Macaroons

macaroons

Almost everyone has at least seen these meringue-based treats, be it in an elegantly wrapped gift box or piled on a plate in a luxuriously decorated room in an advertisement. These little treats have a wide variety of flavours, ranging from the commercial strawberry to a more exotic selection of floral flavours, such as rose and violet.

Macaroons have a generally smooth, waxy feel on the surface of the cookie, but as you bite into it, the thin, hard layer breaks and the texture becomes unexpectedly crumbly. Depending on the flavour, your taste experience will vary, for example, orange blossom has a light and mildly sweet kind of flavour with a gentle floral aftertaste. Chocolate is, of course, sweet, and has rich,velvety cream inside. It has a strong, ‘refined’ chocolate taste unlike the crude commercial chocolate-flavoured cream found in stores which are pasty and artificially flavoured. For the raspberry flavoured one, it has a jam-like filling which is tangy and maybe even a little exotic. It has a sharp, sugary edge which leaves a pleasant aftertaste.

Of course, such classy treats won’t cost cheaply. A single macaroon costs $3.80 at Lauduree, so 10 macaroons cost more than $30! However, despite their petite size and delicate appearances, they actually fill you up pretty well, so it’s worth it!

-Erica Low(2C)

Book Review: “Till We Have Faces’ by C. S. Lewis

download

“…I will write in this book what no one who has happiness would dare to write. I will accuse the gods, especially the god who lives on the Grey Mountain…”

‘Till We Have Faces’ is C. S. Lewis’ last work of fiction.  Set in the imaginary land of Glome in the time of Hellenistic Greece, the story is told from the point of view of Orual, the eldest of the three princesses of that land.

Orual, the eldest, grows to love her youngest sister Psyche even though she is ugly as Psyche is beautiful.  However, this love is a harmful and possessive love that comes near to hate when Psyche becomes the bride of Cupid, the god of love himself.  Orual, embittered, writes “against the gods… as if I [she] were making my complaint… before a judge”, but in the writing she is forced to call up memories long asleep, and relive the events that transpired in her youth, and the scene is set for her transformation.

Love is the central theme of this story. Though it revolves largely around Orual’s relationship with Psyche, also highlighted are her loves for others such as her Greek tutor, known as ‘The Fox’, and Bardia, the commander of her army. Her loves, and the very nature of each relationship, are explored. It is a study of that line when love blurs into hatred and how with our love we may end up destroying the targets of our affection.

Lewis’ engaging prose, along with the intriguing plot, combine to form a story that is beautiful and enthralling.  It is definitely a must-read for everyone and anyone.

-Tang Sze Kay(2D)

Hi everyone! so starting from today, we will be updating the blog with school events that take place in our school. Our writers will be covering several events and we promise it’ll be good. The admin will be posting summarized versions of the events that are covered, so look forward to it!

Favourites

I don’t really listen to much music, although I do have an MP3 app in my phone and I keep a folder of 25 songs that I play most often. I like music that helps me chill so I don’t get too stressed out while completing my homework or doing some hopeless last minute cramming. So, in case you’re interested, here are several songs you can find in my folder!

1.       Lights by Ellie Goulding

Lights is a pretty good song once you have it on repeat and you’re familiar with the     lyrics so you can sing along. I’m no music critic, but what I really like about the song is right at the opening. The echoing sound of bells really gives off this magical feel, like you’re camping in the woods and there are dozens of glowing fireflies hovering in the air above you. It’s cool!

2.       Little Red Riding Hood, covered by Amanda Seyfried

This is actually an old song performed by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs but ever since I heard the one Amanda covered for her movie Red Riding Hood in 2011, I couldn’t stop listening to it. I like how the song is really simple, with the same few guitar chords on repeat, yet has the ability to draw you in and captivate you. This is also because of how sinister yet mysterious the song is, especially when you combine Amanda’s sweet singing with the song’s dark lyrics.

3.       Little House  by Amanda Seyfried

Here’s more proof of Amanda’s amazing talent for singing. When filming the movie Dear John, Amanda was asked to come up with some chords on the spot for a scene in the film. This explains why, when you decide to check the song out, you’ll find how little sense the lyrics make, because as she had stated in an interview, she simply sang whatever popped into her mind at that moment and wove it into a song. It’s still hard to believe that she managed to fit those lyrics into such a good tune! Here’s an excerpt taken from the chorus:

To light the night

To help us grow

To help us grow

It is not said

I always know

 4.       Starlight by Taylor Swift

A lesser known song from Taylor’s most recent album, Red, Starlight is similar to Lights in that it gives off this enchanted feeling, especially at the chorus. Also, why I really love her songs is because of Taylor’s natural ability to weave song lyrics into stories. Taylor had said Starlight was inspired from a photo she had seen, taken back in the sixties, explaining why this song also has a slightly retro style. Starlight, I feel, is a pretty new approach Taylor has taken to her music because of how catchy and dreamy the song is. It makes you want to travel back in time, put on some fancy clothing and start dancing.

-Hannah Chua(2D)

Instant Noodles

    Think about those cold rainy days when you are stuck at home with nothing to do. You’re getting bored and hungry so you pick a good book and start rummaging in the depths of the kitchen cupboard for something delectable. Then you found it.

Instant noodles were first marketed on August 25, 1958 by Nissin under the brand of Chikin Ramen. The inventor of this wonderful delicacy, Taiwan-born Momofuku Ando, developed the technique of flash frying the noodles after they have been made. Thus, creating “instant” noodles. The dried noodles gave them a longer shelf life. Initially, instant noodles were considered a novelty and luxury, they were priced six times higher than typically sold fresh noodles. Despite this, instant noodles gained immense popularity.

In 1971, Nissin introduced the Cup Noodles, instant noodles in a waterproof polystyrene cup, to which boiling water is added to cook the noodles. A further innovation added dried vegetables to the cup, creating a complete instant soup dish. Instant noodles are an all time favourite because of how easy and convenient they are to prepare. However, when they come out piping hot and aromatic, you cannot resist the temptation of slurping up the springy noodles and downing the salty broth.

According to a Japanese poll in the year 2000, “the Japanese believe that their best invention of the twentieth century was instant noodles.” As of 2010, approximately 95 billion servings of instant noodles are eaten worldwide every year. China consumes 42 billion packages of instant noodles per year – 44% of world consumption – Indonesia, 14 billion; Japan, 5.3 billion, Vietnam 4.8 billion, USA 4 billion.

Here is a list of the top ten instant noodles of all time:

1.Mama Shrimp Creamy Tom Yum Flavour Oriental Style Instant Noodles – Thailand

2.Paldo Kokomen Spicy Chicken Flavour – South Korea

3.Nongshim Shin Ramyun Black Premium Noodle Soup – United States

4.Sapporo Ichiban Chow Mein – United States

5.Myojo Ippeichan Yakisoba Japanese Style Noodles – Japan

6.Indomie Curly Noodle With Grilled Chicken Flavour Special Quality Instant Noodles – Indonesia

7.Nongshim Jinjja Jinjja Flamin’ Hot & Nutty Noodle Soup – United States

8.Indomie Mi Instan Mi Goreng Rendang – Indonesia

9.Prima Taste Singapore Curry La Mian – Singapore

10.Prima Taste Singapore Laksa La Mian – Singapore

 

Nothing beats you snuggling under the covers with a good book and a steaming bowl of instant noodles on a cold rainy day. Instant noodles has come a long way from being a simple convenient meal made for the poor to a worldwide delicacy. Many consider instant noodles a guilty pleasure, some treat it like fast good food. However, now that I know about its history and story, I consider it an invention to make life simpler. How about you?

-Sarah Lam(1P)

Freedom

“Get me ten sacks of rice, seven sacks of tapioca and tomato. Get it done by tonight, or else…” he ordered them with a smirk. Lisa shuddered at the thought of it. He left, proud and mighty. Them? They were simply treated like dirt, trampled on, tortured. Life was hell for them. The rich live in those mansion and the poorer lived in shambles with their tiny huts almost bare. All they wanted was freedom. Just because they have money, we are the servants. Lisa felt indignant for all of them. She questioned her grandfather and parents numerous times, but they would only shake their head, claiming, “It is not only now that we are slaves. This had been going on for many years, during our ancestors time.” They always glance around before telling her anything, for fear that even walls have ears and may just pounce up on them anytime, devouring us.

This time, Lisa was determined to get an answer. One that is clearer. Ten-year-old Lisa knows not much about this world, but it is her right to know. She asked, “Why, why do we have to do this? They are so unreasonable. Their demands just get more and more everyday. Why do we have to suffer under their rule? Why can’t we have our country back?”

It seems as they could see her grave look and knew that they needed to tell her the whole cruelty of the situation. Although they try not to show it, Lisa could sense that they were worrying a lot, at the same time trying not to let her join their suffering too much. When will this place get brighter?

“Well, hundreds of years ago, these people already had more power and wealth, they colonised our country, poor and weak at that time. Since then, we had to be slaves for them. Many had tried to escape, but only a few succeeded, but those who escaped were either caught again or starve. It seems now that the best ideal way is to do their bidding, and always hope that we can at least survive in this harsh place. If we don’t,” Grandfather paused, “You will suffer even more. There have been stories of people who went, but never came back. Your uncle was one of them.” Expressing misery and grief on his face, Lisa decided not to probe any further. All Lisa knew was that they needed to get the job done, or not it will be “doom”.

Lisa sighed. She added in a small whisper, “Grandpa, what should we do? We won’t be able to get so much food in such a short time.” Lisa shuddered. Her parents, though remained focus, but too were anxious.

“Do we steal?” Lisa meekly asked. This was their last hope but her parents were firm on not stealing. Even if they were desperate, stealing was definitely out of the question.

“Lisa, we hope you youngsters will be able to free us one day, and bring light to this dark place. Even plants cannot survive without light, neither can we.” Father gave her a reassuring look.

To solve the current problem, everybody put their heads together. It was going to be a tough thing to get so much food supplies when they could not even barely feed themselves. Just then, Lisa thought of a plan that could be used. That was to sew the sacks thicker and more layers, creating lesser spaces, resulting to be able to put in lesser food. It was surely an idea, but the question was, would it work? Those rich people are definitely not fools.

“Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!” They heard people shouting outside. It seemed to be the entire village! We looked through the dusty, dingy and broken window. The people have gathered and they were all raising their hands up high, shouting. Lisa could clearly see that the people were holding knives, stones, rotten food and whatever they could find.

“We had enough of this!” They shouted coordinately. Lisa and her family decided to join the mob. So Lisa murmured to herself, “I see. People can’t take it anymore. People are finally voicing out. People are expressing their anger, what they want —– freedom.”

It became apparent that the mob was headed for the white mansion afar. They looked up, the dark clouds still covering the sky. The sky that they never go to see. Upon reaching the mansion, the general came out snobbishly, chiding at us. “Well, what made you dogs to come scampering and barking here? You should know what I would do with you all.”

That only made everyone resent him more. Now that there was no more fear, their minds were clear, they were going to fight, fight for what they want and not to be weak anymore.

The people started hurling whatever they had at him. The soldiers came rushing out. With mob psychology, they started picking up rocks and stones from the ground and began tossing. Soon, it was a shower of not only weapons, but all their hatred and anger, trying to bury them.

Before any of the soldiers could do anything, one of the stone went smacked right in the middle of his forehead, the crow let out a roar. Another stone hit him, making him collapsed onto the ground. Even the soldiers had to retreat and take cover. One of the soldiers went forward and put his fingers under the General’s nose.

“Retreat! Retreat!” He yelled at the top of his voice. The crowd started chunking with all their might again. They were finally out of their land. Everyone let out a roar, not able to contain their happiness. The fact that hunger had pursued them relentlessly for years, now they could grow and eat their own food. They got back what was rightfully theirs. Some of them looked at the white mansion and grinned. Some looked up and saw the grey clouds dissipating. They were free. They could finally see the clear blue sky. The people’s hearts were no longer filled with trepidation.

“Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!” The mob let out incessant roars, this time not of suffering but content. “Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!”

 -June Tan(1J)

Tired of Giving In-Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks

‘People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, …No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in’.

This inspirational quote was said by none other than Rosa Parks, an African-American civil rights activist, who was hailed as “the first lady of civil rights” and “mother of the freedom movement” by the United States Congress.

December 1st, 1955, was just a normal working day for her. As she was taking a bus on her way home, she was ordered that she give up her seat in the ‘coloured section’ to a white man, as the ‘white section’ was already filled. Rosa felt that she didn’t deserve such treatment, and refused to obey the bus driver. This was, in Alabama, viewed as a violation of segregation laws. The bus driver called the police when Rosa refused to comply and shortly after, she was arrested. Edgar Nixon, the President of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) and Rosa’s friend, Clifford Durr, bailed her out of jail the following evening.

This experience caused Rosa “to know, once and for all what rights I had as a human being and a citizen”. After her arrest, she became an icon of the Civil Rights Movement but suffered many hardships. In 1965, John Conyers, an African-American U.S. Representative, hired her as a secretary and receptionist for his office in Detroit. She held this position until her retirement in 1988.

During the 1970s, Rosa suffered many personal losses. Rosa, a widow and without any immediate family, rededicated herself to the Civil Rights Movement. She co-founded the Rosa L. Parks Scholarship Foundation and the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-development. She also published many autobiographies which led her to her decision not to give up her seat on that fateful day.

This inspirational story of Rosa Parks has indeed made a huge impression on me. Even though this story is not set in Singapore, it does not mean that there will never be such cases of racism among Singaporeans. Racial harmony is something we can never take for granted, especially in the multi-racial society of Singapore.

All races are equal. We should always respect different races, not judge anyone purely based on appearance and become prejudiced against them.

With reference to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_Parks

Soh Wen Shuen(1W)

The Fault in Our Stars

The_Fault_in_Our_Stars

‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in the stars but in ourselves that we are underlings’.

The Fault in Our Stars is yet another successful, heart moving novel written by the famous author, John Green. This book surrounds the life of a sixteen year old cancer patient, Hazel Grace. Hazel Grace finished high school early and had just begun pursuing her college education when she was forced by her parents to attend a support group for children living with cancer. Much to her surprise however, she meets someone who turns her life around, giving her the motivation to change her negative mindset of life. Prince charming, Augustus, brings joy and love to Hazel Grace’s life, brightening both their lives. Even though Augustus himself is battling sickness, he ignores the gnawing feeling and continues to fight for Hazel Grace. The two young lovers battle on, spending what’s left of their time together, making every second count. But how much longer do they have? Journey on together with Hazel Grace and Augustus as they fight desperately to make every moment spent together something worth remembering.

Vanessa Loh (2C)

Escape

She was a pitiable sight: with tears flowing down her sullen and gaunt cheeks from her two waterfalls which seemed to have an unceasing supply of tears.  Her salty tears mixing with mucus, she had no other option but to lie on the cold and barren street in the desolate and dark night.  She anticipated fervently for a passer-by to help her, or maybe he would let her back to the house again.

She knew that she was defeated by him.

He was her father.

His face often carried that cryptic look, one that made her cringe with fear; one that made her obey his wishes not out of reverence but of submission to his terrorizing character; one that made her feel ashamed in front of her friends.

She wanted to escape, and an overpowering desire engulfed her in agonizing waves as she contemplated the consequences of running away from home.   She thought of running away from home to earn a living and escape from the miserable, depressing and gloomy house.

$500.  That was how much money she had saved to live on.  It was enough to last her for a month, but for a lifetime?

Her chance came at last.

Clutching her bag with her precious $500, she stealthily crept to the door where she gingerly touched the knob to open the door.  She turned the knob a little, and glanced back.  She turned the knob a little bit more, she glanced back again.  She saw the crevice of the door peeping at her, and she glanced furtively around, poking her small head through.  She glanced back at her home, and slipped out of the house in the shadow of the night…

At last, she was safe.

She was free.

Suddenly, the door flung open, a firm slap on her back sent her tumbling down the steps.  In a moment of shock, agony and desperation, she tried to wiggle away from that person’s grab.  Struggling to stand on her own feet, she came face to face with a man.

It was her father.

Oh darn, that was him again, she muttered under her breath.

He ranted and raved madly in front of her, his eye were bloodshot, his clothes smelt of beer, his breath was rancid; his voice had a condescending tone.

He then snatched her bag, her only means of survival, away from her.  He retreated back to the house and slammed the door so hard that the ground she was on trembled like a leaf.

She realised to herself that he had not dragged her back to the house, like the many attempts she had tried but to no avail.

She looked around the empty street.  She wished she could escape.  She was afraid of him, coming back to search for her.  Yet, she wanted to run away.

What could she do with no money or even a scrap of bread to survive the long and arduous journey in eking out a living?

How can I survive? thought the forlorn girl.

Yet, with nothing in her hands or her pocket, she walked briskly away from the house.

Yes, she had escaped.

Brenda Khoo(3G)

Pink Dot 2013

pink dot

Don’t we repeat ‘to build a democratic society, based on justice and equality’  in our pledge? Don’t we repeat it from a young age to ensure we remember it, to hold fast to it, because we supposedly believe in it? Then if this society is based on equality, why are some denied their right to love? Why are some prejudiced against? Why are some discriminated against, the subject of hate speeches and bigotry, just because they have a different sexuality?

June 29, 2013. Pink Dot was held at Hong Lim Park. Pink Dot is a non-profit movement where the participants care deeply about the place that LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Singaporeans call home. It is a group for everyone, straight and gay, who support the belief that everyone deserves the freedom to love. Pink is the color of our ICs. It is also the color when you mix red and white – the colors of our national flag. Pink Dot stands for an open, inclusive society within our Red Dot, where sexual orientation represents a feature, not a barrier.

In 2009, the first Pink Dot was held. 2,500 people attended this event. Now in its fifth year, Pink Dot 2013 attracted a grand total of 21,000 people. That’s an increase of 740%, in just 5 years.

Actress Michelle Chia says that some people disagreed with her being an ambassador of Pink Dot 2013, “But to my surprise, I had some negative feedback and criticisms. They say I am a bad role model. Some people even asked if this will affect my business. Why would it? Aren’t we all the same? We have parents, siblings, friends. We study hard, work hard and meet people. And we fall in love! Which is a beautiful thing.

Accepting someone with a different sexual orientation or gender identity does not make me a bad role model. I am taught not to judge, to be kind to another, and not to think that I am better than anybody else. Being a straight person does not make us any better or more successful. It does not give us the right to discriminate!

Singapore is progressive and forward-thinking in so many ways. We should not be held back by prejudice and ignorance. All of us should open our hearts and learn to understand. We all want to be who we want to be, and love who we want to love! And that includes our LGBT friends.

Let’s love and not hate!”

Some people believe that only LGBT individuals will support LGBT equality. It is because of this mind-set that many people remain passive, that they rather not show outright support for LGBT equality in fear of being labelled. But it is because of this fear that progress is hindered, that many LGBT teenagers today struggle with self-acceptance, with coming out, because they feel alone, because they fear being the subject of scorn. Tell me, do animal rights activists have to be animals?

More and more people are joining the fight to chip away the stone walls of prejudice, yet it will need more people and time. When will these walls finally crumble?

Sources:

http://pinkdot.sg/category/pink-dot-2013/

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/record-breaking-attendance-at-pink-dot-2013-122827640.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Singapore

Mavis Tan(3H)