.

Me. Me. Me.

Truly, we are the only determinants of our own life. It's so scary. I've realized over time that people are generally extremely nice people. At least, in my own little sphere, no one goes around putting others down, no one goes around saying things like "you're not good enough". The only person that tells me that is really myself. I tell myself that I'm not good enough, I give myself the own insecurities that I have. I infer things on my own and I put myself down. And honestly in my opinion, so does everyone else. Insecurities exist because other people/ other things are better than ourselves - that's true - but we let it affect ourselves by comparing our flaws with other's strengths and basically just give ourselves insecurities.

I don't think anyone has had no insecurities ever in their lives. It's just not possible if one's human. Insecurities are sometimes acceptable though, I suppose it depends on how we view it. It can possibly make us engage to better ourselves, to push ourselves to become the best version of ourselves but then again there's a limit to how it can help us.

I feel insecure right now, extremely insecure.
And there's no one who can help me except myself.

Yes, I guess that's all I wanted to say.
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Ailica's Seventeenth

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

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Hello there :-)

Well, it's been a while since I've written on this space and truth be told, it's not that I have nothing to write about but I'm caught up with way too many things at once that I fail to consolidate what I'm thinking regularly. Right now, my mind's quite a mess with a whole ton of things and thoughts and events but at the same time I still feel kind of fortunate that I'm involved in many things and surrounding myself with people that make me very very very happy. Hopefully, I do get to take a little breather this June holidays (it's already Day 2!) but judging by how it's going so far, I don't think that's exactly possible - I have been going out daily and I barely have time for myself anymore but I hope that's just the from the adrenaline from the first week. 

It's been quite some time since I've blogged about my recent happenings but I suppose with the holidays, I shall try to do that more often - mostly because the main reason why I really blog is to keep track of what's happening in my life, so I get to look back and relive moments in future.

Alright, so to kick off the holidays, I went for Gear Up on Friday night (which I will definitely blog about soon) till Saturday and on Sunday, three quarters of the Habitat for Humanity team - Ailica, Ben and myself (Tiff's overseas and dearly missed) went out to celebrate our dear Ailica's seventeenth birthday! :-) Well, technically she didn't know we were celebrating her birthday - we were just supposed to meet for a movie. 

Very happy girl with birthday cupcakes and iced chocolate! 

An even happier girl with her birthday present! 

Ben and myself actually met earlier to "prepare" for Ailica's birthday surprise but we ended up walking aimlessly around Bugis while I tried to decide what to get her - in the end I settled for cupcakes because honestly, who doesn't like food? It was quite hilarious when Ailica kept trying to call the both of us because we couldn't let her know that we were together to start with - also, I'm quite a horrible liar when it comes to things like that. We finally met though, and headed to Astons for dinner! 

Well, we all know who's the cuter one ;-) 

I forgot that I had left my focus on manual rather than auto because I was trying to take nice shots of the food so when my camera got into the hands of the kind waiter, this was the shot we ended up with. 

Food makes everything good, really :') 


gobble gobble 

I really like this photo :') Really wish Tiff was with us though. 

To be honest, I don't really like watching movies as a leisure activity and I was really quite against watching a movie (X-Men, in this case) after dinner but Ailica and Ben were apparently both looking forward to it very much and that they both would be immensely disappointed if we didn't watch a movie, especially since they heightened their expectations for it so they managed to convince me to go with them. It was really funny because Ailica even wanted to pay for my movie ticket just so I'd sit in the cinema together with them. 

The movie was actually quite good in my opinion - like it was actually bearable and it was understandable to me. The pace was also just right for me and it managed to catch my attention for the most part of the movie so I didn't regret going for this (unlike many many other movies) so thank you guys for the great company and good popcorn.  

Our after movie faces! 

And then Ailica insisted on finding the movie poster to take a photo with it. 

To be honest, I really enjoy working on Habitat for Humanity with this bunch of people - we are all full of nonsense and I will never hold back when I'm with them because we are all quite crazy. My spirits are usually sky-rocket high when I'm spending time with them, unless it's late at night and we all end up going into our "reflective" mode and start pouring out our deepest darkest secrets and sorrows to one another - which is very refreshing actually. But really, this group is one that I feel quite comfortable with, so thank you guys for that. 

And to Ailica, whose actual birthday is today - HAPPY BIRTHDAY AILICA! :-) Thank you so much for being my friend ever since we were little Year Ones and even though we didn't really know each other that well until Year Four when we were working on Annual Assembly, I'm really thankful that I'm working with you now and that I've learnt so much more about you because you are an incredibly strong and wonderful person. You do things in the strangest of ways, but yet you manage to be influential and inspiring at the same time. Thank you so much and have a great birthday because you deserve it! Please take care of yourself more though, and I'll be here for you if you ever need anyone. 

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