Post Christmas ramblings

Merry Christmas and A Great New Year to all! Well, Christmas is not really over yet because there’re 12 days to it. But guess what? Stores here started putting up Chinese New Year decor and playing CNY songs, which seriously just don’t sound good. My husband lamented that there haven’t been any updates to the songs, still the same old wishing for the God of prosperity to descend on us. He thinks it’s a problem with the Chinese culture, a reluctance to change or improve and a mercenary attitude. That’s why for so many centuries, China had stagnated. Anyway Chinese New Year is less than a month away, on 23 Jan, but my husband refuses to take down the christmas tree, citing the 12 days of Christmas.

Heels or Flats?
Last Friday, I met up with a bunch of ex-colleagues for dinner. My friends clamored they couldn’t see the baby bump because I was wearing a poncho. So for the sake of Jeab, who couldn’t stop by Singapore, I lifted up my poncho for Christine to take a picture of my tummy. Jenny told Jeab said my tummy wasn’t apparent, and instead looked like I had a few weeks of good food stuffed into it.

When Jenny saw me in my platforms, she loudly exclaimed, “she’s still wearing heels! They’re so high!” I clarified that these are not heels, they are platforms, ok so they’re 4-in high. But I got a round of berating from everybody there and then. Christine said I got pregnant after much difficulty and I shouldn’t jeopardize the pregnancy. I tried justifying that Victoria Beckham wore heels throughout her 3rd pregnancy, and was roundly told off that she was driven from door to door. I was told to wear flats and it would only be for a few months (more than 5 months actually). Problem is I’m a heel girl and I only own one pair of flats. So now I’m searching for a pair of chic kitten heels, even though I know Posh Spice dismisses them. But at least they’re a good compromise.

A Moving Masterpiece
Last Friday afternoon, my husband and I brought his mom to an exhibition at the Singapore Expo, A Moving Masterpiece – The Song Dynasty as Living Art (动感清明上河图).

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The exhibition started with an introduction of the 5 Chinese elements (fire, earth, water, wood and metal) and how they were relevant to the Song dynasty and the similarities with the Singapore system. The masterpiece is a scroll painting done by a Song dynasty court painter, Zhang Ze Duan, of life in the then capital, Bianjing, during the 12th century.

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The capital was located next to a river which was vital for trading; similarly Singapore started off as a trading sea port. The current examination system (particularly A’level) in Singapore is similar to the imperial examination in the Song dynasty, in that we also have our scholars who will then serve in the public service, and eventually become government officials and politicians (court officials). So in other words, we have a modern day mandarin system in this country. Below picture shows the study materials required by a Song Dynasty scholar.

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It’s very interesting how this historical painting is brought to life using high-tech animation. In fact the actual scroll painting is a masterpiece because of its amazing beautiful details, and it’s extremely long at 5.28m!! The painter was honestly a genius. Below is a replica of the original.

The animated painting is shown with a ‘river’, which looks almost like water, in the foreground and there is added sound effect to make it seems real. Also the animation included alternating day and night scenes which truly brings the painting to life.

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The animated painting takes up the length of a football pitch! There is individual audio guide provided to visitors which has pretty interesting information of life within the city. Like for instance there were 10,000 fortune tellers out of a population of a million then. Superstitions, instead of science and logic, was the order of the day.

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I can say that the exhibition is highly recommended, an amazing sight!

Scotts Square
We checked out the latest mall in Orchard road last Saturday. It has just been refurbished and now becomes a high-end mall with residential apartments above it. Actually I shouldn’t even call it a mall because it’s pretty small. There used to be a foodcourt (the first in Singapore) in the basement. But now, it’s so high end that there is no more of that, and instead replaced with eateries, restaurants, a bank, a supermarket and shops. We decided to check out the boulangerie and patisserie shop from Paris, Maison Kayser, instead of going to Wild Honey (located on the 2nd floor).

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It turned out we made the right choice. The bread is awesome! I had the scrambled eggs and croissant, with bacon and cheese thrown in. The eggs are done in beautiful thick layers; the croissant is fluffy; my husband and father-in-law said the bacon is fabulous. My mother-in-law had the pain au chocolate, which was pretty good, and my husband had a rye roll with walnut which was yummy on it’s own. The breakfast is so much better than what Choupinette offers. My husband thinks Maison Kayser’s quality is comparable to that of Bouchon Bakery at Napa Valley, opened by Thomas Keller. He’s not a bread person, yet he loves the bread at Maison Kayser.

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The bread is baked fresh everyday, and though photography is not allowed, my husband still took a picture of the baker at work.

We enjoyed the food at Maison Kayser so much that we returned the next day for lunch. This time, I had the egg sandwich, my husband asked for the bacon cresson and my father-in-law ordered the tuna sandwich, while my mother-in-law wanted the croissant with egg, bacon and cheese. I thought my egg sandwich was alright, not outstanding, but my husband and his dad really like their sandwiches. We also ordered the chicken salad which is pretty tasty, but I thought the chicken was a little over-done.

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Sights at 112@Katong
On Boxing day, my husband and I went for lunch at the mall. Din Tai Fung restaurant has finally opened and he, as expected, opted to have lunch there. This latest outlet has an expanded menu, with more selections of appetizers, snacks and buns.

Of course there’s the view of dumpling making in action.

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Other than food, you might get to see some interesting fashions, of which the below picture clearly demonstrates money doesn’t buy you class.

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However if you’re 2 or 3 years of age, you can get away with some really weird fashion like a polka dot red pants with a tail, in which case, others will coo “how cute!”

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I want to add on to the post even though I had already published it earlier today. I forgot to include a review of Baci Italian cafe at 112. My husband and I went there for a after-movie snack. I ordered the creamy mushroom soup while my husband had the Baci soup, which is basically chicken and vegetable soup. The mushroom soup was really saltish, and I had it returned and asked for the Baci soup as replacement. My husband told me it was ok, but we agree that it was a little thin, and the vege was mostly thinly-sliced shiitake mushroom. Honestly, my chicken soup beats it hands down. As for drinks, my husband’s illy coffee was pretty good, but you can’t go wrong with Illy anyway. I had a peppermint tea, which turned out to be Twinning teabag, and that costs S$6.50! Seriously?? Our verdict: we’re not returning.

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