Thursday, September 18, 2014

N.E.mation! 9 - One Week Selection

N.E.mation! has glorious moved into its 9th year, organized by Nexus to youths to express their thoughts on Total Defence. With more than 11,500 students already participated in this digital animation competition, I was totally thrilled to be part of the One-Week Selection event, held at Nanyang Polytechnic during the September school holidays. This One-Week Selection is basically a period where the Top 100 teams who participated in N.E.mation! 9, who were selected based on their submitted entries in the prior Call for Entry Phase, would be coached by the trainers and pitched to a panel of judges to land one of the coveted spots on N.E.mation! 9 Top 10 Teams. This means 90 teams will be eliminated during this One-Week Selection while the Top 10 Teams would get the chance to turn their stories into a 1-minute animation during the November school holidays.

Since 1994, this was the first time I set foot in a Polytechnic again. NYP is really a huge place and the students are really blessed to be studying there.

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Found my way to Block M to hear 7 teams of Secondary students pitch their entries to the judges.

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Jurong Secondary School

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Look at the amount of work/words put into the pitching. I am sincerely touched by the effort given by these students. Whether they win or not, no one can take it away from them, the effort and heart that was poured in.

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The advice from the judges are invaluable as the students took in every single word attentively. Seriously some of the ideas presented were superb, delivery can be improved on, but the creativity was impressive.

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CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School

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I realized that if the judges like the idea, they will generally spend a bit more time trying to understand from the students about the presentation.

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Kent Ridge Secondary School

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The passion of the students trying hard to convince the judges that their pitch is worth of Top 10 selection has to be applauded. Reminded me of my own poly days.

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CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School

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The girls from CHIJ St Nicholas immediately made an impact with the idea of doing a mash-up of a few NDP songs for their pitch. Kudos to the girl who took the responsibility of playing the guitar. She was even asked to replay for the judges so that they can link the pictures to the songs. Stress!

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Raffles Institution

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Who says RI boys are just good in studies. These guys were hilarious when presenting their ideas. They even danced, omg!

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Commonwealth Secondary School

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Totally loved the “theme” of “SAF Never Sleeps”, using the idea of a clock face to portray the importance of SAF to provide protection and stability to the nation and people.

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Jurong Secondary School

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To all the students who made it to Top 10 or not, just continue to “Believe”. The future is bright for all of you!

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Who caught the judges’ eyes? Who made it to be the Top 10 Teams?

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After close to 2 hours of deliberation and discussion, probably some arguments as well, it is time to reveal the Top 10 Teams.

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The students were joined by their school teachers, friends and families who were all there to show their support.

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Some words of encouragement from the organizer representative, SLTC George Goh (Nexus).

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One final cheer from the Top 22 Teams before the results were released. Through the one week of hardwork and learning, these students from various schools have all became closer and no longer just competitors but also friends who have shared the same learning space and vision.

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The time everyone have been waiting for. Several teams were called out at times, and only 1 or 2 teams will stay on to be the Top 10 Teams. The atmosphere was just electrifying with anticipation and nervousness.

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It was just a bunch of nerves waiting for the announcement.

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And the winners were announced. One of my personal favorites, Commonwealth Secondary School (wasd) was selected!

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Usually the winners were just shocked that they were selected. Must have been a very close fight.

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With some happy, some will be sad. But this year, the organizers produced a memorial badge to encourage the remaining 12 teams that did not make it further. A nice touch when the leaving teams were presented their participation badges by their team instructors.

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Winners crying because of joy and also to see some of their friends’ path on N.E.mation! 9 coming to an end.

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So here are the Top 10 Teams.

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1. Acrylics from Raffles Instituition
2.
AlphaCrescent from Crescent Girls’ School
3.
Believed Beliefs from CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School
4.
Chunky Monkeys from Singapore Chinese Girls’ School
5.
Elemonators from CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School
6.
HigherThanYou from Cedar Girls’ Secondary School
7.
IDK from Raffles Girls School (Secondary)
8.
JJKN59 from Kent Ridge Secondary School
9.
Millennium Dragons from CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School
10.
wasd from Commonwealth Secondary School

Congrats to all 10 teams! We look forward to your work in November!

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Dining with AmEx (Part 3)

Sponsored Review

Usually when I write for a sponsored review, I would not promote too much but rather let the readers decide whether to take in what I experience or not. But for this American Platinum Credit Card deal, I really recommend if you are eligible to apply, please do so. The deals for meals, spas, hotel stay are more than enough reasons to keep this card. In fact, the AmEx Platinum Card is now one of the only 2 cards I keep in my wallet whenever I go out.

This time round, armed with the recommendation from a friend, we made a reservation for dinner at The Royal Mail. It’s a small restaurant located on the 2nd level of Ascott Raffles Place Singapore, overlooking the busy street of Raffles Place, making the whole experience even more peaceful as we ate quietly in the buzz of the central business district. The Royal Mail serves a classic British cuisine where Roasts and Prime Rib take centre stage.

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Since we were early for the meal, we ordered some cocktails to start off first.

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The signature cocktails are Billion Dollar Margarita (garnished with gold flakes) and Agent 006 (a tasty mojito with a dash of bacardi). Both Kless and I enjoyed the mojito better, which provides a better blend.

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Much to our surprise and delight, the chef brought out 2 special treats for us as we were enjoying our drinks. I have to say, both treats were extremely nice.

First up was the small bread named Grougeres, filled with cheese and pepper. No worries about the cheese if you are not a cheese-lover, cos the taste is just right and not too overbearing. Really brought out the best you can get from a dough. We could have more if not for the main course later.

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The next treat is this normal looking prawn, nicely placed on a ceramic spoon. But the taste was not normal at all. Slightly grilled to perfection, coupled with pepper and a tinge of custard lemon sauce, the taste was out of the world. Too bad, this are not on the menu, so try to ask for it when you do visit and see if you are lucky enough.

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Time to order from the menu and start the feast!

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To start, a bowl of Soup of the Day – Pumpkin Soup.

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And Baby Octopus & Bay Scallops with wasabi aioli, ikura and squid ink crust.

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Main course was Cod Fish with grilled fennel, onion confit, pea & tomato mash, saffron beurre blanc and razor clams.

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As for me, I definitely have to order the best in the house. The Royal Mail (340g) extra thick portion Roast Prime Rib with sauteed brussels sprout with molten blue cheese, pine nuts, roast whole garlic, yorkshire pudding and veal jus.

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Last but not least, for desserts, we ordered the Platter for two.
Earl Grey Tea Creme Pot, Banoffee Tart, Eton Mess and Victoria Sponge.

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If you only have stomach for 2 desserts, then I would highly recommend the following, Banoffee Tart and Earl Grey Tea Creme Pot.

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All the above for only half the price. Totally worth it!

Well, the night did not end with just food and drinks. We explored another venue, Fabrika @ Klapsons The Boutique Hotel. This is by far the best rooftop bar I have visited in Singapore. Nested right in the middle of the hotel on 17th floor, how cool is that.

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An alfresco sky terrace bar where you can have a view of the central business district, watch people working hard in their office, while you are enjoying the music, food and drinks. Super fun!

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We were just seated on top of the busy streets. Check out the view.

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Still full from our earlier dinner, I just ordered the Topshells ($15) served with onions, chilli and lime.

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Special mention to this drink if you are looking for something new and nice. Ice Sphere (a reinterpretation of classic cocktails served with frozen balls of fruit juices and shots of liquor).

I ordered the Lychee Martini (volka, dita, lychee balls). It was nice!

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Best of all, we had such a relaxing evening, listening to the live band singing through the night, enjoying the windy night and sipping our martini. Who says Singapore is a boring and uptight place? You just need to find the right place and know how to relax once in a while, with your loved ones.

Once again, thanks to AmEx for the wonderful experience. All my 3 posts (Post 1 & Post 2)were sponsored by AmEx and all opinions are truly just my humble views. You can choose to read and forget about it or you can just apply a card for yourself and try it out. Cheers!

Dining Privileges
The American Express Platinum Credit Card offers free membership to two dining programmes, namely the
Classic Far Card Membership and the PALATE programme. Under these two programmes, you have the opportunity to eat at over 80 fine dining restaurants, and enjoy drinks after, in Singapore at great discounts.

The Far Card Privileges
The Far Card dining privileges is available in all food and beverage outlets in Fairmont Singapore, SwissĂ´tel The Stamford and SwissĂ´tel Merchant Court.

Member plus 1 guest (2 adults) = 50%
Member plus 2 guests (3 adults) = 33%
Member plus 3 guests (4 adults) = 25%
Member plus 4-9 guests (5-10 adults) = 20%
Member dining alone = 10%
25% reduction on beverage bill in all restaurants listed
10% reduction at Prego Deli

The Far Card Bar Privileges
10% reduction on selected beverages at Crossroads Bar, City Space, Introbar, New Asia and Lobby Court.
25% reduction on selected beverages only after happy hours at City Space, Introbar and New Asia after 9 pm.
Unlimited complimentary entry into New Asia for two (2).
Flat 20% off on food and beverage bills at Anti:dote for a maximum of 10 persons party, per visit, per bill.

The Palate Programme Privileges

1 person = 15%
2 persons = 50%
3 persons = 35%
4 persons = 25%
5 – 20 persons = 20%

Palate Bar Privileges
Palate bar privileges offer 15% off beverages at bars under the Palate programme for Palate members; only valid for cocktails, house pours, and wines by the glass.

More benefits for AmEx Platinum Card Members:
Lucky Draw Promotion – from now till 9 Nov 2014, you can be one of the 5 lucky winners every day to win S$100 worth of dining vouchers (TungLok dining vouchers for Monday to Saturday draws and Fairmont dining vouchers for Sunday draws). Every receipt above S$50 earns you a chance to win. Enjoy double the chances when you spend S$50 or more in a single receipt at any The Far Card or Palate establishment. Click
here for the lucky draw full terms and conditions.