Class gathering @ Nook

Recently I met up with some of my closest secondary school classmates (those that bothered to keep in contact) to have lunch at Nook, a D.I.Y. pancake place I had always wanted to go but the plan was always pushed back due to my laziness. No idea why I suddenly had this craving for pancakes when I always found them too plain for my liking. Probably it was because of the overwhelming photos of colourful home made pancakes that kept appearing on my Instagram feed -_-

Anyway I always had this impression that Nook was located at some secluded area of Bukit Timah (around the area where Choupinette is) which is only convenient if I drive. But no, Nook is just at Jalan Jurong Kechil and that is pretty near to where I live! I always head there for supper and my dogs get their check-ups at a vet there too. Hence I don’t understand how I could miss this place.

I made a reservation for 25th May for about 12 of us. Its spacious interior was also another reason why I chose Nook as our gathering place because it’d mean that we didn’t have to be separated. We sat around a table that has been elongated by adding another one and had 2 square pancake pans to ourselves. For the price of about $28 (without GST and service charge yet), we could choose two flavours for our batter together with 3 toppings of our choice. It was indicated on the menu that “each set serves 2” but Zhiyong having been there once before advised that it was enough to feed 3-4. So we got 3 sets instead which makes 6 batters and 9 toppings. Of course, we shared the 6 batters among 2 tables. My table got the strawberry, chocolate and original flavoured one while the other chose pandan, banana and another strawberry, I think. Toppings were basically oreo chunks, kit kat, banana slices, rainbow sprinkles, peach slices, chocolate chips, camarelised apples, chocolate sauce and raisins. They gave maple syrup but the amount was really, really, little. Had to “scrimp and save” on it to make it last as long as possible.

Pictures here were snapped using various phones, lol. Sorry no quality cameras used as our purpose there was to eat and have a great time together, not critique on the pancakes 😀

Nook signboard

Nook signboard

Yu Qi and Gerald and a bit of Xiaoqing doing her thing on the pan

Yuqi and Gerald and a bit of Xiaoqing doing her thing on the pan.

Xiao Qing and I

Xiaoqing and I. I look sleepy. Or maybe it’s just my tiny eyes haha.

1/2 of the group - Clockwise from bottom left: Xiaoqing, Yuchan, Adelene, Junhua, Mengkian, Zhiyong, Siawshi and Yushan.

1/2 of the group – Clockwise from bottom left: Xiaoqing, Yuchan, Adelene, Junhua, Mengkian, Zhiyong, Siawshi and Yuqi. Sorry for the terrible lightning! This was the best out of like 3?

The other 1/2 of the group. Clockwise from bottom left again: Yuqi, Gerald, Aloysius, me, Xiaoqing and Yuchan. Ok la not really 1/2 since there are repeats :P

The other 1/2 of the group. Clockwise from bottom left again: Yuqi, Gerald, Aloysius, me, Xiaoqing and Yuchan. Ok la not really 1/2 since there are repeats 😛

The toppings - rainbow sprinkles. banana slices, raisins and peach slices (which looked rotten so we didn't touch it at all)

The toppings – rainbow sprinkles. banana slices, raisins and peach slices (which looked weird so we didn’t touch it at all)

The other table's creation

The other table’s creation

Our creation by Xiaoqing

Our creation by Xiaoqing. Pretty obvious what these are?

Our creation by me. We had a mini inter-table pancake competition so this was our "entry" hahaha. Eyyyyy sexy ladaye

Our creation by me. We had a mini inter-table pancake competition so this was our “entry” hahaha

The other table's. Seeing how sexy our pancake was they decided to do a companion lololol funny people

The other table’s. Seeing how sexy our pancake was they decided to do a companion lololol funny people

Proper shot of our beach people - yay!! Erm by the way that's "5A1", our class, not "SAI" ok?

Proper shot of our beach people – yay teamwork!! Erm by the way that’s “5A1”, our class, not “SAI” ok?

"Class" photo! Nook has this perfect spot for photo-taking or camwhore. They even have photobooth props for us to hold haha. Great!!

“Class” photo! Nook has this perfect spot for photo-taking or camwhoring. They even have photobooth props for us to hold haha. Great!!

As you can see we aren’t good pancake designers lol.

It was a really fun experience creating our own designs but all of us left Nook feeling partially hungry and also sick of pancakes haha. We had some more batter left but we didn’t want to waste it, so some of the boys played scissors, paper, stone and the loser had to eat all the remaining pancakes – a forfeit that has been practised since our secondary school days to prevent wastage. Sometimes I just love that we still have that little tinge of immaturity in us. It makes our outings/gatherings even more enjoyable 🙂

Nook, in my opinion, is an ideal place to catch up with your friends. We spent close to 2 hours there (that’s how long how batters lasted). But I wouldn’t go back again as it’s pretty costly without the pancake buffet and you get tired of pancakes after awhile.

Til we meet again fellas!!

Nook
21 Lorong Kilat
#01-03
S’pore 598123
For reservations, call 6466 1811
http://nook.sg/

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Tim Ho Wan @ Plaza Singapura

Note: This is not a food review because I’m not a food connoisseur so I’d prefer to call this my “food encounter” instead. In fact anything tastes nice to me as long as I’m hungry.

Two weeks ago, Bf and I were at Plaza Singapura contemplating whether to join the extremely long queue (2 lines) to get into Tim Ho Wan. I resisted as first as it would take us more than an hour to enter judging from the length of the queue. But I gave in eventually because I also wanted to try their dimsums! The queue had shortened substantially as compared to the first few days of opening (more than 3 lines from my understanding) but the wait was still more than an hour. They had also placed more chairs outside of the restaurant which I thought was a pretty thoughtful move 🙂

While trying to kill time, a waiter came out and served each and everyone of us bottled water! Wow I was totally impressed with their customer service – even before we bought anything from them and I really appreciate that thoughtful gesture. It was definitely not necessary for them to do so since they’re already so popular that people are willing to wait 2-3 hours just to dine there. So before I even tasted their food, I was all set to go back again!

Tim Ho Wan cares for their customers!

Tim Ho Wan cares for their customers!

We were given an order chit before we got a table and we ordered food portions that were enough to feed 3. Hahaha oh by the way it was my first time there as you can see, but it was my Bf’s second. He recommended me the nice ones (aiya everything is nice there seriously) he had previously and me wanting to try other stuff, added more to our orders! In the end our bill totalled up to close to $70 (solely dimsums. Madness right? BUT OUR TUMMIES SO HAPPY)

Siew Mai - juicy and the prawns were really crunchy and fresh!

Siew Mai – juicy and the prawns were really crunchy and fresh!

Close up of the siew mai

Close up of the siew mai. Hope it doesn’t appear disgusting to you since it’s bitten hahahaha.

Rice with chicken, sausage and mushroom - this was dope man. DOPE. I didn't expect it to be so delicious. Definitely a must-have next time when I go there! Chicken is tender and it just makes you crave for more!!

Rice with chicken, sausage and mushroom – this was dope man. DOPE. I didn’t expect it to be so delicious. Definitely a must-have next time when I go there! Chicken is tender and it just makes you crave for more!!

Steamed egg cake - something like the Malay colourful kueh, you know? Really soft and great for kids but I kinda regretted ordering this even though it was nice.. because it somehow filled up my stomach unnecessarily -_- Yup I could've eaten more.

Steamed egg cake – something like the colourful Malay kueh, you know? Really soft and great for kids but I kinda regretted ordering this even though it was nice.. because it somehow filled up my stomach unnecessarily -_- Yup I could’ve eaten more.

Har gao (prawn dumpling) - nice but there's nothing really special or different about this. Just another har gao in my opinion. Of course there were people who really loved it!

Har gao (prawn dumpling) – nice but there’s nothing really special or different about this. Just another har gao in my opinion. Of course there were people who really loved it!

A close up because I want you to be really hungry now.

A close up because I want you to be really hungry now.

Spring roll with egg white -  I REALLY LOVED THIS!! The skin was thin yet so crispy and the inside was just.. woah!!! You need to try it in order to understand how I felt!

Spring roll with egg white – I REALLY LOVED THIS!! The skin was thin yet so crispy and the inside was just.. woah!!! You need to try it in order to understand how I felt!

Another close up because it deserves it!! LOOK AT THE GLIMMERY SKIN.

Another close up because it deserves it!! LOOK AT THE GLIMMERY SKIN.

Vermicelli Roll with Shrimp a.k.a. Chee Cheong Fun! Another so-so dish, nothing fantastic! For cheaper and better chee cheong fun, you guys can try the "Teng Yu" at Far East Plaza, located on the basement! It's a small store and they serve good chee cheong fun in many flavours.

Vermicelli Roll with Shrimp a.k.a. Chee Cheong Fun! They served us the chee cheong fun first and then poured the gravy over it. Another so-so dish, nothing fantastic! For cheaper and better chee cheong fun, you guys can try “Teng Yu” at Far East Plaza, located at the basement! It’s a small store and they serve good chee cheong fun in many flavours.

Baked bun with pork - OMG WORDS CAN'T DESCRIBE HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS. The exterior is soft and slightly crunchy at the same time and the pork is just fresh and flavourful! It must be a really popular dish that Tim Ho Wan had to restrict each patron to only 1 plate of it (1 plate has 3 buns).

Baked bun with pork – OMG WORDS CAN’T DESCRIBE HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS. The exterior is soft and slightly crunchy at the same time and the pork is just fresh and flavourful! It must be a really popular dish that Tim Ho Wan had to restrict each patron to only 1 plate of it (1 plate has 3 buns).

Baked bun with pork - close up of the pork

Close up of the pork! Look, I don’t need to describe how delectable it is. You can see it for yourself!

Last but not least, a dessert! Ordered this yam dessert with sago and it was not too bad! But because we were already very full from all the food before it, we kind of forced this down our throat..

Last but not least, a dessert! Ordered this yam dessert with sago and it was not too bad! But because we were already very full from all the food before it, we kind of forced this down our throat..

Food makes me happy! Me with my favourite from the menu :D

Food makes me happy! Me & my favourite from the menu 😀

The food came really fast and empty plates were cleared swiftly as well (a cue to patrons who were done with their meals to leave because there were people waiting to get in). Our poor stomachs couldn’t accommodate all the food we ordered so we took away 2 baked buns. We figured that we were too full to consume them that night so we gave them to my parents, who fell in love with Tim Ho Wan instantly and even asked why I only took 2 home -_-

Okay this is just a short entry to make you salivate and hungry at this unearthly hour hahahaha.

Chengdu, Home of Giant Pandas

Whoops this is an extremely overdue post and I hope my memory will serve me well because I do not have my itinerary with me. I’ll just probably feature those that are mention-worthy 🙂

My year-end vacation destination last year was Chengdu and I went with Alph and his family. It was an 8-day trip with Jun-Air travel agency (spent my Christmas and New Year’s there) and the destination was chosen by Alph’s father because he’s a fan of scenic views and China has plenty of them. It was my second time to China but my first time experiencing extreme cold weather at negative temperatures (the coldness I described in my Beijing post is nothing as compared to this) and *drums roll* snow! Other than Chengdu, we also went to nearby cities like Sichuan because it was where the main highlight – Hailuogou – of the trip is.

At Chengdu airport

At Chengdu airport

We departed Singapore after midnight on Christmas Day and if I remember correctly, the Air China flight took about four hours? Once we touched down in the freezing cold Chengdu, we had our breakfast in a random hotel and then set off to our first item on our itinerary instead of going to the hotel straight to unpack our stuff. Thus our time in the plane was our only sleeping time but as you know, the seats in the economy class are cramp and never comfortable so I could barely sleep. Imagine how tired I was on day 1 and I had to brave the cold until I finally got into my hotel room at night.

Day 1

The first place on the itinerary we visited after touching down was the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Because we came directly from the airport/our breakfast, we didn’t have time to change into thicker winter wears (didn’t want to cover myself in thick clothings in Singapore!! It was SO WARM), so navigating around the panda base in the cold was a torture!! I had to use my hair as a scarf and ear muffs because the cold caused me slight breathing difficulties. But it was definitely fun to breathe out cold air 😛

Anyway, I have never been to our River Safari but I guarantee you that after going to the one in Chengdu, you’d never want to go to the one here unless you don’t mind spending so much money just to catch a glimpse of only 2 pandas. Over in Chengdu, there were so many pandas – infant ones, adult ones and also the red pandas (another kind of panda breed which are more ferocious to humans). We couldn’t touch or play with the pandas (taking pictures alone with the pandas could cost more than SGD200) but we could see them very clearly from outside of their enclosure. I spent a lot of time standing at an infant one because it was so adorable, acting like human baby and constantly asking its caretaker to carry it. Seeing how fluffy and clumsy it was was already enough to make me coo. 😀

我芁抱抱! Baby panda wanting a hug ^^ Sucha cutie.

我芁抱抱! Baby panda wanting a hug ^^ Sucha cutie.

Awww

Awww

Oops I'm caught on camera!

Oops I’m caught on camera!

Round and fluffy backside hahaha just wanna smack it.

Round and fluffy backside hahaha just wanna smack it.

Why are you always taking pictures of me? I'm a shy panda!

Why are you always taking pictures of me? I’m a shy panda!

It's play time!!

Quick quick run away!!

Am I safe yet?

Am I safe yet?

Then there were the adult ones, which technically did nothing but laze around with their furry tummies facing up while munching on bamboos. Thanks to Bf’s awesomeballz DSLR camera, we managed to capture a few clear shots of the pandas eating. They look so contented with their bamboos and even closed their eyes while savouring them. 😀 I read on their brochure that they have adoption services for giant pandas… but seeing how sacred they are to the Chinese, I doubt such service even exists. Perhaps “adoption” just refers to caring for and feeding the pandas using monetary means (while they still continue to stay at the base).

Don't you just want to tickle its belly ^^

Don’t you just want to tickle its belly ^^

Finally sit up straight! Lazy panda.

Finally sit up straight! Lazy panda.

I haz bamboo? :D

I haz bamboo? 😀

Munching on my bamboo #likeaboss. Omnomnomnom

Munching on my bamboo #likeaboss. Omnomnomnom

My favourite picture of the panda eating! It's now my desktop wallpaper hahaha.

Close up! My favourite picture of the panda eating! It’s now my desktop wallpaper hahaha.

Of course every tourist attraction will have a souvenir shop but the items were not pricey at all (duh because it’s China) and I lugged a lot of panda plushies back for my friends. I believe you’re able to find big panda plushies there which are less than half the price of the ones found here. Good idea for blogshops? Hahaha.

Before we left we went to see the red pandas which hid immediately when we were approaching their enclosure. We were told not to go near them too because they are unfriendly and fierce creatures, though they can be shy to humans at times. But I’d rather spend more time looking at the black and white pandas than to watch them hide in their shelters any time. 😛

Hmph don't mess with me. I'm ferocious and I even look like it. Check out my furrowed brows.

Hmph don’t mess with me. I’m ferocious and I even look like it. Check out my furrowed brows. I’m tough.

I may be on cloud nine but I still look angry. ANGRY

I may be on cloud nine but I still look angry. ANGRY. So that you won’t approach me because I’m actually camera-shy.

Wait this isn't working! Must hide quick.

Wait this isn’t working! He’s still snapping away!! Must hide in the shelter quick.

Dammit all shelters are occupied

Dammit all shelters are occupied

Stop it already.

Stop it already.

It was one of the highlights of the trip other than playing with real snow and it kind of raised my expectation for the trip from the very first day. Unfortunately it didn’t meet my expectations in the end and I will elaborate more on that later.

Alph and I at the jewellery shop.

Bf and I at the jewellery shop.

We visited a jewellery manufacturing company after that (typical in travel tours) , had our early dinner and went back to our hotel early to unpack and rest. I can’t remember the name of the hotel but it’s smacked right in the middle of a shopping district and it did not have a building on its own. It looked really small and you wouldn’t be able to tell that it’s a hotel without noticing the banner until you set foot in its lobby. Its lobby is extremely narrow and all of us had to literally queue to get into the extremely slow lifts (or sometimes only 1 because the other lift was always NOT working. So frustrating la). And whenever we returned to our rooms at night, we would ALWAYS find name cards for social escorts (or prostitutes) on the floor, slid under the door by some young boys exploited to do this dirty job. This was not allowed because I had personally seen them getting pulled out from the lift by hotel personnels, but they managed to sneak up so many times. Shows a lot about the hotel’s security huh? Also, I had quite a number of bruises from falling on my knees in Chengdu, and one of them happened at this hotel. I couldn’t see the ledge between the lobby and the road and I just tripped over it :\

Nearby the hotel were many shopping malls and eateries but we never got the chance to go any of them because they were closed by the time we returned (boring). BreadTalk was just behind the hotel but we only discovered it on our final day there -_- It could’ve saved our hungry stomachs because the hotel food wasn’t nice and sufficient for us.

Day 2

SNOWWWWW

SNOWWWWW

I’d say that this is the most fun day of the trip even though it’s not really the main highlight, because I finally got to touch and play with snow! We went to Chengdu XiLing Snow Mountain (yes it’s up on the mountains! The snow never happened on the ground level.. Cheat my feelings), took a bus to a very very snowy place. Bf and I spent more than 2 hours playing with snow and building our failed snowman.

Entry tickets to the mountains!

Entry tickets to the mountains!

When we went in it was exactly like this! Super misty and we could barely see what was in front! Just had to keep walking.

When we went in it was exactly like this! Super misty and we could barely see what was in front! Just had to keep walking.

Yay I touched snow!! I also tried holding some with my bare hands :D

Yay I touched snow!! I also tried holding some with my bare hands 😀

Yay iz me!!

Yay iz me agan!!

Our erm, snowman. #guaguagua. As you can see there's a (small) head and a very huge body. We finally understood why some kids make such a big fuss when somebody destroys their snowman. BECAUSE IT'S FRIGGIN DIFFICULT TO MAKE ONE. I think need a lot of hours lor.

Our erm, snowman. #guaguagua. As you can see there’s a (small) head and a very huge body. We finally understood why some kids make such a big fuss when somebody destroys their snowman. BECAUSE IT’S FRIGGIN DIFFICULT TO MAKE ONE. I think need a lot of hours lor.

We still purposely bought a shovel there just for this purpose and then we didn’t know what to do with it after we left.

Failed snowman so we decided to camwhore in the snow instead.

Failed to make a snowman so we decided to camwhore in the snow instead.

Found a perfect snowman done by others and decided to pose with it! Without this caption no one would know that it wasn't done by me hiakhiakhiak

Found a perfect snowman done by others and decided to pose with it! Without this caption no one would know that it wasn’t done by me hiakhiakhiak

I wanted to do snow angel since a long long time ago after watching one character doing it in Powerpuff Girls cartoon. SO HAPPY I MANAGED TO DO IT THERE!! There’s a video of me “flying on the ground” in action but of course I’m not going to show it here.. Hahaha.

My first snow angel! See my

My first snow angel! See my “wings”? Hahaa

Then we also went to another part of the place to ride on a sleigh down a snowy slope!! DAMNNNN FUNNNNN and I was seated at the most front (there were about 10 seats in total I think?) because no one else dared!! ALL THE HUMJI KIAS ESPECIALLY MY BOYFRIEND!! Also, we tried Go Kart (but in motorbikes) in the snow!! Sadly no skiing because we didn’t know where the booth was?? And I heard it wasn’t free so..

I really really enjoyed my time there!! There only. The rest (other than the pandas) were meh. Bf and I kept throwing and stuffing snow into each other’s top -_-

I had fun!! This is a must-go if you ever go to Chengdu :)

I had fun!! This is a must-go if you ever go to Chengdu 🙂

We had dinner at another random hotel and so coincidentally the tour agency we went with had a special occasion so we, having nothing to do there, celebrated with them. They bought many many sky lanterns and fireworks for us, I think even more than NDP. What we couldn’t do in Taiwan (lighting sky lanterns) were accomplished there! Hahaha. And it was also our first time setting fireworks on our own!

Wheeee free sky lanterns. There were MANY of them! Like free flow!

Wheeee free sky lanterns. There were MANY of them! Like free flow!

Happy boy finally did what he always wanted to do since planning our Taiwan itinerary.

Happy boy finally did what he always wanted to do since planning our Taiwan itinerary. Couldn’t do it there because of bad planning HAHA my fault.

And I had one too!

And I had one too!

Day 3

The onset of boredom started then. We woke up super darn early because the driver feared that we’d be stuck in traffic jam if it was later but we ended up shopping at a ghostly town because the roads were too misty. -_- Ghostly because it was barely 8am and many of the shops were still closed. But we still managed to shop a bit (very important to me. No shopping no fun!!) at some Tibetan-looking shop. Got a number of hauls from there.. mostly were stuff which we knew we wouldn’t use like kids’ xylophone – you know the very colourful one? Was just reliving my childhood memories. We also had tangyuan (glutinous rice balls) at a rather old-fashioned run down store. It made my cold tummy warm 🙂

Me in the ghostly town.

Me in the ghostly town.

Me again beside a plant in the ghostly town.

Me again beside a plant in the ghostly town.

The Tibetan souvenir shop I was talking about! They have many masquerade stuff which I wanted to buy but upon second thought I knew I would chuck it aside as I don’t really need it. And.. I just saw the “No Photography” sign oops.

After having lunch we finally headed to Sichuan (Moxi Town to be exact, a rather rural part of it). It was a very very long ride, I think about 6 hours?? Had plenty of sleep on the bus and even had so much time to train my Pokemons and had their levels increased by 10… (okay off-topic)

We accommodated at, according to our tour guide, one of the better hotels there (can’t remember the name but there aren’t many hotels in that old town. After a simple Googling I am pretty sure the hotel’s initials are BC). I can’t verify his claims but when I stepped into the hotel, there was a very strong “old” smell, like rotting wood. It was still bearable but it just didn’t make me feel comfortable at all. It didn’t look run down though. We had our dinner there and guess what? We were the only ones (the tour group) in the restaurant! It felt really eerie and the food also tasted terrible and that was our dinner for 2 consecutive days. Luckily Bf’s parents bought some cup noodles during the day so we didn’t had to go to bed with an empty stomach. But I took comfort in knowing that there was free Wi-Fi which was very important for me because my results were about to be released then!

One of the programmes on the itinerary at Moxi Town was some Tibetan dancing-cum-singing performance at night. Dragged our feet there because the place itself already made us very sian. All shops were closed and there was nothing to do at all. The venue was pretty near to the hotel so all of us walked there together as a group, led by the tour guide and his assistants. Then we arrived at what seemed like an abandoned temple with some of the performers ushering us to our seats (there were also other tour groups around) while shouting “Zhaxidele”. Apparently it’s means happiness and good luck in Tibetan language. We went in,  sat down, waited patiently for the show to begin and then the most unexpected thing happened: BLACKOUT. The place turn pitch black and it really looked creepy like some horror movie setting!! The performers tried to divert our attention and fill the awkward silence with random Tibetan songs. We waited for another half an hour for the power to resume but nothing happened, so we headed back to our hotel. The entire Moxi Town was in complete darkness then. We had to use the light from our mobile phones to find our way back to the hotel, which was fortunately not affected by the blackout.

So later in the night, we ate our cup noodles, watch some TV shows and I went to take a shower. Then as I was about to apply body shampoo, the lights went off!! IT WAS THE HOTEL’S TURN TO GET A BLACKOUT WTF. I had to stop bathing (thank goodness I hadn’t started washing my hair yet!) and I felt so disgusting and filthy because technically I hadn’t started bathing -_-! Oh I forgot to mention that when we checked into the room, we found a torchlight on the dressing table! NOW WE KNOW WHY!! Blackouts are not uncommon in that old town…. But what to do? We couldn’t do anything but to force ourselves to sleep. What a terrible, terrible night!

On the following day, the power came back but there wasn’t any TV reception and the Wi-Fi was not even working!! Then blackout happened again in the late afternoon. So irritating. I hated that place. A lot. Not trying to sound spoilt but we paid to relax ourselves, not to fret over silly issues like this!! If I have volunteered to help out in some third-world countries, I wouldn’t even mind about the blackout but OI, WE PAID MONEY FOR THIS LEH!!! NOT CHEAP SOME MORE.

Day 4

Woke up feeling extremely grumpy because we slept through the night without air-con. Luckily it was winter otherwise our faces would be blacker than Bao Qing Tian. We had breakfast at the hotel which tasted as vomit-inducing as dinner and then we took the bus to Hailuogou (HLG). Whenever I mention this place to anybody familiar with China, they’d assume that I’d be going to Jiuzhaigou too but sadly it wasn’t part of the itinerary. 😩

We took HLG’s hired coach up to the mountains. As we ascended further, the windows turned misty and you could easily estimate when you’d be arriving at the place just by looking at them. We reached the place and was told by the tour guide that we had to pay to take the cable car to go further up to the mountains (where HLG was. We were only midway), which was really ridiculous because we had paid everything necessary to the tour agency. Even if it was a separate charge, we were not informed at all beforehand!! All of us argued that the cost of the cable car tickets should already be included in the amount we paid but the stubborn tour guide just refused to budge. But what could we do? Suck thumb lor! We couldn’t just stand there and do nothing. There was literally nothing there. Not even a single snow.

We're almost there!

We’re almost there!

Hailuogou, from the bus.

Hailuogou, from the bus.

Went up and felt no more than a sense of disappointment. I was expecting an experience like the one at XiLing Snow Mountain but it turned out to be another boring trip. Indeed the mountains were really beautiful but other than admiring them there was nothing much to do except to camwhore. Hahahaha!! And Bf being super humji didn’t dare to go down the mountain slope to touch the snow -_- Our stomachs then started to rumble so we went to find food! WE FOUND DELICIOUS BEEF SATAY!! Damn nice we ordered more than 5 sticks. Hahahah!!! Or maybe we were just hungry………….. And we had a hot cup of strawberry drink (it’s rather popular in China with nata de coco and it comes with bendable big straw). Whoa we felt so warm and fuzzy inside!!

Alph didn't dare to go down so this was the lowest I could go.

Bf didn’t dare to go down so this was the lowest I could go.

And he just stood there lololol lousy leh you

And he just stood there lololol lousy leh you.

Overexposed shot sorry but I think you can still roughly see the beef satay in my hand! It's damn yummy omg and I think our constant purchase attracted many people to the shop as well haha

Overexposed shot sorry but I think you can still roughly see the beef satay in my hand! It’s damn yummy omg and I think our constant purchase attracted many people to the shop as well haha

The shop was rather quiet before we bought the satays from them! Barely a single queue. We brought them more customers teehee!

The shop was rather quiet before we bought the satays from them! Barely a single queue. We brought them more customers teehee! The drink I was talking about is the pink looking cup on the bottom left corner of the picture. Likewise, the drink was sold out soon after 😉

Near the exit of Hailuogou there was another person selling food. This piece of bread-like thingy was one of them! Nothing special.

Near the exit of Hailuogou there was another person selling food. This piece of bread-like thingy was one of them! Nothing special.

When night came, we returned to the abandoned temple again to watch the Tibetan performance because they didn’t want to refund our money. It was.. nothing fantastic. Ha. -_-

Day 5

Checked out of the Moxi Town hotel (finally) and we were en route to Chengdu. But since it was a long journey, we stopped by at some places along the way.

The other places we visited all had got to do with seeing snow. And for the first time in my lift I saw a snowflake! It looked exactly like how artists always draw them!! Really really beautiful! We also supposed to go to a hot spring but once again, we had to pay additional charges to go in! RIDICULOUS RIGHT?! How could an agency include something on an itinerary and not make it compulsory by collecting the entry fees beforehand?! Knowing that we had to pay again (now we wonder where the money we paid for miscellaneous charges went to?), we of course didn’t want to go in anymore la!! Walao eh! So we wasted our time drinking hot tea in a coffee house and watch wild monkeys watching us and our food while waiting for some people to be done with their hot spring. Sickening!!

Annoying monkeys kept following us wherever we went, and even attempted to snatch the bag of one of the people in our tour group. Luckily the men scared them away lol. Because of them we didn't dare to drink and eat while walking.

Annoying monkeys kept following us wherever we went, and even attempted to snatch the bag of one of the people in our tour group. Luckily the men scared them away lol. Because of them we didn’t dare to drink and eat or expose anything edible while walking.

Then we were brought to another hot spring place for foot bath (æłĄè„š). Entry fee was cheaper and we didn’t had to remove all our clothes so we agreed to go in. The feeling of getting your cold feet warm was priceless but you risk getting your trousers/pants wet which would make you feel even colder once you are done! And we even bought hot spring egg to snack on! Yummmmmy 🙂

Our legs!!

Our legs!!

One of our tour group mates (is that how you call them lol). There were many different temperatures of water ranging from normal (where there would be fishes to eat your dead skin) to boiling hot (about 70 degree Celsius). Me being ballness dared not try the boiling water one. I stuck to the second hottest one until we left.

One of our tour group mates (is that how you call them lol). There were many different temperatures of water ranging from normal (where there were doctor fishes eating your dead skin) to boiling hot (about 70 degree Celsius). Me being ballness dared not try the boiling water one. I stuck to the second (or third?) hottest one until we left.

For dinner, we had an option to dine at the hotel we were staying in for the night and a steamboat restaurant. The tour guide sugar-coated his words to make dining at a steamboat restaurant seem like a better idea and that we’d be able to experience the Chengdu cuisine. We had actually paid a certain sum of money for that dinner which everyone believed was supposed to be in the hotel (more expensive than steamboat, in other words). Some gullible and more outspoken people in the tour gave him the green light so we went ahead as already planned by the tour guide.

Unique dining experience.

Unique dining experience.

At the steamboat restaurant, I didn’t eat much as I wasn’t used to their choice of food and most importantly, it was a CANDLELIGHT dinner!! The area had a blackout oh my god… Seriously I’m never going back to that place again. Not even for the pandas. No matter how cute they are. No, no, no. Then after the meal, the bus didn’t drive to the restaurant doorstep to pick us up because according to the tour guide again, “the driver would need another 40 minutes to make a U-turn here”. What the hell man… if that’s the case, why didn’t you tell the driver to set off EARLIER then??? What a dimwit. Because of him everyone had to walk in the extreme cold and darkness to the meeting point (not very near ok). And the best part? THE BUS WASN’T EVEN THERE YET WHEN WE REACHED UNTIL 10 MINUTES LATER. Kanasai bunch of idiots. They made my boyfriend who was already down with a fever, even more ill!!

The bus finally came and not even a word of apology from the tour guide nor the driver (go and die la still want to earn tips from us). We were driven to our hotel for the night and it was the best we had been to in the entire trip. It was like any 5-star hotel, clean and very presentable and all the lifts were definitely working. We even had bellmen to help us with our luggages, unlike the first two hotels we’d been to. But sadly we were only there for a night -_- And remember I mentioned about my bruises from falls? I got my next one there, in the wet toilet, and it hurt like hell. HURT!!! Because my knee hit the cold hard ground flat. I cried so bad and I couldn’t walk properly for the night. My knee swelled a bit and Bf helped me up even though he was sick himself. So many mishaps in this trip -_- Ok also partly due to me clumsiness but still… my other trips were fine.

My bruises! One on each knee and gotten on separate occasions -_- Ok picture size intentionally reduced so that it won't seem so scary. Thankfully I was insured.

My bruises! One on each knee and gotten on separate occasions -_- Ok picture size intentionally reduced so that it won’t seem so scary. Thankfully I was insured.

Day 6 omg yes my misery is ending. Just send me back to Singapore already.

My skin (especially my legs which are already very dry to begin with) was starting to crack even though I had been consistently applying lotion. I guess cold weather is not for me. We continued our journey back to Chengdu and it was another 5 hours doing nothing…

Upon arrival in Chengdu, we were taken to a theatre to watch the highly talked about face-changing show (ć˜è„žshow) coupled with other equally terrific performances. The venue was flooded with Caucasians especially and there were subtitles flashing on mini screens on both ends of the stage for people who didn’t understand mandarin. The face-changing performers even went to the audience and changed their faces in front of them! But no one could see how they did it because they were too fast.

Some emperor/eunuch (I'm sorry but I'm totally clueless when it comes to chinese opera opera) vs concubine performance.

Some emperor/eunuch (I’m sorry but I’m totally clueless when it comes to chinese opera opera) vs concubine/empress performance.

Ok this is probably the emperor. Haha

Ok this is probably the emperor. Haha

The eunuch (I think? Since he isn't in yellow here lol) and the empress and her many many palace maids.

The eunuch (I think? Since he isn’t in yellow here lol) and the empress and her many many palace maids. Now that I clearly see their faces they are all very good-looking leh *_*

Then the next segment was on hand shadows. Damn cool! I wish they had done more.

Then the next segment was on hand shadows. Damn cool! I wish they had done more.

Another one! A swan.

Another one! A swan.

Next, puppet show! The puppet could even do stunts that I couldn't do lol. But one thing I didn't was the distraction caused by the puppteer.. Wouldn't it be better if she couldn't be seen?

Next, puppet show! The puppet could even do stunts that I couldn’t do lol. But one thing I didn’t like was the distraction caused by the puppeteer.. Wouldn’t it be better if the lower part of the body was hidden?

Then we saw this funny husband-and-wife skit which focuses more on the husband. Basically the wife was punishing the husband (I forgot for what reason) by asking him to do dangerous stunts. One of them was this.

Then we saw this funny husband-and-wife skit which focused more on the husband. Basically the wife was punishing the husband (I forgot for what reason) by asking him to do dangerous stunts. One of them was this.

And then moving on to this! Crawling under the stools without making the bowl containing lit candle fall.

And then moving on to this! Crawling under the stools without making the bowl containing lit candle fall.

Followed by this lady here doing all sorts of stunts that made everyone's heart beat so fast lol. This vase looked damn heavy and it could fall on her face any time if she wasn't careful.

Followed by this lady here doing all sorts of stunts that made everyone’s heart beat so fast lol. This vase looked damn heavy and it could fall on her face any time if she wasn’t careful.

Vase not impressive enough? She's got a table. Wahaha

Vase not impressive enough? She’s got a table. Wahaha

Finally, the face-changing show.

Finally, the face-changing show.

æˆ‘ć˜æˆ‘ć˜æˆ‘ć˜ć˜ć˜!

æˆ‘ć˜æˆ‘ć˜æˆ‘ć˜ć˜ć˜!

After many changes, back to his face.

After many changes, back to his face.

And we were back at the hotel where young boys slide name cards under room doors..

Day 7

In the day, we went to Huan Hua Xi Park which apparently is the largest park in Chengdu. Since it’s a park, there isn’t much activities for us there. We walked around and saw people feeding fishes, so we bought fish food from the booth manning the pond and joined in the fun!

At the entrance! Sorry if I dressed like aunty. When I'm overseas I sometimes couldn't care less about my dressing especially during winter because I already look so damn fat lolol. This one not bad already.

At the entrance! Sorry if I dressed like aunty. When I’m overseas I sometimes can’t care less about my dressing especially during winter because I already look so damn fat lolol. This one not bad already.

Here fishy fishy

Here fishy fishy.

Yay to cheap thrills!

Yay to cheap thrills!

We managed to touch the fishes!

We managed to touch the fishes!

We then left the park for a shopping district (?) which didn’t have anything interesting to buy. As you can already see from this travel journal, there wasn’t much shopping done because of the same reason 😩

Bought this as we thought it looked like our local éŸ™éĄ»çł– but it tasted totally different -_- Ate 2 and threw the whole box away.

Bought this as we thought it looked like our local éŸ™éĄ»çł– but it tasted totally different -_- Ate 2 and threw the whole box away.

Real-life mannequins.

Real-life mannequins.

Panda shop! Everything in there was about panda.

Panda shop! Everything in there was about panda.

Starbucks!! We behaved like we'd never seen Starbucks before and went to buy our green tea frappe immediately LOL

Starbucks!! We behaved like we’d never seen Starbucks before and went to buy our green tea frappe immediately LOL

More panda shop. Seriously they're really crazy about pandas.

More panda shop. Seriously they’re really crazy about pandas.

At night, we caught Zhang Yi Mo’s 4D show but I felt that the one I watched in Beijing was much better. Nevertheless it was still a great show 🙂 Here are some pictures. There are more but I’m really lazy to resize everyone of them lol.

Look at those costumes *_*

Look at those costumes *_* And the stage set up.

The colours. Just so vibrant and elaborate *_*

The colours. Just so vibrant and elaborate *_*

The waterfall at the back is just image projection, unlike the one I saw in Beijing which was actually REAL water.

The waterfall at the back was just image projection, unlike the one I saw in Beijing which was actually REAL water.

Fake water again but still has to give the show designer some credit for putting so much effort. No wonder the tickets so expensive.

Fake water again but still have to give the show designer some credits for putting so much effort. No wonder the tickets so expensive.

Look it's Lady Gaga and her twin! Hahaha just kidding. Costumes with LED lights. Cool right?!

Look it’s Lady Gaga and her twin! Hahaha just kidding. Costumes with LED lights. Cool right?!

The closing. Very very talented people!

The closing. Very very talented people!

It was New Year’s Eve and I was not with my parents for the very first time. I texted my Mom to wish her as I watched the countdown on television at night.

Day 8final day in Chengdu

Woke up early in the morning to see flowers at the Visitor Centre of San Sheng Hua Xiang. I’m not a fan of flowers so we got back into the bus after like 30 minutes of walking? Yawn.

The flower paradise.. Nothing much to see unless you're a fan of flowers.

The flower paradise.. Nothing much to see unless you’re a fan of flowers.

For lunch, we had steamboat again which was a little better than the candlelight one. After we were done with our meal, I saw the scumbag tour guide beckoning Bf’s father back into the restaurant. He had a piece of paper in his hand and I could immediately tell what he was up to. Well apparently many people were unhappy with him mainly because of what happened in HLG (having to pay again for the entrance fee when we’d already paid, bringing us to a steamboat place that blacked out, the bad vibes he gave me.. ok that’s probably just me) so he decided to make the master of every family agree not to report any negative occurrence to the agency when we returned to Singapore. How? By making them sympathise with him lor, that he needed the money to support the family lor and other bull crap. Win already lor play dirty zzz.

Then we were brought to a medical centre which specialised in foot massages? Hahaha I don’t know what exactly the place was but they did not allow foot massages on anyone below the age of 21! Poor Bf’s brother didn’t have the chance to experience the shiok massage because he was so-called underaged.

The final place we went to before we headed to the airport was some random shopping mall. I (finally) bought something useful after 8 days – a winter coat for myself, and even got my eyebrows shaped, which was my BIGGEST regret there. I could tell the lady was very inexperienced and I ended up having the length of my right eyebrow shortened! And now it’s taking a long time to grow back…

I was so glad to be back in Singapore (how often do you see someone on vacation dying to go home lololol). My dearest parents picked me up from the Changi airport near midnight *sheds tears* and they commented that I lost weight. That pretty summed up my experience in Chengdu.

Bye Chengdu, I doubt I will ever see you again.

University Freshman: Year 1 Semester 2

Helloooo I am back!

I’ve been super unmotivated to update this space because blogging would mean I’d have to spend hours inserting pictures and ensuring quality in my content. But I’ll still try whenever I have enough time to spare since this blog is going to be a keepsake of my early adulthood 🙂

This is a second instalment of my University life. As mentioned on my first, I would document all the highlights of my time in NTU which hopefully would help or enlighten prospective students about the school’s culture and system. I am really delighted to know that my first University Freshman entry had helped a few incoming students and that probably spurred me to do more. 🙂 Please leave a comment if you need me to elaborate or explain anything not included in my entries. I will try to to the best of my knowledge!

The year-end school holiday after semester 1 ended way too soon so I felt like I hadn’t energised enough for semester 2 (moreover, my Chengdu trip was rather energy-draining, even though it was so-called a vacation, with all the early morning calls and harsh cold weather). Not feeling as enthusiastic as before. I kinda dragged myself to school. While everyone was being super chatty in the first lecture of the semester, I was craving for sleep. Really man, damn tired I was!! And this feeling lasted throughout the whole semester – no drive for projects, constantly giving more attention to entertainment until I felt like I neglected my studies. But thankfully it didn’t really affect my GPA. It did go down, however still acceptable by me. Haha.

But a small part of me was excited for school, because I only had 1 exempted WKWSCI module (CS2008) which also happened to be my last and I was also allocated 3 core modules, leaving me with little time for electives unlike last semester. This meant that I could finally (fully) experience being a WKWSCI student, attend WKWSCI lectures and get to know more WKWSCI students from my cohort. 🙂 Despite not being in WKWSCI most of the time in semester 1, I was (and still am) really lucky and thankful to still be in contact with one of my first friends I got to know during orientation week, so we did projects together whenever we could, saving me the trouble of finding team mates (which is so difficult in a cliquish cohort).

Add/Drop period this time had been really kind to me, allocating me to every module which I placed on wait list and those modules are the highly popular ones. I can’t remember how many times I cheered when I accessed my NTU e-mail account at 10.00pm. The feeling is akin to striking lottery la, seriously. But this probably attributed to me already placing my choices on wait list from the onset instead of from the second day of the add/drop period like last semester. Even though the school claims that the system is unbiased, I still think it is as it gives priority to those who express their interests earlier in the period (i.e. higher chances for those that put the modules on wait list earlier during the add/drop period as compared to those who put them later). But well, no concrete evidence to prove my hypothesis so it’s all up to you guys to decide!

* * *

I didn’t make any huge discoveries during my second semester so I’ve got nothing much to explain like my first freshman entry. But I do have reviews on the modules I took, which can aid you in your timetable planning for the upcoming semester.

1. AAA183 Life Drawing (UE)

One of the very popular courses offered by NIE but it comes with a rather hefty price tag of $60 for the art materials. You’d have to pay that amount by the third or fourth week of the semester to the NIE office. Being one of the oversubscribed courses, I only got this module on the second week.

It hurt my wallet but it was a good learning experience even though I did regret taking this up midway through the course simply because my peers were already pros at life drawing. Honestly they were a threat (please take this as a compliment) and it was seriously detrimental to my grades which almost costed me an S/U option. Drawing is supposedly one of the better things I could do (and score) but I felt extremely overshadowed by students from ADM who have compulsory life drawing modules during their first year, if I am not mistaken. It’s like, walao they are already SO GOOD so why are they not exempted from this module? They just have to splash random paint on a blank canvas and they’d produce a masterpiece. While I gritted my teeth, fretting over the correct drawing techniques, they just stood in front of the easel looking so at ease and could produce an A+ worthy art piece so effortlessly in just seconds 😩 But well of course there were a few talented ones not from ADM who progressively improved throughout 12 weeks.

With my art teacher :)

With my art teacher at the end of the final lesson 🙂

The teacher was Mr David Chan and he is really nice and humorous 🙂 However I am not sure if this module would still be available in the next semester because of budget constraints. Apparently the $60 each student has to pay is not sufficient to cover the cost of the art materials! (And we were pretty wasteful too, oops)

Also, being a NIE module, it is non-examinable thus no projects or assignments or whatsoever. Everything has to be done and assessed in class and.. this is not good news to those who occasionally cut classes.

2. AAI385 Voice (UE)

Another non-examinable NIE module added to clear my electives (I’m halfway there). I deliberately chose non-examinable modules because I had 4 written papers at the end of the semester – 3 of which were my CORE.

Anyway, this elective requires you to go for an “audition” before you could officially have it on your timetable. I put inverted commas because it’s not really an audition, but a briefing and direct selection process. I went to the “audition” without prior preparation and true enough the professor (and also the course coordinator), Dr Chia, was not expecting any performance from the students at all, hence proving that the selection was not based on anyone’s singing abilities. What he did was to go through the course overview frankly (so honest that a student left the room halfway) and enrol students based on their year of study at the end of the briefing. For example, if you are a graduating student, you are guaranteed a slot. Then he’d go down the list where the remaining slots would be given accordingly to the juniors (Year 3s), the sophomores (Year 2s) and then to the freshmen. There is a limit to the number he could take in (I think about 30 since this is the only Voice class he was conducting) so by the time he reached the sophomores, the freshmen stood no chance at all. I technically was a freshmen but thanks to my course exemptions, I have earned enough AUs to qualify as a sophomore. Hahaha so I got it, while other freshmen in the room left disappointedly.

Contrary to popular misconceptions, this module is not all about singing. Yes, you can choose to sing for your assignment but you can also choose to say a speech! Because ultimately the aim of this course is to improve your voice usage, and not to train you to be a professional singer. It’s really a very useful course if you tend to shout a lot (teachers, for example) or if you think your voice projection is your major drawback in presentations. What I like about Dr Chia is his dedication in improving your voice. He would assign a time just to coach you when nearing the deadline of your assignment and you’re really encouraged to attend. You can see everyone improving tremendously after 12 weeks of “drilling”. I also like how he speaks to students as if we’re adults and reasoning with us instead of shouting and threatening like some professors always do. I always have the impression that older professors who have many years of experience under their belts tend to talk students down but he is definitely not one of them.

This elective comprises of 3 assessments – the first requires you to say a 2-minute speech (can be an extract from a book, or a poetry or anything that you can find on the internet), the second can be any 5-minute item (speech or song) of your choice and the  finally, a 15-minute video of you doing the McClosky’s Voice Techniques (which you’d read about in the course). Dr Chia was really nice to not fix a submission date for the last assignment because he wanted to give us time to study for our finals. Of course he fixed a deadline, but he was always open to negotiations. So I submitted mine like, 3 days before he had to submit all his collated marks to the office because I had 2 papers in one of the weeks?? LIKE OMG HE’S DAMN NICE RIGHT!?!!? And no, no deduction of marks or any form of penalty for late submission. Seriously, he is THAT nice, he even sacrificed his Labour Day to grade us, when he could have completed the marking before because most of us submitted “late” of course. So relieved to know that such professors exist. :’)

Honestly, you can easily do well for this course and I really recommend this to anyone who wants to pull up his/her GPA because unlike Life Drawing, the probability of you having professional voice actors in your class is pretty low (with the exception of my class. I had one and he’s damn good because he does epic voiceovers for films. But that’s just ONE). You may sing well but that does not mean you use your voice well 🙂 Everyone there starts off as a blank piece of paper so you don’t feel as much pressure as in Life Drawing.

Oh, you would also be asked to purchase a McClosky book which you’d have to read before every lesson. It’s not compulsory though Dr Chia is going to say that you have to buy it, but it is going to be really helpful when you’re doing your last assignment, trust me on that. If you know anyone who had been to that class, you can probably get it from him/her. I’m not selling mine though 😛

I am also aware that Dr Chia teaches NIE Choir (another non-examinable module) and I am probably going to take that next semester!

3. CS0203 Media in Singapore (CORE)

One of my cores which I think I should have exempted from but thankfully didn’t because it was here I got to know an awesome professor – whom many people should have known by now – named Dr Cherian George. Just to digress a little, you would not be able to understand the disappointment and disbelief we felt when we learned about his denial of tenure if you haven’t been taught by him! He was my reason for always being punctual for his classes at 9 freaking a.m. because he could be so enlightening and yet politically neutral at the same time. This was evident as I gradually arrived late when other professors started rotating to give lectures. For the record I was never punctual for early morning classes since SP days. He was also entertaining and funny and this was one of the main factors that kept me awake during his lecture. His first few lectures happened to coincide with the Punggol by-election (not the actual day but the whole campaign, rallies.. you get the gist) and those were probably the most interesting ones where he talked and critiqued about all the parties. What he said made me ponder (no matter how sleepy I was) because he made sense. I thought he was doing a great job as a professor so I still do not understand why his tenure was denied.  I’m sorry WKWSCI juniors that you won’t get to experience his awesome lectures.

As mentioned briefly earlier, there were 2 other professors giving lectures on certain weeks besides Dr George. No group projects but there were 2 quizzes (all MCQs. Can be tricky. I didn’t really study much and I relied on what I remembered from my poly lectures), and a final written exam. I also had to do a term paper which did not have to be submitted but the topic I researched on would be tested in exams. Because of that I only did it half-heartedly at the very last minute (with my friend) because I had to study for my finals.

4. CS2002 Information Literacy and Interpretation (CORE)

The professor (or coordinator) of this module was actually my interviewer for my appeal for change of course last year. He is a very laid-back, impartial professor, everything also “don’t worry, you will be fine”. But hearing that somehow makes me even more worried. Haha.

He has the habit of not using the microphone in all his lectures because he could project his voice well – no doubt about that – but unfortunately not audible to me :\ So I spent a lot more time on studying this module because I just couldn’t catch what he was lecturing. But anyway all’s well because I did surprisingly well for this.

This course was the only one that required excessive use of clickers from me last semester. Participation marks were derived from clicker questions in lecture (no mini tutorial groups) and there would be 8 in-class clicker quizzes. Other marks come from term papers (done as a group) and the final paper.

5. CS2006 Visual Literacy and Communication (CORE)

The most taxing module thus far because well, it’s basically film-making and editing (and film theory), so don’t expect sufficient sleep if you are the video editor. You shoot and edit with little to no guidance from your professors since everyone’s concept is different so you are expected to learn everything on your own. Luckily for me, I am not totally handicapped since I have learned editing in Poly before, so I kinda led the team. But sadly I still suck at handling cameras because I still got the over-exposed shit !#%&$! Argh. And yes, I also wonder why I didn’t exempt myself from this module -_-

This module made me realise how poor the school’s inventory is, their lack of good filming equipments (seriously, only 5 clip mics?!) and how pointless the booking system is… because the person in-charge of the equipments never uses the booking system to check if you have indeed booked the items before allowing you to collect them (then anybody can wayang and collect right?!). We booked a clip mic and were very sure it was available when we did the booking, but was told they ran out of clip mics when my team mate went to collect the equipments! Luckily he insisted that we’d booked it and that pressured the guy behind the booth to search high and low for one (walao, still must search so thoroughly, never keep properly right?!). We got the very last piece in the end. Then right, the booth closes ON THE DOT or even EARLIER despite us telling him that we would return our camera on that day (because late returns would incur fines). We rushed to the booth to find it shut! Panicked, we told the technical people on the third level and managed to get hold of the person in-charge of the filming equipments on the phone. Still couldn’t return on that day since the person had left, so my poor team mate had to drag it to her hall -_- We were spared from the fine.

Anyway, we collaborated with a non-profit organisation for our film because we chose to do the topic on creating social awareness. We wanted to reduce the social stigma towards ex-offenders (something like Yellow Ribbon project) and we e-mailed to many many NGOs to express our interest to work with them, only to have them turned us down 😩 except for one! Highpoint Halfway House agreed to work with us without hesitation! We were soooooo grateful! They even provided us with real ex-offenders to interview. But we were only given one day to shoot thus there were no rooms for improvements or retakes – it’s do or die. But I must say that speaking to ex-offenders really enlightened me about their lives (why they committed the crimes, and the struggles they faced upon release from prison and many of them had been in and out of prison several times). It taught me not to judge a book by its cover and true enough, many of them have turned over a new leaf. What really surprised me was their willingness to talk to us about their pasts because they wanted to inspire others, and they were totally fine with being filmed. Of course, the video cannot be broadcast or uploaded online due to obvious reasons.

Many hiccups happened on the day of shoot. Due to the very limited time we had with our cameras, we only booked them out on the same day. However my team mate who went to collect the equipments were stuck in the morning jam on the way to the halfway house, so we were late in filming for about half an hour 😩 Felt so bad letting them wait. That was the first hiccup.

Second was what I mentioned earlier – the over-exposed scenes! Way too many of them because most of our footages were shot outdoors and I had to trash most of them. Sigh pie. Totally regret adjusting the ISO (lol 䞍è‡Ș量抛) and agreeing to shoot outdoors when the Sun was so blaring.

Third and also the most epic one… well, because we were making a short film on ex-offenders, I thought of adding footages of barb wires. I managed to find some really good ones during my recce in the vicinity of Changi Prison. I didn’t seek permission since I thought we were just going to shoot from afar and we weren’t sure which barb wires we wanted. So my team mate drove us around and we spotted this row of barb wires which looked SO PERFECT for the video. We got off the car, set up our equipments and we shot the barb wires for a good 10 minutes. But just as I was about to stop, somebody from behind the wires shouted at us.

“OI WHAT ARE YOU ALL DOING?”

He asked this question thrice and we just froze there.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

“…Filming the barb wires..?” We answered timidly.

“THIS IS A PRISON. DO YOU HAVE A PERMISSION? YOU CANNOT TAKE VIDEO HERE.”

Wtf man we really didn’t know we were just right outside Changi Prison! We saw a shipping company’s name displayed on a building next to it so we automatically assumed that they were both owned by the same company! Then we were told to go to the guardhouse where one of my team mate’s particulars were taken down because he was the only one who brought along his identity card. Damn suay!! We had to delete our beautiful footages of the barb wires (it’s only the wires and the sky) in front of the guards. But the guard who shouted at us probably saw how nervous we were and he tried to play nice la.. telling us not to worry and we would not be charged for anything. They needed our particulars just in case the video got leaked somehow and they’d know who to look for. -_-

I was so depressed, not because we were stopped by the guards but because the barb wires footages were deleted! THOSE WERE REALLY PERFECT FOR THE VIDEO -_-

Back to my review. That was the second assessment by the way. I’m not sure if you guys saw this video about the happiness of Singaporeans that was floating around on Facebook a few weeks back, but it was actually done by one of the groups for this module. It’s amazing how a video for a school project could end up viral and being watched by people across the nation! 🙂

Anyway just to give a brief description of the course assessments, the first graded assignment was actually to curate your family portraits. Because of that I had to ask everybody for old family photographs and literally ransacked my storeroom. You’d also need to present your findings to the class and you’re only given 5 strict minutes to do so (my tutor timed. Yes, timed. She cuts you off at the fifth minute). Oh boy I really hated that assignment. The last assessment was of course the final paper which I don’t think I did well, hence a drastic drop in my final grade.

6. LS9002 Spanish II (UE)

My third and final UE in semester 2. I initially wanted to take French 2 instead since I have so-called passed my placement test but looking at the placement test made me super demoralised and fearful that I’d do badly for French. I am still interested in the language but I wouldn’t want to risk my grades for it, so I chose to continue with Spanish. Not a bad decision after all because my level 1 teacher was the teacher for this class! 🙂 It was great seeing her again!

Level 2 is a lot more challenging of course but I am able to understand and read simple Spanish words now.

Like level 1, you’d be graded through a 7-minute (instead of 5) oral examination where you’d have to carry on a conversation with your partner in Spanish, 2 bring-home assignments which weighs 5% in total (#whut), a listening comprehension, a class test and a final paper. It’s more or less the same structure as level 1 so if you’re keen to know more, do refer to my first freshman post instead!

With my Spanish teacher :)

With my Spanish teacher 🙂

My LS9002 classmates

My LS9002 classmates

I didn’t do as well as I expected but I will definitely continue with Spanish again 🙂

Okay that’s about it! As you can see I didn’t exercise my S/U option at all this semester and I am glad my decision didn’t affect my grades that much. 😉

Will blog about my long overdue Chengdu trip soon!

Read also:
University Senior: Year 4 Semester 1 & 2
University Junior: Year 3 Semester 1
University Sophomore: Year 2 Semester 2
University Sophomore: Year 2 Semester 1
University Freshman: Year 1 Semester 1