Mulan The Musical (木兰少女)

Mulan The Musical (木兰少女) runs from 16 December 2016 to 5 February 2017 at the Resorts World Theatre. This musical comedy from Taiwan, which is making its overseas debut, brings a different twist to the legendary story of Hua Mulan (花木兰).

The cast includes Zhou Ding Wei in the leading male role (the General), Taiwanese singer-actress Li Qian Na and Lai Ying Ying taking turns in the role of Hua Mulan and Singapore artistes Pierre Png and Ann Kok in supporting roles.

At the beginning, we are introduced to the Hua family, where the head of the household has some health issues, the older sister Hua Mulian (played by Ann Kok) was pregnant out of wedlock and the younger brother Hua Xiong, who exhibited some effeminate traits.

If you are familiar with the story of Hua Mulan, you will know that she took her father’s place in the army out of filial piety. However, in this version, she reluctantly agreed to take the place of her father as her siblings couldn’t make the mark and she was deemed to be the most qualified candidate in their family. Thus, Mulan disguised herself as a man and joined the army as Hua Munan (花木男), which is a more masculine name.

Pierre Png plays the army captain, also known as “Encik” and several of his scenes are hilarious! Be prepared for some vulgarities in the dialogue as some of the scenes have local influences and may remind the local audience of Singapore’s National Service.

Look out for this bathroom scene where someone accidentally opens the door to one of the stalls (whoops!) but I won’t spoil the fun for you, so you’ll just have to go watch!

My favourite part was this subsequent bathroom scene with the strawberry-scented soap! It was quite funny, but also romantic in a kind of way.

Whilst at the army camp, both the General and Mulan’s childhood friend Guanfu fall for her and it was amusing to see them wrestling with the idea of having feelings for someone of the same gender. At one point, Mulan was accused by her best friend for being indecisive and liking two guys at the same time (劈腿).

Well, there is a bittersweet ending to the story and in my personal opinion, it resolved the dilemma for Mulan to have to choose between the two!

Apparently, the script has been modified for the Singapore audience, to incorporate local humour and colloquialisms. Current societal issues have also been weaved into the story and these include single parenthood, compulsory military service and LGBT issues.

The music during the second half of the show sounded much better than that in the first half. I was most impressed by Zhou Ding Wei’s vocals and I felt that his voice outshined the rest of the cast.

Curtain call:

It turns out that I absolutely loved that bathroom scene with the strawberry-scented soap, so I just had to get this picture taken as a keepsake! LOL!

Do note that Mulan the Musical is about two hours long with a 15-minute intermission and the show is in Mandarin, but English subtitles are displayed on screens located at both sides of the stage. I wonder which translation software did they use as I found some of the English subtitles to be strange and it was quite funny – one example was 马子 (girlfriend) being translated as “pony”!

Overall, I liked the show for its comedic elements more than the musical numbers.


Dates: 16 December 2016 – 5 February 2017, select nights (please refer to show calendar)

Time: 8pm
Venue: Resorts World Theatre
Prices*: Cat 1: S$128, Cat 2: S$98, Cat 3: S$68, Cat 4: S$38
*Prices exclude SISTIC booking fee and handling charges. Terms and Conditions apply.
Tickets are available from SISTIC or at the Resorts World Theatre.

The photos in this post are credited to Resorts World Sentosa, unless otherwise stated.
Thanks to Resorts World Sentosa for the invite to watch Mulan The Musical.

Categories: Media Invite, Resorts World Sentosa, Theatre | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

KoKoPanda – A Korean Superfood Dessert and Beverage Parlour

Officially opened on 16th December 2016, Kokopanda is a new Korean soft serve and beverage concept focusing on “superfood” toppings to cater to the health-conscious. Yes, you can indulge without feeling guilty!

They offer three unique soft serves, which include White Cremo (a rich smooth and creamy Korean soft serve ice-cream made from premium Korean milk), Black Yogo (a black frozen yogurt made from roasted coconut husk that contains edible activated charcoal, which helps to cleanse the body of toxins) and for the undecided who want to try both – KoKo Twisto (a combination of both Black Yogo and White Cremo).

White Cremo

Black Yogo

Koko Twisto

Quality ingredients sourced directly from Korea are used, including Korean Milk and a selection of superfood toppings like KoKoCrunch granola (a blend of dried fruits and rice puffs) and dried fruits that are rich in vitamins and fibre. The best part is that the fruits are not artificially sweetened and if you are familiar with Korean strawberries and tangerines, they are naturally sweet! The Korean Milk used here is preservative free and thus has a shorter shelf life, so this is regularly flown in fresh from Korea.

A variety of dried fruit is available and this includes Jeju tangerine, Korean strawberries, pear, apple, persimmon, orange and lemon! My favourites are the pear, tangerine and strawberries.

Interestingly, when you eat the dried fruit on its own, their texture is what you’d expect dried fruit to be like, but when you put them into the soft serve, some of them turn a little crispy! I tried this with both the tangerines and strawberries and there was an added crunch to them!

Fruit Bombs (made from real fruit juice) and Jelly Pearls (made from seaweed) are some of the other toppings that are available. If you like nuts, you can try the Honey Butter Almonds, which I absolutely loved!

In addition, there are also Jellies and Chia Seeds that you can choose to add to your dessert or beverage.

A variety of different drinks can be found on their beverage menu, which include Seoulistic Iced Tea Lattes, Korean Fruit Vinegar Ciders and Fruit Enzyme drinks, Exotic Gangnam Iced Teas and ChiaChaCha, which is a refreshing combination of 100% coconut water with Chia Seeds.

One of their signature drinks is the Jeju Green Tea Latte and you can have this with black KoKoPearls, i.e. if you are the type who’s into bubble teas. I usually like my drinks with 0% sugar and I found the green tea latte with black pearls to be just right for me as it wasn’t too sweet and I think those who don’t like the slightly bitter taste of Japanese matcha may like this as this Korean green tea doesn’t have that same bitter taste. Premium grade Jeju green tea is used and it contains natural polyphenols and antioxidants.

Those who can’t do without sugar haven’t been forgotten and similar to other beverage outlets in the market, you can customize your sugar levels, but of course to be healthier, try to slowly reduce your sugar intake and go for 0%! ^_^

Although I’m not a hugh fan of coconut water and healthy drinks, I did try the ChiaChaCha with added Mango Fruit Bombs and I have to say that those fruit caviars burst easily in your mouth and made each sip of the drink very flavourful! Hmm…possibly something I can consider drinking more of in the future, with health benefits!

Weight conscious individuals can opt for the Green Grapes or Green Apple Cider with Chia Seeds, as these are made from pure fruit vinegar ciders known for extra health benefits such as weight loss and maintaining blood sugar levels.

If you haven’t already noticed by now, the shop’s logo has a cute panda in it and you can find this mascot on both the drink and dessert cups, on the staff’s t-shirts, as well as at the shopfront.

On what sets KoKoPanda apart from other dessert and beverage outlets, Katie Kang, Managing Director for KoKoPanda states: “We are all about superfood desserts and beverages. We noticed that many of the drinks and desserts available today are mostly made from sugar and syrups with little goodness included. We are here to spread our concept of guilt-free indulgence by adding the benefits of superfoods into delicious desserts and beverages that people already enjoy.”

I’ve always thought of health foods as being bland and taste-wise not to my liking, but this has somewhat altered my perception. Healthy desserts and beverages that taste good too! Do come and give it a try!

As part of their Opening promotions, Kokopanda will be having a special Buy-1-Get-1-Free promotion on all items on their menu during their launch weekend from 16–18 December 2016.

Thanks to KoKoPanda for the dessert and beverage tasting!

Address:
KoKoPanda
#B2-60, Plaza Singapura,
68 Orchard Road, Singapore 238839.

Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm Daily

Categories: Cafe, Desserts, Eating in Singapore, Korean | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Latest Exhibits at the National Museum of Singapore

As part of the final stage of the National Museum of Singapore’s revamp of its permanent galleries, the Glass Rotunda has reopened on 10th December 2016 after two years of renovation works. Two permanent installations “Story of the Forest” and “Singapore, Very Old Tree” are showcased here.

Story of the Forest

  • Glass Rotunda, Entrance on Level 2
  • Daily from 10am – 7pm
  • Free admission for Singaporeans and PRs.

Health advisory:  Those who are prone to epileptic fits or seizures may want to use your discretion on visiting this exhibit due to the lighting and moving/flashing images.


Upon entering the upper level of the Glass Rotunda, one is greeted by the sight of a floral blizzard.

You’ll soon find yourself being immersed in a larger-than-life interactive digital installation that is inspired by the National Museum of Singapore’s prized William Farquhar’s Collection of Natural History Drawings. This treasured collection was brought to life by internationally renowned Japanese digital collective, teamLab, using the latest cutting-edge technology to transform 69 drawings into animated illustrations.

As you make your way down the passage towards the lower floor, visitors will encounter various flora and fauna. Try to spot and interact with the various animals that inhabit this forest! I found that the birds and the deer are easily startled and tend to take flight when you approach.

Oriental Pied Hornbill

Black-naped Oriole

Ohh…I spotted a Black Panther!

I love the vivid colours and that the scenes change from day to night and as you walk along, it may start to rain too!

For a more immersive and educational experience, visitors can download a free mobile application via the App Store or Google Play and you have the option of going on “hunts” to “capture” the different flora and fauna that call the Glass Rotunda home. Valuable insights into the illustrations from the William Farquhar collection will be revealed when you have successfully “captured” the animals using your phone’s camera function.

When you reach the lower level of the Glass Rotunda, you can either sit or stand in the middle of the room to take in the 360 degree view of the scenes being projected. This display certainly takes your breath away and is simply visually stunning!

Singapore, Very Old Tree

  • Glass Rotunda, Level 1
  • Daily from 10am – 7pm
  • Free admission for Singaporeans and PRs.

The lower level of the Glass Rotunda houses the Singapore, Very Old Tree exhibit by renowned local photographer and artist Robert Zhao. This features 17 images of significant trees in Singapore and around the vicinity of the National Museum, as well as various stories which present visitors with an alternative perspective of Singapore’s history and the personal connections that Singaporeans have with our local trees.

What is Not Visible is Not Invisible

  • Exhibition Galleries, Basement
  • 7 Oct 2016 to 19 Feb 2017
  • 10am – 7pm (from 1pm on Thursdays)
  • Free admission for Singaporeans, Permanent Residents and visitors aged 6 years and below.

This exhibition of multi-media installations uses unconventional approaches in art-making and features selected artworks from the French Regional Collections of Contemporary Art (FRAC). Its title and design takes inspiration from the artwork of the same title by French artist Julien Discrit.

Go on a philosophical journey with the various artworks, which will take each visitor into a new state of mind through personal interpretations of the presentations, its surrounding space and context.

When you enter this space, you will see three infrared lightbulbs strung from the ceiling in front of a blank wall. These bulbs are triggered by the viewer’s presence and they will light up to reveal the ultraviolet text on the wall: “What is not visible is not invisible”. The work only appears when it is seen, thus highlighting that to express the invisible, one needs to paradoxically have to make it visible.

I’m not good at interpreting art pieces, many of which are too profound for me, but cobwebs – yes, I agree that sometimes these are “invisible” if you don’t notice them.

This exhibition has several spots for those who like to pose for photos or if #OOTD is your kind of thing.

Moving through the exhibits, I came across a room filled with green balloons (Work No. 262 by British multimedia artist Martin Creed), but my foodie mind immediately made me think of luscious green grapes, thus I didn’t know how to interpret this installation.

I think it makes quite a nice background for a photo – no?

This one below is titled “Repulse Bay” (by Dominique Gonzales-Foerster) – I was a bit confused as its name reminded me of the beach in Hong Kong, but then again, it also resembles a swimming pool! Apparently the artist’s intention is to attempt to have an exterior/interior situation where you are unable to differentiate between whether you are indoors or outdoors.

I was clueless as to what these pieces of paper are for but apparently you can take one home if you like. The faces do look cute!

Wings of a Rich Manoeuvre

  • Level 2, located above the bridge
  • Daily from 10am – 7pm
  • (do check with museum staff on the timings when the chandeliers will be in motion)

This is a new kinetic installation by home grown artist Suzann Victor and it took 2 years to be completed! This stunning contemporary masterpiece features 14,000 handpicked precision-cut Swarovski crystals accentuated by sophisticated LED technology that hang from eight wing-like stainless steel chandeliers. Wow…each “wing” spans 1.2m in length!

At various times in the day, these chandeliers will swing, being propelled by customised electromagnets and they can form 8 different swinging patterns. I especially liked them when the blue lights were turned on, but you need to be quick to photograph them as the light patterns will keep moving and changing too!

Address:
National Museum of Singapore
93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897.
[Map]

Telephone: +65 63323659 / +65 63325642

Opening Hours:
Daily from 10am to 7pm.
Last admission to Glass Rotunda at 6:15pm.
Last admission to all other galleries at 6:30pm.

Categories: Museums, Singapore | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Media Preview] Universal Journey – the World’s Largest Indoor Light Display!

The Universal Journey is a brand new experiential festive light display, which is the highlight of this year’s Santa’s All-Star Christmas at Universal Studios Singapore. It features eight thematic zones of wonder that have been constructed with the use of a total of 824,961 light bulbs! Yes, you read the number correctly – this whopping number of lights have earned the theme park a Guinness World Record for having the largest light bulb display in an indoor venue!

Take a step in and you will find a Big Planet amidst a backdrop of stars in the night sky. There’s a hole in the middle of the planet and it resembles a wormhole or a time warp tunnel!

The lights in the tunnel change colours, so you can take your pick of your favourite colours when posing for pictures.

You will soon be transported into the Enchanted Pine Forest, where you can find trees in a mesmerizing assortment of colours!

Upon closer inspection, you can see that the lights come from these tiny LED light bulbs.  How on earth did the Guinness World Record Officials manage to count the total number of light bulbs?!!  I think I would be all googly-eyed and probably lose count after a while!

After passing through the forest, you will enter the Haven of Pixies, which is a magical realm and it feels as though you have stepped into fairyland!

From here we get a glimpse of the next zone and the combination of all the lights is quite a breathtaking sight to behold!

Ohh…what is that long archway which looks a little like a slinky toy?

This is called the Rainbow Bridge and its name was inspired by Thor, as divulged by Ms Andrea Teo, Vice President of Entertainment at Resorts World Sentosa.

The colours move around, producing different effects and I thought it was quite fun to walk through this!

Even Marilyn Monroe appeared to be enjoying herself in this space! ^_^

The archway at the other end of the bridge will take you into Herald’s Square.

Imagine stepping into a quaint European town without having to buy a plane ticket to get there!

Cute deer can be found close to the foliage.

  

Betty Boop certainly enjoyed posing for pictures with them!

There is a side door to another room which contains the Land of Great Gifts.

I just love Christmas light displays and this entire place and its atmosphere is simply amazing with its dazzling array of lights that I just had to get a photo to remember the experience!


Here’s a walkthrough of the Universal Journey, but you really have to be here to soak in the atmosphere!:

Bring family and friends, or you can even have a romantic date here and take lots of pictures! It certainly promises to be a dazzlingly spectacular and memorable experience!

We even did a mannequin challenge there – see if you can spot me in Resorts World Sentosa’s video! LOL!!

Santa’s All-Star Christmas will be held from 1st December 2016 to 2nd January 2017 at Universal Studios Singapore.

Categories: Theme Parks, Universal Studios | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Pokémon Go: Finding The Elusive Farfetch’d

Those who play Pokémon Go will know about the region exclusive Pokémon and that Farfetch’d can only be found in Asia. However, confirmed sightings seem to only be in countries like Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan, much to the dismay of fans in South East Asia.

We managed to find this wild duck in both Hong Kong and Japan. Read on if you want to find out the exact locations…

A well-known nest site in Hong Kong is at Signal Hill Garden and we had originally planned to check it out, but when my hubby found it on the radar in our hotel room at Sai Ying Pun (in late-Aug 2016), he immediately put out an incense and managed to catch it!


Source: Google Maps

I hadn’t installed the game then and since the man was happy with just catching one Farfetch’d, we ditched our plans to go to Signal Hill Garden as we had a tight sightseeing schedule.

About two-and-a-half months later, we found ourselves on a plane to Kyushu, Japan for a 6-day trip and this time I had the game installed!

What luck! On the first day after I had checked into the hotel in Fukuoka and was taking a rest before going out for dinner, I spotted Farfetch’d in my room and had just caught it using a Great Ball, but just when it was in the process of determining whether I had successfully captured it, the GPS went into error! Argghh…it turned out that the GPS signal wasn’t good in the room and I then rushed down to the hotel lobby as the signal is more stable there. I could still see the shadow of Farfetch’d on the radar, but no matter how much walking around and even with the use of incense, there was still no sign of Farfetch’d re-appearing and it soon disappeared from the radar after 30min.


Source: Google Maps

This was somewhere between two Pokéstops, which are located just across from the JR Hakata station.

    


My second chance appeared at Kijima Kogen Park, where I had spotted Farfetch’d on the radar about 75 minutes before closing time (the park closed at 5pm that day).

Initially it was at number 5 on the radar and as we walked around, it went to number 4 and eventually was number 1 on the radar, but it started to rain! However, even when I put out incense, that elusive Pokémon still refused to appear! Unfortunately, we had to leave to catch the last bus back to our hotel at 16:11 and so didn’t manage to find Farfetch’d. 😦

By this time, it was 2 days before we were due to leave Japan and I was wondering if I was going home empty-handed. At the end of our bus trip that day (we had spent the day sightseeing) and when we alighted at the Yufuin Bus Terminal, my hubby said he had spotted Farfetch’d on the radar and soon after, it immediately appeared on his screen! He was extremely pleased with himself that he had caught his second Farfetch’d, although it was his very first one in Japan.

As for me, this Pokémon was still hiding itself from me! I could see it on the radar, but it still did not appear (imagine the frustration!) and so I started walking around the surrounding area. With only 6 Poké Balls left in my inventory (the nearest Pokéstop was a 4-min walk away), I was beginning to think that my chances were dwindling… and then I finally spotted it around the corner of a souvenir shop, which was between the bus terminal and the train station!

Finally, I caught it with 3 Poké Balls to spare but I didn’t take any pictures prior to the capture as I didn’t want to risk my chances after the first 2 failed attempts.

This was the area in which we had caught Farfetch’d (note that there are no Pokéstops at the bus terminal and train station).


Source: Google Maps

All the sites that we had personally spotted Farfetch’d don’t seem to be nests. We had spent about 10 days in Hong Kong and only spotted it once and subsequently 6 days in Japan with 3 sightings, of which I think the chances in Japan seem to be much higher! Hope you’ll have better luck if you’re out hunting in North Asia! ^_^

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Pokémon Research Exhibition at S.E.A. Aquarium

Pokémon fans may be thrilled to visit the Pokémon Research Exhibition, which is being held for the first time outside of Japan, from 22 Oct 2016 to 2 Jan 2017 at the S.E.A. Aquarium in Resorts World Sentosa. You can also get to meet Pikachu there!

Upon entering, you will be given a briefing by the research assistants in lab coats and basically you have a mission to accomplish at this exhibition and that is to identify the Pokémon hidden in a Poké Ball.

You can choose only one Poké Ball out of the three difficulty levels – the red Regular Poké Balls (easy), the blue Great Balls (medium) and the yellow & black Ultra Balls (hard).

I don’t have much knowledge about Pokémon apart from watching some episodes from the cartoon series in the past and playing Pokémon Go, so I selected an “easy” ball.

There are 7 interactive stations in total, where you can pick up clues to try to identify the mysterious creature contained within your Poké Ball. However, note that you can only pick 4 out of the 7 stations to receive your clues, so do choose wisely as to which ones you think will be able to provide the most details for you to accomplish your task!

Place your Poké Ball at the slot on the machine to begin the analysis.

Remember to pay close attention to the given clues, as the machines will not provide you with the details a second time (haha…occupational hazard and I was “testing” their system!)

Took a short breather for a photo with this giant inflatable Pikachu.

When you’ve finally obtained your 4th clue, you will be prompted by the machine to make your final deductions and head over to the “Goal” for the answers.

I decided to go check out the Pokédex wall to see if I could find more clues to help me identify the Pokémon in my Poké Ball. More than 700 Pokémon are featured on both sides on the wall. Unfortunately, after scanning through all the pictures, I was still clueless!!

I could swear that this Totodile was laughing at my incompetence!

Ok, I gave up and headed for the last station and to my surprise, the answer was automatically given without me having to key in my guesses!

What in the world is this Pokémon? I’ve never ever seen or heard of it!

Unfortunately, all Poké Balls cannot be kept as souvenirs and have to be returned just before you exit from the exhibition, so please leave them at the trays.

The highlight for me at this exhibition was meeting Pikachu and trying to catch him and bring him home! LOL!

Pikachu Appearance: Daily at 11:30am, 2:30pm, 5:30pm

Venue: Inside Pokémon Research Exhibition & S.E.A. Aquarium – B1 Entrance Atrium (2:30pm session)

Those of you who are interested in visiting this exhibition, do know that an admission ticket to the S.E.A. Aquarium is required and there is an additional admission fee for the Pokemon exhibition on top of the aquarium ticket. S.E.A. Aquarium Annual/Season Pass Holders can enter at no additional cost.

Dates: 22 Oct 2016 to 2 Jan 2017.

More details on tickets and pricing can be found at the Resorts World Sentosa website.

Categories: Anime / Games, Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore, Theme Parks | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seoul Garden’s All-U-Can-Eat Buffet at Harbourfront Centre

Seoul Garden has opened a second outlet at Harbourfront Centre #01-65/66 and this is a buffet restaurant (different from their hotpot restaurant located at the 2nd floor).

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For those who are unfamiliar with their buffet concept, both cooked food and uncooked ingredients are available in the buffet spread. You can choose to cook the raw meats and seafood on the grilling pan or in the hotpot(s) at the table.

Here’s a look at the buffet spread…

Take your pick from a selection of meats (beef, lamb, chicken) that you can put on the grill.

Premium meats and seafood are available in the dinner buffet – I was eyeing the crayfish and scallops! :p

Other items at the buffet for the hotpot/grill:

Various sauces to go with your food, or you can also use them as an additional marinade before cooking the various meats!

For those who can’t wait for their food to be cooked, a selection of cooked and ready-to-eat dishes are available.

Sushi:

Salad and pickles:

Instead of a soup base, you can opt for Queso Fundido, which is a cheese dip and these are some of the foods that go well with the dip!

Moving along…here are the drink dispensers, plus an ice shaving machine (at the far right of the photo below), which you can use to make your own version of ice kachang.

Fruits and ingredients for your ice kachang:

Ice cream and available toppings to go with it:

Both Western cakes and Asian “kueh“:

We tried the Thai Tom Yum hotpot and the Queso Fundido (cheese dip), which was topped with kimchi and grated cheese. I know the combination of kimchi and cheese sounds weird but surprisingly it actually goes well together!

  

In case you are unsure of the optimal temperatures to use for cooking, we were told to use P2 for the cheese dip, P4 for the grill and P3 for the hotpot.

Okay…time to start cooking and tucking in!

The good thing is that this restaurant has certainly kept up with the times! I’ve patronised Seoul Garden since my schooling days and when I first entered the workforce and in the past, after a BBQ meal, your clothes and hair will end up smelling of the food that you had cooked earlier – well, gone are those days as the restaurant has a ventilation system which absorbs the cooking “smells” and when you are done with your meal, your hair and clothes still smell exactly the way they did as when you first entered the restaurant! ^_^

I think the buffet spread is quite decent for its price and I loved the grilled meats, seafood and the cheese dip!

Thanks to Seoul Garden for the invite to the food tasting!


Address:

1 Maritime Square, #01-65/66 HarbourFront Centre, Singapore 099253.

Telephone: 6710 6339

Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10:30pm

Buffet Prices:
Weekday Lunch – Mon-Thur (11:30am-4:59pm), Fri & Eve of PH (11:30am-3:59pm): Adult $21.99++, Member $17.99++, Child $8.99++
Weekday Dinner – Mon-Thur (5:00pm-10:30pm): Adult $28.99++, Member $25.99++, Child $11.99++

Weekend Lunch – Sat-Sun & PH (11:30am-3:59pm): Adult $25.99++, Member $22.99++, Child $8.99++
Weekend Dinner – Fri-Sun, Eve of PH & PH (4:00pm-10:30pm): Adult $31.99++, Member $28.99++, Child $11.99++

Student Meal is available for Lunch on Mon-Fri, excluding PH (11:30am-3:59pm): $14.99++ (present bus-pass, matriculation card or student pass before ordering)

Senior Citizens (60 years and above): Mon-Fri (11:30am-4:00pm) – $15.99++

Kids (below 1.0m in height) dine for FREE on Sunday with every paying adult.
Child price is applicable for kids between 1.0m to 1.3m and those aged 9 years and below.

Soup Base (freeflow, per table):
Basic Soup Base $1.99++
Soup Upgrade $5.99++ which gets you a choice of any 2 soups OR 1 soup & 1 Queso Fundido (cheese dip)

Soup flavours include:
Herbal Beef Broth, Ginseng Chicken, Chinese Herbal, Thai Tom Yam, Seafood Kimchi and Miso.

Categories: Eating in Singapore, Korean, Media Invite | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Exploring DRUM TAO’s Home Base “Grandioso”, ending with a Private Performance!

After watching Drum TAO’S performance at Okajo Castle the night before, we had the opportunity to visit them at their home base “Grandioso” 「TAOの里」 the next morning!

Yet again it was a rainy day and just before arriving at our destination, we were told that they would be putting up a special performance for us, with some acts that they originally wanted to perform at the castle site but couldn’t because of the rain. The drums are extremely sensitive to humidity and will be damaged if they get wet!

Upon arrival, we took in the view of the wide open space and the fresh air at this place which is located in the Aso Kuju National Park.

We were then taken on a brief tour of the grounds. (yes, I was posing for this photo in the rain!)

Main Studio

2nd Studio

The juniors’ lodgings are located behind the 2nd Studio.

Seniors’ lodgings are at the top of the slope, with another building which houses an onsen.

We learnt that Drum Tao has their training sessions from 5am-8am daily and a lot of hard work goes into their practice sessions! New apprentices have to be mentally prepared for a tough time during their initial 1-2 years there and some who cannot make the cut will be asked to leave. Perhaps some of the newbies may try to run away if they personally feel that they cannot endure the rigorous training, but as this location is in a rather remote area, it’s quite difficult for anyone to simply “run away” as it is an extremely long walk to get to the main road and public transportation is scarce in these parts!  Haha…it sounded very much like being stuck at some Chinese martial arts school hidden in the secluded mountains!

Finally, we were ushered into the Main Studio and there were several drums in the hall. We were thrilled to be at this venue and started taking pictures whilst waiting for the performance to start.

I caught a glimpse of some members of the cast waiting backstage! Ooh…the anticipation started to build at this point!

As we weren’t allowed to photograph or videotape the performance, here are some pictures from WilzWorkz, who was there on an official blogger invite (I was there as a “contest winner” and “tour tester”, so I could sit back and enjoy the show!)

There were some round straw cushions on the floor as well as proper chairs and we were told that you will get a better experience if seated on the floor (i.e. front row). We soon understood what they meant as when the drums were being hit, you can feel the vibrations ripple across the entire floor and it amplified the innermost heartbeat of the drums! I was content sitting on a chair at the back row as at such close proximity, the sound was quite loud! The vibrations could still be felt where I was seated and also in clear view were the facial expressions of the performers and we could even see the sweat glistening on the well-toned bodies of the men!!

This private show beautifully showcased the drums incorporating dance, flags and various other instruments.

They play the Koto too!

Dance segment:

Performing with Flags:

This next pose is a good exercise for your stomach muscles! A senior was being “mean” and made them hold this pose for several minutes and some of them were grimacing and a few started shaking a little.

There was a merchandise corner in the room and various Drum Tao merchandise were being sold, some of which are exclusive to Japan only.

I bought a DVD…

…but due to time constraints, we only managed to get one autograph.

At this venue, we definitely had much better seats than the ones we had the previous night at Okajo Castle! I mean – how often do you get a chance to be at such close proximity to the performers? We even had an opportunity to take a group photo with them!

Wow and Double Wow!!… It’s definitely an experience that I will cherish for a lifetime!

Categories: Japan, Kyushu (九州), Oita Prefecture (大分県), Taketa City (竹田市), Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DRUM TAO Premium LIVE at Okajo Castle「岡城 プレミアムLIVE」

Okajo Castle Premium LIVE「岡城 プレミアムLIVE」 was a project by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Organizing Committee, to measure Olympic and Paralympic basic policy promotion.

This was a special outdoor performance by Drum Tao at the Oka Castle Ruins, also known as Oka Castle or Okajo Castle (actually “jo” itself means “castle” in Japanese but somehow the typical English translations for places tend to have the same words repeated twice!).

Even though Okajo Castle is now in ruins, it still retains a special charm and is a popular spot to visit to see cherry blossoms and autumn leaves.

Tickets for the show can’t be purchased and Drum Tao had invited the public to apply for tickets to the event. There were a total of over 6000 applications but only 900 people successfully obtained the tickets.

This was my pass to the event and I made sure that I held on to it tightly!

Unfortunately, on that day the sky was merciless and brought forth heavy showers. However, Drum Tao had assured on their Facebook page that rain or shine, the show would still go on. They had even setup a tent on the stage during the day, in the event that the sky didn’t let up that evening.

We had to walk uphill to the main castle site where the performance was being held and this path can be quite slippery and muddy when it is wet.

Daylight was soon fading and the atmosphere at this location was starting to head toward the mysterious…

We were told there would be 2 stages at this venue and we were then systematically ushered by groups to the first stage at the castle’s turret, where we were allowed to use our cameras.

The drum beats brightened up the atmosphere and it felt as though they were welcoming us to this place.

Here’s a look at what took place whilst we were all standing in the rain at about 5:10pm. (Can you spot me? Haha…)




Watch the video of the performance:

After this brief segment, we were then ushered towards the main stage at the Honmaru「本丸」, which is the palace in the inner-most circle of defense, but were told that both photography and videography weren’t allowed here, unless you are from the official media.

Rain rain go away… unfortunately, it continued to pour whilst we took our seats!

The use of umbrellas wasn’t allowed as they would obstruct the view of those seated around you, thus everyone was expected to wear raincoats and watch the show in the rain!

A bit of trivia……. Okajo Castle is well known as the location for the famous Japanese song Kōjō no Tsuki「荒城の月」, which was composed by Rentarō Taki「滝 廉太郎」in 1901. The name of the song literally translates to “The Moon over the Ruined Castle”. I still remember this to be one of the first songs taught to me by my guitar instructor some 20+ years ago!

The music of this song was inspired by the ruins of Okajo Castle and its lyrics, written by Bansui Doi, were inspired by the ruins of Aoba Castle and Aizuwakamatsu Castle.

It was truly a befitting tribute to the venue that the show opened to the haunting strains of the flute playing Kōjō no Tsuki「荒城の月」. Forget the heavy rain, soggy ground and wet clothes – although it was too cloudy to be able to see the moon, the audience were mesmerized as it was an extremely beautiful and magical moment!

Here’s some excerpts from the show at the main stage (posted by Taketa City):

Curtain call:

Although the rain didn’t relent, our spirits were not dampened and judging from the response from the audience, everyone had a great time as the performance was amazing and all the members of Drum Tao were so talented! I was also extremely impressed with their sound system as everything sounded perfect even though this was an outdoor venue! Well done Drum Tao!!

(We also paid a visit to Drum Tao’s home base the next day <- click to find out more)

Categories: Japan, Kyushu (九州), Oita Prefecture (大分県), Taketa City (竹田市), Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Media Preview] Halloween Horror Nights 6 at Universal Studios Singapore (2016)

**WARNING**  This post contains some visually disturbing and gruesome photos.
Please DO NOT continue reading if you are uncomfortable with nightmarish scenes.
We bear no responsibility on the repercussions suffered as a result.
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Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) is back! This will be Universal Studios Singapore’s sixth edition of the event and it promises to be scarier than the previous years! A record number of haunted houses will be showcased and the first-ever theatrical procession, March of the Dead, will make its rounds through the park at scheduled timings during the night.

This year’s event runs for 16 nights from 30 September to 31 October 2016 and features five haunted houses, two scare zones and two live shows.

If you want a breather between the scares, selected rides like TRANSFORMERS The Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle, Revenge Of The Mummy, Battlestar Galactica: HUMAN and Battlestar Galactica: CYLON, will be open throughout the night.

If you don’t have time to read through this entire post, here’s a quick summary of the event…

…otherwise, read on…


OPENING SCAREMONY


HHN usually doesn’t start until the Opening Scaremony is held. This starts at 7:30pm during the HHN event nights, so don’t be late if you want to catch it!

We are introduced to all the characters who represent their respective haunted houses, with the exception of Jack, the infamous clown who is making a comeback this year with his circus.

If you are standing at the front, do note that pyrotechnics and flame throwers are used and you will feel the heat!

A gigantic head appears from the stage. Do try to see if you can spot the various faces that appear. Here are some of them…

In case you haven’t noticed by now, Mel’s Drive-In has been changed to Mel’s Die-In!!

If you don’t manage to get a spot in front of the crowd, there is a screen located in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard that will give you a glimpse of the action.

Otherwise, you can always watch this video:


Now for the main highlights…

Map compiled by rwsentosablog.com


HAUNTED HOUSES


(listed in the sequence that you’ll encounter them if you start by turning right at the end of Hollywood Boulevard into New York)

HAWKER CENTRE MASSACRE (小贩中心食人宴)

Oh, how I hate love that they come up with such local themes, which make it seem closer to home! This is one nightmarish hawker centre that you hope you’ll never ever have to step into in real life! Welcome to Ulu Pandan Hawker Centre…

Customers fall victim to radioactive food poisoning, which transforms them into savage, flesh-eating creatures! Beware, that chicken rice auntie may not be as nice and friendly as you think she is!

Claustrophobics, do note that there are many tight corners in this haunted house and you really have nowhere to run hide!

I loved that they even have a clothing stall here!

Stay alert – there could be something lurking between the rack of clothes!! ^_^

Take a look at some of the scenes here:

Universal Studios Singapore has really outdone themselves with this one – besides the sights, sounds and frights, one thing that stood out were the SMELLS! Ughh…venture in and find out for yourself!


SALEM WITCH HOUSE (塞勒姆女巫之家)


Here you’ll meet the coven of DeFeo Witches who were thought to have disappeared after the townspeople of Salem tried to burn down their house–along with them–in 1692. However, modern-day witchcraft enthusiasts have brought them back and the witches are out for revenge!

One of the townsfolk telling us to get away from this place!

The most beautiful scene (one of my favourites!) is the Witch’s Realm, which has a snowy setting, much like in Narnia.

Apologies, we got too carried away in here as it’s one of the must-visit haunted houses, plus it was quite dark in there and so I don’t have that many photos to share. Make sure that you don’t miss this one!!

Some of the scenes from this haunted house can be seen in the first video starting from 0:24.


HU LI’S INN (狐姬客栈)


Step back in time into the world of Old Shanghai’s cabaret in the 1930s.

As you approach, a man (pimp?) will usher you into the nightclub.

Upon stepping in, we see Hu Li singing on stage.

Hubby was so enchanted by her that he took another picture! Make sure you stay long enough in this room to see what happens when the light flickers!

Another lady at the cabaret. Hmm…

Look at all the pictures of the beautiful women!

However, things are not always as they appear to be!…

Masters of disguises, these seductive temptresses are demonic shape shifters who are after your souls!

To all the Chee Ko Peks (Hokkien/Teochew slang for “pervert” or “dirty old man”) out there, be warned! This is how you will meet your end if you visit this cabaret…

My favourite scene in this place:

Overall, I loved the concept of this haunted house and it really made me feel as though I’ve stepped into Old Shanghai!

Some of the scenes from this haunted house can be seen in the first video starting from 0:05.


OLD CHANGI HOSPITAL (旧樟宜阴魂)


Another haunted house based on places in Singapore – the actual hospital in Changi was built in 1935 by the British government and its location was used as a prison camp during the Japanese occupation where it was reportedly used as a torture chamber. The hospital ceased operations in 1997 and is said to be one of the most haunted places in the world!

Graffiti on the walls.

As you head towards the hospital gates, a sarong-clad Malay pakcik will approach you, shouting some warnings and that made me start to regret what I was doing here!…

Meet the doctor and his lovely nurse…

Beware of the many dark corners and you’ll never know who you’ll encounter along the passageways! There’s so much to take in and I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

  

There was even a half-naked guy in the bathroom and I thought he looked kind of cute! LOL!

Beware – there are many sudden surprises and unexpected encounters in this house!


BODIES OF WORK (血尸秘展)

Entrance to the haunted house.

Artist Damien Shipman takes fans on a heinous trip down memory lane as he unveils his controversial exhibition titled Bodies of Work.

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Apparently his family perished tragically in a fire and this is his homage to them.

If you look closely, you’ll see a carousel in this photo which is displayed at the start and visitors will also get to see an actual one at the end of this exhibition.

Most of the exhibits are displayed in a macabre fashion.

   

Call me a sadist but this girl whose lower body went into the grinder is probably my favourite scene in this haunted house!

We get to meet other strange characters…

  

…and finally the artist himself! (i.e. if you can spot him in the dark!) I didn’t manage to take a good photo of Damien Shipman but you can see him at the end of my video:

Loved that there’s a carousel in this haunted house!


SCARE ZONES



SUICIDE FOREST (自杀森林)

This is a foreboding forest filled with desperate cries and a sinister presence that lures unsuspecting victims to their deaths.

The following warning sign is displayed outside:

After entering the forest, we came across this vehicle – oh no…what exactly happened here?!!

You can find creepy characters…

…as well as a “cute” life-size walking rag doll.

There is a sinister looking tunnel that you can walk through – thankfully I didn’t encounter any strange beings in there!

Ohh…I just love the dramatic lighting effects in this forest!

Be careful not to bump into this headless person when you walk through a cloud of smoke!

Finally, a short clip to summarize this place.


MARCH OF THE DEAD (死神降世祭典)


This is the less intimidating of the two scare zones. Stroll through this area to check out the festivities of the Day of the Dead (Día De Los Muertos).

Here’s a walk-through of the scare zone:

March of the Dead Procession
There’s also a Death March procession with a supposedly carnival-like atmosphere, but it reminded me more of a funeral procession!

Look out for Lady Death (死亡女神), perched atop the leading float.

The lights on the float actually change colour.

For a change, it was nice to see a night parade being held at the park!

Procession timings for 30-Sept: 8:15pm, 9:45pm and 11:15pm (schedule may vary on other dates – check at the venue on the day of your visit)


SHOWS


There are 2 shows that will be staged as part of HHN6 but unfortunately they weren’t available during the media preview.

March of the Dead show
This action-packed live show begins at the end of March of the Dead procession.

Show timings for 30-Sept: 8:45pm, 10:15pm and 11:45pm (schedule may vary on other dates – check at the venue on the day of your visit)

Stage area (at the New York Library):

Jack’s Recurring Nightmare Circus (杰克重返噩梦马戏团)
Synopsis: “Back by popular demand, Jack the Clown will steal the show once again in Jack’s Recurring Nightmare Circus at the Pantages Hollywood Theater. Together with his deranged disciples, he will hunt for killer acts from a live casting call featuring world-class aerialists, acrobats, contortionists and other freaky friends.”

Show timings for 30-Sept: 7:45pm, 9:15pm, 10:45pm and 12:15am (schedule may vary on other dates – check at the venue on the day of your visit)


MERCHANDISE


All the HHN6 memorabilia seems to be centred around Jack!

 


If I have to list the haunted houses in the order of my preference, they would be:

1) Hu Li’s Inn
2) Salem Witch House
3) Old Changi Hospital
4) Bodies of Work
5) Hawker Centre Massacre (because of the smell! LOL!)


Many thanks to Resorts World Singapore for the media invite to HHN6!


Event Details:

Halloween Horror Nights 6 (HHN6) is held on Select Nights from 30 Sept to 31 Oct 2016.

Dates, Opening Hours and Ticket Prices:
Entry on 30 Sep, 6, 13, 20, 27, 30, 31 Oct 2016. Time: 7:30pm – 12:30am.
General Admission Ticket: S$65
RWS Invites / RWS Invites Attractions Members: S$50

Entry on 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29 Oct 2016. Time: 7:30pm – 1:30am.
General Admission Ticket: S$69
RWS Invites / RWS Invites Attractions Members: S$59

Check the HHN6 website for more ticketing details, including the Frequent Fear Pass, R.I.P. Tours and other promotional packages.


Source: RWScoop

Categories: Resorts World Sentosa, Theme Parks, Universal Studios | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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