Saturday, September 15, 2018

Perth 2018 - Exploring Mandurah Waters

It was a mistake to just make a day trip to Mandurah. I should have stayed at least for one night! Mandurah, located at the Peel region is known for its stunning sea sceneries, dolphin watching, and many other sea activities. Going on a tour around Mandurah waters on our own boat was just one the few things we did.

On our way to Mandurah, we dropped by Bunnings. With a tagline Lower Prices Are Just The Beginning, we went crazy over the myriad of DIY equipments and products available. It would be a cardinal sin to not buy something there! We bought an automated hose, water sprikler system and a deluxe king's throne camping chair since we will be having picnic soon. Extra luggage weight  became secondary for a while and the main concern was how do we fit everything in the car?

We then headed to Mandurah boardwalk and explored Mandurah waters. The weather was delightful. It was cold despite the sun which makes dressing up and putting on sunblock a breeze because you did not have to sweat.

Hopeful to explore more of Mandurah in the future. Next time,  I will probably spend a day or two exploring other parts of beautiful Mandurah! I am supposing this was just a preview trip. 😄

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Perth 2018 - Swan Valley

One of the many places that you must go when you are in Perth is Swan Valley. If you do not have a car, there are alternatives to choose from like shuttle bus, or even cycling. You will have to check it out!

As for us, we were lucky to have a car for the day because Swan Valley is massive, and there are many places to go to. Known for its vineyard, olive farms, and chocolatiers, it is an amazing place for you to explore and guaranteed you will be spoilt for choice. Many places to eat with picturesque backdrop of nature!

The first place we went was Kafarela's vineyard. They are known for its non-alcoholic grape juice and they have a wide variety of grape juices. No one red grape is the same depending on where it was grown. Unfortunately, we came at an unopportune time as it was not harvest season yet. The trip did no go to waste as we were taught how the grapes were harvested. On the upside, there was a part of it that was lined with cherry blossom. (I think?)

On the same day, we went to the House of Honey to get a taste of Australian honey. I personally love honey. I put them in my coffee, tea or make a cup of honey lemon mix. It makes a great thirst quencher. Remember, if you are making a honey drink, avoid using hot boiling water because it may destroy the essential vitamins in it.

The House of Honey was crowded that day with bus load of tourist. Everything at the tasting counter was pretty much a mess and of course, photo taking became really complicated and challenging! It came to a no surprise because it was a weekend anyway. All the staff were too busy to entertain everyone. Luckily, there was a cashier who helped us with our choices! I got myself a honeycomb that can be eaten on its own like a candy.

If you are at the House of Honey, pick something that has a lab tested rating. They have a rating that reflects that honey medicinal properties and could help cancer patients or remedy common illnesses like cough or flu. Unfortunately, House of Honey has got no farm nearby, of course due to safety issues like bees flying around while you shop! However, there is a display of live bees contained in an acrylic display for you to see! Just do not attempt to break it!

Then after we went to The Margaret River Chocolate Co. According to TripAdvisor that was the it place to go, but I was not feeling it. We looked around and nothing appealed us. We left and drove further up to Mondo Nougat and Morish Nuts.

It was not crowded, I am supposing they are not popular amongst tourist but, they give a certain local vibe - not the kind of overimported nougat we tend to buy at the groceries. They are still as Australian as other brands but trying out Mondo Nougat and Morish Nuts did not dissappoint! If I had wanted to go to a crowded store, I would have gone to one in my backyard. I bought the soft nougat at Mondo Nougat because I do not want to hurt my jaw! They are way softer than Golden Boronia's soft nougat. At Morish Nuts, you could sample the flavoured nuts before buying. You will not get enough!

A day well spent at Swan Valley. Shops in Australia generally close early. We went back to the city after and had dinner at Ihsan. The cold weather made me want to eat something soupy!

More about my trip soon! Have a great week ahead!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Perth 2018

Hi everyone!

I am so glad to be back! I was in Perth for a short vacation and am very grateful I had a great time enjoying the Perth city life, and exploring the places and importantly feeding the kangaroos, on top of having photo opportunity with the koala and wombat!

I was in Australia in 2016 and there were a few things that did not go as planned! This was probably to recompense all the annoying things that happened in 2016 like car rental booking gone wrong, Blue Mountain tour that cancelled on the eleventh hour, and many more. No matter, there were also many amazing memories like the campfire and glamping to remember by!

This trip was booked two weeks before my departure. Hence, there were so many last minute research I had to do. Luckily, there were real friends and family to show us around and stayed throughout the trip. These are the amazing people and I am hopeful the universe treat you as good!

Many times when I told my friends that I was going to Perth for a vacation, many asked, what is there to do? I will be back again to share with you my experience and some pictures (I hope you love it!). Hopefully, it will be beneficial for you if you are going there in the future!

Granted, Australia is absolutely mediocre when it comes to shopping. Their malls open late and closes early. Good enough if there is one eatery nearby that is open till late. I spent a day shopping and I was done for the day.

I am not one who is that picky when it comes to food but there, food seem to taste better I think? It took me quite some time to stomach the food here back home. Yes, my kitchen is closed until further notice because I am too tired to cook. Till now I could not find fish and chips that taste as good as the one in Fremantle. I am a little dramatically worried now. Wondering if I am going to ever eat fish here again?

I will be taking a good rest for the next few days. I need a break, catch up on my sleep, clear my luggage and bring out all the souvenirs and untag everything. Who knew there would be so much work to be done when it comes to unpacking!

Till then, have a great week! 🎉

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Keeping Ninja-fit with AXN

Don’t miss the premiere of American Ninja Warrior: Ninja Vs. Ninja on August 13, Monday to Wednesday at 8:05pm only on AXN (StarHub Ch 511 and Singtel TV Ch 304)!

Epic competition series, American Ninja Warrior: Ninja Vs. Ninja is back for another season! Bigger and more intensive than before, the show will feature even more challenging obstacles than in the past, incorporating speed, human agility, skill and a whole strategy of racing.

Hosted by comedian Matt Iseman and former NFL player Akbar Gbajabiamila, American Ninja Warrior: Ninja Vs. Ninja pits three-person athletic teams against one another on a physically demanding, side-by-side obstacle course that tests endurance and speed.

While not everybody can train as hard as these athletes, AXN has collated a list of tips from fitness and lifestyle influencers on how to keep fit during a busy working schedule.

Keeping a work-life balance

Office life might leave you with little time for after work activities, but you can still stay active with simple exercises that could be done within your office environment.

“Feeling troubled in the office? Turn that stress into muscles by getting a forearm and grip strengthener,” advised Zulfadli, a lifestyle and fitness influencer from Singapore. “Another tip is to invest in a pair of exercise bands that can be used while you’re reading a report or trying to overcome writer’s block.”

Simple adjustments in the office can make a big difference in the long run. For example, sitting on an exercise ball instead of an office chair can help to improve your posture. If you get back pains from sitting in the office all day, try switching to a standing desk which can straighten your spine and help to burn extra calories.

Make time for yourself

It’s easy to make excuses and procrastinate when it comes to exercising during a work week, but sometimes all you need is 30 minutes of free time a day to get in shape!

Annissa Munaf, a fitness influencer based in Indonesia agrees, “Staying active and fit with your busy working schedule can be easy and simple. Back when I worked in an office, I’d always jog for 30 minutes in the morning before I’d go to work. If I didn’t have to work late, I would go to the gym for an hour or so after work.”

“The afternoon nap has never been so important in working life. Whether your job involves working on heavy machinery or even as routine as data entry, closing your eyes for 15 minutes to rest can help you to stay productive. Remember to pace yourself during lunch hour!” Zulfadli added.

Getting to the finish line with good eating habits

Eating healthy doesn’t necessarily means eating blandly. There are plenty of healthy food options available these days, and if your office area doesn’t have any, you can always consider food delivery services.

Grace Myu, lifestyle blogger from Malaysia recommends readers to make healthy meal preps from home because diet is key to maintaining a fit body. This also helps to eliminate the stress of thinking of lunch options then resorting to an unhealthy one (we’ve all been there!). Grace also suggests to opt for alternative snacks such as seedless grapes and unsalted nuts to cut down on junk food binging.

“Always remember to hydrate yourself. We tend to have the misconception that we don’t need to drink much due to our light intensity office work when in fact, air-conditioning removes moisture in the office and ultimately takes it away from you,” shared Zulfadli.

If all these tips seem too overwhelming for you, pay heed to Matt Iseman, the host of American Ninja Warrior: Ninja Vs. Ninja, “You’re going to have days, but just remember that even when it feels impossible, if you just keep going, you will get to the finish line.”

Don’t miss the premiere of American Ninja Warrior: Ninja Vs. Ninja on August 13, Monday to Wednesday at 8:05pm only on AXN (StarHub Ch 511 and Singtel TV Ch 304).

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Pasir Ris Primary School's Silver Jubilee

Hi everyone! My weekend started great this week with the celebration of Pasir Ris Primary School's silver jubilee, in conjuction with the official opening of its newly built Indoor Sports Hall (ISH) and Sing Singapore - a brand name strongly associated and synonym to a Pasirian National Day celebration.

I was very happy to be a part of this seeing our young generation performing, exceling not only in education but in arts too. The event started off with Guzheng performance which played an array of traditional folksongs, as well as new rendition of Humpty Dumpty sang by the school choir. Then it went to showcase several number of Singapore songs á la Sing Singapore. If you had remembered Sing Singapore back then, it was very competitive, energetic, vibrant, and more importantly creative. I remember how back then our pom-poms were made of rafia strings or even newspaper. We brought recycling to a while new level! Those memories were reignited that night! A showcase of traditional performance like the Malay dance added some culture on top of the Guzheng ensemble. More videos on my Twitter!

It was amazing to have DPM Teo Chee Hean and MP Mr Zainal Sapari to grace this event where the former officiated the grand opening of the ISH. The launch which had Mr Teo place his palm on a tablet initating the opening was an application orchestrated by a group of Pasirirans students themselves. Amazing! Coding has never been so useful!

On a personal level, I was so elated to meet former teachers and I was absolutely stunned to see ex-principal Mr Han Mok Puek! I am sure many of you would have remembered how candid he was as a principal back then. Thank you Pasir Ris Primary School for inviting me. It was an honour truly!

Making the Invisible, Visible - Support The #invisiblepoor Today

If you have never cast a second look at your void deck where the shabby man spends the night, or a cartload of cardboard and recyclables which the auntie pushes during the day, The Salvation Army hopes to change your mind with its latest campaign “Making the Invisible, Visible”, in partnership with social enterprise imaginem.

The living spaces of beneficiaries with The Salvation Army will be shared by imaginem through black and white photography, whilst personalities are with them on the case. Many a times, they are with us in our neighbourhoods, but look again, the elderly with over-clutter in the flat is in need of basic necessities. Personalities have joined The Salvation Army and imaginem in this campaign, to be with the poor and their spaces in the picture to share about their situation. ACRES founder and Member of Parliament Louis Ng, actress Cynthia Lee MacQuarrie and The Food Bank Singapore co-founder Nichol Ng in the spaces of Singapore’s poor will make you do a double-take.

The campaign is inspired by a similar one by The Salvation Army in Finland last year, which featured Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka and former Finnish president Tarja Halonen as homeless people. The Finnish campaign won awards for its portrayals, and The Salvation Army hopes to bring the same message to Singapore. It has partnered social startup imaginem to run the photography campaign, with celebrated photographer Aik Beng Chia behind the lens.

The Salvation Army plans to feature several well-known personalities in photographs inspired by the stories of its beneficiaries, and will be rolling out the campaign over a year. The campaign will raise funds to support the poor who have fallen through the cracks via a campaign page which can be found here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Singaporean Filmmaker to Represent Asia in Sony’s Global Picture This Festival for the Planet in Los Angeles

It is always inspiring to hear our fellow Singaporeans representing the world in their own way!

Sony Pictures Television Networks (SPTN), in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, today announced that Singaporean filmmaker Wally Tham, and Malaysian filmmaker Mark Lee are the Asia finalists of the Picture This Festival for the Planet, a worldwide short-film competition for filmmakers to showcase the positive future they see for our planet.

Tham’s short film, Sayang Kalimantan, is a compelling insight into the 2015 forest fires that devastated Kalimantan in Indonesia. Tham and his team spent two years in Kalimantan designing and building Indonesia’s first functioning haze shelter, while documenting the arduous journey that the local residents experienced. Watch the film below!

Tham and Lee are two of eight regional finalists from around the world who will receive a Sony RX0 camera and a trip for two to Los Angeles, where they will attend the Picture This Festival For the Planet at the Sony Pictures Studios lot on July 31. On this day, the regional finalists will meet with Sony Pictures executives from the television and the motion picture group, followed by an evening event exploring how stories can promote a better world through the lens of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). All regional finalists’ films will be screened and a winner will be announced at the event.

Visit to watch all eight regional finalists’ videos.

Entries for the Picture This Festival for the Planet opened in January, with aspiring filmmakers and environmentalists from over 70 countries submitting videos between one and eight minutes in length. Each submission was inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of global goals agreed upon by all 193 member states of the United Nations to end poverty, protect the planet and promote prosperity for all.

Partners in this year's festival are: the United Nations Foundation, the United Nations Association of the United States of America, WeTransfer, Sony World Photography Awards, Sony Alpha Universe, the Environmental Media Association, Connect4Climate and leaders and environmental visionaries from around the globe.

In addition to internationally renowned musical artist and the judge of Asia’s Got Talent, Anggun and YouTube sensations Damon and Jo, the list of celebrity advocates and industry leaders who will judge film submissions includes: Megan Boone, environmental advocate and actress from the hit TV series “The Blacklist”; Elizabeth Cousens, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, United Nations Foundation; Mr. N.P. Singh, MD & CEO, Sony Pictures Networks India; Marie Jacobson, EVP Programming & Production, Sony Pictures Television Networks; Tom Bernard & Michael Barker, Co-Presidents, Sony Pictures Classics; Glenn Gainor, President of Physical Production, Screen Gems; Brett King, Vice President, Creative Programming, Diversity & Inclusion, Sony Pictures Entertainment; Tetsuya Bessho, actor, Founder and President, Short Shorts Film Festival; Debbie Levin, President & CEO, Environmental Media Association; and Damian Bradfield, President and Chief Marketing Officer, WeTransfer.

The Picture This Festival for the Planet is Sony Pictures Entertainment’s latest project to bring awareness to the SDGs. In 2016, the United Nations and SPE launched Angry Birds for a Happy Planet, a global youth outreach campaign that leveraged online and social media platforms to encourage action to protect the planet and fight climate change. Centered on the Sustainable Development Goal #13 – to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, the campaign featured Red and other characters of The Angry Birds Movie. In 2017, supported by the cast of the Smurfs: The Lost Village, audiences were encouraged to join “Team Smurfs” for the “Small Smurfs Big Goals” campaign that inspired everyone to learn about and support the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Definitive Rat Pack Charity Gala For The Business Times Budding Artists Fund

Last week, I had the chance to attend The Definitve Rat Pack charity gala and it was a night to remember where all the well heeled and influential dressed to the nines!

Photographed by José Jeuland
A crowd of over 300 guests came together last Wednesday to support The Definitive Rat Pack Charity Gala Performance Night organized by British Theatre Playhouse, in aid of The Business Times Budding Artist Fund. The charity gala night was a huge success with having sold out tables. It was also highly attended by Madam Halimah Yacob, President of the Republic of Singapore, the British High Commissioner H.E. Mr. Scott Wightman, the Malaysia High Commissioner H.E. Zulkifli Adnan and several prominent members of Singapore society and business leaders.

Photographed by José Jeuland
The Definitive Rat Pack performed some of their classic singles, which includes Love and Marriage, Sway and Fly Me To The Moon and left us humming and grooving along. It was indeed a night filled with emotions, memories, humour, inspiration and passion. People got to relive the Definitive Rat Pack’s charisma and entertainment of the century. This event was also successful in raising a total estimated amount of S$60,000 for The Business Times Budding Artist Fund. The British Theatre Playhouse has also brought the show to Kuala Lumpur and Dubai after the performance in Singapore.

I was definitely allured by their rendition of Sway, That's Amore, My Way and Fly Me To The Moon. The Definitive Rat Pack today did certainly emulated their predecessors very, very well.

The act of Nancy Sinatra made a special appearance and entertained us with major classics like Bang Bang and Downtown - classics you have always heard used in some great movies today!

British Theatre Playouse once again has allowed us to enjoy the Rat Pack's legacy of hits from the Great American Songbook. The amalgamation of classics and raising funds for the Business Tims Budding Artists Fund could not have been more apt. It lives up to Frank Sinatra's spirit of generosity in his day, raising millions of dollars for charities for the underprivilegdged and disabled children, including setting up a centre for abused children and their families and there are stories of Frank giving cash donations to families, friends and strangers.

Hopefully there will be more initiatives like this for us to support! Very happy for the organizers and the show! In Malaysia, even my favourite singer Dato' Siti Nurhaliza attended The Definitive Rate Pack. Hope you enjoy the performance photographs taken by José Jeuland!

Performance photographed by José Jeuland
According to Founder and Managing Director of the British Theatre Playhouse The aim of the British Theatre Playhouse has always been to inspire and bring world-class live entertainment shows from London to Singapore and the region, as well as to organize charity events for those who need them the most. On behalf of the British Theatre Playhouse, Ms Cecilia Leong-Faulker would like to thank their sponsors Singapore Turf Club, One Farrer Hotel & Spa, British Airways and TWG for making it possible.

The British Theatre Playhouse is a theatre production company based in Singapore. The company has produced many highly successful plays and musicals in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the UK. Some of them include Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, Salute to Sinatra, Stars of The West End, Leo Sayer in Concert and Let’s Dance – Paul Roberts Sings David Bowie.

The British Theatre Playhouse also organises an ‘Art for Charity Gala’ with each show to raise money for a charity. The Business Times Budding Artists Fund (BT BAF) BT BAF is an initiative started by The Business Times in 2005. Started with a conviction that no child with strong interest and potential in the arts should be denied the opportunity to develop his or her talents due to a lack of financial resources.