My Valentine

From queuing for Lim Chee Guan bak kwa to reunion dinner to non-stop feasting on good food for at least 3 days, Lunar New Year came and went very quickly. No doubt I’ve gained a few hundred grams.

Then came Valentine’s Day – a day when the price of a stalk of rose is doubled and florists earn tons of money from the boys. We did not celebrate with flowers, champagne or candle-lit dinner but with a high tea buffet session. I made a reservation at Cafe L’Espresso, Goodwood Park Hotel. It is an English high tea buffet with a spread of sandwiches, scones, desserts, salad and fruits. They serve smoked salmon too! We are also entitled to 2 drinks in which I ordered a pot of green tea. We made full use of the 2.5 hours to enjoy the food slowly. I’m pretty sure I’ve tried a little of everything on the menu. It is an open concept cafe and situated beside the pool. We were given a table right in front of the food so it was really convenient for us. The scones are nice and I like it when I can make my own salad with cherry tomatoes and smoked salmon. Shepherd’s pie and beef stew are on the menu as well. For cheese lovers, there are 4-5 types of cheese to choose from.

The price is slightly expensive due to the fact that it is a hotel buffet. I do not mind splurging once in a while for a special occasion but given the price and the spread of food, most probably I will not patronize again, at least not within this year. However, it is a nice experience! All the sweet treats gave us a sugar rush.

Please make a reservation before you go!

Tel: +65 6730 1743

Mon to Fri: 2pm – 5.30pm

Sat & Sun: 12pm – 2.30pm, 3pm – 5.30pm

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Tsukada Nojo

We finally visited the newly opened Japanese restaurant in Singapore – Tsukada Nojo! What are they famous for? BIJIN NABE. It’s so well-liked that they do not accept reservation and you need to reach before 5pm to queue. So, what’s Bijin Nabe? It means Collagen Beauty Hotpot and 美人锅 in Chinese. The restaurant at Plaza Singapura is quite small, so you definitely have to reach before 5pm in order to secure a table on weekends. Oh, they serve Bijin Nabe for dinner only. We were very determined to have it for dinner on Saturday, so the boyfriend reached at 4.30pm to queue. We were the first few in queue! And, they will only give priority to groups with all members present, so better to be early than late!

The hotpot will come in chunks of ‘collagen goodness’ and they will melt after 10 minutes. The hotpot includes several types of ingredients such as minced chicken, yellow zucchini, lady’s finger, watermelon radish, baby corn, deep-fried tofu skin, sunflower sprout, black fungus, lettuce, golden mushrooms, baby sweet potato leaves, prawns and your choice of noodle. We had the thick mochi-mochi noodle. It well very well with the soup. Now, the main highlight of the hotpot is the soup. The rich chicken collagen-based soup is so so so good! It is very flavorsome. We finished the entire pot of soup before leaving. You really have to try it yourself to believe how good it is.

Service staff is great. Some of their staff are japanese. You can request for the staff to help you put the ingredients into the hotpot in the correct order after the chunks of collagen have melted. They even presented us with a plate of dessert at the end of our meal. How sweet! They also gave us a loyalty card in the form of a ‘namecard’ to encourage us to patronize them again. 

Although it is a little pricey but the soup is really worth it. The bill was $68 for 2 pax and we are definitely going back again. 

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Hello 2014!

I did not have a last blogpost for 2013 but here I am, with the first blogpost of 2014! 2013 has been a great year for me. I laughed, I cried and I screamed for whatever reasons. I’ve learned to let go some things and came to realize what is good for me. This also marks my first year into my career. It has been a fulfilling journey for me. I watched my kids grow up little by little to become more sensible and hardworking. I’m very grateful to all my kids and their parents, for their faith in me. I will continue to do my very best this year!

To all my friends and loved ones, I wish all of you good health and always remember that, being able to do what you love is the best thing in life. To those whom I have not keep in contact for some time, I have you on my mind, always and forever. A brand new year brings new wishes, new hopes and new dreams. I sincerely hope that everyone will work hard for what you want and be a step nearer to your dream. 🙂

As for myself, I don’t need an exciting life. For this year, I just want to do what I like and be able to continue what I do best in. I just told the boyfriend few days ago that I did not want to grow up (I don’t mean vertically, you know that I can’t anymore!) but I guess I have to – to become a better daughter, a better sister, a better girlfriend, a better teacher and a better friend. And of course, to read, eat and sleep comfortably, and roll around in bed till 12 noon on every Sunday! HAHAHAHA!

Pumpkin Pie

My mum got this recipe from her colleague and I decided to give it a try. It tastes so good! Perfect for breakfast, tea break and even supper.

1. Dice 100g of pork belly into cubes and marinate with a pinch of salt and pepper. If you buy from a wet market, just ask for $3.00 of sliced pork belly; that’s the amount I used!

2. Dice 2 small shallots into tiny bits.

3. Soak at least 6 mushrooms (I use Japanese Shiitake Mushrooms) in water until they turn soft.

4. Cut away the mushroom stems and dice the mushrooms into cube-size.

5. Grab a handful of dried shrimps and rinse with water. Cut them into smaller pieces.

6. Stir-fry the diced shallots, dried shrimps, pork belly and mushrooms with a teaspoon of oil (preferably a healthier choice like olive oil).  

7. Add a small amount of light and dark soy sauce, and oyster sauce. Stir-fry till fragrant. Put aside the cooked ingredients; you will need it later! (You can increase the amount of condiments according to your preference.)

8. Cut away the skin of the pumpkin-500g. (I use Australian pumpkin because it tastes sweeter.)

9. Take away the seeds and cut the pumpkin into half.

10. Steam the pumpkin over medium fire, until reasonably soft for about 20 minutes.

11. Mash the pumpkin until well mashed.

12. Measure 100g of rice flour (preferably Erawan Brand from Thailand) and mix it with 200ml of water.

13. Pour the mixture in with the mashed pumpkin and mix well.

14. Stir-fry the mixture until it turns into dough under a very small fire. Make sure you keep stir-frying the mixture so that it does not stick to the wok.

15. Add in the cooked shallots, dried shrimps, pork belly and mushrooms into the dough and mix thoroughly.

16. Spread the final mixture into a steamer plate and steam for 45 minutes.

Let the steamed pumpkin pie cool down and then refrigerate it. You can steam it hot or pan fry before consumption. The only part that I find it difficult is where I need to stir-fry the mixture into dough. You cannot stop stir-frying, as it will stick to the wok very quickly. By the time the mixture turns into dough, my arm aches.       

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Bornga Korean BBQ

I was craving for Korean food, so we went to City Square, JB Malaysia for lunch on Sunday. You might ask, why go Malaysia? This restaurant has two outlets in Singapore – Vivocity and Star Vista. I am someone who can splurge on food BUT only on food that’s worth the money. The prices on the menu in Singapore are slightly too high for me. Due to the fact that I also have a boyfriend who can really eat, the bill will most probably hit 3-digits. I will just give an example, one plate of Samgyupsal cost $24 in Singapore but it only cost RM28 in JB (exchange rate 2.5, it will only be S$11.20). So now you know why I would rather travel to JB for Korean food, right?!

Ok let’s get down to the food part. I am pretty sure the standard in JB does not lose out to the standard in Singapore. When we were there yesterday, the Korean chef was walking around, helping out to make sure everything was in place. I saw a few Korean families in the restaurant too. We ordered 1 plate of Woosamgyup, 1 plate of Samgyupsal, 1 plate of Mansinchang and Chadol Doenjang Jjigae (this is a beef stew with rice). The barbeque comes with free flow of side dishes and rice tea.

Let the barbeque begin! Each grill is equipped with an extendable exhaust that vacuums the smoke produced while barbecuing. You will not have that BBQ smell on you after the meal and the shop will not be full of smoke too. The pork belly is fantastic, really. It is well marinated but taste light on our palate. It does not feel greasy at all. The service staff helped us barbeque and cut the meat; we just have to keep eating. We finished all 3 plates of meat and most of the side dishes. The beef stew was very good too. The bill was very wallet-friendly. I only spent RM129.80 (S$51.90) for all the food that we ate.

Bornga is definitely an above average Korean restaurant. If you are hoping to enjoy some good Korean food and do not want to burn a hole in your wallet, you can visit the restaurant in City Square, Johor, Malaysia. It is on Level 3, at the Inner City. If you do not want to queue, try to reach there before 12 noon on weekends.

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《爱在灯火阑珊处》

在这雷雨交加的午后,我看着大雨疯狂地从天而降,黑沉沉的天就像要崩塌下来。这时的我被一集爱情速配的节目感动得稀里哗啦、泪眼朦胧。男生参加节目是为了找一位能让他心动的对象。女生非常勇敢地上台向心仪的男生表白。其实他们俩已经认识很多年,是非常要好的朋友,但一直错过彼此。如果女生没有鼓起勇气踏出第一步,他们俩还要兜多大的圈子才会在一起呀。

我在想,有时候,命运真的造化弄人。你爱的人爱着别人;爱你的人却默默地、静静地等着你。有些人说,爱情靠缘分。两个人相遇未必能相识;相识未必能相知;相知未必能相爱;相爱又未必能够留住彼此;就算留住彼此也未必能够白头到老。

有的人说,真爱难求。有些人在茫茫人海中寻寻觅觅那个自己所爱的人,却始终没找到。有些人转角遇到爱,几经波折,却始终回到了原点。到最后,冷静下来回首往昔的时候才发现,一直苦苦寻觅的人就在自己身旁,只是自己未察觉。很多人总说,要珍惜眼前人,可是有多少人能够明白。岁月不能倒流,自己的这出戏从一开始就失去回到最初的余地了。每一个人一生的剧本都是唯一的,无法改写,只希望你们能无悔的续演。

人生,疲惫,这才是真实的;坎坷,这样才能成长;错过,这样才会珍惜。听完一个故事,感慨一段人生。人总是在错过后才懂得回头看,但那错过的人已经无法再追回,曾经的梦也显得更加模糊了。也许某天某个人蓦然回首,会发现最爱他的她,就在那灯火阑珊处,等着他。放眼望去,如果现在你身边就有一位守候在灯火阑珊处的他(她), 请你珍惜吧,不要让爱在希望中等待绝望。

Speaking up for myself.

I’ve not posted something in a while and yet my stats for the past few days were surprisingly high! I bet someone is checking me out, trying to know more about me.

For the past few days, I’ve been reflecting. I would like to speak up for myself as some people may have misunderstood me and doubt my professionalism as a private tutor. At the age of 24, I do not think I am too young to teach. This is my 4th year of tutoring and I may not be as experienced as many tutors and school teachers out there. We all started out without any experience. Through years of teaching different students, we build up our portfolio and accumulate experience. I feel that no matter whether you are a tutor or a school teacher, we have a common goal, which is to make sure our students learn well.

I know that school teachers have undergone training and they have a certificate to certify that they are professionals, whereas I do not have one. I may not be a professional, but I definitely put in my utmost effort in teaching. I brainstorm on new questions, I design my worksheets, I print exam papers, I plan extra lessons; I have done tons of things for my students and all the parents know that I am not just a tutor who wants to earn quick bucks. What makes things more satisfying for me is that, they trust me.

As a tutor, I need to check their school homework, mark assessment books, go through corrections, give spelling and revise what the school teacher has taught within 1.5hr. This is no easy feat. Stress level in schools has gone so high that even parents themselves cannot handle it and they need a helper. I am that helper. I hope that school teachers can understand that private tutors are also earning a living and at the same time, helping parents in whatever way we can to lessen their burden. I cannot say that all private tutors are good but as far as I know, I have friends who are full-time tutors and they are putting in as much effort as I am in helping the students. Please do not discredit us for our effort and hard work we put in for our kids. We do our very best to make sure that whatever we teach are correct.

Most students who come to me are with results that are ‘not-so-good’ and I constantly face the challenge of improving their results by the next upcoming exam. I totally understand that school teachers have to be accountable to the school and everyone else. I would also like to seek your understanding that we, the tutors have to be accountable to the parents too. I usually do not interfere with school matters, however, if there is something that I am really concerned about, I have the right to clarify with the school teachers. Of course, this is done upon having the parents’ permission. I hope that school teachers can display their professionalism and please, do not see us as a threat.

As long as there are exams in Singapore, there will be a need for tutors. This is a fact that we cannot deny. And, I really like my job as a private tutor. 🙂

They make me pull my hair

I am a grumpy girl today. I could not fall asleep last night and when I did, I was awaken by the loud thunder. When I managed to fall asleep again, my Mum came in and asked for things. When I was trying to enjoy the last few moments of sleep before waking up for tuition, my Mum called and went screaming in my ear. All I need, is an uninterrupted sleep.

And seriously, I don’t understand my Mum sometimes. Why must she call me at 6.50am and ask me to go wake my sister up when she has already set her alarm at 7am? Why must she call me at 8.45am, screaming in my ear again when my sister has not reached school for her test at 9am? You know what is the problem here? The problem is that my Mum takes care of my sister, TOO MUCH. During her primary and secondary school’s exams, she would take leave and stay at home to accompany my sister. My Mum would be her alarm clock, her chef and her maid. Now that my sister is grown up (she’s going to be 19!), her time management is poor. Yet my Mum complains about it everytime. For goodness sake, she is the one who spoils her! If she’s late for her test, then she jolly well learn her lesson and plan her time better next time. Why must she kick up a big fuss about it?

Talking about independency or welfare of kids, I’ve seen enough from the various parents. Children from other countries are starving and I have kids who are picky on food. I have a kid who has to sleep before a certain time so during our lesson, he needs to finish as much school homework as possible. Oh well, I can only say that the homework load in secondary school is way more than now. I have a kid who does not know what a ‘priority seat’ on the MRT is. I was puzzled and then I realized, he’s being chauffeured everyday. I have another kid whose Mum first called me to be her daughter’s tutor, requested that I’ve to meet her daughter first. She wants to make sure that her daughter is comfortable with me. At first, I thought it was alright, nothing wrong with that. However, on a second thought, what if she’s uncomfortable with me? Is the Mum going to continuously find a tutor whom her daughter is comfortable with? What if her daughter is uncomfortable with the school teacher? Is the Mum going to request a change of teacher or transfer her daughter to another class?

I strongly believe that the foundation of a child is very important for the growing up process. As a private tutor, I not only teach academic stuff but moral values. I try to help all my students to learn independently. Kids nowadays do not read news; they are oblivious to what is happening around them. When given articles to read on seasonal floods in other countries, child trafficking etc, they would go “Why got such things?” and “Are they real?”. They have CME (Civic Moral Education) in school but how much do they understand and how much do they absorb? When I asked about the haze issue, they would say things like “Just kill them lah!” and “Why our government never attack?”. I was dumbfounded. What have they been learning?

Hazy Hazardous Singapore

Okay we are literally choking on the haze from Indonesia’s forest fires. The smell of the air is terrible, really. Masks are swept off the shelves and herbal teas are selling fast. I’m quite sure businesses for air purifier and portable air-con are brisk too. The PSI has hit a new high of 290 at 9pm just now. The fact that the PSI jumped a 100-point within an hour was alarming for me to go “WHATTTTTT?!?!”. Many households had their windows shut and monitoring the PSI level on TV. It’s like monitoring the stock market, people get hyped up when the level goes up. I think a lot of people are secretly wishing that the PSI will go beyond 300 and the govt will announce that there’s no need to go to work. It was quite hilarious to see commuters standing in a line on the MRT platform, taking pictures of the hazy evening. I do not have any photos to post but you can just google ‘haze in singapore‘ and voilà! There will be more than enough pictures out there.   

While I’m typing this post, the PSI shot up to 321. Somehow I’m thinking of those stray animals out there. We have masks and air-con but they have nothing. They must have felt sick too. 

My New Love

I lost my beloved Marc Jacobs watch on my Commencement day in the female restroom. I cried until my eyes were red and swollen. I just couldn’t believe that someone stole my watch! I’ve cursed and swear the whole day. How can someone be so selfish and dishonest? The watch is not even 1 year old when I bought it from Vegas. I love that watch; it’s a classic design. We’ve searched all exclusive shops for that watch and went through all sorts of trouble but to find out that that model is discontinued already. Nonetheless, after looking at all other designs, I’ve finally found ONE design that I like. Proudly present to you, my new DKNY watch.

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