Category Archives: Friends

. becoming CSI for an hour .

Reality room escape games are all in the rage lately, with probably no less than 10 companies in Singapore playing host to people from all walks to life who are willing to pay to get locked up in a tiny room! Lol. What a sadistic idea, right? Not wanting to miss an opportunity to challenge ourselves to escape from the locked room, my group of uni friends, the boy and I wanted to put our wits to test to solve these infamous mind-bogging puzzles and games! ESCAPE!

Our choice of room? A serial murder is on the loose. Dismembered and bloody body parts scattered around the city. A skull. Severed hands and feet. Be extremely observant and you will find the clues right under your nose. You got it right! We are the Crime Scene Investigation team! I’m an avid fan of the entire CSI series (CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY) so you can pretty much imagine my excitement when we were given the “CSI: Dismembered Body” room. Having said that, in real life – We are a group made up of a real estate agent, marketing executives, research analyst, banking executive and nightlife manager. In other words, we don’t exactly offer the typical skill sets required from the CSI team lol! Trouble on the rise? Oh no.

My experience. Well, there’s a reason why these escape room games require us to “think our way out” and not “find our way out”. In fact, the very first clue had left us absolutely so clueless that we spent 20 mins of our only hour scrambling around, without having an idea of what to lookout for! In the end, we had to call the helpline for assistance because we were in a state of despondency.  Make that a couple of times. Situation was a tad tense at times because everyone was struggling to find a clue and capture the “murderer” but we pretty much kept our cool. 🙂 To sum it up, to escape from the room requires a mix of good observation skills, being attentive to tiny details, powers of reasoning and perhaps, a touch of good luck. Needless to say, we weren’t 1 of the few teams that managed to make it out in time by the 1-hour mark although we did eventually escape, with some time extension and a lot of help from the staff. Hahahaha. Not too shabby for our 1st attempt. Despite the fact that we didn’t “survive” the toughest room, I must say that everyone had enjoyed themselves tremendously and it was good team effort. Looking forward to solving more puzzles and games with them in our next lock-down! :p

CSI: Dismembered Body Room
Difficulty Level: 5 out of 5
Fear Factor: 1 out of 5 
* Bright lighting, no eerie music or props
Fun Factor: 3.5 out of 5

 The Escape Artist
Website: http://theescapeartist.sg/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheEscapeArtistSG
Address: 52A Prinsep Street #01-01
Singapore 188683
Telephone: 6883 1540 Cost: $22 to 28/pax per session

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. snapshot: melbourne .

fly free

It has been a decade since I last stepped on the shores of Australia and frankly, the idea of returning to Australia has never been quite on the top of my list. Thanks to my company that paid for an all-expense annual staff retreat, I found myself flying to Australia’s cultural capital, Melbourne, for the very first time. And indeed, I found out for myself the wonders of what makes Melbourne recently crowned as the #1Most Livable City in The World‘!

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City of Melbourne

Put together a juxtaposition of modern and Victorian architecture, beautiful gardens, an array of contemporary art galleries & museum and plenty of quirky cafes and you get the cosmopolitan city of Melbourne. The city is simply a wonderland for someone who enjoys exploring every nook and cranny of a new place. The many quaint cafes and boutique stores give life to the city laneways that are bustling with activities at any moment. Somehow, there’s always a sense of excitement as you never quite know what’s round the corner when you venture into Melbourne’s hive of busy laneways!

I love the free heritage tram (kinda reminds me of the beloved cable cars in San Francisco) that takes you to the different city landmarks around central Melbourne and the Docklands. A great teaser to the city at absolutely no cost! 

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Getting Creative with Street Art

Melbourne is a melting pot of art and creativity so it is not a surprise to see a diverse range of street art being exhibited around the city and its many neighbourhoods. The most famous and iconic street art laneway is Hosier Lane, where one cannot help but be dazzled by the stunning and vibrant displays of the artworks. My only regret from this trip was that I didn’t have the time to attend a street art tour, which would have given me the chance to meet the artists behind these works.

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 St Kilda

A beach-side town, St Kilda, offers a welcoming respite from the city. Think of it as the cool and hippy suburb of Melbourne. I love amusement parks of all sorts and even more so when it is a historical park that shares the same birth date as me … But 75 years apart!  Luna Park, 1 of Australia’s most beloved family attraction, reminded me of another old-school amusement park in Coney Island that I was very fortunate to have visited before it ceased operations a mere few months after my visit (Astroland: 1962 – 2008). Sadly, I didn’t have the same luck to visit Luna Park as it was closed during my stay. 😦

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Shopping at Queen Victoria Market

According to Wikitravel, “Queen Victoria Market, the only surviving 19th century market in Melbourne CBD, is significant to Melbourne’s culture and heritage and is named after Queen Victoria.” My dearest roomie, Christine, bought bags of fresh produce (fruits & nuts) for her family and yours truly was influenced as well. Just see the last pic of us posing with our very unglam purchases! :p  My best purchases? Personalised dog tags for the 3 boys! 🙂

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Becoming A Kid Again with the Farm Animals

I wish I can kidnap the kid (baby goat) home! So cute.

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The Great Ocean Road

A drive along the picturesque Great Ocean Road and visit to The Twelve Apostles is definitely 1 of the ‘Must Do’ in every tourist’s itinerary. The scenic coastal route is said to be one of the most beautiful in the world, complete with pristine beaches, steep cliffs and spectacular rock stacks. It was a pity that we were on a ridiculously tight schedule that basically left us with only a pathetic 20 mins to take in the absolutely tranquil view of The Twelve Apostles and mind you, we were on the road for at least 5-6 hours! Oh well, the downside of a tour group.

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Penguin Parade – Phillip Island

Sitting out in the cold with the wind blowing against us wasn’t exactly what we would typically sign up for but it was certainly worth the shivers to see the world’s smallest penguins waddling along the beach. It was funny how the few of us would shriek with excitement every time we spotted a penguin emerging from the sea. However, nothing beats the thrilling experience of getting up-close to these tiny creatures as they made their way home to the burrows.

We also made a pit stop at The Nobbies, where we caught the sight of many seagulls but none of the seals. The views of the rugged coastlines were incredible and I truly felt at peace, listening to the therapeutic sounds of the crashing waves. In fact, The Nobbies has surpassed my expectations and is definitely 1 of the more memorable places that I have visited in Australia.

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Moonlight Kayaking

As far as possible, I would like to inject some sort of adventure for my holidays and I’m glad that my sister and her boyfriend were game to join me for a moonlight kayak experience. 🙂 I have kayaked several times before during my schooling years but this would mark the 1st time that I would be kayaking when night falls and I must say that it was absolutely the highlight of the trip!

I would highly recommend anyone who has a sense of adventure to sign up for this tour when visiting Melbourne. It was a great way to see the city from a different perspective and some of the unique experiences include cruising under the many low-lying bridges, and even having a fish and chips dinner on the kayak! More on the moonlight kayak experience in a separate post.

To add to our already interesting experience, it started raining at the start of our paddling journey thus we were drenched before we even really started! However, being caught in the rain had its consequences as I found myself suffering from a terrible bout of flu and was heavily drugged (with meds, of course) during the last few days of my retreat. Bummer.

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Spending Precious Moments with My Sister

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The best thing that came out of my 1-week stay in Melbourne was definitely the opportunity to get closer to my sister who’s currently based in Melbourne. Since she left for Australia about 3yrs ago, we have barely kept in touch and pretty much lead our separate lives. Hence, it was really good to be able to rekindle our relationship and bond over the many meals, activities and new experiences.

. seeing the world through fisheye .


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. a not-so-scary halloween .

Halloween has always been 1 of my favourite holidays, right after Christmas. The past few years have seen me celebrating Halloween with friends in all sorts of scary-themed events, from Halloween Horror Night @ USS to Halloween Pumpkin Patch in Buffalo, NY and even, a nightfall walk in Bukit Brown Cemetery! However, as luck would have it, my plan of going on a double date with another couple for HHN@USS was shelved as the tickets were sold out! 😦

Nonetheless, thanks to the company of good friends, I managed to have my fair share of Halloween fun this year at the traditional “Trick-or-Treat” Halloween Walk at Woodgrove estate(honestly, the BEST in Singapore!) and “There’s a Spider in my Cider” lomography light painting workshop & Timbre! Guess a not-so-scary Halloween celebration does the works for me too.

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. falling in love with the Diana F + .

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Preservation of Sites & Monuments presents
An Afternoon at the National Monuments
x Lomography Diana F + Workshop

The idea of heading out to the various national monuments, armed with a fun lomo camera, sounded too irresistible and I immediately jumped at the opportunity to sign up for the monument walk x lomography workshop. Being a fan of all things romantic and whimsical, it’s not surprising to know that yours truly has always been interested to dabble in lomography. However, I guess procrastination (as always) got the better of me and that particular interest eventually turned into a couple of years of waiting. Oh well, better late than never.

Together with some of my favourite UB girlfriends, we ventured about the National Museum, Former Tao Nan School (now the Peranakan Museum) & Armenian Church and picked up historical snippets of these places. Along the way, we had a ball of fun experimenting a mix of multiple exposure and overlapping frames to produce a myriad of pictures which are often deemed as “bad photography” in the eyes of the professional photographer. The golden key, as we were taught, was to “Don’t think, just shoot!”. Love the feelings of anticipation and excitement as I waited for the final results to be unveiled and I must say that all of us were very pleased with our pictures! 🙂

Cost? $30 inclusive of the rental loan of Diana F+ camera, film and development. The experience? Priceless.

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. The Land of the Morning Calm .

Unlike many Singaporeans who are immersed in the Korean wave (K-Pop/ K-Drama, Cuisine, Culture, Language), I, however, was never really into this Korean “pop culture tsunami” and couldn’t understand the hype and buzz behind this Korean phenomenon. Well, that is until about a couple months back when MK introduced me to this popular hit show, Running Man and I have been addicted to this variety show since then! Yes, a self-confessed Running Man addict … That’s what I am!

This post comes very belated as it has been 9 months (!) since I went on a company incentive trip to South Korea as I didn’t get about blogging about it earlier. As with all my company trips, the trip to Seoul was relatively short, lasting not more than 4 days so it was really a “touch-and-go” travel trip with a very packed itinerary!

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Looking pretty in the hanbok

We did 1 of the most touristy thing that you can ever do in Korea – which is to don the Korean traditional dress called the Hanbok for photo opportunities.

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Time for Kimchi!

Tried my hand at making the Korean’s national dish, Kimchi. Okay, I confessed that all I did was to marinade the fermented cabbage with the ready prepared spices and voolah, I was done in 5 minutes flat! Not a bad effort for someone who barely cooks back home.

Do you know that the Kimchi is cited as 1 of the world’s healthiest food? This spicy condiment is loaded with lots of vitamins – A, B and C – , fiber and a dose of healthy bacteria (those bacteria that aids digestion). In fact, as part of my anti-aging regime, I’m trying to incorporate Kimchi as part of my daily diet although I haven’t been quite successful with that yet.

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A peek into North Korea

Technically, we didn’t really get a chance to have a peek into the world’s most secretive country, North Korea, as the Korean Demilitarized Zone is a relatively large strip of land that serves as a buffer zone between South and North Korea. Despite its name, this area is actually the world’s most heavily fortified border in the world as it is guarded by both armies from North and South Korea. The only way you can spot North Korea from a distance is probably through the binoculars on a fine sunny day. So, don’t get your hopes too high to catch a glimpse of 1 of the world’s most mysterious country!

In fact, I had a close shave with the law when I accidentally whipped out my camera to attempt to take a picture of the border within the “No Cameras” boundary, only to be shouted at by the South Korean solider that this is a ‘no camera’ zone! Yes, we were kept very in line … one wrong move and you will find yourself playing with fire. The tension is still very palpable.

Our half-day excursion to DMZ brought us to the Imjingak Park, which is the main stop for most tourists. Some of the places that we visited include the Dorasan Station (symbolic place of unification of the 2 Korean countries), Dora Observatory and the 3rd Tunnel of Aggression, which is 1 of the 4 tunnels that are believed to have been planned as a military invasion route by North Korea. Apparently, it is carefully designed such that it will permit the passage of an entire infantry division of about 30,00 pax in 1 hour!

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At the Top of Seoul

Traveled 243m up the N Seoul Tower where we were treated with a beautiful panoramic view of Seoul city! We also tried to spot the little red dot, Singapore, but to no avail (duh) since we were 4651.9 km away from home!

The Seoul Tower is probably the most romantic place in Korea as many young couples express their love for each other by hanging their locks of love at the fence at the observatory before throwing away the keys thus signifying everlasting love. Since we were in the ‘Locks of Love’ without our significant others, ZN, Ka Chun and I decided to dedicate a little love note to our beloved one. Coincidentally, ‘Stephanie’ was the recipient of our postcards – The boys are married to 2 different ladies also called Stephanie and yours truly decided to dedicate a postcard from Korea to herself! Lol.

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Touch of the royalty

Visited the grand Gyeongbokgung Palace, which was originally constructed in 1394 during the Joseon Dynasty. Many of the original buildings were either damaged or demolished during the Japanese invasions of Korea from 1592- 1598 and  the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910 – 1945 thus leaving behind only a small portion of its previous glory.

Unfortunately, the royal palace didn’t impress me as much as I thought I would as I have visited other palaces such as the Forbidden City in Beijing and Grand Palace in Bangkok that truly left me in awe of its magnificent architecture and sight.

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Experience the traditional life & culture of a Korean Folk Village

Another must-do thing on a tourist itinerary – A visit to the Namsangol Hanok Village! The most interesting part of this excursion was probably to see both ZN and KC lifting the girls in the seemingly makeshift traditional sedan chair… Daebak!

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Friends, friends & more friends!

Similar to my previous 2 company retreats (Beijing & Shanghai), I cannot be more thankful for the great company that I had during my short visit to South Korea! 🙂  The food (BBQ fiesta, Ginseng Chicken & Kimchi) was delicious, the shopping was awesome (face masks and beauty loots), the city is so vibrant (beautiful Korean people to admire) but it was truly my friends & colleagues who made it so enjoyable! 🙂

Hopefully, yet another fun company retreat to either Sydney or Melbourne this year? :p

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. followed by a trip to hell – USS Halloween Horror Night 2.

Having heard so much buzz about how fantastically horrifying the Halloween @ USS event was, I knew that it was a Halloween affair that was not to be missed! And true to its reputation, the USS Halloween Horror Night event is probably the best place to celebrate a spooky yet fun Halloween in Singapore (sans the clubbing crowd)! Poor KC & Elisa – I was grabbing onto the both of them so tightly throughout the 3 haunted attractions (Dungeon of Damnation, Insanitarium & Death Alley) that I must have been a bigger threat than those scare actors LOL!

Not wanting to miss out on some photo opportunities, Elisa & I sneaked away from the rest of the group and joined the masses in some major photo-taking at Total Lockdown (Awesome shit- It’s exactly a scene from those zombie-infested movies! ) & House of Dolls scare zones!

* All pics credit to Elisa

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