Life, Naiise, Singapore, Society

A February Barrage Of Things!

Hello friends, it’s been a while no?

Let me regale you with a picture of my usual flexible self. Yup, white background, studio shot and a made-up visage – that is right, we have new dresses up on The Scarlette soon. Otherwise, you’d find me running around town in denim cut-offs and thin white cotton tees that feel like heaven in this heat.



So let’s do some catching up, shall we?

First off, a shameless plug for some really cool things on you should check out in your spare time:

Boskke – upside down sky planters, just the sort of hipster adornment your kitchen needs to achieve a Kinfolk Table moment. Think: reaching up, grabbing some organic, home-grown rosemary to season your steak.

Plumen – cool industrial light bulbs. If I’ve learned anything from making and hanging my own industrial light bulbs at NONG, it’s that cheap or vintage light bulbs blow easily and pose a fire hazard. Better to go with these designer energy-saving ones instead or risk having a burned down home.

Things I Saw/Ate/Did In Singapore – really cute letterpress printed checklist Singapore postcards for out-of-town friends.

Mee & Kuehs – one of the best things of being at NONG is meeting lots of new and interesting people – gardeners, cooks, social entrepreneurs, nature lovers, community engagers, the list goes on. One of my favourite people is Shu Han Lee, a cookbook author and graphic designer who runs the blog Mummy, I Can Cook! while retailing her own line of self-designed Mee and Kueh posters.

Amai – handmade porcelain plates from Saigon, courtesy of Galanga Living in Singapore. So pretty I want to eat them all!


Confessions of a noob gawker at a recent dessert bake-off: in short, it reflects nothing about real life. When someone tells you to “Instagram-off” something, it’s a warning signal. Pick my brain IRL for unadulterated version.

Next next,

What will you do if you were at a popular brunch spot, at the only wheelchair-accesssible table in the whole restaurant, and a lady (me) is waiting from 11am to noon for your table, and at noon her frail wheelchair-bound grandmother arrives? Will you offer to re-group at another table (as I totally would), or will you sit there and say “oh no, but we have one more person coming so we’re not leaving soon” all the while tut-tuting and looking around in mock concern to see if we can find another seat?

Hello Madame, there is no other seat. And you’ve totally ruined our family brunch – all we wanted to do was bring my granny to today’s newfangled brunch spots, show her what kiddos are up to these days.

It was the day my faith in local humanity suffered an extra big kink. I have a million mean things to wish upon you, but let’s refrain from that. And I do not you don’t suffer the same indignity two decades later. You’re not that young, old age is upon you soon.

Next, next, next, (happier things)

Really need a vacation, ha ha ha.


I miss this space. Happy to be writing again! ❤

Final Lastly,

I have a favorite dessert from Nat – it is this, and it is AMAZING. I told her that it’s one of the best desserts ever because everyone loves something in it. Deb and Gabby liked the pâte à choux (ok I confess that I had to copy and paste that), someone else liked the crunch caramel, Micki and I liked the lemon cream, and D probably liked the whole thing (he has very love-it-all taste buds). Yum, and proud/grateful sister moment! ❤

Perspective, Singapore

From Freedom to Tunnels

As the world steamrolls ahead into a better year (future), and I swear my bout of festive blues have upped and left the stadium, I’m a little sad over the soon-demise of my favourite expressway in Singpore – the ECP, particularly the stretch that connects to AYE via the Benjamin Sheares bridge, taking you past some of our most iconic buildings and cityscape vistas.

I loved especially that sense of freedom you get when you’re cruising along the expressway, slightly elevated above the rest of the world, flanked on both sides by sea and trees. I’ve seen some of the most spectacular cloud formations and sunsets here on the ECP, this good trusty road that has been taking me home for decades.

And soon, as of this morning actually actually, it will be replaced by the MCE which apparently opened this morning to everyone’s surprise. My favourite stretch of the expressway suddenly turned into a road, with traffic lights and an unexpected cross junction. Not to mention a hell lot of  traffic confusion as everyone converged suddenly at that junction.

I hear the MCE is a tunnel. Tunnels are the opposite of freedom. Tunnels make you anticipate the end of the tunnel. I’m sorry to see you go, and again it’s a mark of how my favourite things are disappearing 😦 Adieu.


Mission accomplished

I hate consumerism… when I’m not shopping. But when I do… god I love it!

Spent like two hours at the lingerie department at Tangs. Roped in 5 aunties, waiting on me hand and foot, newly inducted into my giant conspiracy to get sexy. A few million bucks and a free camera (good retailers always reward exuberant spenders) later, I have enough PPE (property, plant and equipment) to consider a career switch into prostitution. Nothing like artificial assistance, I say. As I paraded in front of the mirror in that plush dressing room with the deep red velvet chaise lounge, I actually felt capable of being sexy. Mission accomplished, case closed.


the lowdown on cafes with powerpoints

amandina* says:
wheres a good cafe with abundant power supply points?
The Prof says:
ah.. now that is a question i have been asking myself constantly since grad school
The Prof says:
i’m a cafe worker too but thankfully i am no longer a slave to the power points
amandina* says:
amandina* says:
you have 10 batteries?
amandina* says:
portable electricity?
The Prof says:
because i plug it into my nostrils
amandina* says:
dual pin i guess
The Prof says:
better than anal
amandina* says:

amandina* says:
mine’s triple – cant fit into nostrils
The Prof says:
to save you from the slight inconvenience of plugging into your nostrils (or any other orifice)
The Prof says:
.. i find holland v starbucks have higher than average amount of plugs
The Prof says:
better than coffee bean holland v at least
amandina* says:
i thought coffee bean hollandv was better than most already
The Prof says:
nah.. i reckon downstairs starbucks is better in temrs of the plugs actually being close to tables
amandina* says:
The Prof says:
ok.. well in that case, i’ll recommend the cafes at the SAM
The Prof says:
there’s a dome there which has some accessible powerpoints
The Prof says:
and EVEN BETTER ONE, actually.. is the cafe at the national museum of singapore near YMCA
amandina* says:
ok i like dome.
amandina* says:
the cafe at nms is ridiculously expensive.
amandina* says:
how about if i want to smoke and access powerpoints too
amandina* says:
(am i asking for too much?)
The Prof says:
ok.. well what i do is go to borders bistro
The Prof says:
pretty good access there too, and if you need a fag.. just step out and stand by the glass door by your table
The Prof says:
(no need to pack up stuff)
amandina* says:
hahaha. this is so useful.
amandina* says:
picking a brain of an academic for practical purposes
The Prof says:
why thank you.. obviously i’m not a lecturer cause i’m ridiculously good looking


I trust that most people would have found this useful.


that third thing i wanted to talk about on monday – the grand hotel

In 1973, the government acquired the land around present-day Still Road for the purpose of. . . well, constructing Still Road. For some reason, the road insisted, rather peculiarly, on running right through the Reniassance Grand Hotel or Grand Hotel, splitting the mansion into two: the mansion on one side of Still Road, and the mansion’s garden on the other.

The Grand Hotel was originally a mansion owned by Moona Kadir Sultan, a wealthy Indian cattle merchant, erected in 1920 at a cost of $500,000. It boasted majestic flamboyance; resplendent fountains, a miniature lake and enchanting angel figurines drew people to his villa. Beyond the yard, the crash of the sea waves serenaded the air. It was converted into a hotel in 1947 and still stands in its near original form. [Thulaja, NLB Singapore]

Apart from being severed in the middle, that is.

Image credit:

Each time I pass by Still Road, the two creepy and awkward pieces of colonial architecture on my left and right, I get slightly saddened by how unceremoniously it has been split into two. If I were a forgotten spirit who had once lived in the Grand Hotel, I would definitely come back to haunt the premise with a vengeance.

Bizarre, Singapore

things my mother told me about the tabletennis semifinals today

Before match point, the Chinese radio station started playing Korean songs. Psychological warfare, they said, so that the Koreans will get homesick and go home.

Perhaps, just perhaps. One day scientists might discover that sound actually does travel faster than the speed of light. Hehe.

When Singapore won her final set, the station switched to “We are the Champions” by Queen.

Thereafter, a very fitting old national day song, “We are Singapore“.

There was a time when people said
That Singapore won’t make it, but we did
There was a time when troubles seemed too much
For us to take, but we did
We built a nation, strong and free, reaching out together
For peace and harmony

Chorus 1:
This is my country, this is my flag
This is my future, this is my life
This is my family, these are my friends
We are Singapore, Singaporeans

Singapore our homeland, it’s here that we belong
All of us united, one people marching on
We’ve come so far together, our common destiny
Singapore forever, a nation strong and free

( Repeat Chorus 1 )

( Sung ) ( This is actually the Singapore pledge )
We the citizens of Singapore
Pledge ourselves as one united people
Regardless of race, language or religion
To build a democratic society
Based on justice and equality
So as to achieve happiness
Prosperity and progress for our nation

Chorus 2:
We are Singapore, we are Singapore
We will stand together, hear the lion roar
We are Singapore, we are Singapore
We’re a nation strong and free forevermore

( Repeat Chorus 1 & 2 )

We are Singapore, Singaporeans ( X 2 )

National pride – we’re all for it man.

School, Singapore, Society, Viewpoint

some thoughts

In Ancient China, the merchant class was placed on the lowest of the four grades in the official social hierarchy and scholars’ attitudes towards commerce and business was almost universally apparent in their writings which denounced them as greedy and lacking moral character.

A conversation I had today with a friend brought me back to a similar one I had recently with another friend. Coincidentally, I met them both at the same party and we are all connected through an illustrious network that I now consider to be vestiges of my past.

We talked about the choices we make in life.

Let me now pose a series of separate questions and observations.

1. Is it a coincidence that most of my classmates, the ones that can genuinely count themselves as ‘the top 1% of the cohort’, all entered scholarly professions? History, Germanic Languages, Law, Medicine (on the grounds that you need to be reasonably scholarly for a period of time before you practice).

2. Is it a coincidence that kids in the more capitalistic faculties in school. . . weren’t exactly geniuses back then? (I really don’t know how to put this across. I just meant that they generally don’t hail from the elitist schools.)

3. The banking kinds that graduate in their early 20s are going to make like 5-7K a month. Some scholarly types I know are still pursuing their PhD and leading the life on an impoverished student. I note here, differing values placed on money.

4. All GEP people I know are still brilliant and still genuinely nice. I cannot make a similar claim about all Business School people.

5. Those RGS/GEP types who have fallen from grace at the crucial stages of academic advancement, continue falling further in ill-suited courses. Mass communications. Psychology. Business. The courses are always ill-suited. I don’t know why. (I think that is a tacit reference to me.)

6. Business sometimes seems to to be an afterthought. It’s only when the glamor makes itself known, that it becomes sought after.

That same person asked me, “How is your business course like?” Without skipping a beat, I replied in quick succession. “What is it like? Errr.It is like nonsensical and dumb-ass and really a glorification of common sense. But you meet a lot of pigheaded people who are all into profitmaking and that is great motivation. I guess thats the best part of business school. It makes you hungry. Eventually.”

And we tossed the career talk to and fro, in between of which I managed to slip in a warning that even if you do finance, it doesnt mean that you’re oh-so exclusive because its not a professional degree andany tom dick n harry can come in and learn about alphas and betas on the job.

And he said, “That’s the problem with not knowing what i want to do.”

I’m not making any statements here. No causality, and definitely no generalizeability. I said they were separate questions and observations, didn’t I? 😛