Food Review – Shrove Tuesday’s Rainbow Cheesecake

As a cake lover, I set very high standards for every cake that I come across. I am a person who prefers something that is not too particularly sweet and overpowering so that I would enjoy it to my very last bite and even crave for it when there is nothing left on my plate.

I was first introduced to the Rainbow Cheesecake after a hearty meal at a nearby hawker centre and, if not for my friend’s recommendation, I would never have found a hidden shop round the corner. This shop is none other than Shrove Tuesday. Here is some information about the producers of the cake. A very long time ago, behind the story of this very special day, Shrove Tuesday was a Tuesday for feasting and enjoying together. Being a dessert shop for feasting on the tempting delicacies it has to offer and enjoying them together with friends and family, it is therefore named Shrove Tuesday. Located in a neighbourhood, it is a very small and ordinary shop but it is cosy and ideal for customers to sit down, enjoy a specially prepared cheesecake and have a good long chat with your friends and family members! Located among hawker centres and HDB flats nearby, it might be quite hard to realise its existence, but good food does exist in places we never knew.

It appeared colourful and intriguing to me at first sight. Out of curiosity, my parents and I tried it. It was a rather creative design as the different colours of the cake represented different flavoured parts of the cheesecakes. You start at the tip with red and you get a hint of strawberry inside, it manages to strike a perfect balance between the “cheese” and the strawberry. Both tastes come together just right and one does not overpower the other. The cake is nicely segmented into suitable small parts so that you get the right amount of ‘dosage’ of each different flavour and would definitely never feel sinful after a few bites. Follow the colours of the rainbow and unknowingly, you would step into a different world of flavours overwhelming you each time: orange, lemon, pandan, blueberry, yam and not to miss a layer of vanilla underneath the cake just above the crispy crust. The best part is that none of the flavours taste like sweet, false flavouring. Every colour on the cake blends in together perfectly, connected one after another and the taste creating a perfect combination of all flavours converging in your mouth. Every cake shows the effort taken to craft it, the producers having managed to create such an aesthetically pleasing and delicious masterpiece which definitely has attracted many customers to settle for it.

My advice: savour it from the top to the bottom in every bite, and finish it from the tip to the end. It’s unique, it’s good, and it’s waiting for you!

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Credits:

http://shrovetuesday.sg/

Image credits to Shrove Tuesday’s Instagram: shrovetuesday_sg

Renee Ong
2 Justice
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Movie Reviews

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More than 30 years ago, in 1985, a children’s book called “The Polar Express” was born. Written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg, the book was eventually turned into a movie in 2004. An American computer animated musical fantasy film, the film stars Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye, Jimmy Bennett, and Eddie Deezen, with Tom Hanks in six distinct roles.

Set on Christmas Eve, a boy witnesses a train called the Polar Express that is about to depart for the North Pole. The train is on a trip to the North Pole for Christmas. Finding a ticket for the train in his jacket pocket, he boards the train. On the train, he meets a girl. The girl shows him a boy in the other carriage, and they resolve to help him. As the girl goes into the other carriage, her train ticket flies away and the boy tries to catch it when it is trapped in the carriage doors, but fails, as he watches the ticket fly away to the top of the train. The boy decides to locate the lost ticket and pursues the conductor and the girl. Later on, the boy finds the girl and the train has a little trouble as it meets bad weather and it swerves off the tracks. Thankfully, the train manages to get back in its track and continue the journey. At the North Pole, the three children have an adventure together, and on the way home, Santa gives the boy a bell, that will only sound you “believe”. In the train, the kids request the boy to show the bell, and he is devastated to learn that he has lost it. However, the next morning, the boy’s sister wakes him up to open presents, including the bell he lost. The parents hear nothing, and the boy leaves it on the table. The narrator ends the story by saying the bell only rings for those who truly believe.

A movie that “is now seen by many as a classic” (The Independent, 2011), The Polar Express is overall popular over audiences, with some critics giving it a low rating for the “creepy” look of the characters. In my opinion, this movie is one of my personal favourites, and I would always make it a point to watch this movie the day before Christmas. Contrary to some of the critics’ opinions, I feel that The Polar Express’ computer animation of the humans in the film is highly realistic for the technology of the past. This movie gives me a sense of nostalgia when I watch it, as when I was a child, I used to believe in Santa Claus, but now I do not believe in Santa Claus anymore. I find that the themes of friendship and bravery in the movie are highly important to shape our daily lives as well. I also feel that the story is meaningful and sweet and I would highly recommend it for both children and adults. Be sure to watch it, especially during the Christmas season, where it’ll get you in the Christmas mood really quick!

Germaine Ong (2L)

Headlines : Singapore-born New Zealand teenager has to fulfil national service obligations

Singapore-born New Zealand teenager Brandon Smith will be required to fulfil his national service (NS) obligations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Wednesday (March 2).

“It would not be fair to allow citizens to avoid NS just because they reside overseas.” Jurong GRC MP David Ong had wanted to know if the ministry had entered into discussions with New Zealand on the case of Mr Smith, who holds dual citizenship and had previously stated his desire to seek exemption from NS.

The 19-year-old, whose mother is Singaporean and father a New Zealander, moved to the city of Dunedin at the age of eight. He has had multiple applications to defer his NS call-up until he turns 21 – the age when he can relinquish his Singapore citizenship – rejected.

But MFA has clarified that Mr Smith would still be liable for any breaches of the Enlistment Act, even if he were to apply for renunciation of his Singapore citizenship after attaining the age of majority. Mr Smith faces a fine of up to $10,000 and/or a maximum of three years in prison if he fails to comply.

“While the Singapore Government is responsible for determining their own citizenship policies, I have considerable sympathy for the situation this family has found themselves in,” New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Murray McCully said.

Personally, I feel that it is only right for Mr Smith to fulfil his NS obligations, as a Singaporean even though he has been living in New Zealand since young. Like all other men who are obliged to go for NS, it is only right for him to take up his responsibility and give back to the country as a Singaporean. Furthermore, giving an excuse of ‘residing overseas’ since young does not permit him to avoid NS since he is holding on to Singapore citizenship.

http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/singapore-born-new-zealand-teenager-has-to-fulfil-national-service-obligations-mfa

Rachael Fong (2L)

 

Movie Review: Spirited Away

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For those who have watched and are interested in animation films such as My Neighbour Totoro and Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Spirited Away is a film that I would highly recommend for its beautiful animation and detailed plot line. Released on 20 July 2001, Spirited Away tells the fascinating story of Chihiro Ogino, a ten-year old girl who accidentally enters the spirit world in the midst of moving to a new neighbourhood with her parents. After her parents are transformed into pigs by the witch Yubaba, Chihiro has no choice but to take up a job at Yubaba’s bathhouse in order to find a way to free herself and her parents and return to the human world. The film then recounts many of her bizarre and sometimes touching experiences throughout her ethereal journey in the realm of spirits, including her encounters with frightening spirits, saving her new found friend from the spirit realm as well as reuniting with her own parents. Since its release, Spirited Away has become one of the most successful animation films in Japanese history, grossing about $289 million worldwide and receiving widespread critical acclaim. It even became the highest-grossing film in Japan with a $30.4 billion total, and has won numerous international awards such as the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards and the Golden Bear at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival.

I first watched Spirited Away when I was only 6 years old, but it still remains one of the best films I have ever seen at present. Not only is the animation vivid and elaborately detailed, the characters are also well designed and the plot is humorous yet touching, making the film suitable for both children and young adults to watch. In my opinion, Spirited Away stands out the most from other animation films because of the touch of surrealism and fantasy that the director has skilfully incorporated into the film-watching it makes you feel as though you have been personally transported into the spiritual realm together with the protagonist, experiencing the bizarre encounters that occur in her day-to-day life at the bathhouse. Moreover, the film also successfully achieves a balance between humour and solemnity, allowing viewers to have a good laugh at the humorous scenes while also being touched by certain parts of the film, such as Chihiro’s farewell with her friend Haku and her reunion with her own parents.

Spirited Away is a film that is suitable even for young adults and even people who usually do not watch animation films. I highly recommend those of you who have not watched it yet to check it out and be amazed by the beautiful story of Spirited Away.

References: Wikipedia.org

Calista Lo (4L)

Mean Girls

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“On Wednesdays, we wear pink!”

The story begins when Cady, a homeschooled sixteen-year-old girl, returns to United States with her parents after a research trip in Africa. Cady is enrolled at North Shore High School, where she meets some new classmates, Janis and Damian. They advise her to stay away from the Plastics, the most popular clique led by Regina. However, the Plastics invite Cady to sit with them at lunch one day. Seeing that Cady was starting to get along with them, Janis hatched a plan for revenge, using Cady as the infiltrator. Soon, Cady learns about the Burn Book, a book filled with gossips about everyone in the school, including some teachers, except for the Plastics themselves.

Later, Cady begins to have a crush on Aaron, who she finds out after that is Regina’s ex-boyfriend. The other members of the Plastics tell her that there is an unspoken rule where girls are not allowed to date their friend’s ex-boyfriends, so Cady decides to back off. As time passes, Cady, Janis and Damian succeed in taking their revenge on Regina slowly using different methods to cause her to lose her popularity. However, through that process, Cady gradually turns into ‘a second Regina’, to the point that Janis, Damian and Aaron stopped being friends with her. When Regina finds out about Cady’s betrayal, she wrote something in the Burn Book and spread the contents around the school anonymously, causing chaos and the other members of the Plastics to be in trouble. Cady tries to make amendments with her friends after she realises that she was in the wrong, and felt less guilt after returning to her old personality.

Mean Girls is a teen comedy film which is based on a non-fiction self-help book, Queen Bees and Wannabes. It describes female high school social cliques and what damaging effects they can cause high school girls. This film teaches us that not everything that we think is important during our teen period actually is, like our popularity in school or getting a boyfriend. Because this is a comedy film, it is pretty funny but can get serious in a few seconds, thanks to the actors and actresses’ great acting! I would definitely recommend you to watch this movie.

Jing Rung

2 Diligence

Porn’s Restaurant

I am very sure that many people have not heard of this strangely named Thai restaurant before. The very first thing that would come to mind when we hear the name of this restaurant would be pornography, however, Porn’s is nothing like that.

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Porn’s is an authentic Thai restaurant owned by Singapore Mediacorp Artiste Pornsak Prajakwit and his partner Ex-Mediacorp producer Foo Tuan How. And in fact, the word porn’s, means blessing in Thai.

Booking a reservation in this restaurant is extremely hard, as the restaurant is almost always booked fully. The premises are narrow, with tables spilling out into the corridor along the road. At the indoor seating area, white walls and a glass ceiling lend a clean and airy feel.

Even with a large crowd, all our orders arrive within 20 minutes.

The green curry chicken is a must at any Thai Restaurant. It boasts a thick curry gravy that is a perfect balance of sweet and salty, and an ample portion of chicken slices. However, the curry is not spicy at all, but it is flavoursome enough for one to lap it all up.

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For anyone who loves a good Thai dining experience, the Porn’s restaurant is a must go, and is definitely worth the wait.

Stephanie (3 Unity)

References:  http://www.hungrygowhere.com/singapore/Porn_s_liang_seah_street/

Headlines

Malaria crisis looms as bug mutates. Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female mosquitoes, and in 2015, approximately 3.2 billion people – nearly half of the world’s population – were at risk of malaria. As compared to others, some population groups are at considerably higher risk of contracting malaria, and developing severe disease, than others. These include infants, children under 5 years of age, pregnant women and patients with HIV/AIDS, as well as non-immune migrants, mobile populations and travellers.

Normally, the treatment for malaria is straightforward – it is a drug called artemisinin, which is administered in combination with a partner drug. Artemisinin kills most of the parasites quickly; over a longer period the partner drug gets rid of the virus remaining. This has worked for years, driving down the number of malaria cases. However, in a small rural village situated by the outskirts of Mae Sot, Thailand, two oral doses and one injection of an artemisinin and partner drug combination failed to remove the parasite from the blood of 29-year-old man. According to Dr Aung Pyae Phyo, he had arrived in the morning. “At dinner that evening he was okay,” Dr Aung remembers. “He ate the food. Then just a couple of hours later, he became confused. And then he died.”

With the rise in cases of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue and Zika, the malaria disease has fallen off the media radar in recent years as a life-threatening tropical disease.

In contrast to the increasing number of cases of both the dengue and Zika virus, the number of malaria cases has been on a steady decline. Yet, this diminishing number has in reality been masking the slow build-up of drug resistance, which could kill millions if it gains ground. The dreaded multidrug-resistant parasite is spreading in Myanmar and Cambodia, raising red flags among those in the scientific and medical community working in the field.

At present two drugs are being developed to counter the parasite and SMRU is helping to test them. But the best estimate is that the drugs will be available in four to five years. They could take even longer to be actually deployed and used.

Though the looming emergency is a large cause for alarm, scientists in the field, who are seeing drug resistance building first-hand, are frustrated at the lack of attention to the looming problem. “Here we are on the edge of the cliff, but where is the international outrage, where is the political leadership and dynamism?” said Professor Nick White, 64, chairman of Wellcome Trust’s tropical medicine research programmes in South-east Asia, and a world authority on malaria. “It’s the third time around,” he said, referring to two previous surges of malaria as the parasite developed resistance to earlier drugs. “But I’m not sure we are going to win this one. There isn’t enough political interest.

In addition to this statement, Dr Aung logged into his computer and pulled up the data on the patient who died last November. The lines on the graph showed clearly how the parasite was almost unaffected by the treatment. “If we have more cases like this, we are doomed.”

Though the multi-drug resistant malaria disease has not reached our little red dot yet, it is quickly gaining ground to the neighbouring countries around us. To prevent this virus from ever occurring within Singapore, Singaporeans are encouraged to carry out the 10-minute 5-step Mozzie Wipeout. Though these actions may seem insignificant at present, every action is a blow against the malaria-as well as the other mosquito-borne diseases which pose a threat to our health.

 

Sources:

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/malaria-crisis-looms-as-bug-mutates

http://www.dengue.gov.sg/subject.asp?id=101

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs094/en/

Chloe Wong (2L)

Movie Review- Now You See Me

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“Now You See Me” is a tantalizing film, giving audiences the bright lights and sparkle of a modern magic show in Las Vegas, as well as heated chases through the harsh streets of New Orleans and everything in between. Fast-paced and character-driven with unexpected twists until the last few frames, this thrilling show will keep you at the edge of your seats right from the beginning to the very end.

Acting heavyweights Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine go head-to-head, Freeman playing the role of Thaddeus Bradley, a famed magician debunker and Caine as Arthur Tressler, businessman and magic show sponsor. Mysteriously, successful street magicians from extremely different backgrounds Merritt Osbourne (Woody Harrelson), Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), and Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) are brought together by an outside force to form the magician super-team named the Four Horsemen.

Becoming wildly successful with their daring shows and charismatic public personas, the team rises to public acclaim… but this all comes with a price. Mark Ruffalo, playing Agent Dylan Rhodes with the perfect blend of grit and heart, dedicates all his energies to uncovering the hidden plot behind the increasingly audacious and law-skirting magic tricks of the Four Horsemen. Interpol Agent Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent), assigned to the case with Rhodes, initially throws a wrench in the machine, but then becomes vital to solving the case. With lush cinematography, this movie succeeds in making the audience sympathetic with all the rich characters, blurring the lines between the good guys and bad guys. They satisfy with skilled camera work, perfectly executed patter from the able cast, and efficient pacing.

The film explores complex ideas, such as whether or not it is morally comprehensible to play Robin Hood with someone else’s money, is revenge ever righteous, and the difference between dishonesty and planned illusion for entertainment purposes. The movie also shows how depressingly easy it is to persuade a crowd to give in to mob mentality and cheer on criminal activity, if there they are given the gift of eye candy and emotional thrills. Laden with hidden twists and turns, this film leaves the audience second-guessing their every assumption and expectation.

If you are one who enjoys dazzling magic tricks and spectacular illusions, exciting car chases and intriguing mysteries, then the movie is one for you!

Chloe Wong (2L)

Randy Pausch

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Randy Pausch was an American professor of computer science, and design at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennslyvania.

However, due to pancreatic cancer, he passed away on July 25, 2008.

After learning about his sickness, he decided to give one last lecture as a professor, titled:” the last lecture: really achieving your childhood dreams”. He also co-authored a book titled the last lecture, which addresses the same subject

“The Last Lecture” was held at CMU on September 18, 2007, whereby, before the speech, he received a long standing ovation from 400 colleagues and students.

Pausch had offered people many inspirational life lessons, and accomplished a great many things. I believe, that his efforts to give one last lecture in his remaining time had given many people motivation and helped made the world a slightly better place. The lecture was directed at his “work family”, telling them to go on without him and do great things. I felt that Pausch’s speech also gave people new reason to reconsider their ambitions, and chase their dreams, while at the same time showing us new ways to look at other peoples’ flaws and talents and how to put them to good use.

Just as there are many great people in the world, through his speech, Randy Pausch’s perseverance and unwavering spirit has definitely made him one. He might have lost the battle against cancer, but he had definitely won the battle against the world.

Here is a video showing his speech:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo

 

Stephanie (3 Unity)

 

Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randy_Pausch

Happy Chinese New Year

“Didn’t I already tell you yesterday!” For a 9 year old, Ethan was a feisty one. Out of all of the kids, he loses his temper the easiest. I have to say that I used to be like him. But I eventually learned how to overcome it. I sat him down and told him my story of patience…

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Before stepping in, I glanced in to make sure she was there. She was donned in her red cheongsam and was sitting in the midst of a fully decorated house. I reached in my bag for the mandarin oranges as I clinked open the door. “Happy Chinese New Year, Grandma!” She gently nodded and gave me an ang pow. After thanking her, I told her to go and change up and get ready for bedtime. After she fell into her peaceful sleep, I headed out of her room and proceeded to take out the money from the ang pow and put it back into the piggy bank. I removed all the decorations she put up one by one, trying not to wake her up. Then, I went to the calendar stuck on the wall and crossed out that day’s date – the third of September, as I mumbled under my breath, “Happy Chinese New Year, Grandma…”

Giselle Cho (2F)