Kueh Siput

I had always love ‘Kueh Siput’ and it’s a rare found during Hari Raya, at least in Singapore. I remembered hogging the entire bottle at my late grandma’s house during Hari Raya. I love the crunchiness, flavorful spice and aroma.

2 years back, I had a craving for it. I even bought the ‘papan’ thingy to make it look like a ‘siput’, hokay. Previously, Mom used to just cut the dough in stripes and with a scissors, cut into diamond shapes. But I wanted the full pledged original to the T.


It all went well until mom helped fried it. EPIC FAILURE! The dough didn’t hold. I partially blame my mom because she loves to change recipe and asked me to use self-rising flour instead of wheat flour. My mom has this obsession with self-rising flour.

Ever since, I gave up. Until this year, I craved for it again and the fact that my cousin also indirectly asked for it too. For the first try, my sis and I tried it, from the book. It was semi okay but not as flavourful as it was supposed to be.



1 week later, mom tried her ’main campak’ version (which I have been asking from her but she keep insisting that we follow a cook book -_-) and as expected, it turned out yummy although it needed some modifications; add more spices. We were almost there!


Eventually, I got the ‘Kueh Siput’ that I wanted and started with the ‘mass production’. Mind you, even though it was quite easy to make the ‘siput’, it was tedious because of the size and amount but was it worth it? Yes.


Yey! I got my ‘Kueh Siput’ this year! My precious, kueh siput...
*hiss* Kan dah jadi Gollum kan..


   

Our 1st Walkathon - NTUC Walks With U 2013

I have always been interested in those jogging or running marathons, mainly because of their pretty medals if you finish the route; extra points if it’s for a good cause. But a’las, despite yours truly energetic ways, I have weak lungs and stamina.
My best bet would be a walkathon which does not come as often as the more strenuous marathons. I love walking and its part of my exercise regime. I know, very auntie like but who has lost 10kg and maintained in 3 years? Me.
Anyways, I was thrilled when NTUC had organised a 4 km walkathon called “NTUC Walk With Me” at Marina Barrage to Gardens by the Bay (east). What is the cherry on top? NTUC will donate $100 voucher for every registered participate to FairPrice Food Voucher Scheme which provides vouchers for needy families to all 87 constituencies in Singapore.


The walkathon was sponsored by many popular brands like L’Oreal, Pokka, Colgate, Maybelline, Ayam Brand and lots more so you can imagine how heavy our goodie bags were. We also received New Balance Shirts to be worn on event day with bibs.
Before heading to Marina Bay Sands, Jhon and I had mentally prepared for a crowded and stuffy experience but we never fell suffocated at all, kudos to the organising team for that.

There was a carnival with games booths and booths that gave away freebies by our lovely sponsors. After pinning our bibs, submitting our tags for a lucky draw and checking the place out, I attacked the gaming booths. There was no prize for winners but it was fun. There wasn’t much of a queue because majority was busy collecting freebies. Surprisingly, I did very well in most of the games. =P
Then I saw the balloon stall. Okay, I saw the ladies at the balloon stalls first and THEN noticed it was a balloon stall. Mind you, at 29 years old, I still go gaga with balloons and I really tried my best trying to be an adult.





A few minutes later, the walkathon started.
It was a beautiful sight. Despite of the crowd, everyone was enthusiastic with happy faces and in awe with the beautiful slightly hazy sunrise. Even my teddy couldn’t help but absorb the healthy sunrays. (Yes, I succumbed to my inner child and ended up queuing and squealed for a teddy balloon)






It was a crowded start but after 100m, the crowd started to space out so we get to walk at our own comfortable pace. At every few meters, there were entertainers to cheer us on and amuse us.
There were percussionists, mimes, stilt walkers, magicians and more throughout the walk.










The highlight of the walk would be the magic act. I know, as adults, we tend to find it boring because basic ally we know how it is done but I was told, despite that knowledge, when it happens right before your eyes, it will still blow your mind!
There were 2 magicians and 1 was trying to get our attention with little success so I stepped up and said “IMPRESS ME!!” He took up the challenge and it was a simple card trick. Pick a card, any card, look at your card, show to everyone, put it back in, shuffle and ta daa! It’s on top of the deck.
It was not as impressive so he shuffled again and it appeared in his mouth!! I shrieked like a gullible little girl… That sleight of hand was incredible.
After close to 2 hours, we finally reached our finishing point. Although it was a leisurely walk, we felt a good sense of accomplishment. Plus, we met several interesting people along the way. Everyone was friendly and very willing to have their pictures taken by strangers because they were just that good in a mood.







Everyone cooled down, rested and some collected food and drink samples while we wait for the closing ceremony.
There were about 5,000 people in attendance which meant there was $500,000 worth of food vouchers for the needy. Furthermore, NTUC doubled the amount with totalled to $1,000,000. Count that zeros!




We didn’t win the lucky draw though but it was definitely a feel good day despite the haze. We had exercised the good for our body, mind and soul.

I want to go again!
   

Our Road to Learning Islam Pt 1

For a prologue, read my post entitled “Relationships and Religions” which talks about our relationship evolving faith in religion, a brief background about us in terms of faith and how it is an issue.

In sharing our journey, I hope I am able to share, help and enlighten fellow couples in similar situations or merely non-Muslims who have intentions to learn more on Islam in Singapore. Sometimes to attend classes head on, not knowing what to expect can be scary. When I was researching, I wish there are personal experiences shared on this but could not find any.


Anyways, after much deliberation and Jhon’s light studying on Islam, we decided it is time and we were ready to take the big and official step to proceed to religious classes. I went to Darul-Aqram’s website (http://www.darul-arqam.org.sg) and looked up for classes and available time slots. For your info, all courses are free. =)

On 3rd March 2013, Sunday, we went to Darul-Aqram at Geylang and attended their introductory class, Knowing Islam Session (1 day only). It was at 10:00am to 11:30am and a walk-in. By the time we reached there, the small room was half filled with some couples, a family, fellow Muslims who have intentions to revive their knowledge and of course, non-Muslim individuals.

There were late comers and the lecturer that day, Brother Anis tried his very best to squeeze as many people in. He considered upgrading the class but all other rooms were booked because of the ‘Maulid’ (Celebration of our prophet Muhammad PUBH birthday)

There are no written terms of proper attire, but out of respect, and assuming everyone had some knowledge of Muslim attire, please wear appropriately. You don’t have to wear a scarf or Hijab but it is not encouraged to wear clothes that are body hugging, short skirts, sleeveless and revealing outfits. As for men, shirt and jeans/pants will do. They will not shoo you away if you disregard but out of respect, please do. It is a religious class after all.


Knowing Islam Session was basically an introduction, general view of Islam and how it affects our lives. It is a good kick start for attendees who are considering pursuing further. Brother Anis welcomes questions and at the end of the session, course time-table sheets and 4 books were given. The books were: Prophethood, Muslim Beliefs, What Every Christians should know about Islam and The Splendours of Islam.

Jhon and I found the session satisfying and comfortable. Since we had studied Islam at our own time, we had already known what he shared most of the time even so, we found it needful. The four books given were informative and straight to the point.

10th March 2013, Sunday, we attended our first class of Beginners’ Course on Islam 1 (10 classes). There were weekday slots too but we purposefully chose Sunday at 1:30pm to 3:00pm. We had to register and book at http://www.darul-arqam.org.sg and it was very easy.

That day was also the day I wore a Hijab for the first time. Again, it is not a must, but personally, I felt it was more appropriate to do so. I will be wearing it whenever I attend the courses and will I ever wear it permanently? I can’t foretell the future but with God’s will, who knows? I will probably blog on my experience on that separately. You know how much I can blab. =P

Beginners’ Course on Islam 1 was placed in a small auditorium. We saw some familiar faces from the last Knowing Islam Session we attended and new ones, most probably who attended that session in the morning.

Our lecturer was Brother Bani Mohamed. We marked our attendance and were given a book, Essence of Islam which will last us the 10 classes from the course. Just for your info, notebooks were not needed, just bring pen/pencil because the book provided notes section on every page and extra pages after every chapter.

Our first class was pretty alright. It was easy to point out who was dragged to attend and who were eager to learn. Mr Bani was clear and he was long winded for the first 35mins (perhaps we were getting used to his steady pace) but the rest of the class was informative and smooth. 1.5 hours seems short but when we were in the class, in lieu to the subject matter, it was just right.

Our subsequent classes went smoothly and time does pass by quickly as we get used to the lecturer’s pace. Questions were welcomed in very class and I find it nice to see the gradual increase of ladies wearing Hijabs or scarves.

After 2 classes, I can feel the subtle empowering spiritual glow growing within me as for Jhon; his exact words were “I find Islam awesome” Those simple words immediately made me smile.

There was 1 time that our class was cancelled due to some function and the info was SMS-ed to us. So it is important to write down your contact number when you first mark your attendance so you won’t waste time and energy heading to a class that was cancelled. You can also follow Darul-Aqram’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/darularqam.sg) for updates.

There are no tests and exams; just a teacher sharing his knowledge to students. How the students accept the knowledge is between him/her and Allah. But I noticed there are teachers who give quizzes.

What we like about Brother Bani was that he has many wonderful, well fitted stories and examples. That is why Jhon and I were sad when his class was replaced by another ‘Uztad’ for a day. Frankly speaking, we dislike him but apparently everyone was drawn to him. I am going to be blunt here. I find the replacement ‘Uztad’s’ jokes narcissistic, he was rude (suppose to be funny) to a lost and confused grandma and his attempt to be friends or at the same level as us was weak. We can’t take him seriously although he did make some good points during class.

That is just our opinion.

19th May 2013 was our last class for BCS1 and I was very sad. I simply adored Brother Bani’s way of teaching and didn’t want to end. Unfortunately, he does not teach for BCS2 so we can’t continue with him. But he does teach other classes like History of Islam on Monday nights.

Here’s the clincher, the next BCS2 was handled by the ‘Uztad’ that we didn’t like! We were torn between a smooth schedule and 8 weeks of rolling my eyes because of his personality. So we decided to take the later date for BCS2 with Brother Anis, our instructor during Knowing Islam Session.

Our experiences for Beginner’s Class in Islam 2 onwards shall be shared in due course and in a next blog post.

Click here for Our Road to Learning Islam Pt 2


   

Romantic Super Moon Anniversary

For 5 consecutive years, we have always tried to plan something special for our anniversary but this year, we barely had plans. We had rough ideas such as going to Lego Land, Botanical Garden Picnic, couples massage with Swedish dinner but for some apparent reason, the plans where never solidified and the Singapore haze didn’t helped either.

It was last minute and we almost didn’t celebrate our 6th year anniversary but the haze cleared by 2pm so we headed to East Coast Park.


We bought Mutton chop, snacks, drinks and while we were waiting for the food; I read in the net that it was SUPER MOON NIGHT!

Yes! On 23rd June 2013, not only it signifies our long relationship but also happens to be the night when the moon is closest to the earth at a convenient time of 7:35pm. The haze was lifted at that moment so we hoped that it stayed that way so we can see the super moon.





We spent our time, taking random photos, sharing random stories and be a little mushy here and there. It was sweet. In fact, we were so engrossed with each other’s company that we almost forgot that THIS was overlooking us.

The Super moon.
See the scale from the ships below. It's huge!



It was big, beautiful and orangey-red due to the slight hazy sky. Before we knew it, the clouds and haze appeared after 30mins and the moon hid from our gawking eyes.


It was a perfect night with my perfect love. I could not ask for anything more. Don’t you love it when everything falls nicely into place without even trying?