Random Thought

The length of the Johor-Singapore causeway is 1km long.


Books I’ve Read in February 2018

Hi everyone,

February went by in a flash, not only was it because it is the shortest month of the year, I was largely preoccupied by the Chinese New Year celebrations. I enjoyed my time feasting and collecting angpows, wishing that February will never end.

I also read two fiction books this month. The first was The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz. The book revolves around Oscar and his family, written in a third-person narrative. Oscar is a young Dominican man raised in New Jersey, a huge science fiction nerd and a hopeless romantic in hopes of finding true love one day. However, his family is struck by the fukú, a curse brought upon his family for several generations. The story also focuses on several key characters in Oscar’s multi-generational family. Although mainly written in English, the author included several conversations and words in Spanish, along with a few cultural references. Although I really loved the story and felt that it was very well-written, it was quite a difficult read because of my lack of knowledge in Spanish and several of the cultural references. Thankfully, I had Google Translate and a website to refer to for help. I really liked the writing and so I felt that I should not ignore the parts I didn’t understand for the sake of convenience. It was quite a tedious process, but it was worth it as I could appreciate the nuances of conversations better and learnt a few Spanish words along the way. Overall, Díaz writing style was very creative and beautiful, and I found the story quite heartwarming and the characters pretty relatable.

Next, I continued my journey with the filthy rich and powerful in Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan, which is sadly the third and final instalment. 😞 With Shang Su Yi ill and at her deathbed, her family have gathered to be with her, while in fact vying for Tyersall Park. The biggest question remains- who will be the next heir to Tyersall Park, (one of) the largest and most valuable residential properties in the world? Meanwhile, the Astrid-Charlie saga continues, and Kitty Pong, a.k.a. Mrs Jack Bing, continues to be upstaged by her new stepdaughter, Colette Bing. Again, like the previous two books, a highly witty and entertaining read. As usual, I really loved the local cultural references as well as the satire and humour in the book. Kinda sad that it was the end, I wish that there was more. As a Singaporean, I really appreciated reading literature that was relatable to me culturally. The references to food, pop culture, and Singlish, really struck a chord with me. If there are any books similar to this, please recommend them to me!

Realised that the books I’ve read in February had one similarity- lots of cultural references and foreign languages in them. Different backgrounds, and different problems.

Also, I would like to sneak in something else that I’ve read, which is the National Geographic Magazine, Jan/Feb issue. I was glad I picked up this magazine, as it had a lot of things I was interested in. Highlights included the Egyptian mummification of animals, the significance of silk and the Silk Road, as well as Napoleon’s coming out of exile and defeat in the Battle of the Waterloo in 1815. I like reading magazines, I always learn something new, and NatGeo is one of my favourites.

In the month of March, I’ve decided to diversify my reading sources to not just books, but in other forms as well. Reading is a wonderful source of knowledge, which is not just limited to books. Stay tuned for my next reading post! ☺️

Till next time, take care everyone.


Of Maggi and Music

Earlier in the night, at around 10.30pm, I had mad cravings for instant noodles (or instant ramen, or Maggi noodles as the generic term we call every type of instant noodles here, regardless of brand). I was really hungry because my dinner was so unsatisfying, and whenever I’m hungry I would crave for instant noodles.

I snuck out of my room and into the kitchen, grabbed a packet of instant noodles and a handful of ingredients I could find in my fridge, and began cooking. When it was done and I ate, I was extremely delighted and satisfied. At that moment, it felt like I had just made the best bowl of instant noodles in my life. I have never been more satisfied eating a bowl of instant noodles.

Momentarily, a thought popped up in my head. I realised that, when I really want something, everything else didn’t matter, but I was just focused on achieving the task at hand. At the end of the day, the result will be the best I’ve ever come up with. I really wanted to eat instant noodles, I was craving for the bouncy texture and firm bite of the noodles, accompanied with a rich oily soup broth. Straightaway, I got cooking with that in mind, and the result was the most satisfying bowl of instant noodle soup that I’ve ever had in a long time. Whenever I just felt like cooking a bowl of noodles just to fill myself up, I didn’t care so much about the refinement of the taste, and as a result I whip up a mediocre-tasting bowl of noodles. I feel full, but it doesn’t really touch me, or blow my mind.

It was from that same thought that made me wonder- isn’t that the same thing as in music making? If you know the music so well you know exactly what you want to achieve and how, which is to make music and let the score come alive, you’ll do everything to make things work the way you want. The result will be very satisfying as you know you have made music. However, if you just focus on playing a piece and wanting to get through it, the result will be very mediocre and unmusical. The output is the same, but the quality is totally different because the mindsets were varied.

For me, I definitely practice wanting to make music, but when it comes to performing I get so worried about playing wrong notes that I tend to forget or disregard music making in favour of feeling safe in my comfort zone. If I had the drive and strong desire to make music, I would have done whatever it takes to make my practice bear fruits, just like my desire to cook instant noodles exactly the way I was craving for.

There is a definitely a barrier for me to cross in order to really achieve musicianship in performance, but first I need to have the same desire/thirst for music-making, to be just as strong as my desire to cook instant noodles in a way that satisfies my craving.

Xiao Long Bao [2017]

Words by Evangeline Ching

Last night I was so hungry,
I really wanted to eat.
Dialled boyfriend on my celly
And he said ‘Have something sweet to eat.’

If there’s one thing just for me,
It will satisfy my tummy.
If there’s one thing just for me,
It will just be X-L-B.

Xiao long bao,
Xiao long bao,
I wish I could have it now.
Pork and skin,
It looks a little lonely,
Soup will keep it company.

Xiao long bao,
Xiao long bao,
Just one bite and you go ‘Wow!’
Pork and soup,
Must go together.
This with that, not any other!

Am I Worth It?

I often ask myself,
Am I worth it?
Am I worth the pain?
Am I worth the trouble?
What is there to gain?

Why would you go all out for me
When I didn’t ask for it;
When I need someone beside me,
Without question, there you’ll be?

Every single time I apologise,
For every favour, every sacrifice.
‘Don’t say sorry, say thank you.’
Why are you so nice?

Am I worth it?
Am I worth the pain?
Am I worth the trouble?
What is there to gain?

January Musings & Books

The month of January onwards has been especially tough for me. January was the month of reflection, understanding my place in this world and among the people around me.

Recently I have been feeling very down, and my confidence is at a new low. I have been crying very easily, over every little thing that touches or hurts me.  Sleeping has become a problem for me, I cannot fall asleep until 2, 3 a.m. and I always wake up by 8 a.m, and it’s not because I have work to do, but of the constant tossings and turnings in bed.

As the new year slowly sinks in, the feeling of losing one of the most important people in my life is now greater and greater. How could I not feel significantly empty, when a huge part of me have been ripped off? I thought with time, wounds can heal, but I feel that it is only getting bigger, infecting every part of my body. Besides people, I am also adjusting to a same-but-different school environment, and it has not been good so far. For some reason, I feel like I have lost all sense of direction, and take no pride in anything I do. Overall, I seem to have lost myself and I wish I can find it back.

Sorry for the sappy intro, let’s end things on a brighter note by sharing with everyone two books I read in January.

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Thoughts on “The Greatest Showman” [May include spoilers]

Decided to just list down a few thoughts on this movie that surfaced in my mind while watching and after watching the movie. There may be spoilers from here onwards, so I suggest you read the rest of this post only if you have already watched the movie, or have no intentions to watch it at all. Also, I am not going to comment on the historical accuracy of the movie, as that will be another issue altogether. I will just be giving my thoughts based on the movie alone.

I only watched the movie yesterday, and it was pretty rare that a movie could still be rolling for more than a month in the cinema. While many of my friends have watched it before me, and having seen a few reviews, the general consensus regarding “The Greatest Showman” was that the music, visuals and cast were great, but the story was lacking. I have also heard several of the songs beforehand and I really liked them, so overall I was really looking forward to finally watch the movie.  Read More