Ten Thoughts This Week

1. The cold weather is really awesome, feels like Hong Kong in October/November, really loving it so far. Kinda miss the warmth that always greeted me whenever I come out of an air conditioned room or bus though.

2. The sky cleared up today, so went cycling at the park. The weather was lovely today. I wore a sweater, and I didn’t sweat at all. In fact, the wind was really chilly. My knee caps are dying now though, worth it. The feeling of being able to cycle and cover such a long distance by myself is still so unreal to me. Super grateful to XLB for teaching me.

3. When you meet someone you haven’t met in years, suddenly all the old memories start flooding back. I felt a sudden, overwhelming sadness, not because I miss the past, but I hate that I was reminded of it again. People try to forget about the past, until a bit of it comes back to haunt you.

4. Then I start thinking of more things that happen in the past, and I get angry about it.

5. Angry because people have been taking advantage of me, or the people I care about just vanish because they want to, with no regard for my feelings. I feel disappointed because I put so much hope in someone and yet they didn’t matter at all in the end.

6. As I grow older, I tend to appreciate the things and people around me more. Cherish every happy moment, because you’ll never know when it’ll be the last time. I’m glad I haven’t taken things for granted.

7. Recently discovered that I look good with nude lipstick shades. Mum says I should wear more lipstick, even though I hated wearing lipstick in the past. Point taken.

8. Patience is a virtue. I’m glad I waited close to a year to get a dress I’ve always been eyeing for it to go on sale. Point to note: Always meet XLB in shopping malls, I can always shop when he’s late.

9. I should stop thinking that I’m lonely and alone, and no one cares. Truth is, there ARE people who really care, if I were them I would be annoyed. At times I do feel lonely, but it never lasts, and for that I’m grateful.

10. Had a really wonderful birthday on Friday, surrounded by my friends and loved ones. Amazed that people really do think of me, I had so much cake. I love cake.

Also, happy (belated) anniversary to my wallet. I’ve been taking really good care of it, and so it still looks as good as new.

Till next time, take care everyone.

Xo

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How I feel about lifts

The lift (or elevator as some might call it) forms a big part of my life. I live on the thirteenth floor of my apartment block, so I take the lift everyday in and out of home. Subconsciously, my brain seems to be thinking about lifts a lot, and sometimes, it thinks a little too much. Read More

I tried transparent milk tea| 私は透明なミルクティーを飲んでみました [Premium Morning Tea by Suntory]

Late last year, Japan went crazy over a bottle of milk tea. The catch is, it is not just any normal bottle of milk tea, but the liquid is completely TRANSPARENT. Japan recently had this craze over flavoured water, where the humble bottle of mineral water is jazzed up with all sorts of flavours, from fruit-flavoured ones like peach and lemon, to more bizarre options like Calpis and milk tea. Even Youtubers Simon and Martina made a video trying many different flavours of flavoured water and trying to guess the flavours, with strong reactions of disgust and dislike.

Flavoured water is not unfamiliar in Singapore either, as I’m sure most Singaporeans would know the long existence of our beloved Pink Dolphin, which is basically a clear, peach-flavoured drink that contains different types of of vitamins and minerals. I remember drinking it often when I was in primary school during school excursions or family outings, and feeling less guilty because visually, it looked like I was drinking plain water. The brand has since expanded to include more flavours, and a brand new packaging.

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Japan’s obsession with flavoured water slowly crept its way into Singapore’s shores, and supermarkets and convenience stores are stocking up on Japanese flavoured water. So when I came across the Suntory Premium Morning Tea at the nearby 7-Eleven, I was intrigued.

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A bottle of Suntory Premium Morning Tea costs SGD2.60 at 7-Eleven. To put things in perspective, a bottle of Pokka Green Tea costs $2.40, and a bottle of Pokka Premium Milk Tea costs $2.70. For flavoured water, it is kinda expensive. I could have had a decent bottle of sweetened green tea for less, and a bottle of actual milk tea for just ten cents more. Price-wise, there really isn’t any incentive for anyone to get it in the first place.

Therefore, I decided to set up a poll on Instagram Stories to get my friends to decide for me, and the people have spoken (at least those who decided to respond to my poll):

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[Point to note: Before the poll ended, the margin widened to 58% (Yes) to 42% (No).]

It was seriously a close fight, with difference in votes to be less than ten. However, majority wins and I went with the majority. I went to another 7-Eleven, and I saw that not only did they have the milk tea, but also the lemon tea. Great. Curiosity got the better of me and I got both. I don’t know whether to feel stupid or feel proud for myself.

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On the packaging, it says Premium Morning Tea. What an interesting name, I thought. I guess Japanese people only drink tea in the morning? How is it premium tea if it’s flavoured water? It also wrote “Suntory 天然水” (Natural water), along with “透明なミルクティー!!” (Transparent milk tea!). Super confusing. So is this water-flavoured milk tea, or milk tea-flavoured water? I guess if they just market it as the latter, it’ll probably be less intriguing and people will want to shun it more. Labelling it “Transparent milk tea” will probably attract a lot of attention from curious customers, me included.

Also, it also stated that Assam tea leaves were used in making this drink.

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The science behind making these drinks is actually pretty interesting, and you just read here to know more if you’re curious. Knowing how it is made, we can be assured that the ingredients come from natural sources, not containing artificial flavours (I wonder what’s in the “frangrance” though LOL)

Alright, here comes the big reveal, itadakimasu! *Drum rolls*

From its smell, my first impression was that it was similar to Japanese royal milk tea (the instant ones or those that are packaged in bottles and cans), except that it was much sweeter. Upon the first taste, it was just like how it smelled. The first taste that hit me was a very familiar taste of royal milk tea, except that it had a lot of sugar piling on top of it. I feel that for flavoured water, Suntory has done quite a good job of trying to make it taste like milk tea. I find the taste and fragrance pretty accurate (at least to the instant and packaged versions). However, compared to the actual milk tea, it lacks the milky richness that I like in milk teas. Also, the taste doesn’t linger for very long, giving the impression of blandness, which is expected from flavoured water anyway. Overall, it tastes like very fragrant, sweet milk tea, but the taste disappears quickly. I don’t think it is very diluted, nor do I feel that the flavours are intense enough, I just think that the taste doesn’t linger.

Also, I tried drinking it two ways- the first time with my eyes not looking at the bottle and the second time looking, and the results are also very different. The first time, it really tasted like very sweet milk tea, but the moment I looked at it and think of it as water, I could immediately feel a sense of displeasure. The psychology aspect in drinking this is really immense.


Verdict: 

Overall, I find that this drink is pretty interesting, as who would have thought of creating milk tea that looks like plain water? Fruit-flavoured water still seems feasible, but milk tea? However, I don’t think anyone in the right mind would want to pick this up if they feel like drinking a bottle of milk tea. There are already so many good options that are actually milk tea, why choose this?

I would say, if you feel like drinking milk tea, please don’t be a cheapo and choose this, pick up the Pokka Premium Milk Tea for just ten cents more. If you wanna drink more water but dislike plain water or find plain water boring, then by all means choose this, though I honestly would rather drink plain water. Also, I wouldn’t think of smuggling this into lecture halls or concert halls either, as everyone would have probably figured out by then. A part of me feels like trolling everyone by filling up the bottle with plain water muahahahaha. 

Should you try this? Yes. Would I get this again? No. Am I glad I tried it? Yes.

Rating: 

To be fair, I rated it both as flavoured water (since it is flavoured water), and as milk tea (since they marketed it as transparent milk tea).

As flavoured water- 8/10 (good attempt at trying to be milk tea, although some things are still lacking)

As milk tea- 2/10 (it’s a terrible bottle of milk tea)

Try it, just once, you will not regret it. You may have a different opinion from mine, and I would love to hear it.

Till next time, take care everyone.

xo

Books I’ve Read in December 2017

I finished reading two books in the last month last year, both of which I read concurrently throughout the month. December had been unexpectedly eventful for me, with the Christmas holidays and the practicing. So glad that I still got time to read.

I started off the last bit of November reading The Lost Symbol by Dan BrownI’ve had this book lying in my bookshelf for a few years now, and I can’t believe haven’t gotten down to reading it yet, so I’m glad I finally touched it. The story is set in Washington DC and explores the secrets and mysteries of Freemasonry, enlightenment, Noetic science and a little bit of physics. The storyline revolves around a man who goes all out in his attempt to seek enlightenment and uncover the Ancient Mysteries, even if it meant doing things in the most selfish and sadistic way possible.

Similar to Angels and Demons (if you have read it before), the story unravels in a treasure hunt, problem-solving walkthrough kind of format, close to real time. The characters are interesting and mysterious, and you never know whose side to take. What I do not really like about this book is that the scenes skip really abruptly from character to character. Just as when you’re engrossed with the development of one character, it goes to another, and then another. Dan Brown tends to do this a lot, but I found it more prominent in The Lost Symbol. Hence, the momentum of building up till the climax was not very satisfyingly strong to me, unlike in Angels and Demons. I also found the title of the novel a little misleading, and I can’t really explain it well enough without giving away a few spoilers, so I better not do so.

The Lost Symbol is not for the faint-hearted, especially if you’re squeamish about gore and sadism. The story is also pretty intense, so I try to avoid reading it before bedtime, otherwise it would keep me awake for the whole night. If you’re a fan of Dan Brown and his novels on Robert Langdon, I would recommend this as well.

Because I only read The Lost Symbol in my daily commute, I was led into the world of tech startups with Zero to One by Peter Thiel (along with Blake Masters) to end the day. This book is like a useful introduction/guide to the startup industry (more specifically tech startups), be it whether you’re thinking of developing your own startup or wanting to know more about startups. From creating an idea, to managing your own startup, this book covers it rather generally. Thiel does not really tell people what to do most of the time, but shares a few concepts behind a successful startup, along with observations from other companies as well as his own anecdotes from his time with Paypal and other ventures.

Why would I even be reading this book, you may ask? Well my boyfriend had been reading this book and he passed a copy to me because I wanted to read it and learn more about the things that he’s been up to. Reading this book turned out much more than that, I feel that some of the lessons learnt could also be applicable in real life. Of course, it’s always good to read something outside of your field.


I realise I haven’t said it here yet, but Happy New Year everyone! I hope that 2018 will be a great year for all. As always, I will continue to read lots of books in the coming year, so looking forward to that. For now, I’m reading another book by Dan Brown and I’ve ordered three more books! So excited.

Till next time, take care everyone.

xo

[Follow-Up] Trying to Memorise Szymanowski’s Prelude and Fugue

Memorised the first page of the Fugue and the last one and a half pages of the Prelude this week. I must say, the first page of the Fugue is pretty straightforward compared to the second and third, so I’m glad I did the difficult sections first. Did the Prelude today, and although it is not contrapuntal, it has its own challenges, because of all the chords I had to memorise. I am terrible at memorising chords, so memorising polyphony in the Fugue is actually easier for me. I’m almost done memorising the whole piece, I can’t wait to be done with it, and I’m glad I decided to memorise this piece in the early stages of my learning.

Also, I hurt my arm trying to practice all the loud passages from memory, while trying to get my body weight in. It hurts even trying to lift my arm up while holding a pair of chopsticks. Hope I get to recover in time before my lesson this week.

On a side note, I revamped my blog’s theme and layout, the side bars and menu are on the top right and top left corners of the page, mobile app-style. I think this theme looks a lot cleaner than my previous one, and I prefer it a lot more.

Till next time, take care everyone

xo

TEN Highlights of 2017

ONE- Completing my Diploma Final Recital

One of the earliest highlights of 2017 begun in May, where I completed my Dip 3 Final Recital. I still remember feeling really nervous and excited at the same time, and when it was my turn to play, I was completely absorbed into the moment and had this massive surge of adrenaline inside me. It was also my first time performing in front of some of my friends, and I’m glad my dad and my friends were able to come. The final recital was also the day I realised how loud I sing while I play, which kinda threw me off for the whole day. Overall, it was a great accomplishment for me.

TWO- Entering BMus 3

After completing my diploma programme, I was accepted into the Royal College of Music degree programme and that is definitely one of the highlights of 2017. In my first year in NAFA, I thought I will never make it, and so I just wanted to work hard and hope for the best. I’m grateful to the school for having faith in me and accepting me for two more years. The standards are definitely higher, and the modules are also more difficult. I’m glad for the new opportunities I have received, including writing programme notes for the last Orchestra concert.  My time spent in school has been quite enriching and fulfilling, a lot more is definitely in store for me.

THREE- Learning how to cycle (again)

I actually managed to cycle when I was fourteen, but after an accident which left a scar on my left knee till this day, I never cycled alone again. My foundation was not very good to begin with, so the moment I decided to pick up cycling again, I had to relearn it. I’m glad to have such a patient boyfriend to teach me how to cycle, and tolerating my frustrations and scoldings. Now I can go for our monthly cycling sessions without burdening him with a tandem bike, and I’m forever grateful. Being able to cycle again was definitely a personal achievement for me.

FOUR- Writing Xiao Long Bao 

I just had to include this as one of my highlights because of how much joy this has brought to me and the people around me. When I was tasked to write a song for the Outreach class, I was so stressed out because I have never written/composed anything in my life, and I did not know what to write. I first thought of writing about something I love, like eggs, but my boyfriend suggested I write a song about Xiao Long Bao (shall keep the background story a secret for now, but I really love Xiao Long Bao). The more I brainstormed ideas for the song, the more I got the hang of it and the ideas kept flowing (and things started to become super hilarious). At first, I was very embarrassed to show the song to the class, because who the heck writes about such a random topic? But the class loved it and it made me love the song more. My family were obsessed over it and couldn’t stop teasing me about it (in a good way).

I’m also amazed and immensely grateful that a bunch of friends were so accepting of my idea that was initially so small and lame, and turned it into a meaningful project, from modifying the words to performing with a group of friends. Great ideas cannot be fulfilled alone.

This song is definitely going to be in my wedding and no one can stop me muahahaha.

FIVE- Returning to RVHS after four years

The same week after I finished my final recital, my juniors invited me back to my alma mater to watch the post-SYF Appreciation Concert. It has been 4 years since I graduated (I’m already Year 10 omg), and going back to a familiar yet unfamiliar place, I felt like I don’t belong in there anymore. However, seeing my RV String Ensemble juniors working so hard and reuniting with my juniors who have also graduated, really brought back heartfelt memories to me. From the rehearsals, to the practicing, to the STOREROOM, really makes me wish I could go back and relive everything again. Also, the way I listen to music and concerts have also changed, which also changed my impression of school performing arts groups. The passion and drive these kids have really reminded me of why I loved music so much in the first place to want to make it my career.

SIX- NAFA Convocation 2017

I’ve already written a separate post on it, so you can go read it here to find out what went down and how I felt, but that day was definitely one of the biggest highlights of 2017. I’m so glad my academic journey has went better than expected for me and till this day, I am grateful to the people who have helped me get there. A lot of things has changed for me since then, but when there are times that I feel down, I will always go back to this moment and be reminded that good things do not come easy.

SEVEN- Memorable concerts I have attended

2017 is also a great year for Classical Concerts, and I am glad to have attended quite a few of them (though sadly I won’t be able to include everything in this post, or it would be a thousand words more). I enjoyed Messiaen’s Turangalîla by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, where despite the whole programme only consisting of that one piece, it was a feast for the ears and my imagination. It was my first time listening to the Ondes Martenot live, which was really new to me. It also opened my ears to Messiaen’s music and I find myself appreciating his music more. Another one by the SSO was Mozart Requiem with the Singapore Symphony Chorus and TPCC. Mozart Requiem was the first work I encountered with the NAFA Chorus, and my memory of it is still very vivid. Masaaki Suzuki was a great conductor, and the orchestra and chorus were strong. The Amen chorus of his son Masaato Suzuki’s edition, was also new to my ears.

One of the major concerts I have watched this year is Angela Hewitt’s solo recital at the Victoria Concert Hall in May. I really looked up to her for her knowledge on Bach and the Baroque style, and I was so glad I managed to listen to her live performance for the first time on a Fazioli piano. Her performance of the Bach Partitas were executed with great control and touch, with careful attention to detail, and the Ravel Sonatine was fluid and full of character.

Lastly, not forgetting listening to Melvyn Tan’s performances, and I am glad to have attended all three of them. First, the Mendelssohn First Piano Concerto with the SSO, where I first witnessed his playing that was full of character, engaging communication and beautiful singing tone. Secondly, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major K.453 with the reSound Collective, where I experienced a solo pianist playing and conducting an orchestra at the same time, giving me new ideas on how Mozart’s piano concertos should be played (separate post here). Finally, his solo recital last Wednesday (27 Dec), which once again displayed his animated character, vivid imagination and strong communication. A musician like him is so unique that it is impossible to imitate.

EIGHT- Memorable Concerts I have performed in

I performed in two memorable concerts in my first year in the degree course. First would have to be my first time playing in the NAFA concert series (Winning Keys). It was the first time I felt relaxed and enjoyed myself throughout, so much so that my teacher even realised it. It was nice to be able to perform alongside my wonderfully talented schoolmates. Second would definitely be singing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in the chorus with the TPO and TPCC. It was memorable for many reasons, I listened to this piece so many times both in concert and in recordings, and I finally knew the words to the chorus part and got to experience performing it. Also, it was my first time singing offstage in close view of the audience, which was super nerve wrecking and I don’t even know how we managed to pull it off, but we did.

NINE- Discovering good books and going back to reading regularly

This year, I decided to go back to reading regularly during my free time, I would read before going to school, read on the commute (when I’m not listening to podcasts) and read before bedtime (unless it’s some intense thriller novel by Dan Brown which would keep me up all night). I used to read frequently when I was in primary school, but I seemed to have stopped doing it afterwards, and I really want to go back to doing it again. I picked up my first book (Crazy Rich Asians) and from then on, I was once again hooked onto reading. I was reminded about my love for reading and how vivid my imagination could be just by reading a novel. I am also glad to have discovered some new good books and authors along the way, such as Roxane Gay (The Feminist, An Untamed State) and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Americanah, Half of a Yellow Sun). I gained new perspectives on life, and learnt new things about the world around me.

I have written separate posts on books I have read in October and November 2017, which you can read here and here. A post on December 2017 will be coming soon (if I’m not lazy to write it haha).

TEN- New relationship

Lastly, another big highlight of 2017. Gonna save this for next time haha ❤


Overall, I can safely say that 2017 has been the best year of my life so far, I don’t think 2018 is going to beat that, but I’m really looking forward to what life has in store for me in future!

Anyone staying up to countdown tonight? For me, I will be spending New Year’s Eve Night gorging on snacks and counting down to the new year with my family. Happy new year everyone!

Till next time, take care everyone xo

[In Pictures] I Went to Christmas Wonderland 2017!

Went to Gardens by the Bay on Christmas Day for Christmas Wonderland 2017. The last time I went there in 2015, it was free and now we had to pay $8 (online; $10 at the gate). Was quite a last minute decision to go because we both had nothing planned for Christmas, besides eating and gift exchanging. At first, I was pretty worried about the crowds, but turned out the area was quite spacious and not packed at all, despite the massive throngs of people. Unfortunately, there was a heavy downpour, but luckily it stopped quickly. We came pretty early at around 6pm, and left close to 10pm. There’s much to see and much to do. I feel that Gardens by the Bay is the best place to be to soak in the Christmas atmosphere (minus the lack of winter), there is no place like this!

[All photos taken with the LUMIX GF-7]

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Entrance to Christmas Wonderland

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Came across this stall while looking for drinks.

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Earl Grey Lavender Milk Tea, the best combination.

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Macarons by The M Plot, $3.50 each. Tried the Lychee & White Chocolate and Rose flavours, both were great.

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Christmas Carolling

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Garden Rhapsody at the Supertree Grove

Didn’t play the carnival games because they were kinda pricey and you had to buy tokens for the games and rides. Games aren’t really my thing…but I see many people enjoying themselves. We mostly walked around, listened to performances, looked at the lights, and bought food and drinks.

However, with the $8 entrance ticket, I probably wouldn’t go back there again next year unless I have no plans at all for Christmas. So glad I went this year though.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Till next time, take care everyone xo