Song Fa

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  Many countries are progressing and developing at rapid pace, losing touch of their cultures in the process. Singapore is no exception. From being a fishing village to transforming into a Lion City in only fifty years, Singapore’s development is undeniably rapid. Moreover, with recent surges of tourism, Singapore has been ‘white-washing’, widely altering architecture and attractions to fit the Western taste. Song Fa, however, is a refreshing addition to the streets of Singapore. The restaurant is almost as old as Singapore, and the business started out as a cart selling Bak Kut Teh soup along the historical streets of Johor. 

  Despite being in business for half a century, the restaurant has never failed to recreate its dishes’ homey, authentic taste, unique to olden Singapore. For starters, upon entering the establishment, it feels as if you have stepped into another time period. The decor stays true to its inspiration– a cozy olden-day abode, completed with wallpaper displaying Singapore River, antique China teapots, lanterns strung from the ceiling and polished wooden furniture.

  Of course, nothing goes better with a warm ambience than mouth-watering food. Song Fa serves strictly traditional Chinese delicacies, their signature being Bak Kut Teh. Some other dishes include flavourful salted vegetables, juicy pork belly cubes and crispy dough fritters for dessert.

  Song Fa retains its same old spirit of cooking– using fresh ingredients and old-generation recipes. The food there is relatively affordable too. $10 is sufficient to buy a filling meal, while $6.50 can get you a bowl of their signature peppery soup, which is refillable. Song Fa is a simple yet charming restaurant, and its cooking stays true to its cultural roots. The flavors offered bring forth a sense of nostalgia, and never fails to wrap you in a warm embrace, all the while packing an ethnic punch. The restaurant truly proves that a good eatery need not necessarily be extravagant or ridiculously expensive.


Valerie Tan 

3 Faith

Novena Church (Church of St Alphonsus)

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If you ask a Catholic where the Church of St Alphonsus is, they would probably stumble over their words and the answer you would ultimately get would be a confused shrug of the shoulders. However, both Catholics and Non-Catholics know the existence of Novena Church. The Church of St Alphonsus, more famously known as Novena Church, is located at 300 Thomson Road next to the shopping mall Velocity @ Novena Square. It is maintained by the Redemptorist community in Singapore, a group of people dedicated to preaching the Good News of the Lord to the abandoned.

Novena Church is usually empty, with the exception of a handful of people. However, it gets crowded during mass times, it gets even more crowded during its weekly Saturday ‘Novena’ devotion services, where at least 25,000 people consisting of both Catholics and Non-Catholics gather. In fact, it got so popular that the church had to close a few years back in order to expand as its original structure from the 1950s was having difficulty withstanding the large crowd that gathered for the Saturday ‘Novena’ sessions. It reopened in late 2017 and has attracted even more people with its beautiful architecture. A ‘Novena’ is a series of prayers said 9 consecutive times with the hope that your petition will be answered by God.

A ‘Novena’ is a series of prayers said 9 consecutive times, or more usually over 9 consecutive days in the hope that your petition will be answered by God. The ‘Novena’ devotion sessions are held in honour of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, who is also known as the mother of Jesus, Mother Mary. The reason why these sessions are so popular is because Novena Church is known as a place where miracles happen and a place where petitions are answered. During these Saturday sessions, as many as 800 petitions and thanksgivings are submitted each week, some of which are read out by the priest. Petitioners usually ask for Mother Mary to intercede their prayers to Jesus.

To interest you further, here are a couple of miracles that have happened at Novena Church. An old lady who was losing her sight went for the ‘Novena’ devotion sessions 9 consecutive times. Although she eventually lost her sight, she continued going for the devotion sessions and he sight was finally restored on her 11th session. Going back to a 1990s, a mother and her daughter went for the ‘Novena’ devotion sessions to pray for the daughter’s PSLE. As they were walking into the church, the mother saw the statue of Mother Mary blink at her. Her daughter ended up being one of the top students in the country.

Even if you aren’t a Catholic, you are still welcome to visit the church simply for its beauty. The peace and tranquility of the place makes it the ideal place for one to live in the moment, rest, or bawl your eyes out. While you are at it, feel free to drop by the bookshop and get a souvenir!

Address: 300 Thomson Road, 307653

Rachel Goh

S3 Wisdom




Where to go in Penang for Instagrammable photos

When visiting Penang, many may just look forward to the delectable local cuisine and the cheap souvenirs. But do you know that Penang has plenty of Instagram-worthy places to visit to spice up your Instagram game? Below are some recommended places to visit in Penang for some Instagrammable sights!

1.Love Lane

Love Lane, or Lorong Cinta, is a long alley situated in the heart of George Town. The trail features dozens of wall art by local artists that set the vibe of the overall area–hipster and funky.

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There is no official explanation behind Love Lane’s name and the locals have differing explanations for it. Some believe that it was named after a British officer, named Love, who stayed there during the British colonial period while others think that it was the site of 19th century brothels for sailors and soldiers, thus the name, Love Lane.

2.The Blue Mansion

Located down the road from Love Lane, The Blue Mansion, also known as Cheong Fatt Tze Blue Mansion, is a UNESCO Conservation and Heritage award winning tourist attraction. With its beautifully vibrant blue walls that simply cannot be missed, many visitors the Blue Mansion which was constructed before the end of the 19th Century–even if they do not stay in the hotel.

There are guided mansion tours daily which will provide one with further insight into the story behind the architecture and history of George Town’s first heritage hotel.

penang 8.png3.Hin Bus Depot

An abandoned bus depot of the past, Hin Bus Depot has now evolved to become an inclusive, full-fledged art space with a cafe. Located a stone’s throw away from George Town, Hin Bus Depot was established just four years ago in 2014. The vintage space often holds exhibitions and street art by local and international artists as well as parties, festivals and fashion events.


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The space is like a canvas for young emerging artists from local and around the world with different cultures and backgrounds to share and learn together.

4.Armenian Street

Armenian Street, named after the nation-state of Armenia, was originally part of a Malay settlement but the subsequent influx of Armenians and Chinese helped to shape the street’s colourful and multicultural character.


Aside from the colourful murals, Armenian Street also boasts beautiful lanterns that light up at night, giving off a 60s feel as you stroll alongside the traditional shophouses. A bonus would definitely be the flea market with stores selling a range of items from handmade accessories to street food unique to Penang such as Ice Kachang Ball and Penang Lok Lok.

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Hopefully on your next trip to Penang you can head down to the above locations and check out some of the mentioned locations and snap some insta-worthy shots!

Ang Yen Chi

3 Unity


Photo credits:







Jellyfish Lake

Jellyfish lake

Do you love cute little jellyfish but you are scared of their stings? Don’t worry, there is a place i can recommend that will leave you in awe!

Jellyfish lake is located on Eil Malk island in Palau province of Indonesia. Eil Malk is part of the Rock Islands, a group of small uninhabited islands in Palau’s Southern Lagoon, between Koror and Peleliu. There are about 70 other marine lakes located throughout the Rock Islands. 20 million golden jellyfish migrate horizontally across the lake daily.

Jellyfish Lake is connected to the ocean through fissures and tunnels in the limestone of an ancient Miocene reef. However, the lake is sufficiently isolated and the conditions are different enough, thus the diversity of species in the lake is greatly reduced as the creatures move to the nearby lagoon. Therefore, the jellyfish there have lost their stingers because there are no predators around.

You can go snorkelling or diving while admiring the beautiful jellyfish that float away freely all around you. The sight will be absolutely mesmerizing and it will be a rare experience. Now, with global warming and other harm brought to our earth, these natural lakes may be gone soon. We should take time to appreciate all the nature around us.

Kathleen Tung

1 Charity




Mint Museum of Toys

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Are you missing the feeling of nostalgia? If you are, I know just the way to ignite it in you! A visit to the MINT (Moment of Imagination and Nostalgia with Toys) Museum of Toys is all you have to do to relieve some of your most cherished childhood memories!

A delight to many adults and children, this private museum boasts more than 50,000 pieces of vintage toys, some of them over 100 years old, and childhood memorabilia from more than 40 countries, some as far away as Bulgaria.

Believed to be the largest collection of its kind in Southeast Asia, the large variety of collectibles—ranging from Batman and Astro Boy to vintage comics and adorable teddy bears—will delight people from all walks of life. This impressive collection belongs solely to Singaporean Chang Yang Fa.

Not only are these vintage toys on display just nostalgic playthings, but they also tell the story of the era in which they were created.

Well, what are you waiting for? Go relive your childhood with nostalgia-inducing exhibits at the MINT Museum of Toys now !

Jenevieve Tan

3 Truth





Places to Go: China’s Guizhou Province


What is the first image that forms in your mind when I mention about China? Do you think of Beijing, the bustling city that holds all the gems of China – ranging from the Peking roasted duck, to the historical landmarks such as the Great Wall? Do you think about Shanghai, China’s mark of a technologically-advanced nation? Last November, I had the opportunity to tour five cities in China among which included Beijing and Shanghai. However, I felt that the lesser-known cities also make up an essential part of the country. This city it is not as bustling as Beijing or Shanghai

The essential factor that makes Guizhou stand out among the other cities is the people, as well as the culture and heritage that they have kept alive for so many years. Guizhou is home to one of the 56 minority ethnic groups in China – the Miaos. Once you take the first step into the Miao Village, you will not be able to take your eyes off the colourful skirts the locals wear as well as the crisp tinkling sounds produced by their silver accessories. The intriguing culture of the Miaos do not end there – their singing and dancing performance was the breathtaking highlight of our visit to the village. My favourite part of the performance was watching the older generation of the Miao clan sing a folk tale in their language. Their language is, unfortunately, currently vulnerable to extinction as there is no written record of it. The people can only depend on these folk tales to pass it on. While I could not understand the language, I could feel the meaning in their song as their voices melded together and soared through the silence of the beautiful landscape that surrounded us. It was definitely a one-of-a-kind surreal experience and exposure to the people’s way of life – after all, these sights and sounds are things we cannot watch through YouTube, and even if we could, immersing ourselves in this cultural haven would still give us a different and richer understanding of the place.

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Apart from unique cultural sights and people of different backgrounds, the best places to visit should have good food to satisfy our ever-hungry stomachs! Guizhou’s food is known for being sour and spicy, but there are sweeter ingredients incorporated in their food too. This ranges from the freshest pumpkin to the sweetest potatoes. Of course, it also does not exclude the bitter yet sweet rice wine, which made our taste buds tingle the first time we tried it. The ten days we spent there was not long enough for us to try all the delicious cultural delicacies but if you ever have an opportunity to visit, I would strongly encourage you to go for, perhaps, a longer period of time and take your time to savour all the good food Guizhou has to offer you.

In a nutshell, if you are having a headache considering where you can go for your next holiday, why not book a plane ticket and head for Guizhou? I assure you that a trip there will take you to a different world that you might never have known existed, and truly see a part of the various vibrant colours that make up China. It would certainly be a place worthy of your money and it will be an eye-opening venture into the country as it was for me.

Renee Ong (4 Unity)


Places Less Travelled: Tsukada Nojo

I am sure many of you have eaten Ramen before, and I have eaten ramen many times at many different places. There is one Ramen restaurant that is really special.

(Just a quick disclaimer, this is not a food review, it is a review of the restaurant)

This restaurant is called Tsukada Nojo, and the particular branch that I would go to was at Plaza Singapura.

At the entrance, there are steps that lead you down to the tables. Due to the space constraint, the tables and chairs were arranged in such a manner that there was only enough space for one waitress to mover around. Despite the tight space and limited amount of tables and seats, the restaurant had a warm and cosy ambience.

When I was there, I ordered the soya Ramen, and I highly recommend it. It was served with a platter of other ingredients that other Ramen restaurants did not serve- there was chicken, seaweed and even yuzu slices! You are supposed to drop all the other ingredients into the pot at a pace in which you pleased, I found this way of serving the ramen very clever as some customers may not want to eat a particular ingredient. The last thing that I like about this restaurant is the type of dessert they serve- they had creme brulee and yuzu ice-cream served on glass bowls that were filled with pink and blue water.

My first dining experience at Tsukada Nojo was definitely a memorable one, so I definitely went back a few times. I highly recommend this Ramen restaurant if you are looking for something different to try as you would be eager to eat here again.

Address: #03-81 Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road, 238839


Daily: 11:30 – 15:00

Daily: 17:00 – 22:00


+65 63365003


Ashley Tung (2 Purity)



Places Less Travelled: Miyahara Ice-Cream Shop

Located at Zhongshan Rd, Central District in Taichung City, Miyahara ice-cream (宫原眼科) is beautifully decorated. The building, previously an ophthalmology clinic owned by a Japanese man named Miyahara during the Japanese occupation period of Taiwan, was restored to its former glory by Dawn cakes after it was partially destroyed by an earthquake and typhoon years ago. Its high ceilings, glossy polished floors and large pieces of wooden furniture made the shop look highly sophisticated – some have even suggested that it is reminiscent of Harry Potter world. With its classy exterior and interior, it exudes an air of elegance that extends to the exquisite menu of ice-cream flavours.

Photo on the right is from

A long queue outside this shop is a common sight, not only because of its popularity amongst locals and tourists alike, but also because the excellent service customers are given. The dedicated and patient staff offer customers the opportunity to sample numerous flavours, and suggest exotic ice-cream flavours complementing the customer’s preferred tastes as they weave through the wide variety, including 17 types of chocolate ice-cream, and an equally staggering range of tea and fruit ice-cream flavours. ice-cream is priced at 90NT, 150NT and 225NT for single, double and triple scoops respectively, along with toppings of your choice. Toppings offered include pineapple pastry and cheesecake, which are specialties also sold at their retail area.

The ice-cream shop isn’t all there is to visit – the retail area is also magnificent. It gives off a sophisticated antique vibe, enhanced by the one-of-a-kind packaging for their pineapple pastries and other traditional Taiwanese goodies. Numerous boxes of such pastries are packaged as antique Chinese books and displayed prominently on bookshelves, whereas other intricately designed boxes have a Christmas theme to it – apt for the holiday season during which I visited the shop. The staff were all decked out in green and red festive attire, and extremely helpful in suggesting suitable gifts to bring back home, making every customer’s shopping experience a comfortable easygoing one.

Despite having already feasted on ice-cream earlier, the restaurant situated on the second level was simply too tempting a meal to pass up. Given the amazing quality of ice-cream and service provided earlier, it was almost a given that the exorbitant prices put forth in the menu would be worth it.


Indeed, this was proven right when the platter my family ordered was served in fancy dishware and the standard of the food way surpassed our expectations. The server was outgoing and friendly, even initiating a quick chit-chat with us about our holiday experience and where we were from. None of us thought too much about it, however, until the ice-cream dessert was served with a Singapore flag and a tall droplet-shaped cotton candy glowing softly from the device underneath as the masterpiece. This truly memorable experience certainly was the highlight of my trip to Taiwan.


Should you happen to visit the area, do drop by Miyahara ice-cream Shop for a treat you will never forget.

Chloe Kho (3 Truth)