My first step at seven

I was one of those early starters. I remember peeking through the louvres of my primary school hall’s sliding doors, admiring at the dancers’… long hair. I was fascinated at possibility of having swishy long hair I can whip around.

I whip my hair back and forth

Yes, I started dance so I could have long hair. And so it began, the start of my Chinese Dance Thursdays because trainings had always been on Thursdays.

I remember the first day at dance was a very painful experience. My mother bought me the standard uniform (of a pink leotard and short blue tights) and reminded me to listen to the teacher. I thought it would be fun. Maybe, we would get to prance around pretending to be fairies and killing monsters. Or we’d go on tippy toes and catch butterflies.

Instead, my first lesson was spent on learning the basics such as: the famed 莲花手(loosely translated to lotus hand which is the basic hand hold of Chinese dance) and how to flex/point your feet. Then, the horror came – stretching. .. Just imagine the NAPFA sit and reach test in your mind. That was what it was like. The instructor was sitting on the top of my back and there was no way to wriggle out.

Breathe in, breathe out. Push the pain to the back of your mind.

That was one of the most painful stretches for me because I wasn’t flexible that way. But the stretching also primed me to be able to take a lot of pain. Those were the times when lessons weren’t made to be fun. Unlike now, when you check out kids’ dance curriculum, they’re all about having fun and inculcating the love for dance.

I stuck by Chinese dance for years somehow. Many of my classmates laughed at the gaudy make up /costumes and I had to make time for extra dance examination drilling and SYF (Singapore Youth Festival) training. I had extra dance training on Sunday mornings at 9am which were 1.5 hours away from my home. Chinese dance in primary school was also tolerable because of my two other good friends. The love-hate relationship with dance veered towards hate more than love. On many occasions, I wanted to quit but my mother was adamant that I persevere for as long as I can.

Secondary school came,  Chinese dance then became a burden to my (somewhat) hectic social life and seemed uncool to teenagers who just wanted to hang out at Parkway Parade, wandering through the shops. Couple that with endless band practices (my CCA at that time), and trying to pass Maths, it felt almost unbearable. I finally made the decision to call it quits when I was 13 or 14 and only picked dance back up seriously (not Chinese dance) when I was in my late teens/early twenties.

Upon reflection, I think I enjoyed doing the numerous shows (performing is the fun part right?) but the examinations were painful.

I am thankful for the flexibility Chinese dance imbued in me which turned out to be a blessing during Jazz and contemporary classes (kinda). Memorising numerous short routines for each dance examination expanded my brain’s memory bank for choreography. Chinese dance also taught similar techniques to Jazz such as 大跳 (big jump) which would be the equivalent of a  jete and 平转 (turn) which formed the basis of chaines. I was blessed to have so many different learning opportunities.

Going for the many lessons also taught me discipline and independence. I had to learn to manage my own time and schedule since I was the one who wanted to learn dance, I had to be responsible for myself. This means prepping dance gear and arranging for transport (my grandma used to drive me home or I’ll take the public bus myself) cos my mama ain’t got time for that yo.

And yes, I started taking the public bus home myself at age 8.

Did I regret stopping Chinese dance? Yes and no. Yes, because I could have stuck by it and gone so much further. No, because I wouldn’t have left my comfort zone and started really enjoying and loving dance like how I do now.

Eh maybe I wouldn’t be in NUS Dance Blast! but join Chinese Dance instead?

Blast concert in 2012, Second girl from the right

If I could have made a choice, somehow, I don’t think I would have chosen to lose my virginity (in dance, you dirty minded people) in any other way.

Thank you to the Tay family for teaching my first steps in Chinese Dance!

Flatlay: What’s in my bag v2

Hopping on the flatlay wagon, these are what are in my bag on a typical day without yoga/dance class. I always wonder how can some people travel daily without a bag. You know some people are like, a wallet and their phone and they’re good for the entire day. I’m always baffled. So what do you do on the train/bus?

In my defense, I spend at least two hours (or more) traveling each day on public transport. I’ve been try to keep my necessities to a minimal but somehow, these look like the bare minimal I can’t live without daily!

  1. Kindle Basic
  2. iPhone 5s with my new Otterbox Preserver
  3. Universal lens (fisheye + wide) for Instagram
  4. Make-up pouch
  5. My keys bunch which includes: iBank device, thumb drive and a  measuring tape
  6. Umbrella
  7. Xiaomi Powerbank 10400mAh + cable
  8. Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9
  9. Creative Bluetooth WP-300 headphones
  10. The latest copy of 8 Days
  11. Wallet

I did a similar entry: What’s in my bag v1 back in 2012.

I’m going to try to weigh my bag the next time, let’s not even talk about the days when I have dance/yoga class…

Merry Christmas: Google Maps

No relevance to cover photo but sharing some resources that I’ve created!

Typically, for each of my trip, I like to mark the places I’ll like to check out and here are some of my Google Maps that I’ve created! I’ve set settings to be “View Only” as I didn’t want edits made to my maps but if you’ll like to have the data exported (as XML so that you can create your own), drop me a comment.

Bali (includes Ubud, Canggu and Kuta/Seminyak): Bali Google Map

Melbourne: Melbourne Google Map

Seattle: Seattle Google Map

Bangkok: Bangkok Google Map

Penang: Penang Google Map

Cover photo taken by the talented Thomas Tan!

 

Seattle: Experience Music Project

If you’re visiting Seattle and you’re not into kitschy touristy sights and only wanted to do that ONE thing, go check out the Experience Music Project! This was probably my favourite thing to do in Seattle. But know that I’m a sucker for all things pop culture too!

Experience Music Project is a pop culture, and science fiction museum. The building itself is quite a sight too!

I couldn’t get the entire thing into frame but this is a standing structure, spanning across a few floors.

Continue reading “Seattle: Experience Music Project”

Ubud, Bali food: Melting Wok Warung

If you look at TripAdvisor, Melting Wok Warung has been consistently wavering on the top 5 spots of top restaurants in Ubud, Bali.

Reservations are recommended as it is quite a small restaurant. I made a reservation for 3pm and the restaurant was full. If you don’t have a reservation,  you should pop by late or do a take away.

My view from where I was sitting. There were a few more tables behind me

 

I see a lot of Caucasians rave about the curry on TripAdvisor. Me? I’m like, it’s just curry! Of course I had to try it to see what are these rave reviews about.

The owners were French and I feel that they infused European spice and style of cooking in traditional dishes. The curry that I had used herbs and nuts. It was strange for me (since I grew up on Indian curries) but in a good way!

Another much raved dish is the creme caramel with coconut sauce. It was a tad too sweet and thick for a single me but perfect for sharing for two. The cinnamon gave a little zest to the coconut sauce.

Melting Wok Warung

13 Jalan Gootama
Ubud, Bali
Opening hours: 10am – 10pm
Google Map link