En Français

J’ai décidée que je dois écrire en français régulièrement afin que je n’oublierai pas les choses que j’ai appris. Alors, chaque post, j’écrirai un ou deux paragraphes en français.

Aujourd’hui, je dois aller au le cours yoga. Alor, c’est tout. (haha)

Escape to Yogyakarta

Indonesia is soon becoming my favourite holiday destination.

Despite living in Singapore, the only place I have ever visited in Indonesia is, (ugh, embarrassingly) Batam. I know. I ought to get deported out of my own country. I am so determined to travel in Southeast Asia more after this trip to Yogyakarta. My sister always introduces cool things and places to me.

I only spent 4 nights there but I left wishing that I could bring the warmth of the village back to Singapore. It started with a mid-morning flight to Yogyakarta on the only direct flight from SIN to YOG.

Day 1: Village Life

Unheated bamboo shower in nature. Life!

Unheated bamboo shower in nature. Life!

In four days, my body seemed conditioned to wake up at 5am and be sleepy at 9pm. In our first day, we walked around the village. I mean, I knew that Yogyakarta was a cultural and arts centre, but this village in the Bantul region literally consisted of artisans and craftsmen. They were all at work during our stay there and it was amazing seeing this village come alive with creative energy.

Can I buy that lifesize unicorn and that oversized vase please.

Can I buy that lifesize unicorn and that oversized vase please.

Ceramics, woven baskets, bricks, kites, furniture. I love furniture. I don’t even have a place, but I just love looking at well-designed furniture, for my uh, future apartment? Along the way we had some lunch: Bakso.


Noodles for lunch

Look at that bowl of noodles. It was so delicious we ordered another bowl from the noodle cart. 5 meatballs and some really tasty soup/gravy/seasoning for just 10,000 rupiah.

The beautiful part of the village were the smiles of every one along the road. And the green green paddy fields! I am a deprived urban child. We got tired before even reaching the gateway to the village we gave up and walked back.

E takes the best secret photos

E takes the best secret photos

Day 2: Scooter fun in Yogyakarta

Our first time on a scooter began in day 1 when E borrowed it to test it out. It was exhilarating being on the scooter around the village. We got to explore even more paddy fields and covered so much area.

On day 2, we braved the city traffic on the scooter with nothing but cheap helmets. But somehow I felt quite safe because E is such a safe driver.

Details at the Kraton Palace

Details at the Kraton Palace

Perhaps the most touristy attraction is the Kraton Palace. And you can really see the space, the grandeur and details in the life of a sultan. Gilded moulding, gazebos and crafted prayer halls just reiterates how much creativity and art is seen and viewed in the community.

Dancing class in Kraton

Dancing class in Kraton

These graceful dancers really made me want to get some kebayas. Look at the colours of the delicate lace. A teacher was going around correcting postures while tourists stood by the side, watching.

We spent a lot of time looking for food. Trying to communicate with a language barrier was more difficult that I imagined. But as a Southeast Asian, the little Bahasa that I was exposed to did help us. No one really speaks English there unless the area is super touristy. So we just asked for directions whenever we stopped for food or at sights.

I also spent quite some time shopping for batik. There are just too many choices in Mirota Batik. It is a fixed price shop that sells everything from batik to wooden spoons. I was so tempted to buy decor. But I stopped myself. Or rather, E stopped me.


Scene at Borobudur

Day 3: Temples

We were awoken by the crows of a rooster and the prayers from a nearby mosque. 4am. On a vacation. Right. E and I arranged for a car with a Dutch couple living in the same Airbnb as us. It made economic sense to do it, and also, nobody wanted to ride a scooter at 4am for 2 hours to reach the Temples. Navigation hell written all over that suggestion.

FrogStay, the Airbnb we were hanging at, really catered to our needs. We paid 60,000 rupiah for 4 of us to go to Borobudur and Prambanan and some sunrise area. They were very flexible about everything and really went with the flow. Now that’s my kind of vacation.


Failed Sunrise Catching

First, we hiked up a hill to catch the sunrise. Yeah. Nope, no sunrise here. It was overcast and we couldn’t see the sun. :( The climb up just reminded me of how unfit I was. Seriously. I was literally out of breath. (This reminds me of Torres Del Paine, but that’s another story for another day.)

Then we headed to breakfast at a local market! Ayam bubur in my tum. Oh my goodness. Chicken rice porridge with crackers.

Ayam Bubur filled me up!

Ayam Bubur filled me up!

Just look at how much stuff there is in it. A burst of flavours! We also bought random snacks and it seems like all kinds of Indonesian food are amazing. The food vendors of Yogyakarta can do no wrong.

The majesty of the temple made me feel tiny

The majesty of the temple made me feel tiny

9th Century architecture just dwarfs everything around it. I was so blown away by the sheer size of it. Everything about it made me feel like I was just a little being in a huge world that I have no control over. Maybe that is what the teaching is.

Peace. Everywhere

Peace. Everywhere

The view is amazing from the top as well. Each of these stupas contained a Buddha statue within. We were so mind-blown when we found out.

Corridor Capture

Corridor Capture

Just look at the detail in the corridors. A sense of excitement and tranquility just floods you when you are here. On one hand I was super amazed at all the work and craft put in, and on the other hand the vibes and surrounding park area just made me feel so calm and contented. Is this what holy ground does?


The entire architecture is beautiful and it really makes me wonder how anyone could design such a large scale thing without the use of modern technology. Right after this though, we tried to exit the park but we were rerouted by official park signs that led us through a winding path filled with souvenir shops. I think I must have walked past 500 of them on the way out, or even more.


Bye Borobudur! I highly recommend that you go in the morning. We were there at 7am and there were no crowds! Nothing says nirvana like a swarm of tourists right?

Prambanan was next, after we had an amazing lunch recommended by our guide, Viga. He really knows where to eat good food. And for the first time in a long time, I ate a whole lot of beansprouts. Travelling just makes you more open-minded. And also, the beansprouts were pretty damn good.

8th Century Prambanan

8th Century Prambanan

After feeling like Lara Croft in Borobudur, we continued our adventures in Prambanan. Isn’t it architecturally beautiful? I thought the form of the Prambanan temples were more aesthetically stunning, but the size and majesty of the Borobudur takes the cake.



The intricate structure of each temple is so beautiful. We climbed the stairs to each of the temples. If you are lucky, you meet statues representing different aspects of the Hindi beliefs. The temples were also shelter from the sweltering sun.

On our way back, Viga brought us to a restaurant near us. It was next to a paddy field: my favourite! Also, we were super hungry and the four of us ordered so much food.

Special drinks with Gula Melaka and Grass Jelly

Special drinks with Gula Melaka and Grass Jelly

The jelly drink I had looked like moss, but tasted like an explosion of sweetness and richness. Perfect for a warm day climbing and walking around the vast temple compounds!

After we went back, we took the hot afternoon sun’s cue to shower. It sure beats a cold shower at night. Then we headed out and had a massage. Ya, can’t shake the Singaporean in us. Haha. Nothing ends a day out like a massage.

Day 4: Final Day Batik Painting

Don't mind me, just wearing E's extra set of clothes

Don’t mind me, just wearing E’s extra set of clothes

E tends to overpack, so for the batik workshop held right at the Airbnb place we were staying, I wore his clothes. We also had yoga before that and I had nothing to wear, so luckily he overpacked too.

Bagus, our batik shifu taught us how to conceptualise our design and then helped us make some magic with batik. It was a great experience because we were also hanging out with all of them and chatting.

Homecooked food with the best tempeh I had in my life.

Homecooked food with the best tempeh I had in my life.

Arghhhhhhh I would love me some tempeh now. Our hosts graciously cooked lunch for us and we had such a great meal. I am not a fan of tempeh, but their tempeh was AMAZING. I ate so many I almost felt bad. But the tempeh made that all go away. They also steam rice in banana leaf packets. Très genial! You get the scent and the portions all ready.

I didn’t take a photo of the completed batik, but they turned out pretty awesome and a bit trippy. Woohoo! Bagus was teaching us about the process and told us we could do it at home in Singapore. We also talked about the renovation project that they were working on when we made a comment about how late the workers stayed till. Then we found out that all the people working on the construction and renovation, were volunteers from the village!

What a life they have in the village. Everyone helping each other out in such a big way. It made me want to stay there forever. But with that 4am crowing rooster, 4 nights was enough HAHA.

Indonesia has so much to offer to the traveller. And I can’t wait for my next trip there! :D


Summer Things

In Singapore, it is hot and humid all year round. There are only two extremes: burning and raining. So when the school break comes, it isn’t really barbecues and garden parties I look forward to. I’m excited that my brain gets to do something else other than student things. Don’t get me wrong, I love student life, and the school break is a huge part of it that allows me to create.


This year I have trying to pick up calligraphy. And as a left hander, it is quite the challenge. I mean, I consider it a feat if I don’t smudge any ink before finishing a word.

I haven’t been updating this space regularly even though I think I really should. So many things have been happening that I’ve completely pushed this away.

This post marks the beginning of a refresher! In the meantime, I will have to find out how to improve my lefty calligraphy and begin hand lettering too.

So excited.

Undergrad Life Gone

This week is the official last week of my undergraduate life. After spending two semesters back in Singapore, I have thrown myself into the busiest, most fulfilling two semesters of my university life.

Amazingly, I had more sleep than I expected and I really can not be happier because I cannot function without a good sleep and I am not a fan of coffee.
Now I have embarked on a summer internship and am learning new things every single day, which is awesome. The great thing about summer is that my friends have the same schedule as me now and it is so much easier to arrange meetings.

I have so many things I want to accomplish this summer. Like learning to code, or paint or continue with my copperplate work or photography. Haha

Sometimes I feel like I am so many things at once, its like I am bursting out of my being and willing myself to split into multiple consciousnesses so that I may do everything at once.

The weekends ahead are so jam-packed with activities and I can’t wait to share them with you.

I must try to write and reflect more.


Isn’t it quick how time flies by? I haven’t been here this whole semester and it’s no thanks to my crazy school schedule. Now, finally after a week of tests and presentations, I can take a breather of half an hour to finally write.

I am facing an identity crisis now and as my graduation date nears (I still have at least 6 months), I am supposed to hop onto a job train that will guide me to my future. Thing is, I really don’t have a fixed idea on what I want to do.

As far as I can remember, these are the things that I actually aspired to become – teacher, wedding planner, hotel chain tycoon, chocolatier, night club owner, fashion designer, baker, yoga instructor (with no knowledge about yoga), veterinarian, zookeeper, farmer, wellness brand tycoon, food critic, graphic designer, urban planner, hostel owner, entrepreneur, conservationist, UN environmentalist… the list goes on forever.

Lately, having been speaking to friends regarding their post-university life but haven’t quite found the answers there too. I am just trying to make the most of my university life while I can and this semester I have picked up some yoga classes (I know I said that it makes my mind wander, so I am really trying hard to be present and stuff), some ballet classes and even a pole fitness class. I know nothing about these, and I can’t wait to learn.

At this point in the semester, I feel as burnt out as a creme brulee. I can’t wait for the exams to be over because learning is fun, but studying isn’t. So off I go to sprint past the final part of the engineering segment of my degree education.

I’ll be back in a few weeks.

Cycle Commuting

Today, I led the most healthful morning.

I woke up at 715am, after around 7 hours of sleep, went for breakfast (this is rare), and borrowed a bicycle to cycle around the Nanyang Technological University campus for a pilot run for a school project.

I had to borrow a bicycle because I don’t own one. I borrowed it from John, a fellow student. I don’t own a bicycle because my confidence in cycling is maybe 3 out of 10. After having ridden on the Death Road in Bolivia (which I swear I will post in due course), my confidence increased from 1 to 2. And after today, maybe it has risen to a healthy 3. Honestly, it’s only a half-truth to say that I can ride a bike. It takes some serious guts to cycle in a constrained area (like the pavement or sidewalk) where other people are walking and cycling and pushing strollers. Let’s just say I have inconsistent control of the bicycle. I’m very thankful to be alive and to have hurt no one in the 1 hour I was away on the roads.

For a total novice at cycling, I found it pretty manageable (save for a few minor heart beats skipped) to cycle from Pioneer MRT to NTU. In the morning, I found the weather favourable for cycling. And that is after stepping out of my air-conditioned room in Hall 8. It could be exceptional weather today, but I doubt morning temperatures go much higher. Even when there was sunshine on the pavement, it was intermittent because there was a lot of shade provided by the trees and buildings in the area.

The main problem I had, which really isn’t a problem if you are better at cycling than I am (not a very hard thing to accomplish), was the narrow pavements. When there was no one else sharing my pavement, I felt perfectly comfortable cycling in a straight line. But once a figure appears in my line of vision. That’s it. My bicycle goes crazy and windy. I am so sorry to all the commuters I have frightened. I think there were 5. But towards the end of my journey I got the hang of it and just kept telling myself to keep calm and maintain a straight path. Breathe Su, breathe.

Slopes in NTU are more manageable than I expected and generally, people around Pioneer have very good bicycling and pedestrian etiquette. That is always good news. It isn’t surprising after you see just how many people cycle around Pioneer MRT station. It’s a surprisingly large number and I’m surprised there aren’t even wider pavements for them. There was even a double-deckered bus (service 192) whose driver very graciously waited for me by the pedestrian crossing although I was at least 2-3 metres from the crossing. Also, most people responded well when I rang the bicycle bell to alert them of my presence. The only real scary part was the roundabout in NTU (which leaves much to be desired for pedestrians), but even then most motorists are very patient and always wait to see what I am going to do next before they make their move. Of course, being the scaredy-cat or timid cyclist that I am, I waited for at least 5 cars to make their turns before daring to make mine. I survived! You don’t have to be Tour de France pros to cycle. This morning I have more to work on for my project.

Commuting via cycling is the future of sustainable, liveable cities. One day my dream of a bicycle culture in Singapore may realise and we’ll be seeing pretty bikes (like these PUBLIC bicycles) around the city. I remember walking past PUBLIC bikes in San Francisco and wishing I owned the entire catalogue. It’s like a Vespa or a VW Beetle, without the fuel consumption. Plus, you really get to exercise with these bikes and feel the breeze upon your face. If someone as afraid as me could ride on the pavements, there’s really nothing else to be worried about. What’s not to love about non-motorised transport, really?

Pre-sleep thoughts

School starts tomorrow and I am avoiding sleep because if I do, my next moment of consciousness will be a school day.

The great thing about being a student in university is that my hours are very flexible and few. However, after five weeks of bumming around not using my academic brain much, the thought of going back to school kinda stinks.

This weekend has been a rollercoaster and for the first weekend of the year (post new year season) I have not kept any resolutions unsurprisingly.

Cheer practice leaves me in all sorts of aches, right to the tips of my fingers. Despite the fact that I really want to stretch more and do yoga, most of the time, my ass is whooped from being an old hag with back aches. That could just be lazy Su dishing out excuses. At this point, I don’t really know. All I know is that I’ve been overeating over the weekend and that will stop and must stop immediately.

Sometimes I forget that my body ages too and my metabolism is doing as I age. My patience wears thinner, and my body wears quicker.

I’ve been baking with E this weekend and it seems we have successfully made something that appealed to everyone who ate it. I should write about that more next time.

For now, I’ll make more art, read more and work out more.


Happy New Year!

I wish I blogged more, and the last quarter of this year has been a post-drought for me because I have been very preoccupied with, uhm, life? With the new year here, I really wanted to breathe some life into this page again.

2014 has been a great year for me. I spent the bulk of it in California and how time flies when you are having fun. From road trips to apartment hunting to living the San Francisco, I had a whale of a time. (Apartment hunting, not so much, that was a chore.) From all the awesome ice cream, spinach and bacon quiches, barre classes, and conversations had to walking up crazy slopes, going to mega flea markets, and stargazing, I had the most wonderful time. My support group and go-to homies in have been nothing but amazing.

Back in Singapore, my fitness routine has slowed down even though I was determined to work off weight I had accumulated in the USA. After a while I just gave up and started baking stuff. But the best thing about being in Singapore is that the weight just drops off because I am no longer eating upsized portions.

Having said that, being reunited with E has made eating a lot more enjoyable and frequent, because we are typical gluttons with each other. I also shop a lot less because everything here is so expensive and I am too busy to head out to shop anyway.

Maybe the most dramatic thing that happened to me was deciding to cut out commercial shampoos and soaps in my life. I purchased a bunch of stuff to help me with my journey and although it sounds crazy, I haven’t shampooed in around  2 weeks. Yeah. Now I sound like a smelly person. That will be an update for another time.

2015 will be more magical and fun-filled. It is the last year of my university education, officially. Because I do not intend to extend my time at school thanks. There will be exciting parties to plan for. I want to spend more time with my family,  more time with myself, more time with friends, complete my FYP successfully, continue hanging out with E and learning to bake and cook together. Eat better and cut out processed sugars, workout more, cook in school more often, have more conversations, sleep better, pick up new skills, use my phone less, and be more present.

2015, let’s go!

Melaka Weekend

Malaysia. The land of awesome food. Just across the causeway. Without a car, it’s such a chore to get to. This weekend getaway was E’s idea because we were all so busy: him with basketball matches and me with projects and events to plan. Now that the Halloween event is over (the last of the semester), he thought it’d be good if we chilled out before exams start. Plus, the last time we really were on vacation together was 11 months ago in California. We both miss the golden state so much. I wouldn’t consider this trip a travelling trip because we only ate and ate and ate.

The most exciting part about being in Malaysia is that everywhere you eat you get really good food. Without a car, the region we could wander around efficiently was the cultural heritage/tourist centre of Melaka. Fortunately, all the good food happens to be concentrated there.

Peranakan food was the highlight for me. I am a sucker for ayam buah keluak, as I have probably mentioned in my previous post. E did not appreciate it at all. He compared it to a ground cashew nut. I was mortified of course. How can you compare buah keluak to a common cashew?!? Just, no. (But he said he’s willing to learn to cook it with me, so I guess we’re even. He’s a keeper!)


E scooping buah keluak for me ^^. He thinks it is like ground cashew nuts. Plebian.

As usual, we overestimated our appetites and ordered so much the dude taking our orders questioned our ability to finish what we ordered. I am biased when I say this, but ayam buah keluak was the best dish. They blended the nut and it was so smooth and fine. I wanted to cry {tears of joy} finally being able to eat it after being deprived of it for over 2 years. Needless to say, I ate all the nuts and gave E all the chicken in the bowl. What is chicken?! Having said that, it’s definitely an acquired taste because E just couldn’t get past the fact he was eating black nuts. I guess that was good for me ’cause I got to eat everything in the end.

I think I was dead to the other dishes, but apparently the assam duck was really yummy and I enjoyed the soup.


Look at his eager dinner face.


Nancy’s Kitchen: not food.

If you haven’t tried Peranakan food, I’d recommend Nancy’s Kitchen in Melaka, because it definitely has a reputation of putting out consistently delicious food and its recipes are supposed to be traditional and passed down for over 3 generations. This is, of course, unverified and I’ll just take it because I had good food and I don’t care how old your recipes are actually. Nancy’s Kitchen is along Jalan Hang Jebat near to Jonker Walk. Just ask anyone, we asked an old lady who didn’t understand a shred of English but understood Nancy’s Kitchen. That’s powerful Nancy.


Photo moments while looking for Nancy


Nancy’s neighbours

Nancy’s kitchen is situated right beside a bar area and just a couple of minutes away is the Jonker Walk Night Market. As you can see, we arrived at Nancy’s Kitchen when it was still daylight because we wanted to have an early dinner to beat any crowds. #trueblueSingaporean And after dinner we strolled the night market.

We also indulged a little (a lot) in dessert. Aside from Chendol, we ate very awesome mille crepes. O.M.G. So awesome. That may be our next bake.


The ‘Original’ Mille Crepe


The Gula Melaka Mille Crepe


E devouring them

I know, it’s kinda weird to be eating mille crepes in Melaka. But I’m glad we did. The Melaka we visited was rather walkable, although a car would have been more convenient, and we’d probably venture out of the tourist centre. We tried two mille crepes – one without special flavours and one with irresistible gula melaka.


Gobble that up.

I’m a sucker for that palm sugar. I haven’t been to Melaka in a while, but I’m guessing this establishment is new. It’s called Nadeje and it’s at Mahkota. Initially I wanted to head to the shopping area to buy some shorts, but I didn’t come across any ones with the right price. It’s just cotton, but they’ll still charge you unreasonably.


Old structures in Melaka

Melaka kept a lot of its European architecture and buildings. The Dutch, Portuguese and British influence here is rather striking. I also love how the trishaw  riders decorate their trishaws. I saw Doraemon ones and Hello Kitty ones with boom boxes.


Hoe Kee Chicken Rice

Oh my goodness. I know, there are many awesome chicken rice stores in Singapore already and I particularly like the one in Upper Serangoon Road, but we couldn’t resist the rice balls. Looks at them! They look incredibly appetising and I can just recall their texture in my mouth. Just the right moisture and size. So awesome. Brb drooling.


My favourite store sign

As we were walking to find chendol, I was very intrigued by this shop. Because it has nice lettering that fit the whole vibe of the store. No curios for me to buy though, as a budget traveler I can only spend on food.


Famous chendol shop has more curios.

We headed to Jonker88 chendol, and it was, uhm average. But but but I love chendol so even average makes me happy and gleeful. We also bought fried tofu skin while we were there.


Chendol man servin’ up some dessert.

We had better chendol the next morning at East and West Rendezvous. Breakfast was amazing durian chendol with Nonya dumplings.


Awesome Durian Chendol


I love these Nonya Rice Dumplings

Prep work with blue rice.

Seriously. I love Nonya Rice Dumplings. (Or Nonya zhang) The fragrance of the banana(?) leaves and pork just embraces your nose. I would have bought some back to Singapore but we ran out of money. We did buy some cincalok and gula melaka back though. The durian chendol was really good because the sweetness of the duriann gave the chendol a punch of flavour. The very distinct and beloved durian flavour.


We took a tourist selfie at the fort area.


We also stumbled upon an art demonstration showcase and decided to try paper cutting too.

Melaka has been very awesome and it makes me look forward to future trips to Malaysia.

These are the places I mentioned in the post:

Nancy’s Kitchen
7 Jalan Hang Lekir
75200 Melaka, Malaysia

G-23 & 25, Jalan PM4, Plaza Mahkota, 75000, Melaka, Melaka, 75000, Malaysia

Hoe Kee Chicken Rice
468, Jalan Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia

60 East & West Rendezvous
60 Lorong Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia

They are all in the same area near the river. Great even for people with poor navigation. We also chanced upon an awesome coffee shop with hand made kaya and duck noodles. But I have forgotten what it is called. It is along Jalan Hang Jebat. Till next time!


Yoga? : Thoughts

I don’t know about you, but from observation, people who love HIIT workouts (like yours truly) often have trouble with the stillness that yoga practice involves. I’ve heard of runners’ yoga, cyclists’ yoga. I’m neither because I am horrible at both – I once forgot how to cycle, yes, it is possible. I accomplished that unfortunately. I wish I was good at all three – running, cycling and yoga. Ugh, running. Thinking about it makes me cringe. If only I would wake up one day and decided I love running. But I digress (again and the reason why I am not a yogi).1912000_10152069514637879_1078170857_oThis is the closest I get to yoga: I need a setting, a tranquil river and nature in a quiet Zion National Park. I’m not even in yoga pants for that matter – those are running tights. Simply put, I just do not have the discipline for yoga, nor does my heart want to be still for extended periods of time. I’m easily distracted, fidgety and always thinking about something. So I have trouble ‘focusing on my breath’. Do you know what that means? ‘Cuz I don’t.

Also, am I a total loser for saying that I can’t tell one asana from the next? The only yoga classes I have taken were in California, and they all were so fluent in yogi language that all I heard was something-something-asana. Or maybe I’m just slow to comprehend? I’m a yoga failure.

It doesn’t help that yoga classes in Singapore are craaazy expensive. A poor student like me is not gonna be able to afford that. At all. Nevertheless, the few times I did manage to engage my mind during yoga class (trust me, the really few times I didn’t become bored) I really enjoyed how my energy levels went up for the day and how happy I was. When I took barre class, I particularly enjoyed the yoga-like experience it gave me too. So I’m really ambivalent about yoga practice now.

As a November resolve, I will begin regular yoga practice. Not only is it a reason for me to use my otherwise obsolete yoga clothes I bought, I really feel like my busy schedule can use at least a fifteen-minute daily morning yoga routine. I tried to ask E to do it with me. He gets bored easily too. But during the weekends we always try out new workouts and I might reintroduce yoga to him again. (Fingers crossed)

Let’s hope I can muster enough discipline to do more than that corpse pose. Namaste. To being a future yogi.