Friday, December 28, 2012

Tawandang Microbrewery@ Dempsey

Celebrating Christmas, my family went down to Tawandang Microbrewery@ Dempsey.

Was not anticipating much about the food because seems the online reviews were average. But boy! Did the atmosphere made every penny worthwhile. And the food truly is not too bad. I would go back there again!

We tried a number of their recommended food. And truly I find some of the dishes good - such as the Phat Thai and Pork Knuckles.
Phat Thai - Though the prawns were not too fresh, the sauce mix for the noodles was sweet and lovely.
The Tom Yam flavoring was too milky it seems but still nice.
My brother loved the chicken green curry but it was a tad too spicy for me. 
Catfish thing - that they fried and make it into a crispy dish. Not my cup of tea.
Pork Knuckles - initially when they served it to us, it was cold! Imagine that. Okay slightly warm. But pork knuckles should be crispy and hot!So we made them bring it back to re-cook it again. And when it came back, it was fantastic. Crispy skin with juicy meat. 

Ended our meal with the dessert which I loved because the mango was the sour kind. And the sweet milk with the rice. The mix was great. But for $10, that's expensive! (haha)

And as we finished our meal at around 730pm, the performance began!
Such cosy feeling just remembering it!

1. Dance with Music Performances

 2. Children involvement - Singing the Christmas jingle bell songs and the famous Gangnam Style.
Truly felt Christmasy with all the children excitement. Everyone in the restaurant was cheering and dancing along with them!

 3. Personal singing dedication - where the singers come down stage and pass the mike to people to let them sing. There was also love songs which the older generation couple sang to one another. So sweet!
I'll be back! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Blessed Christmas Everyone!

Its been 2 fruitful years since I started blogging (introduced by my dear friend Mint - who stands as a testimony for someone who lives for her dream, her love - singing! Gambate! Jia you k!)

On this special day I want to give a loud shout-out Merry Christmas to all the dear bloggers I have met and my dear readers who sends me email messages - encouraging me, introducing me to nice places and movies and sharing your ideas and comments on what I have blogged about. THANK YOU!
Blogging has open my eyes to friends whom I might never have met. And also friends whom I have not seen for a long time but appear before me. That's the wonder of blogging.
And a new found joy!

To my fellow blogger friends ( Sorry if I miss anyone out. Getting older memory failing haha)
- Ruiting (  - Thanks for being my room mate at Genting and for sharing with me your life story like a friend. Heart. Meet up when you can k.
- Yingtian ( - Known her as a friend before I knew she was blogging. Have always been impressed by her fashion. Support!
- Jessie ( - Such a sweet friend. Has a great caring nature that makes you feel love. Hugs!
- Silver ( Knew her from Mint's birthday. And also much better from our genting trip. A very nice and considerate blogger with great voice. More KTVs to come k! Though she is famous, she treats everyone the same with such openness.
- Cynthia ( whom I met recently from the workshop. Totally love this girl and her baking skills are awesome. Remember me when you feel like teaching!
- Denise ( is someone I can talk to for ages! And her voice is magical too! Even though you are entering the working world, don't waste your singing talent k!
- Joey ( who won an award this year. Something with interesting thoughts about the future. Continue exploring life as it is babe!
- HP ( http: // and William ( with me indeed how much effort it takes to be a blogger. And its not just name sake. Its putting your heart and soul into the articles. And they do it because its a lifestyle.

Who else did I miss out??

To celebrate this festive occasion, I have prepared a gift for my dear readers :)
Just email me via on why you love Christmas
and a lucky 'commenter' stand to win this water fan spray!

 Ho Ho Ho!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

" Our Homeland" aka Kazoku no kuni

Watched this fantastic powerful movie and even though I'm rushing to do other things. I've got to share about it! The movie is called " Our Homeland" aka Kazoku no kuni

The story begins with the return of Sung Ho (Arata Iura) to his family in Tokyo after 25 years in North Korea. He is suffering from a brain tumor whose treatment is beyond the abilities of North Korean doctors and has been given three months to find a cure in Japan.
The starting scene was poignant-  The contrast of 3 stern-faced North Korean persons standing facing their South Korean Families who are smiling, beckoning them to come over. Yet they have to wait till they finish all the greeting with the North Korean officers before they can reunite. And the reunion is so calm for the North Korean and you wonder how an environment can change a person.
He is welcomed by his mother (Yoshiko Miyazaki) and his father (Masane Tsukayama) who was responsible for sending him away at age 16 - because he is working in the North Korean embassy in Japan and I believe sending a family to live in North Korea was to remind them to stick to their roots (or else) ; and his younger sister Rie (Sakura Ando). The juxtaposition of feelings is evident when the reunion which  should be filled with joy, is contrastingly chilling. Sung Ho is silent, not willing to open up about his life, feelings and intentions
(Its the feeling where all emotions and words are hidden - but all can be seen through his eyes - which is the window to his soul) And we understood why with presence of a North Korean handler (Yang Ik June) who watches Sung Ho's every move. Rather than be free, its a delusion freedom where he is still living behind prison bars in his head, resigned to doing his warders' bidding. - his mission to get his sister to become a spy.
This scene was tinged with such sadness and fear - when the sister asked him " Will you be okay if I decide not to! Will you be okay if I decide not to!" (What fearful punishment lies ahead because he did not get this mission done!) 
The cruelty of reality for him is made worse by attempts by well-meaning friends and family members to reconnect him to his past only stir up thoughts and emotions he has long kept suppressed.Because he knows eventually he still needs to return back. And hope IS a dangerous feeling.

I cried my eyes out during the scene of him and his father. Where his father told him he must return back to North Korea and he screamed out (can't remember the exact lines but this is what I remember and felt " That's all you ever say! You don't understand! You don't want to understand!" )
Its the same how we feel with our parents at times. They always say its for our good but when we say what we truly want, how many times do they say good job, go for it? Yet we as children, how can we ignore them and do what we want for we hold gratitude to them for bringing us up and as our parents get older, WHO CAN think of ourselves and forget about our responsibilities. Carpe Diem. Its true. But not sacrificing our parents hopes and beliefs. All we can do is try our best to live life and to fulfill whats' needed.

yet his sister continues to prod. Asking him to escape. To come to where they are. But how can he endanger his family? And such stark reality when he reflects like a monologue "In that country, reason has no place, You don't ask questions, you just follow... Once you start thinking, you start losing your mind." 

Ending off this movie was the news that North Korea demanded the 3 to return home without treatment. This dash of hope for the family and the North Korean was heart wrenching where we finally get the parents to face the decision between their belief and their family. Where one father exclaimed whose daughter came for treatment for her disfigurement " my daughter was so happy. My daughter was so happy!" and he began to rant and cry uncontrollably.

With last scene of Sung Ho's mother, surrendering to what needs to be done yet putting on a strong front for her children. Even writing this now and thinking of her face, makes me feel like crying. Mothers are indeed such wonderful beings. Self-sacrificing and hiding her pain, which is visible like an exposed nerve in every look and gesture. Wanna say a loud thank you to my own mum :)

A movie that I would definitely recommend!*******


Cast Ando Sakura, Iura Arata, Yang Ik-June, Kyono Kotomi, Tsukayama Masane, Miyazaki Yoshiko, Suwo Taro

Screenplay Yang Yonghi

Cinematography Toda Yoshihisa

Sound Kikuchi Nobuyuki

Editing Kikui Takashige

Music Iwashiro Taro

 Here's a review on the screenplay Yang Yonghi which evoke strong emotions from the reader

History has stolen the family in OUR HOMELAND 25 years and 25 years of life time they will never get back. It is as lost like stellar matter swallowed by a black hole.
The sister, the parents, the uncle, the class mates or the lover who missed the brother, son, nephew, friend or lover for 25 years  - all have to deal with lost time. There remains this hole of life time. The true magic of OUR HOMELAND lies in the paradox. We know as all the characters of the films are ware of -  that the time the family and the lovers are missing  is lost forever. But in some images there is an echo, an idea of a longing for a life, no one has been able to live.
It can be sensed in the incredible beautiful scene of a reunion with the brother, who returns after 25 years to Japan (for medical treatment with a special permission by the authorities in North Korea) with his school mates and his former love.  An old love song is a bittersweet reflex of a romance which is buried under the weight of 25 years. A last meeting with the brother and the love of his youth. Both are married to different partners. The separation will be final. They walk through an idyllic landscape. For a fleeting moment we realize in all its power the happiness which really never took place. The film celebrates this moments as long as possible.
There are things in this film you can describe and things you can´t. There are lapses of silence in this film between the dialogues. When the pain has no words, the bodies of these excellent actors are cramping themselves, they are beginning to dither. It often seems they are close to blast.

As we know cinema is a result of the mechanism of a camera and its ability to betray the human eye, the films by Yang Yonghi remind us rather in a human body and a soul than in this technical phenomenon of the moving image. It seems we learn rather to trust this strong and also vulnerable body and soul than the cold perfection of the cinematic device. As she said in an interview from 2007, "when she began to film her family, she began to consider the camera not as a machine which records but al part of her body".

I don´t know really what is happening with me when I see the films by Yang Yonghi. I knew I am confronted with a piece of history from another country, another culture. But I am still under schlock how deep these films are moving me.
In  DEAR PYONGYANG I felt like seeing my mother the second time dying.
In SONA, THE OTHER MYSELF (now: Goodbye Pyongyang), I realized a strange love and affection to my own family I buried for a long time in my heart.
In OUR HOMELAND, Yang Yonghi´s "Search for the lost time"  seems to be at the same time a poet, a chronicler of her own story but also a scientist who re-constructs a situation she experienced for approaching a better understanding of her own story. We witness both, her growing of her understanding of her story while making this film as our growing of understanding while seeing this film.
In his "Search for the lost Time", Marcel Proust wrote: " We don´t  approach happiness but we get an awareness about the reasons which avoid us to be."
If I wasn't clear enough to express why my heart is burning from the films by Yang Yonghi there is nothing I can do about it. I made a strange journey with these films and the only thing I know, they brought me back home via the way around Japan and North Korea.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

PASSIONARTS "Sing with a Heart"

On Sunday, before the work plan meeting, I was invited to be a motivator for the Passion Arts Community event: X'Mas in the heartlands - "Sing with a Heart" @ Chong Pang.

PAssionArts Singing Festival – 3 November to 16 December 2012 PAssionArts Singing Festival will be featuring 15 singing events throughout the island for residents to join their family and friends and sing together as one voice. Starting from 3 November - 16 December 2012, there will be mass sing-along sessions held at 15 locations across Singapore. Celebrity hosts and singers will also join in the celebration to sing along with the residents. With a song list that includes some of the most popular songs from 1960s to current hit songs as our favourite Singapore songs, the PAssionArts Singing Festival 2012 will bring the joy of singing right into the heart of our neighbourhoods. This festival is part of the PAssionArts Movement 2015 that aims to bring arts & culture to everyone, everywhere, everyday.
Go to their website to know more about the locations

For those who have not heard about this wonderful initiative,
PAssionArts: Established by The People’s Association with the support of Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, the PAssionArts brand was developed to provide a collective identity to community arts in Singapore. It aims to make arts & culture more accessible to the people by bringing it right to the heart of every constituency in Singapore. The vision is to bring arts & culture to reach “Everyone, Everywhere, Everyday”. The key programmes under the PAssionArts include:
  • Community Music Time;
  • Community Arts Gallery;
  • PAssionArts Hotspots Programme; and
  • PAssionArts Festivals
It was heartening seeing the crowd filled with young, middle-aged and old all gathered in excitement and anticipation for the Christmas event. Armed with clappers, tambourines and the Christmas song book , we were all prepared to celebrate the joys of Christmas with the Chong Pang Residents.

Media Corp Radio DJs Lynette Ang and Jeff Goh was the host for this session of the PAssionArts Singing Festival 2012 and they were such a fun to be with - encouraging the crowd with actions and singing.
I had so much fun and laughter and we sang so many songs!
My favorite that nearly made me tear was "Home" - Singing it at that moment with all races, all ages - 

Of course, we could not just sing on our own. We had the wonderful help of 2 vocals (which I sadly didn't take a front view picture of) ; they were amazing! Kudos! Thanks for leading us in the songs!

Then we had the heartland presentation which touched my heart the most. The children who have practiced so hard - with their violins, their musical voice etc etc - in all different languages.

So honored to be invited to this festival. Totally loved it. Hearts!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...