sandy's world

food. places. people. things. ramblings

What is happening to everyone?

This year, our Prime Minister covered a whole range of topics in his National Day Rally. I am quite glad he brought up topics on how we can improve our behaviour. It sounds a little like a parent telling kids how they should behave, remind what is good and what is bad, but really, Singaporeans are like a bunch of kids sometimes.

 

As I am growing older, I am more and more disappointed and dismayed at the behaviour of Singaporeans in many areas. Lack of tolerance, impatience, self-centredness and selfishness. That sums it up quite well. I am sure when something big happens, perhaps at a national level, we will stand together as one. But during peacetime on a daily basis, many just think about “me, me and me”

 

People say you can build a senior citizen’s day care centre, but not in my backyard. Drivers drive in very aggressive and impatient ways. Parents sending their children to school (or more than 1 school!) as young as 3 and doing all they can to ensure that children excel in exams and other academic area, but not spending time to teach them values and acknowledging the strengths and weaknesses of every child. Parents are so afraid their children will lose out, that the Prime Minister, in his National Day Rally, had to remind people to let their children play and have their childhood. That alone sounds like something is really wrong with us and our system.

 

A few weeks ago, I was listening to the radio and it happened to be the week of PSLE exams. This is a major exam all students take when they are 12. Results of that exam determine what secondary school you can gain entry to. Naturally, the top schools require a higher score for entry. Since everyone wants to get into a top school, this exam becomes very very important. It’s too bad if you happen to be a late developer.

 

What was on the radio that week, during the lunchtime song request program was many parents calling in, saying that they were feeling very stressed up because their children were having the PSLE exams that week. Many of them had took leave from work to be with their children during that week. I felt puzzled.

 

My mother had never taken leave from work for our school exams. I mean, what could she have done even if she had taken leave for that few days? Sit beside us and force us to study 12 hours a day? Brew herbal soup for us and hoping those made us smarter at the last minute? Honestly, none of that would not have made any difference. It’s fair to say exams in those days are less difficult than these days, but why do I get the feeling that the parents these days are more stressed than their children about the exams? And do they not know the anxiety gets passed on to the kids?

 

I did pretty well in my PSLE and my score got me into one of the top secondary schools. My sister’s grades were quite a big gap from mine. Did that matter now? Not at all. We both got into university eventually, and she is doing well in her career while I am now choosing a route away from the corporate world, which some might say is a waste of my degree.

 

Our country has progressed and come a long way since we were independent. Our country, and our people are no longer worrying about basic needs like food, shelter, basic education. We have a lot of complains and “first world” issues. But I think we have reached a stage when our people have to develop as human beings. We want to be better people inside, with real hearts, cultivate good values and where we really respect others and think for others. The government is trying hard to get people to get married and to have children. Have more children, because our population is not going to replace ourselves if we continue this low birth rate. They give monetary rewards and what-nots. Doesn’t work with me.

 

And lately, we have been hearing so many sex-related crimes – female teachers having sex with students(!), teacher who takes videos of girls in toilet, sex-for-contracts case, sex-for-grades case and a high profile case of many men having sex with an underaged girl. What’s wrong with everyone!?? Too stressed up?? Are we all giving ourselves all these stress?

 

Aaargghh! Macarons!

I finally registered myself for a macarons class.

That is after my past 3 failed attempts here, here and here.

I should have attended a class long ago, but part of me was not convinced I could not learn it from Youtube (for free..).

Another part of me was not that enthusiastic about working with icing sugar in the house, for they fly around invisibly and then ants just come without you knowing when and how you attracted them.

The latter was such a strong reason I didn’t mind that the whole world was making macarons (and selling them) while I was still failing.

 

But a few weeks back. I had to go. If I do them well, I could sell them too, I thought.

 

It was on a weekend evening. For 3 hours from 7pm, I was hard at work together with about 10 others in the class, making these little guys that we would later so enjoy eating.

 

Due to the copyright of the class materials, I am not able to share the recipes. But these are important notes that our instructor told us.

1) Temperature

2) Humidity

 

Chances of making macarons successfully in the home environment is lower, not impossible, but lower, because home kitchens are usually warmer (being non-aircon) and more humid.

In our tropical weather, we cannot do much about humidity except to switch on the aircon or to use a de-humidifier.

It is exceptionally important to let the shells dry before putting them into the oven.

 

And I knew exactly where my previous attempts went wrong.

First, they shells were not dry enough, hence they did not rise properly -> no feet.

Second, my oven was a too hot -> cracked

 

Just like the instructor stressed on humidity, I shall repeat again that the shells need to be dry before putting into the oven. When you press with your finger, they are dry, do not stick, yet produces a light dent.

 

Ok, now that I know the theory, I will try them out someday. On my own. I’m sure they will be nice. The recipe is makes macarons that are not too sweet, and they taste even better after spending a night in the fridge.

 

Oops, I shall stop enticing you, since I can’t share the recipe (sorry!). Before I try them out on my own (and risk failing again), I shall just look at the pictures of what I made in class and keep smiling silly.

 

Macarons

Macarons

 

 

 

A useful reminder to ourselves

Was just thinking about some stuff recently and I realise that it’s funny how selfish humans can be. There are times we should feel happy for others but we choose to bitch about them instead, though we know jolly well deep inside what we are doing. It could be out of bitterness, jealousy, whatever. I am guilty of it sometimes. But it is definitely not healthy and not something we should regularly indulge in.

 

There are times we hope someone could genuinely say “Congratulations!” or ” I am happy for you!”. Instead, they talk behind your back, judging you in other ways. Not good at all. Just a big bunch of sour grapes.

 

On a separate note, I went to the book fair 2 weeks back (yeah! I was just thinking I hadn’t been reading for a while and had run out of books at home) to see what I could grab. In the past, I had bought books from unknown authors (most of them are unknown to me anyway) and had discovered some really good ones. This time was no exception.

 

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NOTE: My old posts still remain at My Baking Blog and my collection of recipes is still available at My Baking Recipes.
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