The Simplicius Cheong Quartet

14 Jul 2019 – Happy Bastille Day

Fri: the 2nd letter regarding my AC arrived and an appointment to fix the problem has been arranged for next week. Let’s hope that complaining neighbour underneath me will find peace for her prayer-mat! In the meanwhile, got a charger and literally charging my batteries and energy in every way possible. Does anyone know where to discard of old batteries?

Korean movie Parasite: this black humour storytelling captivates the dissection of class struggles. Somehow what the drunk Chung-sook said – If I was rich, I would be nice too. Money is an iron; it smoothes out all the wrinkles caught my attention.

Kind of brought back what a friend once told me – of course he is nice, who would not be if they have things their way! Anyway an interesting movie which started off fine, but it got too violent for me towards the end.

Sat: from a local food-centre scene in my hood and looks like they are ready for the National Day Celebrations even-though it is not until 9Aug.

Who says that flower-power is no longer has not been here where ppl are enjoying&making the best out of their day and hope that y’all are doing the same!

The wet market usually has a good variety of fresh produce in the early hours of the weekend and it is only in these local wet markets that I can find the local fresh herbs for local cooking.

All those herbs and the banana leaf for S$3, sunflowers were so delightfully fresh&cheerful looking that I had to get them S$5 for 2.

Lunched@One Bowl Restaurant located just behind the lobby of The Sultan Hotel on Jalan Sultan is where you can find home-style cooking in a restaurant without MSG – a place I would not mind going back to.

CharSiew Noodles with springy noodles giving it some oomph&texture; NgorHiang; ChapChye– a mixed vegetable stew must be one of the better ChapChye I have had. Was happy with these 3dishes. The food looks pretty much as what you see on the menu, tastefully presented.

Hot slow stroll down from JalanSultan with a new building CityGate Condo to Fika/BeachRd for dessert. Passing HajiLane which is always bursting with life and pack with ppl, a place I try to avoid going to.

Sun: Happy Bastille Day to those celebrating, Has it really been 7yrs ago since my last trip to France? Happy Bday to Keith in France.

Nice to bump into Philip in the hood – some of his artworks that caught my attention the past few years.

The Simplicius Cheong Quartet Pays Tribute to Legends – Quartet is made up of Simplicius Cheong (arranger, composer and piano), Rit Xu (flute), Ben Poh (bass) and Tama Goh (drums).

Congratulations and all the best to Rit who has won his 2yrs scholarship to NY/USA.

Appreciations for a relaxing enjoyable afternoon with a delightful program@Esplanade Concourse with Audrey, Leonard, Pat, Angela, Lucy&Betty

16 00 – 16.40 Hits by Doris Day
17.00 – 17.40 The Music of André Previn
18.00 – 18.40 The Music Of Michel Legrand

Que será, será
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que será, será
What will be, will be – Jay Livingston and Ray Evans

Red Joan

11 July 2019 – A Granny-Spy

Mon: appreciations to Gel&Yusoff Abdul Latiff with his lovely sketch about what I thought yesterday was a ruin, but was a Bali gateway probably erected by a Bali-themed restaurant cafe (Little Bali) that was demolished nearby. During its heyday the restaurant setting was well-landscaped like in Bali. I think they even brought in volcanic soil and lots of heliconia and water features. We painted there several times. We felt like in Bali. Its a pity that the landscaping was demolished when the cafe closed and the whole of Gilman Barracks was revamped.

I knew it reminded me of somewhere recently and checked my previous postings, of course, the new Sang Nila Utama Garden@FortCanning. That goes to show how recent memory goes faster that memory from 50-60yrs ago!!

Tue: feeling lost (like the sculpture of VanGogh by Catalano in the lobby!) trying to find my way to the PostOffice@Ion. Got side-tracked@OperaGallery as the guard looked so real that I had to in and check him out! Am glad I went in as there are two Chagall (one of my favourite painters of that era) paintings inside. No photography allowed inside…

SIN Straits Emporium/underpass from OrchardMRT-Tangs,

amazing place with all kind of goodies made from durian except the real fruit, I wonder why?? 🙂 No did not buy any as my preference for durians are the fresh fruits, and at present staying away from them as I am coughing till my diaphragm hurts.

The Penang trip was the 1st time I tasted RedPrawn/Hong Xia, Ang Hay – sticky with a sweet aftertaste, from the states of Pahang&Johor/Malaysia.

Welcome back to SIN Richard&Judy from Sydney. Good to catch up with them both+HS, childhood family friends from the 1950s-60s.

Food Republic, ShawCentre/Scotts enjoying our get together and as usual, much to talk about and too much eat on our annual meeting. There is a decent selection of food here, especially their WarungPadang. Was not hungry then, but after the movies had Assam fish+2sorts of veggie (S$8+).

Movie Red Joan@Lido – inspired by an extraordinary true story and unlike the Rotten Tomatoes+others’ reviews, personally I thought it a brilliant movie. Based loosely on real life granny spy Melita Norwood, (1912-2005) and what was so intriguing was that my thoughts in the beginning of the movie were completely changed at the end of it. Highly recommended.

It got me to reflect&rethink at what price does one have to go thru’ for idealism and the balance of peace, even if&when treason may play a part in it?

I did what I did, not to make money, but to help prevent the defeat of a new system which had, at great cost, given ordinary people food and fares which they could afford, a good education and a health service – Melita Norwood

Wed: reading The Hills of SIN where Farnham draws on the real-life historical personalities of the time, mixing fact and fiction to paint a rich portrait of love and loss in mid-nineteenth century SIN, at a time when triads, piracy and crime were rife and life in colonial SE Asia was anything but safe.

Interesting read about SIN&KCH then, both locations that are close&familiar to me. Need some time away from reality to stay sane and to calm the nerves&stress before heading back to the Western world.

Everything wise and true and old was Chinese, but everything new, everything useful for commerce, came from the West…

Thu: neighbour downstairs (6floor) is again complaining about the AC and seeming she is also complaining about her downstairs neighbour (5floor) that their AC is blowing too much cold-air up on her floor and she is unable to find a spot to kneel for a her prayers!

Another complain letter (2nd) will be in my mail, so will have to find a solution – if a 3rd letter has to be sent out, there will be legal actions!!

Appreciations to Gel for dropping by and updating her visions for vOOk. The very best to her and her new ventures.

The Wedding of Alexandria&Amber

7 Jul 2019 – Lunch&Dinner

Thu: unpacking the few things bought in Penang – soaps looking&smelling like they are good enough to eat, coconut candies (both the soft chewy&hard ones) and an attractive irresistible tiny goldfish pewter I could not take my eyes off just before leaving the hotel for the airport!

Marking 4th July over time – 2005 on the AT/USA, 2013 in OSL/Norway, 2015&2018 SC/ USA. Happy 4th to all celebrating. Appreciations for dinner@Jo’s.

Tamil movie House Owner – the story revolves around a rainy day in the lives of an elderly couple who has made Chennai their home since quite some time. Vasu, who has retired from the Army, has been suffering from Alzheimer’s and Radha has a tough time dealing with her husband’s adamant and child-like behaviour. Somehow, it was a touching movie in some ways and sad in another ways, ie too close to home!

Do not think I have ever been to this cinema@Carnival Shaw Tower on Beach Rd, which shows mainly Indian moves – and if I have, it must have been under another name!

Fri: TGIF this beautiful flower tree is blooming outside my 7floor kitchen window and it is absolutely magnificent. I remember it a tiny tree 20yrs ago when I moved here, before the parking garage with a roof-top garden was built (2005).

Auditioning as a grandma for some NTUC-film. Keeping my fingers crossed this time round. Trying something new when the opportunity arises is a good way to live life!

Appreciations to HS&friends for a lovely Fri evening of Standing on the Shoulders of Giants with a delightful&entertaining program@VCH. Cellist Qin Li-Wei’s performance was outstanding. Supper@our usual Vietnamese joint, LongPhung, JooChiatRd

Sat: after 1hr+bus+MRT+bus, had a few minutes for a cuppa@BukitBatok market and to check out the area before heading on to the Church of St Mary of the Angels (church pix downloaded).

Aileen, the mother of the bride glowing radiantly as she gives instructions to her soon to be son-in-law, Amber. Also spending some moments with her youngest, Chloe and husband, Alan before they give blessings to their eldest girl’s Alex and before being parents-in-law!

Jeremy, their dashing first-born is busy checking that things are going smoothly. Yulis&family in time before we got seated. Where has all these years gone??? Aileen, Yulis&I met when we worked together 20yrs ago@H&H, then in MarinaHouse/ShentonWay (next to MSAbuilding)

Yulis&Chiew have 2 lovely girls, Sophie(5)&Frances(2mo) dressed alike just like what I did to L&M who are also nearly 5yrs apart, Sophie is the cutest 5yrs with me today. Somehow we were accidentally placed on the groom-side, but it was good as we could see Aileen&family clearly.

The charming couple were blessed by their parents as they both vowed to love&honour each other the rest of their life. Congratulations to the new Mr&Mrs Teo and the very best to their life ahead.

Father of the bride sang beautifully and gave a touching speed as to how he will miss that good-night kiss. Lovely reception with yummy food and had a bite of everything and ate every morsel. Good to catch up with Peggy, Carol, Dennis, Aisha, old H&H faces.

Alex’s stunning bridal gown was tailor-designed with different layers of elegant white lace and really befitting to her graceful&innocent personality. It was cute to see Sophie so taken in with the bride that it reminded me how Olai was to his cousin Ellie during Linn’s 40thBday in 2014.

And it is not over yet until the dinner tomorrow night.

Sun: Gillman Barracks former British Army barracks, the cluster of buildings now play host to an eclectic mix of Art. The last time here was in 2016 for Steve McCurry’s A picture is worth a thousand words’.

Took a few mins today to walk around the area to only discover this ruin this time round.

Fully restored classic black & white bungalow built in 1935 by the British Army and surrounded by greenery, Masons has a unique colonial charm with good food.

I like the idea of a small portions so that there is room to taste everything and again ate every bit.

Too many ppl to get decent shots tonight and there are many profession photographers who will no doubt put together a good wedding album. Nice wedding cake.

Aileen’s mother, brother&his family+her 2best friends Patricia&Michelle, godmothers to her children on the same table. Managed to get a quick shot while the wedding couple&their parents were posing. The missing girlfriend of Jeremy’s as she was could not attend yesterday’s ceremony. Looking forward for them to tie their knots too! These kids are fortunate to have good examples&roles to learn from.

Blessed to be including in these joyous ceremonies and meeting with her family&friends after hearing&listening about them for 20yrs! Congratulations to Aileen&Alan who have raised a lovely family. The secret to a long-lasting marriage is to fall in love many times, always with the same person.

Penang 2019

3 Jul 2019 – Byebye Jun Hello Jul

Fri: TGIF on this lovey early morning. Besides a robot cleaner, also bumped into Sharon@T2 who is flying on the same plane as us to Penang! Byebye SIN for now.

Safe&sound in Penang, delighted to catch up with nephew John&Fran+WanAnn (flatmate&friend from Dublin school days) for the most scrumptious plate of Penang ChowKuehTeow on Jalan DatokKeramat.

Can’t seem to get enough of this beautiful magnificent huge tree@ShangriLa RasaSayang Resort where we will be for the next 4nights.

How to holiday in style, tkx to Les.

Decent Hainanese home-cook style dinner around the corner from the resort – quite a contrast from our accommodations.

3UCD medical grads Les&Ivy+WanAnn whose cousin, SiewLing, also another doctor, but from Trinity. Left Dublin by the time he arrived in 1975, thus my first meeting with him here, and of course in an Irish-Pub for a pint. Never enjoyed these crowded noisy pub-scene even in my youth, and less so now, yes, up in age but not yet deaf!

Said hi to all in the pub and took a slow away from the noise, but within the mall. Unlike SIN, do not feel that safe wondering about in Malaysia.

Sat: up bright&early to check out the breakfast-spread which has a good decent selection but only took just a few pix, more interested in the street-food.

Had a cup of coffee&some fruits as I wanted to spend the day with Chon&Fran who I hardly get to see!

A personal tour on wheels for today – along Gurney Dr and Esplanade Rd, City&Town Halls, Fort Cornwalls.

Interesting overhead bridge, road sign and round-about – could not have guess what is on top of this around-about, can you?

On to the famous Penang-Street-Food – starting with PrawnMee, a broth to die for. The owner has been selling this dish since age 17 and now he is into his 70-80s.

Ernest Zacharevic’s The children on the bicycle on Armenian Street is one of the most famous murals and done in 2012, it is one of the 1st street art here.  Old Chinese Temple, Acheen St Mosque, StGeorge’s AnglicanChurch.

A snack@Hong Kee Wan Thun Mee 鸿记(廣式) 竹昇云吞面Campbell Street before more touring, mee here looks good but no space for a full meal. The line was for TohSoon Cafe 多春茶室, thank goodness as the heat was quite unbearable to be standing in line!

Re-visit to the Pinang Peranakan Mansion. Those who remember The Little Nyonya 小娘惹, a SIN 2008 drama serial, might recognize some of the scenes filmed here. Again the ornate architecture and interior never fail to fascinate me.

Fried oysters were OK, but not my favourite. The other dish LokBak is new to me, tasty and so was this 3LayersT, highly recommended.

Like this painting of the location.

ChinaHouse – 3Heritage shop-houses linked by an open-air courtyard converted into many spaces –

comprising of shops, cafes, restaurant, galleries and bakery with 80varieties of baked goods! Qu’ils mangent de la brioche

Appreciations to SiewLay&Elise for dinner@BeachCorner. Elise told the story as to how& why their daughter chose to work in SIN. She offered jobs both in KL&SIN some years ago and decided for in KL at first. When she was there to sort out matters, was then pick-pocketed and after that she decided to accept the job in SIN and has been there ever since.

SpringRolls, Duck with Yam, AssamFish

Fried Chicken, Squid, local crabs, fresh ingredients and very tasty.

Sun: lunch@BayviewHotel and what a good idea with that dome to keep food warm as well as nice presentation.

It was a lovely Conferring Ceremony for this 2019Class. Congratulations to all.

Good to see Drs Manning&Halpin (UCDs Chancellor&Registrar) again. The last time we met was when Les received an NUI Honorary Degree of Doctor of Medicine/honoris causa.

Last night’s dinner was good enough for another night at the same location, but with a few change of dishes. So thrilled&pleased with this, must be the best sunset shot I will ever capture. A case of being in the right place at the right time. Alone we walk striving to understand the meaning of the small role we play in this magnificent creation – tkx to MichaelBrown’s comment.

Mon: back to PrawnMee for Les&Ivy to try and was lucky enough to get his few last bowls. So it was meant to be…

Food shopping and here Ivy&Fran managed to fight the crowds and got what they wanted hahaha while Les sat outside, Chon on the phone outside and I taking pix outside lol.

Standing on a hilltop at Air-Itam, near PenangHill, KekLokSi is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. You can also get a great view of the town from there. The clouds might have looked threatening here, but only got a few drops of rain.

Market in Air-Itam

Have never been a fan of Penang-Laksa until I tasted this and could not get enough of the broth which complimented the rosella drink with a delicious fruit to finish this lunch. For my oversea friends – Laksa is a spicy noodle soup popular in Peranakan cuisine of SE Asia, and it will take me a day to list out the various varieties of Laksa!!! Safe journeys to Chon&Fran who will be flying off after lunch. Good to have caught up.

Cheong FattTze張弼士Mansion now a boutique hotel won the prestigious UNESCO Conservation&Heritage award in 2000. 1+hrs was not enough time to see this amazing mansion, would have liked to have spent a day there!

Wooden-craved partition and the tile flooring are originals from the end of the 19th century.

The mahjong scene from the movie Crazy Rich Asians+many more movies were filmed here.

Cheong FattTze first introduced grape vineyards in China’s Shandong province, and later brought in Austrian wine-producing experts to improve the ChangYu vineyard in Yantai, Shandong, so the Ingido Bar has quite rightly found a place here.

Twenty Ways You Can Tell You Have Asian Parents. Number one on the list: Your parents never, ever call you just to say hello ― Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians

Tkx Kat for catching up with us and for yummy RedPrawn durians at her lovely house.  First bite for this particular kind of durina and a definite die die must have again!  Dinner was scrumptious at Kat’s neighbourhood, especially the fish&eggplants for me.

Tue: thank you and byebye Penang. Hello SIN – back safe&sound after a smooth uneventful 1+hr flight. Took 6 travalators! (I counted) to get from the gate-immigration, thank goodness the wheelchair was waiting for Ivy upon arrival. Appreciations to Les&Ivy for this delightful trip and it is easy to get used to this style of travelling, but alas the travel from now until Nov will be of a completely different category!

Wed: always content to be back to familiarity until Familiarity Breeds Contempt and then again time to move on, the whole secret to the balance of life…

4 Jul – Happy 4th
14 Jul – Happy Bday Keith and Happy Bastille Day/France
17 Jul – Happy Bday Nancy Bowman
19 Jul – Happy 22nd Anniversary Linn&Jeff
20 Jul – Happy Bday David Yeoh
21 Jul – Happy Bday Albert Chua
22 Jun – Happy Anniversary Dike&Mark
23 Jun – Happy Bdays Lucas&James