24 December 2011

Christmas Spirit

by Silvia Hajas

May the Chrissie tree be filled with pressies.
May the table be filled with yummy treats.
May the day be filled with sunshine and breeze.
May the gathering be filled with family and kin.

May love be bestowed a plenty.
May children squeal with delight.
May health and prosperity come knocking.
May this day be everlasting.

May this Christmas be a time to rejoice,
A time to forgive,
And a time to forget.

For life is precious,
Life is short,
Life is a mystery
And nothing should be left unsaid.

Come together, hug and kiss
Make up, let go, don’t miss a beat.
Say I love you every moment,
Forge renewed relationships today and tomorrow. 

22 December 2011

Three Little Red Reindeer

This poem was especially written for some dear friends in Melbourne.  It has been adapted to resonate our sentiments to all our wonderful friends in Australia.

Three Little Red Reindeer
by Silvia Hajas

Three little red reindeer
Named John, Silv & Trin
Took off for Singapore
Looking for a shindig

We left behind loved ones
And many cherished memories
Yet they're all especially remembered
As the festive season nears

A wish to celebrate with them
As done many times before
May not be afforded
For many years more

They may be oceans away
But never far from our thoughts
We wish everyone a wonderful Christmas
Filled with love, cheer and joy.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 

19 December 2011

From New Adventures Come New Friendships

by Silvia Hajas

There once were a trio
Called John, Silv & Trin
They went off on an adventure
To a far off place called Singapore

Leaving wonderful siblings and great friends behind
They moved into Costa Del Sol
With five pools and much more

There they made friends
That may cause some confusion
For they’re citizens of the world
No matter the conclusion

They’re South Africans and New Zealanders
And Slovaks and Canadians
And British and Indian
And Aussies and Russians

But let’s not go far for the trio are no different
One is an Aussie, the other Romanian
Making the third a Eurostralian

You put us together and we are a great mix
Living in the tropics of Asia that can’t be missed
Poolside drinks and great conversation
Makes for this mob an awesome compilation

Where to from here?
It is most unknown
But for now we’ll just enjoy
The new friendships formed.

So to our expat friends
We thank you for your friendship
And wish you a Christmas
That’s especially magic. 

14 December 2011

Sliced Fish Fillets with Brown Rice

This concoction that I made up reaps with health benefits.  Firstly, a regular intake of fish provides you with the omega-3 fatty acids helping your body to function properly, it is high in protein building, maintaining and replacing tissues in your body and lastly it is low in fat.  General recommendation is a twice weekly intake of fish (just mind the ones high in mercury).

Secondly, brown rice is high in fibre which keeps your digestive system running smoothly.  The nutritional value in brown rice is the outer layer (known as the bran layer), which is stripped when the rice is milled to produce white rice.  By stripping the bran layer, the carbs in the white rice become simplified providing you with a boost in energy but at too fast a rate.  Some people may feel like they are getting a sugar rush.  By sticking to brown rice which is rich in complex carbs, your sugar level will raise more slowly and over a longer period of time, giving you a more balanced and steadier energy flow.  As a result of this more measured approach, you will feel fuller for longer reducing the need to snack.  Brown rice is also packed with vitamin B, manganese, selenium and iron that can help with heart diseases, digestion and constipation.  If you're not too keen on brown rice then either mix it with basmati rice, use wild rice or just plain basmati rice. 

Now, my cooking is not strong in flavour so make sure that before you serve, it meets your taste bud requirements.

Sliced Fish Fillets with Brown Rice (Serve 4)

1T oil
1.5C brown Rice
4 fish fillets (approx 450g), frozen or fresh, halved lengthwise and then sliced (defrost if frozen)
1.5C frozen mixed vegetables
1T fish sauce
1T light soy sauce
1 onion, finely chopped
1tsp crushed garlic from jar
1tsp crushed ginger from jar
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground coriander


Cook brown rice according to packaging instructions.

Heat oil in non-stick frypan or wok on medium heat.  Toss in garlic, ginger and onion.  Fry lightly then add the cumin, coriander, fish sauce and soy sauce.  Cook for a further minute.

Add frozen veggies and stir-fry on low for a couple of minutes, then toss in the fish and stir-fry until the fish is cooked.

Add the cooked rice and gently mix it all.

Serve and enjoy.

Jingle Bells

by Silvia Hajas

Jingle jingle all those bells
As Christmas nears
We can all tell
The shops are filled with decorations
Cheer and joy on all our faces

Santa letters have all been drafted
Off to north pole they are blasted
Elves are busy wrapping presents
Santa GPS’s the addresses

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen
Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen
Shine their hooves and stretch their legs
Waiting for the mighty marathon to commence

Awesome gifts for awesome kids
Throughout the world you’ll hear them squeal
So take the time to enjoy it all
Be happy, merry and laugh lots more 

08 December 2011

Polliwogs Play Centre & That Lengthy Walk Home

With delight we attended a 2nd birthday party today at Polliwogs Play Centre on East Coast Park's beachfront, Singapore.  It is a terrific indoor centre comprising of obstacle courses, ball pools and awesome slides.  It has been nearly a year since Trini has played in a play centre so this opportunity was a great experience for her.  The rope tunnel was quite challenging for her little feet, making her work on balance, concentration and a "steady as she goes" approach. The pink corkscrew slide whilst not particularly long, it was certainly fast even for adults.

Balance Beam.
Rope tunnel about 2.5m off the ground.
Super-fast corscrew slide.
From here we braved the Singaporean hot and humid weather and chose to walk home, approximately three kilometres, mostly in the shade.  We passed the time singing nursery rhymes, jumping over cracks forwards and backwards and checking out the red dots on the maps that said "You are here". Trini loved each map and with her little finger tracing the grey footpath that directed us home.

Pitstops along the way included climbing breakwater barriers, admiring the ships, taking turns photographing, twirling and sharing the Pokka carrot juice we picked up along the way.

Makes me think of Rose on the bow of 1996 Titanic movie.
Mosaic totem poles at the Seafood Centre, East Coast Park.

As we are nearing home, so is Trini nearing the end of her strength.  Time for refreshments and a rest at the East Coast Lagoon hawkers market.  Our favorite "juice man" at stall 35 mixes a great, cold and freshly squeezed mango and orange juice.  With princess puzzle in hand (a gift from the birthday party), Trini rests her little feet, quenches her thirst, tops up her sugar and tackles the jigsaw puzzle.

Mango and orange juice, freshly squeezed.
Fitting the last 3 pieces of her  new Princesses
jigsaw puzzle.
A bit of play time before our final part of the journey.
With the weather threatening to open the skies, we finish up at the hawkers market and walk the remainder of our 20 minutes trip with me mostly carrying Trini.  Whilst I really didn't want to get caught in a Singaporean tropical downpour, we still managed snap to a couple of pictures along the way.

I particularly liked this ship.  It was so red, my favorite colour,
it was just begging for a photo.

Just some gorgeous, uniform trees found in East Coast Park.
So we finally made it home, showered and settled down for a coffee for mum and jelly shots for Trini (jelly shots = small individually packed jelly popped into Trini's mouth whilst she's lying on her back.  Daddy thought it would be a fun activity when he showed it to her the first time and since then all jelly are had as "jelly shots").  It was a lovely day spent with my girl and we would do it again, regardless of how tiring (maybe I'll just take Trini's bike with me next time as a back up) but we had fun turning something so simple as walking into a mini-adventure. 

Trini having her jelly shots and off to watch Disney movies.

05 December 2011

I Miss You

This reads like a love lost but the ever-present romantic that my brother is, this poem just tells me that whoever he holds dear to his heart, he will not let go of and will keep on hoping that in the end love shall win above all else. For love and hope must be kept closest to our hearts, as they create the wonderful memories that we take with us to the end of our lives.

I Miss You
by Alex Hajas

I miss the way you hold my hands
I miss the way you hold me tight
I miss the way you look at me
But most the way you make me feel

I miss the way you kiss my lips
I miss the way you stroke my hair
I miss the things you do for me
But most I miss to see you sleep

I miss the way you hold my arm
I miss you walking by my side
I miss your presence in the night
But most of all when I wake up

I miss the vision of who you are
I miss the strolls we take at night
I miss the kiss that says goodnight
But most the one that wakes me up

04 December 2011

Singaporean Sunday with Friends

There is never any shortage of activities to undertake in Singapore be it athletic, cultural or just plain fun.  One thing we do know is that as expats in Singapore we want to explore every inch of this beautiful country.

Of course it is that much more enjoyable in the company of friends.  So to share our Sunday experience let's begin with breakfast.

Now John is a brekky specialist whether it's crispy bacon with eggs and hash browns or as simple as toast and jam but today's breakfast is a delightful Spanish omelette consisting of panfried potatoes, capsicum, onions, peas and eggs.  Joining us for breakfast are Marc & Lindsay from our neighbouring condo.  Both are South African born, NZ citizens living as expats in Singapore, having a jolly good time just like us.

Stomach full we are ready to be cultured today and take off for the stunningly refurbished National Museum of Singapore to view a collection of Impressionists artworks.  However, not before Marc & Lindsay devour a five layered chocolate mousse (each layer has different quantities of cocoa), John and I fight over the chocolate cheesecake and Trini demolishes her own red velvet cupcake, along with a round of cappuccinos and tea.

The Impressionists exhibition from D'Orsay Museum, France presents 140 artworks from artists the likes of Gaugain, Van Gogh & Monet.  Personally the icing on the cake for this exhibition is seeing Van Gogh's stunning Starry Nights painting, which I have only ever experienced in print format and let me tell you, it is a superb painting.

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh [1888-89]

Halfway through the exhibition, we took a rest in the interactive space where Trini along with John, Marc & Lindsay created their own work of art featuring Lightning McQueen and Mater from Pixar's Cars movie, a purple Brachiosaurus, 2 pink aeroplanes, Camilla & Charles lookalikes, a gigantic yellow flower and a pink heart. 

The modern artists with the completed artwork [2011]

From here we moved onto the Museum's permanent exhibitions being the:
  • Fashion Gallery depicting Singapore's fashion style between 1950 and 1970.
  • William Farquhar's Collection of Natural History Drawings.  William commissioned locals to illustrate the diverse flora and fauna of the Malay Peninsula in the 1800s and amassed a spectacular collection of 477 drawings which have over time and through Mr GK Goh's efforts found their way back to Singapore.  The complete set has been donated by Mr Goh to the Museum.
  • Food Gallery representing 10 iconic dishes, Singapore's street food culture and its diverse and cross-cultural origins.
  • Photography Gallery portraying 100 years of Singaporean life through family portraits and albums of old photographs.
William Farquhar's Durian (aka King of Fruits). Tastes like a rich custard
but has a phenomenonally strong odour that many find offensive.

Watching roti pratha being made in the Food Gallery got Marc's taste buds running a muck and a visit to a roti specialist at Parkway Parade was underway.  By now the typical monsoon season is at hand with tropical rain aplenty but that did not deter us from hopping on a train and then a bus to get to the Mall for some roti (forget the taxis they were nowhere to be found).

In the Mall's foodcourt, John and Marc order cheese roti, egg roti and plain roti. Totalling 12 rotis we left not a morsel in sight.  By this stage it's 7pm and Trini has passed out.  Good ol' daddy works off the roti by carrying Trini and all of her 17kg by heading back to the bus stop because the taxi stand is chockas and booking one is impossible.

Since it's still raining and the bus stops near Marc & Lindsay's condo but not ours, we do a pitstop at their place for a Rooibos tea which is a popular South African tea.  A delightful flavour that to me was a cross between herbal and normal tea, it has no caffeine in it, it's filled with antioxidants and has low tannin levels.  Eventually we brave the weather and make our way home with our own box of Rooibos tea courtesy of our friends.

A long and busy Sunday, we now satisfactorily sit back on our lounge suite with a glass of Red Gum Vale Shiraz Cabernet.

So if you live in Singapore and you feel like being cultured, do check out the Museum's travelling exhibitions.  You never know what might be on display.