Saturday, May 31

Graduation 2008

Singapore Polytechnic held its 46th Graduation Ceremony from 27-29 May 2008 at the Singapore Polytechnic Convention Centre. This video showcases the graduation of the pioneer batch of Diploma in Music & Audio Technology (DMAT) students during Session 6 on 28 May 2008.

Another phase in my life has ended, upon my graduation from Singapore Polytechnic (SP) with a Diploma in Music & Audio Technology (with Merit). Not to boast but just to for the record and to enlighten the curious ones, I received the Media Development Authority (MDA) Course Gold Medal for being the top student in the course (it came along with a cash prize of $400), as well as the DBS Bank Award ($1000).

These past 3 years have been the best of my life so far... my constant involvement in school events makes them all the more memorable... as a tribute to the days gone by, here's a photo recap of the major events of my polytechnic life...

Looking back on my polytechnic life, I'm especially grateful to all my lecturers, DMAT classmates (below) and SP schoolmates for all their help, care, and support they've showered upon me... thank you each and every one of you so much so brightening my day :)

My many memories include the numerous school talentimes in which I used to accompany my friends on the piano... especially frequently with my vocal ensemble Sensually Transmitted Music (below)...

The Artiste & Repertoire Challenge (ARC) 2006, in which my team, Six For Music (6FM), emerged as Champion in the tertiary category (winning the Best Music Business Award as well)...

Superstar: The Pop Musical (2006), SP's first musical, opened my life into the world of musicals - I'll always cherish the wonderful times I spent with the musical cast and crew...

The study tours I went on to Hong Kong (2006) and the United States (2007) gave me new insights on different cultures and fuelled my passion for travelling...

The Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab, a summer internship programme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, USA (2007), saw me as "Audio Lead" in a team working on an experimental game for both the blind and sighted...

I was recently involved as Sound Designer in a stage adaptation of literary master J B Priestley's suicide mystery "An Inspector Calls", held to officially launch Singapore Polytechnic's brand new School of Communication, Arts and Social Sciences (CASS)...

Thought it would be fitting to end this post with some lyrics from the ever-popular graduation song, Graduation (Friends Forever) by Vitamin C: ~As we go on... we remember... all the times we... had together... and as our lives change... come whatever... we will still be... friends forever...~

Wednesday, May 21

May 2008: Gastronomic Gluttony!

It's the 4th anniversary of my blog, and what better way to celebrate than by blogging about one of my favourite pastimes - eating! LOL - I think this is gonna be one of my longest posts ever - yet! :D Here's what I had this past month:

2 May. Met Song Hua, Bastian and friends at Ajitei (Takashimaya) - food was alright; I ordered some katsu chicken dish I forgot the name of. =.= Didn't take any photos as I didn't bring my camera along though. =X

4 May. Dinner at Swensens' (Suntec City) with Zhen Hong and Alan. I had a Sourdough 49ers Chicken ($11.90) and a complimentary scoop of lime sherbet (using a voucher I had gotten from visiting an open house by the School of Music & the Arts [SoMA]). The sourdough chicken buns were rather pathetically small, as you can see below; the small serving of fries didn't help. I mean - the dish was priced at $11.90, and certainly they could have been a bit more generous? =/ Well, at least the refreshing bowl of coleslaw served with juicy bits of pineapple helped to satisfy my appetite. You can do bettter, Swensens'!


Sourdough 49ers Chicken ($11.90)

5 May Had breakfast at McDonald's (Tampines Interchange) with Zhen Hong before heading to the gym. It was the largest breakfast I had for some time - Big Breakfast with milk and a Sausage McMuffin with Egg (thanks to the free add-on coupon)! Lunch later was at Swensens' (Plaza Singapura), because I wanted to use my 1-for-1 ice-cream voucher before it expired. =.= I had a Black Pepper Seafood Pasta ($9.80) and a Double Berry Sundae ($7.90). The pasta was spicy and good, although the pathetic servings of clams and crabstick didn't help very much (then again, what can I expect for $9.80?) The sundae was delightfully berry-ful; ice-cream being the niche product of Swensens'.

9-11 May TICE Eco Camp 2008: Had nasi lemak, beancurd (tau huey), and roti prata - all of which I blogged more about in my TICE Eco Camp post (see previous post).

16 May Had my favourite "Honeydew with Sago" dessert at Ah Chew Desserts @ Liang Seah Street, Bugis. It was a tad too watery for me; the honeydew wasn't really fresh, though the generous helping of sago compensated for its shortcomings.

17 May Steamboat dinner at Bugis with my diploma coursemates. You can view the photos at my Facebook album. For $17.90 nett per head (adult), the price was rather exorbitant, but the quality and optimal variety of food made up for it. There were also these "bonus cooked dishes" that the waitresses occasionally handed around to customers - our group got 3 of these, including a dish of fried man tou buns - small but thoughtful "nuggets" to entice customers to come again next time. It did help that the drinks (orange/grape cordial) were free flow too! For the 2 soup bases, we ordered 老母鸡汤 (herbal chicken soup) and 麻辣汤 "ma la" (a spicy soup) - which had lots of chilli oil and chilli padi in it - only for those able to tolerate its spicyness (see the photo below)! Side dishes we ordered included pig's offal organs, flower crab, prawns, and the customary chicken and pork. Dessert was agar-agar and slices of watermelon, which really helped to quench our thirsts.

The wide variety of food

Spicy "ma la" soup!

With my prized collection of food leftovers =.=

18 May Dinner @ Pete's Place, Grand Hyatt Singapore; courtesy of Singapore Polytechnic Principal Mr Tan Hang Cheong. Mr Tan gratefully treated the cast and (main) crew of the recent school drama production of "An Inspector Calls" (see previous post) to a hearty Italian dinner. What really exuded the Italian charm of Pete's Place was its homely ambience and the occasional 'live' demonstrations of "dough-throwing/flipping-in-the-air" by this amazingly talented chef (I don't know the correct technical term for it - but watch the amazing video below!)

video

These were among the dishes we had (appetisers/main course):

Selezione di insalate (customized salad)
Capricciosa pizza (tomato, mozzarella, pork sausage, mushroom, artichokes, black olive and oregano)

My main course: Linguine alle vongole (Linguine with clams and herbs in white wine sauce) - coincidentally, the Principal had the same dish as me too. :)
Celebrating the birthday of Mr Tan Hang Cheong, Principal of Singapore Polytechnic, with a scrumptious cake sponsored by the hotel
You know you want a bite of the melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake - those "red berries" on top are actually not what they seem - they're filled with molten chocolate!
The sound crew from Singapore Polytechnic (clockwise from top): Edwin (sound designer), Melissa (theme song vocalist) & Lydia (theme songwriter)

20 May Dinner at Shokudo Japanese Food Bazaar @ Raffles City Shopping Centre with some of my DMAT (Diploma in Music & Audio Technology) coursemates. It's been a while since I saw some of them, though we'll all be seeing each other again soon at the upcoming Graduation Ceremony on 28 May! It was my first time at Shokudo, kind of a Marche-style Japanese restaurant, where cards are used to register food/beverage transactions, which are later paid for at cashiers before leaving - makes for a temptation to "swipe" (purchase/eat) more than one can afford though. The penalty for losing the card is SG$100!

The modern Japanese-style lighting/ambience/decor is conducive and refreshing, though the seating is rather cramped - some tables are located barely a chair's distance or so from another, and the walkway gets rather squeezy if human traffic gets high. Still, Shokudo has a super wide range of food to choose from that will leave the discerning gourmand spoilt for choice - teppanyaki, hot pot, meat skewers, udon, donburi, curry rice, fried rice, Japanese "yong tau foo", gyoza (dumplings), desserts, soups, salads - just to mention a few. According to a Sunday Times Life! article (10 February 2008), they have a whopping combined total of about 230 items in all the different stalls! The price, expectedly, is rather steep; the average side dish itself costs at least $3, while the main dishes start from around $6. Long queues predominate certain popular stalls, where you have to wait in line for some time or wait for your food for some time to get cooked - it's mostly prepared fresh. The quality/serving size of the food was above average, I felt (at least for the dishes I tried). Here's what I tried; not much of a dinner, due to the late lunch I had keeping me full... more photos at my Facebook album.

Tokyo-style clam chowder ($3.80) - It tasted very different from its Western counterpart - perhaps less creamy. :) It turned out to be my "main course" for the night.

Bacon and cheese omelette ($5.80) - I had a bit of this, which Jasmine generously shared with me.

Robatayaki (grilled) skewers: beef ($2.50) and scallops ($3.80) - It wasn't excellent for its price. I mean, look at the serving size and tell me if it deserves to be that expensive!

My bill chalked up to be $11.85 (not counting the omelette above), rather pricey for just 3 side dishes. It was a good experience mingling around with my soon-to-be ex-classmates though. :D See you all on Graduation Day!

And here's Shao Chong & Jwee Keat fooling around like they always did since Year 1. =P

26 May Swensens' was having a 1-for-1 Ice Cream Sundae offer from 26-30 May 2008 (courtesy of soshiok.com), so I went with Zhen Hong to the outlet at West Mall - I had a yummy-chocolatey-bananey-strawberry Coit Tower ($7.60). No photos though.

28 May Graduation Day! Wee Siong, Clef, Louis, Yuanjie, Boyuan, Peixia, Meijun and I went over to Ajisen Ramen @ Bugis for dinner after the graduation ceremony that evening. I ordered a set meal - Spicy Octopus Ramen (dry) with cold tofu, fried chicken, and iced lemon tea - $16.30 in all. It was all a tad too spicy for me, and the iced lemon tea was absurdly sweet (though I should be grateful it's not diluted).

31 May Went out for a "farewell dinner" with Song Hua before my army enlistment in 2 weeks - thanks for the treat Song Hua! :D We ate at Sketches Cafe in Bugis Junction, where they had this "Design-Your-Own Pasta" thing going on - and so we did! My pasta dish I created was a mixture of 3 types of pasta (ravioli + fettuccine + spaghetti) along with alfredo (cream and cheese) sauce, topped up with chicken, bacon bits, ham, carrots, pine nuts and, of course, more cheese. Song Hua had his pasta with garlic sauce. Our creations didn't taste too bad after all, contrary to our expectations.

To end May on a fitting note, we went off to catch the highly-anticipated movie "Sex and the City" after that. I ended up really enjoying the movie (peppered with hilarious moments at every corner), as well as its soundtrack - including Fergie's "Labels or Love", Jennifer Hudson's "All Dressed In Love", Duffy's "Mercy", and Mairi Campbell & Dave Francis's solemn rendition of "Auld Lang Syne" - the version that I like best so far - the melody just pierced through my heart (and got stuck in my head too). For those who haven't caught the movie, do catch it before it's too late! ;)

Monday, May 19

TICE Eco Camp 2008 (9-11 May 2008)

Click on the title above to view my Facebook photo album of the camp!

The TICE Eco Camp, initiated by the Tertiary Institutions Council for the Environment (TICE) committee, is held annually. The advisory committee's ultimate goal is to reinforce environmental consciousness and a sense of responsibility amongst tertiary students. The purpose of the camp is to better equip our youth with environmental knowledge so that they will be more responsible leaders of tomorrow. This is the first time Singapore Management University (SMU) played host to this annual event, centered around 3 key values - "Reflect, Relearn & React". Participants were encouraged to elect pro-environmental choices through informative events (e.g. talks, visits to recycling plants) and experiential learning (through games, skits, etc). It is hoped that the camp can be a catalyst for environmental initiatives in tertiary institutes and our community. New-found friendships and camaraderie amongst the mixed tertiary groups and the planned embarkation on more green initiatives by the tertiary students certainly made the 3-day event an exciting, fruitful, and unforgettable one.

I first found out about this camp through a thread in the Youth.sg online forum. I was slightly hesitant over the fact that the camp was only open to "tertiary students", but I thought I might as well just try applying, since I was still by right a tertiary student (officially graduating on 28 May 2008). Moreover, the mention of the free meals and 2 nights' stay at the SMU hostel sounded really attractive. I was thinking that this would also be my last camp before I booked in to the REAL army camp =.=, so why not join the camp and enjoy a bit first, forge new inter-tertiary friendships, and learn more about saving the environment. :)

So there I was on Day 1 (9 May) at 9:00AM registering at the concourse below Li Ka Shing Library, SMU. I met the rest of my Singapore Polytechnic juniors, most of whom were from the Singapore Polytechnic Environmental Club (SPENV) - it was rather hard to introduce myself when they asked me which Year of study I was in - Year 4? (I had already finished formal lessons in January 2008 and will be graduating in end-May 2008) Shortly after, we split into our inter-tertiary teams for some ice-breaking games, including a fast-paced movement game dubbed "Sperm & Egg" and the traditional game of "Eagle Catch Chicks" (老鹰抓小鸡). My team, "Heart", consisted of a mix of university and polytechnic students, led by Jack, our facilitator from SMU majoring in Political Science.

Later, we moved to the Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium, where representatives from different organizations/companies and the Guest-of-Honour, Mr Howard Shaw, Executive Director (Secretariat) from the Singapore Environment Council arrived to witness the Opening Ceremony of the camp. Lim Nanli, the chairman of the camp's executive committee, and Mr Howard Shaw opened the camp with speeches encouraging the students to take up an active role in the "green effort" to conserve the environment. A lunch buffet followed; most of us used reusable cutlery, plates, and cups that we had brought along, in a bid to reduce the "disposable" wastage. We were later allocated to our rooms at the nearby SMU Residences @ Prinsep Street - mine was Block 85, #04-06, Bed B. The hostel was new and welcoming, a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city nearby. Next to it was the spanking new La Salle College of the Arts campus. I just felt rather uneasy that I was sharing my room with a Mainland Chinese student - in terms of privacy and security of my valuables - thankfully, nothing happened (yeah, maybe I was paranoid). Here's where I slept for 2 nights:

After bumping in and settling down in our would-be home for 2 nights, we split into different groups to visit various places of environmental interest: incineration plants, metal/plastic/tyre recycling plants, and the like. I was due to visit the Tuas South Incineration Plant, the latest and largest one built in Singapore. Besides the overwhelming stench of refuse, the visit was really enriching (finding out what happened to my rubbish) - you can view the photos I took, or simply watch the short video below.


Later that evening, I excused myself from the camp a couple of hours to attend a school event - here's where I digress a bit. If you don't already know, the site on which Singapore Polytechnic (SP) is currently located (in the Dover area) used to contain British colonial buildings - army barracks and the like - that were converted for educational purposes after World War II. Moberly, named after Major-General Richard James Moberly, was one of three main buildings on the PMB that were named after Colonel Commandants of the British Royal Signal Corps. For twenty years, Moberly was home to British regulars and local soldiers. Retaining the colonial façade of the old Moberly building, the refurbished Student Hub@Moberly now holds facilities such as music jamming, computer gaming and karaoke rooms, pool and foosball tables, a student lounge, massage chairs and even a museum exhibit of SP's artefacts. In celebration of the official opening of Moberly, the Department of Student & Alumni Affairs (SAA) went all out to re-create the atmosphere of SP as it was 50 years ago. Student Hub@Moberly officially opened on 9 May 2008 with a big bang, officiated by the Guest-of-Honour, HE Paul Madden, the British High Commissioner to Singapore. Invited guests, staff and students were treated to an outdoor party with a '50s-themed buffet spread, entertainment by the student clubs and of course, tours of our grande olde dame, Moberly. British and Malayan soldiers who worked and lived in Moberly returned to what they knew as Princess Mary Barracks. For me, Moberly contains many fond memories of the times I spent there from way back in 2006, with the cast of Superstar: The Pop Musical, during our musical training camp there. We spent many days practising and many nights asleep in the dance studio and the karaoke and music jamming rooms. Singing, dancing, and acting lessons went on despite much of Moberly still undergoing redevelopment then.

After a hearty buffet spread of food and mingling around with student friends (from Superstar: The Pop Musical and elsewhere) and staff/lecturers (Wendy Ng, Jimmy Ye, Erica Wong, Michael Spicer, Anna Neo, Vicky Quek, Hope Lee), it was time to head back to the camp. When I arrived at the SMU campus, the team was already hard at work planning for the skit presentation the next night. A few rumbling tummies later, we headed for dinner/supper (dinper?) at the famous Fong Seng Nasi Lemak shop nearby. I wasn't really hungry but I ordered anyway - and was shocked to find out that I had ordered $5 worth of food! Further enquiry found out that the palm-sized piece of saucy chicken cutlet I had ordered cost me $2.50! Along with the other 2 sides of fishcake and vegetables, I had emerged $5 poorer. The food was nice though. :) After that, the team was "on" (enthusiastic) enough to head to the famous "Rochor Beancurd" outlet nearby for dessert - hot/cold "tau huey" (soya beancurd). Students living in the hostel were so fortunate to be surrounded by these and so many other nice eating outlets - well, they were after all living near the heart of the city! I came back to my room, finding out that my roommate was already fast asleep, so I followed suit. What a day. =D

Day 2. After breakfast, we went for an inspirational talk by guest speaker Ms November Tan Peng Ting. Currently a Geography honours student at the National University of Singapore (NUS), she has previously won the HSBC National Youth Achievement Award (Environment) 2006 for her initiatives and participation in various programmes such as the NUS Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Toddycats, Hopea Sangal Education Program and many others. Ms Tan had also received the NUS Student Achievement Award in 2006. A striking statement she made during the talk was regarding her intention of switching the lights off for a period of time every day for a year, to save electricity and thus Mother Earth - which would be the "equivalent of 365 people doing it in a day". The following activity was dubbed "Green Mission", kind of like an Amazing "Green" Race. We were given clues to various locations (SMU campus, the Esplanade, Fort Canning, Plaza Singapura, etc.) and then had to complete a "green" activity at each station. The station challenge at Plaza Singapura proved easier said than done: "Find and take photos with 2 Carrefour customers using reusable shopping bags." Here's Kelly and I with two - Caucasian - customers. (We couldn't find any local "green" shoppers in time; I guess recycling/reusing is stronger in the culture of Westerners.)

My team didn't win the "Green Mission" challenge, but we enjoyed the experience thoroughly. Later in the evening, we presented our group's skit about how CFCs depleted the ozone layer, which was previously more successful in limiting harmful ultra-violet (UV) rays from entering the Earth. Excessive UV radiation leads to skin cancer for a sunbather, who, upon consulting the doctor, finds out about the effects and consequences of ozone layer depletion. Too bad I don't have any photos or videos of the skit for posterity, but it was damn hilarious all right! =D Supper for tonight was with my Singapore Polytechnic counterparts at a prata shop nearby, and, you guessed it - "Rochor Beancurd" again - you can never have enough of it! We then headed back to the hostel where we discussed (until 3.30AM at least) about our school's "Green Vision" plan, to be presented the next morning!

Supper with my Singapore Polytechnic counterparts

Day 3. The Green Vision is a competition that seeks to find the best green projects amongst our participants and reward them with seed money (sponsored by DuPont Singapore Pte Ltd) to realize their plans. Participants will be grouped according to their institutions to brainstorm and plan their projects. Thereafter, they will present their plans to a panel of judges. My team finalized our proposal in the morning for a "GreenCard" that could possibly be incorporated with the existing NTUC LinkPoints card, to keep track of "green points" that can be accumulated through "green" purchases and transactions. Unexpectedly, a team from NUS and our team from Singapore Polytechnic won the DuPont seed funding of US$1,500 (per team)! Three cheers for Singapore Polytechnic!!!

After that, it was prize presentation (for the winning teams - not Team "Heart" though) and mass photo-taking, before it was time to bid farewell to everyone. =( I really missed Team "Heart", my family for 3 days - it really helped that we were all tertiary students and so could relate easily to one another. In the words of my fellow team-mate from Temasek Polytechnic, Lloyd, "We met as strangers, but left as friends." But it's not the end yet! Team "Heart" is so enthusiastic that we still kept in touch after the camp, even meeting together to play board games at Settlers' Cafe (Central) a week later!

Up next is a barbeque gathering at East Coast Park (planned for 8 June, 5 days before I enlist into the army). What can I say, besides what we always say... I "heart" you people!!!!! =)

Loving Team "Heart", niwdehot

Tuesday, May 13

"An Inspector Calls"

A school play in which I was involved in as Sound Designer...

Here's a brief write-up about it: Singapore Polytechnic officially launched its brand new School of Communication, Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) with 2 evenings of drama and charity on 22 & 23 April 2008 at the Jubilee Hall (Raffles Hotel). CASS is the first in Asia to offer applied drama as a course of study. It introduced the full-time Applied Drama and Psychology (DADP) diploma course this year. The school also offers the Media and Communication (DMC) full-time diploma course. To celebrate the launch of the new school, a group of Drama Appreciation students took to the stage with literary master J B Priestley's suicide mystery "An Inspector Calls". The story revolves around the Rai family and the unfolding revelations following a police inspector's incessant interrogation into a suicide case. Almost 400 guests turned up at Jubilee Hall to take in the students' first public appearance, including President S R Nathan as the Guest-of-Honour. It was said that local celebrities Dick Lee and Kit Chan were present at the event too, though I didn't see them myself.

Time for my reflections... overall, I've really enjoyed working on the sound design and theme song (along with my classmate Lydia Ang) for the play. Over the past two months, having the company of the "An Inspector Calls" (AIC) cast and crew along with my wonderful lecturers (Director) Simone Khoo and (Producer) Wendy Ng made progress on the sound design a lighter burden to carry. Though the sound design at many points was tedious, with many single sound cues being rejected numerous times, the friendship and patience of those mentioned above encouraged and spurred me on to achieve the most suitable and creative sounds I could come up with. A major problem was the coordinated synchronization of the sound cues with the live action - either the sound cues had to follow the timing of the actors or vice versa. A compromise was eventually reached as I took note of the timings of more-or-less constant, stable scenes (with regards to timing) and the actors followed the sound cues of the rest. The zesty humour of the cast in particular added spice to my otherwise dreary days spent mostly working on the sound design. Being the very first time I did sound design for theatre, I am very grateful to Simone and Wendy for their confidence in allowing me to handle the sound design (instead of hiring a professional one). The show itself was a definite success, with almost a full house on both nights and standing ovations. The Principal of Singapore Polytechnic kindly went around thanking the cast and crew personally for their hard work, and conveyed to me the President's comment that the sound cues were brilliantly spot-on and really enhanced the play. In a follow-up letter to the Principal, the President even compared the show to a "West End hit"! Indeed, fond memories of the times I spent on this play will stay - much of its dialogue is still stuck in my head until now (having been present at their rehearsals countless times)!

AIC photo album on Facebook | AIC Behind the Scenes video | AIC Speed Run (Part 1) video | AIC Speed Run (Part 2) video

April 2008 update - 1 month to NS!

I know it's quite late already for an April 2008 update, but there's just been so much going on in my life - which equates to an enormous amount of blogging to be done (if I were to blog about every single thing, which I fortunately don't). I have exactly 1 month of freedom left from today, before I enter National Service (Physical Training Phase). Sadded. Well, here's briefly what I got involved in, in April...

4 Apr. Singapore Polytechnic Theatre Compass chalet at Aloha Changi Biggin Hill Bungalow A - a secluded respite from the hustle and bustle of urban city life! My diploma course junior Melissa and I were invited to the barbeque by our lovely lecturer Wendy Ng, who wanted to thank us for our involvement in the various past projects of Theatre Compass. May I highlight the wonderful honey-BBQed chicken wings that night! Absolutely sedap (delicious)! Later that night, Theo (our vocal coach Michelle's husband) brought 12 of us daring kids for a tour of the nearby (haunted?) Old Changi Hospital. It didn't help very much that our group consisted of 13 members and the date was 4/4/08. =.= Some of the odd things that happened over there: 1. Theo detected some "cold spots" in certain rooms of the old hospital and decided not to bring us into them - it was really spooky as his video camera's battery level lowered significantly every time he brought it past the "cold spots". / 2. We were trudging along a walkway on one of the higher levels of the building when we all heard the eerie sound of a distant choir of kids singing - it sounded as if it was from one of the lower levels - goosebumps! / 3. Theo himself claims he has a "third eye" and can see spirits, he himself having died in a motor accident and then minutes later brought to life again. He mentioned seeing a woman in a white gown at the end of one corridor (many people died at the hospital during World War II). / 4. Things got really spooky when not just one, but two members of our group did a role-count halfway through the tour - both admitted having counted 16 people instead - double coincidence or three more guests to our entourage? / We eventually met another group of student "ghost-hunters" but decided to continue with our own course of exploration. Later in the wee hours of the morning, on the way down the hill to the main road outside, we met several cars of (apparently) police officials going up the hill - perhaps doing a routine check of the area for illegal immigrants/activities, or maybe having some clandestine meeting? Whatever it was, they stopped and asked us what we were doing, and smirked at our view that the place was haunted. As for me, I do believe in ghosts and spirits, and the notion that they are just as afraid of us as we are of them. That's why I chose not to be afraid but instead showed respect for the place and whoever inhabited it - nothing significant happened to me, besides an increased heartbeat and the goosebumps. Tired out as we reached home (chalet), I caught a few hours of nap before heading home to prepare for the next day's hectic event...

5 Apr. Gig: Launch of the ARK (Acts of Random Kindness) Card @ Junction 8, organized by Temasek Junior College as part of the Singapore Kindness Week. Cards were handed out to members of the public in a bid to promote a spirit of awareness to the less fortunate around us. I accompanied several of my polytechnic musical friends (Esther, Melissa, Wee Kiat, and Syed) on the keyboard; we performed "Close To You", "If You Can See Through My Eyes" (an inspiring number from our polytechnic's 'Superstar: The Pop Musical' that we were all involved in), and "I Will Survive". You can listen to a 'live' rehearsal recording of the songs here. The guest star for the event was Paul Twohill (finally got to see him 'live', though I did catch him briefly at another event at the National Museum - not that I'm a fan of him).

11 Apr. I attended a Navy Careers talk at the SAF Careers Centre @ Depot Road - for a free Eng Wah movie voucher and a delightful, exaggerated (may I add government-sponsored) buffet spread. After the event, I had already boarded a bus back to Redhill MRT Station and was thinking why the bus's EZ-Link reader did not beep when I got on the bus (not that the bus driver noticed, as the bus was crowded). That's when I realised that my EZ-Link card was MISSING! I immediately got off the bus at the next stop and trudged back thinking whether the staff at the visitor registration counter had passed me my EZ-Link card when I returned the visitor pass and locker key (for my camera handphone). He apparently HAD NOT, even denying my claims at first that I did indeed return everything I was supposed to at the counter minutes before. It was only after verifying my identity and searching through their collections that they found my EZ-Link card, left behind in their drawer. Good service indeed. *smirks* They didn't even bother to apologise after returning me my card, as if it was my fault.

12 Apr. In the afternoon, I went for Channel U's SuperBand auditions @ Toa Payoh HDB Hub with a band I had just met recently over the local SOFT.SG music forum. The live crowd of hundreds of people and fans made the atmosphere lively even though it was raining. I even happened to meet Yuan Jie, Ryu, and Arif, my diploma coursemates who were helping out in the event as sound crew/stagehands. It was finally our band's turn to perform, in front of the cameras and the crowd, though we didn't pull our audition song (够爱 by 东城卫 & a Chord) off as good as we had hoped. The judges commented that our delivery/arrangement of the song could have been more creative, and that the lead vocalist had to watch out for his high notes. We didn't get through, but it was a good experience :) Here's a group photo of our band, 疯林岳:

Later that night, I met up with Song Hua at Changi Airport's Terminal 1 to welcome Bastian and the rest of my course juniors (Cheryl, Ginny, and Joanne) back from their overseas internship in China - coincidentally, they had taken a transfer flight back through Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific flight CX711 - the very same flight I had took during a school study tour to Hong Kong in 2006. It was good to see them back again after 9 weeks. Song Hua and I then caught "The Bucket List" at Golden Village (Tampines Mall), a movie about 2 cancer-stricken patients coming up with a list of things they wanted to do before they "kicked the bucket". The touching movie (and film score) reminded me of how precious time was, encouraging me to spur on even in the face of difficulty. Which reminds me of my favourite quote: "Measure life not by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away." - a maxim which I follow in my daily life, treasuring every fleeting moment of it.

15 Apr. Had an interview at Mastereign Academy for a freelance music teacher job. It went better than I expected, as they were impressed by my CV and performance experience, the only thing holding me back being my 2-year National Service commitment. Still, they've got me registered on their freelance teacher list, and I hope I can have a chance of working with them soon - perhaps in 2 years' time.

18 Apr. Met my diploma coursemates Peixia, Meijun, Clef, Yuan Jie, Boyuan, and Louis to collect our graduation gowns for the upcoming Graduation Ceremony. The appointed supplier, Serangoon Broadway, was thankfully a short walk from the nearby Potong Pasir MRT Station. The rental fee for the gown was $76.75 (including a $50 deposit), tearing holes in our pockets. The staff there even relentlessly tried to persuade us to purchase "graduation portrait packages" at 20% off the usual price - still beyond what most of us could afford, they ranged from $110 for an individual 8R shot to a whopping $2080 for a family 60R shot. Whoopi(Goldberg)! Of course, none of us got "conned" to take such a pricey shot just for a (measly?) diploma. We then went for dinner at Ajisen Ramen (Plaza Singapura), where I ordered a set of Crayfish Ramen with Baby Octopus and Iced Lemon Tea (total of $16.30). More holes in my pocket (I'm waiting for the return of my $50 deposit when I return the gown after the graduation ceremony).

19 Apr. Had lunch at Breeks (Marina Square) with some Theatre Compass friends (Kamesh, Nuraini, Sabrina, Feroz, Hamidi) and Wee Kiat. I ordered a Seafood Aglio Olio, a Brownie with Warm Cheese Sauce, and Lemon Tea. We all also shared a Mixed Safari Platter (with buffalo wings, waffle fries, etc). Total price for me: $15.

22-23 Apr. "An Inspector Calls" - a school play in which I was involved in as sound designer. Look out for my next post about it!

25 Apr. Lollipop! Party @ Ministry of Sound (MOS), a back-to-school party organized by Singapore Polytechnic's OOPS! Magazine. The cast and crew of "An Inspector Calls" (AIC) were on the priority queue, so we didn't need to queue at all to enter the venue, unlike the hundreds of eager student clubbers outside waiting for their free entry (with their Singapore Polytechnic admission card) into the venue. Many of them did not manage to enter as the club was already full! Lucky for us AIC people, we not only got in quickly but also had a VIP buffet area, along with a free drink coupon, catered exclusively for us (and the other VIP guests, including our avid supporter, the Principal of Singapore Polytechnic, Mr Tan Hang Cheong). Sad that the party lasted only till 9pm, as the MOS staff had to clear the place to re-open to the public at 10pm. Spot me in the photo below!

29 Apr. Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day! The worldwide event saw snaking long queues for a free cone of ice-cream. I went to White Sands Shopping Centre @ Pasir Ris, hoping for a free cone too, but decided against it, as the queues there numbered hundreds of people - mostly school children who had finished their lessons! The lengths of time people sacrifice for a free ice-cream cone - I guess I'd rather buy it (at its exorbitant price) myself. It currently costs about $12+ for a pint of it here; I got it at US$4 over in Boston! I could have gotten 2 pints there for the price of 1 pint here. Thankfully, I had already savoured quite a few pints of it over in Boston last year during my 9-week internship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (see one of my previous posts for more information). =)