Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Seng Hong Coffeeshop, Moon, Thaksin Beef Noodles

Today was an extremely long day - starting from the prophylactically please-cover-my-ass-i'm-running late (I was late instead sigh) and the long morning ward round about everything under the sun (or without, haha) about osteoporosis. Had a Nasi Padang lunch at KR (its not bad ! everything from the firms eggplant to the sambal goreng and sayur doleh was good) and to Kelly's astonishment the Prima Deli has become swallowed by my past obsession. iSymphony saved me mid-day, the cancellation of the HO teaching double saved me, and the unsaving grace was the grand round when poor Raphael got totally fired by an incidental massive BILATERAL PE.

Its midweek and the need to get away was immense, we took off to Seng Hong Coffeeshop
(Blk 58 Lengkok Bahru). Kelly is fantastic with her sense of GPS as always and getting there was a breeze - and so was sitting in the coffeeshop to leem kopi. This coffeeshop is so old school, it had a signboard of Chinese characters (that we didnt recognise and had to go in and double check it was the right place.)

Seng Hong only serves beverages (notably, their coffee), steamed bread and toast and is the only stall open within the extremely tiny coffeeshop, right in the heart of the neighbourhood. We felt like we were entering a village when we turned into the carpark to search for block 58 - we passed by barbers and grocery shops, and it was a really old neighbourhood. To our surprise, there were many middle-aged and old men sitting and chatting, enjoying a leisurely afternoon. I was joking with Kelly we could just turn up in our pyjamas and not denied our kaya toast and sure enough there was this funky grandlady walked in in her floral (it may not be though) pjs. Funky ah mah, we aspire to be like you!

Being in this place reminds me of this coffeeshop which served fantastic Chicken shredded noodles Andrew brought me to in KL - subsequently I brought my family there - the aunties there speak Queens english, and the coffeshop setting, old staircases, wooden chairs were all so familiar. We love such rustic places.

Here, we were also speaking English! But it was to a mid-aged uncle who recommended nicely the breads and spreads, and even gave us directions to town! Kels said that this place is run by relatives of the folks at Tong Ah Coffeeshop (where we also had steamed bread before), explaining the exemplary standards of simple fare.

Started off the leisurely afternoon (learning from the ah peks to enjoy life already) with coffee need all the energy we can get after the lethary infecting us from GRM. Extremely thick and quite acidic.
The steamed bread with creamy overflowing peanut butter was awesome possum. Extremely soft pillowy bread reminds us tremendously of our Hong Kong days where it was mandatory to have steamed bread in all the chachantengs when you order a sandwich. This is like eating an airy mantou in the form of a sandwich - with sandwich fillings too. Extremely spongy.

Kels is used to steaming her own Gardenia bread in her modified steamer and hence used to piping hot bread. The fantastic ventilation here meant the breads cooled down super quick before we could sink out teeth into it!
Steamed bread with Kaya and butter - the bread was the star still.
This is kaya toast (really mini and cute! too used to see +++bread in Ya Kun) and is like toasted steamed bread? We wanted to order the thick bread but we had to order the whole loaf and that would be an overkill so we'll come back for that another time.

We hurried over to Cathy the Picturehouse for the movie, Moon - which Dedrick recommended and is exclusive to the Cathy only (not Cineleisure even). I highly recommend it, it is probably one of the best movies I've caught - wrought with thought provoking scenes, a twist which set you thinking of the plot, people (in the broader sense, mankind) and drawing analogies to philosopy, ethics and human behaviour. Scrowl to the next picture if you don't wanna read spoilers or my ten thousand word take on the movie (for Kelly and my reference cos we were debating alot after the show).

And before I start, I must complain about the policy of no food and drinks allowed in the Picturehouse?! WTH! We not only brought in popcorn, we also had Sweet Onion Kettle Chips (love the texture of these, almost like eating real onion rings). I suppose art flicks require you to be more....civilised? ummmpzummpz crunchcrunch unaccepted.

Anyway I just found out from Dedrick that its cos the couches in the Picturehouse are really friggin expensive. People have wrote in to complain before (whats new) so I guess I'm not that much of a movie buff to be in the know.

Moon starts with an astronaut who was supposed to go home in 2 weeks. But he ends up in a crash, next moment he wakes up back in the OT, and the robot-butler tells him they rescued him. He wakes up but decides to go back to the crash site and there he discovers his own self, still trapped in the destroyed vehicle. At first, just before he entered the wreckage – Kelly was postulating that he was gonna hallucinate (especially since he was hallucinating his daughter in the opening scene) and I postulated that he might see himself in the wrecked vehicle. True enough, to his horror, he realises its his clone (Lets name this Clone 2). Questions started popping in our head from then on - Why is he the ONLY clone to realise that he needs to exit the rocket to go back to the accident site to recover his original self (Clone 1)? – K realised its cos Clone 2 was wondering why two out of the four videos weren’t screening material and hence he wanted to find out more.

I was wondering if the crash was orchestrated by mankind as an excuse for the clones to start life afresh, but we realised it was purely unintentional and an accident cos the ELIZA team was arriving on the moon to salvage the wreckage. But how long has the clone who was the actual one involved in the accident been there and how long has it been since the crash?

Eventually the clones realised that they were part of mankinds’ plan – their shelf life was 3 years (why not longer??) and after that they expire, told that they’re to return to Earth and is instead combusted in a coffin and reduced to ash. Both the clones stumble across the archives of the many many clones last words and getting in to the spaceship coffin, thinking they were returning to Earth, to his family, when the hypocritical Boss on Earth dispenses words of gratitude for their unyielding service towards Mankind on the moon. They only discovered these after entering the forbidden room - when Clone 1 realised he had recorded hundreds of videos that were not being transmitted back to Earth and the robot butler eventually entered the password to discover the grand plan of Mankind.

The most tragic part of the movie was when Clone 1 was close to expiry and was haemorrhaging everywhere – and in his live real-time communication with his daughter, he realised that it has been 16 years (since the first original human left Earth) and his wife has since died – AND that the original human has already returned to Earth to reunite with his family. This stunned Clone 1 and I believed it was a downturn on his health from then on – there was no motivation to return to Earth - he was an unwanted being. Clone 2 watched the same video – but the last part got cut off and he did not realise that his original form had returned to Earth already, and thought that there was a place on Earth still, for him.

Clone 2 then planned to return back to Earth, and place Clone 1 in the wrecked spaceship for the ELIZA team to rescue him. We were wondering what is his intention, really? Isn’t it likely that the ELIZA team might rid Clone 1 since he was of no use? – but we realised it was because Clone 1 was already close to expiry and had volunteerily decided to stay in the wreckage (I think the fight for survival in him died because he realise he was no longer the man his family needed). Clone 2 then had to fight against time because another new clone (this will then be Clone 3) was being regenerated and he had to launch himself quickly back to Earth, cos no more than 1 clone is supposed to be alive at any one point (excluding the one in the wreckage).

And we were wondering, why is there a part of the spaceship that can be transported back to Earth if mankind didn’t want the clones back on Earth? We only figured its cos that detachable part of the spaceship is to ship back materials that is the source of energy back on Earth.

He succeeded in returning to Earth – but during the entire journey, the conversation between the scientists on Earth about these clones and its ethics was most compelling. They didn’t reveal his life back on Earth – I would imagine it would be very much District 9 like – only Humans allowed.

This show is extremely thought provoking because so many questions popped in our head – and we were trying to recall parts of the movie to piece everything together. This is probably the only movie I’ve watched with only 1 lead character (the robot-butler and images of his wife and daughter doesn’t really count) and yet, absolutely brilliant in the portrayal of the loneliness of man, the innate sense of survival and need to seek solace in companionship and familiarity. Men work in order to feed their families – this need drives them in their workforce, drives them to strive and succeed. Does competition within mankind drive man to commit sins (greed, envy thy neighbour) or does it drive the human race to stand in consolidation to better the progress of mankind? Aren’t we all of the same species, of the same DNA and very broadly speaking – clones of a species?

Are humans inately unkind? Has evolution produced a human race where civilisation and society can function purely because it is limited by law and religion? What is the threshold of one's conscience and how is it governed? Some philosophers have argued that the very open -endedness of human appetite is responsible for both our savagery and civility, since a creature that could conceive of eating anything (including other humans) stands in particular need of ethical rules, manners and rituals.

Moreover, the analogy for this for humans and the ultimate end point of death – isn’t it similar? We all do have an expiry date, some of us do believe in the after-world when we’ll be surrounded with our loved Ones, and some of us do believe in the higher Being, placing our destiny in the hands of Fate and the powers of the higher Being. How real are we?
It was a friggin hot day - and by sunset we decided to head to Marina Barrage to chill. Went round a wild goose chase (cos my GPS not prepared hehe) so rely on Julie's instinct = waste petrol - no lar, only went one round, found our way almost effortlessly, not like the first time I was with Mountains. Spotted this Rover convertibles in the carpark and Kels was thinking about the demise of this species of this once popular car...

And a super cute kid and his dad spotted on our way back in the car park. Love to see Dads go solo with their kids, exudes so much paternal charm!
Fantasizing about swanky offices, we got even more mesmerised by this kite flyer whom we eventually chatted with and showed us the ropes (no pun intended) in kite flying. It was a lighted kite (100 bucks! sold by an uncle in Sengkang in a white car remember yar, Kelly) and flew pretty easily without much effort. Feels abit like reverse fishing - we were lamenting how guys love fishing, and reeling in their catch. Mmmms.
Has light clips attached to the string and hasnt dropped off thus far. He said he was thinking of flying his Snake - a 60 metre long monster. We wished he did! probably interesting, disappearing into the night -now we know the importance of the light. He was educating us that from the speed in which the light spins, you know if the wind is flying it in the right direction and if any resistance was present.

Then talked about nice flying grounds in Sengkang and Punggol and the possible sad outcome if the place is to be developed. He flies near his workplace, and goes out to fly when he senses the wind. Abit like windsurfers being able to guesstimate the wind ! I find it amazing how some people have the intuition for certain elements - like a certain someone for Sun and Water *AHEM*
Was throwing up many possibities for dinner - Geylang and Old Airport road but for convenience sakes we took the ECP-AYE to Seah Im Food Centre and had dinner at Thaksin Beef Noodles. This is my second try here (heard that the Blanco Fish Soup here is good but couldnt find it) but I realised what is great is the Phad Thai! We found a fantastic Phad Thai for $3!! It is $4 with beef. It has plenty of wok hei, sufficiently oily, and has generous bits of egg and taukuar, crunchy peanuts and beansprouts. Divine with that chilli powder.
Kelly and I shared the Phad Thai and each of us had a bowl of beef noodles (value $4). You get a mix of tripe, beef chunks and is all darn pretty good in a robust soup. The noodles were slightly too hard though, but went well with the soup and minty vegetables. Kelly, however, (for the first time in a looooong time) got her tastebuds massacred by the potent vinegar chilli so I suggest you exercise caution (espcially with the +++ chilli flakes in the Phad Thai). She was so badly scalded (for lack of adjectives) she had shallow breathing and hoarseness ++ with incomplete sentences. She still has PTSD as of this morning..
So we rushed over to Vivocity B1 for dessert - and stumbled upon this fruit juice and vegetable juice (Kelly's favourite!! My enemy=P) called Tracy's (Vivocity B1)selling interesting Paus with Pumpkin Kaya filling - but they were sold out by closing time. We settled for Aloe vera seaweed dessert ($4) instead. Actually Kelly was super skeptical but I made her try it! It is chokeful of ingredients and is like what Kelly has at home (she has the seaweed in bulk) except with the unique addition of the aloe vera jelly. This is like premium cheng tng.
Wednesdays will soon become the designated pseudo weekend for us =)

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