Friday, March 28, 2014

Jalan Besar and Around

Jalan Besar
Following up to my Tiong Bahru Heritage Walking Tour article, much has been said whether Jalan Besar is a hipper place than Tiong Bahru. To compare these two places on which one is better than the other, you have to look at two important points, first is if the old historic vibe of the place is still present and second is the number of cafes that has been opening in the area. I can say that Tiong Bahru has the advantage on both. There is a distinct difference on the housing settlement in Tiong Bahru and they have maintained its old vibe and managed to introduce the hip charm while Jalan Besar is a bit chaotic because of so many constructions, commercial establishments, hostels and literally an array of hardware shops in one street.

Review: The Tiramisu Hero

The Tiramisu Hero
Do you like Tiramisu? Well if you do then head on to The Tiramisu Hero at Tyrwhitt Road in Jalan Basar area. Situated in one of the quaint shop houses near Jalan Besar Stadium, this cafe has transformed the old vibe of a shop house into a modernized trendy cafe in this less chaotic neighborhood. When you reach this place, you will be welcomed with an eye-catching fake green lawn. Yes it is fake but still they managed to make it look like a cool veranda for their customers who prefer to be seated outside.
The Tiramisu Hero

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Review: Windowsill In The Woods

Windowsill In The Woods
Pies. Pies. Pies. What else is better than having a lot of dessert pies on your table with different and twisted flavors. That is what you are gonna get when you visit this quaint pie cafe along Horne Road in Jalan Besar area. Windowsill In The Woods is known for their different flavored sweet pies and tarts. They have three best-selling pies but I only managed to try one. And that is the Banana Almond Brittle. It is a combination of sweet banana, salted caramel and crunchy nuts. It is such a great combination that you will be asking for more.

Banana Almond Brittle

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tiong Bahru Heritage Walking Tour

HDB Flats at Kim Pong Road
Tiong Bahru. Considered to be one of the oldest housing estates in Singapore, it has also been garnering accolades from locals, foreigners and tourists for a combination of old, hip and trendy atmosphere. With its heritage buildings and the number of cafes popping out in every corner of this historic area, Tiong Bahru, has become a place for wining and dining if you want to get out of the over-crowding central business district. It’s particularly getting a lot of attention from the so-called “hippies” but it’s not just a place for them, literally anyone can visit this area and have a look on what is going on. First of all, if you are into old buildings and historic sites, then this area is definitely for you. Otherwise, it may be difficult for the “uncultured” to appreciate what is there to see. And if you are willing to shell out an amount that is triple of what you would usually pay in a regular hawker centre, then you should try the ranges of café that you will see here.

The National Heritage Board of Singapore released the TiongBahru Heritage Trail. There are 10 spots that you may choose to look at if you are really keen but if you just want to walk around the place and see what is going on, I made a map that will direct you on walking from the Tiong Bahru MRT Station all the way to Tiong Bahru Estate and its surrounding vicinity. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cafes at Tiong Bahru: Flock Café and Tiong Bahru Bakery

Tiong Bahru Bakery

There are many cafes and coffee shops around Tiong Bahru area and if you follow the Tiong Bahru Heritage Trail, you will find a lot of them along the way too. In a span of a half-day to visit Tiong Bahru, I only managed to eat at two restaurants and they are Flock Café and the uber famous Tiong Bahru Bakery.

Flock Café

Situated at entry of the horseshoe-shaped HDB flat, which is considered to be one of the most unique flat and a heritage building in Singapore, Flock Café is one of the must eat places in the area. You won’t miss this place as they have a signage right outside the green grass lawn in front of it. At lunch hour on a weekday, the place is not much crowded which is actually good because you can peacefully eat inside their contemporary-styled café. The crowd at that time is a mixed of foreigners and locals.
I tried their best selling “Banana French Toast with Crispy Bacon” and I ordered a lemon Gryphon tea to help me quench my thirst. I was told that the toast is sweet. And yes it was and the toast was just very delicious and nicely done. The bananas and bacon were mostly added flavour to that delectable French toast.

Bookstores in Town: Singapore

Penguin Books sold in Books Actually
Book stores in Singapore have been declining in an appalling rate. So many major bookstores have closed down like Borders, Page One and Prologue (in Ion Orchard). And I think Prologue’s only branch left (Orchard Central) is also on the verge of closing soon too. Luckily, Kinokuniya, MPH and Popular are still around and surviving. As much as we would like to put the blame on the technological development that is “e-book”, there are still people who prefer going to an actual book store, browse through those timber-smelling pages and savor a story on either a hard or soft-covered books. Aside from those major bookstores, there are still those “specialty bookstores” and I found three of them in Tiong Bahru.

Books Actually

This book store is located in a shop house at Yong Siak Street. The store has a variety of Penguin published books, Singapore published and a small collection of vintage books. They also sell vintage gift items, stationery, postcards and other little stuff.  What I liked about this store is that they sell books that have rare copies. Books are priced almost at the same rate as major book stores in town although the stationery and other gift items are quite pricey but rare to find so it is still worth the price. And I love their caption, "Books Actually Love You".

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Railway Man: Movie Review

I am only writing this review because I have read the book, felt heart broken with the book and also felt a big relief after reaching the end of the book. I have finally seen the movie version last night. As much as I would like to commend Colin Firth for such an astounding portrayal of a POW/war veteran Eric Lomax, who suffered a long recurring post-traumatic stress syndrome after World War II, I must say that the book is better which has always been the case for book-adapted movies (I think with the exception of Game of Thrones, haha, bias)

Although the book's story line was only based on Eric Lomax's personal account of what transpired from Pre-WWII to Post WWII until his discovery of the still-alive Japanese translator and visiting Kanchanaburi and his trip to Japan (which was never shown in the movie), the movie story line also involves Patti (Lomax's wife) and Nagase's (Japanese translator) account of their experiences involving Lomax. But I guess in order for the movie to sustain the different characters in the sttry, it was necessary for them to present the parts of Patti and Nagase so I suggest that you read the book as well. The book depicts a more detailed recount of Lomax's of the time they were transported from Singapore to Bangkok and the beginning of the construction of the Siam-Burma Railway and to the discovery of the transistor and Lomax's railway map was such a gripping moment. It was harrowing and was morbidly described by Lomax in the book compared to what was just shown in the movie.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Google Doodle

A cute doodle from google as a tribute to The Little PRince.

Video courtesy of The Little Prince Website.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Oro: A Colombian Art Invasion

In Spanish, the word "Oro" means gold. Pedro Ruiz, a Colombian artist who hailed from Bogota, introduced us to another cultural weekend at Galeri Nasional in Jakarta Indonesia. As indicated on the brochure given out at the free entry exhibit, nothing gold can stay. These paintings by Pedro Ruiz tell us that splendor is on the run, that we ourselves are on the run, that time is also a river that only in art does the river remain. It is the first of its kind that I have seen such gold painting in a canvass. The paintings have a quite similar them with a gold background paint. A man steering his boat and in each boat contains the different aspects of the human being towards life. The man represents us on how we have to move on with our lives based on what we want to carry along with us in each of our boats.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I Quote Myself

Challenge Quote
After an unexpected gruesome day, here is the "Today's Quote"


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bilingual Comics: The Little Prince Feature

For book lovers and language lovers out there, you will be glad that Gramedia, Indonesia's largest publishing house, released a series of Bilingual Comics of our beloved childhood fairy tales and famous fictional characters. This set of series which currently has 10 different story books is published in English-Bahasa Indonesia Language. It also comes with a bonus CD for the audio version of the book

I consider this to be the best souvenir I can take with me from Jakarta. Who would not be in love with these books that will help Indonesian kids and language lovers understand the story of famed fictional characters in two languages, both in English and Bahasa Indonesia in one book.

There are total of 10 books published but it was quite difficult for me to find a whole set as it ran out of stock in most bookshops. Hopefully I can complete the whole set soon.

These are the books:

                           The Little Prince / Pangeran Kecil      Aladdin's Magic Lamp / Aladin dan Lampu Ajaib

Monday, March 3, 2014

Review: The Reading Room Jakarta

Imagine coffee, food and books combined. I am not talking about those over oblivious customers who takes a long time studying / reading / writing while sharing one cup of iced latte in an over populated fastfood like McCafe or Starbucks. Oh god those two places share the top spot of my most hated places to hangout. So again, imagine coffee, food and books combined. Plus it is located in quiet neighborhood and does not get crowded on weekends and you will be surrounded by tons of books neatly arranged on shelves that serves was the dividers and decorations of the place itself. That is how The Reading Room looks like.