It looked like a normal Saturday evening. I was due to have a short run with Vivian. Initially, I was planning to go for a 12km but my schedule was screwed up and I ended up rushing for time. Sometimes I just have nothing to say about my time management.
Viv reached before me so I’ve got to make her wait for me while I went to change into my outfit. The sky started to become dark as we walked out of OCBC Arena. Viv was like asking me if we are going to run outside or at 100plus Promenade. I took the risk to run outside.
It was a bad bet. About 500m out, the rain came and we were forced to head back. Even before we were able to seek shelter, the rain became too big that we were so close to being drenched. We headed up to the Promenade to continue with our run.
I screwed up the run. It was the worst run I’ve done so far. I felt so disgusted and uneasy throughout the entire run. I slowed down so much to the point that Viv was like saying, “You know you can just run faster, don’t need wait for me.” I struggled a little inside. “I couldn’t go any faster now.”
Painful reality check just one month before my first full marathon.
Anyway, by 7pm, we were returned back to OCBC Arena to wash up and get ready for dinner. Viv initially wanted dinner at Old Airport Road but changed her mind to settle it at Kallang Wave since ‘it was nearer’.
We ended up walking around Kallang Wave looking at clothes. From H&M to Cotton On to Weston, we covered clothing ranges across the gender spectrum. She still offered no hint on where in the mall are we going to have out dinner at. I didn’t even bother to ask. Then, she brought me out of the mall, wandering into Cheers. Thereafter, we left Cheers and I followed her up the stairs leading to the Indoor Stadium because she ‘wanted to take photos’.
She took over my camera and started filming as we walked up. At least for once, I’ve got my own videographer.
We reached the top and walked towards the Lawn Bowls playing area. A group of people were seated in the middle of the place. “Did you see that?” Viv asked. I nodded. At the point of time, even though that I kind of expected something, I was touched and quite lost for words.
Kishan and I trying to save the flames so that I could take photos with the tiramisu.
Wanz became my main photographer/videographer of the day. She shot in her Olympus Pen E-PL7. Maybe next time I could loan it from her and do some test shootouts with it HAHA.
So, they actually got the food all the way from Chomp Chomp and brought it over to the Indoor Stadium. This is like Chomp2 under the stars (okay, not much about the stars because the skies were still misty after the heavy downpour earlier on).
Actually, little did anyone know that those food (the prawn noodles, BBQ Chicken Wings, Satay and Orh Luak) fell easily within my Top 10 all-time favourite delicacies. Prawn noodles comes second after the undisputed wanton mee. I know it’s a bit hard to believe because almost everyone perceived me to be a clean eater but hey, how clean can I be.
The usual chat sessions begin with Kishan and me knowing near to zero what the girls were talking about. I just sat there, enjoying the food and most importantly, the company. It has been too long since I see them all again (we were still short of Nic’s presence though).
We ended the night with a group photo. But it seems like I ended up having fun taking candid shots of them.
Can’t be more thankful enough for their existence. <3
Once again, it has been long since I posted an update on this blog. Being in a camp that is so far away from home means that it is more convenient and comfortable for me to stay in in camp instead of travelling through and fro every single day. It’s not easy to focus too much time to blogging these days but I will still try my very best to update this blog every now and then.
Anyway! I’ve decided to venture back into vlogging so yay Youtube, here I come! I used to vlog last time and had thoughts of turning it into some sort of a daily commitment. It is obvious now that such thoughts had not come into fruition.
Recently, while I was surfing through YouTube randomly, I came across various vlogs that caught my attention. Nope, not NAS Daily (since he only post his one minute video on Facebook) but Casey Neistat. I was amazed at how vlogs can be presented with such beautiful cinematography. Then I came across other vloggers such as iJustine, MKBHD and Jon Olsson.
I was impressed with the different ways vlogs are being done and how much of an artwork each individual vlogs are. Vlogs can be simple — just grab your smartphone and start filming yourself, but it can also be complex — production-like vlogs setups including the use of proper lightings, proper audio and equipment. I told myself that maybe I could use vlogging as a way to upgrade my videography and editing skills so why not? It is impossible for me to work on any films during this period but I could do at least a vlog each week as some sort of a scaled-down production.
Also, since I’ve got those under-used gears lying everywhere in my room, I should start utilising it before it becomes some evidences of me overspending. Oops
I decided, at the start of last month, I would focus my time on vlogging and crafting story ideas. I’ve place a link of my latest vlog down below, and it included more reasons why I’ve decided to vlog!
Ok, now back to topic. Last week I was on a 5-day vacation so that I could find time to enjoy and rest during my birthday. Birthday is nothing special actually, at least to me, but I tend to favour using this day as a time to really rest my soul and to enjoy myself a little after long period of work. It’s like my own version of Thanksgiving weekend — giving thanks to myself as well as people who’ve done so much for me.
It was a simple vacation.
20th October 2018
Started off the weekend with a long-distance run with Justin and the folks from Running Department. It was the first time I ran with RD but it was really quite fun. Despite most of them being running enthusiast, me as a novice was able to blend into the crowd.
There were difference paces led by RD pacers as preparation for the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon at the end of the year. That morning, we were all ready for a 30km pacer run. I think running is the only thing that could wake me up as early as 0400. It was raining by the time I reached the meeting point at East Coast Park, so the run got slightly delayed. Obviously, that doesn’t dampen the mood of everyone there. We waited and eventually started running around 0630.
Justin, being a much better runner than I am, joined the faster pacers. I followed the 6:45 pacers and I was all-good until I hit the 19km mark, when I started to lag behind them and slowly, by the time I crossed the 22km mark, I couldn’t take it anymore. I mean I could still run back I was close to drop dead. I changed strategy: to run and walk alternatively every 1km. I kept to that strategy until the end of 27km. I told myself to stop right there because I would be way too late for work had I continue on. HAHAHA EXCUSES.
27.2km is the final distance I clocked. The longest run I’ve ever done, both in terms of distance and duration. Despite both my legs screaming for help, I felt good after the run. Maybe one reason is due to the sense of satisfaction and achievement. It’ll be 30km the next time with RD.
21 October 2018
It was a simple Sunday. I was primarily using it as a recovery day after the run. But yet, I decided to head down to BloodBank@Douby Ghaut for blood donation.
The fun thing about blood donation here in Singapore is that there are freebies given to you, especially when you reached a certain milestone or when it’s your birthday. HAHA I sound like a cheapo but I find fun collecting all these. That day, I was given a face towel with a little note hung outside. So cute I cannot.
22 October 2018
I haven’t been spending actual quality time with my parents since enlistment, so times like this provided chances for me to do so. It was the eve of my birthday and I went wandering around the town, doing some photoshoot with a new camera — the Sony a6300 — that I’ve gotten lately. I’ve gotten it to replace my current 70D as my main vlogging & videography camara. The reason is simple, Sony range of mirrorless cameras has been in the lead for the past 5 years and the ability to shoot in 4K really deserve the I think I might replace the 70D completely with a full frame after ORD for better photography experience but I shall leave it to my discipline to save up the necessary money and whatever Canon’s going to reveal later next year.
I couldn’t be much more impressed by the quality of image I got from such a lightweight camera. I’ll probably write a post in the near future about the experience I have about this new gear.
Things started getting boring because there wasn’t much event on a Monday in town so I went to Cineleisure to catch a movie.
Yes, it was Johnny English Strikes Again. I haven’t really been catching any movie since Chinese New Year so I guess it’s a good time to catch one that day. I need to admit that the amount of movies I watched thus far ain’t really enough to prove that I am a former media student (or film student, though not really specialised in that aspect) and a filmography enthusiast. Maybe I should really get my ass down and start reviewing films and learn from those cinematography masters on how to plan shots and how to tell a story.
Johnny English was nice, I managed to laugh a lot although it wasn’t that kind of movie that I would walk out of the theatre and say, “Hey, I want to rewatch it again.” It’s more of like laugh and move on. I understand why it wasn’t that well rated on many review sites.
After the movie, I head to Somerset MRT Station to meet up with Pa & Ma and we headed off for a birthday dinner. It’s one of the rare occasion that we eat out because we have a culinary master in Pa.
We settled the dinner over at Kiseki because I was in the mood for some Japanese food. This was the third time I’ve been to Kiseki and I need to admit that I am getting bored of the selection of food there. Well, maybe because it was on a Monday so the variety of food isn’t as much as previously? Or maybe I was full from the sushi and prawns that we’ve gotten before I could go around searching for more food.
23 October 2018
My actual birthday was marked with a rather impromptu lunch with Huiqi. It wasn’t planned long ago but just a few days back. She wanted to pass me my birthday present on the upcoming Saturday but unfortunate I would be on duty that day. In the end, it was suggested that we could meet up on 23rd and maybe have a quick birthday lunch together.
We decided on settling the lunch over at Forty Hands, a cafe at the heritage Yong Siak Street in the vicinity of Tiong Bahru. Although I’ve sort of been to the area before, especially during the times when I was teaching tuition at Redhill, I am still mesmerised by the architectural style of the buildings around there.
I realised that whenever we went out to eat, just the both of us, we tend to explore cafe that we don’t normally visit. The previous time was Brawn & Brains.
Such thoughtful presents. It looks like I need not buy an everyday carry weekly diary for next year since I was given this personalised planner. Silver on black, how classy! There’s also book that Huiqi got from China which is quite apt for me right now because of how I perceived the world to be rather cruel. As the title goes, “This world can be cruel, yet gentle.”
As we left the area, we stumble upon another cafe at the other corner of the street. Could this be our next cafe destination?
Hey I am back again. I know it has been like about 6 months since I turned 21st, but I think it’s really time to update this blog with photos and records of my other two 21st birthday celebrations. You can recap on my first celebration here.
29 October, 2017
A week after my confinement ended, I finally have the chance to actually spend my weekend out of camp. As it was the weekend right before my field camp, I feel that this was the moment I should really enjoy my hearts out before booking back into THAT ISLAND, facing nothing but army boys and trees.
The bunch of lovelies from JCFC got me out to BOUNCE Singapore, a trampoline park located at the top level of Orchard Cineleisure. It wasn’t my first time at a trampoline park but I knew the last time when I went to one left me with some soreness at the tip of my toes. I was praying that this time around, my muscles would spare me some agony.
The moment we went into the arena, we just kept jumping on any trampoline that we stepped onto. I was like trying to jump as high as I could, so as to feel free – although I knew right at that moment that it was meant to be a temporary one. I just left every inch of stress and thoughts to the back of my head and told myself to enjoy every single moment with this bunch of friends.
At some point, some of us started to try out ‘synchronised trampolining’. As the term suggests, it meant that two of the players will execute the exact same routines concurrently. Something like this:
But as we all expected, the first few trials weren’t something that we were really proud of. Either the timing was off, or we landed up lying flat on all fours. HAHAHA. Yet, some of us eventually executed it well. That’s some kind of achievement, I supposed.
Anyway, it would be rather boring to keep jumping up and down for the entire duration of one hour, so we decided that it would be a good idea to try out one of the ‘challenges’ there: the X-Park. Also known as the Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course, it consisted of a rock wall, running pathway and even a zip-line. The objective is to complete the course in the shortest time possible.
Of course, none of us really quite made it through every single obstacle. I have already lost count the number of time I came crashing down to the ground.
The zip-line was probably the easiest out of all the available obstacles there.
At the end of the hour, our bodies were fully worked out. There were sweats but there were more laughter and memories made. Ever since enlistment, I’ve felt that my life has been confined to nothing but military businesses. I realised my time with my closest friends are getting more and more limited. I knew that I need to treasure every moment with all of them, despite just a short evening out. Well, it’s not about quantity of time, but quality of time after all.
After we were done cleaning ourselves up and getting changed, Mish had to return back to Hall so we were left with the 5 of us. And apparently, there was a second surprise of the evening.
Nic and Yapz hailed a private hire car each, with Nic sharing one with Wanz and I, while Yapz travelled with her boyfriend. I was forced to put on my earpiece while Nic and Wanz told the driver our destination. Despite me being seated in the co-driver seat, I felt as though I was being kidnapped by two very familiar persons and was on the way to uncertainty.
The vehicle drove off as I was blasting my favourite playlist into my earpiece. I looked out of the window, trying to make a guess where this would lead me to. The vehicle went up the CTE, bypassing some recognisable scenery that I used to enjoy while running downtown from home. About three songs later, I found ourselves on Braddell Road. It was the route I would take if I were to return home by private transport from the city. That moment I thought, could I be heading straight home?
Before I even questioned my guess, the vehicle made a swift turn into a secluded Woodleigh Park. There was no way I knew where we were going. I got more confused when I saw JSSL training grounds. The vehicle came to a complete halt right outside this cafe called Cafe Football.
The moment I alighted from the vehicle, I felt exactly like this:
Cafe Football seems to be a quiet dining option for football fans. Apparently partly owned by Manchester United’s legends, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville (alright, I seriously didn’t know about this until I was doing research while trying to write this piece), the cafe provides a comfortable surrounding for football viewing and also, if you are in the mood, a game of footy at The Arena – where the cafe is located at.
We ain’t here for a game, especially not after an hour of bouncing up and down. We were here to fuel ourselves after a rather tiring day. For me, I took it as a chance to get pumped up ahead of field camp. You just don’t understand how much I miss salad in Tekong.
Charmz joined us after work for the dine in.
After eating, the girls decided that they wanted some desserts. And guess what, when the order came, it was accompanied by a candle and a few of the cafe staffs. Much to my amusement, THE SONG echoed around the cafe.
Thank God we were the only large group there. There was a couple whom I thought was too engrossed in their conversation to ever notice any foreign disturbance. No doubt, I was touched by the gesture. For the second time over the span of 2 months, I got to feel loved.
And look, they even got me a Ralph Lauren pullover!
11 November, 2017
As long as I am in any clique together with Junwei, he always had to be the one ‘fishing’ me out and make sure I had some free time in the evening. The case on 2 September was being repeated again two months later.
He was supposed to reach my house at 5.30pm but ended up only to leave his own house at around 6.20pm. I knew that was not like him at all. I didn’t give much thoughts to it nevertheless. Slightly later, after our last Whatsapp exchanges, the doorbell rang. I opened my door and see 4 humans standing outside.
It was another surprise. Although this time it wasn’t the entire group of them but at least I was reassured that I am not a loner celebrating 11.11. Junwei, Weihao, Hong Kiat and Wei Fang walked through my door, wishing me a belated birthday.
We chilled a while over at my place, watching some Fresh Off The Boat episodes before heading off for dinner at one of the nearby food centres.
One of the reasons why I love my neighbourhood is that there are many delicacies around the area. We were so close to ordering one dish each from every stall but thank God, we didn’t. Instead, we did have some absurd ideas in mind. We decided to try out the spicy ramen challenge.
We ended up having 6 packets of Buldak Spicy Ramen and a carton of fresh milk in our groceries bag on the way back home. But before that, we stopped by a Lazada advert at the bus stop for a snap. No particular reason, just to show how single af we four guys are. (Look, I am still using the present tense of ‘are’ 6 months after we took the shot. Oops~)
I ended up creating 2 bowls of spicy ramen once we reached back home. One of which I named it the ‘Ultimate Devil’s Bowl’, where I actually added the satanic bhut jolokia chili together with the chili packet provided. No doubt, it proved to be one of the hottest things I’ve ever tasted.
The rest of them just rejected my creation and went straight to the less torturous bowl of noodles. Despite that, they still managed to finish the carton of milk without actually finishing the noodles.
Our months didn’t stop right there despite being a little numb, no thanks to the spiciness. We took out the Oreo cake that they’ve bought for me and lighted the candles. They were so thoughtful that they got me a cake with less sugar. DAMN THOUGHTFUL PLEASE.
This is one of the most bizarre stories I would be writing this year, probably in the history of my life as well.
This could also be one of the most successful surprises ever pulled off on me since people started celebrating my birthday half a decade ago.
Saturday, 2 September 2017.
Junwei, my ever so trusted confidant, managed to get me out of my shambles. I haven’t had a chance to head out to town with a friend ever since I was mentally plagued by some personal issues.
The only times when I was out of my house were when I had errands to run or I had a run to go. I didn’t feel like going anywhere else or meeting anyone else apart from the usual few.
Junwei wasn’t being a usual self. I didn’t realise the abnormalities even when he reminded me about our meet-up 5 days before.
“Eh reminder, sept 2 go out.” “Scared later like last time you forget.” “LOL.”
“Ok hahaha.” “Why do you sound like Elyssa?”
He had never reminded me about any meet-up over the course of our friendship.
To add on to the list of atypical behaviour he possessed, he never tried securing my schedule weeks in advance. Our meet-up are mostly impromptu. It was more of like asking each other out for dinner an hour before and praying that the other party is available.
Probably I was a little too occupied to even surmise any aberrations.
He said he wanted to go to the Kinokuniya outlet at Ngee Ann City. We browsed through some books before making dropping by Bras Basah Complex to browse through more books.
Nearing sunset, we hopped onto the train which transported us down to Chinatown.
“Actually, why do you want to go Chinatown?” I was a little caught by surprise when he initially suggested on going to the ethnic enclave.
“To get clothes.”
“Who the hell go to Chinatown for clothes?” That was the first time I heard anyone shopping for clothes in the cultural suburb. It makes more sense if it was during the Chinese New Year’s festive season when a bazaar was going on.
I continued to complain about how full I was from my lunch and how my stomach felt more bloated as the time went past. I don’t know what’s wrong with my stomach but all I recalled was that I didn’t have a heavy meal that afternoon.
On the other hand, Junwei was on the other side of the hunger spectrum. He was already hungry by the time we arrived at Chinatown.
I had asked him earlier on while we were at Orchard about what we would be having for dinner. He proposed on settling it over at a KBBQ outlet in Chinatown.
I am ready for a feast of meat. That’s what I was thinking the moment he voiced out his cravings.
Looks like I was a little wrong about how my appetite would be when he said that we are going for dinner once we stepped out of the station. Nevertheless, I complied. We went circles around Chinatown in search for a KBBQ restaurant that his friends had recommended. We got lost, turned on the navigator from Google Maps and got to our destination eventually.
We should be glad that Singapore does not have a large plot of land mass to begin with. If not it would have been a good workout before a scrumptious meal.
We arrived at Wang Dae Bak restaurant.
“Room 3.” Junwei told the waiter as he was being approached.
“Since when did you make a reservation,” I followed closely behind him, feeling kind of puzzled. We never have the habit of making a reservation at a restaurant. Besides, we only decided on having dinner just an hour before we met up.
“My friend said it’ll be crowded,” he convinced me.
I didn’t ponder much and followed him and the waiter in.
We walked past a row of private rooms which caught my eye. It looks like a scene out of an epic Korean War movie.
I was engrossed with the old-school interior that I almost didn’t realise that I was so close to losing the sight of those two ahead. I quickened my steps and we came face-to-face with a sliding door that looks like it is made of hanji material.
Someone slided the door open, revealing some familiar faces in there.
The first two persons I saw were Justinn and Sheri. It was not long before I realised the presence of Elyssa, Stefanie and Ashley.
Before I could process what was happening, a chorus erupted in what was supposed to be a serene dining place.
Anyone could see how shellshocked I was. People were singing birthday song as Junwei and I made our entrances into the room. There was no reason for them to be celebrating any birthday at this point of the year. At least from what I know, neither of our birthdays lie during the late Aug/September period.
Everything felt so preposterous.
Everyone looked at my direction whilst Junwei rushed to the nearest seat, as if sending the message to the rest that his job was finally done.
That was the earliest birthday celebration I’ve ever had in my life. And if you are wondering how early this celebration was, I was only 20 years 10 months and 10 days old on that day.
The video showed how stunned I was – and I remained that way throughout the rest of the night. In fact, I still felt how everything was so surreal at this point of writing. I didn’t see it coming but as I pieced all the abnormalities in Junwei’s behaviour up to the point, it makes sense after all.
I was presented with a cute panda, which I felt it kinds of resembles me because of the dark eye circles, and a present which I shall not unveil just yet.
Once we settled down (okay, not really the case for me because I was still recovering from the shock that they had given me), we turned our attention to the food that was being laid out so nicely on the dining table.
Photos & More Photos
After we finished our food, Elyssa suggested that we take some kind of burst mode photos. She wanted to duplicate those neo-print/polaroids-like photos tourists took when they visit some sort of carnival.
The quality of the photos came out to be nothing less than perfect. It looked as if we’ve just gone for a day out to Seoul.
Stef and I ran out of pose before Justinn prompted from the side to do a ‘throwback’ pose. I was immediately reminded of the photo we took when we were helping our school’s Red Cross unit with their skit performance in 2009.
One conclusion: We all grew up well.
I just realised I had forgotten to take a photo with Stef and Ashley together. It’s okay, there were be more chances for us three to take photo together(although I might feel as bright as a light bulb but well…)
We looked like we are about to release an ‘album of the year’.
Because it was the first two times that I was surprised on my birthday, I remembered those moments very clearly.
Two years ago, Pedoro almost made my heart stopped while I was ‘attacked’ on the way home after a shoot. That was the third time I felt the surprise element for my birthday.
Those were the three times when my friends successfully surprised me.
This time round, as I head towards my 21st year, I was given another shock of the lifetime. The difference between this and the previous few times was on the timing. You won’t get many chances to celebrate your birthday two months in advance.
“Do you feel touched?” Elyssa asked me after the celebration.
I was lost for words. My mind was blank and I had no idea how I should react. That remained the case for the entire night. Eventually, I start to get hold of what had happened to me.
Yes, I felt touched. And it will take a while before the feeling subside.
Thank you guys for making sure that I get to celebrate my 21st birthday with you guys before I enlist into the military.
Thank you – especially Elyssa, Stef and Sheri – for planning this since July. That’s like 3-4 months ahead of my actual birthday.
Thank you Junwei for coordinating with the girls and making sure I fell for the plan.
Thank you Ashley and Justinn for being there for the celebration.
I know I can’t thank you guys enough with just these few words, but I am deeply moved by the efforts you guys had put in to ensure this was a success. I think judging by my reaction, it showed how well your plans had been executed.
PS: I would also want to thank the staffs over at Wang Dae Bak’s China Square Centre outlet for almost getting your crews to come in with the birthday cake and singing the birthday song together with us. Thank you for your patience when we requested for photo taking and helping us with the taking of photos. Absolute class in customer service from Wang Dae Bak.
It’s not difficult to miss out on the developments of Tampines, especially when I have Baey Yam Keng on my Facebook feed. Over the past few weeks, I got exposed to a brand new place called Our Tampines Hub. From Baey’s post on social media to referrals while I was taking part in the activities at the Padang during the GetActive! Singapore 2017 carnival, the hype of this new integrated building is real.
The only thing I’d know about the new facilities located far in the Eastern region of Singapore is that it was built on the old ground of Tampines Stadium. I didn’t expect myself to drop by there because IT IS IN THE EAST. It’s like do you know how far that is for someone staying near the centre of the island?
To put that into perspective, imagine trying to get there from Ang Mo Kio using the shortest route (as suggested by Google Maps) and then getting lost along the way.
Ok, maybe I should explain why I was on the way to OTH.
It was 13 August and was Viv’s birthday. So the whole lot of us from JCFC decided to bring her to OTH to play a game of Laser Quest. I rushed off after work to meet the rest of the girls at the venue. I searched for recommendations on Google Maps with the objective of finding the route that will take up the shortest time.
Mind you, I actually had a direct bus there from my area – but it will take me close to an hour. (I mean, I took close to an hour taking a different bus from the same bus stop down to Bedok before so it occurred to me that the time taken to travel should be there about or even longer.)
I took the recommended route – which I have to transfer a bus in the middle of the expressway at the outskirts of Yishun (oh that God-damned Yishun). I didn’t know that the bus that I was supposed to transfer to was on the opposite of the road. Now, how on Earth am I supposed to cross the busy expressway. Although I was still surprised at the number of cars heading into the untouchable land of Yishun. (Ok, enough of the Yishun joke)
I ended up venturing into a forest because a sign told me that there is an underpass to the opposite. But screw it, after making my way through the forested area, I came face to face with an ‘Under Construction’ signage. Walaoeh.
In the end, I took another bus down the street and transferred to the Tampines-bound bus at Upper Seletar Reservoir.
As the bus made its way eastwards through the light drizzle, I couldn’t help but to look forward to the series of events that would be happening till late night – all focused at OTH.
I was late (not surprising) and they were already at OTH, hence I went straight to the newly erected building.
It is huge. It would still sound a little of an underestimation to say I am overwhelmed by the structure of the building and the facilities available. I was impressed by the architecture – the incorporation of green architecture into its designing concept makes it looks like a concrete jungle (literally!). Green architecture is my kind of thing, needless to be said.
There is an atrium where shoppers (basically anyone) can sit there and enjoy movies and *ahem* a repeat telecast of the National Day Parade on Channel 5. I was a little disappointed to realise that the middle finger kid’s footages were edited out.
Met up with Viv and the rest of the girls (Charmz, Peish and Yapz) before making our way up to the HomeTeamNS club house at Level 3. We got ourselves a little confused over the counter, got our tickets, got into more confusion.
Thank God we have someone with a tough character in Peish who managed to get us through it.
There was some time to spare (close to an hour) so we took the chance to explore OTH. Not sure if we were trying to relieve our stress or what but we went up to the sky garden. It was an Eco-Community Garden to be exact.
There are different kinds of plants, ranging from spices to vegetables. These are taken care of by a group of volunteers. Looking at how well these plants grow, I am certain that they must be a bunch of botany enthusiasts (not sure if there is such term but you get what I mean).
Just right outside the garden, on the pavement, there is an indoor running track. I think it should be the second public indoor running track after the one outside the National Stadium. There’s even a locker facility, something which is very difficult to find along major running routes in Singapore. There’s a reason why I preferred running around the Marina Bay/East Coast area.
Another running route added to my list. ✔
Apart from the sports facilities, we realised there are also bean bags located beside the lift landing of every level. The girls were a little excited over its existence.
Though it was short lived because everyone else loves such cosy corner as well, including many teenage couples. Hope it doesn’t get too comfortable. ☺
We headed back to the clubhouse to chill out under the comfort of the air-conditioner while waiting for our turn. I had yet to play a single laser quest game prior to this, even though it has been on every other teenager’s ‘Done List’. I remembered the last time my Poly clique wanted to go and play at Bukit Batok but it was fully booked. Fast forward a year or two later, I finally get a chance to experience the hype personally.
We took a group photo a series of group photos before the start of our game. We had to be glad that the guy attending to us has so much patience. Then again, I think he might have experienced it worse.
The game started shortly after we went in. We played the full-for-all mode – that means we were each on our own. No teams or roles. It’s the simplest. The girls started shouting and screaming, while running around ‘shooting’ each other with their laser tag guns.
I got myself out of these mess for a good minute before becoming one of the most prominent targets around. One thing I know for sure is that I ain’t a sharp shooter, I couldn’t really see where I was targeting and whether if I’ve hit the right spot (the sensors on their vests and guns). I had to spend some time aiming before releasing my trigger. The chaos around me was doing me no favour. I just have to give up.
There was once I hid at one corner waiting for a chance to strike but ended up being surrounded by a couple of them shooting me left, right, center. I could have been the first one to be killed if I were to be deployed on the front line in a battle.
10 minutes of game time felt forever, although I think I didn’t actually move that much.
We all couldn’t believe Charmz got first but the scoresheet wouldn’t lie. I like how I became ‘Player 3’ and how I was ranked right smack in the middle. The funny thing was that I managed the least number of shots. Damn I was slacking.
Like how they said, we will have a rematch in JB one of these days. (Sorry but laser tag games here in Singapore is way too pricey)
Mish came and find us after that, with a bouquet of flower for Viv. She arrived while we were halfway through the game so she sat outside like a mum waiting to fetch her kids after school. The six of us then find a place (and it had to be at a prominent location on a bridge HAHAHA) for phototaking.
Damn I think I looked like some grassroots volunteer. How apt for such a location.
The kind of shit we do. We wanted to do a fun shot and a normal shot initially but we had no idea what kind of pose we should do for the fun shot. Someone suggested a running pose but it ended up becoming too much of a challenge. I think a normal shot is the best I can do. Either that or I should work harder for fun shots next time. Oops.
One of the 253489539453 portrait photos taken on a random bridge inside OTH on that day. I called that THE birthday portrait, how about that.
Peish had to leave after thaat because she had something on. Meanwhile, the rest of us headed back to the town centre for dinner. We decided to settle our meal at Lenas in Tampines 1. Wanz and Nic joined us afterwards.
(P.S. Sorry Nic, you arrived too late to be inside this video. Oops)
My Chicken & Dory with a side (garden salad).
I rushed off back to OTH after I was done with my food because I had a football match there. I was browsing through Stranger Soccer the other day when I came across two matches that would be held at OTH. It was an opportunity that I shouldn’t miss out on. I mean come on, how many people will get to play on a legitimate pitch inside the stadium?Since I would be there, I might as well go for it. I kept in mind that the birthday celebration wouldn’t stretch too late into the night hence I signed up for the 8-10PM slot.
Since I would be there, I might as well go for it. I kept in mind that the birthday celebration wouldn’t stretch too late into the night hence I signed up for the 8-10PM slot.
It has been 2 years since I put on my boots. The last time I did was during Sports & Wellness class back in Year 2. I miss playing football although I suck terribly at it. I used to imagine myself as Garrincha or Pele, dribbling past defenders and going one-on-one with the keeper before cheekily executing a chip over the keeper into the back of the net. I remembered how I kicked a mini-ball around the living room every Friday night while watching a ‘live’ telecast of a S. League match when I was young. (Yes, I am probably a handful of those rare species who followed local football).
Fantasy and reality are always contrasting. 2 years since I kicked a ball, I returned to the pitch as a center back (or what we always call, a CB). For a record, I usually play as a keeper but this time I planned on trying something new. God knows when will be the next time I’ll be on the pitch again.
It was a full match – 90 minutes, but divided into 4 quarters instead of the usual 45mins-halves. I started the match poorly, losing ball and allowing attackers to play through ball. But thank God we were 1-0 up when I subbed myself out for the 2nd quarter.
I went back out on the field for the remaining 45 minutes and it was disastrous. Mistakes after mistakes, losing my man, conceding more goals. I disappoint that Liverbird upon my chest. I felt I brought shame to the shirt I was wearing and the club I love. But I still think that I played a little better than how I used to, thanks to my improved stamina and speed amidst all the running trainings.
But it think at the end of the day, it’s the exposure and experience that will help with my improvement. I don’t play team sports like football so regularly because I don’t have the group of kakis who will want to play the game week in week out. But yet, I think with an initiative like Stranger Soccer, it wouldn’t be difficult for me to find random kakis to play a game with whenever I feel like it.
I am still living the dream.
I ain’t sure how long it’ll be before I joined another football match on Stranger Soccer, but I am certain that I’ll pay OTH another visit soon. Maybe this time to their hawker center or wellness center and health lab?
Yeah, I think I want to do another body composition analysis soon.
2 May is Mish’s birthday. Most of her friends came together to give her a surprise birthday party on the seventh. From planning to execution, the majority of us took part in the various roles. Yapz booked the venue at her condo. Charmz and Nic cooked simple yet delicious and filling food for the party, while Mish’s secondary school friends Marilyn and PC helped out in getting the decorations, and putting them up as well. Peish was tasked the ultimate mission of duping Mish to the venue.
DECORATING: PC, Le’schane and Marilyn making sure that the decoration for the photo booth is put up nicely.
The entire process from planning to execution reminded me about the time when I was doing my PR and Events mod for my course two years ago. I kind of enjoy doing events although it can be tiring at times, the sense of fulfilment is rewarding.
While some of us were putting the decorations in place, the rest of our JCFC clique who were present were doing the final touch to the birthday card. The card very pretty right?
As we prepared for Mish’s arrival upon Peish’s prompt, I made use of the chance to capture a photo of everyone, who were taking their position to welcome our birthday girl.
And then, shortly afterwards, our birthday girl arrived. The moment she came in and all of us sang the birthday song, and she was so taken aback. She was damn shocked by the setup of the room and the presence of most of her friends. She was ushered to the ‘podium’, aka where the cake and the photo booth are, in the spotlight of everyone.
Did the usual ‘rituals’ – making wish and blowing candles, under the eyes of around 20 people.
SO MANY BALLOONS: Look at how happy our birthday girl was with her helium balloons.
It’s time for cake cutting and team work was once again evident. I think our core team works very well together in turning this party into reality.
SHARING SOME LOVE: Marilyn helping with the serving of cake.
Let’s talk about the birthday cake that we got. Since Mish was lactose intolerant, we decided that it was only appropriate to get her cake that she can digest – without any ‘side effects’. We got our cake from Brownice – which serves vegan (as well as dairy-free) ice-cream and cakes.
The one we got was ‘Mudpie Madness’ – which was made with a mix of hazelnut chocolate and French chocolate, and topping it off with sea salt, caramelised almonds, fresh fruits and homemade chocolate fudge.
After we were done with eating, we decided to have some social activities. We had initially agreed to play beer pong but in the end, because most of us were more comfortable to do away with alcohol so we ended up with a modified version of the game. Replacing beer with a mixture of leftover drinks (yes, apparently I bought too many drinks that we ended up having a total of 16 bottles of drinks catered for just 20+ people) sounds like a good idea, but it makes one think twice when you start mixing carbonated drinks with the non-carbonated ones. Some of the mixtures turned out well, but some just tasted like putting coffee together with tonic drink – it just doesn’t match at all.
POUR IT: Nic and Peish preparing for the game.
Not many people was playing the game at the start but we eventually managed to rope everyone into the game. Apart from the entertaining element of the game, watching two groups of people (one group obviously overpowering the other with the unbalanced amount of players) trying to throw a ping pong ball into plastic cups filled with weird tasting drinks, there was also an impromptu performance of ball-catching antics put up by that one guy (no prize if you can guess who that person is correctly).
I think I put my table tennis skills to good use (says the one who lost to a lower sec kid when competing at the National Games two years ago HAHAHA)
The entire night ended at around 10pm and I went back together with Mish and her Nan Hua friends, and we looked extremely dangerous because apparently, helium balloons are culprits of the recent MRT train breakdowns. Credits to Fraser for being our Balloon IC and helped to carry about 18 balloons on the train despite being heavily judged by fellow commuters. Oops. Check out the photos we took with Mish at the photo booth. HAHAHA
Another 21st down. I think I am addicted to attending 21st birthday party already. Shit.
For those who were born in 1996, like myself, this will be the year when we officially attained adulthood. And some of us decided to celebrate this ‘milestone’ by organising a party. And on Charmaine’s 21st, I get to attend my first 21st birthday party for this year. On 12th March, Charmz reached the milestone ahead of most of us. On 11th March, we joined her family and her other friends to give her our blessing on the coming of age. It was a joyous occasion, as all of us gathering at her house that evening. I reached the venue together with two couples: Peishan and Jinming, and Yap Qi and Kishan. It could have been worse for me if the third pair – Clarice and Ding Yuan – had not decided to head to the venue themselves alone. I was on the bus, serving the role of a navigator – because none of us were confident on the directions to Charmz’s house. By the time we reached, Clar and Ding Yuan had already reached (they said they will be late) while Wanlin and Michelle were there way earlier before all of us. The two girls became, respectively, the make-up artiste and the make-up intern for that evening. Wanlin was helping the girls out with the make-ups. We must have felt honoured to be the group of friends who were entitled to ransack occupy her room while her other group of friends and relatives occupied the other rooms and the living room. We even locked her out of her own room because we were doing the final touches to the ‘explosive box’ that we’ve made for her. The entire house was bustled with people, and the birthday girl had to go around entertaining everyone. When we were ready with our surprises, Mish went out to ‘trick’ her into the room, while we waited patiently inside with the lights off. We held e-candles that we downloaded from the app store in replace of the birthday candles. Talking about the kind of efforts we put in. HAHAHA She came in and got really shocked by the scene right in front of her as “Happy Birthday” echoed around the room.
The little one was so amazed by the content inside the ‘explosive box’. We had a second round of “Happy Birthday” singing when everyone assembled in the living room for the grandest moment of the evening – the cake cutting ceremony.
Our girl has grown up. *Insert tear dropping emoji* Okay, not really because she was standing on an elevated platform. Oops. HAHAHA She was asked to make a speech.
And then, we managed to capture a very meme-worthy moment.
I swear the birthday tarts that her friend(s) made were damn nice!
Our group is getting larger and larger year by year. Awww Because there are three couples right now. 🙂
I could smell love at every corner.
While we were lingering around enjoying the birthday tarts/cakes, Nic proved to us that she is indeed a ‘baby whisperer’.
Featuring the behind the scene of that previous photo. HAHAHA
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ONCE AGAIN, CHARMZ! (Although this post is two weeks late omg)
Well, for this group of friends, most of us are already on the verge of celebrating our 8 years of friendship in the upcoming month. Time really flies. Stefanie, Elyssa, Junwei, Yong Kang and I first met when we were allocated into the same class during our first year at Ang Mo Kio Sec. That was a good 7 years and 11 months ago. Back then, we were all tiny ones (maybe apart from me, thanks to my size) who were being thrown into a new environment. It’s somehow like placing a home-grown tiger back into the forest.
Ok, maybe my analogy doesn’t make any sense at all – like it has always been.
For the past 4 years (or so, I think), we’ve been organising gatherings with this group of ex-classmates-and-current-BBFs every year. And without fail, we will find ourselves BBQ-ing either at Yong Kang’s house, Stef’s house or at East Coast Park. I still wonder why did we even had it at ECP few years back when we could organise it over at someone’s house where the BBQ pit is readily available as long as booking is made beforehand.
Maybe I knew the reasons back then. But obviously now I don’t.
For this year, we were glad to have Ashley (Stef’s boyfriend), Sheri and her boyfriend Justinn joining us. I always love it when the group expands to include mutual friends and boy/girlfriends. We are probably waiting for one of us guys to get attached and bring their girlfriends out to join in the fun.
Since this year’s BBQ gathering is held in December, one day before Yong Kang’s birthday and a couple of weeks before Jun Wei’s birthday, Elyssa, Stef, Sheri and I discussed and agreed that we should celebrate their birthday together that day.
BIRTHDAY UNDER THE RAIN
Apparently, the weather is not on our side because the sky was casted with dark clouds and we knew that a rain was imminent. Yet, we carried on to start the fire despite the early signs of catastrophe the impending downpour. At the same time, Elyssa who was bringing the cake has not arrived at. By the time, she arrived, I had to escort her under the rain – taking the wrong route because I forgot that the other entrance is located too far away.
It was a sudden heavy downpour that resulted in 1) Elyssa and I being stranded in the rain and, 2) the fire that the guys set up had been extinguished.
We called Sheri to bring us umbrellas so that at least one of us will be sheltered. In the end, I braved the rain and ran back while trying to avoid slipping along the way because apparently, none of the two umbrellas that were brought to us could be shared among two people. I suggested to the girls that they carried each of the umbrellas while protecting both the cake and my hand phone along the way.
The funny part is that the umbrella Elyssa was holding onto, wasn’t strong enough against the rain. The umbrella flipped on its side and caused her to be drench.
As soon as I reached the shelter that the rest were at, I stared at the pathetic state of the BBQ pit.
“The fire looks damn pathetic.” I joked.
“There is one part that is still burning.” Justinn, trying to console us.
“It is going to go off very soon.” I remarked.
Indeed, the fire did not survive the ordeal. 6 out of 6 fire burners were extinguished. There goes the effort.
“At least we are at a much better state compared to the angmoh at the other side.” Yong Kang tried to make all of us feel better.
We walked past a group of Caucasians, who were already BBQ-ing their food, while we were on our way to our pit. At this point in time, we were all wondering if their chicken wings were drenched.
I swear we are a bunch of sadists.
I was really famished since I kind of skipped lunch because we thought we’ve overestimated ourselves again. From past experience, be it at Swee Choon or during past BBQ sessions, we tend to over order/prepare the food. In the end, all of us felt like we were all pregnant – with food.
I quietly suggested to Elyssa that we should celebrate their birthday first, let them blow the candles and we can munch on the cake first before the rain cleared for us to resume our BBQ activities.
It took us quite a while to prepare because I’d had to distract them from looking towards the direction of where the cake was being prepared. The wind was rather strong that the candles that I lit were being extinguished immediately.
Just like my dreams.
Once the candles were lit, Elyssa held the cake up while I tried to use both my palms to cover it to prevent any wind to go near it. Thank goodness that both Yong Kang and Junwei were back facing us.
The birthday songs echoed the area instantly.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!: Featuring the two birthday boys, YK (left) and JW (right)
REMINISCING THE PAST
Not long after we finished the cake, the rain stopped.
Thank you very much.
The birthday boys got back to work by trying to restart the fire while Justinn and I volunteered to go to Seletar Mall to top up some charcoals and plastic forks.
We spent the next few hours BBQ-ing and reminiscing the past. We talked about how we used to be last time, how JW, YK, Ely and I used to be in the same group for some science project, how Stef and I used to talk on the phone for 2-3 hours straight. Up till now, I am still amazed by my ability to chat over a long period of time. I may have short-term memory, but I could still remember those nights that I would paced up and down my house, chatting with Chairperson Stef over the phone. Back then, there was no whatsapp, no Telegram, no nothing. I was still holding a Nokia phone because iPhone has just been released for only 2 years and I am still a noob in the latest technology trends. Back then, relationships amongst people tend to be closers because we actually converse with one another. I can’t remember the content of all of our night talks about I really miss those times because there are something that just can’t be replaced.
I remembered questioning both Justinn and Sheri how they got together. It’s like very gossipy but hey, I also need to know the love story of my friends right.
8 YEARS AND GOING STRONG: I am sure that the group is going to become bigger and bigger as the year goes by.
I can’t end this post without mentioning YK’s dog. His name is Momo. He was the first one to greet me the moment when I stepped out of the elevator. You can bet that how taken aback I was when a dog just came from out of nowhere and start ‘attacking’ your feet. He got to be the most active dog I’ve ever encountered. He just kept circling around you and tried to lick your feet. If you played with him, there are chances that he might ever try to lick your face.
SOME KISSES PLEASE: Ashley interacting with Momo. I swear this dog just love to lick everyone.
It’s Nicole’s birthday and so we celebrated for her – like how we celebrated for the past 2 years. Ok, maybe there’s a little different to how this year’s celebration would be like.
After 2 years of surprises, we all had come to a conclusion that we are going to ditch all those surprise ideas and the reason is simple: We got so used to having a surprise on our birthday that it is not a surprise anymore. We tend to expect something to happen during our birthday. Not sure if this is a sign that we are growing old and surprises seems to not be as fun as it used to be. To be honest, birthday surprises tend to become more of a routine if we were to do it every year, for everyone. It can be tiring.
So why not? Leave the surprise element in the gift that the person is going to receive instead. That sounds more fun.
We did not get around the bush. We just said, “Let’s meet up for Nic’s birthday for a celebration.” That seems way easier than to try to get someone out without letting the person knows that the clique is celebrating her birthday in a surprise location.
A photo posted by Eddy Edvaldo Chua 蔡慶順 (@theeddychua) on
So in 2016, 20 years after she was born, we decided to try something different. We went to this cafe at Petain Road called The Tiramisu Hero.
Nic was late so while Wanz and I waited for her around City Square Mall to surprise her with our gifts, the other 3 girls – Charmz, Mich and Yapz – went to get us a table at the cafe.
She was more than late. The 3 girls were panicking because it was getting awkward for them to cope a big 6-pax table other nothing but just plain water. But then again, since she was the birthday girl, we cut her some slack.
You guys should see that expression filled with beatitude on Nic’s face when Wanz and I walked towards her with our presents and a Hello Kitty-themed helium balloon (chosen by Wanz) as she came out from the gantry at Farrer Park MRT Station. It was clear that she loved that helium balloon a lot. And apparently, the helium hasn’t escape from the balloon for the past 2 weeks (it is still ‘floating’ when we visited Nic house after our Ramadhan bazaar trip). I am definitely impressed by its durability.
It took us quite a while to walk to Tiramisu Heroes from the train station because it is located in a rather secluded area of Farrer Park. We found that area eventually of course – thanks to this invention called the Google Maps.
We walked in and the three girls were there seated facing the entrance. And I noticed a common dressing code amongst all of us: we are wearing black. The thing is that we did not even agree upon any dress code, we just came and hey… everyone is wearing black. Although I was wearing a white shirt and a white casual blazer, my pants is black so I count myself as wearing black too – just wearing an ‘opposite’ combination from Wanz.
“Is it yall dressing for my funeral?” Nic remarked.
“It’s as black as your soul.” Yapz retaliated.
Oh damn. That sounds like the truth not a very pleasant thing to say. HAHAHA oops.
We ordered our food before more friendly fires of burns were shot across the table directed at Nic. How can we not love our friendship this way?
LET ME TAKE ONE FIRST: Apparently someone got hungry and decided to make her move. HAHAHA
“I TOTALLY DIDN’T KNOW THIS CONTAINS RICE”: Pardon me, I almost got a shock because I got risotto was some sort of pasta.
After food, we decided that it’s time to head out to take some mandatory to-proof-that-we’ve-celebrated-your-birthday shots. To put it in layman term, group photos.
HMM…: I don’t know why but I felt that the cat logo on the top-right hand corner is judging us badly.
DIFFERENT EMOTIONS: I swear this looks like a legit movie poster.
WHO’S THE QUEEN?: Look at my fingers and you’ve got the answer.
While Yapz needs to leave early, the rest of us walked back to City Square Mall and someone decided that we should take…
I don’t think I have ever taken purikura before because I apparently don’t have a childhood.
But then, this made me feel young again, and despite the rise of smartphone and related photo applications, people do still visit the arcade for these photobooths because it is still as fun. Dear Generation Z kids, this is our Instagram/Meitu more than 10 years back.
FLAWLESS: I swear the edit/effects makes our face looks white and flawless.
These are concrete memories that we are going to keep for the rest of our life. And yes, I am going to keep these intact in a time capsule (which is in the cover of my current phone) and then when time comes, I will show them to my children and grandchildren that ‘Hey, these are the people who makes my teen life fun and memorable.’
Charmz needed to leave after that so the remaining of us proceeded for our next plan and to our next destination: Singapore Art Musuem. We had told Peish and Viv to meet us there so that that can get to meet Nic and afterwards we could go and visit the museum.
Nic was thrilled to meet the other two girls, as much as she was when she met us that day and every other day. They gave Nic a stalk of flower which you can see vividly in the photo above. Round 3 of phototaking session started shortly.
The meetup was brief because Viv and Peish needs to go off after that. We were left with 4 of us (Nic, Mich, Wanz and I) who thought that it might be a good idea to visit the museum and view the exhibitions that were on showcase.
Let me end off this post with one of the art piece that we’ve encountered: