Week before Good Friday

It is the week before Good Friday. And I am thankful that this week, I have some space to breathe after a packed, non-stop action week (was even called back for a work meeting on a weekend). Space to think and remember that this week, we are approaching a special day that is central to our faith — having Jesus die for us on the cross for our sins, as the ultimate sacrifice, that we may see God once again. 

It has been a beautiful week. Serene. Calm. For one of the mornings, I saw this beautiful sight from my window. As if God is inviting me to be with Him and stay in Him.

*bliss*

What’s for lunch today

I’m studying for my Korean Basic Level 1 test tomorrow and I decided to do a quick post of the lunch I had today… Salad!

I didn’t post it on my (rather private) Instagram account because I decided to stay out of this social media channel until I finish reading the Bible. 

So there, good things must share! My salad made up of lettuce as base and five other toppings — steamed sweet potato, olives, egg mayo, cherry tomatoes and strawberries. I included grilled chicken breast for an additional $1.50, which adds up to $6.90 for this big box of wholesomeness. Sauces you can choose include honey mustard, pesto and sesame sauce.

In a CBD area, this would have cost more than $10! 


Don’t expect a fancy shopfront because it looks just like a random wholesale fruit shop, with some fruits on display on carton boxes — I guess that’s how they save cost. They don’t even have seats, unless you can grab the two small tables that looked like they were randomly placed outside the shop. Expect long queues when you head there during lunch time. I guess nearby office workers do know where to get a good deal. If you are interested to know where to get this affordable box of greens, here’s the name of the shop:

Sun Moon Fresh

Sultan Plaza

100 Jalan Sultan, Level 1

Staying at the top floor of an HDB block

When it was time to choose our HDB flat about five years ago, I remember I had to arm myself with knowledge on selecting a good flat. The golden rules I was given by older people were:

  1. Avoid west-facing flats, so that your house will not bear the heat of the afternoon sun.
  2. Avoid the flats at the top floor because it is usually very hot up there and there might be leaks since the water tanks would be directly above the top-floor flat.

I did not follow one of the rules and I did not regret it. I chose a flat at the top floor.

I was sure I had to avoid west-facing flats as I personally experienced the heat at my parents’ place, which had some afternoon sun. If the afternoon sun (and it’s not even direct) could make me so irritated (especially after taking afternoon naps), I must make sure I don’t get a flat that will make me frustrated when I return home.

During the selection of my HDB flat, I was concerned about staying at the top floor due to the golden rules I mentioned above. So, choosing one was a huge leap of faith. Nonetheless, the signs I encountered before my flat selection helped me take this faith step. The signs include meeting people who stayed at the top level and shared how much they enjoyed it.

Here are the pros and cons of staying at the top floor.

The bad

  • The lift stops at almost every level in the morning when you use it to go down. Please factor in an extra 5 minutes for lift-taking in the morning when going to work. And no, I won’t walk down more than 20 levels worth of stairs.
  • Top-level flats are usually susceptible to house break-ins as it’s quieter up here (e.g. less movement up and down the staircase). We installed a CCTV and window grilles to mitigate this potential problem.
  • Some delivery companies charge by the number of levels to deliver big bulky items that can’t fit into the lift (e.g. mattresses), so imagine the amount you have to pay if they have to deliver by climbing the stairs… *shudders* But in our case, it hasn’t been an issue. A standard king-sized mattress can fit into the lift.

The good

  • The view up here is beautiful. The skies we see are always full of surprises.
  • No noisy footsteps from neighbours above.
  • No pipes in the toilet. Spacious toilets.
  • Higher ceiling than all other flats below – penthouse feeling. Good for us because Hubbs is quite tall.
  • And it’s not hot at all, because we don’t get the afternoon sun. It’s windy in the evenings. So the key thing is to avoid west-facing flats.
  • Top-level flats get higher resale value, although this doesn’t really relate to me because we plan to stay in our flat for a long, long time.

In summary, I would recommend you to get a top-level flat if you can, as long as you don’t get one that is west-facing. Best is if you get one with an unblocked view. The beautiful skies we see and the relaxed vibe we get from the extra space at the top level make those (ad-hoc) inconveniences we get seem so insignificant.

Best Wedding Lunch/Dinner in Singapore

Having attended a few wedding lunches and dinners for the past 2 years, I rank these 3 places to have served the best wedding lunches/dinners, arguably in Singapore. Do note that I voted them as the best based solely on food quality. I did not take into consideration their ambience, decorations and service. So here’s the lowdown!

1) Conrad Hotel. Sarah had her wedding held here and I must say, Conrad is really hard to beat. The food portions are generous and the quality, ‘up there’. Every dish came out piping hot and according to what we had tasted during the food tasting session. According to Sarah, they only have one ballroom, which means the whole entire kitchen is dedicated to serving your guests only. Sarah and ZH requested the food to be individually plated, so they had to pay the price of 30 tables, even though they only had 28 tables.

Take a look at their menu which we had during food-tasting. For the dessert on the actual day, it was changed to refreshing aloe vera + strawberries + mango bowl, accompanied with crispy fried pancake with black sesame paste. The first dish, Bird’s Nest Braised with Bamboo Pith, Crab Meat and Roe was warm, hearty and comforting. Save the sharks – no shark’s fins!

Everyone was also raving about the Sea Perch fillet, baked with XO Chilli Sauce (picture beside the Braised Bird’s Nest). The fish was fresh, well-seasoned and baked to flaky perfection. The 8-Head South Africa Abalone Braised with Sea Cucumber was really good too.
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2) Tung Lok Signatures at Orchard Parade Hotel. The exterior and interior of this restaurant have nothing to shout about. It’s a small and intimate restaurant (with a very low ceiling). But boy, the food was darn good! Every single dish was just delectable. I am salivating thinking about the dinner. I did not take pictures of the food because I was just too busy tucking in at the table. Here’s the menu. Every. Single. Dish. Was. Amazing. Trust me. DR, who is a picky eater, praised the restaurant and said it was the best wedding dinner he had. Of special mention is the first dish, lobster prepared in two ways – chilled salad and baked in French-style; the 4th, HK-styled Steamed Sea Star Garoupa in Superior Soya Sauce and the 6th,  Braised Sea Cucumber.

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3) Crowne Plaza, Changi Airport. This hotel surprised me. While there were one or two misses, the lunch was generally enjoyable there. For the price (I think it costs about $900+ per table for a weekend lunch?), the food is not bad. Of special mention is the Double Boiled Chicken Soup with Fresh Ginseng, Steamed Pomfret in Teochew style and Braised Broccoli with Abalone Mushroom. The ambience over there is wonderful as well, perhaps because the Changi Airport environment made people feel relaxed. Here’s the menu.

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Do consider these places for your wedding if your focus is on food quality (:

The many views of Sengkang Riverside Park

Here are the views of Sengkang Riverside Park at different times of the day. Photos taken by yours truly and DR from our home.

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At the break of dawn

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At around 7am

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Bright early morning at the park

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Clear, windy day at about 4pm

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Early evening

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Nightfall

And the last look of the park…
……..

…………
In the haze. Lol!

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Farewell, Mr Lee Kuan Yew (16 Sep 1923 – 23 Mar 2015)

Earlier this morning, it was announced that Mr Lee Kuan Yew, our nation’s first Prime Minister, passed away.

I teared scrolling through the pictures and articles of him on my FB page after reality sunk in after work. He is gone forever.

My prayer now is for his family to be comforted in this grieving period, that Singapore – his passion in life will continue to be strong, and lastly, that the prayer I made for him last year will be answered.

Quoting my mom, “李光耀去世,好像我们的家人离开这世界一样.”

Farewell, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. 

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Remembering Mr Lee Kuan Yew

My wisdom tooth surgery with local anaesthesia

I had a wisdom tooth surgery about 2 days ago, and was given 5 working days of MC. So here I am, having a little luxury of time to blog down my experience. By recording this experience, I hope that it will be useful to those who want to find out more about wisdom tooth surgery procedures using local anaesthesia, and hopefully, lessen the uncertainties and fear of it.

My wisdom tooth surgery was supposed to happen in late January/early February when the throbbing headaches and jaw pain came early this year. But due to work/church commitment schedule, it was arranged to be in end February. Thankfully, the doctor gave me antibiotics to tide me over the pain period. But the pain came back over the CNY. Although surgeries are not something I anticipate or enjoy, I was actually looking forward to my wisdom tooth surgery to finally rid myself of the excruciating pain and painkiller popping.

Choosing a doctor

I went to Popular Dental Clinic (Woodlands) and Dr Kenneth Lee was my wisdom tooth surgeon. I specifically requested a male doctor as I believe that males have more physical strength to pull out my infected and impacted tooth. Since the surgery was to be done with local anaesthesia (meaning, I will be fully awake to feel the tugging of the tooth, the sound of drilling and cracking URGH!), having physical strength to get the impacted tooth out without too much tugging was imperative!

Here’s an approximate timeline of what happened:

2.20pm: I reached the clinic and was greeted with the receptionists’ warm smiles. They got me to fill up forms of my medical history and ensure that I have sufficient monies in my Medisave account to settle the wisdom tooth surgery.

2.35pm: Went into the dental room and saw Dr Lee and his dental assistant, a motherly looking lady. She helped to get the X-ray imaging of my mouth done in a separate small room. It was over in less than 5 minutes.

2.40pm: After the X-ray imaging, Dr Lee gave me a detailed explanation of my wisdom tooth situation, how he was going to remove it, and went through the risks involved in the surgery, including the possibility of long-term or permanent damage of the jaw nerves. Thankfully, from the X-ray image, my jaw nerves are rather separate from my gums = lower chance of the nerves being injured by the pulling and tugging of the impacted tooth. I also found out that I had to: 1) Find another time to mend the tooth in front of my impacted tooth, where the old filling had been chipped off by the impacted tooth; and 2) Remove the right-hand side of my wisdom tooth with another surgery (WHAAATT)!

2.45pm: Signed the paper acknowledging that the doc had gone through the procedures with me and that I was aware of the risks involved. I was given a pair of tinted googles to wear (probably to protect me from seeing those big, bad dental tools) as I lay down on the dental chair.

2.50pm: Given 5 jabs of anaesthesia to my gums (and tongue area, I think). The usual was about 3 to 4 but Dr Lee said that my tooth was quite badly infected, so I needed more anaesthesia to numb the area. The injections were not a walk in the park. Every time the needle went in, I could feel the sharp, sourish tinge to my gum. Shoulders tensed, I just closed my eyes and winced. Dr Lee was nice – before every jab, he would say, “Sorry for the pain”, counted to 3, told me to take a deep breath before injecting the anaesthesia into my gums. Dr Lee’s small, assuring act really helped make the injections more bearable. He also made sure that the left-side of my mouth was completely numb by prodding my gums with some dental tool (this was how I got my 5th jab as I could still feel some sensation of the dental tool after the 4th jab). After the 5th jab, I lay there for about 3 to 5 minutes to allow the anaesthesia to take effect. For those who are not sure how numbness is like, your mouth is supposed to feel tingly, just like how your numb legs feel when you have been sitting in an awkward position.

3pm: With the left-side of my mouth fully numbed, the surgery proceeded. Dr Lee told me that if I felt any other further pain midway the op, I could raise my left hand so that he could inject my gums with more anaesthesia if necessary. Dr Lee was supposed to saw off the top part of my tooth before cracking my tooth into 2 parts to remove the roots. Before every move, he would prime me what to expect, like how I would hear a drilling sound, or that he was going to start with the cracking. I could feel and hear the full glory of the pressure, drilling and cracking of the tooth, but I just closed my eyes to stop myself from imagining nasty things were being done in my mouth. After every move, Dr Lee would tell me to rest my mouth for a while (by closing it). When Dr Lee speaks to me, he would do it in English and to his dental assistant, Chinese. This was how I differentiated the instructions he gives to me and his assistant during the op.

3.25pm: The drilling, the cracking, the tugging, the holding down of my jaw. I felt Dr Lee trying his best to yank out my tooth and his breathing was getting a little heavier. My body was tensed. As my tooth was quite badly infected, I was afraid that more pain might come. Dr Lee mentioned before the op that there might be a need to do another anaesthetic jab if the earlier jabs were not sufficient to penetrate deep into the gums. I prayed and asked God to help me go through this successfully.  Suddenly, I felt that Jesus was beside me, hovering above me and He said, “You are my child, I will not let anything happen to you. You will be ok.” With that, I immediately felt my body loosening itself. And then, came the last yank. Dr Lee declared, “Your wisdom tooth is out!”

3.30pm: Dr Lee asked me to close my mouth to rest again. He then prepared the stitches. I felt the thread at the side of my mouth when he was stitching the wound up, but thankfully, I didn’t sense the needle poking me.

3.35pm: Stitches done. Dr Lee stuffed a gauze into my wound and asked me to bite down hard to stop the bleeding. He told me of the medication that he was going to give me. I was to pop the antibiotics, anti-swelling medication and Panadol as soon as I got home. He gave me a strong painkiller too, but told me to take it an hour and a half later as I had earlier in the afternoon taken Ibuprofen (another painkiller) before the op, and that could not be taken together with this strong painkiller. Dr Lee showed me my badly decayed, bloody wisdom tooth too. It was grrrrooooosssssss! I asked to keep it.

3.40pm: Went out of the dental room and waited for the receptionists to prepare the medicine for me. After explaining again the dosage of my medication, they also told me how I should take care of my wound after the op. I was asked specifically not to use a straw to drink, or rinse, or gargle as these actions might cause the bloodclot in my wound to not form properly. They prepared a sheet of post-op advice which I felt was useful as a reference. I also arranged a date with the clinic to remove my stitches.

3.45pm: Left the clinic and popped by a nearby supermarket to purchase my own Panadol, some yogurt and juice as food.

4.15pm: Got home and rested!

Really thank God for bringing me through this surgery, and arranging a good doctor. Kudos to Dr Lee and the dental clinic team for their professionalism!

 

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