Tuesday 30 December 2014

《信约:动荡的年代》"The Journey : Tumultuous Times"

The Journey: Tumultuous Times ( 信约:动荡的年代) had started airing on Channel 8, on 24 Nov 2014, every Monday to Friday at 9 pm. We had missed the first 5 episodes of this drama as we were in Gold Coast that week. It took us a while to catch up on all the episodes.

To add on to my previous post on Cast of 《信约:动荡的年代》"The Journey : Tumultuous Times", Shaun Chen played the role of Zhang Jia, the son of Zhang Tianying and Zhang Huiniang. He was subsequently adopted by Hu Weiren (starring Chen Hanwei) and changed his name to Hu Jia.

This drama was great for teaching about Singapore history. It was certainly more interesting and exciting to watch on TV than by just reading about it on books which could be too dry at times. It would be a great start to get kids and even adults to get interested or recall their knowledge about the history of Singapore. The process and efforts put in by our pioneers for Singapore to gain independence were more vivid when the scenes were re-enacted on TV.

In the drama, Zhang Yan (starring Romeo Tan) was protrayed as a villian who was out to get rid of his political opponent- Hong Dangyong (starring Andie Chen) - from the leftists. Hong Dangyong was his childhood friend. Dangyong's girlfriend, Zhang Min (starring Felicia Chin) supported Dangyong and this caused much resentment and jealousy Zhang Yan had for Dangyong. Hu Jia was also always helping Dangyong to get away when Zhang Yan's subordinates were trying to arrest him. It seemed that Dangyong was a very self sacrificing person and was willing to die for a worthy cause; fighting for equality and independence. However, in effect, Dangyong's political party had created much social unrest by instigating workers to go on strike and students to protest. One such example was getting bus drivers to go on strike. This caused other workers to be late for work or not able to report for work at all. This would have a lot of repercussions on society and economy.

Since this TV drama was a historical drama, history could not be changed. So, ultimately, the two parties that Hong Dangyong and Zhang Yan belonged to were destined to fail.

What I am curious about is what will happen to the five main characters - Zhang Yan, Zhang Jia, Hong Dangyong, Hong Minghui and Zhang Min. With four more episodes to go, This is what I am guessing:

1. Zhang Jia will go back to the Zhang family to take over the business since he is the only man not in any political party. Being in the triad involved with many businesses,he had hands-on experience in handling difficult situations. He is also very smart.

2. Zhang Min gets pregnant with Zhang Yan's child (she was duped into getting intimate with him in order to save Dangyong) and Dangyong will marry her even though the child is not his. (After typing this, I checked the sypnosis on Toggle and I think I'm right on this)

3. Zhang Yan either become crazy or die.

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

Here's wishing everyone a Wonderful Christmas filled with joy and love!

Christmas 2014

This year, we brought the kids to City Square mall again for the carnival rides at the park. We noticed that the carousel was much smaller but there were more rides compared to last year.

Christmas tree in Seletar mall.

Street lighting in Orchard area.



Monday 22 December 2014

Drink Bottle Blender

When we were in Gold Coast, we watched their home shopping TV channels while in our apartment at Swell Resort at night. We noticed that they have quite a number of such TV channels and that there were a few brands of blender on sale on these channels. After watching the infomercials, we got a desire to buy a blender for the sole purpose of producing fruit juice. 

While we were shopping at the malls in the Gold Coast, we saw blenders of different brands and sizes. Then we found the drink bottle blender at K-mart at the Pacific Fair shopping mall. They were selling this blender at AUD 15. We thought it was a reasonable price and we decided to buy it. We just needed an adaptor when using this in Singapore.

A few days after we came back to Singapore, we tested it out by blending some honey dew. It was working fine and the honey dew slices were all blended into juice very fast. I think it took less than a minute. 

The good thing about using this drink bottle blender was that after blending the juice, we just needed to replace the blade with the cap of the bottle and keep it in the refrigerator for later consumption. Since the blender is only used for a single purpose, we don't need to worry about not cleaning it well and running the risk of food poisoning. 

Sunday 14 December 2014

Yam Paste Dessert (Orh Nee) - Alternative Method

We recently found that the NTUC supermarket at Hougang One sold peeled yams in vacuum packs of 500 g. This was definitely better as it can be kept in the fridge for a longer time. It will also be easier for me to slice it into smaller pieces as the skin of the yam was already removed. 

I used these yam to make a yam paste dessert (orh nee) on Sera's birthday since she liked to eat it so much.


500 g yam (cut into slices)
200 ml of coconut milk (I used the "kara" brand)
150 g of sugar
3 to 4 pandan leaves (optional)
pinch of salt (optional)


1. Put the yam slices (with pandan leaves) on a steamer rack and steam for about 30 min until the yam slices turn soft. 

2. Once the yam slices are soft, turn off the fire and mash the yam slices.

3. Add coconut milk, pinch of salt and sugar to the mashed yam. 

Previously, I also added some cooking oil and then put the mixture in a slow cooker to cook it further. It needed a a lot of time to cook to the right consistency. This time round, I steamed the above mixture for another 10 to 15 minutes (took less time). I omitted the cooking oil as I didn't really like the taste of it in the yam paste dessert. I also added a bit of water as I found the mixture to be too dry. 

It was then ready to be served.

Sera enjoying her share of Orh Nee

Related post:

Yam Paste Dessert (Orh Nee)

Friday 12 December 2014

Thoughts After Gold Coast Trip

This was our  first time taking Scoot aeroplane. It was also the first time that there was someone who needed medical assistance on board the same plane as us. 

For the last few times when we went for our overseas trips, we always booked a hotel room or at least a motel room. We had never made use of any of the hotel facilities and tour services. We only interacted with the reception staff at the time of checking in and checking out. 

This was the first time we booked an apartment. However, this was also the first time we depended so much on the reception staff to book tours, cabs and obtain other information. This was also the first time we used their outdoor pool. 

When we came back to Singapore, we were pleasantly surprised to see that the lights at the corridors of our HDB block had been changed to white LED lights. Similarly for the other blocks in our neighbourhood. When we went to NEX shopping mall, we also noticed that all the chairs and tables of the food court on the 4th level had been changed. The chairs now were more comfortable to sit on. Some of the stalls had also changed their signboards. A few days ago, I also noticed that the store display of Metro Compass Point had been changed to include a new brand of apparel just as we entered the second floor of the Metro store.

We also found out that Seletar Mall had opened on 28 Nov 2014 while we were still in Gold Coast. We had been looking forward to visiting the Seletar Mall. We visited the mall two days ago but didn't really have much time to shop around. So we would probably be going there soon to browse around in the other stores.

Just one week away and there were so many changes already. Singapore really changed very fast, ha! ha! ha!

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Our Scoot Experience- The Return Journey

There was a slight delay of about 15 to 20 minutes before the plane took off. Once the plane was in the air and no turbulence, the air crew started to serve the snacks and drinks. This was not part of the package of the FlyBagEat so we did not get anything. Anyway, we were already full.

At about 11.30 am (Gold Coast time), lunch was served (this was part of the FlyBagEat package). My serving of the pasta was very little for me (compared to the soy chicken with rice). At about 2 pm, I was already hungry and I didn't want to take their snacks. So I ate the toblerone that came with my lunch. 

Our plane reached Singapore at about 3.25 pm Singapore time. By the time we passed through customs and collected our luggage, all of us were very hungry. 

We ate at Changi Airport before heading home.

Related posts:

Day Five and Day Six in Gold Coast

29 Nov 2014 was our second last day in Gold Coast. It was a Saturday so Swell Resort's reception closed at 2 pm. We had to settle any outstanding balances on this day as we would be departing in the early morning on the following day (Sunday) when the reception would not be open. We also got the reception staff to do an advanced booking of a cab for our departure the next day.

We spent the morning and early afternoon at Pacific Fair Shopping Centre. In the early evening, we went to the Swell Resort's outdoor swimming pool. The swimming pool also had a heated spa so we stayed in the spa pool for the whole time because the water was warmer and the depth was suitable for Sera. We brought our own towels as the reception was already closed by then, so it was not possible to rent a beach towel from them.

The next day, 30 Nov 2014, we woke up at 5 am so that we had enough time to clear the rubbish and do some last minute packing. The cab came at 6.15 am to fetch us to the airport. This cab driver helped us to load the luggage into the cab and helped us to unload when we arrived at the Gold Coast airport too :) .

I was surprised to see my friend at the Gold Coast airport in the same check-in queue as me. She too had come to the Gold Coast with her family and we were taking the same flight back to Singapore. Such a coincidence! 

After checking-in and passing through the central security checks, we had breakfast at the food court inside the departure area and shopped at a souvenir store. At 8.25 am, we proceeded to the international security check-in and then through customs. After passing through these, we passed through a duty free store. I found the moisturizer and serum of the brand that I normally used. They were sold as one set at a much lower price than if I were to buy them separately, so I decided to buy them. 

Related posts:

Planning - Booking of Flight
Booking of Holiday Accommodation and Visa Application
At Changi Airport Terminal 2
Our Scoot Experience - On the Way to Gold Coast
Day One in Gold Coast
Day Two in Gold Coast
Day Three in Gold Coast

Monday 8 December 2014

Day Four in Gold Coast

On 28 Nov 2014, we approached the reception staff at Swell Resort to book the Aquaduck tour for us on the same day. It happened that they had some problem with their printing system so the Aquaduck tour allowed us to book through our resort  first and pay them at the Aquaduck tour desk in Surfers' Paradise. We booked the 3 pm tour so we had to be there by 2.30 pm to make payment.

Aquaduck tour desk

Onboard the Aquaduck vehicle

All the children riding on the Aquaduck were given the opportunity to take the helm of the Aquaduck for a while, under the supervision of the captain, of course. Both Lynn and Sera received the Official Aquaduck License Certificate from the captain and posed for a picture with him.

Souvenirs were also available for purchase. They were so cute, so naturally both Lynn and Sera wanted one for themselves.

After the tour, we spent some time shopping and eating in Surfers' Paradise.

On our way back to our resort, the cab driver asked us about our departure time and date. He was quite concerned and nearly wanted to pick us up. However, he told us Saturday nights were usually busy nights and he would knock off at 5 am on Sunday. So he advised us to make an advanced booking for a cab on the night before our departure, i.e. Saturday night. 

Related posts:

Planning - Booking of Flight
Booking of Holiday Accommodation and Visa Application
At Changi Airport Terminal 2
Our Scoot Experience - On the Way to Gold Coast
Day One in Gold Coast

Day Three in Gold Coast

On 27 Nov 2014, we visited Movie World.

We went to the Junior Driving School and the kids were given free Junior Driving School licenses.

That evening, we dropped by the Australia Fair Shopping Centre for dinner and shopping. They opened until 9 pm that day, which was a Thursday.

We found a shop called Mr Toy's Toyworld on the first floor selling many toys such as Lego, "Frozen" dolls, Shopkins, Peppa Pig etc. Sera was happy to find Shopkins blind bags there and bought one (A$2.99) for herself. Lynn was not able to find a Lego set that she wanted. She managed to find one at the K-mart on the same floor.

We left the shopping centre at about 8.40 pm and went to the spot where the previous taxi driver dropped us, which was at the Marine Parade. Then we realised that it was a bit out of the way and cabs would not come here at this hour. Ardon tried to call for the cab but it seemed that non-Australian sim card numbers could not be used to book a cab even with auto roaming. We thought our Australia sim card had data credit but no call credit and got a bit worried (blur lah). So we approached a man who happened to come out of the building. As it was starting to rain, he brought us upstairs (sheltered) back to the ground floor of the Australia Fair Shopping Centre and told us how to get to another taxi stand from there. Taxis were readily available at a taxi stand along Nerang Street. We were very grateful for his help.

Day Four in Gold Coast

Sunday 7 December 2014

Day Two in Gold Coast

On the morning of 26 Nov 2014, we visited a convenience store at a Caltex petrol station near to the Swell Resort to get some pastries for breakfast. The Caltex station was about 203 metres away from the Swell Resort, about a 4 minutes walk.

After breakfast at our apartment, we headed down to the tour desk (which also doubled as the resort's reception) to get the theme park tickets. The resort's staff was able to book the tickets online which gave us a combo pass that enabled us to visit the three parks (Sea World, Movie World and Wet 'N Wild) at a lower price than if we were to purchase them at each theme park. We could have purchased them online before going to the Gold Coast but we chose not to. We didn't want to bring so many documents over. The combo pass deals varies from time to time and some offers were only meant for locals.

The reception staff also helped us to book a cab to Sea World. We did not rent a car although it might have been cheaper as we were not familiar with the roads there. Taking a bus would take up too much waiting and travelling time. The bus fares were not cheap either so it was more efficient for us to take a cab since there were four of us. I think the cab fare was about double that of Singapore.

On reaching Sea World, naturally Lynn and Sera wanted to visit the Penguin encounter. They are crazy about penguins :p.

Polar bear behind

The Sky High Skyway was under maintenance so we did not have a chance to take a ride in it.

We managed to catch a 3D movie on Spongebob Squarepants.

Lynn and Sera were glad it was a 3D and not a 4D movie. They didn't quite like the water spraying on them and the tickling they felt when they watched a 4D movie at Universal Studios Singapore :p . 

After walking for a while, we boarded the Sea World monorail so that we could enjoy a bird's eye view of Sea World and take a rest for a while.

After some souvenir shopping at Sea World, we went back to our resort by cab.

That night, we walked along Cornor Street to the many eating places there. We turned left from Cornor Street and found a chinese restaurant called Go Yum Cha along the Gold Coast Highway. They served various flavours of fried rice.

After dinner we walked down the street and after a left turn, we found another supermarket called the Golden Casket along West Street. There were pre-paid sim cards sold there and we felt comfortable getting one after one of the staff opened a package to show us the instructions on how to activate the sim card. We also bought some food and fruits for breakfast.

Related posts:

Planning - Booking of Flight
Booking of Holiday Accommodation and Visa Application
At Changi Airport Terminal 2
Our Scoot Experience - On the Way to Gold Coast
Day One in Gold Coast
Day Three in Gold Coast
Day Four in Gold Coast
Day Five and Day Six in Gold Coast
Our Scoot Experience- The Return Journey

Day one in Gold Coast

We arrived at Swell Resort which was located at Burleigh Heads at about 4.15 pm (Gold Coast time). We were greeted by the friendly staff at the reception desk on arrival. The check-in procedure was fast and we were allocated an apartment on the 4th floor. 

This two bedroom apartment had an ensuite bathroom in the master bedroom and another common bathroom near the other bedroom. This was the first time we booked an apartment for our overseas trip. It definitely costs less than booking two rooms in a hotel. The downside of staying in an apartment was that we had to clear our own rubbish as there would not be frequent housekeeping service. According to the Swell Resort website, they do provide "mid-stay" service if the guests stayed for eight nights or more. For our case, we were only staying for five nights, so there was no housekeeping service. 

Sera was happy to sit on the high chair. A full kitchen behind the bar counter. 

King size bed in master bedroom. I like!

A small walk-in wardrobe in the master bedroom that lead to the ensuite bathroom

Bathtubs in both bathrooms

A rectangular dinner table that could accommodate up to six persons.

The other bedroom had 2 single beds.

The pictures below were taken from the apartment's balcony.

Sera sitting on the sun chair at the balcony

After a long flight, we were all very tired so we rested for a while before venturing out. We wanted to go to a Woolworths supermarket, which was supposed to be the nearest from the Swell Resort. Along the way there were many of these trees.

The flowers were orange, bright and beautiful.

We were a bit lost with no mobile data access to Google Maps. We did not use data roaming as it was pretty expensive and we had intended to purchase a pre-paid sim card in the Gold Coast itself. We approached a man to ask for directions and he actually brought us to the supermarket himself. Such a kind soul! Woolworths was hidden away from the main road so without that kind man's help, we would probably be going up and down the slope with the supermarket nowhere in sight.

We bought some fruits from Woolworths and went to Crust Pizza for dinner. Crust Pizza was just outside the Swell Resort when we took the lift to the ground floor and exited through the carpark . 

After dinner, we headed back to our apartment. We were all very tired and rested early. 

We did not book a sea view room as it was more expensive. We were not so particular about having a sea view. Our apartment was quiet at night.

Related posts:

Planning - Booking of Flight
Booking of Holiday Accommodation and Visa Application
At Changi Airport Terminal 2
Our Scoot Experience - On the Way to Gold Coast
Day Two in Gold Coast
Day Three in Gold Coast
Day Four in Gold Coast
Day Five and Day Six in Gold Coast
Our Scoot Experience- The Return Journey