The Istana

It’s open house time!

It’s been around 13 years since I went to the Istana. I remember posting about it on national day in 2010.

And this year, 2023, I went to the Istana once more during their open house!

For those who don’t know, it’s free for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents.

For tourists and others, it’s $2. Unlike 13 years ago, everything has to be paid via qrcode so you should have paylah/now or its equivalent ready. Ticket proceeds go to charity.

Do also note what you can or cannot bring into the Istana grounds, there are rules on their website and you can also take note on the dates they’ll have it.

Entrance also depends on the weather and if it is too bad, you won’t get in since it IS a large space and the probability of being struck by lightning is high during a storm.

Continue reading The Istana

First Hijabi Pro-Wrestler in Singapore

I’m not the first female Singaporean pro-wrestler, that’s definitely Alexis Lee.

I’m not the first hijabi pro-wrestler, that’s very much Nor ‘Phoenix’ Diana.

But I’m very certain I’m the first Singaporean hijabi pro-wrestler.

Sarah is blocking flames with her buckler and holding a sword
Photo by Mezame

So hi, if you haven’t known me yet. It’s me, Sarah. And I’m very sure you might have a mutual who knows me if you don’t know me yet especially if you live in Singapore because we’re indeed a small country.

Note: This post is pretty long so I’ll break it up in a few sections

  • The First Appearance
  • The Second Appearance
  • The ‘Last’ Appearance
  • Behind the Outfit
  • What’s Next for Sarah in Wrestling?
Continue reading First Hijabi Pro-Wrestler in Singapore

Finding Me

All this talk about finding another twitter equivalent such as Mastodon (I don’t know what that is), or going back to Tumblr (I know what that is) and retreating to even Facebook or instagram after that person bought over twitter made me go huh.

For now twitter’s the easiest to shout into the void. But because of that, well, let’s not get into it right now because of why people want to leave it, there’s plenty of articles out there talking about it. If you don’t know, that’s ok.

This is about finding me.

I’m not ‘leaving’ its platform yet but I want you to know there’s a reason why I kept the same online name although at times, I might cringe because it sounds pretty chuuni when stated out loud. (Short version: It’s based on an original character.)

It’s obviously not my real name but it’s something I’ve stuck to. I’ve see the cycles of the internet to know that not everything is forever. We can try to make things last, that’s the dream. (Which is why also decentralized data intrigues me especially E T H but this isn’t that kind of article.)

But nothing is forever when you don’t have control of it. Heck, even if you have control of it, it might not be forever but you’d have that glimpse of a chance of knowing how long it might last.

And that’s why I like to cast something akin to a digital spell. Like faery tales and stories, you have power in a name. And that’s why, I’ve made sure that whatever platform it is, if something happens, you’ll still be able to find me. Like a trail to a lighthouse, you’ll find me since I’ve left the trail for you, if you need to find me.

I know not everyone needs to find me, but. If you need to, the track is there and if you do know me, and are a mutual who wants to find everyone else if anything happens, well.

Start here.

Global Mat Soul Kitchen’s briyani

Disposable box of briyani and pineapple achar
The box of briyani with achar

It was more than a month ago (some time in September 2022) when I saw the notification from Global Mat Soul Kitchen’s instagram that he was opening orders for his “mutton ov doom” aka mutton briyani.

I had followed his account for much longer and since it was the first time in a long while that I finally got that notification, I knew I had to try it.

Were all those articles about his briyani being the best really true? What is all the hype about it? What’s this mysterious briyani?

To get it, you had to follow the exact instructions and be polite about it because hey, this person really did cook food for you if you managed to get an order in time.

What I had to do was message my order, follow said instructions and go to the specified pick up point with my own plastic bag. Remember! Bring your own bags and make it sturdy. There has been a sad tale when one customer’s plastic bag broke and all the beautiful briyani was strewn upon the cement floor.

At this point of blog post, you might ask me was it worth it?

Well, duh. Yes, it is.

But hey, this is a Sarah post, so heck that if you wanted a tl;dr version you’d read other people’s reviews with pictures.

Continue reading Global Mat Soul Kitchen’s briyani

The secret to losing weight (for me)

Before the Circuit Breaker (7 April 2020 to 1 June 2020) , I had been attempting to lose weight cause of the doctor telling me I need to (tl;dr health reasons duh and I know what they are so you don’t have to be all wew you don’t have to bla bla, no. I actually have to).

And I had been trying to do with by ordering those prepackaged meals from specific brands. Mind you, this was cause the area I worked at had such limited food options and they were so carb based. Sometimes I just wanted a nice soup but it isn’t available there.

Anyway, it didn’t exactly work out. I wouldn’t gain but I wouldn’t get a deficit either and sometimes the menu choices are kinda meh too that I wouldn’t finish it all since there might be too much kale.

Then there were the Korean grain-shakes which are delicious and are supposed to be a ‘meal replacement’. That didn’t work out too that it didn’t make me gain and didn’t get me have a deficit but it did taste good so it was still a nice option when there’s still nothing around and that the cost didn’t break the bank.

I’m not going to link you guys the brands since you all need to see what is suited for yourselves anyway and I’m not that sort of influencer.

Alright, so meal plans and meal replacement didn’t work out for me as much as I thought it would be. And you might ask, Sarah did you exercise? Yes, yes I did.

But the thing with both, I just got so meh over the menu after awhile cause it wasn’t what I actually wanted.

Now, you see. This didn’t discourage me cause I was still kind of experimenting. There was a period of time when I had work and I had to run around a lot and I ate kinda… actually it was a sucky menu too because shops closed when I got out of production for the day/night. But woah, it was so effective that I knew that it took that much of exercise of work to do so.

But that was indeed not sustainable.

It was then, that I didn’t do much during Circuit Breaker to go out that I found out the secret.

It was.

Eating the heck I wanted.

I know, what it sounds like. But I don’t want to gorge myself and whatnot. I just want food that I want and apparently on its own, they do not cross that calorie intake and it is so stupiiiid.

All I had to do was not eat what it should be “eaten” but eat what I actually want and that’s it!

And I only knew that during Circuit Breaker cause I had to work from home and I made my menu of food I actually like. Like, miso soup, salmon, salads with nice dressing or chicken and whatnot. And there was no delivery of food back then either because only essential shops were closed.

So I really ate home food and that’s it.

After this so called discovery, I know. It’s kinda duh when you think of it. By the time you read this post, I will do another ‘experiment’.

And that’s eating the heck I want. No deliveries (if I want it, I got to go get it myself). And the intensity of the exercise I did back then but ‘less’ and in a more compact timing form instead of a whole day.

Let’s see if this ‘experiment’ will work. All I got to do is just not forget these rules for me. And we’ll check in back with this in November 2022. Cause that’s when my next checkup will be and I’ll be talking to the doctor to tell her SEE I DID IIIIT.


Just remind me ok?

The Mid SES life

I don’t know if anyone out of the Singapore context would know what “SES” means. It’s an acronym to describe socio-economic status in one of our textbooks here. The short of it, high SES means you’re rich as heck and low SES means you’re on the lower end of it with little income and such. Since we’re here, I might also let you all know high SES also means being atas which is Malay for “on top”.

But you don’t pronounce it in the Malay way to say it is high SES, you got to say it in a faux-English way where it’s “A-tas” for the extraness of it.

Anyway, as per usual, I was looking at instagram, scrolling through, seeing how some ‘influencers/celebs’ post pictures. That and I got ads before I get to watch a youtube video about how you can make ‘money online’ by going to their special webinars and all that.

For some influencer/celebrities especially actors and actresses, I just wonder. How do you make money? I know some of them are thankfully supported by family, work in some business, be a tutor/lecturer, be a real estate agent and whatnot.

No, those are pretty clear cut.

But there’s some that, it just seems that they do party (of course it’s just pictures, so they won’t post about their struggles) but what do they do to get money to party? What do they work as when they’re not on screen?

Then the money making youtube ads. I don’t believe they get money from whatever they’re doing. I’m just wondering do they get enough by making people ‘buy’ into their webinars and all that to create a sustainable life?

What is their actual struggle to make monies? Cause what they post looks just so dangerous to me in their expensive cars (maybe rented for a shoot?), fancy condos and whatnot.

I don’t want to know how you all ‘made it’. I want to know, is it all sustainable and why the heck are you all still trying to sell these investment courses if it works.

Is it to diversify income or something?

Which brings the point of my mid-SES life.

I know I’m not doing my most lowest, I know I’m not doing a high-SES life either. I’m just mid-range average. Maybe even slightly on the lower range of average.

If all these ‘high-SES’ people are diversifying in trying to get as much money from as many places as possible.

Then, am I doing enough?

When considering all the work I do, is that still enough? I don’t know what’s the average of enough at this rate. Cause if so called ‘high-SES’ people are doing so much to just get as much income as possible somehow.

Then, am I doing too little?

Of course I ask what other people’s plans are so here. Let me tell you what I do.

I work, get the income there, save bunch of the monies. And then on the See Pee Eff side, I do invest with it.

But besides that, should I be having more jobs or something? Is there something I am missing because all these people keep trying to gain more somehow?

Ally’s Adventures! Bilingual book series

I was trying to find some Singapore based Malay books for children because I can’t find any at Popular Bookstore. The only things I found were assessment books and no stories in Malay.

My friends instead recommended me to check out Ungu Pen online store.

Basically, there are a number of Malay books for children but Singapore based ones aren’t that many comparatively and there is a difference between Singapore, Malaysia and bahasa Indonesia too in terms of context.

Ally's adventures with Dawn the cat

I bought Ally at Home and some other books (will review that in another post) from Ungu Pen but then I decided to check Poppet World where the Ally series is from to just check out what more is available.

And I got more books and received a sticker sheet and also got a limited edition Ally plushy doll for a child because they can have story time with an actual Ally!!

Ally at Home by Norlin Samat

The Ally’s Adventure series is written by Norlin Samat and it’s a board book style which has a lovely smooth texture where kids can touch and turn too.

Ally is at home today

This is Ally at Home, you can see that it is in both English and Malay. They use simple languages so that your child can read or be read to, to know the story.

Also as you can see, the windows are “HDB” styled, if you live in Singapore, these things will seem more familiar to you.

Ally at the library

In Ally at the Library, it amuses me that Ally is with human children but let’s ignore that because this is a children’s book. I want to see more cat friends though!

And the library does remind you of the ones we have here at the National Library children’s section.

Ally at the zoo

For Ally at the Zoo, if you read this to your children, you can go to our Singapore Zoo and point out the animals or say “Hey, this is where Ally went!”.

I am amused that there are tigers and that Ally is a different kind of adventuring cat.

Join Ally at Poppet World

I won’t spoil the endings or how the story goes for each book but they are fun for you to read out to children in both English and Malay so that they can recognize words and understand them.

At the time of this post, you can join Ally at their facebook page to know if they have online activities or offlline ones too.

Ally's adventures stickers

Since I bought more books at the Poppet World website where they are the publishers, I managed to get a sticker sheet (while stocks last)!

Ally plushie doll

Also the Ally plushy doll is limited edition because of course, they wouldn’t be able to make thousands but just enough so if you want to get an Ally plushy, just get it.

She is really cute and her backpack actually opens and you can put maybe an eraser or something in it.

Anyway, feel free to recommend me Singapore based Malay books for children and young adults too! I feel like there’s too many angsty ones aimed for adults and the fun ones for children, there’s not enough?

A thousand stars

Alleycats had this song called Seribu Bintang and it’s such an iconic song to me.

This song was released in 1999.

I remember the family car was a Mazda. A boxy looking car. I do like boxy looking cars instead of the ’rounded’ corners that cars of today have.

We drove over the highway at night and this song reminds me of the cool night air. Trips to Malaysia, just to visit the kampung and leave ‘quickly’ to get back home before the jams happened. When passports covers to Malaysia was blue because it was a special Malaysia/Singapore passport. You couldn’t use it for international use but you could for going across the causeway.

When karaoke is back, or it survives somehow. I want to sing this in a karaoke room with friends as I put down my glass of honey lemon and dust my fingers off the complimentary spicy chips to grab the microphone.

Do you have a song that takes you back to a year? Also listening to this song, it’s such a tsundere song that fits with a lot of characters that I like in stories.

Translation of Seribu Bintang (A Thousand Stars)

by Alleycats (Malay lyrics by M Nasir)

I want to leave you
So I can understand why I miss you
I want to dive deep into your soul
So I can understand your love for me

I want to hate you
But there is no hatred within me
No matter what you think
I still love you.

I've been living a miserable life for a long time
I have failed in love
And now you appear with a thousand stars
These stars had been hidden from me
These stars were meaningless

If you are willing to touch my heart
I'm always close to you
But don't you dare
To play with my heart

I've been living a miserable life for a long time
I have failed in love
And now you appear with a thousand stars
These stars had been hidden from me
These stars were meaningless

If you are willing to touch my heart
I'm always close to you
But don't you dare
To play with my heart

Don't play with my heart
Don't play with my heart

Disappointment at workplaces

Is it the norm in your workplace to be disappointed? For example, there are so many articles about uplifting people or being disappointed about not getting a raise or whatnot.

This isn’t about that.

How about the disappointment where you expect the mere competence of a fellow colleague or worker but all you get is just subpar work. And the only way to make sure it is done is that you would have to fix it yourself because clearly they cannot do it even with exact instructions to do.

What do you do with the disappointment?

And those who disappoint people, do they even care that they did so?

Or do you change that sort of disappointment to the feeling of expectation instead. Expect that they would fail so you will not be disappointed and be slightly thrilled that they did not make too huge of a mess?

I will not find answers here, of course.

But is it an average thing to be disappointed by work people or that there are places where people actually excel and do competently at their work? And if so, where are they working at?

What sort of jobs are those?

How much disappointment can you take before you take further steps and what steps are those?