2017 favorites

100 things I liked slightly more in 2017

1. Runescape
2. Just Cause 2
3. Fun Run 3
4. Hearthstone
5. Fifa Online 3
6. Psych!
7. 8 Ball Pool by Miniclip
8. Spyfall on Telegram
9. Fantasy Premier League
10. Vista Golf

11. Signature neck steak at Prime 19, Khao Yai
12. Mango Sticky Rice from Chinatown, Bangkok
13. Gravy from Roast Pork fond, garlic, thyme and white wine at Aunt’s house
14. Pork Floss bought from Suwan Farm, Khao Yai
15. Tai Seng Fish Soup
16. Lixin Teochew Fishball Noodles at Food Republic, Breadtalk HQ
17. Thai Boat Noodles at Kaffe Toast, NUH Medical Centre
18. Pho Beef Combination at Pho Street, Westgate
19. 925 Yishun Chicken Rice at 722 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8
20. Boon Tong Kee at 368188 Macpherson Road
21. Tekong Seafood Restaurant at Changi Village
22. Baguette from Johan Bakery, Westgate
23. Legendary Fresh Cream Cake from Chateraise
24. Shrimp Floss Croissant from Breadtalk
25. Gillot Salted Butter from Phoon Huat
26. Cumberland Sausage from The Butcher, 278116 Holland Village
27. Soy Sauce Chicken Drumstick Noodles from Hawker Chan, 534119 Tai Seng
28. (Claypot Tofu, Ginger sauce, steamed rice) from Soup Restaurant
29. Punggol Nasi Lemak at 534721 Kovan
30. Pasta Brava (Stracchi in Saffron Cream Sauce, Linguine with crab meat and sea urchin, Lemon Sorbet, Chocolate Lava Cake)

31. Dilbert
32. Insanely Simple by Ken Segall
33. The Mixer by Michael Cox
34. Batman: Year One by Frank Miller
35. Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue by Maajid Nawaz and Sam Harris
36. Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross
37. Justice Society of America: Thy Kingdom Come by Geoff Johns
38. Queen Bees & Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman
39. Neither Civil nor Servant by Han Fook Kwang and Peh Shing Huei
40. Singapore in Transition by Han Fook Kwang

41. 叶炫清 cover – 关键词
42. Live Band playing Adele’s “Someone like You” at Midwinter Green, Khao Yai
43. A-lin cover – 月牙湾
44. Black Eyed Peas + Ariana Grande Manchester cover – Where is the Love
45. 伍佰 cover – 如果这都不算爱
46. Lana Del Rey – Love
47. Rag N Bone Man – Human
48. 张信哲 cover – 记得
49. Chanyeol & Punch – Stay with me
50. Andy Hui – 我还能爱谁
51. 张靓颖
53. Urban Zakapa (Thanks Michelle!)
54. Jay Chou
55. FIR
57. SNSD
58. LANY
59. Against The Current
60. The Chainsmokers

61. War for the Planet of the Apes
62. Mean Girls
63. The last Jedi
64. Logan
65. Dunkirk
66. The Grandmaster
67. Kung Fu Panda 1
68. Kung Fu Panda 2
69. Inequality for All
70. Inside Job

Youtube Channels
71. Pokimane
72. Sorted Food
73. Grace Helbig
74. Epic Rab Battles
75. Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast
76. Bill Wurtz
77. David Mitchell’s Soapbox
78. Binging with Babish
79. Worth It by Buzzfeed
80. Hot Thai Kitchen

81. Mock the week
82. Young Sheldon
83. Game of Thrones
84. Attack on Titan
85. Would I Lie To You

Learning Points
86. Veganism actually forces vegans to be more creative and knowledgeable about ingredients, since they have to know and source for more e.g. Using unripe jackfruit for fried chicken since they have similar texture
87. Racism should be understood in a broader sense because the dictionary definition “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior” is limited in today’s circumstances

88. Dinner with Jo and Zea
89. Ethnography assignment to City Plaza with Bron
90. Getting Spotify
91. Non-English Lyrics with translations, romanizations and meaning side by side
92. Prof J and H sharing their experiences in academia
93. Regulations to the cleaning industry in Singapore means cleaners get higher pays
94. Attending Chua Beng Huat’s seminar
95. Atta Lakeside Resort at Khao Yai
96. Reconnecting with Nic
97. Football Nights every Thursday at Punggol
98. Watching Bayern vs Chelsea at the Sports Hub
99. Classical Art Memes facebook page
100. Learning to play tunes on the keyboard




Racism and nigger

A few weeks ago, I met up with H, the tutor for my culture module who is currently pursuing her PhD, and one of the topics we talked about was everyday racism. I raised the idea that the term “racism” is too loosely thrown about these days, if we were to stick by the academic definition of “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior”, so based on this arguably one can only conclusively say that examples like the Holocaust, Apartheid and racial segregation in America are “true” examples of racism, because there is both intent and discrimination (in the form of violence). She countered with a very interesting point that the definition itself must be examined in terms of the authors and context that it was written in, and it suddenly hit me that perhaps I need to reconsider sticking to this definition, and perhaps adapt it to make it more relevant to the plights of those who suffer from racial discrimination today.

But the main focus of this post is not about a conceptual debate of racism, but rather the painful (at least to me) situation in America, specifically regarding the word “nigger”. People avoid the word like the plague, and sponsors drop celebrities who were caught using the word at the drop of a hat. While it would be interesting to debate about usage of the word – proponents like George Carlin who see nothing with it “it’s the context that makes the word good or bad; there is nothing wrong with the word nigger in and of itself, it’s the racist asshole who’s using the word that you ought to be concerned about” versus opponents who claim that continued usage reinforces the power relations and trivializes the emotional burden of the word –  it seems far more important to point out the horrendous hypocrisy that is happening in America (nice alliteration) in the form of actual racist practices like voter ID laws, redlining, disproportionate violence against the black community amidst this sacred ban on a word. To make it clearer, what I mean to say is that it seems that the reality in America is that systemic oppression of the black community is fine, as long as you don’t say the word “nigger”. It is slightly amusing from a philosophical point of view, but then the suffering reminds you of how painful it is.

Looking back 13/8 – 19/8

3 new facts I learned this week:

  1. Moray eels have a second jaw that is called the pharyngeal jaw. The eels bites its prey using its oral jaws, then the pharyngeal jaws extend, clamp down and retracts, allowing the eel to swallow the prey.
  2. Greek statues were originally painted! Unlike the pure white marble we have come to associate Greek statues with, they were originally painted in vibrant colors
  3. Singapore is the only country in the World to have a tripartism! This refers to the collaboration among unions, employers and the Government


NEW CONCEPT NEW CONCEPT NEW CONCEPT: Precarity (The lack of security, stability and predictability especially in jobs)

Anecdote time: Whilst conducting a pilot survey for the NUS project, one of the surveyees took some time to chat with me about his life. He was an Indian national, who held a PhD and worked in the IT industry. I learned from him how he had to toil on weekdays, only returning home in the wee hours of the night. His work was project based, each project lasting for about 1-2 years. His visa needed to be renewed every year, so the threat of retrenchment was always looming over his shoulder, which according to him was exacerbated by the fact that in the event of a crisis, foreigners would be the first to be retrenched. Hence, addition to putting in the long hours he needed to go for constant training and renewal, and always surpass his local colleagues. He wants to but is unable bring his family over due to lack of stability, which is pitiful because he says due to the long hours he has very few friends. In spite all of this, he says that he trusts his neighbors, likes his estate and feels a sense of belonging, both to his neighborhood and Singapore. (There should be some commentary about how his individual experience reflects the state of society as a whole and its implication but lets leave that for another time. I need to reorganize my blog)


Phrase of the week: face like a smacked arse


Quote of the week: “Our proper response to the inexorable march of progress that has brought us to this place and time in the history of civilization is to find a way to confront it responsibly. Not modestly. Not un self-consciously. Not with faith in a power greater than ours to descend from the sky and set things right despite our best efforts to screw up. We have an obligation to know who we are, where we are and what we can do. We have an obligation to understand the ramifications of the things we do, and to choose to do them – or not – with our eyes open.” (Kingdom Come, Mark Waid and Alex Ross)


Book of the week: (Batman Year One, Frank Miller)

Stream of Consciousness

  1. My youtube liked videos playlist was running, and I found it rather satisfying that a serious Sam Harris video about Milo Yiannopoulos and the formation of tribes was immediately followed by Grace Helbig’s night time routine. Which was the first Helbig video I showed CYX and he liked it
  2. NTSH and my cousin told me the exact same thing: men’s clothing are largely similar so the way to stand out is through your watch, wallet and shoes. Which I find pretty strange, since I think a person’s uniqueness is largely expressed by accomplishments and thoughts, neither of which are really captured through apparel and accessories
  3. When people attribute events in their lives to a supernatural being, aren’t they simply relieving themselves of responsibility for action and thought? This originally came from No Man’s Land, but it does seem that it is a good argument against those who choose faith over rationality.
  4.  张信哲 “每一首情歌最重要的一句是哪一句? 第一句”
  5. Lex Luthor “Do you know how much power I’d have to give up to be president?” I remember being rather enthralled when I first heard it on Justice League Animated, and today as I learn more about the society, there seems to be validity in this statement. Without the need to invoke conspiracy theories of the existence of the illuminati, politicians are still at the whims and mercy of those who control material resources

I don’t know




N5 Barilla Spaghetti

Fairprice prepacked streaky bacon

Lemon juice

Emborg whipping cream



Egg yolks

black pepper

Parmesan cheese



  1. Feel Fill a pan with water, salt generously and bring to the boil
  2. Fry up some bacon in an oven until it goes crispy, then slice it into mini bits
  3. Grate the cheese and mix it in a bowl with the egg yolks, cream and pepper, whisk until evenly mixed



  1. Drain the pasta when it is al dente
  2. Transfer the pasta into a pan, then turn on a low heat
  3. Pour the sauce into the pan and mix well
  4. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice


Food for thought:

  1. By strict definitions, this is neither a proper carbonara nor an alfredo. But it is closer to a carbonara, and outside of Italy people put cream in their carbonara, and I think it tastes better.
  2. I have tried making it the traditional way, where the pasta is tossed in the oil/grease that the bacon released while cooking, and the sauce just a mixture of egg yolks, cheese, salt and pepper. But I like this more. It feels more pleasant to the palate. The sauce is light and sweet.



Onion Bacon Pasta

Ingredients (might not be the best from a culinary point of view but these are readly available at my local supermarket)

Yellow onion


Fairprice prepacked streaky bacon

Chilli Padi

masterfood parsley

masterfood oregano

masterfood thyme

knorr chicken stock cube

barilla n5 spaghetti


naturel EVOO



  1. Dice onion, bacon and garlic finely
  2. Deseed chilli padi and slice finely
  3. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and salt generously
  4. Portion out the dry spaghetti


  1. Add EVOO to a pan on low heat.
  2. Once oil is hot/warm, add onions, bacon, garlic and chilli
  3. Place spaghetti in boiling water, stirring occasionally in the first minute
  4. When the onions have released most of their water and are soft, add in parsley, oregano and thyme. Crumble in the stock cube and mix well
  5. Once pasta is al dente, drain and transfer to pan with bacon onion mixture
  6. Toss until flavors are combined

Room for exploration

  1. Would crispy bacon bits improve this dish?




Today was miserable. I have never felt this miserable during an outing. With my friends. And God knows an open blog (which of course is quite hidden) isn’t the best channel to express my frustrations, but it is probably the most cathartic experience. If one of them is reading this, do it with an open mind. It’s not going to be pleasant reading

Rushing to finish the research stuff at 330am when we were meeting at 730am was probably a bad start. And it got worse.

Breakfast was dim sum at this Chinese restaurant. It looked respectable, but fuck me the food was terrible. Dim sum restaurants are supposed to be fantastic experiences, but maybe it’s because since I was young dim sum with the extended family was always at top quality restaurants (Jumbo, Crystal Jade, Wah Lok etc) so that molded and shaped my view. Regardless, no self-respecting restaurant serves har kow that falls apart or puts pieces of radish with the prawns, or a cheap mooncake paste in banana pastry, or…this would take forever if I listed out all the faults with the food so lets continue.

(Side note: Ever since I took an obsessive keen interest in food, one of my biggest disagreements with family, relatives and friends has always been about seasoning. From how I see it, food needs to be heavily seasoned in order to taste good, WHICH IS WHY YOU NEED MORE DARK SOYA SAUCE FOR A GOLDEN MUSHROOM STIR FRY. Ok I needed to get that out of my system ARGH. Anyhow, it just strikes me as something quite peculiar that my aunts were so insistent that they never used MSG in their cooking, which makes their dishes horrendously underseasoned and bland, or how my mum/friends are so worried about the “burnt” bits.)

I think the most frustrating thing about the trip is the conversations. Good Lord hearing young men talk about watches and shoes and t-shirts at length and with such self-importance is annoying. And this already dreadful thing is exacerbated by hearing how some of their other schoolmates are immature, childish and always “chasing money” to quote them. “You can dress a pig up in a suit, but you can’t stop it from grunting” As far as I recall, I don’t think I am snobbish or picky about conversations. I enjoyed the deeper discussions with YX and Jon over topics like racism and ethics as much as the conversations about movies and university life with K and KS. But I guess the obsession people have with the fashion industry is something that will always irk me, partially because during my most formative years the idols/media figures/academics/chefs that influenced me the most, along with what I actually absorbed from my parents, were never too concerned about fashion and most actually criticized it. (George Carlin and Marco Pierre White, amongst others) Then again, perhaps my willingness to spend freely on food is as puzzling to those who spend freely on clothes?

I might have more points to make, but I cant really recall/ too tired to continue. Anyhow, this has been REALLY cathartic…WOW.

I don’t know (Think I’m going to steal this perfect way to end from Grace Helbig)

Wenger on social media

Context: The wave of “Wenger out” sentiment resurfaced on social media after the Watford loss, but the 67-year-old insisted he cannot pay too much attention to the outcry.


“We live in a society that is like that, I cannot change the society. I focus on what I can influence. And I live with the response of the society,” he said, adding that social media has increased negativity among supporters. “Because everybody can express his frustration straight away in the fraction of a second. And there’s no time to take a distance with what happened.”


(ESPNFCASIA, Mattias Karen 2017)

TV Rudeness

There is a show on TV at the moment (Come Dine with Me) the premise of which is that five people each host a dinner party in turn after which the other four are encouraged to be as blisteringly rude about it as possible. I humbly submit that this is not a good thing.

It’s certainly compelling but only because for now it is still shocking to see people break the strong social convention that tells us that when we are invited into someone’s home we don’t immediately and publicly slag off the food and décor. This show gets all its power from licensing people to break that rule and bitch at length on how vulgar they thought the napkins were but the truth is that no napkins, not even when embroidered with monograms, presented in napkin rings, and referred to as serviettes can ever be as vulgar as saying so.

This program glorifies people who do say so as loudly and obnoxiously as possible and the problem is that this taboo is a finite resource. Every time you break it you weaken it. It’s like smashing a teapot and gluing it back together again and again and again. Sooner or later there’s going to be more glue than pot and then there will be no more tea for anyone. In this metaphor tea stands for grace and courtesy, as well it might. Shows like this one recklessly gobble up our capacity to be shocked by people being rude to each other for short-term gain and like the rainforest once it’s been destroyed to make grazing land for cattle it’s gone forever. In this metaphor cows stand for rudeness and selfishness. This is less fair on cows than the previous one was on tea.

(David Mitchell’s Soapbox – TV rudeness)