Anne Frank House

I have always wanted to write a piece about the Anne Frank House.

Anne Frank is one of the millions of victims of the Nazi prosecution of the Jews during the second world war. In 1933, when Hitler comes to power and establishes an anti-Jewish regime, the Jewish Frank family went into hiding at 263 Prinsengracht in Amsterdam, which is now the ‘Anne Frank House’, also referred to as the Secret Annexe in Anne Frank’s diary.

AnneFrankHouse

“One day this terrible war will be over. The time will come when we’ll be people again and not just Jews!” This is an excerpt from Anne’s famous diary which was published into a book.

A visit to the Secret Annexe in Amsterdam was heartbreaking. I’ve looked at the depressing living conditions of the family in hiding – an extremely dark and claustrophobic house; the people in hiding have to stay indoors 24 hours a day. The curtains are always kept closed. And as described in Anne’s diary: “During the day our curtains can’t be opened, not even an inch.”

I started reading Anne Frank’s Diary after the visit, and I’m very inspired by her talent to express her feelings so articulately through writing. I also admire her character and confidence in standing up for her own opinions. Mind you, she was only 14. Particularly reflecting this in a Malaysian/Chinese context, the culture of fear to stand up for something. The fear of being judged as being disrespectful for ‘talking back’, and it’s such a taboo especially to your parents. Nonsense. I don’t agree with this style of upbringing. All kids learn is to shut up, and poor child would never have the chance to learn a proper way to challenge ideas and channel their thoughts – a vital skill to survive in the modern world.

In the museum, there were exhibits depicting the harrowing faith of Jews under Hitler’s anti-Jewish regime. Photos are not allowed, and according to a sign, this is because the visit may be an emotional one for some visitors.

The queue to get in was almost 2 hours, and it’s all worth it. It has opened up my mind, learned a bit of history and has given me lifelong inspirations.

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Hong Kong

This is it – a part of that teenage dream – traveling to one big city, solo, for business, in heels and in suit. I feel like an adult, all grown up. Had to be brave, had to speak and be heard.

10-mins ferry ride from Central Pier to Tsim Sha Tsui. Avoided the rush hour train situation, paid a lower fare and…I had this view to remember.

One evening after work, took a stroll along the harbour, thank God for nice Spring weather.

This amazing view from The Mandarin Excelsior.

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Room service after a 4 hour+ flight and a long day coming.

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And whenever I’m on my own for my extended stay, there was this not-too-shabby iClub Fortress Hill Hotel, 5 minutes walk from the Fortress Hill MTR, 3 stations away from Central. Appreciate these huge glass windows with lots of natural light – not the usual case on budget, in Hong Kong.

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Penang

…where retro and heritage are the new cool.

Has it been a year? Some photos I casually snapped using Olympus (then), on a 2-day-1-night adventure with the white car we hired from Penang Airport, which faithfully brought us to the many amazing places.

I’m sure there are more photos, lying somewhere in my old Samsung phone. That night in the neighbourhood pub, more lights of this beautiful island, and all that food adventures…

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Singapore, Noms

1. Poulet French Casual Dining

A Singaporean friend treated me to the famous French roast chicken in Poulet. We went to the outlet in Westgate Mall. They have a few other branches around the city. Love the chicken and pork! Escargots were good too. Yums!

Poulet Singapore
Poulet Singapore
Poulet Singapore
Completed our meal with Ben & Jerry’s rich chocolate ice-cream!

2. Dempsey Hill

Brunch at Jonas the Grocer! The Big Breakfast is really up to standard, one of the best!

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dempsey hill singapore

3. Jamie’s Italian

I have always been a big fan of Jamie Oliver! The opening of his new restaurant in Vivo City got me very excited. The queue was insane, I might have waited 2 hours for a seat! But that didn’t stop me from dining there, I even went there twice since its opening in July 2013.

The restaurant manager was very chatty and friendly. He recommended the chef’s special pasta which wasn’t in the menu, forgot the name of it, to be fair I had this 6 months ago.  Thought the pasta was a bit dry and uncooked, but the desserts were heavenly! Love the brownie, the best I had so far.

Singapore Jamie Oliver Vivo City
Singapore Jamie Oliver Vivo City

4. O’Coffee Club

While waiting for our table from Jamie’s Italian, we were starving and decided to have a quick pasta treat at O’Coffee Club, Vivo City. I can’t recall the name of this pasta, but it was so good! The scallops were fresh, and those cavier roes. Oh M Gee.

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5. Maxwell Food Centre

Decided to try some local delights at the famous hawker centre. Quite disappointed as this dish tasted sweet-ish.

Maxwell Food Centre

6. Kraze Burger

Burger cravings, satisfied at Kraze Burger in Marina Bay Sands.

Kraze Burger

7. Tiong Bahru Bakery

Thumbs up for their croissants! I went to the branch in Raffles City, think they have a few other branches around the city. Read a more extensive review here.

Tiong Bahru Bakery

8. Kith’s Cafe

The breakfast sets in this neighbourhood cafe is insanely good! I’m not a fan of sausages, but these bratwursts changed me! It is located at Robertson Quay, quite a long walk from Clarke Quay but it was quite enjoyable to stroll along the riverside. Heard they have a new branch in Park Mall Orchard. Cools!

Kiths Cafe
Kiths Cafe

9. Ya Kun Kaya Toast

The name says it all, their Kaya Toast is a must-try. I love soft-boiled eggs for breakfast!

Ya Kun Kaya Toast

Read about my memorable experiences in Singapore here.

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Singapore

Level 33 Singapore

This blog must be revived! For a start, I’ve compiled a list of 15 memorable experiences from my trips to Singapore last year. It’s my favourite destination for a quick weekend getaway because of how easy it is to get there! Plus it’s always so much fun.

1. Art Science Museum

Cool place to visit if you are into art/culture. I visited two exhibitions in the past year, Mummy The Secrets of the Tomb and National Geographic 50 Greatest Photographs. Both were very informative and inspiring! Check out their Facebook page for latest updates on exhibitions.

Singapore Art Science Museum
Singapore Art Science Museum
Singapore Art Science Museum
singapore art science museum
Singapore Art Science Museum
Singapore Art Science Museum

2. Leisurely walk from Clarke Quay to Ann Siang Hill

Knowing that the downtown hip hangouts Clarke Quay, China Town and Ann Siang Hill are in close vicinity, I’ve decided to beat the afternoon heat and walk from my dorm at Clarke Quay to Maxwell Food Centre for some local delights. The street view along the way was amazing, plus it was a nice surprise to discover so many quirky shops and cafes at Ann Siang Hill. Victorious Smile.Singapore Ann Siang Hill Walk 1
When old meets new. The modern architecture of Park Royal Hotel (left) and an Indian Temple at Pagoda Street (right).

Singapore Ann Siang Hill Walk 2
Temple Street

Singapore Ann Siang Hill Walk 3
A Buddhist Temple in China Town.

3. Marina Barrage

Park strolls amid the city. Nice walk from Marina Reservoir to Marina Bay Sands. Caught a glimpse of sunset too! I visited on a weekend, the wide green fields were filled with Singaporean families, having picnics on their mats.

Singapore Marina Barrage
Singapore Marina Barrage
Sceneries along the way, I had a really good and relaxed time here.

Singapore Marina Barrage

4. Siloso Beach, Sentosa Island

The hip and happening beach hangout, with loud music from the row of pubs at the beach. Imagine a hot afternoon with a mug of ice cold beer, people-watching your day away. Forget about swimming or water sports, this is more like a lazy Sunday chill out or sun tan spot.

Singapore Siloso Beach

Singapore Siloso Beach
Singapore Siloso Beach

5. Gardens by the Bay

The Flower Dome was really impressive. I was there in December, the huge indoor garden was decorated with Christmas trees and teddy bears, how thoughtful!

Gardens by the Bay 1 (3)
Gardens by the Bay Singapore
Singapore Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay 1 (4)
The view of city was quite amazing from the Supertree Grove.
Gardens by the Bay 1 (5)

6. Haji Lane

“This tiny lane, hidden away in the heart of the Muslim quarter, is a fashionista’s paradise. With very little fanfare, the collection of narrow shop-houses have, in less than a year, been transformed into an aggressively hip retail stretch recalling Le Marais in Paris or New York’s Meatpacking District.”TIME

Hipster place to be.

Singapore Haji Lane

7. Raffles Hotel

Lavish! Nice colonial style building, and they pride themselves on being the icon of Singapore. The Mint Museum of Toys is located right behind the hotel, seeing the great collection of vintage toys and and childhood memorabilia in the museum is an eye-opening experience.

Raffles Hotel Singapore

8. Level 33, Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1

I love sky bars! This bar at the Level 33 (literally!) of the financial tower at Marina Bay Sands area is famous for its freshly brewed craft beer, and the panoramic view of Marina Bay.

Level 33 Singapore
I was here on a Friday evening, the place was filled with investment bankers and expats. Me and my girlfriends looked a bit awkward in this setting, the rare ladies in the house!

Level 33 Singapore

9. New Asia Bar

What’s an alternative to the always crowded 1Altitude or overpriced Ku De Ta? New Asia Bar.

A friend brought me here, knowing that I’m crazy over night views of city. The bar is at Level 70 of Swissotel Hotel. No open air decks like 1Altitude or Ku De Ta though. Give and take.

Singapore New Asia Bar
Singapore New Asia Bar

10. Esplanade

Didn’t know about their Sunday afternoons free public shows until a friend brought me here. Beautiful music! We hung around till evening and enjoyed the outdoor shows as well. Oh the love for arts and music!

Esplanade Singapore

Esplanade Singapore

11. Singapore Night Festival

Singapore Night Festival 2013 was a blast! Museums in the Bras Basah.Bugis precinct participated in the carnival and opened past midnight with music performances, shows etc. It’s an annual festival happening in August. Watch out for the next one! Although it could be a little crowded but it’s really worth visiting.

National Museum of Singapore

National Museum of Singapore

12. Books Actually

An indie bookstore at the Tiong Bahru Estate.

Books Actually Singapore

Books Actually Singapore

Books Actually Singapore

13. Right across the street, there’s Forty Hands, serving quality coffee.

Forty Hands Singapore

Forty Hands Singapore

14. Getting there

My preferred mode of transportation to Singapore is always Jetstar. Well the fact is a bus ride would be more economical in terms of time and money. But I just love taking flights. This is why:

Jetstar
The sparkly view you got from the plane’s window. Priceless.

Back then KLIA 2 did not exist, I enjoy having my flight taking-off and landing at a less-crowded and luxurious terminal. And Jetstar seemed like the only reasonably-priced option during then. Fan of airports!

Changi Airport
Amazing art pieces at Changi Airport – The Social Tree (left) and the Kinetic Rain (right).

15. Staying in backpackers inn

Since I frequently travel solo, or with a bunch of young and adventurous friends, I always book dorms in the Clarke Quay area. They are affordable, convenient and fun! But my policy is always to book capsule-styled dorms as I value privacy. One night would cost about RM80 – 120, it’s the cheapest form of accommodation in Singapore, perfect for single traveller.

dorms in sinapapore

Picture shows (left) Bunc Radius Clarke Quay and (right) Woke Home Capsule Hostel.

I’ve bunked in Bunc Radius Clarke Quay twice, the first time wasn’t a good experience as they gave me the top bunk which I didn’t quite like. But the second time was a pleasant experience, and the lady at the counter recognized me. Very good location, 7-11 across the street and walking distance to MRT and Clarke Quay’s nightlife. Complimentary breakfast provided in the common area.

A few shop lots away from Bunc Radius, there is Woke Home Capsule Hostel. They provide a mini TV in the capsule which I hardly watched as they only showed 2 channels. The mirror was pretty useful though. The toilets are more spacious in Woke Home, however, I tend to like Bunc Radius better.

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The common area of Woke Home Capsule Hostel is very cosy and vibrant, with complimentary all-day breakfast.

This one time I decided to be extra-adventurous and tried another location – the Bunc Radius Little India, since I read reviews that rooms are bigger and nicer. However I didn’t quite like the area, not much going on around and it’s quite a long walk to the MRT station. Clarke Quay will still be the better area to bunk in, speaking from experience.

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Bunc Radius Little India

Finally coming to an end for this extra long post. Proud face. Will be doing another post on FOOD in Singapore. Stay tuned!

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melancholy.

day 2 in taipei, it rained intermittently.
for the first time in my life, i strongly felt that i can’t live without an umbrella; and i almost bought a pair of fugly yellow rain boots.

while waiting at the station, I snapped this monochrome shot, of a lady, immersed in her melancholy.

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bustle, taipei

We were in a rush to meet up with Jian Xiao Jie, a Taiwanese friend, who runs her own food business. We’ve been treated to plenty of great food later that evening. Incredibly good 2/9th night!

I insisted that we walked up this bridge, for whatever reasons, the view from here was superb!

Then it started to drizzle, I just wished I brought along my tripod. For that time being, C’s shoulder did a great job.

忠孝东路, 走一遍。

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