Racial Harmony Week

21 July was Racial Harmony Day in Singapore. Set on the Anniversary of the 1964 Racial Riots which claimed the lives of 23 people, it is a day set aside celebrate the rich diversity of cultures that live in harmony today, promote inter-racial understanding, and remember where we came from. 

In commemoration of Racial Harmony Day, I had a self-declared racial harmony week at work, and encouraged my colleagues to be dressed in their ethnic best all week. 

I love how ethnic clothes usually come in brilliant beautiful colors. 

I am thankful for the peaceful diversity we can enjoy in Singapore. Beyond the pretty clothes, we get to enjoy a huge range of delicious food choices, celebrate each other's special festivals (Hari Raya long weekend!), and form wonderful friendships. All these make our lives so much richer.

May we always remember how far we have come and not take these things for granted. 
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Culinary Adventure In Hanoi

I'm back in the Hanoi summer again. Since i arrived in the evening, i didn't think it was worth a trip for me to head into town for dinner. So doing what every self respecting traveller would do, i walked out of my hotel and found the first local food place with a decent local crowd and no menu. (Plus points for having the owner not speak a word of English) Thankfully, a guy at the next table spoke some english and told me they served duck porridge and that it was good. So he helped me order whatever he was having and left. 5 minutes later, half a boiled duck appeared on my table with a basket of raw greens. My confused face and questions on the whereabouts of my porridge were met with equally confused faces.
So i had half a boiled duck for dinner that cost me about $6+. So much for being adventurous with food options while traveling. I shall have the KFC from across the road tomorrow. 0 comments

Life With the In-Laws


Mr Kwek and I have had the privilege of having our very own Kwek Kampong ever since we got married. And I really enjoy having our own space. So when Mr Kwek suggested we spend a week at the Kwek Parents' Kampong, I was slightly hesitant. But as a dutiful wife, I packed our luggage and embarked on the one week adventure. 

The Kwek parents don't say very much, but I have come to see that their hearts are so big that their love for their children have extended to me as well.

On the first day, they welcomed a slightly sniffing Mr Kwek and I to their home. That evening, Eu Yan Sang made a lot of money as they came home with lots of remedies.

Mom and dad Kwek also made sure they bought us breakfast and dinner everyday. So I was wonderfully fed at the Kwek Parents Kampong. Each morning, I had an apple, a bun and a packet of milo prepared for me to take along to work. And when I got back from work, dinner would be on the table. Such is the earnest and dutiful love of parents. And I was reminded of the verses "what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:9-11 NKJV)

I am thankful for both the Kwek and Gan parents, from whose examples we have learnt to love. But greater still is the love of our Heavenly Father which is freely given to all of us. My prayer is that we will grow in our understanding of His love and to respond in love as well.
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Film

I currently own 3 film toy cameras- 1 holga medium format, 1 holga 35mm and 1 fisheye lomo. Each has it's own endearing quirk. I love using them as you never know how the pics will turn out. And in this age of instant gratification, film cameras keep you guessing until you finish up the roll or film and send them to print. And sometimes, it takes years before I finish a roll of film. *Patience is a virtue*

While sometimes the photos turn out brilliantly, other times, they are a huge disappointment. The roll of film I sent to print recent belonged to the latter category. I had assigned my little brother to use my fisheye during my wedding (almost 2 years ago!), but sadly, there was not enough light and none of the photos could be used. 

On the literal bright side, there were 3 photos in the roll that turned out pretty well. 

At a hipster cafe in Jakarta. I loved that trip even though I was down with food poisoning

Off to see jia jia and kai kai

Meeting junior college friends after many years
A quick tip on using a fisheye, go up close! When I get people to take pictures of my friends and I with my fisheye, they usually don't get close enough, which results in pictures like the above with a whole lot of background and not much of us.

I have filled my fisheye with a new roll of film and I'm excited to head out to take some pics. Anyone up for a photo trip?
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Day 40 and 41: Jubilation

We were jubilant as the final plenary session was called to a close. The long days and endless circular arguments were over. It would soon be time to head home.
My outfit:
Salmon pink cardigan from Giant (who says you can't find nice stuff at such places?)
Grey shift dress from Nex 
Belt came free with a pair of pants
Angeline's outfit: 
Black blazer form Zara
Dress from Primark
Burgundy shoes from New Look

Since it was going to be our last night in Bonn, we decided to treat ourselves to some good food.
The top rated place according to TripAdvisor was fully booked so we chose to dine at Gasthaus Reduttchen. I'm so glad we did.
Upon arriving at the restaurant, I liked it already. It's essentially a little cottage next to a park.
The whole setting was beautiful and charming. Everything from the cushions to the bread basket exuded a homely atmosphere. The service was impeccable too. The waiter recommended that we get the set menu with between 3-6 courses. And he also offered great wine recommendations. The dishes are innovative and I'm told it changes with whatever is seasonal. I chose a lamb dish which was yum. The dessert was a little strange though. The herb sorbet tasted like medicated oil. Lol. 
On the whole, it was a great experience. If you ever are in the Bonn, you should head here for a nice night out. Take the set menu with the wine pairing. Great value for money.
~
I woke up with a great sense of anticipation on Saturday as it was the day we were headin home. All our bags were packed and we were dressed for the long journey back. A taxi ride to Siegburg train station, a train ride to Frankfurt, the a 12 hour flight home.
My outfit:
Tank top from Mauritius
Jeans from Mango
Ombré purple scarf from my mom

Angeline's outfit:
Burgundy cardigan from Uniqlo
Stripey boat neck tee from Zara
Mother's scarf and pants

Bye bye Maritim Hotel. Someone aptly described it as "That 70's Show meets the Soviet era". But I'm grateful that we were staying there as I would have been frozen if we had to make a commute. It's also a very functional hotel with the basics. The best part is I could go up to my room to charge my laptop instead of lugging the charging cables around all day. 

Till we meet again. Auf Wiedersehen.






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Counting Our Blessings

Mr Kwek and I are back from our 1 week of adventures in Ho Chi Minh. Before we left, I was uncertain about the decision to stay in Ho Chi Minh for a whole week. Most of the people I spoke to that have gone there for a holiday told me a weekend was enough. After all, all the main tourist sights were in walking distance of each other and could be covered in a day.

But now that our trip has ended, we are so glad we went for it, 1 week was just enough. And we are thankful for all the blessings that were showered upon us:

1. For journey mercies.
Surviving Saigon traffic is no small feat. We saw a number of motorbike take a tumble in 1 week.
2. For friendships...

 ...to enjoy the journey with...

... to introduce us to their world (you guys went above and beyond hospitality)...
... that transcend borders.

3. For all the sights, sounds, smells and tastes we were able to enjoy.








4. For the person that we can enjoy being with 24/7
Even squeezing oil out of lard is fun when we do it together
Several times during the trip, Mr Kwek and I just stopped and marvelled at how richly blessed we are. It's pretty amazing. And so we praise God from whom all blessings flow :)

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In Search of Deer- Wildpark Venusburg Bonn




Having been to Bonn many times, I am usually at a loss for what to do on our precious 1 day off. 
I've just been going down the list of things to do and places to eat on Tripadvisor.
This time, I chose to check out Wildpark Venusburg, based on the 1 review on tripadvisor that I could read. 
Getting there:
Take bus 603 from Bonn Hbf (the main train station and the centre of Bonn). The journey will take about 40minutes and takes you through the residential outskirts of Bonn. Get off at the last stop which is Waldau. 
What to do: 
If you have young kids, they will probably love this place. There is a huge playground made of wood. We don't get such playgrounds in Singapore any more :( Sorry I didn't take a pic.
I was actually expecting a deer park like the Nara Deer Park in Japan, with the deer roaming free. So upon reaching there, we headed into a wooded trail to look for my deer. So we walked...
And walked....
And walked...
And saw nothing but trees and grass.
A look out point. But we weren't sure what we were looking out at apart from grass
Finally, an old man taking his walk in the park stopped to help us and told us that we were walking in the totally wrong area. 

So learn from my mistake. When you get there, walk straight in, then turn left. Walk past the large play ground, then the wildboar and deer enclosures will be on the right. 

The wildboar enclosure. I was sure glad they weren't free roaming

After wandering in the forest for over an hour, I finally found my deer!

While I was slightly disappointed that the deer were not free roaming, what I really liked about the park was that the enclosures were huge! Which means the deer can run around freely :)
I could not see the end of the deer enclosure
I was really happy to find the deer. It was a really warm day (36 degrees celcius!!) So the large deers with their majestic antlers were hiding in the shade.

After the max zoom on my phone
We were really tired from walking by then, so after gazing at the beautiful animals for awhile, we took a walk back to the bus stop and took a bus back to town.
On the whole, I'd say the Wildpark Venusburg would be worth a visit if you have little kids with you or if you have to be in Bonn over a Sunday when everything in town is closed.
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