Our Last Singapore National Day Reception in Jakarta

President Jokowi and Ibu Iriana are currently in Singapore for the Singapore-Indonesia Leaders’ Retreat held today. 2017 is a particularly significant year for both the Republic of Indonesia (RI) and Singapore (SING) because it marks 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Hence the ingenious tagline RISING50!

On a related note, I can’t believe one year+ has gone by since Singapore National Day Reception 2016. Annual events like this make the passing of time even more salient and remind me that our time in Jakarta is soon coming to an end. *sobs*

At this year’s National Day Reception, we celebrated Singapore turning 52 years as well as RISING50. Pardon the lack of photos, I was too busy helping myself to all the delish local food.

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Singapore food street, Shangri-La Hotel.

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Haji Lane brought to Jakarta.

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Happppppy 52nd Birthday Singapore!!!

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So glad to bump into Mia. What a small world.

The photo booth was really pretty and we couldn’t help hogging it for a while hehe.

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Singapore Embassy in Jakarta housewives.

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Trying to be posh. FAIL.

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Cool attempt. FAIL.

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What would I do without these ladies?! They add so much colour to Jakarta! 🙂 

The 52nd National Day Reception was very special because Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Teo Chee Hean officiated the event. Two days later, DPM Teo also met the Singaporean community living and working in Jakarta at Singapore Community Day.

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Singapore Community Day, Hotel Indonesia Kempinski.

Together with fellow Singaporeans, we sang the National Anthem and recited the Singapore Pledge. Never felt any prouder to call Singapore my home. ❤

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On stage to cut Singapore’s birthday cake.

The Haji lane photo booth found its way from the National Day Reception at Shangri-La Hotel to the Singapore Community Day at Hotel Indonesia Kempinski. And we couldn’t resist taking more photos!

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Just chillin’ at Haji Lane.

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Shiok lah.

One thing I’m really thankful for here in Jakarta is the huge Singaporean community. They’ve provided me a home away from a home. And they’re one of the reasons why I’m going to miss this place so much.

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” 
― Anaïs Nin

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Last Trip of the Year to Singapore: Nowhere Else We’d Rather Be

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Gardens by the Bay, Singapore. HOME TRULY.

And now on to our year end holiday in Singapore, where Agent D and I were like tourists in our homeland.

GOOD OLD FOOD

First thing we did upon touching down was…SATISFY CRAVINGS with oily lardy awesommmme hawker fare. That which never grows old on us.

Our first stop was Chinatown Food Centre where we had char kway teow (ohh the hum), a huge serving of claypot rice originally intended for 4 (complete with lap cheong!), and chwee kueh with loads of chilli.

After a very fulfilling lunch, we walked away the fats to my favourite egg tart store a few streets down – Tong Heng Confectionery. Their diamond egg tarts have a slighly flaky but firm crust with an almost jelly-like, egg-custard filling. Simply dan-talizingly shiok.

Another day, we headed all the way to Little India to have Beach Road Scissor Cut Curry Rice. Do not be fooled by its appearance. Although the rice rice looks unappealingly messy and unsightly – it is absolutely sinfully delicious. A plate of ‘heart attack’.

And no Singapore trip would be complete without my hokkien mee

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Hokkien Mee with plate of greens (meant to offset lard and oil).

This time round, Agent D and I hardly had time to check out cool and exciting new cafes/restaurants. One exception was Hana Japanese Restaurant, which my friends brought me to.

They’re known for their “flying noodles”, in particular the Flying Truffle Somen and the Flying Salted Egg Yolk Udon. You should also try their 4×3 grid box (chef’s selection of 12 small bites) and Matcha-misu dessert (beautifully decorated like a terrarium).

SIGHTSEEING IN OUR HOMELAND

Food aside, Agent D and I probably covered more ‘tourist attractions’ in one week than in half a year when we resided in Singapore.

In between our food hunts, we explored and walked the quaint streets of Chinatown.

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Chinatown, Singapore.

We also spent one lovely evening at Christmas Wonderland in Gardens by the Bay.

I loveeee the gardens. It is a nature park spanning 101 hectares of reclaimed land in central Singapore, adjacent to the Marina Reservoir.

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Gardens by the Bay, Singapore.

Christmas Wonderland has been held in Singapore for three years now (including 2016) and it was our first time visiting this yuletide fair. So glad we made it. 🙂

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Magnificent sculptures of light.

The lights came on at 6.30 p.m. and the entire place became more and more magical as the sun set and the skies darkened.

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Beautiful Singapore.

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Gorgeous luminarie lights.

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Ice Palace.

Ohh and we finally got to visit Adventure Cove Waterpark in Sentosa – an aquatic amusement park with an aquarium, waterslides, a wave pool, tubing, snorkeling, etc.

Agent D and I spent an entire day taking high-speed water slides (screaming our lungs out!), drifting on a lazy river, and bouncing around the wave pool. SUPER FUN!

Didn’t get to take any pictures because we left our phones in the locker. Here are two of my favourite rides (photo credit: RWS Sentosa):

Adventure Cove Waterpark Riptide Rocket

Riptide Rocket – Southeast Asia’s first hydro-magnetic coaster. 

Adventure Cove Waterpark Spiral Washout

Spiral Washout – an oscillating tube ride through a twisting, turning water flume. 

We also did some Christmas shopping at Public Garden Christmas 2016, an annual flea market which runs during the Christmas season.

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Checking out unique jade rings with gemstones.

Public Garden brings together quality brands and independent businesses with unique merchandise. Industries include design, stationery, art, jewellery, apparel, home decor, vintage, beauty, etc.  #supportlocalbrands

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Flowers, anyone?

If you missed Public Garden last December, you can always look forward to the next one this year! 🙂

MEETUPS & CATCH UPS

Around year end, there are more meetups, gatherings, celebrations and potlucks than usual. And we are thankful to be part of some.

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Queky and Charmaine.

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Happy Birthday Aileen and Alice!!

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Agent D’s church homies.

A FLOWERY SWEET SURPRISE

Something to remember this trip by…Agent D surprised me with a bouquet of the prettiest flowers at our GSF +1 gathering.

I asked him why he got me flowers and he replied, “We don’t need a reason to buy you flowers.” Awww, what a keeper. (Actually, he had just spent close to 500 bucks on board games that day…perhaps that was the untold reason heh??!)

Anyhow, the flowers made my day and gave me something to remember this SG trip by. ❤

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Thank you husband! XOXO

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Our flight back to Jakarta was two hours delayed and we boss monster-ed away!

Already missing you, Singapore. Till the next time!

 

Singapore and 3 Fs: Family, Friends & Food

This is a super delayed update on our two weeks in Singapore (late Sept – early October)…but oh well better late than never I guess! For most of the SG visits so far (to settle the house, attend weddings etc), I’ve been going back alone. So it was really nice that this time round, Agent D and I could head back together. 🙂

For this year, we actually made a decision to forgo a long holiday elsewhere and spend more time in Singapore instead. And I’m glad that the ‘sacrifice’ was worth it – we got to satisfy food cravings, spend quality time with family, and catch up with various groups of friends.

Here’s our SG trip summarised in pictures:

1) Family

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them” — Desmond Tutu

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Day out at Sentosa with dad and mom.

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Both our parents! Such a cute picture.

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Tourists at Madame Tussauds wax museum.

Its been a while since I last visited Sentosa Island and it has changed so much! Singapore’s landscape is constantly evolving…after a couple of months away, new buildings seemingly sprout out of nowhere and old buildings are suddenly gone.

2) Friends

“True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island… to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.” — Baltasar Gracian

Agent D was a happy boy because he spent an entire day board gaming with Shane (pretty sure 1 day wasn’t enough actually) — something he was really looking forward to leading up to the trip.

I even indulged him in a game of Eclipse one of the nights, which left me pretty much brain-dead thereafter. #wifeyduties

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Eclipse!

Get–togethers with friends are always great, as usual.

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Half of L Dearest, missing the other 5. When will we ever get full attendance with us in FIVE different countries?! 😦

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Congrats on your lil’ one, Hannah and Fred!

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GSF +1 + unplanned blue coordination.

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Agent D’s church mates.

And more pictures…meeting baby fatty is always a highlight of my trip! Ain’t he so adorable *pinch cheeks*.

3) Food, food, and MORE FOOD

“Eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is of great importance to the morale.” — Elsa Schiaparelli

Singapore’s hawker food is one-of-a-kind and irreplaceable anywhere out of Singapore (at least to me). Usually after landing, the first thing I do is eat a delightful plate of hokkien mee. #comfortfood

Time allowing, I always stop by Melben Seafood for some good crabs.

So happy we finally got to check out the seafood buffet at 10 at Claymore, Pan Pacific Orchard. During my last SG visit, when they were having Oyster Occasions (1 June to 31 July 2016), I called to make a reservation 1 week in advance but they told me they were fully booked EVERY DAY for the next 3 weeks. :/

Oceanic gems aside (fresh lobsters and sashimi included), their other food like the premium New Zealand Grass-Fed Organic Beef and Penang specialties such as Char Kway Teow, Bak Kut Teh with Kurobuta Belly Ribs, Assam Laksa with Barramundi Fillet were good stuff too.

Agent D and I also got to spend time chilling at cafes with a book. Simple pleasures I’m missing now.

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High tea at Saveur.

Korean Bingsu (consisting of ice shavings and various ingredients) is currently all the rage in Singapore. I saw about 10 new Korean Bingsu shops during my short time there. Reminds me of the bubble tea/froyo/salted egg yolk anything craze, which have all more or less died down by now.

I just had to try one…

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Green Tea Bingsu at O’ma Spoon.

Ending off this post with my all-time favourite salmon sashimi bowl from The Sushi Bar.

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Thick, fresh pieces of salmon sashimi. #sogood

OH I WANNA GO BACK TO SINGAPORE SOON AGAIN! ❤ ❤ ❤

 

Singapore National Day Reception in Jakarta at the Shangri-La

Not only are we (Singapore) close neighbours with Indonesia, but our birthdays are also close together. Yesterday, 17th August, Indonesia celebrated her independence of 71 years. Happpppy Birthday Indonesia!!!  Here’s wishing you many years of prosperity ahead! ❤

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At Singapore’s 51st birthday party in Jakarta (oops I was holding the thumbs-up sign the wrong way).

One week earlier, Singapore celebrated her 51st birthday on 9th August. Here in Jakarta, the Singapore National Day Reception was held on 10th August at Shangri-La.

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Invitation to the reception.

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Singapore National Day Reception at Shangri-La.

One night before the big day…

I accompanied Agent D to Shangri-La to see how things were going along. Although we reached the hotel close to midnight, the entire ballroom and foyer area was bustling with activity!

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Setting up the Singapore food street in the foyer area.

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WOAH.

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Testing out the proportion of the photo booth.

The day of the reception itself…

It seemed like magic had happened overnight; the events and decor company did a great job in transforming the ballroom into a lil’ Singapore city.

Here are some pretty pictures of the entire place without any crowd.

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Singapore night skyline as the main backdrop (check out the individually lighted units of the Marina Bay Sands!).

Food is a unifying cultural thread amongst Singaporeans and is pivotal to our national identity. As such, it seemed only natural for the main theme of the reception to be ‘food’.

Singaporean cuisine is diverse and greatly influenced by the cuisines of various ethnic groups, for example, Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Peranakan. At the national day reception, there were live stations featuring food from the above four groups. I almost felt like I was back in Singapore!

Guests were starting to slowly file in around 6.30 p.m. My friends and I decided to take some pictures at the photo booth before it got too crowded.

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SHIOK LAH.

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Celebrating Singapore’s independence with this bunch of weirdos. 🙂

Here are some pictures of the ‘Lau Pa Sat food centre’, which consisted of Singapore food vendors based in Jakarta.

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Earlier in the day at 11 a.m.

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Teeming with people at 7.30 p.m.

Among the food vendors present were Founder Bak Kut TehIsland CreameryBee Cheng HiangTwelve CupcakesYa Kun Kaya Toast, Klaud’s Singapore Soya Delight, and Gryphon Tea Company. Food samples (in generous portions) were given out for guests to try. #SupportSingaporeBrandNames

There was even a Singapore Airlines booth. In celebration of Singapore’s 51st birthday, guests were given a special discount promo code. YAY for cheaper air tickets . I like.

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I was feeling 50% full after sampling all the food in the foyer area. Mental note to self – better reserve some tummy space for the main hotel food.

There was such a wide spread of food. Sadly, I didn’t get to try everything because my stomach had only that much space left. I couldn’t risk my black dress bursting at its seams.

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Dessert table.

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At the Chinatown section. Spot the glorious roast meat?!!

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At the Peranakan section.

I stopped taking pictures thereafter because fooood >>> pictures.

Ended off the night with this bowl of laksa and a cuppa Gryphon tea. Both were pretty good stuff!

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Cravings satisfied.

I left the place a happy girl. 🙂 🙂 🙂

A big thank you to everyone who came to celebrate Singapore’s 51st birthday with us.  See you again next year!!! #loveSG