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. 

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Hello Kitty Cafe Singapore

Disclaimer: If you happened to chance upon my review, I am informing you in advance that my review is not a photo spam or a food porn fest. Our visit to the cafe was under rushed circumstances so there wasn’t a mood for pictures. So… you may want to read another review, or go experience the cafe without any prior expectations in mind! 

The opening of the cafe coincided with BF’s flight to US for his work-travel programme. Knowing that I am a fan of that overrated mouthless cat (or a girl, whichever you choose to believe) with a ribbon, we decided to have dinner/supper at the cafe before catching his midnight flight.

As of the afternoon the news reported that people had been queuing for about 3 hours or so to get in. Had a bad feeling that the crowd will get worse during dinner time and I didn’t want him to end up missing his flight. And so I got pretty angst during work which got me to posting this:

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Long story short, we queued about 2-3 hours as well (with much grumbling from my side). What was annoying was that there were a couple of empty tables (some cleared, some uncleared) visible to us from the outside. But apparently the staff didn’t let the customers in, until much moments later. Maybe they didn’t notice, or maybe it is some other reason we don’t know.

BF’s parents came to pass him his luggage for check-in while we were still in the queue. His dad kinda got displeased with what we were doing because catching a flight is more urgent than queuing for a cafe that will be permanently based at the airport. And in the end they ended up joining us for a bite. I felt really guilty having to listen to his dad’s  incessant angry nagging throughout the meal.

The slip up was that drinks were served after we finished our main course, and we got informed that they ran out of desserts. Since it is their first day in operation, I will let them off for that. But since the cafe operates for 24 hours, running out of stock  on food items is not a forgivable excuse. After all, people are here for a pleasant experience, not one that is memorable-in-a-bad-way.

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Yup this is us!

For those looking for a review, here’s a summary.

Decor– Not excessively pink nor cute-sy. The decor is based on the theme of a garden (like what is reflected in its name), so orchids and other flowers of sorts pre-dominated the white interior. There are statuettes since no themed cafe would be complete without them #justsaying. It felt touristy because of the orchids but that is just a personal vibe.

Service– Plenty of room for improvement, that’s all I can say. Given all the previous instances of the Hello Kitty mania in Singapore, I thought maybe they would have a better gauge of consumer market to prepare them for the incoming demands. We were lucky in a sense that BF’s dad hurried the staff and manager about 3 times and used BF’s flight as a bargaining chip to get our food served quickly to us, but there are many other criticisms by customers posted online which you can read.

Taste– It was average and portion was smaller than expected. Maybe my taste buds sucked, maybe we ate our meal in a hurry, or whatever.

Dish aesthetics– Yeah it was alright for me.. but judging at customers who pointed their phones at all sorts of angles at the food (as observed during queuing), the chef might have done a good job.

Price– Off budget for a poor graduate like me. Was prepared to pay but his parents footed the bill.

2nd visit? Not for the time being. Maybe when the novelty wears off and the queue gets shorter or something.

So knocked out with a 6 day work week. Ciao.

Tottenham vs Man Utd!

Done with 1 essay. 3 more to go. This week gonna be hell again with all the tight deadlines. I hope I can survive this.

Anyway I woke up with a hangover I think. Was super listless, lacked concentration and felt fatigued throughout the day. If the Japan history prof asks why the last part of my essay is so poorly written, I will just tell him that I had a hangover and invite him for a couple of beers.

Yes I was out drinking again… and caught the Tottenham vs Man Utd match! Waited so long for this actually.

Shall summarise in point form instead of writing lengthy stories.

-The match delayed for 30 minutes because the Man Utd bus was stuck in a traffic jam. And of course there were jokes flooding social media like these:

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Uh wait… how do we “start the game without them”? Subs vs 1st team?

Read more about the traffic jam here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-3533606/Manchester-United-face-5-000-fine-arriving-late-Tottenham-clash-coach-couldn-t-fit-low-tunnel-alternative-route.html

Well I did got slightly annoyed because I was in the midst of finishing the 4000 word essay but we already left home to watch the telecast so I couldn’t work on it while I was out.

-We caught the match at Tiong Bahru Bar (TBB)… and here is a draft checklist I made while typing this if you want to catch live screenings at bars. Maybe I should escalate this into a full post.

  • High definition TV with huge screen – checked!
  • Alcohol – checked! (But quite pricey for us actually)
  • Food – kitchen was already closed by the time we got here at 11pm. The match was 4pm Brit standard time.
  • Spectator ambience – very quiet leh. There were a few Man Utd fans around as well but they were more of casual watchers than engrossed, agitated fans.
  • Sound system – Oh no. Couldn’t hear any of the commentary at all because the sound system was playing songs like Bad Day/ Where is the Love/ Blank Space etc instead of the match!

Okay I would still settle for it though, since it is better than crappy live streaming.

-First half was a snorefest because… typical. Soccer fans would know that there is a long running joke that Man Utd doesn’t score during the first half because it is their tactic to bore the opponents to sleep before they score. But anyway few times Spurs came closed but missed.

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image courtesy: @SpursOfficial

-After the half time, LVG subbed off Rashford to bring on Young as a striker, when Young actually plays as a left/right wing. Anyway he made a whole lot of crazy tactical decisions that no one could ever understand like playing the players out of their position. And after Fosu-Mensah got subbed off due to injury things were pretty much screwed.

-Spurs goals escalated quickly! Madness. But proud of the team!

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-Oh and I forgot to add… The referee is Mike Dean, an alleged Spurs fan. He was caught celebrating when Spurs players scored goals previously, but surprisingly I didn’t see him doing that for this match. Anyway there was one part where Dembele slipped and Mike Dean reached out his hand to help him up. And so it got me retweeting this:

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-Around 80 mins or so Depay got into a fight with Walker lol.

-Unfortunately we couldn’t finish watching the match because TBB had to close at 1am according to their operation license agreement, so everyone had to vacate in order not to impose on them.

What it’s 1am already?!

Ah the pain of being an Asian football fan. To catch our favorite team in action we sacrifice our sleep and wake up at 3.45am to watch live matches, or stay up late! But anyway whatever it is, Tottenham won with a clean sheet! Man Utd fans went apeshit on social media once again with all the #LVGOUT and “next time play De Gea as a striker” etc.

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Damn it Troll Football, it is EriksEn not Erikson 

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From Yid Army 4 Life Facebook 

-It was surprisingly nice to take a stroll at 1am around the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood. It is as if the whole world belongs just to you and the someone you ❤

Okay linking back to the beginning of the post… I guess this is how you feel the next day when you get a hangover. But I still love my beers and cocktails (did this edit a few days ago cos I was restless)

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Last of all here’s my review of the match!

Man of the Match: The whole Tottenham team/  De Gea, Fosu-Mensah (for being saviours, literally)

Flop of the Match: LVG

Will Tottenham win the title? As a fan I hope they do, obviously.

So done with school. Can’t wait to start working already.

And last of all, everyone should read this:

10 reasons why a girlfriend who loves soccer is the best girlfriend ever

 

Book Review: The Right to Differ

Trigger warning: Parody.

This is the book I am currently reading.

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As someone who doesn’t give a shit about Malaysia history and politics, the book was a snorefest.

Don’t ask me why I put myself through the torture of reading something that doesn’t interest me. I generally bo chap the life and career of politicians one. But for the sake of some module I had to do it.

Anyway what I thought was commendable was that Ooi framed the biography his interview questions, and left it there (presumably unedited) for the reader in the book. And then he also inserted wholesale some press statements, speeches, newspaper articles, etc etc documents related to Lim at the end of each chapter.

Walao eh. If only I can do that for my term papers to fulfill the word count.

And that’s it for my review. I don’t care if you want to come up with some scholarship-type review of it, or any opinion that sounds politically pleasing to academia, or even criticising my review for simply being so unprofessional.

After all, I have the right to differ.

Elemen Restaurant Review

Disclaimer: NOT sponsored post!

My goodness. It’s already the 2nd week of February. Where has all the f-ing time gone!

I am supposed to be rushing my assignments but decided to update my blog instead.

So much stuff happened there in Philippines but honestly I couldn’t be bothered to properly blog about it. I haven’t even upload the photos onto Facebook. Guess that’s not gonna happen anymore woops.

Anyway my aunt and I ate at this restaurant called Elemen at Millenia Walk TWICE IN A WEEK! It happened that she signed up for restaurant membership and go entitled to 2 15% off vouchers. We used one on my first visit (31 Jan. The family went there when I was away) and she was informed that the 2nd voucher will expire on 5 Feb so we went there for a 2nd helping on the same week.

Guess what that means? Meat free, guiltless vegetarian food! (Although I did feel guilty for the wallet).

We settled for the 8 course meal each which cost $32.80++ per pax. Apart from the appetizer, diners can select one dish from the rest of the categories on the menu. Best is to order different goodies so that you can sample the rest. I will just lump all the dishes we tried from the 2 visits to prevent confusion.

The in-house appetizers! Was told by the waiter to eat them from right to left (front to back for the case of this pic). Honestly I have never received directions on how to eat appetizers hahaha. Anyway first up is cucumber with mashed potato, followed by a black sesame tofu, and lastly cherry tomato. I particularly liked the tofu and sauce because of the pairing.

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Breadstick with raspberry sauce. Initially I thought it was strawberry because of its characteristic pink color but close enough!

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Next is the salad- Had the mushroom, avocado and quinoa salads.

The mushrooms were freaking juicy omg! For the avocado and quinoa, the crunchy texture was just right.

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After that comes the soup, available in western and chinese kinds. They come with apple cider to facilitate digestion (and to prepare your stomach for more goodness later).

The first time we had Double Boiled Maca Soup and Cream of Pumpkin soup. Maca is a superfood which helps to increase your strength, energy and endurance and it contains 5x more protein and 4x more fibre than potato (lol I learnt this through an online course by Health Sciences Academy).

2nd visit was Double boiled Burdock root with Monk Fruit Soup and Truffle Oil Mushroom Soup. Burdock roots purify the blood, help in digestive health, and are anti-oxidants, while Monk fruits are zero-calorie artificial sweeteners. The smell from the truffle oil was quite strong because I could even smell it while it was on the way to the table.

Main course! They are western, chinese and japanese options to choose from so here’s what we got:

Tempura Tofu with Strawberry Rice Rolls, and Oven baked Mountain Yam. Kudos for the dish presentation for the sushi and it was good as well, although I couldn’t really detect the strawberry taste. The oven baked dish came with some goodness as well- water chestnuts and walnuts. But after a few bites the baked cheese got kinda overwhelming for me.

For the 2nd visit we had Avocado Roll and Braised Pumpkin with Glutinous Rice served on Hot Stone. I am loving the tempura crunch in the roll! The rice came still sizzling and piping hot. The combination of ingredients is really quirky- fried rice with green apple, pumpkin and mushroom. Have never tried main dishes with apples in it before.

Lastly… time for yummy yummy! Dessert comes with dessert and drinks. I wonder why drinks are served last though.

Had Osmanthus flower with jelly, and Panna Cotta with Raspberry sauce. Surprisingly they aren’t too sweet nor heavily-textured which was perfect. Drinks wise we had Grapefruit Mojito (I don’t think it contains alcohol lah haha) and Passion Fruit tea.

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2nd round was Chocolate Lava cake with Gelato and Chilled Coconut Puree. The cake totally bought me over cos the lava was runny. The coconut puree didn’t give me that much of an impression because I am not a fan of all things coconut but we just tried it for the taste.

In summary…

Ambiance- Very zen and calming interior, without trying too hard to be minimalist.

Service- Quite efficient order-taking system, waiting time in-between dishes was just nice. The staff informed my aunt that her voucher is near expiry date, and he could even remember us when we came back for the subsequent visit, which was quite impressive given that you have to deal with so many customers every day.

Taste- For people like me who needs to have her daily dosage of meat, Elemen is a refreshing switch to the vegetarian palate. The food is wholesome and hearty so it was quite a filling meal.

Dish aesthetics-I have never seen food presentation so exquisite before, especially for the appetizer which wowed me over. Great for food porners.

Price- Hahahaha it was on the high side for students like me but for everything mentioned above, it was worth it. In fact the a la carte meals would be comparatively more pricey than the 8 course meal.

3rd visit? Maybe when they introduce new revolutionary gastronomical dishes into the menu then that would call for a 3rd visit because I have mostly tried a bit of everything already.

 

The South China Sea Holiday- Hong Kong, Day 5

Making use of the last day of the long SG50 holiday to write this post! Still have work and school stuff to settle but my procrastination mode is turned on.

Went for yoga class again in the morning. After which heard from the family that the Chinese breakfast selection at Genting Palace was very limited. Moral of story: I would recommended Western food and International buffet for meals, but no harm trying Chinese food just for once.

Ate Western for lunch at Genting Palace. The main course fish took ages to come as the chef prepares the fish in batches, so the waiter kindly offered us another appetizer from the menu before the fish are served again.

The dessert is pretty! I couldn’t scoop up the chocolate that was plastered on the plate. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be eaten.

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After that went to look at the sea and the islands, indicating that we are reaching shore soon.

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Mum makes random appearance.

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The tugboat which pulls the cruise ship to the dock.

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Went to collect our passports at the theatre at 3.30pm. There are different disembarkation areas and timings for the various nationalities. For “other nationalities” it means everyone else on board excluding PRC, Indians and Hong Kongers. The process was very messy as the staff were short handed in locating the passports and there was a long queue jamming up the exit.

Bye Superstar Virgo! Till we meet again!

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From Harbour City we cabbed back to our hotel. Flagging a cab was quick for us as we happened to be in a dense pedestrian and traffic area. We just have to move and act quickly or else we would be obstructing the traffic flow. Our luggage couldn’t fit into the boot so the cabby did this. I was so afraid of our barang flying out if the hook becomes loose!

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HK cabs actually accommodate up to 5 passengers. You just have to look out for the sign.

Our relatives were waiting for us at the hotel lobby when we reached!
Took MTR to Sheung Wan and ate at  this restaurant called Quan Zhang Ju 泉章居 (Chuen Cheung Kui). It specializes in Hakka dishes and is famous for its Salt Baked Chicken 盐焗鸡 and Chicken with Onions 霸王鸡. Their wintermelon soup is good and savory in my opinion. It is served from the melon itself which was quite creative. The Salt Baked Chicken is too salty for my liking… or is it supposed to be that salty?

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Anyway their business is really good. All tables were filled so I guess they should be well known.

While googling for the restaurant I found out that they have different branches. This is the address of the one we went to: Shop C & 1/F, Alliance Building, 133 Connaught Road Central, Sheung Wan.

After which we head to The Peak for sightseeing. Took MTR to Central and cabbed up to The Peak Tower, which was located on the summit. Initially we wanted to take the tram but the queue was sibeh long even though it was already nightfall and it was a weekday!

On the way up I was trying damn hard not to puke cos the route was full of bends and the cabby was driving as though he was in a F1 race. Total fare from the bottom to the top was about HKD60. I would strongly recommend to take the tram if your itinerary isn’t of a rush.

Took the escalator to Sky Terrace 428. It gets its name because it is located 428m above sea level.  Admission is HKD48 for adults.

Presenting the HK skyline

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The Peak is also a residential area for the rich, since they would need a car to go downhill everytime. At least they won’t have to worry about air conditioner bills and such because the air is naturally cool!

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Our next stop is Causeway Bay. Side question: Why is every country in the world now building ferris wheels?

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Spotted a Mr Softee Ice Cream van!

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There is only vanilla flavour and 1 cone costs HKD9. The ice cream lives up to its brand name cos it is soft, and melts pretty fast cos of the hot weather.

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Took the Star Ferry (again!) across the river. Payment is made using Octopus card.

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Approaching our stop at Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry pier. This is the Tsim Sha Tsui Clock tower. It looks small from the photo but it towers at 44m and is built in 1915, a remnant of Hong Kong’s steam age. IMG_2251

Then went to walk along Avenue of Stars. Somehow I couldn’t get the wow factor from this attraction. When I was in HK in 2008 I remembered there were tons of celebrity names and handprints cemented on the floor and had to stop every few steps to snap photos! Now the floor isn’t worth to look at cos the handprints and names disappeared.

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Forgot what time we reached the hotel. Was so tired from all the walking that I just crashed on bed.

Day 6 coming up soon, combined with my HK loot and a review of our hotel!

The South China Sea Holiday- Hong Kong Day 1

Hello world I am back! Thank god for the long weekend because I am not ready to work. I am still experiencing some fatigue because of the rushed itinerary and we traveled by air, land, sea and foot in a span of 6 days. It was a fun trip apart from some minor mishaps caused by the Worst Travelling Companion, which I shan’t bitch about it here because it is inappropriate to do so.

Anyway here are the day 1 highlights:

Mandatory view-from-airplane photo. Luckily for us typhoon Chan-hom already left Hongkong so we had a safe holiday.

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Touched down in Hongkong after a 3.5 hour flight. Our HK relatives fetched us from the airport. In fact they were the ones who brought us around during our 2 night stay here. Anyway I wasn’t informed of what they planned for us because I know nuts about Cantonese and I don’t want to annoy them by constantly asking for the itinerary, so you can safely say that I was kept in suspense the whole time.

Presenting to you the Octopus card, the near equivalent to Singapore’s EZ-link card with a lot more functions. Got them at the airport. We commuted in all sorts of HK public transport.

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Boarded the bus to Citygate Outlet for our first stop and 2nd lunch.  Fortunately the bus was equipped with a luggage compartment if not it would really be a hassle. Yes we brought our luggage there instead of checking into the hotel first because our first stop is located nearer (relatively) to the airport.

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Lunched at Food Republic. Initially I wasn’t looking forward to it because food courts are also everywhere in Singapore and I wanted authentic street food. Some of the food court stalls are commonly seen too- Pepper Lunch, Singapore Chicken Rice etc. Settled for this 煎饼 (Fried Crepe) which surprisingly tasted good, apart from the salty 菜脯 (preserved radish).Oh no I forgot the cost already.

1st meal in HK (2)

Afterwards we head to Ngong Ping. 2 of our relatives kindly volunteered to stay behind to take care of our barang (and partly because they are getting on age and don’t fancy walking a lot). Anyway, Ngong Ping 360 supposedly one of the “must see” tourist attractions and is located at Lantau Island, which I didn’t know it existed until I visited. The concept behind NP360 is to strike a balance between the nature and the local lifestyle of Lantau.

Took the cable car from Tung Chung Terminal whereby you can see all the breathtaking views of the HK mountains and cityscape. The weather was a welcome change from the humid SG and HK weather. The trip lasts about 20 mins and cable car services close at 7pm.

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First thing we saw after alighting.IMG_1886

We first entered Ngong Ping Village which is a culturally themed village. Attractions include this Action Movie theatre, many souvenir shops and international eateries like Subway, all housed in traditional Chinese architecture. It is very touristy I would say. Not very worth to devote a large amount of your time there.

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On the way to Po Lin Monastery to see the world’s largest Buddha statue. You can even see it during the cable car ride. IMG_1911

Ran into unexpected tourist attractions! I have never seen cows loitering in tourist populated areas. It was damn random. They dont give a damn about people and cameras as long as there is grass for them, so they most probably won’t kick you away unless you piss them off. Just beware of their shit though. There are also large stray dogs around.  2015-07-11 16.55.22

Supposedly one of the more “authentic” local style eateries. The whole setting reminded me of the drink shops at Pulau Ubin.

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At the bottom of the Tian Tan Buddha attraction. The statue looks near to the camera, but there is actually a long flight of stairs blocked by the incense burner.

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This is the view you get after climbing 268 steps! The wind was so good and of course we were reluctant to go down.

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The sunset on our way down.IMG_1949

The closing time for most attractions in Ngong Ping close at 6pm, and the security guard will just shut the gate even though many people are still inside. You have been warned. Overall I would say that the place is worth a visit provided if you are into Chinese temples, a nature lover, or wish to find your inner harmony or something (by avoiding the touristy areas). To get to Ngong Ping, we took Bus S1 from the airport to Tung Chung Terminal, and the Ngong Ping cable car terminal is just nearby. Tickets cost HKD 165 for a round trip. On a side note, Citygate Outlet is damn famous for outlet shopping for those who are interested.

Headed to our hotel next via MTR. The hotel we booked is called Silka West Kowloon Hotel, located at Tai Kok Tsui. Nearest MTR station is Olympic. I will do a more detailed review of it in the subsequent posts because this post is getting long (and people are losing attention yes?). Anyway, the train looks empty but it got crowded when it reached the Disneyland interchange.

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Had a late dinner at a eatery selling zhi-char a few streets away from our hotel. I forgot the name of the place because we merely wanted to settle dinner. After which we went to Argyle Centre at Mongkok for shopping. It’s quite late at night but it is when Mongkok comes alive.

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SASA! Sasa and Bonjour are one of the major cosmetics/drugstore players in HK and they are everywhere. Again I will post up a more details about shopping in a separate post.

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It was midnight when we got back to our hotel. Our HK relatives went home first and we got lost woops. It is damn hard to orientate yourself at night especially when you are in foreign land and Tai Kok Tsui is in an outskirt location.

Okay till next time!