Myread – Paperboy

ImageDid I also mentioned that I like to read novels based on true story? If you too, this book is for you.

This is a simple book about a boy who can’t speak without stuttering. He wrote his story on a typewriter and he does not like to use comma. It’s about his adventure while covering for his friend for delivering newspaper for 1 month. In my humble opinion, the main topic of interest in this book is not just the stuttering of a boy, but the author also touches on the issue of racism of the blacks in US during the early days. The relationship between the boy and his nanny is quite touching too. Thought-provoking, memorable, but yet simple and light-hearted to read about.

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“Talking is not about how we say it, but what we say.”

What’s your thoughts on this novel?

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Myread – Umbrella summer

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Have you ever lost someone whom you loved so dearly? How would a nine yr old feel when she lost her most belloved brother?

Annie’s brother just passed away from a sudden rare heart disease. Life still goes on and annie does not seem to be too bothered by it.. except for the ‘dead-brother’ look that wveryone gave her. HOwever she starts to be overly obsessive about her health, worried that she might catch some disease, or have leukemia or jaundice. This is to the extent that she stopped doing waht she likes – obstacle course with her friends, for fear of hurting herself which might developed into gangrene. She had bandaids all over her arms and legs over small bites or wounds.

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Annie parents tried their best to forget jared  annie’s brother and goes on with life. But still, it is difficult..
The adults r too busy missing their dead son that they forgotten abt annie, forgotten hw to love her and appreciate her.

This story is about how a young girl overcomes her loss of her beloved brother, how she taught her parents to get over with it, how they let jared be alived in their hearts. It is a warming, emotional and interesting book to read. I cant put down this book once I started and finished it in 2 days.

It is also a story of friendship and childhood memories which brings back memories of my own…

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“When it’s raining you put up an umbrella right? So you won’t get wet? But say you are walking for a long time, holding your umbrella high up in the air to protect you from the rain. If you’re too busy worrying about not getting wet, or just thinking about something else entirely, you may not even notice that it has stopped raining. So there you are with your umbrella still open above you, and there’s no more rain at all. You may not be getting wet, but you’re missing the sunshine. Annie z, I think all your worries are like an umbrella to you. It’s easier to be worried than to be sad. So you used worrying as a sort of protection.”

“Everybody wants to be on the mountaintop, but mountaintops are rocky and cold. Sure, the view is great, bit what’s a view for? A voew just gives us a glimpse of our next destination – our next target. But to hit that target, we must come off that mountain, go through the valley, and begin to climb the next slope. It is in the valley that we slough through the lush grass and rich soil, learning and becoming what enables us to summit life’s next peak.”

Title of book: Umbrella summer

Author: Lisa Graff

Mytravel – Singapore Maxwell food centre

This is a continuation of my previous post on “local travelling”. Singapore is not only just a tropical small island, it is an island filled with variety of cultures and FOOD!!

Yes! I gladly admit I am a foodie lover (who won’t be, living in singapore?), but I’m not the type that will go all the way out to search for nice and good food. But this time round, my curious mind and free time prompted me to drag my lazy body all the way to chinatown maxwell food centre in search of the famous Tiantian hainanese chicken rice.

Part 2 of local travel – Maxwell food centre

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Located in the heartland of Chinatown, it took me a while to find this food centre via GPS on a hot and humid day.

I had purposely arrived earlier to avoid the long queue and lunch crowd, but to my dismay, the queue is still very long. Thankfully for the must-try tiantian chicken rice stall (stall 10), there were two stalls (one for white chicken, the other for roasted chicken) so the speed of serving is pretty fast.

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The chicken serving is considered generous for the price ($3.50/plate). I wanted the chicken drumstick, but it’s sold out and I go for the “ji wei” part. The meat of the chicken is indeed tender and juicy, and the skin is smooth and oily. I like that the chicken meats are cut into large pieces and the taste just filled my entire mouth. Here comes the most famous of this chicken rice – the rice. It has been reported in all media that the rice is the best part, fragrant and nice and can be eaten alone. It is indeed fragrant, but I find the rice abit hard and clumpy, and not as smooth as I thought. Generally I’ve eaten better rice than this before.
I just read on another blog that the master chef of tiantian chicken rice stall has left the stall and set up his own. Maybe that’s one of the reason it’s not as fantastic as I’ve heard? But still, its not too bad I guess.

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Please pardon the tardiness of this photo; I'm too hungry and absorbed in enjoying the taste that I only remember to take photo nearing finishing the rice =p

The next food I tried was the zhenzhen porridge. This was also rated as one of the best food in maxwell food centre. While eating the chicken rice, I’ve been observing the queue and the queue seems equally long for one hr. Determined to find out how good it is, I bravely joined the queue. The queue is long because there is only one main cook and every bowl of porridge is cooked individually (hence with love and tender care).

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See the queue? Even auntie and pregnant lady braved the long queue just to eat the porridge!

The porridge is silky and watery and I can’t find grains of rice in it. There is no fishy smell and it is really sweet. The other selling part of this porridge which I concluded, is the generousity of the amount of fish in each bowl! I practically ate a fish with every mouthful of the porridge!

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Century egg with fish porridge - see the silkiness of the porridge?

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See the machine behind? That must be the secret to the silkiness of the porridge! This machines is turning consistently which I believed helps to breaks down every grain of rice...

I also tried the oyster egg and sugar cane. There are other good food recommended by other bloggers (eg dim sum, pock bun, fish soup, cockles), but I’m too full to try more of these. Maybe next time, when I have the cravings and the free time again.

Overall, it is a good visit if you have the time or are in the precinity. Otherwise, I believed that there are many hawker centres in singapore that serve equally good food as this.

Remember to come early 11-11.30am to avoid the lunch crowd, bring long umbrellas to “chope” (literally means reserved) seats (a common undeclared culture of Singapore),  and remember to clear your own tray after eating.

My curiosity has been fufilled, and I am glad and satisfied now. 🙂

Maxwell food centre (Chinatown mrt)
1 kadayanallur road     

Myread – The beggar King and the secret of happiness

Image If you love to read stories as much as I do, you’ll love this book, which contains not only stories collected by a storyteller, but also the true story of the storyteller himself.

It all started off with the story of King Solomon in Jerusalem, which I supposed most people will know. He is the wisest king on earth ever lived, and also the richest man on earth ever lived, according to the bible. King Solomon dreamt of his father, King David, who tasked him to build the most magnificent temple for God, which King David did not get to build during his lifetime. While building the temple, King solomon has to enlist the help of Ashmodai, the King of demons, and he could do so because of a powerful ring which could summon and control demons. And I shall not be a wet blanket and spoil the story by continuing… all I could say is, the story developed and King solomon became a beggar. But there was more to it!

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Every chapter came a new story which originates from all over the world, and every stories accompanied some hidden meaning for the reader to decipher. The stories always left me thinking for long. For most of the stories, i understood the morals behind it, but somehow, still couldn’t decipher that for ‘The Happy man’s shirt’. If any of you understood it, please enlighten me. =)

ImageWhen I finished the book, I could not find the book’s answer to the title: secret of happiness. Interestingly, when I’m reviewing and reading the stories again while writing this blog, the ‘Aha!’ moment dawn upon me, and i understood. This is just as what the author wrote at the end:

As hard as we may search, we can only see it when we stop to wonder, looking back to see where we’ve been and what we’ve learned. It’s a grueling process, this forging a reason from the stuff of life, but it’s all we can d. And what we get for our efforts is a story.

ImageSo what is my take on the secret of happiness? Nope, I don’t agree with what the picture above said. Instead of looking inside, my secret of happiness is to look upwards, just as Noah did during the 10.5 months of flood. Just FYI, Noah’s ark was 45 feet high, and the opening was just 18 inch below the roof, which goes to show that there are no windows in the ark, and the openings are way too high for Noah to look outside. So what Noah can do is to look up only. And Noah survived.

Ending my post with another quote from the author, food for your thoughts =)

“What, then , of the secret of happiness? I know stories that touch upon it and even one by that name. But for me, the secret of happiness sits atop a long list of life’s secrets. Perhaps that’s the secret – there is no secret of happiness. Yet, we keep searching, maybe because the simple act of looking for it makes us happy.”

What’s your thought of this book? What are your stories and your take on the secret of happiness?

Book title: The Beggar king and the secret of Happiness

Author: Joel Ben Izzy

Published: Algonquin Books, 2005

Mytravel – Singapore supreme court

Many people always said, travelling doesn’t have to be out of your own country; sometimes, going to places in your own homeland that you’ve never been to can bring about a new experience, and open your eyes to new things you’ve not seen, done before.

So I decided, on this once in a blue moon chance to take leave from work on a weekday, I’ve decided to explore places I have never been to.

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See the red little dot in the map? That's where Singapore my homeland is!

Singapore is a small tropical island situated in south east asia, along the straits of malacca, right below malaysia, and above indonesia. No, we are not in malaysia, neither is Singapore in china (which we’ve heard of quite often). Being a tropical island surrounded by water, you can expect sunny weather (with occasional rain) for most of the days of the years, plus humidity.

As a citizen here for more than 20 years, I have always thought that I’ve been to most of the places here, and this is just a boring island with not much interesting places to visit. Someone had quoted before:” There are no uninteresting things or places, only uninterested people”. I totally agree with this statement. Hence, I decided to re-visit my homeland today with a tourist eye and a curious mind!

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The cure for boredom is curiosity.
There is no cure for curiosity.

– Dorothy Parker

Supreme court Singapore
Always passing by this building that look like an old imperial colonial times building, and never wonder what’s going on inside, and never wonder how is e legal system like in singapore. Have you heard a real court case before? (Not those dramatic type that we see on tv or dramas) Not me definitely. So I took this opportunity to explore the supreme court and attended a court hearing today.

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Old Supreme court till june 2005

I never knew the supreme court has been moved out of this building since 2005, and the new renovated building has already started work since 2012. I thought the old supreme court building looks historical and vintage and it’ll be good to retain and refurnished it abit. It’s such a waste if it was going to be demolished, with over a hundred years of history. This is a dilemma of modernisation.

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The above picture is the artist’s image of the new supreme court building estimated to be completed by 2015. The dome of the old building are going to be replaced by the “UfO”-shaped” structure. It looks quite cool, don’t you think so?

Constitution of the court
Anyway, the supreme court is one of the two tiers of the court system in singapore, the other being the subordinate court. It is the superior court of record compared to subordinate court. Supreme court is made up of court of appeal and the high court. The court of appeal is the final appellate court in singapore. It hears appeals against decisions of high court judges on both civil and criminal matters.

The high court hears both civil and criminal cases as a court of first instance. It also hears civil and criminal appeals from the diatrict courts and magistrates’ courts and civil appeals from certain tribunals as prescribed by law.
You can visit here to find out more.

My experience
The current supreme court building although looks demure on the outside, it is rather stern and majestic on the inside. There are security checks at the entrance; once inside, I was impalled by the silence and the atmosphere.

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Interior of the current (2014) supreme court

As I was late, I hurried to find the court room of the hearing that I wanted to attend. Arriving outside the courtroom, there is a separate door for public to enter to observe the hearing. It is a small room separated by glass panel; I am the only audience in the hearing room, accompanied by two stern looking police officer sitting at the back row. You can imagine the atmosphere inside…. The seating arrangement of the judge and lawyer somehow resembles those I’ve seen on tv shows, maybe except that the lawyers do not wear a wig nowadays.

As expected, it is not easy for me to understand the contents of the hearing, with frequent references to the various section of the statutory law.

It is a good experience for me, and I’m glad I took a step to learn something new, in my own country. If you are also thinking of visiting the supreme court, remember to wear formal clothing (no shorts, slippers, sandals); bow to the judges if you enter the hearing halfway or leave halfway, keep silent during the hearing and no taking out of phone during court hearing.
You can find out more from the ifaq of the supreme court website.

This experience stimulated my curiosity to find out more about the laws of singapore and the various proceedings. I’m glad that this is not a boring session for me and I have gained something today, just by tuning my perspective.

Myread – The miraculous journey of Edward Tulane

Image Edward tulane is a handsome, perfect, clean and good-looking china rabbit doll, and he is very pleased of himself. He belonged to a little girl named Abilene who loved him really very very much. But Edward is a proud rabbit only loves himself, and do not love Abilene. One day, while on a ferry trip with Abilene, Edward was accidentally thrown off the ferry, and this is where his life adventures all started… … his journey to losing, finding love and finding life…

ImageYes, I must admit, i love travel stories and I also love adventure stories. Not only that, i love to read meaningful stories, stories that could teach me about life. This book grabbed my attention while watching the recently popular korean drama: “My love from another Star”.

                     Image   ImageThe main actor who casted as an alien from another planet who have lived on Earth for 400 years. Somehow the character Edward Tulane resembles the main actor in the drama – ‘something’ that could live forever but yet not knowing love and how to love, and slowly learning to love.

 

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I have been loved. Edward told the stars.

I had enjoyed the miraculous journey with Edward, as his heart once filled with ice, slowly melt away to be filled with hope and love. Have you read the book already? Share with me your thoughts!

Book title: The miraculous journey of Edward Tulane

Author: Kate Dicamillo

Published: Candlewick, 2009

Mytravel – Korea, jeju island

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Lalangs dancing in the spring wind – end of spring Nov 29, 2013, sangumburi crater, jeju

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The remains of the last few signs of spring… winter is approaching
– Sangumburi crater, jeju

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The icon of jeju island! Grandpa and Grandma of jeju! Touching the nose u’ll be blessed with a baby boy, and touching the ears u’ll be blessed with a baby girl (or was it the other way round?) =p

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Entrance to the korean folk village on a sunny cold day

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Take a peek into the small strawhouses @ korean folk village and learn how the locals live in the olden days!
The toilet is directly above the black pig sty.. quite an ingenious sewage recycling method isn’t it? =P

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Seongsan sunrise peak, jeju Looks like some scene in korean historical drama isn’t it? It took an hour to hike to the top..but was definitely worth it for the nice view and fresh air!

Myread: My name is not konnichiwa

Image I like to travel, and i love the planning process. Researching and reading about the places and imagining I am already there and looking though all  the travel blogs and books makes me happy. That’s why this book is a real inspiration to motivate me to take the first step.

This is written by a Singaporean, Rodney Ee, who is an avid traveler, and has been to 44 countries! (that’s amazing!) The adventure stories are well organized and the descriptions are vivid and interesting, just as the title is. The language is simple, easy to read but filled with humours and sacarsm which spice up the stories. Not to forget, being Singaporean, also added some Singlish terms which makes me feel close to home.

ImageI like that story on staying in an igloo at negative 20 degree in Iceland, waiting for the northern light to appear, and the other story on going to Santa Claus hometown in Finland. Who would have believe that Santa Claus town actually exist? Most of the places written in this book are those out of the way, the ‘road-less-traveled’ places that I would never imagine going.

ImageIf you are just like me, want to travel the world but restricted by fears and objections, maybe this book might inspire you to take the first step out! I’ve just booked my solo backpack trip to the ox for next month , and is really looking forward to it! This is a good choice fFor a leisure read on a lazy weekend afternoon.. Enjoy!

Quote from the author:

“Each time i visit a country, I always returned feeling more humbled than before humbled at being just one out of 7 billion people on this incredible planet, humbled at its vast expanse and the diversity of its people and landscape, humbled at the ease with which cultural barriers can be brought down with a simple smile, and immensely grateful for the many friends that I have made all over the world.”

Book title: My name is not konnichiwa

Author: Rodney Ee

Book publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Year of publish: 2012

What is life above the sun?

I have been wondering all these while, what is life? Is it the day to day living and passing of time?

ImageLife should means more than waking up in the morning, eating when we are hungry, drinking when we are thirsty, and going to work and back home to sleep. Marriam-webster has defined life as ‘the experience of being alive’. The experience is part of life, part of living.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

ImageBeing alive does not equate to having life.  Do I have a life? Life means differently to different people.

“Life is the present. Life is being aware; it is seeing God’s love breaking through. It is    turning aside to a miracle something like a sunrise. Something transitory, yet symbolic of the eternity that awaits us.” – David Roper

All these years I’ve been busy making a living, and have not been really living a life. Now I am going to embark on a journey to search for MY own definition of life – and I’m going to live a life that is above the sun.

Have you found yours?

 “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” – Psalm 16:11

“To travel is to live”. – Hans Christian Andersen

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