Mere Colours

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“For better endings, New Beginnings”, an art exhibition by Yellow Ribbon Project, displayed at the Singapore Art Museum II. Photo taken by me.

“Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways”. ~Oscar Wilde

The Yellow Ribbon Project (YRP) seeks to engage the community in giving ex-offenders a second chance at life and to inspire a ripple effect of concerted community action to support ex-offenders and their families.

https://louisem.com/62724/colorful-quotes-and-pictures

Century of Light – colours of impressionism

One of the treats I received was visiting the Century of Light exhibition currently showcased at the National Gallery Singtel Exhibition. We had three curators from the Musee d’Orsay and National Gallery who did an excellent job leading us. Nonetheless, you may want to read about the highlights of the work from Straits Times before you go.

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The magpie by Claude Monet and the interesting depiction of white.

Unlike artists in the past who paint in studios, spending hours perfecting the works, waiting for the paint to dry, and painting either religious symbols or important patrons, impressionists paint the changing landscape of France. Because they were outdoors, they paint very fast with quick strokes, often wet paint on wet paint.

What struck me was that they were artists as well as sociologists and scientists. Himself, who enjoys photography shared with me the influence of photography on understanding depiction of light source in photography

Advances in medical research and understanding how the (retina) eye works also influenced Monet who did not paint the snow as purely white. He painted it in the colours of the shadows his eye observed falling upon it – blues, yellows, purples, changing as the light changed. Blue was important in how Impressionists depicted shadows, such that a critic dubbed the trend “indigo-mania”.
http://canvas.saatchiart.com/art/art-history-101/art-history-101-impressionism-vs-expressionism

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Paul Signac and the neo-Impressionists, who came a generation after the Impressionists. He championed the scientific theory of colour, using complementing colours and “Pointillist” method of dots to form an image. Here, the blue of the water is set against complementary colour orange in the yacht and houses. Time to memorise your color wheel. Which my teacher advised years ago.

Also on display are artworks by many Impressionist artists such as Monet’s waterlily pond.

Do catch works “Between Worlds” featuring the works of Indonesian artist Raden Saleh (c.1811–1880) and Filipino artist Juan Luna (1857–1899), two leading painters from Southeast Asia who achieved wide acclaim in Europe. The exhibition draws from important collections around the world.

“The exhibition explores how Raden Saleh and Juan Luna developed their work living between two diverse cultures and societies; and how the European experiences of these extraordinary artists have shaped the art history of this region.”

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Juan Luna’s depiction of Cleopatra.

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I am most impressed with this piece of the average workers by Juan Luna during his stay in France. Juan Luna was also instrumental in the rising nationalism of the Philippines, not just as a colony of Spain, but as a equal state. The betrayal when Spain gave away Philippines as a colony to the US.

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The colour of the walls purple against orange caught my eye. And that cute little door.

The Impressionists exhibition left me with some thoughts of artists as not just concerned with aesthetics. Many of them were interested in politics, lives of ordinary people, a different world order.

I cannot help recalling Malcolm Gladwell’s piece on the rejection of the Impressionist artists by the acclaimed critics of the day in his book “David and Goliath”.

Be inspired.

Where:
National Gallery Singapore
1 St Andrew’s Rd, Singapore 178957
6271 7000
https://g.co/kgs/dCHPGS

Claypot – a Chinese oven

Before Le Creuset, the Chinese have claypot.

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1. Put oil, minced garlic, chilli and ginger.

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2. Add chicken meat, spring onion if needed. Sliced carrots or capsicum. Slicing makes it easier to cook. Stir.

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3. Cover and simmer for 10 min. Depending on the heat of your stove.

4. Serve when cooked through.

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5. Covering keeps the juices in. Serve in claypot.

Minimalist lifestyle and kitchen.

Melons and squash can be used as containers when cooking soup. But here, steaming is best method.

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Minimal utensils, minimal wastage.

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Using egg cartons to serve your eggs with smoked rosemary. Taken by me at Odette, Singapore.

Old Style Lunch Dim Sum celebration

Recently, to celebrate a friend’s birthday,  we had lunch at the Red Star Restaurant which still serves push cart dim sum.

But for the first time, I am trying the Buddha jump over the wall translated from 佛跳墙. A dish which only Chinese would appreciate because it is a boiled soup from dried ingredients and cost a bomb. It serves 8 pax and cost about $480. You must pay a deposit of $200 a few days earlier.

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Unlikely that I will order this dish again.

But it is interesting to taste it once to see why a monk would interrupt his meditation tempted by a dish with flavourful dried scallop, fish maw, mushroom, abalone and spongy seacucumber in jin hwa ham and double boiled Chicken soup.

Recipe

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But I will likely return for the dim sum.

Red Star Restaurant
54 Chin Swee Road, #07-23, 160054
6532 5266

https://g.co/kgs/swDKcF

Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant
1 Keong Saik Road, #01-01, 089109
6222 0678
https://g.co/kgs/TPGYy5

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With freshly grated wasabi. Portion eel and rice in the bowl provided. Each set is $26.80.

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Tender and silky eel meat grilled on premise.

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Waiting to be grilled.

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I will certainly visit again. The eel is delicious and moist. The restaurant is conveniently located near Duxton.

When we arrived at 12pm, there was already a queue forming. But the turnover is quite fast.

Another restaurant I will go for Japanese eel is:
Shiromi Sushi and Sake Bar
#01-10 ALEXANDRA CENTRAL, 321 ALEXANDRA ROAD, 159971

For the price you pay, Man Man offers more eel. But Shiromi is less crowded and you can order lots of other dishes.  The chef is possibly Malaysian Chinese but the lunch crowd is the Japanese expatriate.

Family Style Peranakan food

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Buah Keluak fried rice with runny egg

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Pork belly in tamarind sauce

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Masak lemak with Kang Kong, Tapioca leaves and prawns.

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Oxtail stew

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Kueh Bengkah with Ice Cream. The tapioca cake is slight crispy on the outside, and moist soft texture.

We also had kuih kosui. Total bill was $118 for 3 without drinks.

I will certainly return as the food is delicious although it is quite pricey. It is a nice setting with lots of plants and airy feel.

Park opposite at the Kampong Glam Food Centre and cross the bridge. You arrive at Folklore which is in Destination Hotel.

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Folklore
Level 2, Destination
700 Beach Road
Singapore 199598

Tel: 6679 2900 | 9021 9700

Opening Hours:
Lunch: 12pm to 2.30pm
Dinner: 6pm to 9.30pm

Butterflies and pomegranates

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I am very pleased to receive this pretty embroidery bag from a friend, an ideal size for carrying keys and my clip-on mike.
Where: Chinatown Classic, KL, Malaysia

There are motifs of butterflies, cherry blossoms and pomegranates. This design is typical of Qing Dynasty embroidery.

In Chinese literature, butterflies symbolise lovers reunited, the love story of a pair of lovers, Liang Shanbo (梁山伯) and Zhu Yingtai (祝英台).

According to Garden with wings, Butterflies are deep and powerful representations of life. Many cultures associate the butterfly with our souls. The Christian religion sees the butterfly as a symbol of resurrection. Around the world, people view the butterfly as representing endurance, change, hope, and life. There is no doubt the butterfly has significant meanings to us.

Whatever its symbolism, it is one of the mysteries of nature, a transformation from a crawling creature to one of flight.

Cherry blossoms too are a symbol of renewal and change. The first signs of spring after a bitter winter. Recently I met a Japanese horticulturalist Inada-san if we can grow Yuzu in Singapore. He replied that perhaps the color will not turn yellow because the winter gestation is critical.

What then with the pomegranate? In Chinese literature, it symbolise abundance, especially fertility in offspring.

In Judaism, pomegranates were included on the pillars of Solomon’s temple. 

Deuteronomy 8:8 – the Lord is speaking to the Israelites of the promised land, which will be “a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey

Numbers 13:23 – Israelites sent into Canaan returned with grapes, pomegranates and figs.

Some say its not physical abundance but spiritual abundance, fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control.

What are the symbols from your culture?

May you be blessed with hope, renewal, abundance in the New Year.

Community Edible Garden Festival

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At the #Community Edible Garden Festival#. A Crimson Sunbird, Singapore’s national bird made with chillies, brinjals and other edibles.

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My next project: growing peppers. Singapore became prominent to British East India Company as a stopover for the spice trade. The humble spice was created into a national dish the “Bak kut teh” 肉骨茶, soul food for the Chinese coolies who were unsung heroes.

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Floral arrangement using edibles.

#Passion made Possible# for those of us with a passion for gardening.

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Using local plants to create your own garden?

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Where: Hortpark
33 Hyderabad Rd, 119578
6471 5601
https://g.co/kgs/uhiLFH

How: Take a MRT to Harborfront or Telok Blangah and free shuttle service will take you there.

Starting Acquarium

For some reason, this particular block has become an attraction for acquarium shops.

Except for 2 clinics and 2 food courts, there are 5 aquarium shops.

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Have you seen Dory?

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Waterplants
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From the expensive arowana.
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Have a waffle or a Bingsu while your loved one browses.

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Not for eating. They are smaller than your thumb.
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To the cheap:$1 for a bag of amphibians. Or a bag of guppies to start your kids off caring for pets. Everything you need from sponges to air pump and plastic tanks.

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Its very near the Clementi MRT Station. Look for Blk 326, then turn right. Park at Blk 330 if you are driving.

Address:
Blk 328 Clementi Ave 2, Singapore 120328

Double happiness

It has been a busy weekend. A friend celebrated his 60th birthday. Recently my nephew got married. They incorporated traditional Chinese rituals. Traditional Chinese garments do not have emblems of dragon and phoenix. That’s reserved for the Emperor, son of the dragon.

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Traditional wedding gifts

When I got married, because I am Teochew, our wedding was very early, about 5am. Some old lady who has led a good life was asked to comb my hair. Just symbolic. My mom had a hairdresser on standby to do my hair properly. I was decked in 4 pieces of gold.

Traditional Chinese tea ceremony serving tea to his elders. Usually made of dried longan and red dates.

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Couple eating dumplings.汤圆

Not shown in picture is a small boy rolling across the bed to bring good luck and promise of future descendants. When I got married, the lady who cleaned my home once a week, found a receipt of the new bedsheets I bought. She bought lottery on the last four digits and won some money.