烘炉地南山福德宫 Hongludi Nanshan Fude Temple

I believe I came across this idea for a day hike within Taipei in some travel magazine, and decided to go for it. (probably spurred by some ingress goals)

how to get there: alight at NanShiJiao Station 南势角站 and start walking! it’s a long walk but there are many shops along the way for you to grab a bite and a drink before you hit the base of the hill.

from here onwards, the climb starts in earnest. the good thing is that it’s all stairs and no muddy trails. I believe I did the climb in ballet flats.

and you’ll be rewarded with a view!

there were portals here, but it’s not the end of climbing, lol

more stairs

and then it’s the temple itself

although, since I’m not Buddhist, I enjoyed the view instead

and now the descent, to the night market for a good meal

it’s a nice activity for half a day!


Confucian Analects

while decluttering, I found a stack of Confucian Analects that I’d picked from the Taipei Confucius Temple – thought to record them here along with some photographs of the temple.

(8) Confucius say:
“A man is worthy of being a teacher when you learn new things from reviewing what you have learned.”
子曰: 温故而知新, 可以为师矣。

(10) Confucius say:
“If one learns but does not think, one will be bewildered.
If one thinks but does not learn, one will be bewildered.”
子曰: 学而不思则罔,思而不学则殆

(13) Confucius say:
“One who is not benevolent cannot handle long periods of difficulty or long periods of comfort. The benevolence rest in benevolence. The wise desire benevolence.”
子曰: 不仁者, 不可以久处约, 不可以长处乐。 仁者安仁, 知者利仁。

(18) Confucius say:
“When you meet someone better than yourself, think of becoming his equal.
When you meet someone not as good as you are, look within and examine your own self”
子曰: 见贤思齐焉,见不贤而内自省也。

(28) Confucius say:
“If a student is not eager, I won’t teach him; if he is not struggling with the truth, I won’t reveal it to him. When I have pointed out one corner of a square to anyone and he does not come back with the other three, I will not point it out to him a second time.”
子曰: 不愤不启; 不悱不发; 举一隅, 不以三隅反, 则不复也。

(30) Confucius say:
“I was not born with knowledge, but I love the ancient teachings and have worked hard to seek it.”
子曰: 我非生而知之者; 好古敏以求之者也。

(38) Confucius say:
“The man of wisdom is never confused.
The man of benevolence is never troubled.
The man of courage is never afraid.”
子曰: 知者不惑, 仁者不忧, 勇者不惧。

(39) Confucius say:
“Do not watch what is improper; do not listen to what is improper;
do not speak improperly and do not act improperly.”
子曰: 非礼勿视, 非礼勿听, 非礼勿言, 非礼勿动。

(47) Confucius say:
“The gentleman is in harmony but does not follow the crowd.
The small man echoes the crowd, but is not in harmony.”
子曰: 君子和而不同; 小人同而不和。

(61) Confucius say:
“To make a mistake and not correct it, this is a real mistake.”
子曰: 过而不改, 乏味过矣

(64) Confucius say:
“If your paths are different, you do not make plans together.”
子曰: 道不同不相为谋,志不同不相为友。

(69) Zi-Xia say:
“Someone who is aware every day of what he lacks, and every month does not forget what he has developed, can be called ‘a lover of learning’.”
子夏曰: 日知其所亡, 月无忘其所能; 可谓好学也已矣!

(70) Zi-Xia say:
“Learn widely and be resolutely determined,
inquire earnestly and reflect on what is at hand,
and here lies benevolence.”
子夏曰: 博学而绝志, 切问而近思; 仁在其中矣

the meals I had in Portugal

it’s been more than a year since I’ve returned from Portugal but never quite got down to recording it. thought I’d better do it before potentially changing phones. this post features some of the meals I had in chronological order. I can’t say that Portugal is a food haven – food was edible, but not quite what I’d consider delicious. I distinctly remember feeling disappointed with the food while I was there…but it could just have been depression clouding every thing.


near the mosteiro dos jeronimos, i found a cafe (flor dos jeronimos) serving the prato do dia: grilled octopus

I originally meant to spend Christmas in Porto, but somehow, when I reached Lisbon, the depression was so overwhelming that I felt I needed to get home earlier. the flight couldn’t be changed online, so I had to go to the booking window at the airport to get it changed. I shortened my trip by a whole week. it seems extremely wasteful, but it was the meaningful choice at that point in time. this was the first meal I had after the fact, where I felt the trip was a lot more manageable.
from the supermarket: roast chicken and quiche


this was a great hot meal at lebre churrasqueira after a morning of exploring Fatima.

it was the down-season in winter, so many places weren’t open in the evening. I was rather relieved to find Combo Caffe open serving hot sandwiches. it was my reward after doing the stations of the cross + reaching 16 in ingress. somehow, I remember texting rhodenbarr while I was having this meal. he was the only one from Singapore who was up that late.


I had the seasonal special from hamburguer real: goat cheese, walnut and honey hamburger.
the burger itself was good, but the goat cheese got a bit much and I kinda regretted my choice. should have ordered the normal burgers hahah.

casa piriquita is the most famous sweets shop in sintra, possibly all Portugal. by sweets, I do mean all manner of sweets, from hot chocolate to pastries. I really wished I had company for this meal. I ordered the shop’s specialties, but they ceased to be enjoyable after a few bites because they were too damn sweet. sharing it with a friend or two would have been nice.

this fish diner was recommended by our guide of the free walking tour of Lisbon. I happened to hit it off well with a couple on the tour so I had company for this meal. the diner itself is kinda non-descript, and they run out of daily specials pretty quickly!

my last meal in Portugal was a bacalhau (cod) sandwich for breakfast at O Trevo. it was rather strange eating fried cod in bread (kinda dry?). it was rather early in the day, and it was a pity that they didn’t have the bifana (pork sandwich) ready yet, or that would have been my first choice.

ended the trip with hot wine at the Christmas market, with the winter sun finally showing its face.

now I have a craving for hot wine!

farewell, Bukit Merah Public Library

today marks the final day of operations at the Bukit Merah Public Library. I have many happy memories of using this library – from reading storybooks on the weekends when I was a kid, to grading work there as a working adult, and more recently, bringing my niece and nephew there to borrow books before letting them play at the playground next to the library.

I approve of NLB’s strategy to situate the libraries where there will be greater footfall, but last week, as the day of closure loomed close, I couldn’t help but weep for the memories past. I paid a few farewell visits to soak in the place and say goodbye.

here’s the children’s section that allowed me to be that auntie associated with books and reading

and look how the niece has grown! I no longer have to read to her; she looks for me when she needs help with a word or two.

the adult section is upstairs. see the fantastic Singapore Collection in the corner – these shelves were indispensable when I prepared GP lessons based on Singapore.

on one of the visits, a familiar logo caught the nephew’s eye and he snatched it up excitedly.

the fictional aisles that gave me tomes of agatha christie and elif safak.

and the mandarin section that usually sank into the blind spot

I am also deeply indebted to the travel section where I did much of my travel research before free-falling into a new country.

and lastly, the loan counter, which has seen many many iterations. frequently, I would hurry through this section because sambal would be waiting for me in the carpark outside, and then he would frown at all the books I’m laden under, and shake his head because it’s obvious I wouldn’t be able to read all that within 3 weeks.

thank you for the services and memories you provided, dear bukit merah library. I didn’t think I would be this attached to you, but I guess it is a case of 日久情深. I will miss having you around, and miss exploring your depths full of mystery and adventure and profound sadness.


sunday cooking 10

my entire family sans me were invited to a wedding lunch, so I decided to cook myself a feast in their absence. (havoc in the kitchen without anyone’s interference!)


this is the first time I bought (half a) fresh chicken from the butcher – usually I’d only order the breast, thought I’d try something new. marinated in salt, pepper, italian herb mix and a splash of orange juice.

I oiled the pan with the chicken skin before sautéing the onions, followed by the peppers (I like my peppers very soft). next came the potatoes and the chicken, and a can of lager.


chicken stew! the recipe asked for stout, but I substituted it with a strong brew in my possession that I didn’t enjoy. great way to use up unwanted alcohol.

my sister ate my leftovers for dinner and she liked it! hooray. but she prefers last week’s egg-tomato dish haha.

on this last night of the seventh month

just thought i’d share this touching and poignant strip i saw on sgag. apparently truly overheard by the poster!


*satay – a delectable dish of grilled/barbequed meat on bamboo skewers
*’burn’ – burnt offerings to the dead (candles, paper money, papier-mache houses/cars/clothes/mobile phones/all manner of material goods)

a translation from the singlish…
satay man: satay for you, auntie?
auntie: 10 chicken satay, brother! grill until it is burnt then you help me throw away!
satay man: throw away?
auntie: now seventh month, i want to ‘burn’ satay for my late husband la. last time he love to eat your satay! thank you, brother!

i appreciate the incident also because it demonstrates how love can transcend religious and cultural borders. the satay man here is malay, who tend to be muslim, while the practice of burning offerings to the dead is a taoist one. yours truly here is a christian – but i think it safe to say we are all touched by this little anecdote.

* * * * *
will blog about the singapore elections if i ever get down to organising my thoughts. meanwhile, thank you for checking on me. my mood swings and emotional downs have been quite unmanageable of late – i feel so angry all the time and i’ve been punching walls till my hands smart and i don’t understand why. not sure if there is even anything to understand…but thanks for keeping an eye.