National Day is coming and for many of us that means it is a chance to make use of the potential long holiday (hint: remember to request leave for 8 August and you’ll have 4 days of long holiday!). Some have already gotten your passport renewed, and given that so many destinations overseas are open for tourists in the midst of the pandemic, you guys will probably be taking this opportunity to catch a breather outside of Singapore. Yet, for some (like myself) who procrastinated or didn’t really find a need to get our passport renewed given how the queue at ICA gets insanely long, we can also make full use of our long holiday in this vibrant city of ours.
Staycation has been a very popular holiday option for Singaporeans, and with the pandemic keeping some popular tourist destinations closed to international tourists, it has been the top choice for most of us who wants to experience being away on a holiday again. While major hotels like Raffles, Fullerton, Marina Bay Sands, and Pan Pacific, etc remain on the dreams of every average Singaporean, but sometimes the price is a big deterring factor. And most of the time, these hotels come with a premium price tag that deters many of us.
Here is a list of 7 very unique hotels that you can consider for your next staycation!
One of my favourite boutique hotels and my first choice if I were to plan any staycation. The minimalism provides guests with a sense of zen and tranquillity. It is definitely suitable for when you are trying to escape the noisy and stressful cosmopolitan environment. While the facilities provided at Lloyd’s Inn are kind of basic, the white, minimalistic design definitely stole the heart of many.
LLOYD’S INN 2 Lloyd Road Singapore 239091 Book now!
A brand that is not a stranger to many here in Singapore. M Social boasts a list of influencers whom have made one of their room a photoshoot playground. Located in the neighbourhood hosting several big names in the hospitality business, M Social provides a more affordable option especially for youths like us. Its Loft rooms also provide a double-storey experience that is not commonly available in most hotels.
M SOCIAL 90 Robertson Quay Singapore 238259 Book now!
Located right smack in the famed shopping district of Orchard, YOTEL Orchard is one of the two properties owned by the brand in Singapore (other being YOTELAIR Changi Airport). With the price ranges between SGD100-SGD150, it is a relatively affordable staycation idea to consider. Given its prime location, the price is definitely a steal! One of the key features of the hotel is that it provides automated check-in so that you can check-in by yourself! (Perfect for introverts like me haha)
YOTEL Singapore 366 Orchard Road Singapore 238904 Book now!
The colonial facade tells the history of Singapore on its own. Located right on top of Fort Canning Hill, a tranquil neighbourhood overseeing the ever-so-buzzing CBD, Hotel Fort Canning occupies the original building that once housed the British Far East Command HQ and the Japanese forces. For those who fancy a colonial living experience, the Premium rooms are attached with a lounge/work area which was converted from a veranda. Even if you decided to work-cation (though I wouldn’t recommend all in the name of work-life balance) at the hotel, you will be treated to a nice view of greenery. There are also 3 swimming pools for guests to enjoy, so there’s no such thing as overcrowding here.
HOTEL FORT CANNING 11 Canning Walk Singapore 178881 Book now!
5. W Sentosa
The most atas hotel in this list, and the only one that is located away from the main island of Singapore. Located right in the vicinity of many prestigious oceanfront villas, W Sentosa has one of the best scenic views you can ever get in Singapore. Imagine waking up to the ocean view in the morning, it is like having a vacation in the Maldives, but right at your doorstep. You can even chill at one of Singapore’s largest resort outdoor pool in the evening while watching the beautiful hotel being lit up in vibrant colours.
W Sentosa 21 Ocean Way Singapore 098374
6. Duxton Reserve Singapore, Autograph Collection
Another hotel which occupies a property with a bit of history. The Duxton Reserve Singapore is housed in a restored 19th century shophouse. The overall feel you will get from this property is its elegance due to the black, white and a hint of gold colour scheme and the incorperation of timeless furnitures. While the Hotel Fort Canning gave a very premium colonial look, the Duxton Reserve appears to provide guests with a sense of how living in an old shophouse during pre-independent Singapore is like.
Continuing with our list of hotels providing a new lease of life for the, the AMOY Hotel is located right at the corner of Chinatown. It features a very oriental yet posh design. While it does not consist of the usual facilities that other hotels house such as the gym and pool, yet it does houses an in-house restaurant. Furthermore, for those who appreciates the ‘East meets West’ cultural integration will love how each room are designed in a way that incorperates the elements of the eastern culture (like the porcelain sink) and the more western colour scheme.
AMOY 76 Telok Ayer Street Singapore 048464 Book now!
Birthday month means there is an extra reason for self-care. While I always mentioned that birthday doesn’t really make a difference to me, but apparently I tend to pamper myself (sometimes to the extent that I question if it’s too much haha) during this month.
Following up with my skincare journey with IDS, and knowing that they also provide many other treatments, I decided to book myself the ultrasound facial treatment. So, before I carry on with the rest of my journaling, let me briefly explain what ultrasound facial treatment is and how ultrasound can help your skin.
Ultrasound has been a popular skin tightening treatment among those who have anti-ageing concerns such as loose and saggy skin, as it generates a thermal effect to help lift and tighten any skin laxity on our face and neck. It is definitely helpful if you are experiencing mild saggy of the neck and chin, or even wrinkles (I know you guys are damn concerned when you see wrinkles start to appear on your face, I mean after all your mask only cover the bottom part of your face but not enough to cover the wrinkles on appearing around your eyes 😢). For those who aren’t really keen on going under the knife to get your skin tightened, then ultrasound treatment is a proven best alternative.
Ok, this part’s going to sound like a full-fledged research paper, so feel free to skip if you aren’t very interested in the science part of things. But of course, I do enjoy learning about the processes of how things work so that I know what to expect and how beneficial such a process is for me. So here a snippet from IDS’s website (with some minor editing by me to make it slightly clearer):
Ultrasound therapy delivers sound waves about 5mm deep under the skin, penetrating into the papillary dermis as well as SMAS (Superficial Muscular Aponeurotic System) layer of facial muscles under the fat, gently heating the dermis. Once the cells in the targeted area reach a certain temperature (briefly reaching greater than 60°C), they will experience cellular damage, and this triggers the dermis to begin producing new collagen. This essentially creates a thermal effect thereby causing a controlled micro-injury which stimulates the body’s natural healing and repair mechanisms to speed up collagen production (a protein that offers structure to the skin). With fresh new collagen, saggy skin then appears firmer and tighter, and there are lesser wrinkles. As the high-frequency ultrasound beams are focused on a specific tissue site below the skin’s surface, there’s no fear of damage to the upper layers of the skin and the surrounding tissue.
Alright, enough of the very technical parts and it’s time to share my first ultrasound treatment experience!
So firstly, since the therapy involves the delivery of sound waves penetrating 5mm deep into the skin to heat the papillary dermis, means there is bound to be some pain and, to some, an unbearable level of discomfort. Thus, in order to greatly reduce any pain one might encounter, a layer of numbing cream was applied after a round of facial cleansing.
In order for the numbing cream to take effect, it will require a 40-minute waiting time before we get into the real action. Transparent foils were wrapped on my face to ensure the maximum effectiveness of the numbing cream.
Once 40 minutes is up, I was then ushered into the treatment room. Markings were made on my face so that the treatment can be more targeted at places that require more attention. I definitely am more interested to see how my eyebags can be tightened after the treatment.
I was told to lay back down and the treatment started, with the ultrasound handpiece being placed on my face. The handpiece was just being brought around like a Dyson vacuum cleaner. While it felt smooth (partially also due to the gel used during the course of treatment), I also felt some tingling sensation. The discomfort got a little unbearable when my left cheek was under the treatment. But then again, I am the least accurate person to give anyone a rough gauge of pain level. I am just… inaccurate. Oopsie.
It took about 30-45 minutes for the entire treatment to be completed. I didn’t really take note of the time taken because I was just so comfortable lying on the treatment bed (apart from that unbearable moment). Everyone’s condition is different so the time needed for each individual will vary as well. As a rule of thumb, the treatment will take about 30 to 90 minutes, so if you are going for ultrasound treatment, I would recommend not to squeeze it in your lunch break, unless you are working from home and no one actually bothers about what you are actually doing remotely.
There is no downtime to the treatment so basically after this, I could proceed to head down to Tangs or Isetan to do my window shopping. Oh, did I say I was trying out the ajitama egg recipe I found online? Ok this is a little random. I shall share more about it in my next update (I guess?)
For those of you who are more concerned about whether the effect is immediate, I would say that unless you really took a before and after photo immediately prior and after the treatment, you won’t really be able to see the difference. Of course, there are people who do experience that obvious change — especially if your collagen reproduction rate is faster than the refresh rate of the ASUS ROG Swift 360Hz monitor. But for many, it will take about 2-3 months to see the best results and more improvement after 6 months. I’ll probably check back in before Chinese New Year (eh can we take off our mask by then?). Really can’t wait to see the improvement (oh especially my eyelids and my going-to-be saggy chin).
So here’s my experience of my first ultrasound treatment with IDS, I shall update you guys with more of my facial journey!
(This is a follow up of my ongoing skincare journey with IDS! You can read up on the first instalment of the series here.)
I must admit I am a lazy person. Maybe that’s also the reason most guys give ourselves when it comes to facial care. As you’ve read from my previous post, there are quite a number of products that were prescribed to me for my journey towards a flawless and perfect facial skin.
While the adrenaline of receiving new products kicked in almost as instantly as the night following my first visit, I told myself to go slow. I took some time to get used to the product, understand how they work, and, most importantly, how they affect my skin. It took me a couple of weeks to get very used to my morning and night facial routines. Not to mention that due to the fact that I frequently change where I am based, I always have to carry a carrier full of products in my travel pack.
About one month later, right before Recess Week, I returned to the IDS outlet at the International Building for the second part of my treatment.
This follow-up visit has two main objectives: first to undergo this facial treatment called Hydro-Therapeutics Treatment (HTT) and secondly, to see Dr. Ben again so that he can also help monitor my progress.
Hydro-Therapeutics Treatment (HTT)
HTT is a facial treatment created by the very professional team at IDS for all skin types. During this process, accumulated dirt and clogged sebum will be removed from the skin and hence, resulting it being returned to a clean slate.
As a guy who wears make-up occasionally, I am also aware that makeup and products tend to build upon the skin and might cause some skin troubles as a result. So such treatment comes in handy too to help with the deep cleansing of my skin. And especially with my skin condition in a bad shape after rushing against time to complete my assignments on time and study for my tests, it’s really time for my skin to enjoy some rest.
The entire HTT process last 60mins, under the precision and care of my beauty consultant. The procedure includes:
1. Double Cleansing 2. Microdermabrasion (MDX) 3. Ultrasonic cleansing 4. Extractions of Blackheads 5. Ultrasonic penetration of Vitamin C 6. Anti Acne Mask 7. Moisturiser 8. Sunscreen
Please mind me for not having any photos taken during the entire course of the treatment because I was pangseh-ed by my photographer that very morning (tragic story).
Before we start the entire process, I stored my belongings (you know, me and my habit of carrying my entire home with me) in a reasonably sized cabinet located at one corner of the treatment room. It can actually store the number of barang-barang I have, that’s enough to help you visualise how spacious the cabinet actually is. I love cabinets of reasonable size.
Thereafter, I was handed a bouffant cap – so that my hair would not be stained during the process. I lied down on the bed and the professional consultant pulled the blanket over me, exposing only my face.
First thing first, double-cleansing. This step helps to prepare the skin for treatment by removing the dirt and oil from the surface of the skin. The cleansing was accompanied by a tender message on the face. That completely clears any nervousness I had prior to my first ever facial treatment.
Once the foams from the second cleansing were washed away with water, my consultant then brought forward a machine. For a moment, I thought I was at the dentist. The MDX is a minimally invasive procedure used to renew the overall skin tone and texture of the skin. It requires the usage of a special applicator (part of that massive machine I saw), containing an abrasive surface to help gently ‘vacuum’ the other layer of the skin, rejuvenating it during the process. To help you relate to it better, it’s exfoliation.
Once the outer layer of the skin in rejuvenated, it’s time for Ultrasonic Cleansing. With the help of ultrasonic (sound) wave motion, aged surface skin cells are impurities are being removed. Such include the irritating blackheads and whiteheads most of us encountered.
Of course, while ultrasonic is powerful enough, manual extraction of dirt and impurities are still required, just in case the wave did not manage to remove them completely. Although it was done using a relatively sharp tweezer, I am glad that my consultant was so experienced and gentle (yet effective) that I did not actually felt any sharp pain.
“You don’t seem to have much blackheads actually” She said shortly.
Well, could have been due to the IDS products I’ve been using thus far. Effective.
Cleared of the impurities, it’s time to apply some Vitamin C on the pores vacated by the impurities. I mentioned in my previous article that Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant essential in promoting the production of collagen, and collagen helps promote the thickening of the dermis and hence contributing to the strength and flexibility of the skin. The ultrasonic penetration of Vitamin C is done to ensure that the vitamins are optimally absorbed into the skin, achieving the best effect possible.
A herbal-scented anti-acne mask is then being applied onto my face to help soothes the sensitive spot. My consultant then excused herself for the next 15 minutes for the mask to take effect. I continued to lay there, lowkey cursing Jon for not being there to entertain me (sorry mate haha, just adding some banter here). I would really want to see how I look with the cement-coloured semi-solid being applied across my face. Not sure if I am the only one who felt it but there was some minty feeling on my skin as the duration goes.
15 minutes later, she’s back to clear off the mask. I wouldn’t really mind if she came in any later, I was enjoying the smell and the texture of the mask already. Once the mask is off, she helped me to apply the oil-freemoisturiser (OM)and thesunscreen (S2) to complete the entire process.
Final verdict: I hadn’t really felt so relaxed since school started so I was enjoying every moment of the treatment! Shiok lah
You can read more about HTT or make an appointment with IDS for a HTT HERE.
After the treatment, I was ushered out to the waiting area, where I met my stand-in photographer Huiqi – who kindly offered her service during her lunch break. (Means, yay, some photos to go which this entire chunk of text!) Not long after, I was called for my consultation with Dr Ben.
It’s a follow up consultation so Dr Ben was looking at the condition of my skin. My other beauty consultant Cass was like saying, “Your face looks whiter now.”
Of course, those of you who are reading this will be thinking, “Eh, where can ownself say ownself one?”
What about a few weeks later during one of my productions, my AP was telling me how my face look brighter.
I know I disappeared from blogging for quite some time because I was jumped to the YouTube bandwagon (thank God I haven’t really jump on the Tiktok bandwagon yet). Gosh, the new WordPress UI looks familiar yet strange, I almost forgot how to write blogs already. But thankfully, I managed to keep myself within the top 40 blogs in Singapore. But if you managed to read this post, then yay, I successfully managed to manoeuvre my way through the slightly new interface.
In this rare update, and hopefully we will be expecting more in the upcoming 3 months because it’s Summer Break! Oh yeah! Didn’t really expect Even as a guy, I will tend to be over-cautious with how I look. I mean, everyone wants to look aesthetically pleasing right? I’ve tried 1001 ways of skincare routine to keep my facial condition in its optimum.
Recently, I get to hear about this aesthetic clinic called IDS and they offered me to hop onto a skincare journey with them! They have two branches, one at Novena and the other at Orchard. Heard a lot of good reviews about it both from online and by mouth, so I decided to give it a go!
I went to the Orchard outlet as it was more accessible and convenient for me. Located at the 2nd level of the International Building (beside Shaw Theatres Lido), the outlet looks very posh, giving a royalty impression.
I was greeted by a group of very polite and friendly consultants. Even though it’s my first time there, I felt very welcomed and there is a feeling of familiarity around. First impression counts and they got it right!
After going the standard procedure of scanning in, temperature taking and filling up forms, the friendly consultant told me to take a seat at the posh waiting area.
So Dr Ben Yim is my designated dermatologist. I explained to him that I am troubled with oily and acne-prone skin for the past few years. My face was quite alright that day because it just happened to be ‘good skin day’. But once faced with weather changes and other stress factors like poor work-rest cycle and poor diet choices, it will go haywire again.
Of course, like many other dermatological clinics, they will help us to take a before and after treatment photo. But then, I also want to keep a record of it, so I got a photo of myself taken right before I went in to see Dr. Ben.
So yes, you can roughly see the condition of my face. There are scars left behind from my previous acne outbreak and it is kind of visible.
Dr Ben then told me about the products that I can use to help with my condition and improve my complexion. And he went on with several acronyms that I was quite puzzled with, but later I realised that those were the ‘code’ for the products. Throughout the consultation, a beauty consultant was stationed alongside me so she could take note of the issues I am facing and also jotting down the doctor’s instruction diligently.
After the quick yet efficient consultation with Dr Ben, I followed my beauty consultant to another room where she explained to me about the prescribed products and taught me how to apply them!
So her name is Cassandra, or Cass I would call her by. Pretty young lady but definitely quite experienced in her trade. She gave me a crash course to IDS products and went through my routine very clearly and patiently.
Note: The following photos are taken 3 months after my first treatment.
Best for Normal to Oily/Blemish Prone skin, the Refreshing Cleanser has a gentle, pH-balanced formulation that maintain our skin’s natural protective barrier. You can trust it to help remove your makeup and end-of-the-day residue from the pores without excessive dryness. It supports natural skin cell regeneration and soothes irritated skin and reduces redness. In just one wash, you can feel that your skin is thoroughly cleansed.
So, I will use this cleanser to wash my face the first thing after I wake up and of course, before I go to bed. It’s the first step to my morning and night skin routine. Just apply 2 pumps onto the palm of my hand, rub my hands together to form a soft foam and then massage onto damp skin.
Oh did I mention that this product won the Bazaar Beauty Awards in 2014?
IDS PORE FORMULA (PF) – SGD80.25 w/ GST (30ml)
The ultra-light pore refining solution. This synthetic preservative-free product is formulated using the clinic’s proprietary NEULASTIN transcutaneous delivery system, meaning active ingredients are effectively delivered and absorbed into the skin. The PF works to refine pores and reduce blackheads and whiteheads, yet being gentle on the skin.
I would consider this as one of the most ideal products for myself because it suits individuals who have oily and blemish-prone skin. I was told to apply this on the T-zone area of my face – as this area is the most vulnerable to whiteheads and blackheads development. And yes, after using it for a few weeks, I do feel a difference in my skin texture along this area of my face.
C-PLUS (C+) – SGD160.50 w/ GST (30ml)
Also known as ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant essential in promoting the production of collagen. And, I am sure you guys know how collagen benefits our facial health. Well, in case you don’t, collagen helps to thicken the dermis – a component right below the epidermis of our skin that contributes to the strength and flexibility of the skin. Furthermore, it also promotes melanin production, which helps to lighten hyperpigmentation and brown spots, hence evening out the skin tone and enhance skin radiance.
This very beneficial vitamin does not produce naturally by our human body and the only way to acquire it is through supplements or diet (cue the annoying orange). Therefore, this make Vitamin C application right on your facial skin all the more important.
The C+ serum can be (and should be) applied to all skin types. IDS’ formulates their Vitamin C serum together with Nobel Prize ‘Fullerenes’ and Tocopheryl to improve its antioxidant action and promote strong collagen stimulation. The sum to the equation is a ‘wrinkle-free’ and a significantly brighter skin!
BLEMISH CLEAR (BC) – SGD73.83 w/GST (30ml)
Having concerns over your active and inflamed pimples? The BC is your answer!
As the name suggests, the BC can help to treat inflamed blemishes and whiteheads effectively, and at the same time, lighten old blemish marks. Dr. Ben heard me loud and clear. My blemish issue is quite evident and one reason why I have to put on a thicker foundation so as to cover it seamlessly. This product is a legitimate ‘life-saver’. If I were to recreate Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, then BC will stem its position right alongside my Psychological Needs.
It is effective in clearing active and inflamed pimples, and also help prevents new breakout from occuring. Furthermore, it stimulates cellular activity and aid in cell regeneration by regulating sebum production.
SPOT CONTROL (SC) – SGD30.50 w/GST (10ml)
My favourite and most essential product, hands down. And one of the key items in my Everyday Carry (EDC).
This tiny yet powerful bottle of fast-acting formula helps to rapidly minimise the appearance of breakouts, while reducing inflammation to soothe and heal the skin in the process. While BC promotes and regulates sebum production, the SC further inhibits excessive sebum secretion, giving the skin an optical state of balance.
So how does it actually work? Being anti-bacterial, the BC helps to kill the harmful bacteria associated with blemishes. When you remove the main cause of your main problem, that basically leaves you with not much problem, and I love that.
Although I was told to apply it whenever I have outbreaks, but it is important to self-note not to use it on broken or inflamed skin. While it’s very effective, I need to keep remind myself not to use it excessively. One reason is that it’s not cheap but the key reason is that excessive usage may result in dryness, peeling, and/or irritation.
There is no question about it being awarded the Editors’ Choice for Best Face Saver Acne/Blemish Treatment at the Beauty & Wellness Awards 2018 organised by Beauty Insider.sg. It is simply the best.
IDS NON-TINTED SUNSCREEN with EXTRA BLUE LIGHT PROTECTION SPF 50 PA+++ (S2) – SGD73.83 w/GST (50ml)
The perfect finish to a morning/start of the day skincare routine, given that the nature of my job is to be exposed to the sun most of the time.
Approved by the Skin Cancer Foundation, the S2 is a chemical-free, ultra-lightweight daily skin protector that protects the skin from 99% of UV radiations and blocks more than 35% of blue light (or High Energy Visible Light, HEVL). In additionally, the sustainably produced Squalane provides natural moisturisation which contributes to the anti-ageing benefits.
Even if you are someone who sweats a lot, or a content producer like myself who often have to parkour all over the place to get the best shots, fret not. The S2 is proven to be sweat-proof and has 40-min water resistance.
Probably providing the best of both worlds, apart from its prevention benefits, the S2 also contributes to your wellness, by boosting your anti-oxidant activity by as much as 200%.
FACIAL SCRUB (FS) – SGD66.34 w/ GST (50ml)
How can a facial routine be considered complete if facial scrub is not being added?
Exfoliation of our skin helps to remove the dead cells that built up on the layers of our skin, and by removing them, it helps to give us a squeaky clean skin that is free from dirt, oil, and sweat. Furthermore, it helps to remove dark patches and acne scars — which is exactly my problem, and provide our facial skin with a new radiant glow!
The IDS’ FS contains ultra-fine crystals that do exactly what it has been tasked to do — to effectively exfoliate dead skin cells and speed up the process of skin turnover. It is especially useful when you are suffering from oily and/or blemish-prone skin like myself. By clearing out the impurities on our skin and absorbing the excess oil, it then leaves us with a more radiant and an evenly toned face, and inhibits the growth of p-acne.
A-PLUS (A+) – SGD160.50 w/GST (30ml)
Now for the more anti-aging part to the entire skincare routine. Introducing Vitamin A, the vitamin vital to cell growth. So once you are done with exfoliating, apply a little of the A+ to help and boost cellular turnover without irritation, hence reducing the fine lines and any wrinkles growing on the face.
Formulated together with another potent anti-oxidant called Niacinamide, A+ provide anti-inflammatory effect, lightening blemish marks, and thus resulting in a brighter and clearer complexion.
RECOVERY SERUM (RS) – SGD85.60 w/GST (30ml)
I was told to pair my A+ together with the RS so as to achieve a better effect in combating skin irritation. The enhanced serum helps improve and stabilise skin immunity and capillary integrity, and also reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improves skin tone in the process.
My routine was quite simple, nothing short of the routine I was following previously.
CO 1AMB, various depot KAH, fellow batchmates and 1AMBians,
It has been
586 days since the first day I stepped into 1AMB. That sounds like a very long
period of time. Yes, indeed, I ain’t going to lie. It felt so great yet surreal
to be standing here right now, looking at all my batchmates in front of me, on
the verge of completing our 2-year service.
We were once
recruits, taking the ferry – some for the very first time – to the resort
called Tekong. It was a moment of mixed feelings because we knew a little too
much of what is expected of us during BMT.
Some of us
were excited, maybe because you get to live your dream as a character in your
First-Person Shooter game, living in barracks, holding a gun.
Some of us
were overwhelmed, maybe because you watched too much Ah Boys to Men and were
afraid to be tekan by your sergeants, signing extras, doing unlimited
sets of 20 push-ups.
Some of us
were clueless and emotionless but because this is a process of growing up as a
Singaporean son, you have had no choice but to report for enlistment.
I was the
third kind of recruit. I knew it was my duty as a citizen to train, to protect,
to fight for what’s around me – my parents, my friends, my people, and the
foundation this country is being built upon. I remember sitting by window seat,
looking out to the vast sea, allowing the rhythm of the crashing wave accompany
me through the journey while envisioning my military life over the next two
a month later, I found myself in OETI, training to be an armour technician. I
have no clue, no clue at all why I was placed there. I graduated with a Diploma
in Chinese Media & Communication, it has nothing to do with science, nor
engineering. I felt out of place when my peers seems rather confident in
answering questions by our instructors. I was the most clueless person, no
thankfully, my peers were all very helpful. They showed me their notes and even
explained to me of concepts that I was unsure of. It is camaraderie shown by
them that helped me get hold of the basic concepts, that helped me through this
rather steep learning curve. Without them, it wouldn’t be possible for me to be
trained in 3 different platforms – Bionix, Bronco and Leopard. Without them, I
would be overwhelmed by the theory and concepts so stranger to me. Without
them, I wouldn’t be able to bring home the honour of being the Best Recruit.
On a very
significant 15 February last year, I came into 1AMB as a fresh graduate from
OETI. The month ahead was another period of settling down and adjusting to
another new environment – our 3rd new environment in less than 6
Gedong was a whole new place to me. When I thought Tekong was far enough, I
never expect Gedong was so much further. The road to Gedong is depressing, I
think we all agree with that. There was no scenery at all, no vast sea, no
sounds of the crashing waves. All that were left were spooky cemeteries, remnants
of the old Neo Tiew Estate and rows and rows of plantation.
As much as
how Gedong might seems depressing at the first glance, it turns out to be the
main highlight of my 2 years in service.
This is where
I learnt more about the Leopard Main Battle Tank through the regulars who are
so willing to pass on their knowledge to us.
This is where
I forged closer bonds with my batchmates, supporting each other during times of
need. We worked together, played together, got scolded together, clean our
bunks together and even nights out together.
This is where
I was given the opportunity to be grow and be nurtured into a section
commander, a leader to lead my men towards the betterment of our depot.
This is where
all of us fought together day and sometimes, night, to maintain or even improve
our vehicle turnover rate, to support our combatant counterparts in all their
trainings and exercises.
This is where my mentors and friends are and I am thankful for them to walk this journey with me.
To the new
OJE guys, this is just the beginning of your life as an armour technician.
Learn whatever you can and do whatever you could. Serve with pride and loyalty.
Though we might not be like the combatants, driving the vehicles out for battle
or engaging the enemy face to face. But keep this in mind, each vocation is
like our body part, and only when they work together, the body could function.
the hull mechanics, there will be no chance the vehicle could move out for
For without the
turret mechanics, we will not be able to engage the enemy and deter them with a
display of our firepower.
the comms technicians, we will not be able to sustain a proper channel for
communication during battle.
vocation, and every single one of you counted. I once told my fellow batchmates
that no matter where you are from, you pledged your loyalty to the flag. No
matter who your boss, your superior is, you work not for them but for the
uniform you are wearing. No matter which unit you are supporting, you are
involved in the defence capability of the state. This is your country and mine,
and we play our individual parts
I know how
tough it is to adjust to a military lifestyle – the discipline and regimentation.
Some of you are still struggling with it till today, but it is normal. I
understand because I’ve been through all these.
when you walked through a storm, hold your head up high, and don’t be afraid of
through the wind, walk on through the rain, though your dreams will be tossed
Walk on, walk
on, with your hope in your heart, and You’ll Never Walk Alone.
Now turn to
your buddy to the left and right side of you and say, “Thank you for being here
with me, and we will survive this together.”
I hope you
guys will carry this battalion on, bring out your fighting spirit and always
strive for your best. For loyalty, honour and a willing heart.
If I were to choose a word to represent my 2018 experience, ‘battle’ would be the most suitable of them all.
As 2018 is coming to an end (update: it has already ended when I actually am done with this piece), I finally able to sit down with my cup of kopi o kosong in my room to quietly reflect on what happened in the past year. There are so many things that are going through my mind right now that I needed a peaceful time like right now to consolidate all my thoughts and get my acts together.
2018 has been a year where I had to battle my self-doubts and all the internal struggles I had within me. It wasn’t a year that was friendly to my mental health or my physical health as a whole. There were a few instances that I suffered mental breakdowns. Despite the most recent episode happened a few months back, I am still suffering from the side effects today. I knew and I could feel how I became less patient with almost everything, I could flare at any behaviours that irk me. I stumbled with my words so frequently that I find it hard to start a conversation with anyone. My self-confidence was at a point so low that I wouldn’t even dare to establish any eye contact with anyone I am having conversations with, my eyes will naturally float around. It was downright social anxiety. Although things got slightly better towards the end of the year, it is a key concern for me. I just hope that I’ll eventually recover and return to that more extroverted self who found so much comfort in front of a crowd.
Binge Eating & Loss of Fitness
Mental struggles played a large part in the slight deterioration of my physical health and how I looked overall. Stress has given me the excuse to binge eat at almost every opportunity available. It went to the point that this action has taken a toll on my fitness level. I’ve basically undone whatever I’ve worked so hard on throughout 2017. My weight went back up to 72KG, my 5KM timing went beyond the 30min mark, my resting heart rate went up to an average of around 52-56 bpm. I felt my asthma could come back anytime soon (it relapsed earlier in the year and my stamina went one way down from then on).
I got too tired easily. I couldn’t be sure if that was due to the workload I’ve got to deal with these days or that I’ve completely lost the fitness mentality. I find that I do not enjoy my runs as much as before. It became more of like ‘if you want to balance out your diet, you’ll have to run/workout enough’. It became more of a mandatory routine instead of a form of relaxation. The purpose has steered too far off from my original intentions from 2016. I wouldn’t have persevered on, had I not have the motivation from the group runs I was part of towards the second half of the year.
Now that I am back to the ‘dad bod’, I think it might just take me a while to find back the enthusiasm I had for fitness and to go back enjoying every moment of it. I just hope that in 2019, workout returns to its role as a stress reliever instead of a contributing factor to my stress level.
Of course, 2018 did not only consist of all the bad things in life. There were moments that positively defined my year. There were also moments that reminded myself that there were still hope at the end of the day and I was more capable that I thought I was. I have specially chose to rewind on 5 of the moments as part of this post and here they are:
5. FINAL VISIT TO SRJC
I was considering between my birthday celebration with JCFC and my last visit to SR to be included in the Top 5 moments of 2018. Both were as significant but that afternoon at SR has that extra reason to make the mark into this list.
The feeling of pity was that reason. I have every reason to feel pity about the closure of the college that I once hated so much being in it. Yet, as I left the place and went on to pursue my dream, I realised the importance my 10-month stay there is to my life.
I wouldn’t have meet and befriend such a lovely group of people in the form of JCFC had I not went there.
I wouldn’t taking up running as a hobby had I not suffer under the intense running training around the Will Run route every PE lesson.
I am so glad that I was able to get there in time to take a final look at the college with Viv and document all the ‘scenery’ on camera. I initially had plans to visit SR for the final time during the flag decommissioning ceremony earlier last month. However, I was unable to do so due to some last-minute changes to my schedule.
4. JOINING GROUP RUN
The moment I knew I was losing motivation to conduct my own runs on Saturday evenings, I decided to join any open running crew during their running days. I even tried to revive the group run chat that I had with my JCFC girls who ran at Sundown 2016. Taking reference from the chat name Charmz has created, Fitspo People Athletic Club (FPAC) was formed. More commonly known as Fitspo People, the club surprising grew in number after the original crew added their friends. I started running with new running buddies like Justin and Jaslyn during the second half of the year as preparation to the year-end Stan Chart Singapore Marathon. We took our runs from my first base camp around Marina Bay to places like East Coast Park, MacRitchie Reservoir Trail and Coney Island. We basically travelled half of the country on our legs.
During times when FPAC weren’t running, I joined the other running crews with their runs as well. For example adidas Runners in October. One thing about adidas Runners is that they have limited slots of the public to sign up for whenever they have a run. It was like trying to grab hold to Ed Sheeran’s concert tickets. One would have to be online on Facebook as soon as they published the sign-ups for their upcoming runs in order to get him/herself successfully registered. It could have been my second club had the registration was made easier. In the end, that run in October was the only run I had with them so far. I don’t know when’s the next time I would be able to run with them again.
From the second half of October onwards, I went full swing into training for my first full marathon. Running Department happens to be the official pacer for the race so they have like pacer runs that we could join in. I usually don’t join for pacer runs because these runs always are held on Saturday morning — which does not seem to fit into my schedule. Yet, for the next two months, I managed to make things more flexible for myself. The reason why I decided to join the last few pacer runs was that it covered some very long distance: 30, 33, 21, etc. I don’t think I can find the motivation to run some 10km more than the longest I’d run previously. I need proper water points and route to keep myself going and to better gauge the form I was at going into the final phrase of training. Two months of running with RD gets me rather familiarise with their culture and they seems to be really fun people. I swear I don’t get to find people who still put on smile after waking up that early for a long run.
After Stan Chart ended, I eventually joined them for an exploration run at MacRitchie Reservoir. It could easily been one of the toughest runs that I’ve done for the entire 2018 (apart from the 35km run I forced myself to run and the other MacRitchie Run with FPAC). I could foresee more runs with them in 2019.
3. BACK TO CONTENT PRODUCTION
The decision to return back as a producer was met with another round of internal struggle. It took me a while to actually convince myself that I need to return back to content creation — both editorial and video. Editorial wise, I was technically on a 2-month writing hiatus since early June. Even so, the articles I’ve written in June were mostly for clients, making my last more original content dated back to May 27.
I never had any intention to return to content producing as long as I am still in the force. Yet, while taking up role as the Media IC during my Specialist Course, I reignited my passion for content production. I felt so great having to edit off Premiere Pro again after so long. Content creation has been my life for a good 4 years leading up to enlistment so that kind of explains why I missed it so much when I decided to take a hiatus.
In September, when randomly surfing YouTube, I came across one of Casey Neistat’s vlog. I was impressed. Very. I was thinking if it is difficult to think of ideas to create online shows like the very-long-never-update EC Show, why not I try to document my life through weekly vlogs. It would provide me the motivation to live a more interesting life every week. After that, I continue to watch more vlogs and got introduce to prominent vloggers/YouTubers like iJustine, MKBHD and Jon Olsson. Once I saw Jon Olsson’s vlog, I was thrilled by the idea of creating cinematic-style vlogs. That’s when I fell in love with colour correction.
Ed’s Filmologue was thus created and my YouTube channel was revived. It provided the main content for my channel and given me a completely new lifestyle. I got myself a more portable vlogging camera and I was ready to go. On September 8, I uploaded my first vlog episode and by the time the year concluded, I have created 15 episodes. Quite an achievement I feel.
Apart from Ed’s Filmologue, I also revived the Try Out series where I tried some ‘crazy’ things so that other people wouldn’t have to. The biggest project of the year came in December when I collaborated with a few friends – Kishan, Yapz, Hui Shuen and Jing Xing – to try out almost all the brown sugar beverages in Singapore. I swear we almost died from diabetes. The amount of sugar beverages I had that day could easily be more than the amount I had over the past 2 years combined. We had fun and I definitely gained some experience from the production itself.
2019 will see more of such contents created and I can’t wait already!
2. GRADUATION FROM MASCC
On 23 August, I marched out into parade square at Leaders’ Square, Pasir Leba Camp, receiving my new third sergeant rank. This is the biggest milestone of my National Service ‘career’. It is my proudest moment of the year no doubt. Going through the Maintenance and Ammunition Specialist Cadet Course (MASCC) was a whole new experience to me. Being a PES C soldier means that I only get to go through the modified BMT where outfield only consists of 2D1N. It was like a walk in the park, although I got infected with conjunctivitis after that. MASCC was different. It provided me with a more wholesome experience as a soldier. We kind of planned our own 3D2N outfield and our sector deployments. It was tough.
Despite it was the period of time I suffered one of my biggest breakdowns, I believed that I’ve learnt a lot from my peers. We worked together, suffered together and eventually graduated together. It was fun while it lasted.
1. FIRST FULL MARATHON
The completion of my first ever full marathon on 9 December has to be my greatest moment of 2018. Despite my drop in form throughout the year, I managed to clock a sub-6h. I didn’t expect that, I was still in doubt over whether I could finish the entire route before the 7-hour cut off time. Well, I was an hour ahead. I still felt that had I been more consistent in my training and my diet throughout the year, I could have performed much better.
This is the biggest milestone I had so far since I started running in 2013 (cue SRJC). If you told me back then that I’ll be running in a full marathon in 5 years time, I will regard you as bonker because it was unthinkable. That morning, I’ve turned unthinkable into thinkable, dreams into reality. I thought myself one lesson, nothing is impossible as long as you keep going and be more patient with your progress. Results won’t be imminent, but as long as you don’t give up. Maybe 5 years later, I’ll be running a good sub-3?
Other than moments that define my year, there is also the human factor that makes 2018 a more pleasant one. These are the people – whether old friends or new – that walked 2018 with me either throughout or at some specific time and played a big part to the moments I had.
People I’d Want To Thank
Justin & Jaslyn
Firstly, would like to thank these 2 new friends whom I’ve made this year. Justin and Jaslyn were the ones who kept me motivated in running throughout this year. Trust me, I would have steered way out of my running program because of all the stress if they hadn’t consistently been running with me. From Marina Bay to Bishan Park to even the hilly and muddy MacRitchie trail, I couldn’t have been so spontaneous without them. Of course, thanks Wanz for introducing them to my life.
Huiqi was always that supportive friend who I could count on when it comes to all my crazy production ideas. From the failed projects of one or two short films and Kaleidoma to projects that actually went public (aka my vlogs), she has been there. She showed me the support I need, despite not wanting to be in any shots. Really very appreciative of her to the point I felt so bad if anything were to fail along the way (like previously). At least, that’s some motivation for me as well.
Viv has been my driving force since the time everything started crumbling down in 2016. Although we don’t go for runs together that often anymore, but her mental support all these well kept me going still, in 2018, like helping FPAC with the SCSM admin. She hadn’t had a good 2018 and I am that lousy friend who couldn’t provide her more comfort like she had done before, other than just merely offering my listening ears. But I believe, we will become stronger in 2019.
Swee, Edwin, Manfred, Daniel
From OETI to Sungei Gedong, these were the guys I could rely on to make my NS journey a pleasant one. It wasn’t easy adapting to a new environment when we were posted to our unit after completing our course at OETI. There was so much uncertainty back then but we had each other to count on. Although Manfred left for his new appointment halfway through, he was the one whom I found comfort talking to when we were both going through MASCC. Swee, Edwin and Daniel have been the most supportive back in unit. They took initiatives to lighten my workload and really makes significant contributions to our unit. Most of the time, I find them more capable than myself. I really looked up to them at work. I swear I would have lost my mind if weren’t for them.
Hui Shuen has been one of the supportive figure after seeing my relentless call for help on my Instagram Story. It all started back then I was so stressed that I was contemplating about getting a personal assistant to sort out my mess. She offered her help but I eventually didn’t get a PA because I don’t have that financial capability to do so. (Hey, I ain’t earning big bucks just by writing this blog or creating random YouTube videos.) However, when I was looking for people to collab with me for YouTube content, like the Brown Sugar Milk Tea episode, she came forward to help. I was really very touched. She’s like my extra pair of eyes to help me check for ‘blind spot’. I can confirm that that very episode couldn’t be possible without her helping me to brainstorm and checking out on points that I have missed. Really looking forward to more collab opportunities.
Everyone else in JCFC
Lastly, I’d want to thank this very special group of people who never left even though we are all busy with our work. Although tbh some of you guys got me so pissed at times (is it confession time), but at the end of the day, you guys are still here while a lot of people just disappear from my life – some without any notice at all. Thank y’all for being such an understanding bunch of people who still bothered to tolerate my shits, unpredictable mood swings and awkwardness.
As 2018 ends and 2019 arrives, my only wish for the new year is for it to be better than the old one. It just want to build on from what I’ve achieved in 2018 and slowly remove the negativity that I’ve carried with me over to the new year by the end of the year. 2019 will see me ORD and start my gap year. It could be an interesting year, if I plan it right.
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?
Haven’t really been blogging over the past few months because I was so busy. I couldn’t really find time to really sit down with a cup of freshly brewed coffee and complete a blog post. There are so many things that I felt like blogging about but because of time constrain, they are either still languishing in my draft box or it has been forgotten for good.
I think I will update this blog with my trip back to SRJC earlier this month. It was the last Will Run ever to be held in the college. It was a pity that I couldn’t make it back in time for the run. However, I managed to reach the college in time with Vivian for the post-run carnival.
Actually, my main purpose there wasn’t about the carnival. It was to capture some moments and to revisit some of my memories. It doesn’t felt like I’ve been away for 4 years. I thought I’ve left the college for good back in November 2013, but I still kept coming back to visit my ex-classmates, CCA mates and juniors. I don’t know what made me still want to come back despite how badly I had wanted to leave.
It wasn’t even a tough decision to make. I didn’t feel at home or attachment to the college over that 10 months when I was there. I tried to isolate myself from everything and anything — but it was impossible because of my status as a representative of the class. I ended up exposing myself to more people and events.
I never really settled in but I am still thankful for the people and culture that make my short stay at least a memorable one. From Thespian to Will Run to SR Thanksgiving, these are the memories that will be deeply rooted right inside of me. I think that’s why I developed that sense of belonging over time but I left even before it could be fully ‘developed’.
Since the school is going to be gone, I felt a need to revisit some of the memories — those familiar yet not so familiar memories. The feeling is like, you developed the slightest feeling for something yet you realised you don’t really know that something really well. Ok, I don’t really how to explain using descriptive that everyone else understand. (That’s why I’d always lived inside my own utopia)
Places of SR
I think I shall start with this. This is the foyer of the college, with the words ‘Discere Servire’ imprinted alongside the college crest on the facade. The phrase means to learn, to serve in Latin, which no doubt makes the strong core value that is deeply rooted within the culture of the college.
I shall carry on with the some of the places I was kind of attached to during my time there.
During the first half of the school year, when I still have that slightest of motivation in me, I could be found inside this reading room known as ‘The Study’. The girl was seated right at my usual spot or, I would say, my favourite spot in the room. Why so? In fact, I have no idea why except that it was one of the nearest towards the exit of this part of the room. I could vividly remember how I tried to rush my Econs or Chinese Lit homework right to the final second. It was my war zone.
In case anyone is wondering how the GNC looks like. This place would be filled up and the long queues started to form especially when everyone came out of the General Paper’s lectures. All for their puff, ice cream and most importantly, ice lemon tea. Perfect way to destress right after a stressful GP lecture.
My second half of the year was spent mostly (less lesson time) at this area just outside the Good News Cafe. I was either doing my revision there or spending time chatting with Nicole and Ratna while munching on to the signature Rendang puff. The people from 1SR07 (our neighbouring class, I was in 1SR06) would sometimes be there as well, although I seldom talk to them other than Teck Ching and Jiayi – who happened to be in my Chinese Lit class as well.
One of the most iconic places in the college – De Yuan. We were introduced to this place right from the start during the orientation days. Built with the money the alumni and seniors before us collected during fundraising one of the years, the place was — if I weren’t mistaken — for students to relax and take a breather during their break. It was not a surprising scene to see students dipping their bare legs into the water, enjoying some sort of a spa-like treatment.
However, the pool ended up having another main purpose: to dunk whoever celebrating their birthday that day into the pool. Although I had not personally been thrown into the pool before but I think we’ve tried throwing someone there. You could see the expression of the ‘victim’ right before the throw was executed.
Alternatively, if anyone wants to relax, I recommend staring at this fountain, which is located just a few footsteps away from De Yuan. The fountain has some therapeutic effect somehow.. I felt at ease every time I walked past that area to and fro lessons.
Who could have not visited this place when they were still studying in SR? Uncle Henry’s is the place to get almost all the things you’ll need in class, that is, our lecture notes and tutorial book. We’ve also went there to print stuff as well. Being a class rep, I think I frequent there quite often to collect those booklets and yes, I still remember having to chase after the whole world for money to pay the uncle. Trust me, that wasn’t a pleasant experience, given how soft a person I am.
Nah, it wasn’t that tidy when the semester was going on. You could see notes piling up right at every corner waiting to be collected.
The Performing Arts Theatre, or more commonly called the LT5, is the biggest lecture theatre we have in the college. Although I had my GP lecture there, together with the rest of the ~1000 students from my cohort, I remembered this place more for SR Drama’s rehearsals and the 2 Thespian productions where I returned as alumni.
The General Office. Not that I really have much memories of that, apart from going in there to retrieve my withdrawal form. HAHAHA. Ok, I’ll probably need to mention the two entrances at both sides of the office (not in photo) where the teachers’ pigeon holes and the telephone to call the teachers are located.
I remember collating and handling in forms and worksheets/tutorial books to the teachers via the pigeon holes. Oh ya, you would see the area being cluttered with notes and gifts during Teachers’ Day. That’s probably the only occasion when the area seems more livelier.
The school field played another big part during my time there. It was on this field where I started training for long distance running. From 3km to 4km to 5km and slowly progressing to 10km, it was here where I picked up running. I finished my first long distance (9.3km) here in the morning of 3rd August 2013. I recalled receiving the prize on behalf of the class later that day as an appreciation for clocking the longest total mileage (I think).
Faces of SR
SR would be just another college if they were without the human factor. It was the people that makes the college rather unique from others. I was fortunate to meet 2 of the very familiar faces during my visit that morning: the security uncle and the drink stall auntie, and had a small chat with them before carrying on with my itinerary.
Everyone knows Uncle William. He is probably the first person that you will encounter at the college gate. Having been serving the college for 11 years, Uncle William is more familiar with the school than any other alumni and probably most teachers as well. During our short conversation that day, he shared with me about how the rate of late coming is on a rise. I ain’t that surprised because after all, we students take our own time to stroll into the college after loitering outside. The thought of it just makes me smiled a little with slightly some sense of guilt.
When asked about what he had after the merger, Uncle William calmly replied that he will wait for the instructions from his company and is ready to be redeployed to another place.
Of course, I didn’t forget about the ever so friendly drink store auntie. It still awed by the fact that she could recognise and remember almost everyone of us. I mean if she could only remember Viv, I wouldn’t be surprised because she was there for roughly three years.
For someone — who meets hundred and thousands of new students and teachers every year — to remember a random dude whose existence in the college can be considered to be quite negligible, it requires a whole new level of memory skills. I swear her brain is made up of thousands TB of memory space. HAHAHA
Of course, there are more faces in SR that either I didn’t manage to meet or ain’t that familiar for me to approach for a feature without feeling awkward. And oh oh oh, see the poster above? The five alumni has been the ‘faces of SR’ since my year. Not sure about the guzheng and the dance girls, but Fayuan, Siyinn and Neesha were the people whom I am familiar with because they were my batch mates.
After going through a round of reminiscent since the start, it’s time for me to at least touch on the topic that makes the title of the post: Will Run. As I said earlier, we came after the conclusion of the run. However, we managed to walk down the ‘memory lane’ where the posters from past events were being put up for display.
Alright, I didn’t expect that to have actually still kept these gigantic ass posters. I mean, these posters should have taken up quite a bit of space in the store, shouldn’t they?
Viv wore her 2012 Will Run event tee, so it was only relevant if she took a photo under the poster for the 2012 event. That was her first year in the college, running her first Will Run.
I arrived to the college a year later, so the 2013’s event was my first Will Run and my only run as a current student of SR. I couldn’t reiterate again how much this run has been a life changer for me. I am just thankful that I came here, got stuck here and forced to embark on a long-distance training. I am sure that I couldn’t be taking part in half-marathons (and signing up for my first full marathon 5 years later at the Singapore Marathon 2018). Thank you Siao Running JC.
This is probably the second last or final time (if I couldn’t make it for the Farewell on 8 December) that I’ll be stepping foot into this compound before the entire college moved over to Anderson JC. I am glad that I went back to capture some of the memories so that I will never forget my time there — despite how bad it was. I guess my love-hate relationship with the college is something I still couldn’t explain till date. The hate was obvious, but the love portion? I guess it lies in the friendship, experience, exposure and opportunities (in drama and running, more specifically) that eventually shaped my bond with SR will now.
As Serangoon JC (SRJC) heads into its final year of existence, with its merger with Anderson JC looming around the corner, SR Drama has showcased their final Thespian performance in front of a sold-out crowd on 12 April, 2018.
It was a bittersweet event for me, as I booked out immediately from camp and rushed my way down to show my support to this final batch of SR Dramateers. To think about it, it has been a good 5 years since I took my place on stage. Thespian, to me, is one of the best takeaways in SR and the most memorial part of my college life.
It was 2013 and I just crossed into the realm of post-secondary college life. It was a confusing affair, I’d admit. I wasn’t sure of anything at that point of time — I didn’t know what subject combination I should take, I wasn’t ready to socialise and make new friends all over again. Yet, there was one thing I was certain: to continue my interest in drama and acting. SR Drama wasn’t one of my choices for CCA, it was THE choice.
I remembered how we worked towards Thespian 2013. It seems to be the only other Thespian to be held out of college (the 2012 was held at SOTA while the subsequent editions were held in LT5 instead). I had never felt so hardworking before, turning up for every rehearsal and putting in my very best effort. I didn’t know at that point in time that it could be my very last theatre performance until 2015, so I am thankful that I had put in my all for that.
I was involved in two of the pieces, Seven Deadly Princesses & Crazy School (? actually I forgot about the name of the second piece oops).
Seven Deadly Princesses was based loosely on the seven sins. Each of the princesses represents different sin. I played the protagonist – Allan – who was ‘sabo-ed’ by his mother to attend this blind date, leading him to a near mental breakdown.
I was thankful for the chance to play the role become it was relatively challenging. One main reason was that I needed to work with not 1, but 7 girls and at that point of time, I was still awkward interacting with the opposite gender. I tried to be as natural as I could. I remembered Yap Qi (who played the role of Mulan) realised that as well, and gave me some tips and confidence for me to continue with my role.
Everything eventually paid off. Everyone showed enthusiasm in wanting to make this show a good one, we helped each other to fine-tune our acting skills. Ms C and Mr Tsui gave us their inputs and our biggest critics came from everyone else in the club. Similarly, we critic the other plays as well. Despite running short of time, we had never compromise on the review sessions. We reviewed each other’s plays and blockings regularly and that’s how we bonded.
Yapz playing the role of Mulan.
Kheng Yin portrayed Rapunzel, showing her wrath side to Zhirong, who played the waiter.
Zhirong had been a very patient mentor to me during the training sessions. Undoubtedly, he is one of the best actors I’ve worked with.
With the cast of Seven Deadly Princesses.
With Annas, who played a foreign student in the second play I was involved in.
As I reiterate, the thing about SR Drama is that, from teachers-in-charge to committee members to seniors to juniors, we treat each other like family. There is not much segregation between us. We worked, played and ate together. Especially during the intensive training in the month leading up to the actual performance, we bonded so well together that we dreaded the curtain call at our final show.
Our beloved teachers-in-charge Mr Tsui & Ms C.
Even as I left the college, I did not hesitate to return for help out with the rehearsals when Mr. Tsui called for help in 2015. It was the year I briefly returned to theatre. This time, the wanted to reenact the Seven Deadly Princesses script. I was there, together with Donna, Kheng Yin and Zhirong to help the new batch of actors on the roles – especially with the roles that we once took up 2 years ago. It felt like a deja vu. Everything was so similar – the script, the people and most importantly, the enthusiasm.
The new Rapunzel, waiter and Allan, played by Shirin, Faizul and Ernest.
With the new cast of Seven Deadly Princesses.
This year was a little different. The enthusiasm remains, but the news of the impending merger of the college clouded the emotions of everyone. We knew, for sure, that this would be the final Thespian to be held within the college compound. Despite that, the core group of seniors turned up in almost full force to witness the final curtain call. I rushed down from camp to make sure I don’t miss it – which is evident how important and significant Thespian is to me.
We might have dreaded the previous curtain call, but this was the curtain call we dreaded the most.
With my junior who happens to be Eddy as well and, coincidently, was also from Ang Mo Kio Secondary.
We rushed to take some photos before being chased out of the college compound by the security personnel. The catch-up session was so brief that we didn’t have much chance to interact and speak to everyone. I just hope that these will not be the last group photos we will take as a club. Yes, Thespian might have meet its end, but friendship and memories will remain.
Before I end this post, I think SR Dramateers from all these years deserves a standing ovation.