Soul searching: Peranakan Museum

Inspired by the book Peranakan Museum Guide, I visited Peranakan Museum on Saturday, 10 Jan 2015. Better late then never, me the hokkien peranakan has never been to this museum. (Visit the museum to find out the different types of Peranakans- Malacca Peranakans, Penang Peranakans, Hokkien Peranakans etc.)

Armed with the guidebook. GO GO to Peranakan Museum!

Armed with the guidebook. GO GO to Peranakan Museum!

In case you do not know, Singaporeans get free entry to museums, remember to bring your identification card!

Admission sticker

Admission sticker

I was first amazed by the different types of Peranakans. So shameful, I didn’t know there are so many types, and call myself one!

Some of the exhibits were familiar to me. Not because of the popular show by MediaCorp, Little Nonya 《小娘惹》, but because my grandmother used to have them at home. My grandmother used to stay with me, until the day she passed away on 17th May 2000. (No way I will forget because my birthday is on 18th May.)

Nonya in Sarong Kebaya

Picture of a Nonya in Sarong Kebaya

This picture reminded me of my grandmother, and she’s fondly known as “Mama”. (Or also known as Satu Ah Ma- because she speaks Malay, and Satu means 1 in Malay.) I’ve seen her younger days photos, and she looked like this! Slim, and gorgeous in the Sarong Kebaya. I’ve worn a Sarong Kebaya before, and it belonged to Mama. That was during my secondary school days in Cedar Girls’ Secondary School, we were celebrating Racial Harmony Day.

Different Sarong Kebayas

Pretty Sarong Kebayas on display

When a Nonya dons her Sarong Kebaya, you can’t miss the different jewelleries and accessories. Even during mourning period, there are silver and pearl accessories to go with the dressing.

I went to the museum alone, but it was not boring at all. I spent a good 3 hours roaming in the museum, taking lots of photographs. It took me more than a week to sort out 300+ photos!

For those who prefer to have a guide, there are free guided tours in the museum at selected timings. You might want to check with the museum for the schedules.

I’ve always been proud of the fact that I am a Peranakan! I think it’s also because I am one, that’s why I am gifted with a taste for good food, and also love for cooking. Pretty sure it’s in the blood that’s why I enjoy spending time in the kitchen, and preparing food for people.

I was so intrigued by this scene. A bibik in the kitchen, talking about what to do/cook for that day! Older female Peranakans are called Bibik, and they are very strict in the kitchen! Somehow it reminds me of Mama, her looks.

Bibik in the kitchen

Bibik- what you call an elder Peranakan lady

There are so much to explore, although many familiar sights, but some are completely new to me. Afterall I didn’t grow up in a typical Peranakan family. When I was a baby, I stayed in a Kampong in Yio Chu Kang area with my maternal grandparents, and moved to HDB when I was 18 months. From then on, my life was about the HDB story.

Furnitures like these mirrors are new to me. I’ve never seen them in person before.

Mirror 3

#Mifie, Mirror and Me!

Mirror 2

Another #Mifie. Mirror and Me!

A wedding bed

A wedding bed

If you are interested in finding out more about Peranakan culture, do visit the museum. And you can also read about it, Emily of Emerald Hill is strongly recommended! (And if you are a tourist coming to Singapore, you might be lucky enough to watch it on stage if the timing fits!)

A visit to the museum

This trip definitely taught me a lot, who am I, what are my roots. I hope you enjoy the place as much as I do!

#Thrive!

 

 

Purrrrfect!!!!

Cat cafes have been the talk of the town for a while in Singapore. I’ve never been to one, until today.

I used to be scared of cats, and it takes a while for me to warm up to them now. (Especially when they have super long nails!)

Out of curiosity, I went to The Company of Cats in Chinatown. (Yes, it’s so near my office, why go on a Sunday and not lunch time during weekdays you ask. I wanted to go with my colleagues last Friday, but we scratched the idea. I reckon it’s more relaxed to go on a weekend, after a photoshoot in Chinatown Heritage Centre. Took some photos for work.)

The first thing that caught my eye when I entered the room: Totoro mat! (the cats camouflaged themselves)

The first thing that caught my eye when I entered the room: Totoro mat! (the cats camouflaged themselves)

One of the cats Lily was hiding below one of the chairs next to this mat, she just stood there so quietly!

This is Lily, looking at the cats outside.

This is Lily, looking at the cats outside.

She is a mama cat, and her son is Harry. He is such an active boy, climbing up and down, running everywhere. Of course, he has his quiet moments, when he’s taking a rest. He enjoyed the stroking and massage I gave him!

Meet Harry!

Meet Harry!

We went at 3pm. The cats are rather quiet, because it’s nap time. Some of them slept throughout, some just woke up, and some just got to sleep.

Elliot just woke up, and he was grooming himself. Couldn't bother himself with me!

Elliot just woke up, and he was grooming himself. Couldn’t bother himself with me!

I asked my friend who has a cat, he went with me to meet the cats, whether these cat cafes will survive. One such cafe, Cat Cafe Cuddles in Orchard shut down because it was said some cats died before the opening. So now there are 4 such cafes still in operation, and 1 cat museum- The Cat Museum.

Friend said most cat lovers would already have cats at home (like himself!), he thinks such cafes are just novelty, though he hopes they will survive. I do hope he is right, that these cafes will survive. Because I don’t have a cat at home, but I would love to have one. And for some people, they love pets but they cannot commit to taking care of them, especially for parents with kids asking for one. These cat cafes (or maybe dog cafes one day!) are places to spend some intimate cuddling time. But due to high overheads, and some for donations, the entrance fee to these cat cafes are not cheap. For The Company of Cats, it’s $14 for the first hour, and comes with a drink. There are food as well, but nothing too fancy. Yes, there is a loyalty card given, but that means having to spend $300 first, and you will get a free entry. For most families in Singapore, $300 is a lot of money, especially the middle class, which are often called the new poor.

Sandwich in the lunchbox

Sandwich in the lunchbox

I wouldn’t mind bringing my nephews or nieces to these cat cafes one day for outings. But I don’t think I can afford to do that every week, my pockets will bleed tremendously!

Meringue was the most active today, and he has the naughty look even when asleep!

Meringue was the most active today, and he has the naughty look even when asleep!

But these felines are sooo cute and sweet, which I might drop by whenever I need to take a break from work! (since The Company of Cats is so near my office, and cats get closer to you after they warm up to you. I guess with repeat visits, they will remember me.)

Satisfied Saturday: Adonis Hotel/ Argo Restaurant in Purvis Street

The biggest hype of Purvis Street now is the cat museum, just newly opened yesterday, Friday, 9 Jan. I walked past it today, but I decided not to go in. I had plans for the day.

It was nearly 1.30pm, and I was really hungry. I wanted to go to my favourite porridge stall in Albert court food centre, but it was so packed, that I gave up. So I continued walking, past Bugis, nothing caught my eye. I walked and walked. Then I thought of Purvis Street, maybe I should go to Chin Chin and have a traditional Hainanese dish, 韭菜冬粉. (It’s a dish using chives and cellophane noodles. I haven’t had this dish for a few years!)

Before I reached Chin Chin, I saw a sign- Adonis Hotel. I walked past it, took a double take. I stood there for a second, the front looks like a restaurant to me. No way it’s a hotel, I thought! So I pull open the door and went it. I asked for their menu, and was told the set lunch is at $25++ for a 3 course. I was SUPER hungry, and the place looks really pleasant, so I found a seat and sat down.

Lavendar flower in cafe

Each table has a small pot of Lavendar.

The restaurant is called Argo. (I learnt about it after finishing the meal, when the staff came up to me to find out how I find the food.) It’s fairly new, just opened about 3 months ago, and they are currently in the process of beefing up their menu, therefore the current choices are rather limited.

I took a seat by the back. A shot from my seat of the entrance.

I took a seat by the back. A shot from my seat of the entrance.

As you can see from the above picture, the front really doesn’t look like a hotel concierge! It’s quiet business for a Saturday, because it’s too new. There are too many places with awesome food in this area.

The 3 course meal comes with a soup as appetizer, a main, dessert and a drink. There are only 2 options for the main course, either Fish & Chips, or Prawn Aglio Olio. I chose the latter.

I asked for a Sprite for my drink.

I asked for a Sprite for my drink.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with bread

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with bread

It was Creamy Pumpkin Soup as starter. Because I love pumpkins, so I have very high standards of pumpkin dishes. The soup served had a silky texture. The soup was dense, but you won’t find it hard to stomach with too much cream. Bread was soft and yummy too! The olive oil spread on the bread was good!

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

SMOOTH texture!

SMOOTH texture!

To be honest, I had my doubts about the place at first. But the soup started off on a right foot. Still hungry, I couldn’t wait for my pasta.

Prawn Aglio Olio

Prawn Aglio Olio

At first sight, I started drooling at those prawns! They look nearly transparent, and SO fresh!

Look at those prawns (and chilli padi!)

Look at those prawns (and chilli padi!)

The amount of garlic and olive oil in the pasta was generous! (Aglio Olio uses alot of oil by the way! If you are on a diet, then I advise you don’t eat Aglio Olio. It’s okay to have calories from YUMMY food!) And because I love spicy food, the chilli padi was SHIOK! (it’s not that spicy if you are worried, just don’t eat the chilli.)

I was really happy with my pasta. I didn’t expect it to be so good. The prawns are fresh (you can remove the shell easily) and springy, and you get quite a lot of them. The pasta was done al dente, and you get the aroma of garlic in a good aglio olio. The service staff did ask me if the serving of the food was sufficient after I finished my meal. I told her it’s just nice for me, because I am not a super big eater. I suspect it might not be enough for the guys.

The only way for me to eat fruits- Give me berries and a dessert.

The only way for me to eat fruits- Give me berries and a dessert.

The panna cotta was okay- really okay. It was quite dense, just like the one I had previously in Otto Ristorante, a famous Italian restaurant. (It’s fine dining- note your budget.)

Really glad that I found this place. I am already tempted to do a staycation at this place. They have a total of 19 rooms, and 6  types of them. Apart from the smallest one, the Quaint Queen having more rooms, the other 5 types have only 1 room each, and they are all themed. I saw pictures of the Suite Artist, which has an outdoor bathtub, I so want to do a staycation there!

Adonis/Argo- I will be back!

It was so much fun today, to discover Adonis Hotel, before my planned trip to the Peranakan Museum. Till next time!

Reading this book in Argo: Peranakan Museum guidebook

Read this book in Argo: Peranakan Museum guidebook

Thank you for this cup of water!

It’s a cup of water. A special cup of water.

I was reading my book in the cafe Pies & Coffee at Centrepoint, and my cup was empty.

Too engrossed in my reading, I wasn’t aware of the surroundings. A fresh cup of water was placed in front of me, and empty cup taken away. Nice surprise. That’s a sweet gesture, and showing we can have good customer service in Singapore.

Give compliment when it’s due, this is one of the small ways we can encourage Singaporeans to take up jobs in the service industry and not rely on low wage foreign workers.

Thank you! To the special one who served me this cup of water.

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