CA1: $5 Challenge

If you are given $5, and how would you make the best out of this $5 for a day?
Initially, when I first saw this $5 Challenge I thought to myself “Hey this would be fun” Then I read on and noticed that it includes transport. I was flustered and I was wondering what I could do with $5. I started the day off by getting a $2 Nasi Lemak from Toa Payoh Lorong 1 hawker centre. This $2 really filled me. Rice with chicken, egg, and usual ikan billis and peanut.

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Then I walked to Toa Payoh Public Library, located at Toa Payoh central. The library is my favourite place. Books are one of my favourite things because it allows me to imagine, it acts like an escape. Everything can be cliche and it’s okay, that’s the beauty of the fictional books. You get the ending you expect, not like reality, cold hard reality, which never goes in an ideal way. Anyway, another reason why I like being in Toa Payoh library because it has been newly renovated and being in a nice place makes me feel good. When I reached level 3, the teen section, I had my mind set on Lisa Schroeder or Holly Smale’s books. They are excellent writers and I do admire authors. So much research, planning and imagination are needed before writing a book. And they got me captivated in their books for hours.

The Nicely Renovated Library
they even refurbish the area here
Book recommendations
My FAVOURITE section

I spent nearly the whole day there, but I left and walked to a small bread shop. I bought a bun which costs 80 cents since I wasn’t hungry. They sell a variety of different buns, but my favourite is the Golden Sand Bun. Bored, I wandered the area, then I came across the famous dragon playground in Toa Payoh. I never had a childhood here as I was brought up in Bedok, but I took a moment to appreciate this historical icon of Toa Payoh. I only began to make my way home when it was starting to get dark. Walking home can be really relaxing as well. Though it’s a 20-30 minutes walk home, it’s still a source of therapy, away from a hectic and busy life. It was a good alone time that day.

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How different was this from my usual?
Honestly, it is really different and hard to adapt. Usually on weekends, I would’ve had a nice breakfast at home with TWG berry tea and grilled cheese sandwich at home. And for lunch, I would go to my usual hideout, a coffee bean outlet in town, and spend at least $7.40 on a drink and just park myself there at coffeebean to stream online movies, or do my work. Then I’d have either a meal which cost $12 at my favourite western food shop, or $4.95 at burger king. A normal Saturday out would’ve had cost me at least $20. I realise how fortunate I am to be able to enjoy the things people can’t. Some of them would have to feel stressed about spending such money, while as for me, I could spend with ease. And for me, for a normal school day, I would probably spend at least $10 a day to satisfy my cravings and eat whatever I fancied. Travelling was easy for me since I had a concession pass. Very often I find myself taking things for granted which is bad. I need to manage my finance well or else, I would have no savings. I would recommend to this challenge to anyone who spends a lot like me.


CA1: Global Voices

For this topic, I have chosen ‘A Grandmother and Granddaughter in India Are Making Beautiful Media Together’ from

Why I chose this post?
This article screamed out to me because of my interest in photography and the word “Grandmother”. I came across this article when I went to the category of cultures and I saw photography being categorised there as well. I chose this because I had an instinct that this post shared a unique grandmother and granddaughter bond, and I was not disappointed.
About this post…
Inderjit Kaur, who usually goes by Indri , is the grandmother of Jasmeen Patheja. Indri aspired to be an actress, and she collaborates with her granddaughter to create photos and videos. Indri also taught herself how to use internet platforms, such as google, YouTube, blogs, Twitter and Facebook. She often searches up things on YouTube and explores from home, such as how Japanese zen gardens are and watch videos for morning hymns. I really admire Indri’s curiosity for the constantly evolving world. She bothers to ask Jasmeen about certain platforms, and the difference between them. She constantly learns and has the passion for learning. To most of us, learning about technology is just as easy as ABC or 123. But to her, it was something new, to keep herself updated, to see what’s happening around the world. They share about Indri’s interest in exploring the internet, and her relationship with Jasmeen and how they bonded and had fun collaborating with each other.
After reading this post, it made me think about my times with my grandmother. I was inspired by this post because what Indri said was true. She said, “The whole world is learning, why should I not learn? I have a lot more to learn. It is important to walk along with the world.” It reminds me that you’re never too old or too young to learn, and every day is a lesson, and anywhere can be your classroom. We should not confine learning to within four walls, but in fact, wherever we go, we learn. No matter how old, we learn as well. Indri made me feel that, you’re never too old to stop dreaming. Up to the age of 84, she still wants to act, and it came true. All those posts, was probably out of curiosity, spending time and having fun with each other. Age should never be a barrier to learning.
A common question would be, does the internet help bridge and the gap between family and friends? I believe both grandmother and granddaughter agreed since Indri is having fun on the internet and she hopes to connect with her grandchildren too. Personally, I think it can. Though it’s better to be physically together, but there are times where technology can come to play. Example, I have a toddler cousin who’s constantly curious about everything around him, and he is already learning how to operate an Ipad. My grandmother would often video call me using LINE to entertain my cousin. And yes, I guess technology shrunk the world and bridges the gaps between families.

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photos were taken from


CA1: Can I Change?

A really bad habit of mine would be procrastinating. And this caused me to have poor time management skills and not setting priorities right.
I only recognise this problem when I was taking my N levels late last year, and I was under a lot of stress because of the last minute studying. I always had to go out to study as I couldn’t focus at home with so many other distractions. This is probably how studying at home would be: While studying…
*phone buzz a few times with new notifications* I’ll check what’s going on and eventually scroll through the other notifications I managed to ignore. Then I’ll open other social media, scroll through and be entertain, laze around and not do my work. Or another scenario would be scrolling through social media platforms and then delaying the time I planned to stop. A few other common scenarios among teenagers would be completing tasks at the very last minute or even studying for exams.
There are the 6 stages of change,
1. pre-contemplation
2. contemplation
3. determination
4. action
5. maintenance
6. termination
When I figured that this was a serious issue for me, I said I had to do something about it. In the stage of pre-contemplation, there are “the Four Rs” —reluctance, rebellion, resignation and rationalisation. I guess I am classified under rebellious. Because no matter how many times I remind myself to not procrastinate, I end up doing nothing anyway. In a way, others can say I’m being resistant.
I’m also probably in stage 2, contemplation. I was also trying to do something about it but not very significant changes. I just keep making notes to keep myself on task or on schedule. But I don’t deny that I don’t always stay on track.
I’m currently at stage 3, I’m still trying to discipline myself and stay on task. Although, I don’t deny I do stray off again sometimes. But it’s all parts and parcel of trying. I know eventually one day I can move on to stage 4 and so on. Procrastination is a seriously bad habit. It led me to so many situations that I felt stress and helpless. I haven’t given up trying to kick the bad habit, but I’m confident that I eventually will.

I have to create a schedule and discipline myself strictly. I’ll have to follow it so that I will not lose track of time and leave things incomplete. My main concern would be my time management and not doing things last minute. So I believe, one way to help myself would be creating and following a schedule.

Is work all about money? (Week 13)

To be absolutely realistic, I would want to be an event organiser. I love planning events and I love the satisfactory from it. I enjoy doing the “behind the scenes” job as there is an interest there. If I have to be specific, I would want to work as a wedding planner perhaps? or even just in a big company and maybe work hard enough to have my own company.
I wouldn’t want to perceive my job as a dreadful chore to do, and neither would I want my every day to be a boring routine. That is partially why I chose events management. Being in such an industry, you would be able to experience many things every day, be it a mistake or an awesome discovery.
My to-be list? I want to be happy and rich. I want to be rich so I can travel the world and explore. I want to be able to be independent. I want to be able to witness the world with my very own two eyes. I want to be able to do the things I love. And of course, I want to be who I am and not who I’m supposed to be.
I can use skillfuture to upgrade myself. No matter in what industry, I believe they would provide courses for you to improve who you are and impart knowledge to you. I can upgrade myself such that, I can gain more skills, and I might also be able to broaden my career options. Or even, I might gain a set of skill that might benefit me and give myself a promotion. But life is more about learning than anything else. You are never too old or too young to learn.

Tales Of Two City

Singaporean have it good but do we appreciate what we have? Here’s what we can learn from the people in Bangkok based on my 5 days 4-night trip there.

As humans, we often take what we have for granted and always yearn for better things or more things. Being in a first world country, this is one of the problems. In Singapore, we often complain about everything. We complain and make a big fuss out of a small issue, the internet is flooded with netizens expressing their own opinions. I don’t deny that it is good to voice out issues. But I do not agree with certain comments which people post inconsiderately. As a Singaporean, I realised we take a lot of things for granted, one of which is our multi-racial society. Now, I witness online people of different races fighting and being unable to agree with one another, I hear of people discriminating races. It’s not fair. Other things we actually take for granted of is our environment.

I was in Bangkok for a family holiday from the period of 17 June to 21 June 2016. It is a family habit to travel so as to experience the other lifestyles of people around the world. I went to several places, such as temples, the Grand Palaces, shopping areas, basically, many shopping places.
What are the differences between Singapore and Bangkok?
To start off, Bangkok is not as developed as Singapore. Although the city consists skyscrapers, some area still looks pretty run down. Electric cables still hang above the ground, the area is dirty and not as clean as Singapore. I have never been so happy to find a rubbish bin to dispose of my things until I went to Bangkok. Honestly, Bangkok can be a really nice place to be.
Because of the cultural differences, the people there are much more friendly, but some are rather shy as well. But usually, they are very approachable people. In Singapore, you might face very cold and hostile people. Maybe it’s because of the fast paced life we have, no one has time to be patient.
In Singapore, some very inconsiderate train or bus commuters would not move in for space, however, I noticed on the their “MRT” trains they would move in automatically. Buddhism is a highly respected religion in Thailand. In trains, they actually have reserved seats for monks. Whereas in Singapore, you would not see such priorities. I believe this is a simple culture and country differences. 93% of the citizens are Buddhist, that is perhaps the reason why they could set such priority for monks. In Singapore, we have a wide range of religions, such as Muslims, Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, Catholic and many other religion. We have different infrastructures for all these different religions. Whereas in Thailand, you would hardly see mosques, very little churches but a lot of Temples.
Another thing I would want to bring up is the drainage systems. The drainage systems back home are really good. Think about it, we have canals, good drainage systems so we won’t experience floods. In Thailand, when it rains, the roads would flood. Even in peak periods when traffic extremely busy, people don’t complain or jam up the area. Instead, they continue driving with care and ignore the flood. In Singapore, we complain and jam up the traffic. Orchard Road floods were made huge, so many complaints and unhappiness. To counter my statement, some may say it’s because things there are cheaper and more affordable, when the car is spoiled, they can get a new one. Yes, of course, living standards there might be cheap. But it only applies to us tourist going there. What they earn and what we earn cannot be compared. Some may say, of course, we’d make a big fuss, our cars and everything else are so expensive, that’s why they feel unhappy at the damages. But then again, our government would definitely do something about such problem as soon as possible. In Singapore, we could embrace certain road closures for awhile to solve the problem, however, in Bangkok, it is too busy for any closures at all. My driver shared that traffic jams can last up to hours! I would definitely not have the patience to wait for hours to get out of the jam.
Speaking of traffic, the traffic in Bangkok is very very chaotic. As a pedestrian, I have to muster lots of courage to cross the road. When I was there, the traffic was non-stop. To me, the traffic system was weird, sometimes at the red light, some lanes are still moving. Crossing the road there could probably give me anxiety because I honestly didn’t know how to get across without my family’s help. Maybe, I experience such difficulty because I’m a tourist. The people there would know how their road systems are like. But usually, I don’t feel safe crossing the road. However, back here in Singapore, I could cross the road with ease. Usually, I can use my phone while crossing the road (though it is still very dangerous) or I don’t have to get any panic attack before crossing the road. In Singapore, we cross with so much ease, and I’m grateful for that.
The children there are very hardworking as well, often, they would find their parents after school to help out at the stall or with their job. I feel that this is very sensible of them. And they should know that their parents are working really hard to provide them with education, and all basic life necessities. Look at our local kids, each of them has a smartphone or a tablet, all being so thoroughly pampered and some even play truant and not appreciate the things provided by their parents.
I find that people there are much easier going and are very adaptive to situations. They are people who know how to appreciate and respect as well. They are able to adapt to certain situations, move on with life. And the people there clearly knows how to appreciate what they have because of poverty. They are struggling to make a living every day, the stall vendors would keep thanking you and wish you well if you bought their goods. And they are people with respect because they really respect their culture a lot. I’m not implying that we as Singaporeans don’t possess any of such traits. But I feel that we should learn to be more appreciative and understanding. We wouldn’t know what we use to have until we lose it. Start appreciating before it’s too late. I believe most of our parents are working really hard to save up for us. They are doing their very best to give us what we want. So in return, we should be more filial and sensible. At the moment the only thing we can contribute is to be more understanding and study hard, give them the results they hope for after so much investments in us.
In conclusion, we can learn how to be more adaptive, appreciative and respectful. Never stop being thankful for what we have.

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CA1: Unusual Occupation

In the dictionary, the word ‘unusual’ is defined as ‘not habitually or commonly occurring or done.’ Everyone’s opinion of “usual” is definitely different. To me, unusual is defined as something foreign or something not commonly practised. An unusual occupation to me would be the Mortuary Make Up Artist.
Why is this job unusual?
Being a mortuary makeup artist is unusual because it’s dealing with dead people. Makeup artist usually deals with people who are well and alive, but for them ,they have to inject chemicals to prevent the body from rotting for a few days, cleanse the body and use makeup tools to beautify the person. I think it takes a lot of courage to be able to do such a job because I believe some of us do have a fear of dead bodies. While researching about this job, I came across an article written by Mr Jeremy Leong about this mortuary makeup artist who was known as Mr Pio Lobenaria.
Mr Pio has been working as an embalmer for over 31 years already. It has been a norm for him to work and be around dead bodies that it doesn’t frighten him anymore.
Embalming is the process of preserving a corpse. This process usually takes a few hours. After post-mortem, which is the process of discovering the reasons for their death, they will have to sew the scalp and the chin to stomach with all their organs inside. They will then have to extract all the blood. The purpose of this is to prevent decomposition of the body and to promote hygiene and prevent odour. After that, a chemical is injected into the body to preserve the corpse.
They will then shower the body to remove the smell of the chemical, and then dress the corpse in their own clothing and beautify them with makeup. The body will then be sent to the funeral site with the coffin.
I would not be able to do such a job as I have a fear of dead bodies and would feel very uneasy to be around them. I wouldn’t want to imagine how it would be if a person died from suicide or a tragic accident. Though the mortuary artist would try to fix up the faces, but it would be really difficult as well with all the disfigured and burnt faces. I am one who is unable to tolerate blood and gore and I really respect those people that are brave enough to take up such jobs. It is a really unusual and scary field to work in and those people are open enough to take up the challenge.



Heritage Trail: Joo Chiat

For my AEC project, one of which I had to do was the Heritage Trail. We were required to explore an area individually and share about our experience. For my trail, I contemplated between Joo Chiat and Chinatown. In the end, I chose Joo Chiat.
Usually, when we hear “Joo Chiat”, the few words that come to mind might be “Peranakan” , “Katong” , “old shophouses”. Well, those are also the reasons why I wanted to do Joo Chiat. My grandmother was a Peranakan, those beautiful and elegant ladies you’d see in a Kebaya. She’s those Peranakan ladies that could cook, bake, and sew. Up till now, at the age of 73, she still possesses those skills. Even before finding out that she was a Peranakan, I love the designs and the ethnic clothing of Peranakans. There was always this unique pattern. My father used to drive past Joo Chiat area a lot and I’d stare out of the window in awe, admiring the old shop houses, and the area which was once occupied by many Peranakans and Europeans. Another reason was because, my grandparents met in Joo Chiat, where my grandfather’s family owned a laundry shop, while my grandmother sold cloth there. They both lived at Geylang Serai as neighbours as well.
History of Joo Chiat
Because of this assignment, I learnt a few things about Joo Chiat.
I found myself pondering about questions I never thought I would ask. One of which was how Joo Chiat got its estate name. Apparently, this estate got its name from a man named Chew Joo Chiat. Mr Chew was a successful China migrant who was a ship chandler and a timber trader before becoming a plantation owner. He cultivated gambier, nutmeg and coconut, and rubber. He was also a housing developer and has many other businesses. He owned many plots of lands which resulted in him to be named the “King of Katong”. By 1917, the area started to be named after him because he agreed to open up the area for public use, hence, Joo Chiat Road, Joo Chiat Lane, Joo Chiat place, and Joo Chiat terrace. Don’t be surprised, the post office, police post, and the market was also named after Mr Chew.
Back in the 1820s, that area that would become known as Joo Chiat was a plantation for cotton and coconuts. The area too consisted of many seaside houses and bungalows built by rich people. When people were drawn to the east in the 1900s, they opened up new residential area and amenities for the residents. In 1950s-60s, landmarks like Roxy, and Odeons cinema were constructed, and subsequently, in the 1980s, Sri Vinayagar Kalamandapam temple, the Kuan Im Tng temple were all constructed. Fortunately, in July 1993, Joo Chiat was a designated conservation area and shophouses and some landed properties were preserved. In February 2011, the National Heritage Board designated Joo Chiat as Singapore’s first Heritage Town.

About my adventure
On a busy weekend, I ventured Joo Chiat from Still Road. Getting to my starting point was a slight issue for me as I was not familiar with the area. I found myself along Still Road, starting from the Church of the Holy Family. What’s Special about this church? This was the first church which held the first Christmas mass in Singapore. This is also a pre-WWII Catholic church and is still conducting masses today.

Church Of The Holy Family

I continued walking down from where I was and found myself at the conserved terrace houses along 150 East Coast Road. Those are the kind of houses which you had to climb up the stairs to get to your house. The designs were really retro, and would be nostalgic to some as well. This is probably my first time seeing such houses other than on TV. It’s really nice because it’s not like what you see every day, it’s not a modern terrace house or a 40 storey tall HDB flat.

Continuing my trail, I came across the stretch of shophouses at a very busy junction at ALIBABAR Hawker Bar. Further down, we can see many shophouses of various colours. It was eye catching and I was so excited upon seeing them. Rumah Bebe was the unique shade of blue, was once the famous Tay Buan Guan, now sells Peranakan Arts and Crafts such as beading, embroidered shoes, bags, kebayas, batik sarongs and porcelain. I was told by my grandparents that Kim Choo restaurant which was nearby sold really good rice dumplings, but unfortunately, I was not able to try them.



Rumah Bebe

Walking on, I saw a red building of about 2 storeys. That’s The Red House and was the ‘Former Red House Bakery’. It was once a seaside house until it became famous for its swiss rolls and curry puffs. The bakery was first credited for being the first in Singapore to build the traditional western 3-tier cake back in the 1920s.

The Red House

20160702_151809My next stop was the Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple. This temple was founded by Tamils of Sri Lanka in 1929 and over the years, more shrines were added. This temple is located at 19 Ceylon Rd. Fun fact, Sri Lanka was once called Ceylon, hence the name of the street.photo_2016-07-06_17-31-2820160702_152237IMG_4123My next destination is my ultimate favourite which I anticipated excitedly to be there. This stop was the houses and shophouses along Koon Seng Rd and between Joo Chiat road and Tembeling Rd. Koon Seng Rd houses were the ones famous for the colourful Peranakan houses, with the delicate and fine design. Walking around the area boost my mood, seeing all these old and nice shop houses. It was my second time there. The first time I was there, I was told that back then, they did not have unit numbers, people would find houses base on the family names which would usually be written in gold colour on a black coloured board, hung above the main door.

Koon Seng Rd
Koon Seng Rd
Koon Seng Rd
Koon Seng Rd
Presbyterian Church

20160702_15313220160702_153143 After admiring all those beautiful houses, I proceeded on to Kuan Im Tng Temple. Kuan Im is the Goddess of Mercy. It isn’t a very big temple, but big enough to have a variety of Statues to worship. I was greeted by the ‘Xiao Fuo’ also known as the Happy God. On the left side, I observed paintings depicting legends and histories. In the temple, there were a few people praying and asking from the Goddess. Since it is not a big temple, there wasn’t much to see. I ended my heritage trail at Kuan Im Temple.

Kuan Im Tng

photo_2016-07-06_17-30-55photo_2016-07-06_17-30-4520160702_15530420160702_15533520160702_155338 Overall, this trip was really exciting for me as the process of me finding out about Joo Chiat was really interesting. I gained additional knowledge of the area and get to know my grandparent’s past and their experience of Joo Chiat.20160702_14244020160702_160427.jpg

Bibliography (information taken from)

Trail inspired from Singapore day by day: 20 smart ways to see the city by Heidi Sarna