Tag: singapore

NATIONAL GALLERY SINGAPORE



Finally got the chance to check out the Singapore National Gallery and it was well worth the visit. Housed in the old Supreme Court and City Hall buildings, the buildings in itself were amazing pieces of art. Fun fact I learned from the Changi World War II tour I took (that I will blog about soon!), this was where they officially signed and accepted the Japanese’s surrender. SO MUCH HISTORY WITHIN THESE WALLS! And so much art too, focus, Reg. Hehe! The Singapore National Gallery is home to the world’s largest public collection of Singapore and South East Asian modern art. To put it in perspective, they have over 8,000 artworks from all over the region. It was interesting to walk through the galleries and see the similarities within the region. There were times I could’ve sworn the landscape was Philippine only to look closer and find out it’s actually Myanmar or Indonesia. Not that there was any lack of Filipino artists. I was sooo proud whenever I’d see Filipino works and even more so when I realized that I’ve seen some of those pieces before at the Ateneo Art Gallery. Super kilig! Don’t let me get started on that iconic Juan Luna piece! Of course I also got introduced to other Asian artists and even discovered a new favorite painting by local Singaporean watercolor master, Gog Sing Hooi. And oh! Don’t forget to head on up and see amazing views of Singapore! πŸ™‚

Anyway, the current exhibition is entitled: Reframing Modernism. And here, you will see Asian art side by side their Western counterparts. They even have a Matisse and Picasso on display! Of course if Matisse and Picasso are your main aims, you’d have better luck in museums abroad (1 & 2) but I cannot stress this enough, South East Asian art is worth it.  Don’t believe me, just (watch♬) scroll:-


Singapore:-

Singapore as a city gives of such a cold, industrial vibe that I never considered what Singapore art may be like. Wrong move, turns out Singapore art is so vibrant and colorful and at times, delicate even. 
Loooove this watercolor piece by Gog Sing Hooi

Cheong Soo Pieng
Lim Cheng Hoe
Georgette Chen
Foo Chee San, Foo Chee San, and Lim Yew Kuan
 Cheong Soo Pieng
Georgette Chen

Philippines:-

I’ve always believed that Filipino artists are world class. From the ilustrados in the Spanish era, to today’s modern artists, I feel that they are on par with international counterparts yet they don’t get as much exposure or recognition. I heard that admission is free to the National Museum of the Philippines this June and if you can, better take advantage of it! 
 Filipino modern art: Jose Joya, J Elizalde Navarro, Fernando Zobel
 Galo Ocampo’s Brown Madonna had been considered scandalous as it portrayed Jesus and Mary as Filipinos in local wear
 Fernando Amorsolo
 Fernando Zobel – this was displayed in the Ateneo Art Gallery! πŸ™‚
 A closer look at the Joya piece
 Fernando Amorsolo depicting a market scene under the Japanese occupation
 The beautiful Espana y Filipinas by Juan Luna. He was commissioned for this work to symbolically show Spain guiding the Philippines to progress.
 Johnny Manahan
Remember the painting I mentioned here? The oil on canvas I didn’t catch who made but it was very creative? Well, it was by the same guy, Hernando Ocampo. See the style resemblance? πŸ™‚
Felix Hidalgo’s Las Virgenes Cristianas Expuestas Al Populacho which won Silver Medal in the 1884 Madrid Exposition of Fine Arts where Juan Luna’s Spoliarium won Gold


South East Asia:-

It’s interesting how similar South East Asian culture is. Given the same tropical climate, landscapes can almost be interchanged. What’s fascinating is seeing the difference in techniques used as with food and art. πŸ˜‰ 
by Indonesian artist Affandi
by Indonesian artist Mas Pirngadie
by Thai artist Prasong Patamanuj
by Myanmar artist U Ba Nyan


War Propaganda:-

Another interesting insight is how art has been used in propaganda. 
Vietnam War propaganda by various Vietnamese artists: Hoang Tran, Hoang Duc Toan, Le Minh, Nguyen Thi Kim, Vu Trung Luong
Soviet Propaganda by an Unknown Artist
by Lao artist Khamsouk

Western Art depicting Eastern scenes:-

paintings by Jean Launois. I really liked the first one because how are is it to see an Asian Gatsby-esque?!
The commentary says that this probably isn’t even a real town and that the painter just used scenes from various South East Asian cities and crammed it together as what Western artists commissioned to depict Asia did. It was likely because to them it all looked the same, so they just committed it to memory and worked on it from there. So taking their cue, I also forgot who the artist was. 

Western Art:-

Like what I mentioned, they had their share of Western greats on exhibit. 
Milenko Prvacki
Pablo Picasso
Robert Delaunay
Georges Braque

Henri Matisse
Vassily Kandinsky

Georges Rouault
Fernand Leger
I grew a deeper appreciation for Asian art from this visit. Asian art can be just as refined as western art or maybe even more. It’s not just those ethnic tribal shapes, Asians actually do, and are good at, modern art. IMPRESSIONISTS FOREVERRRR! Hahaha The National Gallery Singapore is definitely worth a visit for Asians and non-Asians alike. πŸ˜‰ 
National Gallery Singapore is located at 1 St Andrew’s Rd, Singapore 178957

SINGAPORE BRUNCH FILES: SELFISH GENE, PRIVE, MARMALADE PANTRY

Because brunch is such a big thing here in Singapore (I’m not complaining, I LOOVE IT!), I figured I’d post about some eateries I’ve visited and share my honest reviews in case you happen to be in the area or you know, you need new brunch spots. Bon appΓ©tit! 

1. Selfish Gene Cafe @ China Town

Nestled in a shophouse in Craig Road, this cafe prides itself with being selfish with the food they serve. Meaning, Gene is super picky and wouldn’t serve food he himself wouldn’t eat. Really enjoyed the truffle fries and the Iced Chai Latte. The Strawberry+Candied Bacon toast was good, although it gets overbearing after some time – best to share. 

2. Prive @ Chijmes

Brunch lovers rejoice; no need to go all the way to Sentosa! For Eggs Benedict fans, their straightforward serving is sure to check all the boxes – generous hollandaise, runny egg, and yummy smoked ham and homemade bacon. If traditional brunchfare isn’t your thing, 2 words: wagyu burger. It’s alfresco dining in Chijmes so it can get a bit warm, dress accordingly.

3. Marmalade Pantry @ ION Orchard

Take a break from shopping at ION and grab a meal at Marmalade Pantry – that is, if you don’t mind waiting for a table. Since it’s in the busiest mall in Orchard Road, it goes without saying that there is always a queue. The mains weren’t as strong as their desserts so I’m thinking maybe next time, skip brunch and just go for coffee and cake.

Have you guys been? Any thoughts? Or, what about YOUR favorite brunch spots whatever city you’re in? Let me know below!

Selfish Gene Cafe is located at 40 Craig Rd, Singapore 089678
Prive is located at 30 Victoria St, Chijmes, Singapore 187996
Marmalade Pantry is located at 2 Orchard Turn, #03-22 ION Orchard, Singapore 238801

STEPPING STONES AND GARDEN CITIES

Yay, Saturday! So my life planning has taken up approximately 10 minutes, writing down my Plan A, B, and C for this year. Okay, it’s not actually life planning but figuring out where I go from here. I know where I want to go and what I want out of life (and if I’m being completely honest, I always did) but the how isn’t clear at the moment. Sometimes, instead of stepping on to the next stone, you have to take that leap of faith.
As for the rest of the weekend, I intend to visit some distinctly Singapore spots. All the times I’ve complained that there’s nothing to do is coming back to me as I try to squeeze in as many attractions as I can. Hehe! 
But for now, here’s a photo diary of my visit to the Singapore National Orchid Garden, the premier section of the Singapore Botanic Gardens. It’s $5 for adults, a minimal fee for exploring the lush space. Seeing all the vibrant colors got me asking myself how is this all even real!? It was an interesting afternoon spent strolling around and admiring nature. Really got to hand it to Lee Kuan Yew for coming up with the “Singapore as a Garden City” idea. Aside from roadside greenery and tree-planting initiatives, he ensured an escape from the urban bustle through parks and gardens scattered across the island. Wish we had more of this in Manila!

National Orchid Garden is located at 1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569

Let me know your plans are for the weekend!

{Bugis top, Cotton On cut offs, Yosi Samra flats, Michael Kors bag}

NDP 2015 PREVIEW: Celebrations at the Float

Tomorrow, Singapore celebrates its 50th birthday. Haters gon’ hate, hate, hate *ahem*Amos Lee*ahem* but from the looks of it, this year’s National Day Parade is going to be amazing.

Thanks to my boyfriend and his recent reservist, I was able to witness the preview last weekend. We were in the Floating Platform instead of Padang, but it was still full-house and action packed. You could really feel the SG pride! My favorite part, as with the previous parades, was the airforce display. I am a huuuuge fan of the Red Lions. Seeing them jump live and at such a height(!) was really exhilerating. The fly by of the aircrafts were also very impressive! There was a criss-crossing fleet and one jet that went vertically upwards. Very Top Gun! 

Aside from the airforce, we also got to see the SAF, SPF, and SCDF mobile column. We weren’t expecting them to drive by the float but the SAF did and the crowd went wild!! The lead tank was carrying a retired leiutenant colonel who led the first ever NDP mobile column. I mean, how cool is that!? Even I was cheering along!

I’ve heard some Singaporeans say that the NDP is complete bollocks – that it’s a very communist move and that it’s a waste of money. But you know what? I completely disagree! Not just because I love fireworks but because I can see how this boosts the people’s morale. You know how it is that companies that make their employees feel that they’re part of a bigger picture tend to have higher productivity? I’m guessing the same goes for countries.

Anyway, below is a photo dump of the events that transpired. And just coz it’s SG50, there’s a total of 50 pictures in this post. :p

Happy birthday, Singapore! Really looking forward to what else this mighty nation has in store! Looking forward to tomorrow’s spectacle!

A NEW YORK-ISH SUNDATE: SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN + LOBSTER ROLLS

Last Sunday, I ignored my runny nose and stuffy head to make my way to Marina Bay Sands for brunch and a musical. I hate flu season!! I’ve barely even recovered and then the bug struck me again.. on a weekend too, how inopportune! πŸ™ Armed with medicines, lozenges, and a bottle of water, I was able to sail through my agenda before finally plopping back in bed by 4pm. All’s well that ends well. :p But I’m getting way ahead of myself.. Here’s what happened – 
Luke and I decided to have brunch at DB Bistro. Instead of stuffing my face with the heavy (but worth it) set brunch, I opted to try the Lobster Roll because I’ve been craving for it since trying Luke’s Lobster in New York. The lobster was good but it was a bit too much in terms of flavors. For me, the pepper on top was overpowering. I much prefer the purity of Luke’s Lobster. On the upside, I enjoyed the avocado and the brioche was pretty good. 
Isn’t my boyfriend adorbs!?!? Heheheheheeh 
We went to watch Singin’ In The Rain, the stage adaption of the 1952 movie-musical of the same name. It tells the story of famous Hollywood tandem, Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont, and their studio and production team during the movie industry’s transition from silent films to “talkies”. The story was quite funny and rather entertaining. Direct from London’s West End, you wouldn’t expect anything less from the performers. Bethany Dickson (Kathy)’s old hollywood beauty was as captivating as her singing voice. Whereas, Steven van Wyk (Cosmo) and Taryn Lee Hudson (Lina) pretty much led the humour department. Having been set in the 20’s, I thoroughly enjoyed the Charleston performances and of course, the costumes! Although I had a tough time connecting the colourful garments with the decade (since most photographs are black and white, heh!), I really liked their outfits – the flapper dresses being my favorite! Overall, it was an enjoyable show that literally makes a splash. It runs in Singapore until the 2nd of August so make sure to catch it! Tickets are available on Sistic.
I didn’t realize I was having a New York-ish Sundate (heck, I was even going for the french girl messy hair!) until I was explaining to my boyfriend why I agreed to my friend’s sentiments about the stress of “knowing there’s another way of living”. It’s funny, because traces of the New York elements I have been so desperately craving for are actually available to me here in Singapore. Efficient public transport that covers a vast network? Check. Musicals and big productions? Check. Eateries with famous chefs attached to it? Check. In so many ways, living in Singapore has brought me much closer to the lifestyle I’ve always wanted. I am grateful for the independence and the opportunities that I’m quite certain Manila wouldn’t have been able to afford me. And yet, I still want more
Sometimes I feel guilty for wanting more. It’s not that I’m unhappy or I’m ungrateful, it’s just that I know I could be happier. That I could do more and be more. And hey, even if it doesn’t turn out exactly how I want it to be, the optimist in me will argue that knowing for sure has its merits – peaceful nights not wondering what I missed out on. For now though, I will remain to be grateful and continue working towards the direction I’ve set out on.

I’m laughing at clouds
So dark up above
The sun’s in my heart
And I’m ready for love
Singin’ in the Rain ♬

PREVIEWING THE ALL NEW WHITE SANDS WITH SAKAE SUSHI AND THAI EXPRESS

Living and working in the farthest of Singapore’s far East, I’ve always frequented White Sands for my essentials. Heck, even before living in Pasir Ris, I would go to White Sands after work to shop in NTUC and Cotton On because it was conveniently located next to the MRT. Recently though, it underwent works and renovations so like most residents, I’ve been feeling a sort of emptiness from being White Sands-less. I mean, come on, bring me back my Pepper Lunch and ang mo (American, hehe!) Pringles from Valu$!! :'( But like the saying goes, good things fall apart so better things can fall in place. And guess what!? It’s already starting to fall in place!

The revamp may not yet be completed, but I urge you to go inside and check out the new and improved White Sands. They’ve been effectively utilising the space, expanding here and there. Moreover, they’ve upgraded the interiors making it more welcoming and aesthetically pleasing. Props to them for investing on nicer lighting! πŸ™‚ Thing is though, it’s not just the physical look that is different. Even the feel of it is much more cosy. I mean,  I loved the old White Sands because of its convenience and all, but I wouldn’t really hang out there. It’s impressive how they’ve kept White Sands’ practicality while adding this fresh and much appreciated layer of leisure on top of the usual shopping. What was once good enough yet impersonal has become a whole lot of better as the new White Sands is turning out to be the embodiment of the ideal neighbour – helpful, warm, and inviting.

You should definitely make your way to White Sands to check out what I’m talking about. Bring your friends and family and share some quality time going on a relaxing stroll or bonding over delicious food. If you need more convincing, below are more mouthwatering reasons for you to drop by ASAP: 


1. SAKAE SUSHI


Sakae Sushi is Singapore’s very own “trendy, quick-service kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi concept that has become synonymous with a fun-filled, value-for-money and healthy dining experience”. Would you believe that they enrich their sushi rice with Vitamin E for added health benefits and that their salmon is air-flown daily to ensure freshness? Now that’s what you call commitment to quality and health!
 Salmon Zukushi signature salmon creation platter. The salmon lover in me was so so so happy upon seeing this!
My favorites: Hiroshima Oyster Shooters which undergo rigorous screening to ensure that they’re safe to eat and the Sakae Don, signature salmon assortment on sushi rice, which just may be God’s gift to salmon lovers. 
An assortment of deep fried goodies that I couldn’t stop munching on and the Trio Carpaccio which consists of Hokkaido scallops, maguro and salmon sashimi in a yummy tangy sauce

 Unagi Bibinba – can we all take a moment to admire how pretty this dish is!? It’s grilled eel, with shredded egg and veggies, served with rice and miso soup.

Mini Negitoro Don and Mini Chirashi Don. Minced tuna belly and assorted sashimi, respecitvely, on a bed of Vitamin E enriched sushi rice. Personally though, I prefer the regular sized serving. πŸ˜‰

 Sakae Fondue – wait, what?! Yup! They serve fondue as dessert. Such as sweet ending to a lovely meal, don’t you think? πŸ™‚
Sakae Sushi is located at #02-01/02/03 White Sands Mall

2. THAI EXPRESS

It’s impossible not to be familiar with Thai Express. With over 20 outlets in Singapore, and more in China, Vietnam, and Malaysia, this modern Thai food chain is the answer to the needs of customers who want to dine amidst a relaxed yet contemporary ambience without sacrificing the authenticity of the cuisine. I, for one, personally appreciate how they make Thai food accessible to the public. 

Starting off with the Yam Mamuang Thai  or mango salad. This is such a refreshing dish that I can happily munch on alone or as a side. 

Thai Milk Tea – a Thai meal will not be complete without this!
Classic favorites: Kanom Pang Na Kung  (Prawn toast) and Khao Gai Phat Krapow Rice (stir-fried spicy minced chicken with Thai basil)

 The CNN ranked Massaman Chicken Curry with Thai-style pancake. Hard to believe but there’s over 20 ingredients in this dish and it takes at least 12 hours to prepare. What you get is a seamlessly infused pot that has a rich and unique flavor that is quite frankly, unlike any curry you’ve had before.
  
Poo Phat Pong Kari Rice. This, without a doubt, was the star of the night. Soft shell crab, egg and onion curry, I wouldn’t have given it much thought if I saw it in the menu BUT after trying this and seeing it, oh myyy!! I WAS MISSING OUT! It’s soooo good!!!

Chilled desserts for a nice ending – Ta Kor (Famous Thai fragrant pandan jelly with coconut custard) and Thai Chendol (Fragrant jackfruit slices, colorful strains of chendol and chewy flour bits in a sea of rich coconut milk and traditional Thai palm sugar)

And my personal favorite, the dish that my tummy will always make room for – Khao Niao Mamuang. Sweet glutinous rice with fresh mango and coconut milk πŸ™‚
Thai Express is located at #02-04 White Sands

Are you guys still here? Or have you gone to White Sands already? :p Actually, I’m super tempted to go there now, hahaha Aside from Thai Express and Sakae Sushi, Cookhouse is having a $1 weekday special promotion! Will I see you there? πŸ™‚
Follow White Sands on Facebook to get more updates! I promise to keep you guys posted too!

WHEN THAT SUN GOES DOWN

There are times when going through everyday feels more of a routine than actual living. I hate that feeling!!! You only get one life and you won’t be able to take back the days so it’s crucial to strive to make every-damn-day count. But with jobs and responsibilities, it isn’t as easy for most people to YOLO while earning a living. You can, however, break the monotony and inject some excitement by varying the elements in the said routine. Start small – tea instead of coffee, buy food from a different place, wear something you fancy even if it’s not your normal style. It’s these small things that reaffirm our control of what goes on in our lives and not the other way around. Remember, it is our choices that define us, not our circumstances. So when life seems “mundane”, “boring”, or  even “shitty”, do something about it. Even if it’s just a quick detour in East Coast Park to catch the sunset and take photos. πŸ˜‰

“Hope that you spend your days, but they all add up
And when that sun goes down, hope you raise your cup”
– I Lived by OneRepublic ♬

IN MEMORY OF LEE KUAN YEW

Today, the world lost an exemplary human being. Singapore is in a very somber mood and why wouldn’t it be? Even if Mr. Lee and the public don’t always see eye to eye, how can anyone not grieve the death of a father? Lee Kuan Yew was the man that turned a swamp (his word, not mine!) into a metropolis. He paved the way for the Singapore that it is today. The radio was right, LKY doesn’t need any new monument to commemorate him. One only need to look around because his monument, a concrete tribute to and reminder of his legacy, is Singapore itself.

Beyond the red dot, the world shares the loss of this great man. Other nations may not know firsthand the specifics of his and the PAP’s rule, but that doesn’t mean non-Singaporeans are unaware of his huge impact – it can easily be seen in Singapore’s prosperity and quality of life. He was a great leader, no arguments there. But more than his policies and his political insights (HDB and NS to name a few), the reason I look up to him is his unwavering persistence. Here is a man who saw Singapore’s potential, believed in its capability, worked hard for it and overcame great odds to finally achieve its place as a world-class city. The circumstances he had to deal with were less than ideal – British pull out, being kicked out from Malaysia, rise of communism in the East – but he got through it. Even when faced with uncertainty, even when the odds were not in his favour, he held on to his vision and pushed through. So aside from thanking him for being an inspirational politician and wishing more leaders were like him (ahem, Philippines, ahem), I thank him for being an inspiring person. His memory is a reminder to chase and work had for your ambitions because anything is possible. All you need is a clear vision and lots and lots of determination. The possibility of making a mistake is quite paralysing but don’t be afraid! If it’s for an “honourable purpose“, decide, go 100%, and do your best. It’s the only thing that matters.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Lee.