Sunday, 30 July 2017

I ate a few packets of MRA foods.

In the beginning, I promised myself that I would blog at least once a week, which if anyone checked the dates in between the posts, will realize that I had obviously failed. 
So I needed to break the silence by posting a new blog post after a long 7 weeks of failing to complete more than 5 blog posts due to partially procrastinating and hitting some roadblock especially with my Thailand travelogue, with things got with upcoming exams within less than a month posting nothing.

So last week, my younger brother managed to sneak home two days worth of army rations, for anyone in the house o try out.
The first thing he said about the rations, is that it's illegal to smuggle them home from the camp, so I'll only give vague mentions on what's inside these packets.
The second thing he said about the rations, more of a warning, is that the rations can be quite disgusting.
His words, not mine.

So a package of a day's worth of rations that my brother received includes 2 packets of entrees to be eaten as a meal on its own and a packet of dessert, so it's a total of 6 packets of food out of the two package of rations.
There are suggested methods provided to heat the packet for consumption, but I ended up eating them straight out of the packet since that's the most common way to eat it, considering that it's ready-to-eat to begin with.

The first packet I ate was surprisingly fragrant, the glutinous rice (noted to be the main rice used for the rations) was very well flavored although the meat was dry but still flaked into smaller pieces, the packet of dessert was almost the same as a home made bean dessert soup.

The next day I had two more packets of entrees, the second one was almost the same the first, except that I quite disliked the meat.
Also, I had the last packet of dessert, it was almost the same as the previous one, somehow with the taste of TCM in the mix.

The last packet I ate for the day proves what my brother said earlier true; this packet of mushed up pasta was really Disgusting.
After absorbing all the sauces in a sealed packet the texture of the pasta became undesirably mushy.
Glutinous rice didn't have this problem since it will retain its sticky chewy texture after sucking up the sauces in the packet; if it's any other type of rice it would have shared the same problem with the pasta.

For the last packet, I might have it tomorrow for breakfast; not hopeful about it since it's pasta, unsure if heating it up will make any difference.
It's funny how I believed that the rations are finished only to found the last one on the sofa underneath bags and clothes.

So with this post down, I should really get down my study plans for the upcoming exams this month; before actually attempting to tackle those blog posts I am still struggling to complete.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Being at the Sungei Road flea market for the first time.

To be completely honest, if this flea market hasn't been a center of a heritage existential crisis made publicly known, I would have never have known about its existence at all.


To give a brief background knowledge here: Sungei Road Flea Market has been around since the 1930s as a platform for people to sell their wares without having to pay any fees as the market was located in a free hawking zone.

The market started out in its early years until the late 1960s, selling army surplus that's probably looted from British military stores during the era when the British army was around.

In addition, it also has an ill reputation of being a place where stolen goods can be easily found to be placed for sale on the day it's stolen, the stall owners would always feign ignorance of the item's true sources.

Hence it's better known alternative name: the 
Thieve's Market.

For the market's more than 80 years of existence, it was once surrounded with shophouses that were subsequently demolished years later. 
Yet, the vendors still returned to the green barren state-owned land, selling their goods, chatting with fellow vendors with a shared history with the market, and it went on for decades.

 On the 14 February 2017, a joint statement was released from 6 government agencies;
National Environment Agency (NEA), Ministry of National Development, Ministry of Social and Family Development, Workforce Singapore, National Heritage Board (NHB) and the Singapore Police Force.

The released statement was essentially a final eviction for the market to cease operation after it's final day of 10 July 2017

The reason they provided were plans to use the lands to facilitate future residential development purposes. 

In an effort to salvage the market's heritage, a group of like-minded people who were concerned about the fate of the market formed a Facebook group, known as 'Save Sungei Road Market', organizing tours of the market to raise awareness of the market's existential crisis to the public , hoping reverse the market's fate.


And so on the 3rd of June, I finally got around what I promised myself to do; to take part in the Sungei Road Flea Market tour.

Going back to the first comment I made at the beginning: I had little to no idea this market existed.

My impression of flea markets is mostly either Pasar Malam (Malay term for night markets) or those flea market that are mostly for artist or handicraft business that would gather frequently during the arts festival.

So when I saw an Instagram post by a friend's boyfriend which lamented the released statement, I got interested in the market when he mentioned it's history.

But I didn't immediately check out the tour for weeks, originally I was thinking to check it out maybe when it's near towards closure. 
Until it came to my mind, although mostly out of boredom when I was thinking about what interesting stuff that I can experience and document.

So I packed my bag with my Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16, necessary accessories for my laptop and a DSLR that I took from my sister, with the camera usually occupies my desk space all the time, hell, she close to never using it borrowed from my sister. 

I went to the meeting place stated on their Facebook event quite early, despite having procrastinated leaving the house for almost an hour in favor of surfing the internet for additional info about the market.

People were gathering, exchanging topics among themselves while waiting for others who have yet to reach.
Discussions about personal experiences with the market, interest about conservation of a heritage and current updates on the status of the market are the main common topics. 

Everyone was exchanging thoughts and sharing research and incidents involving debate regarding the market eviction crisis while waiting for the tour to start.

While I for one was sipping on cold beverages to tolerate the blazing hot weather, fidgeting around the DSLR after having last touched it about three years age in photography lessons during my time at an art school, struggling to understand aperture settings.

Two of the tour guide group stood together reviewing articles they had gathered through research for the purpose of the tour

The tour finally began all of us gathered together for a briefing by the organizers, the usual stuff being introductions on who are they and what they do, and a brief history of the market and the current situation.

After the short briefing, everyone was led to an area under the lift under an HDB building, which I would later learn that as this particular HDB block is just right in front of the market, where it's the highest level just so happens to have the best birdseye's view of the whole market.

They did additional briefings and history talks about the area, unfortunately, unable to remember, trying to document the moment by taking pictures ironically.
But there is something one of the tour guides pointed out during this moment.

The market was never part of a planned development.
In the beginning, people just gathered in an area to sell their wares(despite how they got them). 
And people came in to see what they find according to their needs, like finding hard to find goods or spare parts, or retrieve their stolen stuff.

And over time, there were relationships built between the vendors and regulars, besides successful business that actually had roots from the market(Koufu), feelings were naturally developed for the market.

That's something that planned development can do, no matter how well the development is planned and designed.
*cough*Marina Bay Sand*cough*Gardens by the bay*cough*


On our way up in the lift, we encountered a Malay couple, asking us we're taking the lift up for a bird's eye view of the market. we replied we are, and a brief conversation started between us.

"Do you live here?" someone in the group asked, "Do people come up just to see the market?"

"Yes, we live at the highest level, so we see people coming up to do that all the time," they replied, "See it while you can before it's gone for good next month, maybe share it with your kids one day."

At the last level of the block, after struggling big time to get the DSLR's aperture settings right after asking a very nice fellow-concerned-about-the-market individual, I managed to take some decent image of the whole market.

The guides elaborated on the area, pointing out surrounding fellow oldest heritage buildings near the market; Masjid Sultan, Cathedral of the God Shepard, and oh I spotted Lasalle College of the Arts where I used to attend(although not as old as the others).

I forgot what he mentioned for the rest of this section, vaguely remembering that it involved the development planned for the land.


Back to the ground level, they further explained the history of the area, mainly revolving the secret societies that once existed in the area and the physical development that occurred through the times.

A guide also provided the group his personal history with the area, explaining how his family runs businesses in the shophouses that once existed in the area before they were demolished.

Another interesting revelation was brought up; the Sungei Road flea market's existential crisis has been threatened 3 times.

First crisis occurred when the British army withdrew from Singapore during the late 1960s, and people were no longer able to purchase army supplies from the market, and so vendors switched to selling other stolen items. 
Yet somehow that part of that legacy survived in the form of Army Market located at beach road.

The second time is when government officers from the NEA came to personally to tear the shophouse buildings down after a series of hazardous incidents involving the market.
The most of the shophouses were demolished in the end, but the vendors still persist on gathering in the same location to sell their goods.

And finally the third crisis, well, this current situation the market currently facing.

An interesting point mentioned is an argument made that defends the decision.
The land is valuable anyway, why not benefit from it anyway.
A valid argument, yet ironic that the one made the argument did not benefit from. Nor those who lived and worked in the land for years.
It was those who made the development who does.

That's something interesting to think about.

The market being displayed right next to the eviction statement.

I spotted a tour sightseeing bus that's meant to show tourist history rich areas passing by a historic market, which the tourist may never get to see due to the market being blocked by trees and construction barriers. How ironic.

At the end of the tour, a volunteer showed up to distribute letters for the attendees to fill up about their opinions of the market crisis, passing it to a Member of Parliament for the crisis to be taken into the parliament for discussion.

Still, I'm not entirely sure whether or not I am able to write down any concise opinion for an MP to consider.
Not sure if I can just copy and paste this whole blog post...

Just as I was about to leave the market, there was this old man who appeared to be chauffeured by someone younger in a fancy white car.
When he stepped out, one of the tour guides tried to chat with him on why he arrived here, voices from the market vendors called out to he and he turns his head and walks towards the source.

It was as if the elderly's purpose of his appearance at one of the market entrance is to catch up with old friends.

I immediately rushed off to my next destination, scrapping my plans for a shopping haul due to the lack of time.

Finally ending the day, getting tired from carrying a 2-3kg backpack, with a tiring trip to the Necessary Provisions for dinner. 

Another objective of the visit is for a job interview since I was told me and my other family members have to leave tonight for the Thailand trip.
And also to hopefully make good use of the cafe's free wifi and get this blog post done before I leave for Thailand.(I Failed)

I ordered a Ragu pasta($17) and an Iced Mocha($8.50), it's one of those expensive meals I wouldn't usually give a try unless I'm in the mood of splurging.
Although admittedly, I was hoping to get a job there.

The Ragu pasta was enjoyable, while I find the Iced Mocha surprisingly more bitter and with a grittier texture than I thought it would be.
Still, this is one of my attempts to give authentic roasted coffee a try, and it's bitter taste still have yet to get me to reconcile my taste buds with my romanticism towards coffee.

Sadly I failed to get the job due to having only one full day to spare out of the seven day week, where the rest of the days filled to the brim with lessons and other life commitments.


Now that I'm writing during the midnight hours at home, more than a day back from my Thailand trip, trying to recall the day's events to reflect upon and document it, I did find something that intrigued me about this flea market.

Surfing the web and finding several TripAdvisor reviews on it, a comment left behind by a tourist from Cambridge, United Kingdom, stuck to me. (He left a low rating btw)

"It is a flea market for local people"

Indeed, this market existed in the first place is for the local people to either find goods they may need and also for the local people to sell goods as a source of income.

A market by local people, for the local people.

Sure nowadays the market sells mainly goods that are useless by today's standards, but there something that exists within the market other than it's goods.

It's a place fueled by needs, vendors coming together to sell goods even after attempts to demolish the market, eventually creating a unique place with a community with personality.

Even if it's not a fancy place that a tourist might want to visit, a place like this can never be achieved no matter how much developmental planning is done for the area.

If the market location is to be changed, the market can still exist as it is, a lack of physical area never mattered as long as there is space available for the market to run.
And a historic heritage to live on.

Despite what I consider overall, a lackluster attempt to experience and document an event for this blog post, I intend to attend the next tour next Saturday.
I hope to better document some more additional info I might have missed out, and also do a shopping haul as originally I intended.

In fact, I intend to keep my eyes on the market for as long as I can.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

My struggles (Not the book by Hitler or Karl Ove Knausgård)

I'm already struggling on getting started on writing this post. Before this, I'm also struggling to get many of my homework done. But ultimately it all boils down to me having major difficulties in getting things done in general.

Yet despite knowing this crystal clear fact that I didn't get things done, I continued on my daily routine. 

Constantly checking for new subscription videos or videos on topics that catch my attention to watch. 
Constantly checking for new cats on my Neko Atsume app. 
Constantly popping by my Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links app. 
Constantly checking my Instagram to stalk babies or looking out for one or two Yu-Gi-Oh!(only the classic) related post.

And today, I decided to pass up an opportunity to experience a tour of a historical Pasar Malam(Singaporean or Malaysian term for night market, AKA flea market), the Sungei Road Thieves Market, just so to have time to get my homework done.
Also, there is an Army Open House that popped up after a five-year hiatus and was debating in my head whether to attend this event or church and art lessons that I had been kind of neglecting.

And yet instead, I did my daily routine as stated above. 
I also did not finish my homework.

*facepalm in despair*

During my routine involving youtube, I had been binge watching Try Living With Lucie by Refinery29 and a thought came to my mind. 
Here I am, a 22-year-old woman who's still in school, an entry level pre-college/Polytechnic school, watching another woman called Lucy Fink, who is a mere 3 years her senior, exploring something new in 5 days which also happens to be part of her job so she did get some salary out of it.

And this 22-year-old is sitting on her desk, watching her youtube videos, archived nothing, explored nothing, and she's probably wasted money thanks to her hungry stomach, save for the last min house chore completed. 

While Lucy Fink explored something new, exercised her creative expression through her projects and managed to achieve a steady stream of income along the way, I had achieved the complete opposite.

*Staring at my mirror, reflecting on my entire life in despair*

Awfully depressing as a mere three weeks ago I blogged about how I wanted to change for the better. From where I am now, I am very, very far away from being the person I wanted to be. 

Besides feeling unmotivated overall to get actual work done in general, thoughts on getting a part time job has been plaguing my head. Living on SGD $50 hasn't been easy as I usually ended up spending it all on food thanks to my ever growling stomach. It was especially frustrating when one of my goals is to lose some weight.

Besides having to spend money on food, I would really like to have some money to be put into other uses.
Like purchasing some cameras as my phone is breaking down, and I really wanted to sign up for photography workshops to learn how to take some really great pictures and film a nice video.
And learn how to design and sew my own clothes after looking at so many trendy outfits and having some ideas in my head on what I would want to wear.
I would want to get a web designer to design this blog template with a certain custom feature that I really wanted for this blog.
Finally, I would also need some money to pay my art teacher after my paid lessons ran out.
And also have some leftover money to save for the future, all without having to burden my parents who were already working their asses off to ensure that the family gets fed.

This money issue wouldn't have to be so tricky if my school wasn't an hour and a half from my home. Also adding in the factor of not having a healthy sleep schedule and most importantly, having actual skills in Time Management, setting priorities and getting work done.

Damn is this all back to the problem of announcing your new year's resolution, only to end up fulfilling none of it. Yet the only good thing about this current fiasco is that it helped me in blocking out depressive thoughts of my own mortality.

I definitely need to get some sort of act together here, or else I'm seriously getting nowhere here. Finishing up homework, getting started on the library books I had borrowed, and maybe talk to a counsellor on advice on getting a part time job. 

And maybe check out Karl Ove Knausgård's My Struggles memoir series.

To those who happened to stumble upon this blog, I do apologize that you have to read what's essentially a long-winded essay about my life problems. 

I was hoping to be able to document anything including anything, including tough topics that are in my head. And to be able to get it out of my system, look back at it and reflect upon it.

So if you made it this far in reading this long-winded blog post, here's something I had been working on for my blog profile, as long as I had figured out how to add it in.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Dear Diary : Today's my class celebrates the school's 25 anniversary.

In the spirit of nurturing a blogging/writing habit, I decided I would document what happened on this day. A nice touch that today there is something special going on at my school instead of the usual class.

Today just so happened to be the 25th anniversary of my school. To celebrate this milestone occasion, someone in the head department decided that the students build a structure out of recycled materials. 

Maybe it can be exciting if it was more like a competition, where a theme is given on the day and create the structure on the spot, with a 1&1/2 hour time limit and the materials we had collected. Because all the classes of my school info com technology department(the department I'm studying at) had already been working on the structure for weeks. 

My teacher appeared beside me and asked if I understood the message or meaning behind the model.

I replied: "Nope."

She replied: "Well, the meaning behind this work is that the school has been traveling around the world to learn new technologies and trends from other countries, as well as engaging them through community service, represented by the flags made of ice cream sticks. And also how there were countries who visited us to learn more about our vocational training methods so that they can apply it to their own country. So essentially to showcase the school connection with the world "

"So what's with making the model out of recycled materials?"

"Well, the school didn't want the students to purchase materials for the project, opting to use any recyclable materials they might have at hand. Also, it is a good opportunity to exercise the 3Rs."

"So what happens to the model after this competition."

"We'll place the model on showcase for a year, and after that, we can take the materials from the models for other uses."

The Other Uses most likely being materials for the Pulau Semakau Landfill after a year ends. I had always felt iffy about school projects having students use recycled materials to create a model when the model most likely ended up back to the trash. 

The 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. 
Reduce? Didn't think so, since I know for sure the ice cream sticks, boards and the Kit Kat boxes are bought, and I did eat some of the Kit Kats for sure.
Reuse? Okay maybe that, since I had donated a huge heap of plastic bottles I'm too lazy to discard and some glue sticks I hardly use after art school.
Recycle? Hell no. It's essentially just a bunch of junk all cut up and clobbered together to form another junk that is most likely find it's way back to the trash.

Back to the point, as a result of having prepared the structure firsthand, there is a huge portion of the class left with absolutely nothing to do. Hence I managed to sneak off to take a look another event that's happening on the campus that caught my interest.

Instead, I found this:

Here's a closer look:

I saw only buffets begin prepared for those invited to the event, and from the looks of it, I most likely uninvited for it. I ended up having to spend the most time playing Duel Links and preparing this blog post.

And as part of preparing this blog post, I took pictures of models made by other class as well:

The model competition passed by quickly while I was doing my stuff, and so there was some award ceremony. I'm quite sure that all the prizes are all titbits. But the Good Thing that came after:

Free All-You-Can-Eat Buffet Lunch!XD

There is nothing that can easily get better than being able to fill your stomach with whatever amount of food for free.
Except maybe get to check out a classic film screening my CCA organized after 2&1/2 hours after lunch.

That is if they got the original Japanese dub with English subtitles instead of the dub version. I have quite a strong feelings about dubbed version as they have a tendency to screw around with the original dialogues to make it sound better for the English speaking audience without any regard for its context. 

So if you might think of me as a prick when I left for home after this revelation, allow me to explain that I do not feel that it's worth waiting more than 2 hours watching a potentially butchered version of the original classic. Especially when it's my first time watching it, I don't want to experience an altered version.

Despite today's event, now that I'm back home to reflect on it, 25 years for a school that is associated with notoriety for having students who didn't do well in mainstream exams is indeed quite an achievement. 

Over these 25 years, they gained recognition locally and overseas, have facilities such as swimming pool(Do not argue with me how insignificant that was. Having swimming pool and a place to shower in a campus is GodSend.), and have developed alumni's who went on to attend university themselves.
Hell, before I attended ITE College Central, I went for Digipen Singapore's student shadow program, and one of the students I met was an alumni from ITE.

I would sum up the day ith 3 portions: Boredom, Something Nice and Heavily Disappointed.

Something Nice is still good though, there's free lunch and I managed to bring some tau suan, that apparently nobody wanted since there is so much of it being leftovers, back home for my grandfather. And tau suan just so happens to be his favorite desert.

So here's to many more years to come for the school. Just hope that future anniversary celebrations are better than today.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

One simple post, a huge leap for my new beginning.

In the future, I would like to be someone who is able to articulate her ideas to others more easily. Someone who is able to communicate to others what is her ideas or intentions easily, without the awkward pauses, scrambling to gather words to describe her thoughts.

I would like to be an artist who is confident in her quality of her work. An artist who is willing to put in effort in her work, practicing regularly to hone her artistic skills, able to draw anything from her imagination.

I would like to be a strong believer in Christ. A believer who have a strongly grounded relationship with God and her savior Jesus Christ, and is able to share and guide others who shows interest in Christ.

I would like to be a unique game developer. A game developer who is excited about exploring the potential of a game as a unique medium, and creates an interesting game to reflect that.

I would like to be a strong storyteller. A storyteller who regularly writes either creative journal post or intriguing stories, experimenting with various mediums be it art, writing or videography to share stories to others.

I would like to be a person of strong health. A healthy person who can eat healthily swims well and is able to have a comfortable weight and body figure.

I would like to be a person with strong financial stability. A person who is able to pay for her stuff without having to pose a financial burden to others.

Finally, I would like to be someone who is confident and believes in herself. Someone who is able to stand in front of others, confidently sharing her works, beliefs, and thoughts without fear.

As a 22-year-old millennial still trying to become who I wanted to be while struggling to navigate the dark uncertainties of the future; 

Here's a simple post to kickstart my new beginnings of a long journey.