Hello Singapore! Part 6

On the last day of 2009 thanks to Geri, Cart and I visited the Jurong Bird Park.

Singapore Bird Park

Its been a long while since I last been here – probably in my early secondary school days. Like the Zoo, for sure, there has been a lot of changes here. It seemed a lot larger than I last remembered it.

Singapore Bird Park

One of the interesting species of bird that I noticed was this one which originated from Egypt on account of the strange angle that its bending its legs as opposed as to how a cat will bend its legs.

Singapore Bird Park

I also saw a number of beautiful looking birds. Like this Malay Fish Owl.

Singapore Bird Park

Ohh … look at how striking the eyes are! Now if there were ever a Bomoh Potter, Asian version of Harry Potter, he’d totally take this beautiful creature.

There were so much to see in the park.

The only unfortunate part is that, still being a school holiday, the park was crowded with rather hyperactive kids

Singapore Bird Park

We went in the area where there was a penguin feeding and the kids were running around on the parquet stage despite the emcee’s plea for the area to be cleared. There were parents even encouraging these kids to carry on what they were doing

In any case, Cart and I had a really nice time exploring. We just wished that we went there earlier though. I thought that we could have explored the place in about 3 hours. Unfortunately, there were a couple of displays that we had to skip because of lack of time.

Like the African bird display. By the time we got there, we only saw these creepy displays.

Singapore Bird Park

Being it almost sunset, I was nervous to stay too long in case they turn alive and kill us both and hung us up a pole. Like this

Singapore Bird Park

I dont like human sized statues! Seriously! Look at how sinister they look!

The next day, Cart and I headed to Vivo City to meet a couple more Singaporeans living in Italy.

Singapore Bird Park

I quite like this picture. Even wearing casual clothes, we look so high society! Its a bit sad that its evident that I’ve put on quite a bit of weight while in Singapore, with the incessant stuffing of my face with local food.

It was as always nice to meet people who have experienced the same situation that I did, living overseas, overcoming language barriers and the homesickness that comes every now and then.

A few hours later, after the rest had to leave, Eu Chai a fellow Singaporean that I met through the facebook group, Cart and I adjourned to Barcelos. I’ve seen rather confounding restaurant reviews between Barcelos and Nandos since both specialise in chicken and both lets you choose the level of spiciness you want.

I loved my chicken so much.

Barcelo's Singapore

The picture might not give it much justice but its good! Red flag means Supa Peri. That means I am strong enough to take the heat!

Barcelo's Singapore

And Cart had a vegetarian stir fry. Red flag! We are both powerful people!

Barcelo's Singapore

And we gnawed a bowl of potato wedges between us.

Barcelos is a little on the pricey side if you compare it to regular fast food restaurants, my set meal costed about $14 while Cart’s was $13 but I think that its nice to try something new once in a while. Ayam penyet is still the best!

Anyhow, I had a really lovely chat with Eu Chai. I find him witty and charming with a lot of interesting stories to share. There was one time when he was in university in Venice when a classmate asked him, “How do I say in Italian, do you have a lighter?” And he cheekily replied, “You say, Can you light my fire?”

And she went up to a guy and said just that! Last Eu Chai said was that they were in a relationship because the guy was ecstatic that a girl would ask him that.

I was amused and could listen to Eu Chai for hours. But we had to leave to go to another meet. So we were forced to say our goodbyes.

Before we left, I snapped a picture of a map from Gothere.sg on how to go from Vivocity to Hillcrest Road


I still got lost anyway -_-

And Geri was furious! “Where are you guys?!” She smsed “I am hungry! You are late! late! late!”

I was flabbergasted. My internal GPS failed to function when I saw the unfamilliar road. Moreoever with a pillion behind me, I got even more confuzzled. To add to that, it started to drizzle.

When we finally reached peperoni’s pizzeria, we were about an hour late. Geri looked as if she was about to faint from hunger. I tried to bribe her with a present but I don’t think that it worked though 😛

Anyway Geri got me a really thoughtful gift in return, which I love so much 🙂

I looked at the menu and ordered a pizza. In my opinion, Peperoni is probably one of the best pizza that I have ever had in Singapore. The grand sized pizza is something to be seen

Sweska, Nicole and Daphne posing with pizza in January 2009

Anyway Cart ordered Penne Arrabiatta

Penne Arrabiatta

Its his benchmark of checking the standards of pasta in Singapore by always ordering the same item in places that serves Italian food. Even Pastamania.

While Geri ordered creamy chicken pasta

Creamy chicken pasta

Creamy pasta is her favourite type. Well, if she comes to Rome, we’d gladly whip up some creamy pasta for her 🙂

Geri, Rinaz and Cart

It was lovely to be in the company of Geri. We met a long time ago in the heydays of IRC and I always admired her intelligence and savvyness.

Unfortunately, Geri had to go soonafter the dinner since she had to go to work the next day. Serves us right for being late!

The next day, Spai, Cart and I made the decision to finally buy the electronics items that we’ve long wanted. Since Cart has been stolen of his handphone, he desperately needed a new one and I was keen to try out editing in HD videos.

So Cart has decided on getting a Nokia E72 and I was enamoured with the Canon Ixus 200 IS

And thus the three of us made a trip to Sim Lim Square to look at the prices. Personally for me, I was already disenchanted with Sim Lim Square due to the very rough salespeople there. And I really didn’t have the intention to buy anything there. But since the boys said that it will be fine, alright then.


After having a nice cuppa coffee right below Sim Lim Square, (Spai was most enchanted by the pretty coffee art) we looked around the first two levels since they specialised in gadgets such as these.

So after a while, after comparing the different prices in the shops, we went back to the shop with the best quoted price. I was ready to make my purchase when the boys started to ask about additional batteries that the camera could use.

Salesman : This battery is very good! Comes from Japan. $45 only!

Me : I don’t want the battery. Looks expensive. The second floor shop sells it for only $25 (And it was true)

And thats when the salesman flipped out


I was stunned

Me : Why are you so rude? I was ready to buy from you but you are being so rude!


It took a while for me to calm down. I was really pissed off by the man’s rude behaviour. I didn’t do anything violent. But the situation really hit my nerve. Its people like him that gives Sim Lim Square a bad reputation.


Please avoid focuspoint electronics at all costs. I made a feedback to Singapore Service Star. But I doubt that they would do anything about that.

To calm me down, the boys took me to have dinner at Little India which is just a bit of a walk away. I was upset more at how idiotic people could be, more than anything else.

Little India

It was always full of life in Little India. Kind of scary to ride a scooter in during the weekdays though, but there would always be something interesting to see at every corner. Indian clothes shop, Jewellery Shop, Eyebrow Threading shop …

Little India

We were joined with fellow blogger, Bradley and his friendly wife Margie for dinner at Cart’s favourite Indian restaurant, Komala‘s.

At this point of time, I forgot to take pictures due to the animated conversations that we had between the 5 of us. I found Brad and Margie to be intelligent, easy going and fun loving people. Brad shared his experiences of living in Singapore and Margie started to tell me about the similarities about tagalog and malay language and I was quite surprised at the number of words that we shared. Like Gunting for Scissors, Tolong for Help and others that I dont quite remember right now.

Serves me right for taking such a long time to blog 😛

They tucked in to a hearty Indian meal. While I had my veggie burger with potato wedges

Little India

I seriously wouldn’t mind turning into a vegetarian if I could have food like this every day. Its really flavourful and a lot more satisfying than the Steakhouse burger that I had some weeks prior to that. Thus Spai, Cart and I enjoyed our meal but I’m not too sure if Brad and Margie did though, since the next day he twittered something about having stomach pains. Uh oh.

The five of us then went over to Mustafa center which is a 24 hour shopping mart which is popular with the locals as well as tourists due to the competitive price that they had. Not to mention the much more professional service by the salesmen.

Check out our new toys 😀

Nokia E72 and Canon Ixus 200 IS

I would have preferred my camera in green but there wasn’t any for that particular model. Cart naturally couldn’t stop fondling his new Nokia E72. It was a lot easier to type on plurk and twitter on that. Darn, I should have gotten one too.

And thus, from this point onwards, the images in this blog post uses the new Canon Ixus 200 IS.

The next day mum hosted a kenduri with our extended family for giving thanks and prayers for the safe journeys that my parents had while performing their pilgrimage and for Cart and my travel here.


A large amount of people arrived, which was expected since my mum had 10 siblings while my dad had 12. Go figure the number of cousins 😛

It feels somewhat like Hari Raya with the familliar faces all around and for a moment, everything about Rome was forgotten. It was until they started asking when Cart and I are going to have kids. Everyone keeps asking that! This is stressful!

Anyway! To change topic, my uncle set up a chocolate fountain and all the kids scrambled to eat it! It was interesting to see the chocolate sloshing down.

Here’s a video I took of the chocolate fountain in HD!

I should have took a few seconds to include all the yummy home cooked food though. There were so much! And I ate like there is no tomorrow.

Later on during the evening, a couple of my secondary school classmates arrived – Jamaliah and Surina.

And we told each other stories of how we hanged out beside the bookshop and thus nicknamed ourselves the title of, “Bookshop Girls”. And we marvelled at how coincidental that each of us in the group (save for one) married a non Singaporean (How wierd is that?) as we looked at each other’s wedding photos.

And here we are posing with the ketupat that I bought while in Geylang. I’m totally going to hang this up for Hari Raya this year. If Italians can hang wreaths on their door during xmas, I want to hang a ketupat.


Its a pity that my ketupat is a bit flat from the flight back to Rome. Ketupat penyet.

Hello Singapore! Part 5

While having dinner with Juli and Hema, Hema told me a most interesting information.

Hema : You know, I’ve been allocated to school.

Me : Thats cool!

Hema : Guess where?

Me : I’ve no idea

And then she disclosed that it was at the school that I used to be attached to. The one where it was probably the longest attachment that I involved in, till I had to quit before migrating to Italy. I was amused. It was as if after one legacy, a new one comes in.

Hema : Come lah! There will be a staff meeting tomorrow!

And thus, it was the perfect opportunity for me to meet up with ex colleagues.

It took a while for me to get used to. The building and the area changed so much from the construction works that I had to make a huge roundabout looking for the new entrance.

By the time I entered the school, pretty much everyone was pretty surprised to see me. I saw a number of familiar as well as new faces. And I learnt that there were a number of staff who has transferred or had already retired.

Staff meeting

It was really nice to catch up with my ex colleagues and seeing how they were. I just wished that I had more time.

I chanced upon Hema and together we decided to have a late lunch together with my sister. I was already late for the lunch date and worried that she would be furious. And she was. When we arrived home, she looked visibly upset.

Nevertheless, a date was a date and after Hema talked to my mum we left for Sakae Sushi, which was located right next to the Boon Lay Interchange. It was interesting walking through the interchange as it was newly opened, fully air conditioned, indoor bus interchange.

Diana ordering food

When we got in the restaurant, I started to get quite excited. Sushi! Its been a long time since I’ve eaten Sushi to my hearts desire! It used to be that while I still living in Singapore, I’d go to Giant supermarket after 9 pm to get a discounted price for a party plate Sushi.

Even though there are Japanese restaurants in Rome, the prices are rather expensive due to the costs of seafood.

So, confidently I said : Lets get the biggest Sushi plate! I’m sure we can finish it all!


And this is their 50 dollars party plate. And I started to eat with gusto. Mmm! Unagi! My favourite!

But like in the economic terms of the law of diminishing returns, as I started to eat my 10th Sushi, I started to feel full. And then later my sister and Hema both said, That’s it! Can’t eat any-more!

There were three left.

Diana and Hema eating Sushi

Of course, not wanting to waste food, I slowly forced myself to finish them. In the end, I felt so stuffed, it was uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, when we reached home, I started to have pain in my right chest which became more intense when I tried to take deep breaths and I went to sleep the pain away.

Thankfully, the pain was completely gone the next day, and after a walk around the park with my mum, Cart and I headed to Geylang Serai to meet up with a couple of Singaporeans living in Italy who were coincidentally having their vacations in Singapore at the moment.

Geylang Serai brings a lot of memories here. My family used to go here regularly during Hari Raya to buy clothes and items for the house. I loved the food here and shopping is pretty reasonable. A bit unfortunate that nowadays, when anyone mentions Geylang, the first thing that they would think of is the red light district.

There were loads of changes here. The last time that I remembered, there was a temporary wet market about 100 meters away from the Paya Lebar Mrt Station.

This picture was taken in December 2007

Now, the wet market is gone, and instead, there is a two storey market build next to it

I forgot to take a picture of the market, but here is a picture of a pigeon :


I’m not sure why this pigeon is lying on the floor in the hot afternoon. Thankfully, there wasn’t any juvenile delinquents teasing it at the time.

And then I saw Lana and her baby Giulio in a curious scene.

Baby leash

Its my first time seeing a baby with a baby leash. But regardless of what your stand is about baby leashes, its said to be popular in Italy as Italian kids are very energetic and the leash keeps them safe from wandering too far away.

We met up with Lina and together we headed to the hawker center, located upstairs.

Food at geylang serai

I, of course, ordered my favourite, Ayam Penyet and we had a lovely chat about our lives in Italy over local food. Lana tells me that travels back and forth between Italy and Singapore while Lina said that she had to learn Italian very quickly since her husband was relocated to work. I am still struggling with my Italian.

Food at geylang serai

After we adjourned, we headed to the Geylang Serai shopping center next door when I proceeded to buy a number of P. Ramlee movies like Bujang Lapok, Madu Tiga, Labu & Labi, Ikan Emas … but too bad that they were still in VCD format. It would have been great to have them in DVD format and most especially, with subtitles!

As a sidenote, Cart and I were watching Sepet by Yasmin Ahamd and he kept asking and asking and asking. “Is she malay? Is he Chinese? What is the significance? Why did he do that?” I had to keep telling him, “Abang, its a story. Just watch and see how the story develops lah. I am watching this for the first time also, I don’t know! Diam boleh tak?”

And then Cart would have this mournful eyes and said “You know I am foreign and dont know of these cultural implications” and for a while it will be quiet and then he starts asking again

Anyway later in the evening, Cart and I got ready to head to Clementi Woods Sakura International buffet to meet my Jurong Institute Classmates. It was a pretty impromtu meeting since I asked around only about a week before the actual day but the turnout was still pretty good. The first person that I met was CK and we got nervous when we saw loads of people at the entrance and we didn’t book in advance!

Hong Boon and Joon Kiat

Luckily for us, we got a table in the end but it was too bad that we were arranged in such a way that I couldn’t hear the other half of the conversation, but I had a lovely chat with Dorris and her boyfriend who met in Australia while Dorris was attached for work then.

They said that they would probably head to the States for work experience after they got married. That’s quite romantic I think 🙂

Jurong Institute meet 2009

All in all, I had a very lovely evening just chatting with my friends, re-acquainting with everyone. We’ve grown so much since school days. It seems that everyone is getting married or have kids already or already complaining about their works and stuff.

Rite of passage I guess.

Next : Seeing Birds

Hello Singapore! Part 4

Saturday morning, I thought that I’d drop by to see the wonderful people of Tech65 during their live recordings.

The group usually recorded at Geek terminal, however I’ve been told that its been closed down. So a quick check on twitter shows that they are having it in the new Hackerspace instead.

It wasn’t difficult getting there since Arab Street was one of my favourite place to go to in Singapore. Unfortunately, by the time that Cart and I arrived, the group has already finished their recording. Also, a number of the members wasn’t there. Daniel was in Hong Kong, Nicole was away. But I did managed to meet dear Fari who was still as adorable as ever as well as the amiable Justin who was one of the co-owners of Hackerspace.

Fari showed us around Hackerspace and I saw a very interesting looking area. At first glance, it looked like a spa where you could get massages or get your nails done since there were draperies everywhere. But in reality, members could do their work in a quiet environment.

So quiet that we chanced upon this :

DK sleeping
A sleeping DK. Hehehe

Cart and I stayed a while to join in the Android enthusiasts gathering and it was really amusing to see all the coders trying to get the answer right for the Dont forget the lyrics game.

Miccheng Amused
Miccheng is amused

I have to admit that I was really horrible. I had my trusty S10 with me. So I googled the lyrics and nudged the competitors with the answers.

We said our goodbyes and Spai joined us later for lunch. I suggested that we had lunch at Cafe Le Caire since the food that I had there the last time was really tasty.

Unfortunately, this time round. The standards has really dropped. The service was so slow. It probably took a good 20 minutes till there was someone to serve us. Even then when I asked the server about the food, he didn’t know anything! Oh horrors!

Cafe Le Caire

The worst part is, I didn’t liked anything that was served.

Wedding bears

I spotted these cute wedding bears that I stumbled upon on our way to go to Funan Center. Speaking of weddings, Cart and I stumbled upon a wedding shop and I saw a very beautiful wedding gown. Cart said, “You like that dress? Well, those days are over now”.

I passed my new namecards to Tommyprint which I’ve edited with Italian words and ordered 300 copies. Although now that I think about it … why even bother? I’ve never been to any Italian events ever. I even missed the Rome blogfest that was held last year. Hopefully this year would be better 🙂

Anyway, we headed back to Arab Street to have dinner at El Sheik with a couple of my wonderful blogger friends : Nicole, Xinyun, CC, Lycan, Foxtwo.

El Sheik

It was a lovely dinner. But it was too bad that they didn’t do their mixed appetizers any-more though.

I don’t remember what we talked about, but I remember that it was really nice hanging out with them. Xinyun and Nicole even handed me gifts and it made me so emotional that I really teared up after that.

Nicole, Xinyun and Rinaz

Later on, we adjourned to this place called Coffee Culture, I think. Passing through Arab Street at night is an experience. Smelling the sweet smoke emanating from Shisha’s. And soon after, we reached the coffee place.

I had a really nice coffee with ice cream on top.

My kopi

And then, CC went to the display shelf and took out a deck of cards. And interestingly, the first card that he pulled out was this :


The next day, Cart, Spai and I got ready to head to Royal Copenhagen Tea House for a little bloggers gathering.

What was supposed to be a chichi experience turned out very different though. Things didnt seem to start well. The first thing that Spai noticed was a scary looking lady with tattoes and too tight revealing clothes drinking tea. To me, my visions of having a queenly, upperclass, royal tea faded as soon as we entered the dining area.

It was SO noisy! Like hawker center! In fact, I’ve seen crowded hawker centers which was more quieter than this.

The only saving grace was that the food was pretty good.

Food at Royal Copenhagen!

I liked everything that I had, especially the scones. It was pretty delightful. Maybe the next time that we head back to Singapore, maybe we could go and have high tea at Fosters instead 🙂

Anyway, it was nice meeting my friends again – there was Daphne, Furry, Jean, Alice, Brokenshardz, Hendri and Aaron.

Here are a couple of shots of us :

Nick and Daphne

Furry Photos and Hello Kitty

Spai and Aaron

Spai and Aaron

Alice and Jean

Alice and Jean


Tstar looking at her scone

Rinaz and Cart

And here is Cart being action shy.

Later on we said our goodbyes and headed to Coffee club. I just couldn’t take the incessant noise at Royal Copenhagen.

Rinaz and Cart

And here is Brokenshardz, Hendri and Aaron talking about sociology. It was interesting and yet horrifying to hear of people being in danger and yet no one is moved enough to do anything.

I had a similar incident, but thankfully, it wasnt as serious.

The next day, my best friends Juli and Hema asked us out for dinner at Juli’s favourite Indonesian restaurant in Lucky Plaza. Ooh. The food was so good that I forgot to take pictures of my friends!

Indonesian Food at Lucky Plaza

It was so good that I’m having mild palpitations just looking at this picture. And the waitress was so kind and friendly too. Once she found out that Cart was vegetarian, she took special care not to mix the food together and even offered to separate the meat products from being added in the gravy. And Cart could try Indonesian food! 100 points for being so nice.

Pupa Puppets

I got my best ladies a couple of Pupa cosmetics and till this day, I feel like kicking myself for not taking a video as they were pulling out the presents. Cos all through the while, they started to argue at who had the cutest present. LOL!

And we adjourned to Orchard’s new mall, the ION where of course us ladies headed straight to the magical land of Sephora. Cart’s already lost me by the time we stepped in as we ooohed and aaahed at all the branded cosmetics. Hema was looking at the Benefit cosmetics, Juli was looking at Bare Escentuals and I was hypnotised at the brushes that Sephora had. So many!

I was trying to be frugal since I still have quite a bit of mekap that I’ve yet to finish. But I couldn’t help but get a couple of items.

Mac Items

Ladies and gentlemen, I am now a Mac Whore.

Sidenote : Speaking of whores … I just made a fan page! Yes I am now carrying my own basket so go on and join my fan page 😛

Hello Singapore! Part 3

The next weeks just passed by in a blur. There were so much to do!

Thankfully, my brother took good care of my scooter so Cart and I could zip around without having to wait for public transportation. Although, my baby scooter looks a lot different compared to the last time I saw it.

This :

As compared to this :

White isn’t my first choice on a vehicle 😛

Most of the days were spent mostly by catching up with friends and relatives and to tackle a couple of bureaucratic issues. Like my Italian Visa expiring.

We headed to the Italian Embassy to ask for advice. And this is what I found.

Italian Embassy in Singapore

Ehm. They only work 2 hours a day?

Anyway, a quick check with the lady inside the counter assured us that since I’ve already gotten my Permesso di soggiorno, there is no need for me to apply for another visa. Thus, even if I change to a new passport (since mine would be expiring in May) it’ll be a non issue.

Since the Italian embassy was located in United Square, we decided to walk around the shopping center where we stumbled upon Pastamania – An Italian Fast Food franchise.

I was stunned.

But I guess Cart wanted to experiment.

Cart looking at Pastamania Menu

I guess its the same for me. Back in Rome, I’m tempted to visit Asian restaurants to see how they match up to the restaurants in Singapore. (So far, it has been an interesting experience)

Spinning pizza

And in retrospect, Cart found his experience in Pastamania to be an interesting experience too. It wasn’t bad. But Cart is very particular about his pasta being Al Dente. For me, I think that the Spinach Tortellini that I had then was a lot different compared to just a couple of years ago … What telah happen?!

Anyways, coincidentally, Jerrick buzzed me, asking if we were free to meet. And we had lunch together followed by a nice tea and cakes later on.

Tea and Cakes

It was really lovely to meet Jerrick again. We chatted and caught up with each other since the last time that we met in November and March. And I was amazed. Because we meet up more in the year than me meeting my family or best friends 😛

Later in the middle of the week, we met up with fellow blogger, Wishbone. It was really nice talking to her. I think the last time that we met was at the Samsung event and I remember we taking pictures together for the challenge.

It was lovely at how easy it was talking to each other. And Wishbone helped to spree a couple of outfits for me. Whee!


Its a lot more beautiful in real life than in pictures. Although I still stand on my opinion that blogshops clothes are meant more for petite sized women than *coughs* voluptuous *coughs* women like me. For dress that was supposed to be free sized, I could wear it, but it could hardly cover my bum, so its worn as a top instead :

By the way, Cart spotted this at Coffee Bean, where Wishbone and us chatted.

Panettone at Coffee Bean

Panettone is a seasonal treat that gets popular during the Christmas season. The one at Coffee Bean wasn’t my favourite though. It was just much too dry. One taste and I didn’t want any more. Good thing was that their cheesecake was as yummy as ever 🙂

Oooh … and speaking of food, I thought that it would be nice to have a family meal out together. My parents prefer hawker centre fare so we headed to Ayer Rajah Hawker Center for some noms.

Taking the bus

Its been a while since we took the SBS. And I looked at TV Mobile set which fast approaching its demise. Its too bad I suppose since it was entertaining to watch during those long and boring bus journeys. But if it was possible to have cheaper bus tickets if there were no TV Mobile sets in the busses, I’d rather go without them.

Speaking of which, Cart and I were contemplating on changing our ezlink card since Singapore is using a new type of card since October. But I wasn’t sure if it was still valid for us to convert our old card to the new ones anyway?

Eating at Ayer Rajah Food Center

Anyway, when we reached the food center, all of us whacked pretty much everything. My parents had Indian rojak. Cart had his Vegetarian Nasi Goreng, and I had my Ayam Penyet. And we still had room later for a kebab made by a Moroccan dude.

Too bad that I didn’t get to eat all my heart’s desire. There were so many local food that I wanted to eat. Like Sop Tulang!

Ehm. Maybe in December 2010.

Hello Singapore! Part 2

The next day, I was up relatively early on a Saturday morning. Cart was still sleeping. I was still feeling woozy from the jet lag was but excited to start the day, I got up.

My mum was already getting ready to go for her morning walks at the park near the house and I took the chance to join her.

Park in Singapore
An old shot I took of the park back on its opening day

One of my biggest fear of returning back to Singapore was that I would lose my immunity to the Singapore heat. It was a beautiful morning but already, I could feel a slight discomfort at the morning rays piercing through my skin. I pushed on and continued my walk for the next 30 minutes or before feeling a sense of respite when it was time to get back.

My mum was already being busy in the kitchen and she proceeded to stuff me with freshly made epok-epok. Of course, not having eaten mum’s home cooked food, I had a really big appetite. Cart and I ate about 3 large epok-epok each at one go.

Still rather lethargic, we took it slow and easy at home.

Cart gave my family some seasonal Italian sweets like the Panettone, Pandoro and Torrone. While I gave the ladies of the house a couple of cosmetics.

Medium Puposka doll

Like this cute puposka doll that I bought from Pupa. Mum looked extremely excited at opening the doll, seeing the different colours. I guess all women have this trait.

Later on, we set up the Wii set that we brought with us. I got it last year from Sim Lim Square to play in Italy thinking it was a universal device. Despite the assurance from the salesman saying that all Wii games are compatible regardless of region, the wii wouldn’t detect the PAL format that Italy uses. So, might as well donate it to the family.

Raving Rabbids

And we played Raving Rabbits! It was such a silly game.

Later in the afternoon, my mum who is currently active volunteering for the neighbourhood zone, invited me over to some belated Hari Raya Karaoke meet at the community centre.

Spot something interesting here

I met up with a number of my mum’s friends. It was interesting seeing aunties again, us talking in Malay, and watching them have fun karaoke-ing with Hari Raya songs. There was a pot-luck so I stuffed myself with a lot of home cooked food. And then the inevitable question was thrown at me.

“Any good news?”

“When are you going to have a baby?”

“Are you pregnant yet?”

In any-case later on, my siblings decided on having a day out and we went to Jurong Point.

So much changes since the last time I’ve been there. While the new wing was already completed in December 2008, there were not that many shops that were opened.

In contrast this time round, there were so many people and it was so crowded that I was surprised. When did Jurong Point become the place to go to? Was it always like this or was it because of the holiday season?

We started to look around, spotting out interesting things, just having fun and being silly.

What is Spai doing?

Because had just a bit of time before the mall closes for the night, we headed to Prime NTUC and went a little nuts at buying a couple of food stuff, slowly buying items to be brought back to Italy. We had a late supper later on and we chatted about everything under the sky.

The next day, there was a family reunion at my maternal grandmother’s place.

Thats not my granma

I was still feeling rather jet-lagged. I found Cart and myself falling in and out of sleep despite all the relatives talking to us. There was a wonderful home cooked buffet spread which made me feel content and then it started again :

“Any good news?”

“When are you going to have a baby?”

“Are you pregnant yet?”

Hello Singapore! Part 1

We were set to leave on the 17th December.

On the day itself, I’ve already mostly packed my luggage but for a few things like mekap and toiletries. But I also did not want to come back to a messy house, so I zoomed through with the housework, the laundry, the swiffering, the washing up and all the whatnots.

And for a strange coincidence, my Italian class, which was usually on Wednesday, was postponed to Thursday. And not wanting to miss any lessons, I rushed to class and then rushed back home again in time for my father in law to pick us up to send us to the airport.

Woah stress.

But we had time to send a couple of postcards, which was originally meant for Hari Raya. I suppose thats its either a ultra belated or a super early postcard 😛

Sending Postcards

I was already feeling excited. Yay! We’re going back to Singapore! I’ll see my family and friends! The food! The sun! Shopping!

Byebye Rome

All through the flight, I was awake taking advantage of the entertainment thingmajig on the Emirates flight. There was even a USB port on it. Next time I should bring my cable so I could charge my handphone on it 😛

Emirates entertainment

In any case, we reached Dubai airport some hours later where by a stroke of coincidence, we had to spend 8 hours there.

Initially it was quite interesting to see all the different high end shops. A little confusing though at the same time because of the different monetary exchange.

Rinaz and her uggs
I look tired and ugly so I’ll censor my face out

But soon, I was so bored out of my mind that I did a live blog post 😛

At length, it was time to board the connecting flight where it did a stopover at Colombo and after which, Singapore. It was the first time for me, having so many stops. But I guess it wasn’t too bad as we could stretch our legs more as opposed to a direct and long 10 hour flight.

Breakfast in Emirates flight
Breakfast in Emirates

And not too long after, we reached Singapore! Woohoo!

Since I’m holding a Singaporean passport, I cleared the customs in less than 3 minutes while poor Cart had to queue and wait for about 20 minutes. Too bad that there were only two shops on the arrival side to occupy my time. I tried to log on to wireless@Sg but it was pretty useless for me, since I’ve forgotten my password.

But at length, Cart cleared the customs and we picked our luggage from the carousel and we entered the arrival hall.

For a while, I didn’t see any familiar faces.

It was only later when my little sister noticed me and waved hello followed by my cousin, and up walked my mum! I gave them a big hug! How I’ve missed everyone 🙂

We took the 7 seater maxi cab to my parent’s house. Throughout the journey, I looked out of the window. There were so many changes that it surprised me tremendously. So many changes in only one year?

Reaching Dubai
Ok I don’t have any pictures of the changes, so I’ll put this picture instead

Speaking of changes, my sister kept pointing out that I spoke with an Italian slang. Ish budak bertuah ni. Mana ada?! My Italian language is still in the “Cannot Make It” category

At last, we reached my parent’s house where for the longest time, it felt really strange for me. A strange, unfamiliar feeling even though I spent so many years there. It took a while to readjust myself there.

And while it probably sounds bad, my bedroom seemed smaller somewhat. Or maybe I’ve grown bigger or that there were more stuff in there than usual 😛

And Cart and I did like what we did during our first matrimonial night.

We both fell asleep fainted due to our severe fatigue

p.s. Oh! Speaking of matrimonial … coincidentally, it was our first year wedding anniversary!

A week passed by

Am in Singapore for about a week now.

It was a rather simple affair when we exited the customs with my family greeting an exhausted Cart and I at the airport.

Airplane ride

Regardless, I was looking here and there on our journey to my parent’s house. There were so many changes! Empty areas had a buildings on them and some places with buildings which I remembered, were demolished.

All in one year?

When we reached my parent’s house, I was shocked that the house felt so unfamiliar. Strange because I spent years and had so many memories here before moving to Rome with Cart.

The first thing that I ate would be the rojak that my mum prepared. It felt really great having to eat hot and spicy food again, as opposed to the mild food that I have been consuming.

And then Cart and I fainted on the bed from our extreme jetlag.

But anyway after being here for a couple of days, the “unfamilliar” feeling was gone and everything seems normal again. Suddenly it felt as if Rome never happened.

Rinaz eating cake

Going about doing daily activities feels very natural to me. Finally I can understand what the people around me are saying and interact with them properly.

TV Mobile in a Singapore Bus

Spent the last few days catching up with friends and family. Its nice to be able to speak face to face in Malay again. Although I’m a little bit worried that my Malay is getting a little bit jumbled up with Italian and English at the same time.

Jerrick and Cart at United Square

And of course enjoying the food that is not so easy to get in Rome. And where best to enjoy them but in hawker centers! Today itself, I gourged on Ayam Penyet, Indian Rojak, Mee Siam …

West Coast Hawker Center

I’m looking at a couple of the items that used to belong to me. Like the scooter.


Its been a long while since I’ve ride on my baby Vespa. I miss the feeling of zipping down the road with the wind in my face. I dont even mind getting sunburnt for it (and I did!)

Which reminds me that one of the fears that I had before coming here was not being accustomed to the heat. Some nights were uncomfortable. But so far, it hasn’t been too bad.

I’m in what used to be my room at the moment, looking at the things that I didn’t have time to pack and left temporarily. And I reminisce and feel nostalgia.

Its a good thing that this time I’d have a couple of weeks to pack them back for Rome as opposed to the hectic one day packing last year.

But yet, it makes me sad though because all this “normality” doesn’t last and eventually I’d have to go back.

One week has passed by. Only two more weeks to go.



Streetview comes to Singapore!

After being jealous for the longest time that there is streetview for Rome, Google Streetview is now available for Singapore! I just realised it this morning as DK was twittering about it.

It’s really easy to navigate :

First you go to google maps and then type in the destination that you want to see.

Google Streetview

And then you drag out the yellow man icon on the top left corner into the said street

Google Streetview

And then you’ll see your destination in 3D. Wonderful! Here is one of my favourite places to shop in Singapore.

Google Streetview

I love streetview, it really helps a lot when you’re not familiar with a place and want to get a feel of the direction. For more, you might want to check out this post by the folks of Tech65.

I spent probably a full half an hour just looking at my neighbourhood in Jurong. Remembering the roads that I used to roam at. Remembering the bus rides. Somehow it eases the homesickeness a little bit.

Singaporeans in Rome lunch-meet with the minister

Early this week, Lynn contacted me about a Singaporeans meet with the minister. And the first thing that came to mind was, “Me? A minister wants to have lunch with a small fry like me?

Regardless, the desire of meeting other Singaporeans living in Italy was very strong. So I made my confirmation to attend soon after. As Cart was working, I had to go on my own.


With the use of Atac and Google Maps, it made exploring much easier and with very few drama, I met up with Lynn and together we headed to Tullio restaurant, where there was a Singaporeans meet hosted by the Minister Lim Hwee Hua and Ambassador Loo Choon Yong.

Singaporeans in italy
This is Minister Lim Hwee Hua

When we both entered the area, I was so pleasantly shocked. I knew that there were more Singaporeans that were living in Italy, but to see so many Singaporeans in front of me was such a nice surprise anyway.

Singaporeans in italy

Our last Rome meet was already a good number.

Singaporeans in italy

But this meet was twice as large.

Singaporeans in italy
This is Ambassador Loo Choon Yong.

I met many interesting, charming and witty people. Some of them have been living here Italy for a long time – like 25 years. It felt a little unreal and also a little intimidating for me though, to be talking to successful people who really made it in life. There was a lawyer, jewellery maker, fine arts furniture maker … while I’m just a housewife.

Singaporeans in Italy

Nevertheless, they were really nice and friendly. The minister herself seemed genuinely interested in what I thought, asking about life in Italy.

We also had such lovely food which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Parmigiana di melanzane
This was my Parmigiana di melanzane

Parmigiana di melanzane
This was my Mont Blanc

Dessert Tray

In any case, the meet was an initiative by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to keep Singaporeans in Italy to keep in contact with each other and should we need any help, they assured that we were free to approach them.

And there was a possibility that next year would have a Singaporeans day in Italy. I was rather upset for missing Singapore day some months back so this would be absolutely fantastic!

So us Singaporean in Italy facebook group could finally all meet up together yeah? Lynn and I to do that, but the logistics seems daunting but now that we have backup, I’m definitely looking forward to that.

Maria Hertogh dies at 72 from leukaemia

Maria Bertha Hertogh died recently at 72 years old from Leukaemia.

To put it simply, Maria Hertogh was a Dutch girl who was adopted and brought up by a Malay lady, Che Aminah for several years in the 1940s. By then, she grew up to be like a Malay Muslim girl.

It was only some years later that her natural parents, who were catholics, asked the courts to get their daughter back. The judge ruled in favour of the natural parents.

Maria Hertogh and Che Amina

Maria wept and clung to her foster mother.

She was then placed in a convent home before being sent back to Netherlands. It was there when the news about her being surrounded by Catholic symbols were sensationalised. This deeply offended the Muslim faith that a riot broke out. 18 people killed and 179 injured.

Maria Hertogh and Che Amina

While in the Netherlands, Maria was extremely unhappy. Many times she expressed her desire to return back to Singapore but could not due to financial difficulties. She has said that her happiest times were her childhood in Singapore.

Her foster mother, Che Amina died in 1976.

Was it a matter of pride that the natural parents wanting their daughter back knowing very well that she was much happier to be with her foster mother?

Regardless, I just feel very bad for Maria Hertogh.

Read more about her life