Hermes, Nobel Prize, Collider Exhibitions at ArtScience Museum

Last week I had a chance to catch a few exhibitions at the ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. They are: Leather Forever by Hermes exhibition, Ideas Changing The World (about the Nobel Prize) and Collider (yep, the Large Haldron Collider built by CERN… if you read Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons before, this thing was a major element in the plot, and it is real…). Anddd… it is free admission for the first two! (check out the museum site for the ticketing and opening periods http://www.marinabaysands.com/museum.html)

I had looked forward to visiting all 3 of them so much, as someone interested in leather, art, science and in general stuff and affairs…

We all know and have heard about Hermes, the household brand of luxury leather bags (as someone who is not really following haute couture, I could even vaguely mention the names of the bags… like Birkin, Kelly…). I kinda had some expectations about the exhibition… lines of its famed bags… some history…

True, it is like that – and so much more. The historytelling is packaged in the 12 rooms that take place in the fingers that lend the museum its famous lotus shape. As we move from one room to another, we transcend to another realm that emphasizes on a particular aspect/ feature/ philosophy of the company, thanks to the thoughtful space design, innovative exhibition design and apt (hint: fun) interactive parts 😆 all these help create an immersive world for the audience who want to get more of the taste of Hermes – the high-rank fashionistas and the fashion noobs alike. True enough, I saw an impeccably stylish female tourist taking pictures of every single bag on display (forgive me for the stereotyping, but this is the first time I saw someone who might rather spend time shopping at Marina Bay Sands being too engrossed with specimens in a museum). And I have enjoyed it myself as well.

Here is a teaser photo from the exhibition. I should not spill the beans too much, as it takes away some of the delight derived from unexpectedly seeing something for the first time😆

A glimpse to the quirkiness of the display

 

The Nobel Prize exhibition showcases the history of the prize and its recipients over the year – the notable ones that we read in the encyclopedias when we were young (Marie Curie, Guglielmo Marconi…), and the relatively less heard or more recent ones (Francis Crick, Sydney Brenner…). I came to admire the vision of Mr Nobel, who included literature and economics as two of the fields to be awarded along side physics, chemistry, medicine and peace-making. Scrolling through the interactive monitor, I also marvelled at how people dedicated their lifetime for a cause, something that has brought significant impact to the world.

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The 4-page (real?) Alfred Nobel’s will on display. Standing in front of it, I was overwhelmed with a moment of immediate reverence.

 

Coincidentally, Collider seemed to be like the extension of the Nobel one, as it starts by showing the big figures of the modern physics like Niels Bohr and Schroedinger… (who also received a Nobel Prize each). To put the collider in my own inept words: it is a ring-shaped tunnel in which electrons are accelerated to a very high speed and by doing that, more sub-atomic particles are generated, and then examined. This project has led to the confirmation of the existence of Higgs bosons, or what commonly dubbed by the popular media as ‘the God Particles’ and are believed to be the particles which give mass to matter.

Unlike the first two exhibitions, Collider gives a more toned-down display, purposefully giving a sense of being in its lab in Geneva to the audience. The passageway is recreated like that of the corridor of the office. It’s humanizing one of the massive, pivotal projects in the human history.

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Interesting trivia facts found in the notice board of the ‘office’:)

 

It was indeed a good afternoon at the museum:)

The Wonder of A Tea… and Its Copywriters

A few days ago, as I was waiting for the time to go to sleep after a round of jogging and a dash of shower, I decided to do something that I had not done for a while: sipping a cup of tea. Drinking tea is usually my favorite company when I am rushing work in the middle of the night; it is as if my inner being can find solace when that warm liquid flows into my mouth cavity, throat and my stomach…… hmm… Moreover, what’s good about tea is that it has no calories;) and does not leave your mouth feeling dehydrated. Finishing some work targetted for the day and setting my mood to retire to bed, I rummaged my stash of teabags and found Gryphon Tea Company tea bags that were given as teachers’ day souvenir last year.

This year’s teachers’ day was around the corner, so I was amazed for a split of second that it had been one year since I received them (how time flies!). And for a moment I was wondering if they were still drinkable, then I remembered that tea leaves lasted very long. So I decided to get the ‘Hanami’ one.

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You see, it is quite rare for me to drink such a fancy tea. Usually my daily choices revolve around ice tea without sugar, black tea, oolong tea, Chinese tea, ocha… But what on earth is ‘Hanami’? Apparently, as the packet suggests, it is ‘Japanese sencha (not even sure what ‘sencha’ is) with cherry blossoms…’. I started imagining how it tasted like. I was just hoping that it did not taste strong and ‘spicesy’ (because I can’t really take chai tea). Then I flipped the packaging and read some more…

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Created by our master blenders, this green tea blend celebrates the coming of Spring and the beauty of Japanese Cherry Blossoms.

I was impressed with the sentence. It made me want to try this tea more. How would a tea that ‘celebrates the coming of Spring and the beauty of Japanese Cherry Blossoms’ taste like? And it was created by their ‘master blenders’ ! I imagined a group of taste artisans being involved in the process of mixing tea leaves to get a perfect, unique combination… which now was in my hand.

The taste should not go so wrong, I thought. So I took my chance.

 

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My cup of Hanami tea… with some specks of dust trapped

As I was enjoying my tea, I marvelled at the text on the tea packaging.

Character: Medium bodied. Soft floral notes with a hint of umami on finish.

I didn’t even know what it meant by ‘umami’, but when I swallowed the liquid, it seemed I could instantly understand what it meant. The description was so convincing. Medium bodied… soft… floral smell… umami… I could literally taste all the words in the tea.

I imagined being the copywriter of the sentence, tasting the tea and trying to come up with a description of the taste. I would have probably come up with something far more boring like, “ocha with a tinge of flower smell”. People who wrote these things are really gifted in their area, I thought as I drained my tea.

The package even came with some cakes that are perfect to go along with Hanami tea:

Tea pairing suggestions: perfect with strawberry shortcake, white chocolate desserts, panna cotta.

Too bad I did not have any of those. But then again, if I had, I would have ingested more calories:P

A cup of tea, a blanket and a comic book

 

 

 

A Reflection for The Country

 

Last week my home country celebrated the 70th Independence Day. I could not particularly remember what I did on that day, it was a Monday, the  beginning of the week, and I sluggishly brought my pieces back together to work. In the morning as I was scrolling through the social media absentmindedly, posts of greetings and poems about the Independence Day poured out, wishing the country the best in its effort to progress towards a brighter future.

I sighed at the thoughts, not so much because I do not believe in a brighter future at all, but because of the reality that we are faced with presently: the fact that the 70 years that have passed are not a good enough time to make it a competitive country. This sentiment of mine might have been exacerbated by what I experienced in the country that I am currently residing: Singapore.

The week before, Singapore just celebrated its 50th National day. A special one, the golden jubilee, it was a very, very big deal. The preparation had gone a long way back, and the country had many events in store that led up to the jubilee week: SG50-related exhibitions, The SEA Games, Youth Celebrate, coordinated celebrations in schools… And on the night of the National Day, my relatives and I decided to bring our picnic basket and head to the Marina Bay Financial Center, in the hope of getting a good spot to watch the culminating firework show. The whole celebration was a display, a testimony of how much the country has become, from the little fishing village to a country admired globally. I was stunned, looking at the fireworks shooting in the air, and in my mind I was admiring the significance of that testimony.

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Glorious fireworks…

Of course making a direct comparison between the 2 countries is not very fair. Indonesia is 2600 times bigger in size than Singapore, therefore the technical difficulty in building the former is bigger by many folds. But I think you may agree with me that the smaller country has other qualities that we are lacking e.g. a more transparent public sector,  a heavy emphasis on good quality education…

Now, before anyone accuses me for being whiny and unpatriotic, let me say that my point here is NOT to denigrate my own country. In the contrary, I want to share my pensiveness and invite everyone (wherever you are) to reflect on how much this country has become after all these years, and what we can do (in our capacity) to make it better. Let’s use our talents and do our best in our work.

Here is a comic that I did on this subject (featured in Fillet Minis August issue. To read the whole 4-page mini magazine: http://issuu.com/filletmagz/docs/fillet_minis_aug_2015_issuu).
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Happy 487th Birthday, Jakarta!

Happy Birthday Jakarta!!!
This post will be in Indonesian to commemorate Jakarta’s anniversary.

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Gak terasa Jakarta ude berumur 487 tahun… Tapi di dalam tahun-tahunnya yang panjang aku cuma mengamati perkembangannya di 26 tahun terakhir. Sebelumnya, ya, cuma denger dari buku-buku sejarah apa yang terjadi di kala kota ini masih bernama Sunda Kelapa, terus Batavia, lalu Jayakarta, dan pada akhirnya Jakarta (mestinya bener.. haha).

Sebagai orang yang lahir di Jakarta (nenek juga udah lahir di sini), rasa kepunyaan terasa tinggi walaupun udah beberapa tahun tinggal di luar negeri. Walopun mengalami segala macam penyakitnya (polusi, kotor, ga tertib, MACETTT, ga menentu), toh Jakarta tetep Jakarte kite. Penentu masa depannya adalah, ya, kite-kite ini hehehe.

Aku percaya perubahan dapat diawali dengan sebuah harapan. Harapan membangkitkan rasa optimisme, rasa mencintai, rasa peduli, yang setidaknya bisa memercik sebuat api permulaan sebuah tindakan. Untuk itu aku bekerjasama dengan Koci Academy (sebuah anak organisasi Koko Cici Jakarta yang baru diluncurkan bertepatan dengan HUT Jakarta 487) mau mengajak teman-teman untuk menulis your birthday wishes for Jakarta di twitter dengan hashtag #kociacademyJKT487 atau langsung mengisinya di website http://www.kociacademy.com/wishes-for-jakarta.

Aku mau menutup post ini dengan sebuah pantun…

Eh ujan gerimis aje
Ikan teri diasinin
Eh jangan ngelamun aje
Birthday wishes ayok ditulisin…

Sekian.

Foooddd I ate

Hellow!

It has been a while since I am back from holidays in Indo, but I ‘m sure it’s not too late to share with you what I ate back at home. I am not a regular food-photo sharer,  but when I see an array of mouth-watering dishes on the table, I said to myself, I could not let them disappear without being documented.

I know many people like to document their gastronomical experiences in photographs that adorn the nooks and crannies of the Instagram world, but what you are about to see is a bit  different because, firstly, there will be no filter, no special lighting, nor effects done on the photos. Everything is au naturel, true to the time and place at which one particular shot was taken (what a way to justify poor photo-taking skills haha). Secondly, some of the food was home-cooked, so the palate presentation might not be top-notched. The taste, however, was a totally different matter.

So here’s the first one:

Mie Kangkung

Mie Kangkung

Yes, this is supposed to be a noodle with kangkung and some minced meat, sprinkled with fried onion (I just realized there isn’t any of the vegetable seen in the bowl). May be it was hidden below the noodle, I can’t remember. The soup was very tasty and rich with flavor. The white krupuk that absorbed some of the soup and became half soggy was perfect to accompany the main dish (krupuk makes a good accompaniment to almost all food). This was cooked by the chef at home who I call Ma’e. I did not ask for her permission to post her photo here but I’m sure she wouldn’t mind :p By the way the mie kangkung was her first attempt of making that, and the taste surpassed many other mie kangkungs around. Thumbs up!

Ma'e the wonderful cook

Ma’e the chef caught in action

Next we have:

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Locupan

I am not really sure how to spell the name of this type of rice-flour noodle (as it is a Chinese or a dialect term), but we phonetically call it as ‘locupan’. It is like noodle with a more slimy and chewy texture and is usually cooked the way people do with other types of noodle. So the one I ate was done like mie ayam (chicken noodle). The locupan was topped by tasty minced chicken meat and served with generous boiled cut vegetable. My grandmother made this one. She is a master chef: her culinary skills are honed through years of experience and equipped with acute tasting sense (my words can’t possibly do justice to her cooking expertise).

Next.

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1. White rice 2. Soto Betawi 3. Emping with sweet soy sauce 4. Sambal

Soto betawi is a type of gravy with coconut milk and beef. This is a really tasty dish, the one that can add to your cholesterol level but you can’t help but to drink the soup to the last sip. Some lime juice squeezed into the soup makes the soup a bit sour and serves to heighten appetite. Soto is not complete without the presence of emping (a kind of chips made of melinjo nuts). My family has a soft spot for this chip, and we always eat it with sweet soya sauce. And not to forget, the must-have red sambal. The dinner left my tongue dancing in ecstasy. This was cooked by Ma’e too.

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Siomay

As you might have known, siomay is usually items made of fish cake, eaten with peanut sauce. This was the siomay that I bought from a regular siomay peddler around my grandma’s house area. The ingredients seen here are: 1. White tofu, 2. Fish cake, I guess, 3. Bittergourd, 4. Pig skin (this item is rather unusual), 5. Potato, 6. The  thick, luscious, nutty, peanut sauce combined with (again) sweet soya sauce. Yum.

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So this is another set of dishes we ate for lunch. A simple one, but really delicious too. 1. Sayur asem (literally translated to ‘sour vegetable’). Perhaps it is like the Indonesian version of tom yum, except that it can be made not spicy. 2. Tempe goreng (fried tempe). Tempe is fermented soya bean cake and fried tempe goes along well with sayur asem and fried chicken. 3. Stir-fried vegetable. 4. Stir-fried Taiwanese sausage. 5. Omelette. 6. Left-over spaghetti sauce:D

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This is a closer look of the sayur asem. The essential ingredients are corn, long beans, ground nuts, jackfruit, squash. Slurpy.

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Heart-shaped dong zhi

I also had some cultural exposure with mum by having a session of making these glutinuous rice balls for winter solstice festival that fell on 21 Dec. I tried to be creative by making other shapes:)

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Ta-da

Some colourings were added into the dough and the balls were then boiled in sweet broth. Making this turned out to be pretty easy, even for a cooking noob like me.

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‘Over Size Chocolate Chip’

I didn’t bake this but I found it in one of the Christmas goodie bags my family received. The cookie was oversized, just as the title, an was the biggest cookie I’d ever laid my hand on. It was bigger than a regular Subway cookie, but it was harder than that. I ate most of it ha ha…

One day, I went with two of my old friends for lunch at a French restaurant called Cacaote that is located in South Jakarta. After having a hard time deciding what to eat (because almost everything looked good – and expensive lol). I ordered lobster risotto and when it came what struck me first was the seemingly small portion of the food (I eat quite a lot). But we concluded that was because the plate was too gigantic because at the end of lunch we were quite full and did not venture for the French desserts that they had there (eclairs, macarons and whatnots).

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Cacaote’s Lobster Risotto with passion fruit tea

The risotto was delicious, but some parts of the burnt lobster got stuck to the sticky rice, and it was hard to separate them from the rice. The passion fruit tea was good and refreshing. My friend ordered chicken tequila and ended up drunk (haha jk!). The other had duck confit (I ‘m not sure what is that).

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Another lunch. 1. Papaya leaves cooked with anchovies. 2. Cut up potatoes cooked with sweet soya sauce. 3. Fried tofu. 4. Fried dory fish. This time round everything looked rather dry, as the papaya leave did not have any soup in it. But I don’t mind my food being dry.

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This photo was taken at Piscator, a restaurant with seafood buffet. I went there with my family for a new year lunch, and there was a wide range of food served there. They had a seafood station where we could pick we would like to eat and gave it to the staff to either grill, stir-fry, or make soup. The photo above is the example of that. There were 1. Beef. 2. Prawns. 3. Oyster satay (?). 4. Fish, I guess. 5. A variety of clams. 6. Yoghurt.  At the other end of the restaurant there was a station with an array of sushis, sashimis and already cooked dishes that we could help ourselves to while our orders were being processed. The desserts were nice too as they had waffles and ice cream, and (of course) yoghurt, among many other.
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No, I didn’t buy this sugar, but I included it here as it is interesting and got me into thinking, what did the sugar company expect when they put that cartoon icon on its packaging? Are they targeting a new generation of young moms who will buy this brand just because of the character? By the way the price of this is almost the same as the sugar sold in dull, boring packaging. Seriously, Hello Kitty has invaded every aspect of our lives.

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So we went to another mall on another day and my mom caught a glimpse of a restaurant called ‘Miitem’ (literally means black noodle) which sells black noodle (duh) which is made of noodle dough mixed with squid ink. According to her, she saw this unusual delicacy reviewed in one of TV programs and from then on was interested to try (it was just she did not know where to find it). So when she saw this restaurant, she became very excited and made a decisive call to eat dinner there. Number 1 is black aglio olio and I ate that, it was quite good. 2. Fried black noodle. 3. Black cwie mie (something like chicken noodle). 4. It was just the chicken soup that came with the cwie mie, served in a cup. 5. Black ifu mie (crispy noodle). Overall it was quite good, though I guess we preferred eating them with the original type of noodles they were supposed to be. So my mum curiosity has been satisfied since then.

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Fried Dory Fish with Salted Egg Paste

So my sister has had a new found hobby of cooking, especially after she moved out of the house and had her own kitchen. So one day when she was back at home, she brought ingredients along with her to cook fried dory fish with salted egg paste. The photo above is the result of what she thought as a rather failed experiment. However, we, as the consumers, enjoyed it very well 🙂

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A Cute Ladybird Spongecake

I have to admit that I bought this cake on an impulse because of its cute look (They also had polka dot pattern which I firstly took because I thought ladybird was too childish for me. But my mum advised me to take the ladybird one as she knew that I would like that more). But we were shopping at this famous bakery in Bandung when I saw this so I was not so worried about the taste, it had to be good.  What’s so good about it? When I opened the packaging as we got hungry on our journey back to Jakarta, the sweet smell of the sponge cake escaped and teases our nose. The texture was soft, and there was something different about this cake from the normal sponge cake: it had a vanilla filling in the centre…  I’ve gotta buy some ladybirds again if I go back there.

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This is the last photo of food that I have here. 1. Taiwanese sausage. 2. Tofu and potato cooked in I don’t know how to describe. 3. Stir-fried cabbage. 4. Green chili. 5. Siewmay and all that sorts. 6. Salted fish. Again, very appetising and good.

So that’s all for the food for now (I am getting tired and running out of descriptive words to write). And I hope by doing this I could do my part to promote local dishes, and show appreciation for people who have cooked them:) Ciao.