Drummer Boys in Blue (VivoCity Singapore)

The mall at VivoCity sure knows how to drum up business (pardon the pun). They really came marching out of the blue (sorry I can’t help it). They seemed to be enjoying themselves are they beat their drums and attempted to sing as well.

I love how this mall has live unannounced events that add vibrancy and a fun element to the place.

photo by bookjunkie

photo by bookjunkie

photo by bookjunkie

photo by bookjunkie

One little girl (in a red dress), was obviously so impressed, she made her dad follow the drummers.

I checked the official VivoCity website and this is what I found:

VivoCity Drummer Boys

To create an exciting shopping experience for our shoppers, a group of 6 drummers will perform and parade around VivoCity on every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Date : Everyday Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Time : 7pm – 7.30pm (Friday, Saturday & Sunday)
Additional show at 4 pm for Saturday and Sunday

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African Crafts at VivoCity

I was really impressed by the traditional attire of this African booth owner at VIvoCity. His authentic stall injects a whole load of vibrancy to the mall. I spotted his booth just across from the PageOne bookstore where I sometimes linger.

photo by bookjunkie

photo by bookjunkie

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Mad Men: An Intellegent TV Show

I don’t watch much TV, but when I do I am selective and Mad Men is one show I love. It has an authentic feel, set in the advertising world of Sterling and Cooper of the 60’s and a captivating storyline. You actually learn quite a bit about the cut throat world of advertising, from this show. What I love also are the vintage dresses and decor.  The gorgeous January Jones is impressive as an ice princess grace kelly.  She is stunning in all those outfits as Jon Hamm is dapper in those suits. Jon Hamm as Don Draper is arguably the most handsome man on television.  It’s surprising to see that he is a comic genius as well appearing in skits on SNL and guest starring on 30 Rock.

The characters are all well fleshed out and deeply flawed, just like us, and that’s what lends authenticity to it.  The shows bring back the 60’s warts and all, exposing all its darkness, including rampant sexism, racism and every ‘ism you can think of.  It’s starkly politically incorrect like the 60’s were. I love how strong the female characters in the show are in the face of all that is against them and keep their heads held high through all their struggles.  And who doesn’t love Christina Hendricks – now that’s a real woman’s body which all women can cheer for.  Now that is what I term curvy, not the skinny models that Vogue labels curvy just because they are not stick thin.

It’s crazy how good-looking everyone in the cast is.  It’s like looking at eye candy.  The cast, the set, the dresses, even the men’s suits – everything looks like it’s out of a fashion spread.

The beautiful little girl who plays Don Draper’s daughter Sally is brilliant too.  She’s Kiernan Shipka and I think she’s a future star in the making.  Even children had a much harder time in the 60’s when emotions were suppressed.  It was a time when mothers smoke and drank while they were pregnant and around their kids, not realizing the harmful effect it would have.

It’s no wonder the show has won several Golden Globes and Emmys.

I had to add this last picture, because I love the baby blue dress worn by January Jones.

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The Writer Who Could Not Read

When I first saw this article at Huffington Post I was baffled and wondered how that was possible. This story will make you grateful you can read. The whole idea is pretty mind boggling to me.  The neuroscientist who created this cartoon put it in as simple terms as possible. Basically we read with our brains and not with our eyes alone.  There’s a separate part of the brain for reading and a separate one for writing.


Posted in Blogging & Writing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Sun Ho Vlogs and Had Home Near Brangelina?

Update 24 June 2010: Singapore Controversy Talked About on LA Weekly.

Singapore’s City Harvest Church Controversy Comes to the Hollywood Hills
By Patrick Range McDonald, Tuesday, Jun. 22 2010 @ 8:30AM Comments (28)
Categories: crime

Singaporean Pop Star Sun Ho
​Unbeknown to many Hollywood Hills residents, a major, developing controversy involving a wealthy Singapore minister and his widely influential mega-church has come to their posh neighborhood.

Over the past few weeks, City Harvest Church pastor Kong Hee, a Christian leader in the Charismatic Movement who oversees more than 40 affiliates in such places as Singapore, Taiwan, and Indonesia, has been the focus of a police probe in Singapore for the possible misuse of church funds.

Now Hee’s questionable financial dealings may be surfacing in L.A.

Hee’s pop star wife, singer Ho Yeow Sun, who’s better known as Sun Ho, is renting a Hollywood Hills mansion for $20,000 per month, according to The New Paper.

Asian journalists, who have jumped on the story, don’t know if anything is illegal about the expensive accommodations, but it’s certainly a huge public relations gaffe for the embattled Hee and City Harvest Church.

The New Paper notes that the Hollywood Hills property is worth $5.6 million and Sun Ho’s neighbors are believed to be Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. The singer is reportedly living at the mansion with her son, a nanny, her assistant and several family members.

The New Paper recently visited the Hollywood Hills and “spotted a black SUV and a black Mercedes Benz CLK550 driving in and out of the estate, which has four buildings in all.”

Sun Ho, one of the co-founders of City Harvest Church, had also been questioned by law enforcement officials in Singapore for more than eight hours, The New Paper reports.

I discovered that Sun Ho has a Vlog (video blog) on Youtube and the latest video was uploaded 11 months ago.


Grammy Awards Red Carpet 2010
(Credit: Google Images)

NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 19: Singer Sun Ho arrives at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show at The Armory on November 19, 2009 in New York City
(Credit: Getty Images)

(Credit: Ho Yeow Sun WordPress Blog – don’t know if this is a fan page or official blog)

I am embarrassed to admit I do not have an aversion to tabloid trashy news and I am guilty of indulging in them, especially celebrity gossip sites like D-Listed and Celebrity Baby Scoop, which are two of  my favorites.  My partner constantly guilt trips me about indulging in this ‘kaypoh’ (Singlish for nosy), ‘Sticky Beak’ (Aussie for nosy – which my cousin D just taught me) habit.  Whenever I’m at a magazine rack at the tabloid section there are a whole load of women browsing, but hardly any men.  It’s like a hobby we gravitate towards because with celebrities there are other interesting things like fashion, design and the latest trends.  But maybe the men secretly like it but don’t want to disclose it.  I have seen them flip through our magazines in the privacy of the home but not at the bookstores.  Even the mainstream news reports what was previously considered trashy news.  I guess we all secretly yearn for the fabulous life.

(Image: Google of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Hollywood Home)

Being sort of a Brangeloonie, it kind of peaked my interest when I read somewhere that Sun Ho, who is in Singapore now with her husband Kong Hee who is under investigation by authorities, used to live in the same area as Brad and Angelina Jolie. I don’t know how far this is true, but reports that church members are unfazed by her lavish lifestyle as reported in The Straits Times today:

Details of her lifestyle in the US, where she has been pursuing her music career since 2003, include living in a plush $28,000-a-month mansion in Los Angeles and two luxury cars.

Her supporters have defended her way of life, with one netizen saying that ‘she is doing so well … if Brad Pitt can stay (in the same area) why can’t she?’. He went on to say that people should ‘be proud of her’.

Another netizen asked others who were critcising her to ‘keep their comments to themselves’ and added that ‘both of them have worked so hard and put in so much effort in building up a church’.

But many others also questioned where she got the money to fund her lavish lifestyle and her billing as a top entertainer.

Ho is currently back in Singapore assisting in the ongoing probe into her husband’s church over alleged misuse of funds.

Yahoo News which is quoted by the Straits Times reports more fully on it:

Imagine living in a S$28,000-a-month rented estate where famous Hollywood celebrities such as Paris Hilton’s sister Nicky, “Ugly Betty” star America Ferrera and British singer Leona Lewis are your neighbours.

If luck is on your side, you could even cross paths with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who are also said to own a property in the vicinity.

Sounds too good to be true?

The Hollywood Hills estate is the place singer Ho Yeow Sun, 40, popularly known as Sun Ho, calls home since she moved to Los Angeles for her music career.

She is the wife of Reverend Kong Hee, 45, and co-founder of City Harvest Church and has been commuting between Singapore and the U.S. since 2003.

According to The New Paper, the Hollywood mansion Ho has been renting for the past year is listed for sale at S$7.7 million. It’s reported that Ho lives there with her 5-year-old son, Dayan, an assistant, a nanny and her relatives.

The profile of residents in the neighbourhood is said to comprise millionaires and high-profile businessmen who like the quiet, peaceful and well-policed area with a low crime rate.

The report’s detailed description also indicates that the dark green Spanish Mediterranean-style building Ho is renting stands out from the rest of the properties in the area due to its large size.

The estate stands on 29,000 sq ft of land or about a third of a football field. It’s made up of a main house, three self-contained structures, with quarters for a butler, nanny and maid. Not only does it boast a swimming pool, a sundeck and a two-car garage, its driveway still has space for another 9 cars.

The total built-up area of the estate is 6,766 sq ft or about the size of 5 five-room HDB flats, while the 4,135 sq ft main house has four bedrooms.

The paper also said the housing agent in charge of the property described Kong Hee’s wife as “Singapore’s top singer and entertainer” while a neighbour said she was very “sophisticated and seems traditional” as she often hosts gatherings during special occasions like Chinese New Year.

Back in Singapore, the couple also made some big property moves through the years.

They started off in a five-room HDB flat in Tampines which was purchased at S$127,000 before selling it for S$420,000. They then moved to a unit at Horizon Towers costing S$1 million in River Valley before selling it off to buy a new apartment at The Suites at Central on Devonshire Road, said to be worth about S$2.6 million.

Basically if Sun Ho and Kong Hee only used their own money and not church funds, they will be off the hook but if church funds were touched they are gonna be in huge trouble with the authorities and the poor people who donated, including the unemployed.

Here’s a video I stumbled upon in Youtube of Sun Ho hobnobbing with celebs at Fashion Week in 2005. I found it hilarious that the person who produced the video kept tagging Nicky Hilton as celebrity afraid that no one would know who she is. In this clip Sun Ho is seen posing with Norah Jones and Chris North as well. Now that impressed me and those are real celebrities.

I’m guilty of being not particularly religious, but I do find it hard to swallow that materialism and religion can co-exsit. If she was not a pastor’s wife this issue wouldn’t even come to mind.


Posted in Singapore Headlines | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

32 Year Old Swiss National Oliver Fricker at Court Today

This is life in Singapore. I think most Singaporeans are awaiting the verdict in this case, but I for one sincerely hope he is let off the hook (I mean spared the flogging bit). I also hope our laws dating to colonial times will be modified as a result.

I hope the verdict is favorable towards him because I don’t think the punishment fits the crime.  He also did us a huge favor exposing the weakness at our MRT security such that it was beefed up after the incident.  Reports say that he is expected to plead guilty. I feel terribly sorry for him and I can’t imagine what he must be going through. They say he appeared emotionless but that’s usually how we appear when we are numbed with fear. Meanwhile Lloyd Dane Alexander has fled and not been caught by Interpol – hopefully he stays lucky.  The case has since been put of to Thursday so we have to wait with baited breath till then to see if there will be any monumental changes to our laws.  This case means a lot to us because we hope it will set a new precedence.

(Credit: Image from Reuters)

(Credit: Latest Images of Oliver Fricker and his lawyer at the Singapore Subordinate Courts, from Getty Images)

Watch Euronews which shows a video of Oliver Fricker going to Court.

A Swiss man accused of vandalism in Singapore faces being caned and jailed for up to three years if convicted.

Oliver Fricker is charged with vandalising a metro train but Human Rights Watch says the punishment is inhumane.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports on it as well and here’s an extract:

Oliver Fricker, 32, appeared in court wearing a white shirt and striped blue tie, ignoring reporters’ questions as he walked into the building for a brief pre-trial session prior to entering his plea on Thursday.

Fricker’s lawyer Derek Kang did not comment on what plea they will enter, but judicial sources familiar with such cases said the Swiss man is expected to enter a guilty plea in the hope of getting a more lenient sentence.

Yahoo Singapore also reports.

In a case that is being keenly watched by both local and foreign media, comparisons are already being made to the Michael Fay incident in 1994.

Fay, then 18, was an American student studying at the Singapore American School. He was subsequently found guilty of stealing road signs and vandalising several cars with spray paint a year earlier. After pleading guilty, he was sentenced to four months in jail, a fine of S$3,500 and six strokes of the cane.

The case catapulted Fay and Singapore into the global media spotlight and then U.S. President Bill Clinton even appealed for clemency on Fay’s behalf. His sentence was eventually reduced to four strokes of the cane by then Singapore President Ong Teng Cheong as a gesture of respect to Clinton.

Fricker’s case raises a sticky dilemma for Singapore and its justice system. On one hand, if his sentence is too light, citizens of the city-state are likely to cry foul and claim double standards when foreigners are found guilty of a crime.

Already, Singaporeans and Malaysians are keenly observing the outcome of a separate fatal hit-and-run case involving Romanian embassy official Dr Silviu Ionescu. Repeated attempts to bring the former charge d’affaires back to a Singapore court to face charges have so far proven unsuccessful.

On the other hand, if Fricker’s sentencing is too harsh, Singapore is likely to face a backlash from foreign media and human rights watchdogs who are likely to slam its draconian corporal punishment laws.

The damage, from a public relations point of view, to a country that is openly courting rich foreign investors to become Permanent Residents and Singapore citizens may also be considerable.

Posted in Singapore Headlines | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Icelandic Sea Blanket

We’ve been hearing so much about Iceland and it’s volcano, that I was delighted to come across this blanket by Icelandic designers in stunning cobalt blue.

It’s even made of Icelandic wool from Icelandic sheep which have naturally bare faces and legs unlike other sheep.

Don’t you just love the fun design of the anchors? Why are lovely things like these so expensive. I saw that it was being sold for almost USD$400 online – yikes. I wish something as enticing could be found at Ikea Singapore at Ikea prices.

The story behind the blanket is charming and reads like a fairytale:

The Seablanket
by Vik Prjonsdottir
The waters around Iceland serve as one of the best fishing grounds in the Atlantic Ocean. In the past, fishing boats from all over the European continent came up north to fish. Throughout the centuries, innumerable ships became stranded, men drowned and were engulfed by the ocean and the sea bed along the coast.

No wonder I am in love with everything Nordic. They must be born with creative genes or maybe the lack of sunlight helps? Scandinavian designs are inspired by nature and I just love their clean simple lines. I read somewhere that due to the shorter days designers use a lot of white and blonde wood to add light to a room. Colors also tend to pop when against a white background.

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Prettiest Pictures at A Creative Mint

{Photo by Leslie from A Creative Mint}

I stumbled upon the prettiest little blog in all my history of blogging, that goes by the name Creative Mint. This lovely art blog is by Canadian, Leslie who stepped away from her hectic job that required too much travel and started this blog. The lost of her talent in the industry is a boon to the rest of us who yearn for a bit of beauty in the blogosphere.

One of my favourite posts is the one about her visit to Rosemary Farm in California. I thought it was England at first and I had no idea that California housed such an abundance of beautiful roses. Leslie inspires me to take up arts and crafts, my last attempt was when I painted with my friend E’s little 3-year-old.

I wanted to share with you some of her prettiest photography including pictures of her floral arrangement, arts and crafts. She has such an amazing eye for color and taught me a new word – Chartreuse – green with a tinge of yellow. I wish my home looked like her photographs.  Her beautiful portraits of pretty flowers and colours seems almost spiritual and cleansing.  A world I would love to escape to, far away from all the violent and crude images around us in the media.

Here’s an interview with Leslie extracted from Simply Hue:

Vicki: Tell us a little about yourself!

Leslie: I grew up on the idyllic Vancouver Island in British Columbia. My mother is an artist and avid gardener so our family home was always a laboratory for creative ventures. At any given time we were doing art projects like painting ceramics on the dining room table and having flowers pressing in books on the kitchen table. My mother and father had an eclectic group of friends, which also influenced more critical and creative ideas.

While working on my interior design degree in Northern California I decided I wanted to go further and study architecture. Even though I did not practice architecture, it was incredible design training. Immediately after finishing grad school I had the opportunity to team up with a manufacturing and distributing company. In collaboration with them I developed, designed and did packaging direction for lots of products sold in many of the major retailers in North America. However, the products were very masculine and utilitarian. I would not call much of what I designed through those years feminine or pretty in the least! I guess I am now trying to get back to what I love which is more female, color, and pattern driven. In the last three years I have only done a few projects and my main focus has been my two little children. My daughter is three and my son is almost one.

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Tom N Toms: Korean Coffee Place at VivoCity

I hope I’m not getting boring and predictable.  I’ve now been to all 3 branches of this new Korean coffee place – Tom N Toms.  The latest one was at VivoCity where I encountered ugly Singaporean behaviour.  You know the jar of liquid sugar they place at the coffee bar for customers to use?  This inconsiderate man actually took the whole jar away to his table and never returned it.  I waited. And I waited. I thought he might realize that other people in the cafe might want a little sugar in their drinks but oh no, he wasn’t at all bothered.

The Korean girl at the counter with retro black glasses was so cute.  I just loved her Korean accent when she spoke English and she was really sweet and friendly too.  She patiently gave me a small cup of sugar when I asked for a little sugar.  She too didn’t want to confront that awful man.  I wonder what the other customers did, for their very strong bitter iced coffees.

photo by bookjunkie

The other Singaporean girl (I can always tell from the accent which I own too) at the counter was very polite too, but the poor girl looked a little sad. I guess it’s sad to have to work on a Sunday. I just thought she had a great face for a painting and I hope she didn’t mind me capturing her fleeting expression. Maybe someone will give her a job as a face model and she won’t have to work Sundays anymore!

photo by bookjunkie

Anyway the next time I go to a Tom N Tom’s, I need to remember that they provide free flow of ice water – there’s a huge thermos at the counter and luckily the rude man didn’t take that away as well.  The drinks we ordered yesterday were not too great so I ended up sipping on my water.  My partner had the green tea with crushed ice which he said tasted it bit like green tea ice-cream (I don’t really like green tea ice-cream but you might) and I had the iced milk tea which I found very dilute (made with 2 Lipton teabags – I guess I like my tea Indian style made with real tea leaves – full-bodied and milky).  I would suggest sticking with coffee, if you’re finicky like me.

photo by bookjunkie

Trying to add variety to our life, we decided to go with the apple cinnamon stuffed pretzel.  This was a mistake too. It tasted similar to the apple pie at McDonald’s and I couldn’t taste the lovely pretzel, overpowered by the caramelized apple.  The apple cinnamon was as good as it looks but I guess I was craving for the taste of the pretzel.  Next time I will just stick to the plain cinnamon pretzel or the original pretzel which is slightly salted.  Those are so good!  I love their freshly baked pretzels which are steaming as you get them.  You can read about my previous visits to the branches at Far East Plaza and Icon Village.

photo by bookjunkie

photo by bookjunkie

Another lovely thing are the magazines they provide for you to read. Loads on interior design which I love browsing.  The warm decor here is great too and the place wasn’t very crowded either.  I don’t like crowded cafes very much. They take away from the relaxation factor.

photo by bookjunkie

This is what the place looks like from the outside. I snapped these shots of the inviting decor when I passed by last week and saw that the coffee joint had finally opened.

photo by bookjunkie

photo by bookjunkie

Posted in Food in Singapore | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Manly Knitting

Knitting you usually associate with your sweet old grandma and you’ll never find it in Macho land. But Nathan Vincent has switched all that with his creative manly knitting.  In his own words he:

critiques stereotypical gender mediums by creating “masculine objects” using “feminine processes” such as crochet, sewing, and applique.

They are actually works of artistic genius if you ask me.  It always impresses me when people use their creativity and the whole concept is just so simple you shake your head and say – Why didn’t I think of that?  When people are just so brilliant, it blows my mind and makes me want to applaud!

He has even appeared on the Martha Stewart show and has gained quite a following.  There’s an interview with the Artist which you can read here at modern home design site Dwell, and here’s a bit of it:

What was the first piece of art you ever made?

I took a pastels class when I was really young—eight years old or so—and I kept the first drawing; it’s framed, hanging in my kitchen. It’s a still life of a kettle with some fruit. I have to say that it’s pretty darn good. I can’t remember, though, if I did most of the drawing or if my hand was guided by the teacher. Let’s just say it was all me. That’s a better story. Thinking back on it now, I can’t believe my parents put me in a pastels class. When I went off to college, my mother told me I shouldn’t go into art because “you can’t do anything with it.” Strange that she was the one that sent me to art classes when I was a kid!

So it’s a lesson that you can be successful with Art or anything, if you’re passionate enough, and I find that really inspiring.  I hope it inspired you too.

I will never think of knitting as boring again!

Posted in Lovely Ideas | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments