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Posts Tagged ‘Singapore’

Last Saturday, I had the privilege to go for a curated tour of a special exhibition at the Peranakan Museum. It’s called Baba Bling: The Peranakans and Their Jewellery and it’s an exhibition of the jewellery worn by the Peranakan Nyonyas (younger women) and the Bibiks (older women).

Speaking of which, remember Bibik Belacan? I vaguely remember watching it on tv, but the details escape me.

Anyway, the exhibition featured over 300 pieces of Peranakan jewellery from the 19th century till today. Those Peranakan women wore a whole lot of jewellery back then man! (And maybe even now?)

the mirror behind her is a little freaky

the mirror behind her is a little freaky

From the top of my head, a typical Nyonya would wear:

  1. necklace, usually more than one
  2. bracelet
  3. rings
  4. kerosang (like fancy ornate gold brooches used to fasten their blouses)
  5. hair pins
  6. anklet
  7. belt (can’t be seen, but they wear a gold, fancy one anyway!)
  8. keychain (serious!)

Yeah…I think they might just be more that I missed out.

Anyway, the curated tour was pretty awesome. Our tour guide (oops I forgot her name!) is actually a voluteer guide and is a medical doctor on weekdays! She was really knowledgeable and made the exhibition much more interesting.

To be really honest, I think that without the tour guide, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the exhibition that much. I’m the kind of person that always gets the audio guide when I’m in a museum, so I think that’s just me. It just makes the exhibits come alive, don’t you think?

But of course, you can visit the exhibition without going on the curated tour. There are tons of videos and information boards telling you the significance of the jewellery and explaining the history behind it all.

In fact, if I had more time I’d have watched all the videos and read all the information boards, but I’m anal like that (or typical Singaporean? Wanna get my all my money’s worth, hehe)

the forgotten babas.

the forgotten babas.

Here’s some reasons to go for Baba Bling:

1) Find out what it means when a Peranakan lady wears jewellery that’s made of silver with pearls or why why it’s rare to find hairpins in sets of 5 rather than the original 7 that they came out in

2) Look at photos of old Peranakan families and couples and try and get fashion inspiration

3) Get awesome printed gold stickers with different symbols that hold significance to the Peranakans –> This is actually meant for kids, but you should try and get your hand on it too! It’s so fun to go to the different machines to “collect” the different symbols!

4) The jewellery is so rare and their designs authentic that photography isn’t even allowed in the exhibition, for fear of copying. Hardcore!

5) Check out the building. I think the design is so lovely!

lovely place

lovely place

All in all, it was a charming way to spend Saturday afternoon. I’d recommend going for this exhibition, as well as the Peranakan Museum Collection. For me, it was an eye-opener to learn more about a culture I don’t know much about.

All bling-ed out

All bling-ed out

Went with Sherms who brought Squid along, and Ingrid came as well. I brought my friend Iris with me, who was visiting from Canada, and she enjoyed the exhibition too, especially since she’d never heard about the Peranakan people before. We also met Kanika and Dorothy from SMU as well!

Thanks to Riley from NHB for inviting!

More information about Baba Bling:

It runs from 29th May to 13th Dec

Peranakan Museum is at 39 Armenian Street

Opening hours: Mon 1pm – 7pm, Tues-Sun 9.30pm -7.30pm (till 9pm on Fridays)

Admission charges available here. Did you know that on Friday nights, charges are half-priced, at $3 for adults and $1.50 for students. Awesome!

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There are 8 cats in the office.

ziggy and boy

ziggy and boy

cumi and tux

cumi and tux

mini and lulu

mini and lulu

kimi

kimi

K that’s only 7. But apparently there a couple more, but these are the ones who more or less are inside the office usually.

So one day, my boss rescues two lovely orangey kittens from the monsoon drain. They were almost drowning, poor things.

jem and scout

jem and scout

The photo on the left (below) shows them when they first came. Monstrous, loud and pretty terrifying. To me that is! But I’ve never been a kitten person.

The photo on the right (above) is them now, a couple of weeks since they first came. Now they’re more adventurous and naughty too. They’ve started being very playful and they like to hang out on the “2nd floor” of this table we have. I call it The Condo. I call them Jem and Scout after the two siblings in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Anyways, assuming there are only 7 cats (which they aren’t), that brings the tally to 9 felines. We (the office) thought that that was plenty.

Until today.

new kitties

new kitties

Meet the new kitties, yet unnamed.

We found them abandoned in a box in the back alley behind the office. That my friends (if you’re still with me that is) brings the total to 11 kitties. 11 kitties! That is craziness.

Anyways, hopefully you’ve been reading this far, and if you are, you’re probably a cat person, which is good because my boss can’t keep the kittens and wants to find good homes for them. If you or someone you know might be interested, love cats and can commit to taking care of them long-term, please let me know!

The two orange ones are super cute and loveable (one’s a boy and the other’s a sweet girl), I can vouch for that after playing with them and laughing at their antics for the past couple of weeks. The new black ones are super tiny and frail but hopefully they’ll be up and running soon, they look so wee and fragile now and one of them didn’t want to drink his milk 😦

So those are the kitties in the office. They are my source of entertainment and I always go find them when I need to take a break, hehe.

But really, if you’re interested in adopting do let me know! 🙂

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biting_hands_that_build_feeds

I attended the Open Room session organised by Ogilvy Digital Influence last week, entitled Journalism’s from Mars, Social Media’s from Venus. At first, I didn’t know what to expect, but as the debate became heated with both sides (bloggers/journalists) becoming very defensive, it became clear that the whole Mars/Venus thing was a pretty apt description indeed.

It was an interesting discussion, although I felt that the REAL CONVERSATION was actually in the live tweets from the various people in the room, a pity it could not be integrated into the discussion real-time.

Nonetheless, I have to highlight Daryl’s post on his thoughts post-Open Room (yes, I said post twice). It was mentioned during the talk that mainstream media won’t be going away soon, as many people still enjoy their morning paper with their breakfast/need a good read in the toilet (etc,etc) but what Daryl says about people our generation forming new habits at an amazing speed holds so true (think Facebook/Twitter/DSLR cameras/Mac books etc)

I know many friends who don’t read the paper anymore. Me, I tend to focus on the lifestyle pages, the “real news” pages don’t cut it for me anymore as I can get more timely news on the Internet. Or, as DK put’s it, “So why should I be paying for yesterday’s news when I can get today’s news free?”

Sure, with the internet, newspapers are hard-pressed to deliver breaking-news stories, but of course it’s not impossible. It’s called good journalism – seeking out news exclusives that we readers don’t have time to seek out ourselves. So, in a sense, social media is actually making journalists be better at what they do, which is a good thing, isn’t it?

Straits Times journalists are now on Twitter, that’s a good thing. Bloggers are now increasingly mentioned in the papers or even contributing to traditional media, that’s a good thing too.

I do agree that the two can co-exist, although I also believe both sides view the other with a little animosity sometimes, but hey, that’s natural i guess when you’re competing for the same eyeballs. But I still believe that MSM won’t die out anytime soon, so I guess journalists can heave a small sigh of relief.

As for the defensiveness, especially from the journalism side, I can totally understand. Being told that people prefer reading free news online than pay for a newspaper, that’s pretty hard to swallow when you’re livelihood depends on selling that paper. But I think that the smart journalist should adapt and work with the change, not cling on the old ways with a death-like grip.

As for me, I’ve always had to have my morning newspaper with my breakfast, but lately it’s morphed into having my morning newspaper AND my laptop open in f

I do believe that there is still a market for both, in Singapore at least. But that might change once my generation (gen Y) grows up and have children/grandchildren, etc..Flying cars and moving sidewalks, anyone?

Pardon the rather incoherent post, just thought I’d dash off some points lest I forget about the very interesting discussion hosted by Ogilvy Digital Influence. Looking forward to next session.

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run1
Unglam photo

Pardon the ugly watermark on the photos, I didn’t feel compelled to buy the photos for S$34.90!

I officially completed my first marathon on Sunday, 28 June 2009. It was the Standard Chartered KL Marathon, and me and Erfen had trained for 4 months for it. I was actually quite nervous before the race as I had not been training for 2 weeks before the event due to work, but somehow, someway, we managed to do the entire 42.195km in 5 hours and 50 minutes. It’s not excellent timing of course, but i had set my target to be under 6 hours, since it’s my first marathon, so I am satisfied with the result!

The race statistics say that I am the 165 position for the women’s full marathon category. Not too shabby for a first-timer, I think 😛 Although, the winner of the women’s full marathon did it in 2 hours 40 minutes! And the men’s winner completed it in 2 hours 17 minutes, despited the fact that it was his first marathon! Craziness!!

I would say that though the idea of running 42.195km seems pretty impossible and daunting at first, I think anyone can do it, given proper training beforehand. Before the marathon itself the furthest I’d ever run was 24km! But luckily me and Erfen followed a running schedule, having proper training really helps.

[warning: running advocacy alert!]

Plus, besides just running you can train in other ways too, like doing circuit training, interval trainings, gym sessions and even swimming and cycling for cross-training. Running is an excellent way of keeping fit! Trust me on this, I eat a lot and exercising is the only way that I don’t weigh a ton now.

Running a marathon also challenges you to be strong both mentally and physically, as you are ultimately racing against yourself. Of course, there were times when it was difficult.

While training, sometimes I’d feel lazy to go for a run, or I’d want to walk halfway through my run, but sometimes I just told myself “You can do it” or  visualise myself running past the next lamppost, and the next, and the next, and before I’d known it, I’d have finished my run.

run2
Team Grand Kenyan

Plus, it’s nice to run with a partner as well. During the marathon me and Erfen listened to music via his phone, and we made sure to load songs we both liked.

When the song “Irreplaceable” by Beyonce started playing, we both instinctively started doing the hand actions for the “To the left, to the left” and then we got carried away and did actions for the whole song. I bet we were one of the few runners who were still laughing and joking while running!  It was really a pleasant experience for me and it was a great feeling crossing the finishing line together. It would have been very different had I run alone.

Also, it’s a great excuse to travel! We decided on going for the KL Marathon because it was a chance for us to get out of Singapore and do something different. It was quite a cool way of exploring the city, plus we had time to do some sightseeing/shopping before we left for Singapore. I think many cities have marathons as well, such as the Vienna Marathon (gonna do that one day!) or the Boston Marathon (one of the world’s oldest annual marathons, although I’d need a timing of at least 3 hours and 40 minutes to qualify!)

Boston Marathon 1910
Boston Marathon 1910

Next stop, Safra Bay Run and Army Half Marathon in August, and the Singapore Standard Chartered in December. Pretty exciting stuff! I’m hoping to improve my timing to 5 hours next…fingers crossed!

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Last weekend was amazingly awesome. Besides getting to hang out with friends, I managed to catch two very different, yet very good arts events.

Etiquette by Rotozaza (UK) part of Singapore Arts Fest 2009

Etiquette

I went for this with Erfen. Originally we were supposed to go with Sherms and our other friends, but we had to go for another timing because the 1pm slot was full. At first I thought that meant that they were all lot of people wanting to watch the play during that slot, but turns out, there are only 4 people in one slot. It’s experimental theatre, because basically you’re your own actors as well as audience, but I definitely find it very relatable and enjoyable as well (unlike some other kinds of experimental theatre).

Although I found the idea intriguing, I had no idea what we were in for. When we first came, we were told to take a seat at a table which had  some props on it and a glass of water for each of us. There were 2 sets of headphones, one for the ‘male’ character, and one for the ‘female’ character. You can also participate in the play with a stranger (could be exciting) if you come alone or in an odd number.

Once we put the headphones one, the performance started. A soothing, English woman told me to take a deep breath,  she knew I was nervous. I was now peeking from the wings of a stage at a packed theatre, waiting to take my cue in the performance in which I was the lead actress.

The voice gave me the lines I had to deliver, every move and facial expression dictated to me in that crisp, English accent. I was an actress.

Yet at the same time as I listened to my own lines as well as the words Erfen was saying, I was piecing together the characters, setting and plot. I was a spectator.

It was kinda awkward, as you know the words are borrowed, not yours. Sometimes, it was hard to listen to what Erfen said above the directions being supplied into my own ear.

The props elevated the performance even higher, bringing to life our lines and there were even times where I had to use the props without knowing why. It turned out that Erfen was hearing a story during the same time, and my actions had made total sense to him. It was really, really cool.

The play runs till 13 June at Dome Marina Square. More details can be found here. It’s highly recommended by me!

The Politics of the Popular (POP) Station Kill Your Television (KYTV) Singapore

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After the play, we joined our friends to make our own music video at The POP Station at Jendela at the Esplanade. Sherms told us about this as her professor was part of the crew. When I first heard about it, I was a bit skeptical.

“Make your own music videos with Singapore’s most off-beat artist collective. Take the chance to sing and dance to a pop-song while being filmed in a fantasy world. Within 24 hours your very own music video will be uploaded on YouTube for the world to enjoy.” – KYTV (taken from the Esplanade website)

It sounded crazy.

And you know what? It was crazy. But it was crazily fun as well! I did a weird song with my friend Shal. Perhaps I might post our video when it’s uploaded onto Youtube. But we also took time out to do this. Wondergirls ain’t got nothing on us! 😛

(I’m the one in pink with the weird Nacho Libre-esque mask by the way)

Unfortunately, the music video-making segment of the event has ended on Sunday. But from 10 June – 5 July, you can view an exhibition of videos from “POP-tizens” in Singapore as well as Berlin, Jakarta, Bangkok, Vienna, London and Jogjakarta. It’s on at Jendela at Esplanade, and is free.

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Talk about a lesson on maintaining your online identity! Haha.

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I’m listening to the Genny Podcast #1 right now and they covered an interesting point about Gen Y and our attitudes towards work. Despite it being an economic recession, the team feels that we are still discerning about jobs and value job satisfaction over job stability. Yinqi (I think! I tried to distinguish the voices but apologies if I’m wrong)  shared that two of her friends recently quit their jobs because of the desire to earn higher pay. Kris shared the opinion that Gen Y is not afraid of the economic downturn.

I found myself echo-ing their views. As a job seeker, I still prioritise finding a job that aligns with my interests and is challenging and interesting at the same time, and that forms the basis of my job search, as opposed to going for something, anything, with a decent pay. Some (my parents, other people) would say that this is a foolish approach, given the kind of environment we are in now. But you know what? I don’t care.

Some call us selfish, others say spoilt, indulgent, etc. But really, what’s the harm in going for what we want in life? Talking to my friends, it appears that more and more of us are pursuing what we are really passionate in. If not in our jobs, we derive satisfaction in other pursuits. We want to do something we believe in.

At the Flea-tique! flea market last week, there were many people that set up shop selling clothes, accessories and other assorted knick-knacks. While the concept isn’t new, I found myself reflecting on how entrepreneurial Singaporean youths have become. The internet has helped to popularise the concept of a blogshop, and some businesses are so professionally-run that they could set up a physical store the very next day if they wanted.

Thinking about this entrepreneurial streak that us Gen Y-ers seem to have cultivated, I am almost floored. People used to lament that Singaporeans don’t take risks, aren’t entrepreneurial and go for the safe option whenever they can. It seems that Gen Y is slowly staging a coup d’etat on the way things have been done here in Singapore. I for one see this as a positive change.

I find that with this economic crisis, I’ve been questioning what I truly want to achieve in my life, not just in terms of a career, but bigger questions like how I can make my mark in this world, using my talents to make it a better place.  I think that in better times, I wouldn’t have scrutinised myself so closely and in a weird way, I am glad for this lemon of an economic recession.

Now if you ‘scuse me, I’ma gonna make myself some lemonade.

The Genny podcast is brought to you by Daryl, Krisandro, Yin, Yinqi and Dorothy. The Genny podcast #2 is also out now, do give it a listen.

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