Source: http://golem13.fr

Manners maketh man

Over the CNY holidays, I treated myself and my mother (it is the new year after all…so if you can’t treat yourself then, when can you treat yourself?) to an afternoon at the movies.

She had mentioned that she wanted to watch Kingsman. She had seen the trailer a few months back and thought that it would be a fun movie. She’s a big fan of the old James Bond movies. You know the ones I’m talking about: Sean Connery looking suave, Timothy Dalton who always looked so amused about the whole shebang. Those movies were fun, all to be taken with a grain of salt, a wink and a smile, ya know? Those gadgets that Q dreamt up were cute toys and I’m sure that if they could have figured out how to franchise and sell them, they would have!

But the Bourne movies happened and spy movies suddenly became serious and action packed and very bloody with high body counts.  Enter Daniel Craig, the Tortured Bond. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy his Bond movies. But they are vastly different from that of the old days. I think Pierce Brosnan was the last of the fun Bond movies.

Well, never mind. Now we have the Kingsman. Bloody with high body counts. But fun. There are nods to the old spy movies. They try to make it a bit more modern, of course. But you know the Brits: they rather enjoy poking fun at everything and everyone. I’m quite surprised we haven’t heard the Swedish protesting the movie yet. But maybe the Swedes have a better sense of humour than I thought. After all, that Ikea advert satirising the old Apple ads were quite clever.

The movie is very sleek. The product placements (I notice them all the time now) are subtle so it doesn’t subtract my enjoyment of the movie too much. The action is very John Woo in nature. And the plot does have little twists and turns in there that I did not quite expect. D had said it would be too much like Men in Black. And I’m glad I didn’t listen to him. And I’m glad I went in with an open mind because it really isn’t at all like Men in Black.

Also, I can’t remember if Samuel Jackson has always spoken with a lisp or if he was just hamming it up for the movie. And those blades! I can’t help but wonder if they were placed on Sofia Boutella as a not so subtle nod to the Bladerunner saga. I’ll also admit that I’ve been partial to Colin Firth since Pride and Prejudice. And I do think that he has been aging very beautifully. The scene outside e church was quite devastating and the carnage that occurred before it was gorgeously choreographed. The soundtrack is freak and the popping heads were absolutely hilarious. A friend of mine describes it as a funny version of Kill Bill.

I’m not a movie critic. But I will say this: it was a fun movie and I’m glad I went to watch it in the movie theatres. Sometimes, we all need something fun and frivolous in our lives. Call it a #firstworldproblem.

If I was one of those who can afford to go to the movies all the time, I would probably watch it again. But I’m not of the leisurely class.  And so, I will have to simply wait for it to come out on video before I will get the opportunity to enjoy it once again.

Celebrating the opening of the Goat year

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Well, the 7th day of the Lunar New Year is traditionally the day that businesses will open for the year. It is also known as “Everybody’s Birthday” because people did not always remember the day they were born so they just celebrated their birthdays on the same day.

This year we went to Tung Lok at Changi City Point Mall. In the past, I would never even have thought of going there. Its simply too expensive. I think, somewhere along the way, they must have lowered their prices or I’ve simply gotten used to the increased cost of living in Singapore. Their portions are small, but not too small and definitely more than enough for my small family.

They have a special CNY menu, as with all the other Chinese restaurants in Singapore. We had the traditional raw fish salad for Low Hei to usher in good luck for the New Year. We also ordered the shrimp fried in salted egg yolk paste and it was surprisingly not too salty. The paste wasn’t very crispy but the shrimp tasted very fresh. We also ordered the roasted chicken (there weren’t many choices, the other choices were duck and my father does not eat duck). Their CNY menu was very meat-centric though.  We also went for the fried crispy noodles. The red pepper was nice and sweet and I liked the mango sauce that came with it.

Not a bad meal and the price was definitely reasonable. My only complaint is that the menu was rather limited in selection and the service was very slow. The staff, although polite, ignored us most of the time and it took quite a while for the food to make it to our table. I’m fairly certain we’ll go back again though, but probably only after the CNY festive period.

Hey sugar

AS a nutritionist, I LOVE this commercial. It clearly illustrates the amount of sugar that is in a bottle of soda. It serves not only as a brilliant Public Service Announcement (PSA), but its also a great ad for Brita.

Scary, isn’t it? If that isn’t enough to make you swear off soda, I really don’t know what will.

Perk Me Up

I have an absolutely horrid cold. My nose is all stuffed up, and as red as Rudolph’s nose when it isn’t busy running away like a faucet that cannot be turned off. Not coughing very much but the throat is scratchy and I can’t seem to taste anything. I’m so glad I’m back living with my parents because when I’m sick, I get to act like a baby and I’m treated like one. I’ve got bottles of lovely herbal tea made by my mother. Her simplest recipe is taking a bunch of dried chrysanthemum and putting hot water for a couple of minutes. It doesn’t sound like much, but its very soothing for the scratchy dry throat.

According to Epicurious, that’s known as a tisane. Apparently you can do that with any sort of herbs. According to the Livestrong website, a smoothie made of orange and honey can also do the trick.

I’ll admit, the only one thing I’m truly looking forward to is a Moscow Mule. Especially if its served in a pretty copper cup. The recipe is quite simple too:

Ingredients

2 ounces rosemary-infused vodka
Juice from 1/2 lime
Sparkling pear juice
Ginger beer
Dash of bitters

Method

fill a mug with ice, then add two ounces of the vodka and the lime juice. Fill the mug about three-quarters of the way with the sparkling pear juice, then top off with a splash of ginger beer and a dash of bitters. Stir to combine and serve.

Lo Hei

10999108_10100713921422595_8135258535820393664_nIt is the 7th Day of the Year of the Goat. Per tradition, it is yan yat ie “everybody’s birthday”. Apparently in the past, no one really celebrated individual birthdays. The 7th day of the new Year is when everyone celebrates turning a year older. It is also the time when people of trade traditionally start their new year. Lo Hei is a relatively new tradition (I think) of ushering the new year. And so, Happy New Year everyone!

Red Envelope

IMG_20150220_064313This is one of the angbaos I received this year. Don’t you love it? I love design. And I rather think that this is very clever design. Its adorable. And the quilt that make up the little girl’s outfit with its nice bright colors. Definitely one of my favourite ones this year.

The Best Speech from the Oscars

I did not have the opportunity to watch the Oscars yesterday, namely because it took place at 6am Singapore time and I had to go to work. But I heard about Mr. Graham Moore’s speech and I googled to find out what the fuss was about. I’m glad I did.

It was an inspiring powerful speech it was about accepting who you are. I am glad his suicide attempt was a flop because if it had been, we would not have gotten to hear his voice.

Goat’s Monday

551522_10153097581759367_2063475501647704467_nThe goat year has just gotten off to be a very very lazy start for me this year. Much like how it started last year. Except last year I didn’t have to get up to work after the two days were over. At any rate, I am determined to try to start off every work week on a happy note. Because if you have a good attitude, things will always work themselves out.

So the first thing I would like to share is this lovely recipe for a Cinnamon Bun smoothie (the Cinnamon stick is for garnish…but I bet it makes it smell absolutely heavenly):

1 frozen banana, cut into four pieces
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup


The next amazing thing that I found on the internet this past week was this proposal to build a bridge just for animals so that there will be less road kill. I think it is a brilliant idea. After all, Man is not the sole inhabitant of this planet. We share it many other species and while we seek to expand our Kingdom, we need to remember that the advance of our species need not be at the expense of others.

Source: Spirit Science Facebook timeline photos
Source: Spirit Science Facebook timeline photos

And while we are all busy, let’s all try to remember why we work so hard, and to try to remember there’s more life than work. 

Although this isn’t exactly good news, Oliver Sacks has just found out that he has metastatic liver cancer. And he has written about his impending deadline for the New York Times. Its very good, something you would expect from an amazing writer. I’ve never had the honour of working with him. sometimes I wish I had the good sense to have at least tried an away rotation at NYU Med. But regrets aside, I think this is a beautiful piece about life. His life.

And isn’t this the simplest delicious romantic meal one could prepare for their love? Even I would be hard pressed to mess this up.  I hope.

Also, here’s to girl power. Guys do so love to tell a tall tale sometimes and they like to strut about so. I bet this girl put them through their paces. Plus it sure puts a whole new meaning behind the words “speed dating”.       

 

These hilarious posters are great to cheer you up on a long day. I wonder if we can obtain permission from the bus company to post these at the bus stop? I won’t want to post them without permission. Don’t want to caught for vandalism.

Well, I hope that’s enough to keep yours (and my) spirits up I hope!

Have a great Goat Year!                                                           

   

Wolf Hall

Its the CNY holidays and ready unlike the CNYs of my childhood, the holiday is decidedly less festive these days after the passing if my paternal grandparents. Actually, I think CNY stopped being fun once I outgrew it.

source

Instead, I spent most of CNY eve catching up on Call the Midwives. Its always guaranteed to put me in a bit of a soapish mood. It seems as if the BBC is very subtly renewing the cast. I have a feeling that Trixie might not be signed on for the next season.

Anyway, once the catching up was done and I watched a Top Gear episode, I thought I would see what the fuss surrounding Wolf Hall was about. I had the vague idea it was about Henry VIII and his six wives (divorced ,beheaded,died, divorced ,beheaded, lived) but its actually about Thomas Cromwell. King Henry VIII ( played by the delectable Damien Lewis) doesn’t even show up till the last 10 mins of the first episode.

To my surprise, its actually a really good show. I’m half way through the second episode (its CNY after all) but I’m quite eager to binge watch the rest.

The costumes are certainly lavish. The dialogue is quite snappy. And the pacing is good. And most importantly, the acting, though understated, is very strong.

The flashbacks are a bit confusing though. As for historical accuracy….well, I don’t even know Singapore history that well. So I’m going to leave the fact finding to historians following the show.

And if you are looking for a more detailed review/recap, check out the guardian’s website. Its really very good.