Food for Thought 

4th day of 2018. Still at rock bottom. Yesterday night I caught a fever and gastric pain so I took MC for today. Not sure if I have been eating too much good food or the weather or the stress. Feeling much better already so I hope I can go for dragonboat this Sat.

Yesterday a customer wrote in to feedback that the staff did not serve him with utensils along with his order; the staff also did not direct him where to take the cutlery, and he was quite annoyed that there were no bigger sized black spoons availabile at the outlet which made it difficult for him to eat his noodles. At that time when I saw the message, I was at eating ramen out of a flimsy plastic spoon and wooden chopsticks, because that was only what the shop had. 

At first I thought to myself “why on earth are people kicking such a big fuss over utensils? Come on man, I ate my lunch with disposable cutlery and I am not even complaining!”

I could have just dismissed his feedback, but there was one sentence in his lengthy message that struck me – something along the lines of how greendot failed to live up to our core values care, love and hope, through a seemingly innocent “mistake”. 

Well yeah he did make a valid point there. Why do customers keep coming back to greendot, apart from the food? What is it in our mission and beliefs that made greendot stand out from other F&B businesses? There was one phrase which the boss often shared with us “小细节用心,成就每一口幸福”. Not only paying attention to detail lies in the food preparation, but also being mindful to customers’ needs and making them feel like home. Which includes saving them the extra trip to take cultery when they are already seated down comfortably. 

After replying to the customer, I shared the feedback with the supervisors and then went up to the ORP outlet for a meeting. While waiting for the vendor to reach I went to catch up with one of the aunties. We did talk quite a bit like what’s going on in office and some future projects. In the midst of our conversation she mentioned something about how we should give new staff some time to prove themselves even though they still make mistakes at times. Afterall being new, they may not have grasped what greendot meant to everyone else. Truth be told I found it weird why she brought up this topic, since ORP seldom had new staff coming in. 

Anyway after the meeting, the supervisor of the outlet which kena complained apologised for the mistake, saying that the staff on duty is new and have forgotten the details, and that he will keep a closer eye on them to prevemt such incidents from happening again. 

Life’s so amazing isn’t it? When you are caught perplexed over a problem, the words of wisdom to help you get around situation is always somewhere around you, just that you have to look for it. 

But I was glad that this problem happened. In the pursuit of chasing for business, or just merely doing what you have been tasked to do, don’t neglect or underestimate the small things. Simple actions done out of care, love and hope can occupy the biggest space in someone else’s hearts. Every staff, regardless old or new (in terms of how long they have joined the family), has the power to touch a customer and make his/her day. 

Alright time to sleep (again!)


10 Highlights of 2017

“Start the year at rock bottom so that the only way for you is up”

Hell yeah I am starting my 2018 at rock bottom way earlier than you fams. Despite exercising 3-4 times a week, being a flexitarian and cutting down on junk food, my immune system failed me. Fell sick on the last working day of 2017 and took MC for the day. But no worry fams I am fine. 

I haven’t been updating my blog much this year so here’s a summary of the major milestones this year. 2017 has been tough but kind to me. Looking back, it was a year of growth and being thankful with what life has put me through so far. It was a great year! Anyway here are the top 10 moments let’s go! 

 1. Highlighted my hair.

Hahaha so punny! But you only live once so why not go for a wild color? I didn’t want to bleach my hair because I am afraid of burning my scalp so I chose to go for underlights. But the red color washes off easily and so there was a period of time where I went around with rose-brown-gold colored hair. The most inconvenient part was having to spray my hair black whenever I had to attend army events. 

Shit colored hair 

2. Designed some actual shit

With just a WSQ cert on basic illustration from First Media Academy, I just used whatever skill I had learnt and designed all sorts of stuff for the company, ranging from posters to lightboxes to menu boards to menus to namecards to the company shirt to the staff uniform to delivery vehicle yadda yadda. It was not only for 1 brand, but 3. 

It wasn’t easy. Designing was really time-consuming when there was only myself in the department. At times I get told that the design is “missing something” but I have no idea what is missing because I can’t read minds. At times I felt that the end product looked stale but I had no idea how to inject any other refreshing creative elements. It was frustrating and there were many hair-pulling moments but when I see the artwork being printed out and installed, it was worth it. 

Some of my work may look amateurish in the eyes of other design professionals. But bear in mind that we were at different starting points.

One of my very first designs – A touchpoint in the new outlet. The company started asking me to design side menus and posters in late 2016 but I have never done such a “big” project before.

Conceptualised the logo for the company’s budding hawkerpreneurs.

Pillar wrap…which was pasted wrongly by the printer. Ffs.

3. Work itself

2017 marked exactly 1 year of working in the HQ. Nearly everyday was a happening day – putting out fire, going out to see new concepts, dropping by outlets to brief them on promotions, conducting supervisor briefings, tasting food, executing events, going to & fro with printing suppliers, engaging in highly-opionated discussions, learning from one another, falling down & making mistakes… the list goes on. Even when I am on leave or MC or deployment, staff were calling me to deal with problems like fixing the outlet TV. I could have written 10 more posts on work-related things but life is not about work.

There were also times where I had to learn how to handle issues that were not within my area of responsibility. Like telling the TV signage supplier where to install the wiring in the new outlet and solving the wifi connectivity. There was also once where the outlet short-circuited and the staff thought it was the POS problem and called me to handle. It doesn’t hurt to learn more. 

I spent a lot of time and energy on work, and no matter how tiring or depressing it got sometimes, yes it was a fulfilling year. 

Our favourite aunties 

Did a home refurbishment for a resident’s unit with Hougang Northeast CDC. We sponsored lunch for the participants and painted the resident’s house. I skipped dragonboat for this! 

Other than that we also cooked & packed meals at Willing Hearts and cleaned up homes at Redhill area for our bi-annual day of giving. Anyway this home refurbishment was a good time for me to do some good, because all the while I was the photographer during the company’s charity events.

Did a Christmas mailbox campaign called Send a Little Gratitude across all the outlets. Because sending xmas greetings via whatsapp is getting too mainstream, we decided to go back to the good ol’ classic way of handwriting xmas cards. If you value someone in your life, you will definitely spend more time penning down your message. Once written from the heart, there is no backspace. 

4. Love-Hate relationship…with poké bowl!

Poké Bowl (no not pokemon or poking people) was a food trend this year. For those who don’t know, it’s a meal originated from Hawaii, incorporating raw fish with all sorts of ingredients like avocado, pineapples etc marinated in all sorts of seasonings. The base of the bowl includes sushi rice/ brown rice or salad base (Side note: I really dont understand why there are people on earth who are so afraid of carbs). Poké bowls are often marketed as healthy and balanced, thus a hit among health-conscious eaters.

I have tried the one at Aloha Poke and was totally blown away by it. The salomon was bombz!

Long story short, the company decided to launch a vegetarian salmon version poké bowl. I wasn’t involved in the R&D part but more of as a guenia pig tasting the dish. The whole process took longer than expected and I was officially sick of the product by the time it launched. 

All the poké bowl versions from the very first to the final. Like pokémon evolving like that. Haha! 

Did I also mention that when the final product was out, we also had to do the styling for the photoshoot and promotional video? During media tasting, we also prepared 20 over poké bowls for the attendees. That’s it man, I am not going to eat another poké bowl for the whole of 2018. 

5. Mentored interns at work

Mentored 2 design interns so far. But before that I also had to interview the candidates. Usually it’s the interviewee who should be nervous, but it was also nerve-wrecking on my end! 

Having being used to the entire department to myself, it was not easy delegating work and entrusting others to do what you have been doing. You may think “Wah good for you, you finally have someone to help you” but I don’t want to be seen as if I am pushing work to others. Since fate wants you to cross paths with certain people, there are certain traits of the person you have to learn from them, and certain traits they have to learn from you. So why not take this opportunity to let go and re-orientate your job scope to a different direction? If you find yourself stuck doing the same thing after 6 months, something isn’t going right. 

Mentoring people is like a totally brand new skill set of its own. When someone is better than you in what you have been doing, there’s no need to feel insecure or afraid. Instead you have to think of how to make them best contribute to the company and whatever project you are undertaking. Afterall you can’t be good in everything. Fortunately my interns are both very nice and have a mature understanding towards what they are tasked to do.

6. Watched a live soccer match 

Alright, that’s enough of work! No.6 on my list is actually a throwback to International Champions Cup in July which was Bayern vs Chelsea. Okay I wasn’t as hardcore as other fans who waited at the hotel to take photos of the players, but I am content with it. 

My next goal in life is to watch a match at Stamford Bridge. Bonus points if I can find N’golo Kante to take a wefie. 

7. Took up aikido

After 1 year of consideration and procrastination, I finally signed up for aikido class. To do a parallel comparison, It’s like learning ballet steps in French terms but now they are in Japanese lol. Some of the moves are damn hard to grasp and my muscle memory is not getting it at times. Also had to learn how to break fall properly if not you might end up breaking your arm. Fortunately the sensei is really nice and kept using real-life scenarios to describe the rationale of the moves if not it won’t have made any sense to me. 

Aikido is also on the defensive side and the sensei advised against using it on people unless you are attacked, although I might use it on guys who try to hold my hand and I happen to dislike that guy.

Not thinking far ahead of how much I want to achieve in Aikido (cos people go for exams and all and I hate exams). One move at a time. 

8. Dragonboat

It’s has also been a year since I started dragonboat! I have to be honest that it was a pain in the ass getting up early on Saturday morning. But as a team, not only the technique needs to be there, but also the chemistry and the commitment to come down every session to polish up whatever that is lacking. 

Did 3 races for the year – army ragetta, dragon divas and kdf. Army ragetta was the big one. And what the hell man, it rained like mad the whole morning. Dragon divas was a charity race to help the breast cancer foundation raise funds, and each team had to do up a drags performance. But the highlight was the free flow beer and party afterwards. The other competing teams were ang moh and pinoy professionals so that’s kinda expected. Kdf is another charity race but there was a good mix of professionals and community/club based teams. Got asked to be the drummer which was quite scary at first because I can’t even sit down properly and I was trying not to fall off! 

Full speed ahead!

9. Safvc deployment 

The hardest thing while being on deployment is to have something go wrong at the workplace and my colleagues desperately trying to reach me, but on my end I can’t pick up the phone if not it would look damn unprofessional. 

Anyway it was also a good year of helping out for army related events like planning and helping out for AOH, ndp and also going back to tekong 1 year later to do event photography of the new SVs doing their basic training. Met all sorts of people each time so it’s a really good way to brush up on my social skills. 

10. Went for blind dates…and failed

Yes I took a gamble this year and decided to let cupid decide my fate. Signed a contract with this matchmaking agency which allows me to go on unlimited dates for 6 months. Well… some guys were okay, some were trash, some shared similar interests but didn’t seem to go far, some just had no chemistry, some just didn’t text back after the date. I presume they are dead. 

The law of average didn’t work out this time and cupid is being a bastard to me as usual. But at least I got my dinner covered for many times because the guys paid. Never say no to free food! 

Okay that’s all for 2017. 2018 just started off with a heavy downpour but it is a good time to sleep. Here’s to a more meaningful year and full steam ahead! 

Adios Smoothie House!

Had been so busy preparing for Christmas and this post is MONTHS overdue!

Smoothie House Singapore closed its doors after 20 October. Gone were the iconic mango snowflake ice, the jiggly but slippery panna cotta and the sibei sweet drinks. Really thankful for all customers from all walks of life who filled the place with laughter, warmth and memories.

For me I didn’t see through the birth of bringing in Smoothie House to Singapore, but my several months stint there (about 6 months thereabout across 3 outlets) was an integral part of my current career journey. Witnessed all sorts of things work wise, ranging from drama, menu changes, product launches, coping with crowds, helping to plan their LSM (and knowing what works and what doesnt) and the inevitable – the eventual and gradual dip in sales.

Never expected myself to be cutting fruits, wiping fridges, making hand-shaken tea and making friends with the big yellow giant ice machine, while most of my peers are either sitting comfortably in offices or doing their masters/at NIE. My mum hated it especially when I worked night shift (in fact most of my time there) so I spent an awful lot of time convincing her that it wont be permanent.

My first birthday since I officially enetered the workforce.

Napoleon pie. For someone with poor cooking/kitchen skills, preparing the ingredients for this is HELL! It’s easy to assemble and serve, but the piping cream has to be of the right consistency. Those creams with milk and eggs were damn hard to prepare cos they get cooked easily and you are pretty much toast once you miss that golden moment. 

Our one and only Smoothie House family Xmas party. I remembered we played a relay game where in pairs, we had to suspend a drink can by the tab using uncooked spaghetti, we had to hold each end of the spaghetti with our mouths and walk a certain distance. We created such a din that passer-bys were videoing us. 

On the personal side, my Smoothie House experience also intertwined and co-incided with many life events I experienced. The most memorable would be my SAFVC basic training. There were some Friday nights where we were required to book-in because next morning would be something intensive like live-firing or field camp. Since I was on schedule on Fri, I lugged my no.4 to work, changed at the workplace and reported to camp directly. Actually my colleague had a few shots of me wearing my uniform in the outlet but it’s kinda inappropriate to post them here.

The worst feeling was the day after Basic Training. I used to do full shift from 12pm – 11pm on Sundays – as attendant. Imagine spending your Saturday from 7.30am to 10pm doing physical training, weapon handling/firing etc, and then you have to stand for about 11 hours the next day greeting customers, introducing the menu to them, clearing tables and cleaning up the outlet when the day ends. All of that with a smile on your face.  It was seriously physically and mentally exhausting and I got cranky at times because of the lack of rest.

Up till now I still couldn’t believe how I got through that tough period. But every time when I see customers walk out of the outlet with smiles, they reminded me of my existence here – to create an opportunity for people to cherish their loved ones over a bowl of dessert. As what Mother Theresa once said, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” When you spend time appreciating and showing gratitude to what your loved ones have done for you, this energy of joy and kindness will radiate to the wider community. That’s the power of one simple bowl of dessert.

Anyway we went down to Smoothie House for the last time before it closes for good! (My another colleague and her daughter came along, but she already left the company weeks ago. Which goes to show how long it took to complete this post lol). Many menu items were not available because the outlet was clearing stock, which kinda made customers irritated because they couldn’t get the desserts they wanted. 

Even posing with the dessert model. One of the very common questions customers asked is whether the actual dessert is the same size as the model. No way fam! Imagine the amount of wasted ice if the actual dessert were to be this big. 

But anyway 我这种形象迟早嫁不出去。

And now we go out. 

This corner was supposed to be a backdrop of an instagrammable spot but somehow it wasn’t used to its full potential. 

And then there’s this huge branding touchpoint behind the outlet. I don’t know how much it cost to print and install but it must have been a bomb.

Jumpshot fail 

Those years of ballet paid off lol 

To many customers, they may think that Smoothie House may just be another dessert place, be it to rest their legs/ wait for time to pass/ a convenient place for an after meal dessert fix – especially since other Smoothie House outlets were within the same premises as Greendot. But to us, Smoothie House is a place to learn, to fall, to grow and to make fond memories. It’s more than just dessert.

Thank you for coming into my life. 

Haw Par Villa 

Decided to go there for a walk with the family. The last time I went there was for history orientation camp. The place still looks the same. Or rather I might have forgotten what I saw 5 years ago.

Shan’t go rambling about it’s history and exhibits. It has been rehashed a time too many. I will just let the random photos do the talking.

The out-of-place tableau which juxtaposes the busy roads and MRT which is just right beside it.

The spirit of the Aw brothers encapsulated neatly in 2 idioms. 1) Being assidious and able to overcome adversity. 2) Showing gratitude to their sources of benefit.

There were quite a sizeable number of visitors when we went there. Interestingly, most were foreign workers who wanted to find a hideout to pass the time on their day off, or take photos with bizzare sculptures for amusement’s sake. What a far cry from the heydays (although I wasn’t born yet to experience it).

Rubbing the tummy for luck.

The prelude to the main attraction. Literally translated, the inscription means that The sea of bitterness has no bounds, turn your head and see the shore. But context wise it is a Buddhist teaching educating people that Buddhist enlightenment can allow one to shed off the abyss of worldly suffering.

Entertainment/ edutainment in its rawest form without the assistance of technology.

The main reason why visitors come to Haw Par Villa – be fascinated with the grotesque depiction of hell and let their imagination run wild.

Other random statues lining the way.

A wishing well in it’s derelict form. Is it still potent enough to grant wishes?

The legend of Mdm White Snake, out of nowhere in a corner.

Sakyamuni Buddha on a still waterbed.

Another corner of a stagnant waterbed. It’s as though time has frozen; even the water is not moving.

Leopard and tiger motifs everywhere to illustrate the Aw brother’s pervasive presence and watching over the theme park.

Confused Confucious makes an appearance.

Ask and you shall receive.

More statuettes mishmashed on rocks mimicking Chinese style waves. It will leave you wondering the reason for their existence.


Guan yin ma. The sculpture may look tacky now but probably it was one of the main attractions when the park was booming, since one had to climb up so many flights of stairs to view this statue and there were large, empty pockets of space surrounding her.

My expression when I realise tomorrow is Monday.

More intricately carved statuettes depicting scenes from Chinese literature.

An amphitheatre structure in the middle of a well-patched field. One can’t help but wonder what these unexplained points of attraction were once used for.

East meets west!

It is impossible to relieve the thrill of the boat rides and the sounds of visitors gawking at these exhibits now. But when only memories remain, let them be beautiful.

Way Long Overdue Module Review  (Part 1 of 4)

Hahaha I am supposed to be charting out a development plan for our new designer on board. So glad there’s finally someone professional to share the responsibility, but it’s also the heaven’s test for me on how to take people under my wing and groom them. 

Being too used to a 1 person department, it is suddenly strange to find yourself being put in an inefficient state of mind because you have to think of how to delegate work and properly communiate your expectations. And worse of all I have no prior (both practical and theoretical) knowledge of branding, designing, advertising, managing yadda yadda in a business setting. Everything I am learning now is through hands-on and mistakes. 

But that’s not the point of this post. I decided to review the modules I took during my Nus days just for the fun of it. To anyone who happen to chance across this, the course structure has definitely changed and I am just writing this based on my own experience at that point of time. Ok here goes! Sorry it’s a little lengthy and extensive, and I have forgotten the exam and assessment details. But hope you enjoy the ride/flashback.

Y1S1 (AY2012/13) 5 years back?!?! WTF! 

PS1101E Introduction to Political Science 

Prof Yoshi did a good job in dissecting and simplifying those damn complicated readings which were too profound for peasants like us to comprehend. The lecture hall was always full house and you could hear nothing except his voice and the sound of students typing away furiously on their laptops. And you will never leave a single lecture without NOT laughing. 

Tutorial was 4 sessions in total, and we discussed the lecture questions in groups every session. The environment was less fiery than other slots because ours was at 8am and everyone hasn’t got their 100% alert mode on. Everyone also had a chance to speak up or shoot someone so participation wasn’t much of a worry.

Term paper had a heavy weightage and there were a long list of questions to choose from. The grade was a disappointment because the marker (who is our tutor) couldn’t find my thesis statement. Exam wise there were ID and essay questions. 

Overall didn’t do well. The political concepts suddenly sounded easy during lectures, but learning how to apply them was tough for me because I was never fated with theoretical subjects.

Experience: 7/10

Difficulty: 8/10. If you are someone who is not an abstract learner like me, I recommend you stay out of it.

HY1101E Asia and the Modern World

Topics were sectioned into East Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia. Covered concepts like imperialism, globalisation, nationalism etc etc. Content is very heavy, very general and very broad. Most of the time you can’t catch what the profs are saying. I enjoyed the East Asian part the most because I had an interest in the region, even though Prof Teow was trying to cover 500 years in 45 mins (The other 45 mins were for other regions). Other than that it was forgettable. 

Tutorial is every week. We were given a source and guiding questions every week to discuss. Our tutors are graduate students from countries of all sorts. Doing your MA/PhD doesn’t necessarily translate into good teachers and ours was such. Oh well can’t blame him on that, everyone has to start somewhere. 

Assessment was 1 mid term, 1 essay and final exam. The essay was on analysing a source. On the whole it was manageable but it wasn’t one of the most enjoyable history mods. 

Experience: 6/10

Difficulty: 6/10

JS1101E Introduction to Japanese Studies 
The module was divided into 2 sections – humanities and social science. Both profs were very enthusiastic in sharing what they know and debunked many stereotypical thoughts we might have of Japan prior to taking this module. Content is quite a handful but I enjoyed it. Prof Amos covered the humanities part on Imperial Japanese history and his research on burakumin. Sometimes it gets a wee dry but it’s history. Prof Mcmorran covers the social science part. He is entertaining but may get carried away at times. 

Tutorial is every week and we discuss questions based on what was taught during lecture. As it is also a GEK module, everyone in class are from different faculties so discussion was more lively. The tutor kept sharing her own stories as she is a Japanese herself.

Anyone who has taken this module can share with you their nighmares of the group paper. I didn’t have a good experience because of a certain year 4 double major student in our group who kept shooting down whatever point we raised during the project. Honestly I felt very intimidated and became more reticent as the tutorials progressed because I was so afraid of being seen as shallow or wrong. 

Other assessment components include forum discussion and final exam. The forum post could be any topic we wanted and we have to reply to 2 other postings. Basically just fight to post earlier if not the forum would become too saturated with replies and rehashed topics if you start late. Final exam is mcq covering nitty gritty stuff so it was a test of memory. Apart from the awful group project dynamics, I enjoyed this module. 

Experience: 8/10. Minus 2 for that traumatic group project 

Difficulty: 6/10. Mostly focusing on content, although you might need to invest a little more time to craft a constructive forum posting.

LAM1201 Malay 1
There’s no denying that language modules are always the most fun albeit the steep learning curve, and (Malaysian) Malay was such. Basically by the end of the module you should be able to find it easy to go to Johor to shop while reading and talking in conversational malay the whole time. Prof Sew also clarified questions raised by students during the lectures through the class blog so that no one missed out on anything.

We had 2 tutorials – listening and writing. It was a laugh fest because everyone was a noob and made silly mistakes, and the tutors also laughed along with us. Our writing tutor gave us very challenging worksheets which were way beyond what we were taught and often left us confused, but the main essence of learning a new language is get more exposure. 

There were quite a number of assessments staggered evenly throughout the semester so as to make the workload more manageable. The most memorable ones were doing a video of your family/ hobby, and a group skit. We did a story on the hantu pokok pisang. 

Exam was…another level. The paper was divided into sections which included a a comprehension passage from berita herian. I remembered writing english on top of each word for nearly all the questions wtf. Studying lecture and tutorial notes is not enough. You might be better off reading the malay newspaper everyday and checking the words you don’t know in a dictionary, because google translate is not accurate. The bell curve may not be kind to you either, but I had fun. 

Experience: 9/10

Difficulty: 5/10. Luckily Malay also uses alphabets so we didn’t have to struggle with pronunciations and strokes. Was rather taken aback by the exam paper though. 

GEK1502 Food Safety and Security
The module was a snorefest. In fact I found myself dozing off most of the time. It was so multidisciplinary that topics were all over the place, ranging from nutrients, hunger issues, types of food packaging, fruit ripening process etc. Kinda disappointed that what we learnt was not as advertised by the course description, which mentioned more on worldly food issues like supply chains and stuff. 

There were no tutorials. We had a group project on a topic and basically listened to the rest of the groups present. Forgot what the finals were about. One of the most boring modules ever. End of. 

Experience: 2/10

Difficulty: ?/10 I didn’t give much damns about this module anyway so I can’t come up with a rating.

Y1S2 (AY2012/13)
EU1101E Making of Modern Europe 

This was on the history of Europe spanning from the French Revolution to WW2. Content was broad and intensive, and lecture slides weren’t very helpful in helping us understand what was the main point of each topic covered. We had 2 profs but they were sort of jumping from one subject to another randomly, and it felt like we were on different frequencies. The reading was from a textbook, which was written more like a storybook instead. To me, the narrative of Europe is a beautiful one, ridden with ruptures and struggles. But the delivery of the module ruined the experience.

Tutorial was 4? (Can’t remember) sessions in total. Everyone was trying to grapple and piece together what was going on so it didn’t matter if your talk made sense or not. We also watched 3 European films (which I forgot the names) so that spiced things up a little. Everyone got a chance to speak so participation was fair and square. 

The highlight of the module was obviously the simulation conference. For us we were divided into the 5 representative countries of the Treaty of Versailles and we had to throw out topics as the “agenda” and present our opinions against them. Each country has 2 – 3 “delegates”. It is not supposed to be factually correct, and you can actually pakat with the other “countries” before the assessment. 

Mid term was more of quizzes than writing lengthy essays. Exam comprised of ID questions and essay. On the whole I have mixed feelings for this module. Learning the narrative was fun, but trying to make sense of the profs’ and trying to carve out arguments wasn’t. 

Experience: 7/10

Difficulty: 8/10. You can actually learn much more of Europe history through a backpacking trip and talking to the natives there instead of listening to a bookish academic.

HY2207 Struggle for Modern China:1800 – 1949

Be warned that I sound a little biased here because my interest lies in Chinese history. Prof Huang might be slightly naggy when he is talking, but he did a very good job in organising the narrative and weaving them with the arguments brought up by academics. I can still remember that the very last lecture tied up everything together like a “ribbon on the present” which was yeah impressive. The content is as expected, heavy, since it was spanning over a century and many tumultuous events happened. Most of the history is political because this was the dominant force of that time, but Prof Huang narration was powerful enough to transport me back in time (trying to match period drama scenes with his teaching lol). Readings were unrealistically a lot but actually you will be fine if you just focus on the arguments he brought up during lecture.

Tutorial was 4 sessions in total; we were given readings and accompanying discussion questions. Unlike 1.5hour tutorials which involve group discussions, Prof Huang threw the question open to the class so participation was up for grabs. He calls names as well so everyone can at least say a decent sentence every time. He is also very encouraging and writes our points on the whiteboard so that all of us feel acknowledged and have contributed something constructive. Old school but the experience was awesome. 

Assessment wise we had an essay, mid term, forum posting and exam. Everyone had the same essay question and weren’t given a choice so if it wasn’t of your interest, you still gotta stick with it. For the rest of the assessment I have forgotten the details, but it was a breeze. One of the best modules I have ever taken.

Experience: 9/10

Difficulty: 6/10. Reading the academic work was a wee hard because of their scholarly language but Prof Huang kindly sieved out their main arguments into bite sized chunks. 

HY2239 Chinese Business in Singapore and Beyond

The module was divided into business history and Singapore history on the chinese business community. Prof Kudaisya was quite concise in explaining the arguments through a thematic approach and linking them to case studies. Dr Brunero covered the Singapore history part from pre-colonial to modern day. The information was quite succint and easy to digest because the module was a cross listed Singapore studies module so they had to make it understandable across different disciplines. For me who thought Singapore history is the same old narrative, this module piqued my interest in the overseas chinese community and how they attempted to respond to shifts of time. 

Tutorial was 4 sessions in total, mostly readings and group discussion. Our class got the graduate student tutor who is quite nice but still has room for improvement with regards to how to moderate a discussion. 

Assessment wise there were 2 essays and final exam. The response paper is only 800 words on a newspaper article on business history. I forgot what exactly the question on the heritage essay is about but I remembered going to Chinatown Heritage Centre to do a write up about it. The essay is 2000 words which was initially intimidating, but I ended up beyond the word count. At least it was something alive, instead of burying yourself in research books. Overall the module was a refreshing twist to the all boring Singapore history and I enjoyed it.
Experience: 8/10

Difficulty: 4/10. It was also a breeze actually!

HY2253 Christianity in World History

I took this module hoping to understand my religion better. I was quite enthusiastic for this module but my interest dropped to zero at the end of the semester. It wasn’t the prof though, in fact he did well in presenting how Christianity evolved throughout the ages and he was engaging. I can only say that you either get it or you don’t. 

Tutorials were weekly, we were given a source and guiding questions. The class was really full and people were fighting to speak up which added to the frustration. 

Assessment was 2 essays and a final exam. One of the essays gave you a list of questions to choose from, and I was quite torn with what to pick because I didn’t know how to answer a lot of them. Ended up doing this comparison question between a medieval and modern Christian but did badly. Somemore I even consulted Christians on this, just to be safe not to rely entirely on my own experiences. So much for the effort. The second one was an article review. 

Exam was ID questions and essay. I had EU1101e paper earlier in the morning and honestly my brain was so fried and tired by the time evening came, so I really couldn’t focus on what I was writing. 

Experience: 3/10. Choosing this module was a mistake. 

Difficulty: 8/10. Maybe I am not fit to be a Christian.

HY2232 Modern Japan: Conflict in History
Another module to forget. The prof was a new addition to the faculty and being fresh from Japan, his accent was so thick that I could understand nothing. It was a very politcal module presenting the turblence of the political scene so expect violent topics like uncertainty, wars, changing governments, student riots, assassinations etc etc. Disturbing in both the content and the course delivery at best. 
Tutorial was 4 sessions in total, one of which was a debate based on Nanke Chomin’s Discourse of 3 Drunkards on the Government. Splurged $30 over dollars just for this book for a one time use, and it’s probably collecting dust in some corner of the house now. 

Assessment was 2 essays and final exam. I cant remember what exactly the first essay was about. The second one was on war memories which I didn’t do well. Final exam was 2 essay questions, and I remembered this dude in front of me used 7 booklets in total. 

Experience: 3/10. Quite disappointment since I am into East Asian history but somehow the module didn’t deliver as expected.

Difficulty: 7/10. Maybe I should have gotten drunk to discuss topics related to this module, since 3 drunkards discussed on the government and can even have their nonsense published into a book. 

Y1 Special Term (Y1ST)
JS2231 Japan in Southeast Asia

The module was enriching, Prof Gan changed the way on how to look at comics and the power of visuals. Many hands-on experiences and field trips to examine and question how history was curated and presented in the museums. Basically the takeaway was don’t take things at face value. We also went to Penang, which I have covered a few years back in this blog. Still missing the hipster Georgetown vibe and the nights when we played cards. 

Since it was a summer school module, lessons were in seminar style and each week we took turns to chair the discussion on the assigned readings. Also had to write essays on our field trips, some of which we never got the feedback. But it was a break hrough in my essay writing, because we had to use photos and visuals to support our arguments. This was so different from my previous referencing from books and more books. Prof Gan is nice but very strict when it comes to marking and basic conduct like punctuality.

Experience: 9/10

Difficulty: 6/10. Sometimes it’s a bit challenging to translate properly what you saw and experienced into words.

CH2294 Religion in Chinese Societies 

In all honesty, the module was dry. Prof Dean just sits in front of the computer, opens up the reading for the lesson, and just goes on and on. But I give my hats off to him for his passion in this research area. It’s the first time I encountered an Ang Moh who speaks and read Chinese better than we do, and is so into temple inscriptions. He even produced a documentary on his field work in Putien. His enthusiasm got me interested in Chinese religion as well, which I later started taking modules related to it. Didn’t know that a temple alone, no matter how simple, can tell so many stories. 

There were 4 essays in total –  a comparison essay, a book review, a temple visit report and religion in Singapore. He’s a pretty chill marker and is more interested in sharing his knowledge instead of following a grading criteria strictly. 

Experience: 7/10. We visited a few temples which I normally don’t pay attention to, which was quite eye-opening. 

Difficulty: 6/10. The readings were quite complex especially the socioogical writings by Geertz but no one diligently read them anyway. It’s summer, come on!

Ok 1 year down, 3 more to go. 

Chelsea vs Bayern 

Watched Chelsea vs Bayern play at National Stadium live for the first time! I just had to get tickets for the occasion. It’s not everytime Singapore gets the spotlight as a destination for European clubs’ pre-season tours.

Because of budget constraints I bought CAT 4 tickets, behind the goalpost where Chelsea’s side for the first half is. There was no hard and fast rule where supporters should sit so it wasn’t surprising to find some opposition fans in the section you are at. Worst case scenario was seeing “fans” in blue but cheering when Bayern scored. How plastic can that be?

(Okay but to be frank, I also look out for teams from different leagues so I probably don’t know who to root for if it was Chelsea vs Barcelona. My colleague once called me TLC when I wore different jerseys to work. TLC as in Totally Lost & Confused.)

Recommended timing to reach is 1 hour before kick off, and to avoid the queue at the security area. Surprisingly the bag and body check was fast so human traffic was smooth.

The players warming up when I managed to locate my seat.

View around the stadium. Yes I was one of the losers who went alone. There were plenty of lost sheep who went too. By that I meant fans wearing Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd, Deutscheland jeresys to the match. Okay everyone loves watching an exciting clash of the titans anyway.

Kick off!

And conceded 3 goals within 27 minutes. Seriously……………….

I won’t go into details like who dived/ who fouled/ who deserved a card/ the times when the referee could have awarded a free kick but didnt etc. Leave it to the professional sports commentators and match reporters.

Chelsea only started playing sharply during the 2nd half. Alonso scored during the 1st half stoppage time and suddenly all the players woke up. And also because Conte might have scolded them during the half time break.

2nd half had a few heart-stopping moments. Bayern kept coming close and Tibo/Eduardo had to keep making saves. And then there were times when the blues nearly found the net but missed.

Highlight was when Luiz and the club’s newest and most expensive signing Morata were subbed on.

Batman scored at the 85th minute to save us from losing so badly. Well at least it wasnt an ugly scoreline of 5-1 or something. The team were resilient and came back strong from a demoralising 1st half instead of choosing the path of surrender. The youngsters were also given game time.

Overall it was an entertaining match, especially the tackles between Moses and whoever that Bayern guy he is marking. And to be able to watch the big names play in front of you makes the experience even more worth it, even though I demand a partial refund for watching a disappointing first half.

Last but not least, here’s the shot I liked the most from my photos taken today. I actually didnt take much photos during the match cos I was more engrossed watching where the ball went. But anyway here’s the backstory of this photo.
A young fan (about 8-9 years old maybe?) and his mum were sitting in front of me. They were Bayern fans but somehow ended up in the section with more blues. The boy came in holding this simple little banner made out of a toothpick, tape, paper and markers. Throughout the match he kept shouting Bayern whenever the Chelsea fans were chanting. While it may come across as amusing, what else could be more innocent than a child’s support for his favourite team? I don’t know how to put this scene into words, but somehow my brief encounter with this kid warmed my heart. My hats off to you.

Should I buy tickets for Chelsea vs Inter Milan? Only a few more days left to decide!

Saw this video posted on RAD’s facebook.

Ahhh the memories.

I havent been dancing that frequently ever since I finished graded exams. Life happened so I didnt find another school to go further. Attending open class now and then but I kinda miss the part of having a more structured lesson and monitoring your own progress every week. 

Dragon boat regatta in about 2 weeks time. Honestly I am not confident of surviving through the distance without perfecting every stroke. It’s only 500m, it’s short, but it’s under race conditions. Sometimes I am like eyezill from 442oons. 

HAHAHA I still love to take the piss on Arsenal fans esp this season

Okay back to rushing my final assignment for graphic design course. Today morning my mum suggested taking on a proper degree in design/visual communication rather than a workplace certificate. I dont know about it though. I rather spend time working and getting experience than to go back and be a student again. I dont like to lose track of reality.