Wine, if properly made, is like a great layer cake: fruit, mocha and chocolate, hints of spice and rich, always rich. On Sunday night, my boyfriend, my friend visiting from London and I pick up a cab sauv with the alluring name, Layer Cake, from PS on our way home from a hearty dinner at Bigmama Korean Food in Tiong Bahru, set up four years ago by former caretaker and tutor, Candy Naming Ji Young, who decided to start serving her authentic, creative, healthy and delightful Korean dishes to more than just the Korean students studying in Singapore for whom she used to cook. All of the small tangy, salty starters as well as the big main of marinated and barbecued chicken, greens and rice are good, but the large, orange kimchi pancake is what stands out. And the company. Digesting a full on weekend. My brother was visiting from KL from Friday night to Sunday afternoon, and the four of us were out and about sightseeing and socialising all weekend – Cloud Forest, Marina Bay, lunch at Spago, meandering around Bugis (National Design Center, Academy Coffee Roasters, Kampong Glam, spontaneous hula hoop contest in an alley behind Haji Lane), roof top bar happy hour with all of my English and Danish friends, Tanjong Beach Club brunch, Orchard Road shopping. By now, my friend from London and I have spent ten whole days together – in two countries, exercising in the morning, working all day at the office or at hip co-working spaces, chatting, laughing, going out for healthy, fresh and picture-perfect meals and drinks, pursuing joy and blissful moments, just the two of us surrounded by great design and flavours, or with my friends, out and about or at home in their trendy condos with tapas and red wine. Spending that much time together can make you grow closer, it can display various distances, or it can vibrate somewhere in-between: it may make for valuable bonding but require a pause. For me, it shows that we have a great rhythm: I’m not compromising my habits, routines or preferences – they fit well with hers. There’s a great balance between maximising time and talents and giving each other space. Running 10 sweaty, hungover kilometres in the Southern Ridges early on Sunday morning before the boys are up. She buys me a bunch of beautiful ginger lilies – so, so big and shocking pink! Positive mental and physical attitude. Leaving for the airport before we even get to crack open the Layer Cake wine, we say goodbye straight after the Korean dinner. My boyfriend and I drink the wine alone, finishing the bottle, each working blissfully on our creative projects on our laptops until past midnight.
Siblings. If ten years ago we could have seen ourselves now, hanging out in Malaysia and Singapore together, which emotions, thoughts, ideas, reactions would we have had, my brother and I? He meets us right between the airport and city centre, at Longbeach Seafood Restaurant for some traditional Singaporean black pepper crab on Friday night. We see the massive eight-legged guy alive in a glass container minutes before we eat him, sitting outside in the fresh, dark air, right by the beach on the East Coast. Everyone in a good mood and talkative. Continue the night at the small Japanese bar, D. Bespoke, in a dark private room upstairs, with strong cocktails crafted by a family friend that my brother and I have known since we were babies.
Mental Training. A topic central to this weekend with my friend from London. The correlation between running and thinking clearly and achieving things. I’ve always loved running because it calms me down and strengthens me, mentally and physically, and she recently sent out a survey asking why people run, receiving responses emphasising social aspects, general fitness or the fact that it can be a good way of exploring new places. Why race? To challenge, develop or test yourself – or for accomplishing something with someone special – or for charity? Such a simple exercise: put one foot in front of the other and remember to breathe. Think about your posture. Stay hydrated.