The Circuit Breaker Life: 10 Things You Never Knew You Were Thankful For


circuit breaker life singapore

Staying home during this time has made us crave face-to-face human interaction or yearn to go back to our usual routines.

In a state of boredom, people are forced to get creative. We have quickly changed up our routines such as converting our gym sessions to home workouts, or even achieving new goals such as learning a new skill online or finishing a book that we read halfway.

But there are also some who have thought of really bizarre things. For instance, a Redditor built a life-sized Jewel Changi Airport in Minecraft to curb his boredom. 

Another Redditor even came up with a ‘Stay Home MRT Line’ to sum up a day of his life.

Image Credit: Reddit

We may be stuck at home but that doesn’t stop people from thinking of creative ways to spend their Circuit Breaker life differently. One thing’s for sure though, here are 10 things that we’ll definitely miss once the Circuit Breaker is over.

1. Wake Up Later, Wear PJs All Day

Image Credit: India Today

Working from home brings about many perks for the lazybones.

Firstly, you get to snooze a little longer because we no longer have to be out the door by 8am to catch the train. If work starts at 9am, we can afford to wake up five minutes before and skip the shower.

Who cares if you’ve not brushed your teeth or if you’re wearing pyjamas to work?

Ultimately, this saves us a lot of time. You also do not have to style your hair or think about what to wear every day. Doing work in comfortable PJs and messy hair all day is a true luxury that comes with working from home.

2. Home-cooked Meals

Image Credit:<a href=" Rave Photography

Having the time to cook for yourself is a luxury. When you are working from home, it is a lot easier to find the time and motivation to make healthy, budget-friendly meals -- which both your body and wallet will thank you for.

People have also extended their warmth and care to others by cooking and baking food for them and delivering it to their houses while practising safe distancing.

Or if you are living with your parents, you can enjoy your mum’s or dad’s delicious home-cooked food every single day. Above all, who can say no to home-cooked food?

With the Circuit Breaker extended by another 4 weeks, you still have time to savour it (literally) while you can, because once the Circuit Breaker life is over, we will go back to our humdrum routines of ‘dabao-ing’ food at the nearest kopitiam and wolfing them down at our desks before rushing for the next meeting.

3. Mini Breaks And Quality Me-Time

Image Credit: Bedding Affairs

As we shift to working from home amid this Circuit Breaker, we have more autonomy over managing our schedules and taking short breaks to recharge ourselves. Our mornings and evenings are now longer as we don’t have to spend time commuting to and from work.

With these extended pockets of time, many have turned to indulging in a hearty breakfast in the mornings or going for a quick run (while observing safe distancing measures, of course!). Throughout the work day, we may even steal some time to take a power nap, have a quick work-out session or even enjoy a tea break.

These simple activities definitely aid in relaxation and revitalisation. After all, when you are well-rested, your productivity will also increase.

4. Ability To Multi-Task During Work Meetings

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Now that we are working from home, we have embraced video-conferencing platforms like Zoom and Skype to host online meetings instead.

The good thing about online meetings is that we can ‘multi-task’ and get other tasks done while paying attention to the meeting. Multi-tasking is not necessarily a bad thing as we can get more things done with pockets of free time.

5. Free Workout Sessions

Even though physical gyms, studios and sports facilities have been closed during this period of time, you can still get your work-out sessions.

SportSG’s Get Active TV has teamed up with some of the fitness instructors in Singapore to stream live workouts on Facebook and YouTube.

On Instagram, many influencers have also been churning out live-streaming sessions, hosting workshops and activities for their followers to join in the fun.

Image Credit: ActiveSG

Local songbirds Narelle Kheng and Sandra Riley Tang of Sam Willows, for one, will be conducting a workout session via Instagram (IG) Live (do keep a lookout on their IG on April 30) as part of the #stayhomeforSG challenge, so stay tuned for it! If you would like to find inspiration on things to do at home, check out the hashtag #stayhomeforSG on social media channels to see what everyone else is doing!

You can also try to complete this month-long workout plan as part of the Box Office Fitness Circuit Breaker challenge, which includes a mix of HIIT, strength, cardio and recovery exercises, to help stay in shape.

6. Access To More Free Online Resources

As Singaporeans, it’s in our nature to love free things.

Since lockdowns have begun in various countries, virtual classes have erased geographical boundaries, with major businesses rolling out free online classes.

A few paid TV operators such as StarHub and Singtel have extended a free preview of their TV channels to curb your boredom during this time.Meanwhile, Audible has made their library of books and audio stories free to stream following this COVID-19 outbreak.

Image Credit: PA courses on Facebook

People’s Association (PA) is also conducting free ‘live’ 30-minute classes on their social media platforms for affected PA courses and activities. It conducts various classes from cooking to calligraphy, so here’s your chance to learn a new skill!

Local actress Jeanette Aw and Miele Singapore’s Chef Lennard Yeong also filmed an Instagram Live video together last week while they cooked and baked from their home kitchens. Missed it? Fret not! You can watch their completed 20-minute cooking session on both Jeanette’s and Lennard’s IG accounts.

The list of free resources is not exhaustive, so do take advantage of them while you can.

7. More Family Bonding Time

Image Credit: Shutterstock

As most of your family members are now working from home, this means that you will be seeing more of them, giving you the opportunity for more family time. Who knows, you might even learn something new about them!

Beyond that, working from home together means that you can afford to have meals together, for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Since everyone shares the same working schedule (sort of), there’s no reason to miss out on family meals anymore.

Having meals together means you can get to stay updated on each other’s lives over conversations, which helps to strengthen ties and build better relationships.

8. Hanging Out With Friends (Virtually) Anytime

Image Credit: Inc42

Packed and conflicting schedules have sometimes made it difficult for you and your friends to find a meeting time that works for everyone.

Since we are now in Circuit Breaker mode, everyone is practically confined to their houses. Besides working from home, we don’t have much else on our schedule so there is technically no excuse to not hang out with friends anymore, albeit virtually.

Take this chance to catch up with your friends and make up for lost time. Have a lunch date over video calls, host game nights on apps like Houseparty, or even sing karaoke in a virtual KTV room on apps like Quan Min Party.

If both you and your friends like playing online games together, consider checking out the DOTA and FIFA livestreams where gamers battle it out.

Happening across two channels on May 2, from 12pm to 4pm, watch Sylvia from Night Owl Cinematics compete against local pro-gamer iceiceice in a DOTA game! You can catch Sylvia on NOCplays YouTube channel or iceiceice over on Twitch in the livestream as they battle it out.

If you are a FIFA fan, be sure to catch local actors Charlie Goh and Noah Yap attempt to score against Hibidi, a local FIFA pro-gamer. The livestreams will be held on May 3, 8pm, on Charlie and Noah’s IG and Hibidi’s Facebook page.

9. Supporting Local F&B Businesses

Image Credit: Great Deals Singapore

While F&B businesses see their sales take a hit as the dining-in ban has kicked in, they can only count on takeaway and delivery orders.

There is no better time than now to do our part to help local F&B establishments tide over this difficult period of time and #supportLocal by buying from them.Through the ‘Hawkers United – Dabao 2020’ Facebook group initiative, we have seen how Singaporeans come together to preserve the hawker culture and help our favourite stalls to continue their business.

10. Being At Home To Receive Your Parcels

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One of the things we would appreciate about staying at home is being there to receive our online deliveries in person. It is also something to look forward to while we are at home.

Nothing beats the happiness and excitement we get when the delivery man appears on our doorstep with a box. For now, we no longer have to wait in anticipation to arrive home to unwrap our online purchases – we can do it instantly.

This is one of the little things that we would be thankful for when the Circuit Breaker life is over.

Stay Home For Singapore

COVID-19 has made us realise the importance of keeping ourselves active, having a work-life balance and staying connected with our family and friends.

Even after the Circuit Breaker has ended, we should not cease practising these important and positive habits.

Everyone, including you and I, has a critical part to play in fighting the battle against COVID-19, so we need to be socially responsible and take precautions to help safeguard one another and save lives.

While it’s indeed a tough time for the nation, it’s imperative to stay positive. Just because we are encouraged to stay at home, it does not mean that we cannot continue to stay active and engaged, or care for one another.

Join the SG United Telegram channel to receive the latest updates on COVID-19 content and ongoing community initiatives. Also, share what you are doing at home during this Circuit Breaker period on social media by tagging #stayhomeforSG and #SGUnited. You never know – you may inspire others with ideas on what they can do at home!

Remember, Singapore can pull through this only if we do it together! #stayhomeforSG #SingaporeTogether #SGUnited

This article is written in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth.

Header Image Credit: Inc42 / Shutterstock

As millennials and Gen Z-ers, we love any stunning visual installation that makes a great photo-op for our Instagram feed, but to call us superficial would be wrong.

We’re also the same people who crave to go deep and talk about the meaning of life, our hopes and dreams, and how we envision a better world.

A new roadshow called Spark The Next: Youth Hangout will let you do both. While it sets a dazzling backdrop of swirling colours for the ‘gram, it’s also packed with many insightful things to discover, based on topics that we care about.

Here’s why you should check it out.

Psychedelic Spaces Come Alive When You Step Inside

Spark The Next: Youth Hangout, installation about what the youths of Singapore envision for the future.
Image Credit: DiscoverSG

If your favourite installations are the kind you can interact with, Spark The Next: Youth Hangout will let you unapologetically be the ‘itchy-fingers’ your parents used to call you.

Step inside the various installations, snoop around and see what happens. Each of its psychedelic spaces isfilled with interactive elements — every action you take here triggers a reaction that may just surprise you!

In fact, the installations quite literally won’t show you anything special unless you work with them. So go ahead and don’t hold back your curiosity!

Learn How Your Habits Can Make The World Around You Greener 

Many young Singaporeans are on board with the idea of sustainability. But frankly, we know it’s going to take SO much more than just metal straws to fix waste, pollution and climate change.

For the eco-conscious who want to know how they can do their part, Room For Change will show you where to look.

What do you do with your old phone when you upgrade to a newer model? Did you know your fashion choices could be leaving a nasty trace too? The good news is, switching to better habits can make a positive impact.

Explore this installation to find out how your little changes can go a long way!

We Don’t Have To Hide What We’re Dealing With Inside

The Invisible Gallery installation at #SparkTheNext showcases unseen stories of struggles from real Singaporeans.
Image Credit: Spark The Next

We’re the generation that’s ready to stop shying away and get real about mental health and many other complications of growing up. But it isn’t always easy for these conversations to happen. When everyone constantly tries to put their best ‘face’ forward, sometimes we don’t know who’s actually struggling.

The Invisible Gallery shows you blank canvases at first, just like the way emotional strife is often hidden beneath the surface. There’s a simple trick to revealing what lies beneath. We won’t tell you how, but here’s a hint: your handphone will help you out.

Once you find out what to do, you’ll start to see stories of struggles come to light. Prepare to have your heartstrings tugged as Singaporeans share about their personal experiences with mental health, addiction and other unseen struggles.

Find Out How Successful Singaporeans Were Once #YouthsLikeUs

Meet a young Fandi Ahmad and learn from his journey at the Youths Like Us installation, #SparkTheNext
Image Credit: DiscoverSG

Everyone could use a motivator now and then, to remind you that you’re doing great and to keep going towards your goals!

Who better to do that than fellow Singaporeans who have been through the hustle and made their mark?

Youths-Like-Us lets you ‘meet’ Michelle Chong, Fandi Ahmad, MasterChef Asia finalist Lennard Yeong and Tanglin actress Eswari Gunasagar as their younger selves pursuing their passions, and they each have a few words to help motivate you along your own path to success.

Meet a young Michelle Chong to learn about her journey at the Youths Like Us installation, #SparkThe Next
Image Credit: DiscoverSG

Besides getting some nuggets of wisdom about how they made personal progress on their journey, you could also win exclusive workshops with each of the four personalities!

Free Entry To An Immersive Experience

The best part is that Spark The Next: Youth Hangout is completely free for anyone to enjoy. If you’re tired of expensive outings with your friends or S/O, this makes for a memorable activity you can try without spending a cent.

In fact, you can also look out for instructions at the installation to redeem free bubble tea, and stand a chance to win mall vouchers!

You’ll definitely leave with something new learnt, and maybe even feel inspired to start a change IRL.

The installation will be hopping across a few locations around Singapore, including Plaza Singapura and Our Tampines Hub. You can catch it first at Jurong Point from 20 November!

Spark The Next: Youth Hangout
Location: Jurong Point
Date: 20 – 24 November 2019

Location: Plaza Singapura
Date: 27 November – 1 December 2019

Location: Our Tampines Hub
Date: 4 – 8 December 2019

Click <a href=" to find out more.

This article was written in collaboration with Spark The Next by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

Header Image Credit: DiscoverSG

Many of us are familiar with Getai, but the art form that truly captures the charm of ancient Chinese performing arts is Chinese Opera.

It’s ostentatious costumes, over-the-top make-up, and the dramatic falsetto singing are symbolic of a fascinating art form that can be traced way back to the Tang Dynasty. And although Chinese Opera isn’t as popular today, there’s still so much value and beauty to this traditional performing arts, which you can experience at the upcoming Chinatown Opera Festival!

Experience Traditional Chinese Opera at Chinatown Opera Festival 2019

This 20th to 24th November, Singaporeans will get to travel back in time and experience the performing arts on the 50s and 60s at the Chinatown Opera Festival 2019!

The first ever opera festival showcasing Singapore’s rich local heritage and culture will feature a range of exquisite performances as well as activities and food that encapsulates the nostalgic days of the past.

You can expect an array of performances by local troupes like the Qiong Ju Society of Singapore and <a href=" Theatre Circle, and international troupes like the Guangzhou Hongdou Cantonese Opera Troupe.

Highlights include Hainanese Opera by Qiong Ju Society of Singapore / Image Credit: Qiong Ju Singapore

For the younger audience, fret not as there are also ‘introductory programmes’ that will guide you in navigating the eclectic world of Chinese Opera. There’s even a live demonstration of Chinese Opera weapons, which is sure to excite even the most unenthused!

Other highlights of the shows include puppet shows, face-changing performances, the beautiful water sleeve dance, and also a special Pop Music & Opera segment featuring local artistes Sylvester Sim, Nick Shen, and Gavin Xie.

Image Credit: <a href="

More Nostalgic Activities!

Besides the stage programmes, there are also plenty of activities at the festival which are free for all. Have some fun at the colouring and games stations, and don’t forget to get your photos taken at the photobooth as keepsake!

Snack on some traditional Dragon’s Beard candy / Image Credit: PartyMojo

There will also be food stalls offering assortments of traditional snacks, so you can indulge in some dragon beard candy, egg tarts, and our all-time favourite ice cream bread as you explore and shop for Opera merchandise.

Win A Brand New iPhone 11 At The #ChinatownSG Contest

On top of that, stand a chance to win a brand new iPhone 11 at the #ChinatownSG contest! To participate, follow Chinatown Singapore on Facebook (ChinatownstreetmarketSG) and Instagram (@ChinatownSingapore).

Post any two photos of yourself in operatic costume or with any of the opera characters at the event venue, Banda Street carpark, or Kreta Ayer Square and on your Facebook and Instagram with the hashtags #ChinatownSG #VisitSingapore #PassionMadePossible. Remember to also tag @ChinatownstreetmarketSG on Facebook, and <a href=" on Instagram!

Event Details

Tickets are currently on sale at Chinatown Visitor Centre, Chinatown Heritage Centre and online at SGD $20 for Premium Seating and $10 for General Admission of night shows.

Date: 20 – 24 November 2019

Time: 2pm - 10.30pm

Venue: Banda Street Carpark @ 2 Banda Street

For more details, visit <a href="

Featured Image Credit: Chinatown Business Association

This article was written in collaboration with Chinatown Business Association.

We all know City Hall as an MRT station and the bridge between the ‘red’ and ‘green’ train lines, but the ‘real’ City Hall is actually a three minute walk away, at National Gallery Singapore.

Unbeknownst to some, City Hall was once known as the Municipal Building, and provided the backdrop for many significant—yet sometimes lesser-known—moments in Singapore’s history. For example, did you know that it was on the steps of City Hall that the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew recited the Proclamation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963?

In conjunction with the Singapore Bicentennial, National Gallery Singapore has launched a new exhibition that opens the window to these lesser known stories, taking you on an immersive multimedia experience where you will get to witness these moments come to life.

Free for Singaporeans and PRs, this exhibition marks the first time that National Gallery Singapore is hosting a long-term exhibition within the City Hall Chamber.

Embark On A Historical Journey With ‘Encik Awang’

Begin your experience with ‘Encik Awang’, a character inspired by a real-life caretaker, who will guide you through key events that happened in and around the City Hall building. Before that however, have your photos taken at the photobooth and download them via a QR code. You’ll also be in for a surprise as these photos will be incorporated into a part of the show!

Embark on a journey through time to learn about the origins of the building, its name, and the other stories within the building’s walls.

Go on a multisensorial historical journey through these interactive panels
Image Credit: National Gallery Singapore

The 20-minute multimedia show will immerse you in these stories through several interactive elements, like diffusing the smoke caused by a Japanese air raid during the war.

The City Hall building served as a bomb shelter during the Japanese occupation. The City Hall chamber is also where the Japanese surrender took place.
Image Credit: National Gallery Singapore

Besides the evolving roles of the building, you will also learn about some lesser-known trades like lamplighters. Overseen by the Municipal Council, they climbed up lamp posts daily to illuminate the streets which were lined with gas-powered lamps.

Muse Over Our History And Culture At The Social Wall

After bidding goodbye to Encik Awang, head on over to Singapore Courtyard at level 3 of the City Hall building, where you’ll get to deepen your understanding of Singapore’s past through art at the Social Wall, a life-sized multi-touch interactive screen.

The Social Wall at level 3 of the City Hall building is made out of twelve 55-inch panels
Image Credit: National Gallery Singapore

Here, you can choose from curated themes like Portraits of Lives, Architecture and Stories, Conflicts and Concerns, War and Adversity, Places and Inspirations, and Changing Landscapes, which will present you with a selection of artworks that inspire you to think about the historical and cultural contexts of their creation. 

There’s also a ‘Surprise Me!’ function to personalise your experience, which will create a journey based on your profile.

You can even go on a hunt for the original artworks presented on the Social Wall! Download a digital map via the QR code on the Social Wall, which will lead you to the pieces displayed in the exhibits at Siapa Nama Kamu? Art in Singapore since the 19th Century.

The artwork on the left is one of the artworks you will find on the hunt.
Image Credit: National Gallery Singapore

Immerse Yourself In The Unique Stories At The Memories Of City Hall

After celebrating the history of City Hall and the events surrounding the building, get a different perspective of history through the lenses of people who used to walk the hallways of this grand monument at the Memories of City Hall. The personal stories of these people who have played an important role in the building’s history makes for a great way to wrap up your experience. 

Located at Singapore Courtyard at level 2 of the City Hall, the exhibition completes the City Hall story with a selection of oral history interviews and archives of unique stories and memories of people who were based in City Hall from the 1960s to 1980s. These include stories of former civil servants in the early days of Singapore’s independence.

You can also download the Gallery Explorer App to read more about the compelling stories relating to key moments in Singapore’s history, such as the unveiling of Singapore’s State Crest and National Flag, and the first public performance of the national anthem.

Celebrate City Hall’s Rich History

Image Credit: National Gallery Singapore

Whether you’re a history or art buff, or simply looking for an exhibition to check out, City Hall: If Walls Could Talk will be an engaging journey of discovery, and will surprise you with little known facts about a majestic building that we are visually familiar with. 

Check out City Hall: If Walls Could Talk from 1 September 2019 at the 3rd floor, City Hall Chamber, National Gallery Singapore. 

General admission applies to the exhibition (free for Singaporeans and PRs). For more information, visit! 

This article is written in collaboration with National Gallery Singapore.

Header Image Credit: National Gallery Singapore

This is a Part 2 of Zuraidah’s story, click here if you missed Part 1.

Planning for our own home

Once we decided together as a family that we wanted to own our own home, we did a lot of homework:

  • To calculate the maximum amount our home could cost if we only wanted to use CPF for monthly loan repayments (without topping up cash)
  • To calculate how much CPF we needed for the down payment and loan
  • To find a job with CPF contribution (as my husband found work as a cleaner which gave him employer CPF contribution)
  • Checking regularly with HDB on BTO locations to apply for which were within our budget
  • What grants we were eligible for

But how can I own my own HDB when I was not working?

When my youngest daughter was four years old, we had a family conversation about me returning to work.

My children and husband were supportive, and the CDC allowed us three extra months of financial assistance until I was stable enough in my job to stop the assistance. With Beyond’s help, I enrolled in a parenting workshop to regain my confidence and computer classes to upgrade my digital skills. Beyond also found subsidised childcare places for my two youngest children while we applied for KidSTART.

Graphic: KidSTART is a pilot programme for low-income and vulnerable young children, to enable them to have a good start in life. (Source: MSF)

With my children’s education settled, I could have peace of mind to look for a job. I saw an advertisement from an eldercare centre looking for a cleaner, and called the manager to apply.

He was very kind, and after speaking to me, he said I should try applying for the position to run programmes for the elderly. “Just because you might not have the qualifications now doesn’t mean you cannot learn and be qualified for this role. I’m sure you can learn,” he said.

That was how I secured my current job in an eldercare centre, taking in a steady income with employer CPF contributions (as well as Workfare). 

How we paid for our flat with our CPF

In 2013, we successfully applied for a 3-room BTO flat in Sengkang which cost $189,000.

My husband then utilised his first-timer grant of $25,000 and we used some of our CPF to fulfil the down-payment. We also appealed to HDB to add the $20,000 resale levy to the total cost, this meant we could then use CPF to make the monthly repayments.

Graphic: In September 2019, HDB announced the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant which gives more help to families who want to own their own HDB. (Source: Seedly/HDB)

For the HDB loan, I had enough CPF in my bank account (saved up over the years since I worked as a teenager) to shave off a large amount of our loan.

This meant that my husband and I only had to fork out $350 collectively every month to pay off our 20-year housing loan, and our CPF earnings based on our permanent jobs could cover this $350 without having to fork out extra cash.

I was so amazed I could save up so much over the years in CPF, so I always tell my children to get a job with CPF employer contributions.

Paying for a HDB we own vs rental housing

In the past, my husband and I paid $450 a month for our rental flat based on our gross salaries. There were times that we were not able to afford the rent and had to contact Social Service Offices for help. Thankfully after they spoke to HDB, HDB allowed us to pay the outstanding rental bill in instalments. This incident also made me want to own my own HDB.

Graphic: Benefits of owning your HDB vs renting one (Source:

Looking at the math, paying $350 a month in loans to own our own HDB is indeed much better than paying $450 for a rental flat.

After learning how to plan and buy my own HDB, I’ve also helped my sister plan and apply for her HDB.

This is #myHDBstory We renovated our home simply, with brown cabinets for kitchen and I decorated my TV console with flowers.

Photo: My favourite place in my HDB flat is in the living room. We have a view of the river nearby and I like to rest here after work. (Source: Mdm Zuraidah)

I like to spend time with my family at home, and am grateful I can talk to my children about topics such as purchasing a HDB flat.

I want to share my journey so more people can learn how to own their HDB, to have a space they can call their own.

Author’s footnote: After she moved out of her rental flat in Lengkok Bahru to Sengkang, Mdm Zuraidah still returns to Lengkok Bahru regularly to volunteer with Beyond Social Services.

Special thanks to Mdm Zuraidah and Beyond Social Services for the interview and for sharing her #myHDBstory.

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You can scour the city to experience some of the finer things Singapore has to offer, but a chance to live like actual royalty will still be worlds apart.

From the view of our local life, gazing upon kings and queens on their regal thrones is a faraway concept. We can’t relate, but we’ll admit it’s fun to imagine what it might be like. 

If you want to get a taste of the high life, take to the seas and Dream Cruises will lay out a spread fit for an emperor. 

Their signature culinary extravaganza “Taste The Dream – Wine and Dine at Sea” returns this year with a royal spin, thanks to two internationally acclaimed chefs who’ll be making their debuts on board the Genting Dream and World Dream cruise liners.

In East-meets-West fashion, Chef Darren McGrady and Chef Ivan Li present two unique dining experiences to choose from, The Queen’s Feast and The Forbidden Banquet. The craziest thing is, they’ll be serving dishes that have been tasted and praised by the royals themselves.

In his 15 years of service at Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace, Chef McGrady has been trusted with crafting the favourite foods of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry. He brings to the table some of his culinary wonders that have gotten their seals of approval.

Chef Ivan Li is just as impressive, coming down the line from his great grandfather who headed the imperial kitchen to the last Qing emperor. He’s now the second generation owner of Family Li Imperial Cuisine, a prestigious restaurant that has carried on the legacy feeding numerous dignitaries and celebrities since 1985.

Here are some dishes they’ll be serving at sea that are bound to make anyone feel grand.

Juniper Crusted Venison with Truffle Oil Risotto

Combining two of The Queen’s most favoured delights in one masterpiece, Chef McGrady’s venison takes your taste buds to the grounds of Balmoral Castle.

Queen Elizabeth loves a serving of game for her main courses, and this dish was prepared for her with the abundant venison on the Balmoral Estate.

If you’re a chocoholic, that’s one thing you can say you have in common with The Queen, before you get swept away by the surprising twist of a chocolate-infused grand veneur sauce topping this delectable cut of meat.

Another dimension of flavour comes from the fluffy bed of risotto it lies upon, made with wild mushrooms and truffles, and adored by Prince Charles.

Ballotine of Salmon, Tomato & Dill Mousse, Herb Marinated Lobster Tail

The life of royalty sure looks magnificent, but it isn’t all indulgence either. When Chef McGrady was the personal chef to Princess Diana at Kensington Palace, she had him turn her meals fat-free to help her maintain a healthy lifestyle, and he did this with her favourite tomato and dill mousse.

His new rendition does away with the full-fat mayonnaise and heavy cream, while it still packs a rich flavour and smooth texture.

Served alongside a fresh piece of lobster was just the way Princess Diana loved it. On top of that, guests will enjoy the addition of a supple ballotine of salmon, finished with avocado and caviar.

Bread and Butter Pudding

Chef McGrady’s bread and butter pudding was another dish famously treasured by Princess Diana. In fact, she loved it too much to keep it to herself and often raved to her friends that it was the best in the world.

It became so iconic that many have tried to recreate it, describing it as a heavenly cross between a traditional bread pudding and a crème brûlée, sprinkled with raisins and slivered almonds. But none can match up to the original, of course.

The treat gets sweeter as it’s drizzled with salted caramel sauce, and accompanied by the chef’s masterfully made drambuie blueberry compote and vanilla bean ice cream.

Mashed Green Beans with Minced Scallops and Ginger

If you’d prefer a taste of oriental grandeur, Chef Li’s imperial menus will take you deep into the Forbidden City. More than just delicacies, some of his creations are rightfully a work of art too.

Specially invented for Empress Dowager Cixi, who was a great lover of jade, this unusual appetiser is coined ‘Tofu of Jade’ for its distinctive pale green hue. Achieved by mashing green beans into a smooth, silky, curd-like texture, it truly shows that the simplest ingredients can be turned extravagant in the hands of a master.

Along with it, savour Chef Li’s delectable deep fried prawns wrapped with egg, and duck meat with sweet sauce.

Bird's Nest with Pheasant Meat and Vermicelli

Just like it is today, bird’s nest has historically been prized in Chinese cuisine. Back in the courts of the Qing dynasty, it was one of the most highly favoured ingredients to use.

Bird’s nest with rock sugar was served to Emperor Qianlong for breakfast every morning, while Empress Dowager Cixi would request to have different dishes made from it on a daily basis.

Chef Li makes this dish even more classical with the addition of pheasant (we’d like to think of as the nobleman’s chicken), also another symbolic favourite of the royals of China.

Ready Your Crown, It’s Time To Set Sail!

If you’ve been holding out for the perfect opportunity to #treatyourself, it probably doesn’t get more luxurious than being served with the royal treatment out at sea.

Catch Chef Li on his voyage with World Dream from 13 – 20 October 2019, followed by his next sailing on Genting Dream, departing from Singapore for a 3-night getaway from 17 November 2019.

Chef McGrady embarks on Genting Dream from 11 – 13 November 2019, before he sets sail on two back-to-back sailings on World Dream from 29 December 2019 – 3 January 2020.

Besides a gastronomic experience, guests on the cruises can also enjoy a lineup of programmes including a Peking opera, British garden tea party, workshops and concerts on board.

To view the full menus and find out more about A Taste of the Palace, click here!

This article was written in collaboration with Dream Cruises.

My name is Zuraidah. This is my story of home.

My first home was a 3-room HDB flat with my parents and siblings at Bedok Reservoir.

At 13 years old, I quit school to work at a confectionery to support my family.

When I was 17 years old, I got engaged to my first husband and married him when I turned 21.

We wanted to stay near his parents, so we bought our first HDB flat, a resale unit, at a block next to my in-law’s flat. As first-timer HDB buyers, we tapped on the first-timer grant which reduced our cost by $40,000.

Photo: Our first home as a couple became my in-laws’ HDB at Choa Chu Kang. (Source: HDB)

With our new home, we started a family.

I gave birth to our daughter at the age of 22 years old.

Both of us worked to raise our family and pay the bills. I worked hard over weekends doing shift work in the sales line.

But… we drifted apart, our marriage broke down. My daughter was only 4 years old, and I was expecting a son.

We sold our home, the matrimonial flat, at the current market price, which was unfortunately not in our favour. We made a loss, but it couldn’t be helped.

I moved back home to my parents’ 3-room HDB with my two young children. When I worked, my mum helped me look after them at home.

It was tough being a single mum.

I yearned to be independent, to have a home to call my own, as I have been working since 13 years old.

In 2003, I applied for a rental flat. I was actually shocked how fast the application went through! Three months later, I moved to a rental flat in Lengkok Bahru.

Graphic: HDB Rental Flat Schemes (Source: HDB)

The location was a bit far from Bedok, but this didn’t stop my family of three from travelling back to Bedok to visit my parents often.

Finding love.

Throughout all these upheavals, I met my current husband. My daughter looked up to him as a father figure, a role which was absent in her earlier years.

We got married in 2005 and had two children of our own. In 2008, my parents sold off their 3-room flat and my mum stayed with us for a year before moving to my brother’s house.

Our humble rental flat was then home to 3 adults and 4 children – it was a bit of a squeeze, but we made it work.

We all slept on mattresses that could be folded and kept by the side. We took turns to use the only toilet based on how early we had to leave the house to get to school or work.

Worrying about home.

After I had my fourth child, I quit my job to look after my children.

I didn’t know I would be unemployed for five years. My husband fell ill and could not hold a full-time job.

We struggled to pay our bills – I worried we would be homeless.

Thankfully, when I approached the Community Development Council, they were able to offer some financial assistance for our rent and electricity as well as $350 a month to put food on the table.

Being unemployed was very stressful.

In the past, I tried different jobs, whatever I could do with my set of skills, as long as employers were willing to give me work. At 16 years old, I was a department store cashier. At 21 years old, I became a sales assistant.

With my time divided amongst my children, I had very little time left on my hands. I also did not have skills that I could use to earn money while working from home such as sewing or baking. On top of that, I breastfed my children and was not ready to stop breastfeeding as it meant a lot to me being able to provide for their nourishment as a mother.

Photo: Drink cans for recycling (Source: <a href=" Wu)

I remember there was a period of time I would go around collecting aluminium cans during the day. My elder daughter and I would wait for the lorry to come at 3am, so we could sell the cans to the driver at 20c per kg.

Once, someone stole two big trash bags full of cans, I was very upset!

I felt so depressed about my situation that I isolated myself from my neighbours.

When a home becomes part of the community.

In Lengkok Bahru, volunteers from Beyond Social Services would regularly knock on the doors at my block to speak to families living in rental flats.

At first, I did not want to talk much to them as I was stressed and not in a stable mood to discuss my family’s situation.

One day, the volunteers knocked on my door again. I decided to open it and just go through the usual routine of telling them how many children I had before saying goodbye.

But it was different this time, the volunteers shared that they were having a gathering of parents to discuss events they wanted to hold for the community.

Photo: Me (on the left) at one of the community conversations with my newfound circle of friends (Source: Beyond Social Services)

At the gathering, I met neighbours who were fellow mothers I had avoided speaking to for years. These mothers were very nice and shared their stories. I didn’t know that many had similar struggles, some even worse than mine.

Photo: At some of these community conversations, the residents (including myself holding a card) shared our stories and discussed what we could collectively do for our community. (Source: Beyond Social Services)

The feeling I had was so warm and welcoming that I had a brief respite from the problems I faced and enjoyed the company of the community.

For the community, by the community.

At events organised by the community of neighbours, for our community, I opened up about our situation. Beyond staff helped my family with diapers, milk and food rations.

More importantly, being involved in the community brought out the positive side of me.

I learnt how to emcee, how to have good teamwork. I found out that by sharing, I was able to receive even more help and support.

Photo: Myself (in front) and other residents having fun at one of the learning activities we organised with teachers from NIE for the community. (Source: Beyond Social Services)

The community of parents like myself organised several events, such as a 3D2N workshop for single parents. Instead of others planning for us, we planned and executed it ourselves, with support from Beyond.

We knocked on doors to identify homes with single parents, invited them, planned the programme, arranged the transport, divided the responsibilities, booked the venue and ran the event – I felt good that I was able to do something for others.

Community conversations – revealing our dream for a home

We had been living in a rental flat for so long that I did not imagine the possibility of owning my very own home.

If not for the Beyond core workshop that the community of us parents organised for fellow parents, my family would not have thought about discussing the dreams we wanted to achieve in five years’ time.

My children shared they wanted to have a place for our family to call our own, and that struck a deep chord in me, because I realised I forgot my dreams while struggling with our daily lives.

Photo: Being part of the community has given my family more opportunities to bond. It was at one such event that we had a chance to discuss our dreams in five years’ time, and realise we wanted to have our own home. (Source: Beyond Social Services)

Will Mdm Zuraidah and family achieve their dream? Read the second part to learn Mdm Zuraidah’s #myHDBstory

Are you a fan of Japanese beauty?

Do you want to experience a new and innovative way to shop for your beauty needs?

Well, there’s a new shopping experience in town that we’re sure you’ll enjoy!

From now till 20 October, popular Japanese brands under the Shiseido family Anessa, Senka, and Tsubaki have partnered with personal care chain Watsons Singapore to open the world’s first My Japanese Beauty Pop-Up Store.

Image Credit: Shiseido

Held in the heart of Orchard Road outside Takashimaya, the pop-up will allow visitors to discover the secrets of Japanese beauty and soak in Shiseido’s rich heritage while embarking on what could be described as a “multi-sensorial journey”.

Visitors can look forward to admiring eight historical products from Shiseido Corporate Museum, flown out of Japan for the first time with special escort and white-gloved treatment.

Highlights include Tsubaki’s Classic Shampoo and Conditioner, Anessa’s Sunscreen Milk, and Senka’s Perfect Whip.

A Museum-Like Shopping Experience

The pop-up is unique in the way that it integrates high-tech digital touchpoints that are triggered by footsteps to deliver sound, music and animation to further enhance the immersive nature of the experience.

At the entrance, get a personalised greeting by a digital pixie and be guided through the space via the pop-up’s microsite, accessible via the Watsons app, website or a QR code.

Navigate the space while completing interesting tasks - it’s almost as if you are visiting a museum!

Image Credit: Shiseido

Take a break and enjoy a theatrical tea-brewing experience before sipping on a special collagen tea that will make you feel beautiful inside and out!

Image Credit: Shiseido
Image Credit: Shiseido

See The Three Brands In A Brand New Light

Image Credit: Shiseido

Enter a magical garden and learn about the brand history and features of Tsubaki line of shampoos.

If you’re uncertain about which shampoo best suits your haircare needs, take a sensor-powered quiz to match your hair to the right products so you can make the best choice.

Image Credit: Shiseido

If you’re more into skincare, stroll over to Senka’s exhibition and discover how to achieve clear, moisturised bare skin at an interactive product bar.

The importance of an effective sunscreen can never be emphasised enough, so learn more about Anessa’s suncare secrets at an immersive learning bar.

For those of you who live for IG-worthy shots, take envy-inducing photos at the animated wall projection that shuffles through images of the four seasons!

Check (The Exhibition) Out, Then Checkout!

Remember the Watsons app that we talked about earlier in the piece? It’s also an offline-to-online shopping app which allows users to scan QR codes to read product descriptions and add items to their carts.

Acting like your personal shopper, simply checkout on the app, and Watsons will deliver your shopping purchases to you within the next few days!

If you’re someone who prefers to shop on the spot, you can also purchase products from a cashless vending machine, or an on-site store at the showcase!

And good news for all you bargain-hunters - you can get to enjoy discounts of up to 30% at this pop-up too.

So if you’re in town, why not check out the My Japanese Beauty showcase and experience a new way of shopping?

And good news for all you bargain-hunters – you can get to enjoy discounts of up to 30% at this pop-up too.

Get up to 20% off Anessa products, 25% off Senka products, and a whopping 30% off Tsubaki products!

What's more, you get a further $20 off with every $100 spent!

So if you’re in town, why not check out the My Japanese Beauty showcase and experience a new way of shopping?

Shiseido My Japanese Beauty Pop-up Store

Opening Hours: 11am to 9pm (Weekdays), 11am to 10pm (Weekends)

Location: Outside Takashimaya (391 Orchard Road, S238872)

Singapore has a world-class public housing system that helps Singaporeans own their own homes, from 9% in 1960 to over 90% today.

Yes, Singapore is often talked about and used as a successful example of public housing done right. Our home ownership of 91% lands us in the top three highest in the world, and over 80% of Singaporeans live in high quality and affordable HDB flats.

Housing a Nation

This was not the case in the early years, when most people lived in over-crowded and unhygienic slums. 

The late Mr Lee Kuan Yew is a key driver in of public housing in Singapore. The nation’s founding prime minister had set up the HDB in 1960, and launched an ambitious building programme to provide proper homes for Singaporeans - Housing a nation.

Watch this to find out how Singapore fixed its housing problem,

Let’s Meet the People Living in these HDB Flats

You should have noticed by now that we’re publishing a series of #myHDBstory where we check out Singaporeans’ HDB homes and invite them to share with us their HDB stories. 

We have already covered #myHDBstory of a middle-aged couple with five kids as well as a young couple with a baby girl, let’s check out the home of a single person this round.

Today, we’re checking out the home of Bob Mubarak

Bob’s day job is a Business Manager with, one of the leading bridal resource portals in Singapore. But when he’s not working, Bob transforms into a tastemaker of sorts. Here is someone who has always loved all things beautiful. 

Earlier in this career, he was a highly accomplished makeup artist who helped women look more beautiful. Some years back, he was also running a wedding gift tray business and mind you, he was so good at making beautiful wedding gift trays he was perpetually booked! 

Now, when he’s not working, he’s an accidental Instagram-Influencer who spams lotsa posts of beautiful homes, fabulous reno and cool furnishings. And believe you me, his casual post about something he bought can cause the item to be sold out at all outlets! He also likes to feature yummy food and seemingly fabulous people too!

Bob’s #myHDBstory is #bobsretirementhome

Home to Bob is a 4-room resale flat in Bukit Panjang, a place where Bob insists is much much nearer to town than most people think. It’s also near where his family is staying. The flat was completed in 1998, so it’s around 20 years old. 

He knew he wanted a flat near his family home, so that helped lots to narrow down where to start looking. But even then, he shared that he viewed a total of 13(!!) units! The funny thing is he ended up buying the very first flat he’d viewed. He took over the flat on 19th December 2016, signed the renovation contract on 1st January 2017 and he has been living there in solo bliss for over two years now. 

Bob had bought the flat for around $350,000 in late 2016. Did you know that about 80% of first-time homebuyers are able to pay their monthly mortgage instalment fully with CPF? This means that they do not pay any cash out-of-pocket. That’s the same for Bob too! His monthly housing instalments are all taken care of via his CPF, so no cash out-of-pocket for him too!

Bob’s #myHDBstory is every single Singaporean’s dream

Guess how many IDs Bob had checked out before deciding? Eight.

Whoa. Not only did he top the number of viewings I’ve ever heard of, he’s also right up there in terms of the most number of contractors a homeowner has met for quotes. Anyway, he eventually decided on Tid Plus, an ID that he highly recommends. He says they’re great value-for-money and deliver good work.

Let’s go on a tour of #bobsretirementhome now!

Don’t you just love that gate! And white doors are quite rare in HDB estates!

Come, let’s go in!

Bob shared that he had initially wanted a black-and-white look in the colonial style.  

But once he decided on this unit and fell in love with the abundance of light flowing into the living space, he decided that the natural light would be wasted on a high-contrast black-and-white look. He next considered to go full-on white, but his ID advised him against it. An all-white look might look too sterile and clinical for a home.

In the end, Bob went for a white-and-grey palette which was light and airy, whilst providing some dimension.

Bob truly believes that adding dashes of green in the form of plants works wonders. It warms the space immediately, and gives it life.

I love how the plants and his soft furnishing break the straight lines of the renovation and furniture, softening it nicely to add homeliness to the cool, modern look.

Bob has always wanted an open-concept kitchen. So he worked with the ID to hack away a curved wall that the previous owner had erected. So yea, he got his open kitchen that flows seamlessly into the dining area and opens up to the living space.

Incidentally, this is also where Bob does his work too!

His employer is apparently a very progressive one. Since started in 2000, the team has always worked from home. Very good, they were green and contributing to reducing carbon footprint even before it’s a thing!

And as if he ain’t talented enough, Bob is also a good cook! Man, what can’t this bachelor do?? 

He loves having his friends over and feeding them delish food that he’ll whip up himself. So yea, the kitchen is not mere showpiece for photography, he actually puts it to good use too!

Let’s check out the bedrooms now!

Whoa, I quite like the master bedroom! So fancy!

And, did you know that the room can look and feel completely different with just a change of bedlinen? Check out this, this and this!

And did you think no one will actually sit on that chair? WRONG. Bob does!

We asked him where is his favourite spot at home, and he said it’s right here!

There are two other bedrooms, but we only took photos of one of them since Bob uses the third bedroom for storage.

The second bedroom, with the sofa-bed, effectively is a guestroom.

By now you must be very curious how much the renovation and all cost. Bob had spent $46,000 on the renovation. This seems to be a reasonable amount as resale flats sometimes can cost significantly more than BTO in terms of renovation costs because there are usually hacking and remodelling work, etc.

The TV and refrigerator were gifted to Bob, but even then, he had spent only $5,000 on furniture and appliances! He was very careful with what he spent on, and he even had a rule of not buying anything over $1,000. He would watch the sales and promotions with eagle eyes, and he enlisted the help of his Chinese friends to help him order items on Taobao.

His efforts sure paid off and his home is one of the nicest we’ve featured for the #myHDBstory series. 

More about the Single Citizen Scheme

As with most developed cities, Singapore is also seeing her citizens getting married later in life, and there are also Singaporeans who choose to remain single. The Government has recognised this trend and in order to cater to the needs of singles,  HDB first implemented the Single Citizen Scheme to allow Singaporeans who are 35 years old and above to own their own HDB flats in July 2013. 

Singles can choose to buy BTO or resale flats. Singles can apply for 2-room BTO Flexi units at non-mature estates and for resale units, there are no restrictions on location or size; so singles who want bigger flats or want their flats immediately will usually go the resale route.

There have always been grants for first-time home buyers, be it families or singles. But earlier this month, the Government announced even more good news and these enhancements were effective from 11th September 2019.

  • Eligible first-timer singles aged 35 and above, and earning not more than $4,500 a month, can also enjoy an Enhanced Housing Grant (EHG for singles) of up to $40,000, and are subject to the same conditions.
  • The monthly household income ceiling for eligible first-timer singles aged 35 and above will also be raised from $6,000 to $7,000.

More about #bobsretirementhome: To sell or not to sell?

Bob was penduluming between the thought of selling the current flat off after the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) of five years, or to carry out another round of renovation at the current unit.

View this post on Instagram

; #bobsretirementhome | totally loveeee the morning ray on a sunday. why i am up at 7.00am on a sunday, i have no idea. but when your age is approaching 40, it has a funny way of telling you to sleep at 10.00pm and be wide awake at 6.00am. • yes, especially on a sunday. • ... and the public holidays. • i was talking to @msofian about selling my house after the minimum occupation period of five years, and then downgrading to three-room flat and try to be as debt free as possible, while simultaneously talking to @tidplus_design to renovate this house to do #bobsretirementhome version 2.0. • this is another peril of old age. an almost immediate dementia. talked about selling the house, and then five minutes later, planning new renovation design of the very home that i intend to sell. • #bobsretirementhome have given me so much. like the huge amount of sunlight streaming through every morning, so many opportunities have opened up for me because of this home too. to sell, or not to sell, that is the question. the answer is, will sell if can earn 100% profit. eh? • and yes, eldershield will be reaching me next year. kurang ajar punya government. tak payah nak remind lah hawau!

A post shared by Bob Mubarak Nasir (@bobmubarak) on Sep 7, 2019 at 7:13pm PDT

He was wondering if he could make 100% profit if he were to sell off the unit. ONE HUNDRED PER CENT?! That would mean $700,000 leh, so I don’t think so? But it’s entirely probable that he will make a reasonably tidy sum if he were to sell it.

At 25 years upon MOP, the flat is still relatively “young”. 

Besides, remember this: Every flat will be upgraded twice.

To keep all HDB flats safe and liveable, there will be one round of upgrading when your flat is about 30 years old through the Home Improvement Programme (HIP), and a second round when your flat is about 60-70 years old through HIP II. The upgrades will address common maintenance issues such as repairing spalling concrete.

Apart from upgrading, the Government will redevelop old estates through the Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (VERS) to ensure they remain vibrant places to live. Residents offered VERS will vote as a precinct on whether they wish to return their flats to the Government. They will be compensated for their flats.

So my guess is if Bob were to sell his Bukit Panjang flat, there should be some more upside given the flat’s relatively young “age”, and also that there should be one round of upgrading at around 2028 when it turns 30.

More about #bobsretirementhome: Unlocking the value

If Bob decides to keep the unit and really make it #bobsretirementhome, there are also several ways to monetarise the flat later, especially if he needs money in his silver years.

  • Firstly, Bob can receive cash monthly by renting out his bedroom(s) or even the entire flat and he can go live with his siblings or friends.
  • Secondly, Bob can also sell part of the flat’s remaining lease to get a lump sum cash and monthly payouts in cash, for life. This is under the Lease Buyback Scheme.
  • Thirdly, he can still sell the Bukit Panjang flat later in life, and buy a smaller flat or a flat with a shorter lease. 
  • Lastly, those moving from a larger flat to a 3-room or smaller flat can consider taking up the Silver Housing Bonus, to receive up to $20,000 in cash.
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Korea is a place of enchantment, and many Singaporeans could easily write a love letter to the beautiful country once they’ve seen it in person.

Between steeping in its rich culture visiting centuries-old palaces, catching up with K-pop and K-fashion at the trendy districts, and being awed by divine coastal landscapes at Jeju Island—there’s definitely something to draw you back again.

And to save the best for last, Korean cuisine alone is a good enough reason to book that 7-hour flight.

Army stew, topokki, bulgogi beef, and Korean fried chicken with beer are some of the best creations in the world. We bet that unmistakable spicy, tangy taste of kimchi has already seeped into your mind.

If you’re saving up for your next trip, or you’ve already planned it but just can’t wait, here’s how you can get your cravings fixed real quick while you’re still in Singapore.

Let The Korean Feast Come To You

Cold Storage is bringing the flavours of Korea to us in a two-week Korea Fair from now till 10 October 2019.

When you’re craving Korean food daily but don’t feel like eating out, the best solution will be to whip up some dishes in the comfort of your home.

Don’t worry if you have limited skills in the kitchen, because many of the items available at Cold Storage Korea Fair can stack up to make a grocery list of easy-to-cook (or even ready-to-eat) dishes. Thank the heavens.

They also have a selection of snacks, drinks and even fresh fruits from Korea to top it off, so you’re well covered!

Kimchi ramen noodles

Image Credit: Gramha

Classic staples never go wrong, and kimchi ramen is a testament to that. You don’t need anything too fancy when you have a comforting bowl of noodles, swimming in sour and spicy kimchi soup. 

For Korean food lovers, this is like the ‘starter pack’ you keep returning to. Time after time, its warmth and satisfaction reaches right to your fingertips again.

Grab yourself a few packs of Jongga Kimchi Ramen Hot & Spicy, since we know you won’t just be eating this once!

Image Credit: Cold Storage

On days when you need something heartier, you could give your ramen that extra touch by adding some Chung Jung OneDumplings with Kimchi & Vegetable or Hot Pepper Japchae fillings.

Topokki - spicy rice cakes

Image Credit: PicClick / Korean Bapsang

Koreans deeply treasure their topokki, a stir-fried dish of rice cakes and vegetables topped with spicy sauce. Their delightful chewiness can kind of get addictive.

While topokki is popular in Korea to add some heat to their cold winters, we on the other hand, just salivate for anything spicy, no matter how hot it is in Singapore.

You can pick up an instant cup that takes just minutes to cook, with flavours like Dongwon Spicy & Sweet Topokki and Cheese Topokki

A hard-boiled egg and some garnish will complete your topokki perfectly!

Rice porridge

Image Credit: Food News KR

When you want to ease into a great morning, a tasty bowl of porridge soothes all troubles away. If anyone says it’s an ‘old lady food’, tell them to call us up.

Dongwon Yangban Rice Porridge has really hit it up as a popular breakfast food in Korea, especially when they have Red Velvet’s Wendy and Irene endorsing it! Preparing a bowl is as easy as a quick pop into the microwave.

Unlike the typically salty (but equally heavenly) Cantonese congee we usually eat, Korean porridge can be either savoury or sweet, like the glutinous rice option with red bean and chestnut.

Sweet potato

Image Credit: My Korean Kitchen / Tistory

Sweet potatoes may come humbly from the earth, but they should really be celebrated for satisfying stomachs for centuries.

Did you know they actually come in various flavours too? We didn’t, till now. 

Korean Sweet Potato comes in chestnut and pumpkin ‘flavours’, which give you different appearances, taste and character.

The chestnut variant packs vitamins and fibres in its rich purple skin, while pumpkin sweet potatoes are smaller with yellow flesh and taste delicious even eaten raw.

That gives you two ways to whip up a serving of goguma mattang (candied sweet potatoes)!

Kimchi fried rice

Image Credit: Cold Storage / Kimchi Chronicles

Fried rice takes us to paradise—it’s simple to prepare and frankly just irresistible to wolf down.

It could also well be a universal language across many Eastern cultures, just cooked a little differently from one place to another.

With kimchi as the starring flavour, it’s both the familiar comfort of fried rice we always love, and a taste to make you feel closer to the second home in your heart.

To make things better, you won’t even have to whip out a wok and get to work in the kitchen. You can just pick up Jongga Kimchi Fried Rice which comes deliciously ready-to-eat!

Snacks, fruits and drinks

Image Credit: Daum / Naver

The happiest five minutes you’ll spend in a supermarket—okay make it 30, no judgement here—is when you walk down the snack aisle. You’ll light up at your old favourites, yet still always get to chance upon new discoveries to try.

Snacks are highly up to individual preference, but Cold Storage Korea Fair has quite a selection.

Image Credit: Daum

For those who love it savoury, Paldo Crab Chips and The Kims Crispy Laver Chip (laver is a type of seaweed) are some great options to have when it comes down to ‘crunch’ time.

If you’re a sweet creature, you’ll enjoy sinking your teeth into a soft fluffy bite of Haitai Oh Yes! Chocolate Coated Cake, or get addicted to Cosmos Honey Twist.

Of course, there’s an in-between too where sweet and savoury collide, and Lotte Popping Corn Chips in Original, Grilled Corn and Sweet & Spicy flavours can fill that gap.

Image Credit: Stylecraze / MomoBud

Besides snacks, people love to eat lots of fruits in Korea since the country’s climate makes it perfect for harvesting top quality seasonal produce.

When you need to sweeten up your day, juicy yellow peaches, musk melon and shine muscat grapes from Korea are both refreshing and healthy.

Image Credit: @ulitenten on Twitter / Piknow

Plus, don’t forget the drinks to accompany your heavenly Korean spread! Morning meals will be complete with a cup of Barista Rules coffee—try the Mocha Presso or Caramel Deep Presso if you feel like making a fun choice to start your day.

At the day’s end, it’s time to wind down, pop a can of Ark Pale Ale, and start counting down till you make your next visit to the land of the morning calm.

Earn A Holiday Through Your Shopping Spree

Image Credit: Cold Storage

Cold Storage Korea Fair launched on 28 September with an exciting opening ceremony at Great World City, graced by the Republic of Korea Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Ahn Young-jip.

Attendees got to see the unveiling of a Giant Bibimbap (it left us drooling with envy!), and were treated to a live cook-off between two esteemed chefs: Park Joon Woo, 1st runner up of MasterChef Korea 2012, and Gen Lee, 1st runner up of MasterChef Singapore 2018. 

To top it all off, we got into the groove with a sleek K-pop dance performance to some of our favourite songs.

Don’t miss the fair while it runs at all Cold Storage, Market Place and Jasons stores from now till 10 October!

As you make your shopping rounds, you can also hit up the sampling booths to experience as many different flavours as possible. In-store sampling will be popping up in the Takashimaya, Bugis, Plaza Singapura, Compass One and Causeway Point Cold Storage stores from 4 to 6 October, 11am – 7pm daily.

Image Credit: Cold Storage

You’ll also stand a chance to enter a lucky draw and win prizes when you spend a minimum of $25 in a single receipt, including at least two participating Korean products.

One lucky winner will score the grand prize of 100,000 KrisFlyer Miles, which is worth two economy class redemption tickets to Korea! Ten other lucky winners will also each get 10,000 KrisFlyer miles in the bag.

And as a PSA for the huge K-pop lovers, you may be in for a great surprise if you stick around on 5 October and get to catch one of the K-pop flash mobs that will appear in selected stores!

Click through here to learn more about the ‘Seoul’ delicious deals you can get at Cold Storage Korea Fair.


This article was written in collaboration with Cold Storage.

Header Image Credit: Pickled Plum, Instazu, My Korean Kitchen

HDB, a place I spent my childhood running around with my friends playing block catching. The place I desperately longed to go home to some nights when I was made to work overtime.

The second I stepped out of the HDB lift, I knew which house belongs to the family I was going to interview. I spied a mini slide and a variety of kick-scooters, ride-on toy vehicles, bicycles and a whole lot of shoes. “Must be the right house”, I thought to myself. My guess was spot on as once the door was open, I was greeted by chatter from the full house of children.

“I knew this was your house!” I exclaimed to Steven, who so happens to be a blogger at <a href=" “Perfect” Father and he chuckled back, welcoming me in. I stepped into his jumbo flat – made from two adjoining 3-Room units in Ang Mo Kio, providing ample space for his not two, not three, not four but five children! On top of that, he even has space (a whole room and more) to house his numerous trophies from claw catcher machines.  

So is it possible to raise a big family in Singapore? Steven spills the beans.

(Spot the kids!)

Housing everyone under one roof affordably

As we sat down to talk, the children zoomed happily around on the electric toy car and indulged in their favourite activities with their siblings, oblivious to this “intruder” on a Saturday morning.

Steven brought us back in time to 17 years ago when he and his wife, Laifong, first started working. Laifong was living in her family home in Ang Mo Kio back then, and her mother got to know of her neighbour two units away who had wanted to sell their 3-Room flat.

Steven remembered that the asking price was quite reasonable at $130K thereabouts for the 3-Room HDB flat. Once he factored in the $30K first-timer housing grant and $10K proximity housing grant for living near parents, the price came down to a very affordable $90K*.

When their fourth kid came around, Steven and Laifong suddenly found themselves faced with a choice of going ahead with the upgrading to a 5-Room BTO they had applied for earlier, or to buy the adjoining 3-Room flat next door under the Conversion Scheme since their neighbour was moving out. The couple quickly did their sums. The asking price of the flat next door plus the $90K he had paid for their existing flat combined was still under the price of a 5-bedroom BTO in the same area.

During that time, a 5-room BTO at Ang Mo Kio would have set the couple back about $510,000 after grants.

Steven recalled how he and his wife gave up their BTO allocation in favour of knocking down the wall between the two adjoining 3-Room units to form a jumbo flat with enough space for all.  I guess it’s safe to say that our public housing scheme has served Singaporeans well. For Steven and Laifong, it was not so much a matter of whether they could house everyone affordably, but more of what type of public housing and at which location would work better for them.

With over a million HDB flats spread across towns and estates, the Singapore brand of public housing is uniquely different from the rest of the world. HDB flats spell home for over 80% of Singaporeans, and our home ownership stands over 90%, the third highest in the world.

Home Ownership rates globally. (Source)

Managing finances and balancing budgets

I could not resist asking how Steven and his family manage...  especially with 5 children. He shared that his housing loan, which he and his wife split 50-50 is completely covered by CPF, freeing up finances for day to day expenses. Home-cooked meals and hawker fare are their go-to because eating out for two adults and five kids can be quite a hefty sum. That said, they still budget for a yearly family holiday – Japan being their next destination.

The family of seven does not own a car and they are used to taking public transport to get around. Taxi rides are far and few between, a luxury reserved for special circumstances or when they are very tired. Thankfully, various transport routes are easily accessible from their home.  

Quality time is key

Being a full-time working parent, Steven shared that time is really a precious commodity. As much as both he and Laifong try to shower each child with individual attention, having a brood of five means they do not get to spend as much time with each child as they would like to. This is certainly a feeling many working parents can relate to.

This prompted Steven to come up with an interesting way of overcoming this “guilt”. He started the habit of bringing each child on one-on-one bonding trips overseas, timing it to coincide with just before they enter Primary school, a nice way to spend quality time together before they embarked on their formal education. He has since completed 3 one-on-one trips, bringing Steffi to Korea, Leroy to Gold Coast and Stacci to Perth.

He shared that these trips allowed him to show his love for each child through spending dedicated time with them. Both father and child got to learn more about each other on their bonding trips and share many happy memories and experiences together. Steven’s advice – “Live the moment, go forth and explore the world together!”

Endearing memories of home

Laughter and happy squeals emanate throughout the Teo household, never a quiet moment when the children are around. Their closeness as a family even spills over into their unique sleeping arrangement. Even though their jumbo flat has several bedrooms, the family of seven insists that they bunk all together.

They sleep in an elongated bedroom, made from knocking down the walls between two bedrooms. Their configuration of two king sized beds and one super single on the floor seems the perfect combination to fit all seven of them.

I asked Steven which child sleeps where and he put it simply – he parks himself on one king size bed, his wife on the other and the children will pick favourites for the night! A recent family staycation also saw all of them cuddled up in a king size bed! 

Challenges and joys

As I rounded up the interview to let the family get back to their lives, I understood more and more Steven and Laifong’s decision to have more children than the typical family. While there are challenges in raising such a big family… the immeasurable joy and warmth the young ones bring is certainly palpable.

We thank Steven and Laifong for sharing their #myHDBstory.

*Over the years, HDB has enhanced its offering of subsidies and grants to help Singaporeans afford their first home. Ninety per cent of first-time home buyers buy a flat directly from HDB at subsidised rates.

From September 2019 onwards, the newly announced Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) will replace the existing Additional and Special CPF Housing Grants (AHG and SHG).

Eligible first-timer families buying a resale flat may now enjoy up to $160,000 of housing grants, comprising an EHG of up to $80,000, a CPF Housing Grant of up to $50,000, and a Proximity Housing Grant of up to $30,000.

Do you live in a HDB flat? Share your own #myHDBstory!

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It often happens that you love a person so much you cannot even explain it with words. In such a case, a song comes to help. Even if you are not a musician, writing about such an unconditional feeling will be easy for you, provided your emotions are genuine. And using our instructions, writing a song to tell somebody you are in love with them will be even easier.

  • Text Creation

Tell everything you feel about your love. Before turning your feelings into verse and music, you will want to express yourself without limitation of rhyme and rhythm. To do this, describe the person you love, what you feel about it, and how you are together.

You can describe physical features, including how they look, move, what they are like – everything that describes their physical side.

Also, describe the emotional features. This person is brave, frank, or perhaps silent and thoughtful. Write down everything that describes personal traits.

Writing a song is a perfect gift! Especially when you met a girl at or other dating site, and it will be your first meeting in real life. Because girls value such presents more than material things.

  • Add the metaphors

That's where your creative abilities turn out. Decorate your love story by describing it very fancifully. For example, in particular, you a person because she/he has a nice smell, which is cute but not a winning direction in writing the song! Instead, you can write that they are like a flower field in a warm, fragrant night.

Work with all your writing, adding as many metaphors as you can. Some of them may turn out to be refined masterpieces. At this stage, the goal is simply to find out what you can say about your love.

  • Find your style

Once you have finished the story and got a clear idea of ​​both the object of passion and how to describe them, you can begin to understand what your song will be like. To give poetry a certain shape, create a common image for the whole text.

Using the above example, you can take the garden as a general image. You already have flowers there. You can use bees, butterflies, or other elements of the garden to write the lyrics.

  • Find the rhyme

First, you should create a list you want to implement into your song, choosing from those that are in the style you will use. For the words within the created image frame, use the dictionary and find the best word to rhyme.

If you find it hard to rhyme your thoughts, try expressing them in the form of a free rhyme, but in this case, strictly follow the rhythm. Otherwise, your song will be not melodic but deprived of any sense. A white verse sounds like a monolog and can be really intimate; it touches the heart if written sincerely. In this case, there will be more room for creativity too.

  • Identify the main line of your song

Now that you already have a notion of how you are going to make out the nature of your love, determine what you want to say and how you want to say it. The standard format of songs about love is a verse, a couplet, a chorus, a couplet, a chorus.

Each verse says something new about the subject of your love, and the chorus connects it all together. Make an outline of what you would like to write in each part.

For example, in the first verse, you can tell how you see your love, in the second verse, show what you feel about the person you are writing to, and in the third – how you see your common future.

In the chorus, you can write the next: try switching everything into the garden where your love grows or sing that all these things turn into nothing outside the garden of your imagination. All this can be developed from the story you created! Think about the concept and make your song deep in meaning.

  • The music for the text

Before putting words into music, you have to define the main line of the melody. In the process of writing, it will occur many times spontaneously. If so, consider yoursef lucky! However, there will be moments when the muse will leave you, and you will have to create a melody yourself.

Turn on the recording device. Using poems as a measure of the tact; sing melodies that come to mind. If you want, you can use the already written text, or you can do as many artists – sing meaningless sounds, just to get an idea of ​​the melodies.

Listen to what you have recorded. Take a paper and a pen, sit down, and listen to what you recorded. Some moments can excite you, and some seem boring. Pay attention to those that are the catchiest and use them to develop the melody.

When composing music, play it on your guitar or piano. If you, like many, do not have a trained voice, playing your melody on a guitar or piano will greatly help you focus on the song. And if you are just an amateur, use a computer program or an app for writing music.

  • Add the euphony

When creating a melody, you meant the harmony that you would use. You can also start with a harmonious structure and develop a melody based on chords and not vice versa. You can even create text after you have created a musical foundation. For some, this approach is easier. If one way does not work for you, try the other one.

  • Connect everything and add final touches

When you already have the words, melody, and harmony, practice as many times as possible! Using a special device or app on your phone, record a few variations of your song and get back to them later with a fresh mind. On the next day, listen to everything you recorded, select the best parts of each record, and use them to improve the final song.

Repeat this process until you are satisfied with the sound of your masterpiece. When you're done, go to your love and sing your song!

  • Final advice

- Do not be afraid to tell you what you really feel.

- Write what you really feel to the person.

- Make sure the song goes out of your heart when you write and sing.

- Even if it's love, or you're already in a relationship with this person, so do not be afraid to open your feelings.

- The more you write, the better it will go.

- Think about how you treat this person so that the song sounds better.

- Put emotions in your verses and make them sincere.

- Have fun and do not let the side distractions become an obstacle to your creativity.

- Do not overuse the word "love!" Try to tell about your feelings without words such as "love," "bunny," and other banal phrases.

- Power Tab, Guitar Pro, GarageBand, and other music recording programs are great for writing songs.

When we’re out for a day with friends, family or a significant other, the question we always ask is not “what to do?”, but “where should we eat today?”.

Because having good food is undoubtedly the favourite Singaporean activity that anchors everything else we do.

Some may even say the mission is to hunt down and try as many great food places as possible each time we make a trip out. 

Hitting one gastronomical delight after the next is a sure way to satisfy our souls and make it all seem right in the world, but the only problem will be the hole that burns in our wallets.

If you’re often bursting your budget on food, split the cost with a pal next time, because anytime is a good time for a hearty meal when you can tap on more than 100 1-for-1 dining deals in Singapore! Only with OCBC Cards.

Ready to feast? We’ve compiled 10 deals for you to start with.

1. Limoncello

Image Credit: Limoncello

From idyllic Amalfi, to the bustling Singapore River, the owners of Limoncello have brought their team over from the famous Italian coastal town itself.

Bringing the flavour right from its origins, they promise an authentic spread of traditional Italian fare. Needless to say, you can expect they check all the boxes like homemade pastas, wood fired pizzas and charcoal-grilled meats.

Limoncello may not give you a view of green hills and crystal blue waters, but they offer plenty of alfresco seats, and even private dining rooms where you can raise your glass to the fancy life.

Dishes like linguine aragosta (lobster linguine) and costolette di agnello alla griglia (grilled lamb chop) can be a mouthful, but you won’t be fretting over the pronunciation once you actually dig into them.

If you think dining by the riverside along Robertson Quay is certain to rack up a big bill, you’ll be surprised that you can indulge in a 3-course set lunch for just $35++ per pax.

Address: 95 Robertson Quay, #01-19/20, River Gate Condominium, Singapore 238256
Opening hours: Mon – Tue: 5:30pm – 10:30pm, Wed – Sun: 12pm – 2:30pm; 5:30pm – 10:30pm

Get A 1-for-1 Set Lunch Here.

2. Kyoaji Dining

Image Credit: Kyoyaji Dining

It’s all in the name: Kyoaji means “tastes from Kyoto”.

Among the endless plethora of restaurants around Orchard, this hidden gem is tucked away inside TripleOne Somerset where you can take a breather from the busy shopping crowd.

It’s helmed by Executive Chef John Phua who has almost 30 years of experience in authentic Japanese cuisine. Previously, he served at Fukuichi Japanese Dining, and he’s keeping some of his old fan favourites alive after its closure.

Decked out in modern furnishings, Kyoaji features a live sushi bar so you can watch Chef John and his team cook up a storm before your eyes.

While they’re known for their decadent assortment of sashimi and sushi, Kyoaji also dishes out a refreshing experience with less common items like gyuniki fagura sauce (grilled beef with goose liver sauce) and hiyashi gyomen (fish meat noodles).

Kyoaji Dining
Address: 111 Somerset Road, #02-05/06, TripleOne, Singapore 238164
Opening hours: Mon – Fri: 11:30pm – 3pm; 5:30pm – 10:30pm, Sat – Sun & PH: 11:30am – 10:30pm

Get 1-for-1 Grilled Lobster With Garlic Sauce Here.

3. The Chop House

Image Credit: The Chop House

Meat lovers come to The Chop House to get their mouths watering over a great selection from steaks and burgers, to baby back ribs and pork knuckles.

With their creators hailing from the highly praised Wooloomooloo Steakhouse, The Chop House is a more laidback rendition, bringing a range of mains and sharing dishes perfect for hanging out with a group of pals.

Just like the first outlet at VivoCity, its second branch at I12 Katong is decorated with an industrial woody interior that eases you into a cosy mood. 

Its hidden secret? This location houses the legendary Southbend broiler from the US; the same one used by the chefs at Wooloomooloo to make magic with their famous steaks.

When you’ve cleaned off your plateful of chunky chops, hit up the bar to wash it all down with ice cold beers, wine, or cocktails.

The Chop House
Address: 112 East Coast Road, #01-13, I12 Katong, Singapore 428802
Opening hours: Mon – Sat: 12pm – 12am, Sun: 10am – 12am

Get 1-For-1 Baby Back Ribs With 2 Pints Of Beer Here.

4. Commons

Image Credit: Commons

Nestled in the expansive ‘integrated community’ of Our Tampines Hub, Commons (previously Commonground) prides itself for creating memories with its customers in the neighbourhood.

Its warm lights and leafy fronds give the eatery a welcoming vibe for casual get-togethers at any time of day. Fancy a nice breakfast with your tribe of early-risers? No problem, they’re open from 8am on weekends.

Truly a place to eat in good company, their signature is the Commons meat platter hero loaded with a medley of roast chicken, beef tenderloin, lamb chop, Italian sausages, mashed potatoes, beetroot coleslaw and grilled tomatoes.

Address: 51 Tampines Ave 4, #01-103 Our Tampines Hub, Singapore 529684
Opening hours: Mon – Thu: 11am – 10pm, Fri: 11am – 11pm, Sat: 8am – 11pm, Sun: 8am – 10pm

Get 1-for-1 Pizza And Pasta On Weekdays Here.

5. Pietro Ristorante Italiano

Image Credit: Pietro

Pietro Ristorante Italiano takes residence along a row of old shophouses in the peaceful Seletar area.

Settle yourself in among the traditional decor, and you’ll soon be greeted with warm hospitality and a complimentary plate of herb-baked bread with garlic dip.

Aside from the familiar thin crust wood fired pizzas (try the bismark: honey baked ham, feta, mozzarella and rockets topped with a sunny side up) and pastas cooked in parchment paper, Pietro also boasts a melt-in-your-mouth pork belly with porcini kidney beans as its must-try item.

Pietro Ristorante Italiano
Address: 12 Jalan Kelulut, Singapore 809030
Opening hours: Mon – Sun: 11am – 2:30pm; 6pm – 10:30pm

Get 1-for-1 Pasta, Pizza Or Mains Here.

6. Chicken Up

Image Credit: Chicken Up

The comforts of Korean fried chicken never fail, and if you’re already a fan of the cuisine, then Chicken Up is likely to evoke involuntary ‘mmm’s.

Since they opened in 2010, their fried chicken wings in ganjang (soy) and yangnyum (spicy) flavours have been considered a reliable favourite among many Korean food lovers in Singapore.

When it comes to the temptation of sides like bulgolgi and kimchi fries, yangpa bomb (fried blooming onion), and toppoki (spicy rice cakes), we’re sorry to say there’s no way you can win this battle—so go on and indulge in your sins.

And if you and your friends come with a big appetite, there’s nothing more quintessentially Korean than sharing a UFO stew along with Chicken Up’s watermelon soju, served right in the watermelon husk!

Chicken Up
Address: 277C Compassvale Link, #01-13 (Unit No.2A), Singapore 543277
Opening hours: Sun – Thurs: 11am – 11pm, Fri – Sat: 11am – 2am

Get 1-for-1 Chicken Wings Here.

7. Masons @ Gillman Barracks

Image Credit: Masons

Tucked away in the artsy locale of Gillman Barracks, the extra walk in (or drive) to get to Masons is totally worth it.

Housed in a fully restored black and white 1935 colonial bungalow and shrouded in lush greenery, the restaurant gives you an uncommon chance to picture yourself in a time of classic European luxury.

Between their main dining hall and the serene alfresco verandah, visitors love coming to the exclusive location to sneak away for a romantic date, or to celebrate an occasion. It’s no surprise that many choose this venue to tie the knot too.

Mason’s kitchen is headed by Executive Chef Jack Woolner, who has gone through training under Michelin-star chefs and served at acclaimed restaurants in the UK.

Among a grand spread of European cuisine peppered with local Singaporean influences, Masons highly recommends their house special pizza and duck pasta.

Masons @ Gillman Barracks
Address: 8 Lock Rd, #01-17, Gillman Barracks, Singapore 108936
Opening hours: Mon – Sun: 11:30am – 11pm

Get 1-For-1 Handmade Fresh Italian Pizza Here.

8. MeatSmith Telok Ayer

Image Credit: Meatsmith

With glass windows embellished like a gentleman’s barber, a ‘rustic garage’ interior, and the tunes of classic rock and blues, MeatSmith Telok Ayer is the ultimate smokehouse diner in the CBD.

It’s the brainchild of Chef Andrew Baldus and General Manager Emmanuel Bernados, who are here to prove that a real-deal American barbecue can exist in our part of the globe too.

Chef Andrew spent most of his life working in Southern style restaurants in Nashville and Memphis, and he’s now brought over two Southern Pride smokers from the States to Meat Smith’s kitchen.

Meat is taken super seriously here, with mouth-watering homemade sausages, stuffed suckling pig, and pork ribs slowly smoked over hickory wood for up to 14 hours.

Beef lovers shouldn’t miss out on their beef brisket, perfectly charred on the outside, fatty and tender on the inside, and of course packed full of smoky flavour.

Meat Smith
Address: 167-169 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068620
Opening hours: Mon – Thurs: 11:30am – 3pm; 5:30pm – 10:30pm, Fri – Sun: 11:30am – 10:30pm

Get 1-For-1 Beef Brisket Here.

9. The Fine Line

Image Credit: Fine Line

The Fine Line is comfortably nestled in Holland Village, a popular chill-out spot that draws young Singaporeans and expatriates to its dining and bar scene.

Head over to unwind after a long day of work, or ring in the weekend with some well-deserved toasts to the backdrop of rustic red brick walls and live music performances.

While some bars are thought to offer food just to be paired alongside their main attraction of drinks, The Fine Line doesn’t cut the slack in the kitchen, serving a delectable spread from brunch to dinner and late night snacks.

The gastro bar’s signature dishes include their Fine Line burger, angus steak, and a perfectly balanced plate of salt and pepper squid.

The Fine Line
Address: 23 Lor Mambong, Singapore 277682
Opening hours: Mon – Thu: 3pm – 1am, Fri: 1pm – 1am, Sat: 11am – 2am, Sun: 11am – 1am

Get 1-for-1 Steak Here.

10. Kanpai Izakaya 

Image Credit: Kanpai Izakaya

Kanpai! Also at Holland Village, this casual establishment is another laidback joint to raise your glass, and a great fit for those who have a taste for Japanese cuisine and drinks.

Lifting spirits with their all-day happy hour till 10pm (except on Fridays and public holiday eves), Kanpai Izakaya offers a range of Japanese sake, whisky and beer.

As the food here is served izakaya style, you’ll want to sample a variety of different bites. 

Make your meal an entire journey, starting with classics like their recommended bara chirashi or tuna crown don

Then dive into more adventurous terrain to try the also popular chicken heart skewers and blowfish seasoned with sweet sake!

Kanpai Izakaya
Address: 40 Lor Mambong, Singapore 277695
Opening hours: Mon – Sun: 12pm – 2pm; 5pm – 1am

Get 1-for-1 Mains Here.


All OCBC Credit/Debit Cardmembers can enjoy the full selection of over 100 1-for-1 dining deals.

Click here to see the full list.

If you’re not an OCBC Cardmember, but don’t want to get FOMO (fear of missing out) over these 1-for-1 deals, it’s easy to sign up for their OCBC 365 Credit Card, which also gives you 6% cashback on all your dining spend (capped at S$80, and subject to a minimum total monthly spend of S$800 per calendar month).

On top of that, the fastest fingers get the most spoils, as new OCBC Credit Card applicants who sign up by 30 September 2019 and get their card approved by 31 October 2019 will also receive a S$50 cashback!

Get instant approval right away when you sign up here.

This article was written in collaboration with OCBC Bank.

Header Image Credit: Pietro, Kanpai Izakaya, Chicken Up

Singaporeans are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to food and shopping.

Gone are the days when we need to travel long distances from our homes in the heartlands for a shopping spree, or to feast on cuisines we cannot find at neighbourhood kopitiams.

For one, the folks at Westgate want to satisfy all your cravings without you needing to take that long train ride to town.

If you’re looking for some recommendations for F&B places to check out during your next visit to the mall, Westgate is running a ‘Tantalising Treats Are Made Of These’ campaign showcasing the diverse flavours that they have to offer.

From mouth-watering Korean barbeque to an indulgent xiao long bao feast, there’s something for every craving!

Here’s a breakdown of some of Singaporeans’ most favourite cuisines, and the eateries that you can visit.

Chinese Cuisine

Move aside salted egg, mala is the flavour for the year 2019.

We’re all familiar with the tongue-numbing goodness of a huge bowl of mala xiang guo, but have you tried mala tang?

The soupy variation of the unofficial Singapore dish of the year, Gong Yuan Ma La Tang’s (#04-07) piping hot bowl of mala soup is the perfect complement to a cold, rainy day.

For those unable to take too spicy food, Gong Yuan also offers soup bases like pork broth and pickled vegetables.

Regardless, we would still recommend that you try out their signature mala soup base with a selection of your favourite ingredients for a unique mala experience you can tell your friends about!

Still need more mala in your life?

Pop by Ooh (#02-K1) and grab a pack (or ten!) of their signature mala potato chips, a perfect match for your Netflix marathons.

If you want to indulge with a little less guilt, Ooh also offers mala cassava chips.

Known to be a healthier alternative to potato chips, cassava is said to be a good source of protein and vitamin K!

Digging into a whole grilled fish over a flame is the new steamboat, and TANYU (#B1-02) is one of the more well-known brands serving that option in Singapore.

Westies will be glad to know that TANYU now has an outlet in Westgate, and fans will be able to savour 12 different kinds of grilled fish flavours on its menu.

If you like the numbness that mala gives you but not so much the spiciness, we’d recommend you to try TANYU’s Grilled Fish with Green Peppers, which has garnered rave reviews from customers! 

If you’re into more traditional eats, all-time favourites Paradise Dynasty (#02-13) and Crystal Jade (#04-42) are also there to whet your appetite.

Since a round of xiao long bao is already a given, why not add on a plate of fragrant fried rice to end off the feast?

Korean Cuisine

You don’t have to be a fan of K-Pop to enjoy the bold flavours of Korean cuisine.

In the spirit of communal dining, grab some friends and cook up some spicy chicken galbi at the ever-popular Yoogane (#03-08).

Don’t forget to add the cheese ring!

Cool all that spicy chicken off with naengmyeon, a chilly and refreshing bowl of buckwheat noodles in a slightly savoury broth topped with slices of sweet Korean pear and cucumbers. We guarantee that your tastebuds will thank you for the break!

If you’re looking for Korean fare with a twist, why not check out NY Night Market (#01-08) for some Korean-Western fusion fare?

Hailing from Seoul, NY Night Market brings you to Korea and the US with every morsel.

Want to try something that will definitely leave your dining buddies in awe? Try their 50cm Baguette!

An intimidating-looking 50cm-long baguette loaded with beef, salsa, cheese, jalapeno and more, the experience that comes with sharing one with friends is one that cannot be missed.

Cool it all off with over 15 different flavours of bingsu at Nunsaram (#04-37). From the classic injeolmi flavour to local favourites like Milo, there’s a bingsu flavour for every preference.

To recreate the experience of snacking at a roadside cart in Korea, Nunsaram also sells savoury dishes like tteokbokki and fried treats.

We’d recommend you to try Nunsaram’s Special Tteokbokki, which comes with rice cakes, fishcakes, fried dumplings, seaweed rolls and half a roll of gimbap!

Japanese Cuisine

For fans of the all-time popular Japanese cuisine, head down to Gochi-So Shokudo (#01-02) for some next level rice bowls.

Using Iberico Pork, Gochi-So Shokudo grills their meat over charcoal, resulting in a delectably smoky flavour in every bite.

Did you know: The Premium Iberico Pork they use in their delicious rice bowls contains oleic acids which have a beneficial effect on blood cholesterol levels!

Craving for a hearty bowl of ramen? Ippudo (#03-03) is a renowned ramen chain which has captured the hearts and stomachs of ramen lovers all around the world!

Try out Akamaru Shinaji, where Ippudo’s signature  tonkotsu soup is enhanced by fragrant black garlic oil, which adds depth to the already rich broth!

Indian Cuisine

Delight your taste buds with the wonderful world of Indian cuisine!

If you can’t decide between North or South Indian cuisine, Anjappar (#04-08) has got any craving you have covered.

Bringing Singaporean foodies the best that the cuisine has to offer, we suggest you get their Chicken Briyani which comes with chunks of flavourful chicken and fragrant basmati rice.

For a garlic naan and butter chicken feast, check out Zaffron Kitchen (#01-20) for mouth-watering dishes that will leave you hungry for more.

Once you’re done, wash it all down with a cup of Teh Halia, which mixes milk tea with ginger for a comforting combination.

Did you know: South Indian cuisine tends to use rice and rice-based items while North Indian cuisine leans towards breads like naan and chapati?

Western Cuisine

We’ve covered Asian favourites – what about some Western-style cuisine?

Check out homegrown brand COLLIN’S (#01-05) for some delicious yet wallet-friendly steaks, pizza, pastas and chicken chops.

If you’re looking for a little treat, try out COLLIN’S Grilled Tiger Prawns and U.S. Scallops, which comes at a rather affordable price tag of $22.

For something more indulgent, order a sharing platter and a round of chilled beer at Brotzeit (#01-04) and get immediately transported to Germany!

A sharing platter comes with crispy pork knuckles, pork ribs and a generous variety of sausages so get your fill of meaty goodness at Brotzeit!

If you’re bored of froyo, check out the IG-worthy acai bowls at An Acai Affair (#B1-30).

With every bowl packed with fresh fruits, organic ingredients and superfoods, who says healthy food needs to be drab?

Share Your IG-Worthy Photos And Win $50!

Westgate is holding a photo contest and you can be one of the 5 lucky winners to win $50 worth of Crystal Jade vouchers if you’re selected!

All you need to do is snap a photo of your meal and include the hashtag #WestgateSGEats for a chance to win.

For the entire dining selection at Westgate, click through this link!

Address: 3 Gateway Drive, Singapore 608532
Opening Hours: Daily, 10am - 10pm
Website | Facebook | Instagram

Header Image Credit: Yoogane, Collins, Gong Yuan Mala

One of the biggest news in town for soccer enthusiasts this week is definitely the International Champions Cup (ICC) happening on the 20th and 21st of July.

For non soccer fans, here are some background - this Saturday, Singapore will host two of the world's largest football clubs, Manchester United and Inter Milan.

In conjunction with that, fans of premium blended whisky and Manchester United will be hosted a special Chivas Party at one of the Singapore’s premium music clubs, where guests will be treated to a special meet-and-greet with selected first team players as well as Manchester United Ambassador, Denis Irwin.

“We are excited to present to our Asian football fans the football extravagance from Chivas with the ICC 2019 Tournament showcasing one of the world’s greatest football teams, Manchester United. The collaboration between Chivas and Manchester United reinforces the collective belief that great things can be achieved when we come together - blended is better – in life, football and Scotch," Janelle Tong, Marketing Director for Pernod Ricard Singapore commented.

"From balancing the perfect blend of malt and grain whiskies that go into our Scotch, to using the perfect combination of players’ on the pitch.. We look forward to using our spirit to help showcase the spirit of the Club and its fans in the Asian region,” added Janelle.

On top of the meet and greet, Chivas guests can also anticipate an exciting exclusive after-match party, lined-up at Singapore' renowned music club.

Party-goers can expect a unique experience featuring a dazzling 3D light showcase, a delectable treat of unique Chivas cocktails, and dance to non-stop to the beats of a renowned DJ to celebrate the special occasion.

When we think of an island getaway in Singapore, Sentosa immediately pops into mind. But let’s be real—with themed attractions and man-made beaches, is it really the natural beach getaway that we sometimes crave for?

While there’s Bali and Phuket, another little known paradise is Langkawi, also known as the Jewel of Kedah, Malaysia. Merely a 1.5 hr flight from Singapore (and usually less than SGD100 for return flight tickets), Langkawi is a duty-free island that receives more than 3 million tourists annually.

Lucky for us, another world-class hotel has joined the western coastline of Langkawi just recently. That hotel is none other than Aloft Hotel Pantai Tengah, which adds to Aloft’s fleet of over 150 hotels open in over 20 countries.

Having said that, the location of Aloft Hotel Pantai Tengah and personalised features of the hotel to its landscape helps it to stand out and hold its own charm and uniqueness.

On top of Aloft Hotel Pantai Tengah’s aesthetics and facilities, there are also other experiences that will make your trip to Langkawi a memorable one. 

1. Sail on a yacht out onto the Andaman sea and have a sunset dinner cruise

Image Caption: Discover SG

Aloft Langkawi Pantai Tengah collaborates with local tours such as Crystal Yacht Holidays to provide guests with a chartered yacht experience, at a lower packaged rate.

The package is all-inclusive, with a BBQ buffet dinner, free flow drinks, and a salt water natural jacuzzi. The cool sea breeze and beautiful sunset is sure to melt your worries away and give you the recharge you need.

Tip: Be careful not to run on the yacht as it can get a little slippery. And try to get a good seat in front of the yacht for an unobstructed view of the horizon.

2. Experience a 4-hr jet ski adventure

Image Credit: Discover SG

If you haven’t hopped onto a jet ski before, you’re missing out! It may look (and sound) scary at first, but the guide from MegaWaterSports (another partner of Aloft Langkawi Pantai Tengah) is very assuring.

He tells us that there’s nothing to worry about, as long as we maintain our speed and ride fast through the waves. The slower you go, the easier it is for the waves to jerk or knock the jet ski. But then again, who would want to go slow on such an adventure?

Our top speed on the jet ski is about 60km/hour, which is more than enough to keep that adrenaline rush, but also safe enough for you to not completely lose it.

Image Credit: Discover SG

We make several stops throughout the 4-hour ride with our guide leading the way and also keeping watch on us to make sure we’re all comfortable on the jet ski. 

Each stop has a special experience, such as eagle watching, swimming in a part of the Andaman sea with an unusually high salt concentration, getting up close with the limestone formations, walking along a private beach, and more. 

Tip: Bring along sunblock because you’ll definitely be needing it! And don’t worry about getting your gadgets wet, your personal items can be kept in a waterproof bag in the jet ski’s front compartment.

3. Take a dip in the largest freshwater lake in Malaysia

Image Credit: Discover SG

Dayang Bunting Lake is one of the stops during the 4-hr jet ski ride and it’s too interesting to not mention it as a separate point. The Island of the Dayang Bunting (Pregnant Maiden) is the second largest island within the Langkawi archipelago (fancy word that means group of islands) and it contains the largest freshwater lake in Malaysia.

The location of the lake is extremely unique because it’s right next to the sea, and only separated by a thin ridge of limestone. 

The name of the lake is inspired by a local legend of a fairy princess who married a human prince and got pregnant after drinking the water from the lake. The outline of the hills around the lake also resembles the shape of a pregnant maiden lying on her back.

Visitors can swim in the lake, rent a kayak or paddle boat, or just sit by the deck and dip your feet in the cool water. And we were extra, extra careful to not swallow any water from the lake. You know, just in case.

Tip: You have to climb up about 100 or so steps to get to the lake. It’s not too physically tiring and will take about 10 minutes.

However, there are a lot of wild monkeys along the steps who are curious and not afraid to grab your personal belongings, especially if you’re carrying food. They’re not aggressive, but it’s best to hold your things close to you and do not engage with them.

4. Dine on Malaysian heritage and Western favourites

Image Credit: Discover SG

Nook at Aloft Langkawi Pantai Tengah is tastefully designed with an array of geometric patterns and bold matching colours. More importantly, their all-day dining offers a selection of Malaysian cuisine and some classic international favourites.

For dinner, we got to feast on some authentic Kelantanese dishes and I still occasionally have cravings for their white percik chicken (broiled chicken in sweet coconut gravy).  

Tip: Instead of taking cordial juice during breakfast, look for the fresh juice bar where they will mix fruits of your choice and you can have a customised fresh drink!

5. Chill at the only elevated infinity pool in Langkawi

Image Credit: Discover SG

Aloft Langkawi Pantai Tengah currently happens to be the only hotel along the Langkawi Western coast that has an elevated infinity pool. There’s also a sunken pool lounge area and jacuzzis (inside large water features).

Image Credit: Discover SG

Tip: Order a signature cocktail from the Splash bar to complete your sunken pool lounge experience. We tried the Passion Portion, Absolutely Fabulous, and Mojito Mix Berry—each priced about SGD6—no regrets.

6. Take advantage of Aloft Langkawi Pantai Tengah’s world class facilities

Image Credit: Discover SG

After a long day of activities, Aloft Langkawi Pantai Tengah has the right facilities you’d need. With complimentary high-speed WiFi connectivity and 49” Smart TVs, you can choose to rest in your room (all of the hotel’s 208 rooms have its own balcony).

Or head down to the Re:mixSM lobby for a game of billiards and get a drink at the W XYZSM bar. If you’re hungry for a midnight snack, you can also grab something from the 24/7 grab-and-go Re:fuelSM. There’s also the fully equipped, 24-hour fitness centre, Re:chargeSM

Tip: If you’re travelling with kids and you want some alone time, take advantage of the hotel’s Kids Club that has board games, toys, art supplies and daily movie screenings.  Don’t worry, your kids will be under the supervision of trained talents there too.

Itching for your island paradise retreat? Get more information about Aloft Langkawi Pantai Tengah here, or email [email protected].

Header Image Credit: Discover SG

Westin Hotel Lobby

One of the common things that Singaporeans love to do is undeniably a staycation - as it is the closest thing to a vacation without burning through their wallet by going overseas.

While there are many options for a staycation, here is one from The Westin Singapore that couples should seriously consider for the value it offers.

The Westin Singapore recently introduced two new experiences for Singaporeans looking for a staycation.

First, Westin's new “Singapore Fling” staycation package, targetted at couples, features a two-night or three-night stay with the following:

  • Package includes daily breakfast for two at Seasonal Tastes, Westin's all-day dining restaurant.
  • Guests will also get to enjoy two Singapore Sling cocktail or mocktail at the Lobby Lounge, overlooking stunning harbor views.
  • The three-night stay package includes access to Westin Club Lounge for up to two adults.
  • Access to Westin's outdoor infinity pool
  • Access to Westin's Fitness Studio

The 2-night stay in a Deluxe Room starts from SGD588++ while the 3-night stay starts from SGD888++.

Here's a look at some of the photos of Westin Singapore:

Westin Hotel Lobby
Westin Hotel Lobby
Infinity Pool
Bath Tub in the deluxe suite
Deluxe Room

The staycation package entitles you to the Westin's Deluxe Room, an absolute comfort for value seekers, which comes with a bathtub overseeing the Marina bay area, a sight to behold.

The second experience, while not exactly a staycation, is also something exciting for couples looking for new date ideas.

With the new "Saturdates" package by THe Westin Singapore, you get to take your date to Cook & Brew, located on Level 33 of the hotel. This unique dining venue features raw wooden floors and the perfect contemporary setting for guests to indulge in their dinner against magnificent views of Marina Bay.

What's also interesting about the "Saturdates" package by The Westin Singapore is that, there will be a "Conversation Card" prepared for you, if you do need that extra talking point with your date, and she will also receive a special gift courtesy of Westin Singapore.

Saturdates at Cook & Brew is available every every Saturday, 6PM, 7PM, 8PM at $98++ per couple.

You can find out more about both the new experiences by Westin here.

Have fun and do share with us your experiences at Westin, one which comes highly recommended by our team.

For room reservation, please call 65.6922.6922 or email [email protected]

There’s so much to love about Japan, from its beautiful scenery to its addictive food and entertainment.

If you’re a fan of Japan and want a way to prove it, look no further than our quiz dedicated to the Land of the Rising Sun.

So you think you know all there is to know about Japan? Prove it below!

[wpViralQuiz id=38836]

This quiz was made in collaboration with Westgate.

We all know Deliveroo for delivering our favourite eats right to our doorstep, but they’ve since pushed the envelope to go from online to offline.

Within the last two years, the food delivery giant has launched two physical dining spaces in Singapore known as ‘Deliveroo Editions’, which double up as their delivery-only super kitchens.

Following the success of these two sites, Deliveroo has recently launched their biggest and most advanced Editions site in Singapore to date.

Called the deliveroo food market, this new space is just a stone’s throw away from the new Mediacorp headquarters, sitting on the first floor of ALICE @ MEDIAPOLIS. Its eye-catching teal interior makes the place hard to miss!

This new site is a significant ‘upgrade’ from their previous Editions sites, with the addition of a tech-enabled dining space that can accommodate up to 40 people.

7 Restaurants Housed Under One Roof

Deliveroo food market houses 7 restaurants and a total of 11 food concepts, which has been carefully curated based on user demand.

Some noteworthy restaurant partners include popular favourites like Korean fried chicken brand Bonchon, Vietnamese noodle bar NamNam, NamNam’s sister brand COMNAM, Omakase Burger, and Rasa Rasa.

You can also order from some of the virtual brands that are exclusive to Deliveroo such as EZO Hokkaido Eats by Omakase Burger, which serves quality Japanese dons (like their Signature Butadon).

For those who are health-conscious, there are plenty of wholesome options as well. VIOS by Blu Kouzina for one, offers bowls that are carefully packed for a balanced diet without compromising on taste. You can even pick your favourites with their Build Your Own Bowl option!

Its sister brand, Lucky Souvlaki by Blu Kouzina, specialises in traditional Greek street food that is made with quality ingredients like organic meat.

Japanese Curry Katsu Pork from EZO Hokkaido Eats, Kway Teow Goreng from Rasa Rasa, Pho Beef Steak Slices and Beef Balls from NamNam, and grain bowls from Chop Shop
Crispy Imperial Rolls from NamNam,  Nasi Goreng Kampung from Rasa Rasa, Signature Butadon from EZO Hokkaido Eats, Summer Chirashi Bento from The Flying Squirrel

On the other hand, Chop Shop by Pot Luck Club offers delicious grain bowl options like the Thai BBQ Chicken, and you can also get gourmet salads and sandwiches from Delismith by Pot Luck Club.

A Taste Of Dining In The Future

What’s unique about this food market is its fully-automated ordering system.

These Digital Cubbies act as ‘smart lockers’ for food collection

Designed to offer customers “a taste of dining in the future”, the entire ordering experience is automated and powered by eatsa, a San Francisco-based technology automation company.

The ordering process is seamless and very user-friendly. If you’re familiar with ordering food through Deliveroo’s app, this shouldn’t be a problem for you. In any case, there are instructions on the screen to guide you along through the whole ordering process. If you do encounter any issues, there are service staff around as well.

Instead of ordering over the counter or at tables like most dining establishments, you get to browse the menu and place your order at any of the five self-serve kiosks onsite. Once you’ve settled on your order, checking out is just as easy! You simply need to tap or swipe your card for payment.

Order and pay cashless at these kiosks.
Track your order on the digital status board

After placing your order, your name will appear on the digital status board. Once your food is ready, the number of an assigned digital cubby will appear alongside your name.

You can then head over to the designated cubby for food collection. Your name will also appear on the door of the cubby, which is a pretty nice touch as it makes the dining (or ordering) experience more personalised.

Tap twice on the ‘door’ to collect your food
Food is placed on a tray for easy collection

For those who prefer takeouts, there is a takeaway option as well, which you can select when you place your order at the kiosks.

An Alternative Dining Experience At One-North

Lunch can be a stressful experience for the working crowd, but the entire order-and-collect system makes it so much easier. It is perfect for those who want to avoid unnecessary fuss during their precious lunch break — simply tap to order, pay, and collect your meal.

The deliveroo food market is also a good alternative for group dining as the many restaurants housed under one roof offer a plethora of options for all. Unlike a food court, the laid-back ambience there makes you feel like you’re dining at a cafe instead.

Moreover, the space offers power points and wifi access, which makes it a great place for working professionals to dine and chill at.

The first ‘home’ for Nineteen95 Espresso Bar

For those who need their caffeine fix, the food market also houses Nineteen95 Espresso Bar—this is the first fixed location for the mobile coffee cart brand. Besides that, you can also get Magnum ice cream bars and pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream there.

The deliveroo food market is only open for dining during lunch from 11am to 2.30pm, and for dinner from 4.30pm to 9.30pm. Beyond these hours, you can still order from the restaurants via delivery until 10pm!

Deliveroo Food Market


Opening hours: 11am - 2.30pm (Lunch), 4.30pm - 9.30pm (Dinner)

Dedicated to making noise about the creative talent of young people, the annual Noise Singapore is back this year with its anticipated Noise Anchor Programmes and Noise Music Mentorship. This year’s edition of Noise Singapore focuses on bringing co-creation to the forefront with several programmes, exposing participants to varied forms of digital and urban arts through mentorships, as well as creation and showcase opportunities. Members of the public will have the opportunity to explore various immersive programmes happening from 23 February to 19 April. If you’re looking for some events to keep you occupied for the weeks ahead, here are some highlights of this edition of Noise Singapore!

Get A Taste Of An ‘Alternate’ Reality At Noise Metaverse

Quite a few Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) game shops have popped up around our island in the past year. Movies like Ready Player One was a hit as well, exemplifying the wonders of immersive technologies. Now, you can get a chance to delve into the world of AR, VR, and Mixed Reality at the Noise Metaverse Exhibition happening from 23 February to 3 March at *SCAPE Ground Theatre! A two-month mentorship programme paired youth with mentors from iMMERSiVELY, a creative start-up that specialises in immersive media technologies, and provided participants with a platform to explore how art can intersect with immersive technologies. The mentorship programme then culminates with the Noise Metaverse Exhibition. Check out the final art x tech projects to appreciate the hard work of these young mentees who were guided by the various industry experts at the Noise Metaverse exhibition starting this weekend!

Hang Out At The Noise Invasion Festival

Image Credit: Time Out Singapore
Image Credit: Time Out Singapore
Happening on 23 March, the Noise Invasion Festival held at Parklane Shopping Mall (Level 8 Carpark) aims to engage youths through relatable Urban Arts content. Some highlights that you can expect include a showcase of emerging electronic musicians, dance performances and art installations sure to liven your Instagram feed. Be sure to follow #NoiseInvasionFest on social media prior to the festival and check out the exciting activities for a Saturday hangout with your friends!

Ogle At The Doodles At Noise Local Motif

If you’ve always wondered how to appreciate art, let Noise Local Motif show you how art can be relatable and challenge some of your preconceived ideas. As a peer-to-peer learning programme by Band of Doodlers, Noise Local Motif aims to showcase illustration works inspired and co-created by participants and beneficiaries of various social sector organisations. With the illustrations displayed across trains on the Downtown Line, commuters can now enjoy arts on the go quite literally so. So, take a break from your screens on your next train ride and prepare to be mesmerised by some of the dynamic works on display from 22 March to 19 April!

Get Drawn To The Magic Of GIFs At Noise GIF Fest

Some say that art creates magic, and that’s exactly what Noise GIF Fest aims to do. Organised by The Unusual Network and a Noise Anchor Programme, this year’s festival theme is “Magic” featuring GIFs as the digital art format that suits the bill. Catch the Noise GIF Fest at Blk 7 Gillman Barracks from 28 March to 1 April, where you can enjoy a display of themed digital works! Apart from that, you can also expect to attend workshops and talks on how GIFs are used to bring a piece of art to life at the festival. Noise Singapore is currently also accepting submissions for original digital artwork from anyone ranging from amateurs to professionals. If you’ve been creating GIFs for your cliques on Telegram, channel that creativity in you and submit your GIFs by 10 March to have your pieces showcased at the festival’s exhibition! More details on submission guidelines can be found at <a href="

Noise Music Mentorship

Ever wondered how Ed Sheeran created that hook, or how The Sam Willows writes such zestful music that you can’t help bopping to in the car? Well, here’s your chance to learn more about music-making through a two-day showcase by mentees under the 11th edition of Noise Music Mentorship (NMM). This year, the iconic NMM programme saw young, budding artists being guided by seasoned professionals the likes of turntablist DJ KoFlow and musician Tim de Cotta. From 16 – 17 March, the participants of will also be conducting workshops and feedback sessions on their music at Plaza Singapura (Level 1 Outdoor Front Plaza). The best part? You could catch a glimpse of your favourite local artists, including Mandopop artist Tay Kewei, hip hop icon KoFlow, and singer-songwriter Inch Chua at the event alongside the showcases of the mentees. For more details on Noise Singapore and the individual programmes, click <a href="
If you’ve been active on social media recently, you probably would have noticed the phrase “Singapore bicentennial” marked in bold on the titles of various posts and articles. The recent budget announcement also included a $1.1 billion Bicentennial Bonus to be given out to Singaporeans to commemorate the bicentennial year. You probably would have also noticed that while some have termed the bicentennial as a “celebration”, others have ascribed less than favourable descriptions to it. So what exactly is the bicentennial, and why is the ongoing debate surrounding it significant?

How The Term "Bicentennial" Came About

In essence, 2019 marks the 200th anniversary of Singapore’s founding by the British, including Sir Stamford Raffles who is frequently touted as the “founder of modern Singapore”. This has galvanised the Singapore Bicentennial Office (SBO) to organise a slew of events including exhibitions, seminars, and even a Bicentennial Edition of the annual Light to Night Festival to commemorate this historical milestone. While some have deemed these efforts as acceptable given the occasion, others have criticised them as glorifying colonialism and white superiority.

The Good And The Bad

For instance, in a piece for Esquire, Singapore-based writer Neil Humphreys challenged, “How can the subjugation of indigenous people, in any context, be called a celebration? ... Praising Raffles acknowledges a white man’s superiority over repressed colonial subjects”. Others who grew up during the colonial era have also labelled the British as “imperialists” who not only exploited locals and the working class, but also failed in their capacity as leaders and protectors during the Japanese occupation. Moreover, some individuals have taken issue with the concept that a celebration of the bicentennial could indicate a lack of regard for Singapore’s history before 1819 – that is, before the arrival of Raffles. For instance, some key events include gem trader Jacques de Coutre’s recognition of Singapore’s strategic location and proposal to the King of Spain to construct a fortress here in the 1630s, as well as Singapore’s already bustling seaport that was established in the 14th century.
Image Credit: Marketing Interactive
All of these transpired well before the arrival of the British, and a bicentennial celebration could thus be perceived as perpetuating the notion that Singapore’s history in the pre-colonial era is non-existent. There are, however, many who view the bicentennial in a more positive light. Some have highlighted the positive impact that the British left on Singapore’s education and legal systems, and the way in which our colonial past has helped foster our amicable relations with Britain in the present. Given SBO’s reassurance that the commemoration “will not shy away from addressing elements in history that may not be always positive”, fears that only a selective—rather than an all-encompassing and unfiltered—version of Singapore’s history will be presented have also been allayed. This official statement has addressed concerns that the bicentennial might adopt a celebratory tone which extols the British’s economic contributions. But perhaps the most critical contribution that commemorating the bicentennial has delivered is the fervid debate which has arisen surrounding Singapore’s history. The average Singaporean, armed with bits of information he managed to retain from social studies lessons in primary school, would likely be able to explain the oft-cited narrative on our country’s struggle for independence. Yet, the pre-1965 period generally remains hazy and unfamiliar, let alone fervently debated on or discussed.
The forgotten founder of Singapore - Major-General William Farquhar. Image Credit: Under The Angsana Tree
Why has only been featured as a footnote in our textbooks, whilst hotels, schools and statues have been established in honour of Sir Stamford Raffles? What of the other officials and figures whose contributions have been obscured by the long shadow cast by Raffles? Does Singapore owe its lingua franca, economic and political systems and, by extension, the foundations of its society, to the British? And finally, should our colonialist past be extricated and embraced, or should it be stored away in the dusty past? These are questions that the ongoing debate seeks to address, even if they can never truly be answered. So, the next time you hurry past Boat Quay, perhaps stop in your tracks to consider whether the pristine white statue of Raffles blends in with the immaculate, glass-encased skyscrapers, or if it sticks out like a sore thumb against the backdrop of charcoal grey. Featured Image Credit: Yahoo Finance
Year after year, we all look forward to Chinese New Year for one thing only - McDonald's Prosperity Burger. It should honestly be a staple on the menu because it is one of our greatest national treasures. It's also probably the only burger we're all willing to fight the crowd for.  If you love the Prosperity Burger as much as we do, great news, McDonald's is bringing back the long awaited burgers on 24 Jan 2019.

Come Home To Prosperity

Starting 24 January, McDonald’s Singapore presents Singaporeans with a collection of returning Chinese New Year classics – the Prosperity Burger and Twister Fries – and new additions to the menu! Savour the perfect reunion of flavours! Bite into a mouth-watering beef or chicken patty drenched in McDonald's black pepper sauce,
mcdonalds singapore
GIF Credit: McDonald's Singapore
topped with crisp, sliced onions and tucked between warm, fluffy sesame buns. The Prosperity Burger is truly the most anticipated burger every year!
mcdonald's singapore
GIF Credit: McDonald's Singapore

Prosperity Burgers And Twister Fries

Just like previous years, the Prosperity Beef or Chicken Burger returns in single and double patty options, available from S$5.50 and S$7.50, respectively. You can also get the Prosperity Twister Fries à la carte at S$3.40 or upgrade Extra Value Meal fries with an additional top-up of S$0.70.
mcdonalds singapore
Image Credit: Discover SG
Or go all out and get the Prosperity Feast (from $9.50) - the perfect combination of their delicious Prosperity Burger (Beef or Chicken), Prosperity Twister Fries (M), Peach Pie, and Iced Milo (S).
mcdonalds singapore
Image Credit: Discover SG
With every purchase of the Prosperity Feast, you will also receive a set of ang baos, consisting of four different designs whether in-stores or via McDelivery® and GrabFood, available from 24 January, while stocks last.
mcdonalds singapore
Image Credit: Discover SG

Hotcakes with Golden Chicken

You probably had or heard of Chicken and Waffles once in your lifetime. Usher in the new year with McDonald’s all-new Hotcakes with Golden Chicken – three pieces of hotcakes drizzled with syrup and butter, paired with a golden chicken cutlet. The breakfast platter will be sold from S$6.50, providing a savoury option for hotcakes lovers!
mcdonalds singapore
Image Credit: McDonald’s Singapore
There's no better way to usher in the prosperous new year than catching up with friends and family over a Prosperity Burger!
McDonald’s Chinese New Year 2019 Must-try: Golden Prosperity Burger, Hotcakes With Golden Chicken Date: From 24 January, while stocks last Also Read From BBT To Stinky Tofu, Get A Taste Of Taiwan At S'pore's Very Own Shilin Night Market This April (Header Image Source: McDonald's Singapore)
No visit to Taiwan is complete without visiting the one of the largest and iconic night markets in town. Located in Taipei's Shilin District, Shilin Night Market is a maze of alleyways filled with a variety of local and traditional Taiwanese fare and international merchandise that attract local and foreigners alike. Many of Taiwan’s traditional food can be found and bought for reasonable prices from the friendly locals such as Giant Fried Chicken SteakTempuraBubble TeaOyster Vermicelli, Oyster OmeletFried Buns and of course, the most notorious Taiwanese goodie, Stinky Tofu. Now here's the good news. You can save on that flight ticket to Taiwan as Shilin Night Market is coming to Singapore for the very first time this April!
shilin night market
Image Credit: Taiwan Tourism Bureau

Most Popular Night Market In Taiwan

Taking place over two weekends in April (19-21 April and 26-28 April) at TheGrounds @ Kranji, Invade is introducing Shilin Night Market for the very first time in Singapore. Invade also previously hosted Artbox Singapore and Artbox Malaysia which brought the best of markets to the region with each city's installation infused with the local flavour. Get a taste of Taiwan as they will be bringing in a wide variety of Taiwanese and Singaporean street delicacies, creative eats, pop up artisan stores, arcade games and even movie screenings.
shilin night market
Image Credit: Taiwan Tourism Bureau
shilin night market
Image Credit:
shilin night market
Image Credit: Eurokulture
Not much information has been released regarding the stalls that will be there but we're pretty sure this will be the most anticipated pop-up market of the year. If you're interested in opening a stall at the upcoming Shilin Night Market, more information on stall rental can be found here. For updates on the event, visit or check out their Instagram page here. Till then, we'll be dreaming of bubble tea and stinky tofu! Shilin Night Market  Address: The Grounds @ Kranji (Singapore Turf Club Carpark B) Dates: 19 - 21 April and 26 - 28 April Opening Hours: 3pm - 11pm Instagram | Event Page Also Read Save More, Huat More - 10 Wholesale Stores In S'pore To Stock Up On CNY Goodies And Groceries (Header Image Source: Taiwan Tourism Bureau,