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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

London Reveals Crown Jewels

I was recently in London checking out their museums. They have world class museums and they are mostly free. There is an exhibition of the crown jewels, a regalia that includes some of the most legendary and extraordinary diamonds in the world. Signifying royal authority to lead, and protect the nation, it is still in use today. 
But i also discovered London reveals another type of crown jewels. 

1. Streak for Tigers
This August 15, streakers can register for £20 to run through London Zoo in fund raising efforts for the wild life. Spectator tickets go for £15. You can find out more at
Hungry for meat
2. Naked Sunday Swims
At the University of London Union every Sunday 1-2pm, you can pay £5 or fre for under-16s. If you want to be more spontaneous and not wait till Sunday, you can do it at Hampstead Heath. But beware of a nip by the crayfishes! Join a naturist club at
3. Naked Yoga
At a private venue in Bow, a four week course of two-hour classes costs £75. If you think your concentration power needs to be challenged,

4. Naked Dance Club
The Union, £12 from 10pm if you want to jiggle, literally.

5. Model Nude for Art
From age 17 to 82, professions across bankers, engineers and architects, allows you to pose nude in the name of art. Learn from these workshops the difference between posing alone and in a group; when to be the 'star' and how to be part of an ensemble tableau. Overcome eating disorders, celebrate lost of weight, love your body as well as make new friends is part of the process.
6. Nyotaimori Parties
Not new to Asia, eating sushi off a naked body has now reached royal grounds. 
I hope you won't get an experience like this

Breaking Up in Social Media age

Some weeks back, i had a girl friend sleep over. My last sleep-over was when i was 15 and that's where i learned to shave & put make-up. This sleep-over, however, ventured into talking about exes.

When we were in school, having a crush meant detouring to pass their classroom. Or staking out at his hangout places, which in my case, was the basketball court. Because the girl friends i share secrets with are in the same school, there was no need to describe how he looked or behaved like.

Today, when we share saucy stories with our female friends who not necessary move in the same social circle, we instinctively whip out our phone to show his Facebook profile picture.

That's what me and S did that night.

For the sake of having more to tell, exes mean puppy love, men we have gone out with, men we've dated disastrously, innocent holiday flings, and the flirted-heavily-but-never-touched. These, plus the legit boyfriends, are all still S's Facebook friends. 

As she flipped through her digital little black book, i could put a face to the names of the stories she was telling. Some exes still kept the photo albums that featured her, and she knew exactly how to reach it with one click. What an ego stroke to know her album was still kept in an exes's profile while the girls he dated after her did not manage to claim a permanent spot. 

Feeling a tinge to also show-off my fair share of romances, we compared our exes Facebook profile pictures. There was a time, that when two people break up, we would avoid them at all cost. Today, cutting ties ain't that easy when they continue to pop up in social-media newsfeeds. 

I'm fortunate that all the guys i've dated have always been fiercely private on the social space. They aren't social whores, so no update has made my stomach drop. Then again, i have never been a green eyed monster. Every now and then, i proactively go onto their profile page just to catch up on how they're doing. Despite no particular intent, there's that part inside me nagging to know how exes are doing. I click on the girls who tag them in photos, i want to know who these new people he's meeting. Perhaps fantasizing a bit still being part of their lives, perhaps an ego stroke if he haven't found someone new, or gloat if he deteriorated, or found someone new who's just like me (but there's no one like me).

I must admit, i have been bugging my earliest ex-boyfriend to be my Facebook friend so i could rub it in his face how much better i am 7 years after.

Social media makes people never really break up. Despite me and C not being Facebook friends, i know there're ways he's getting updates about me. I didn't bother asking him how. Maybe it's my blog, or my public updates. Social media has made my life an open book. 

Should i get jealous if the guy i'm going out with “likes” the pictures his ex posts? It didn't bother me but i had a gut feel he wasn't over her. There're exes who weren't significant enough till their birthdays are etched in my brain but automated birthday reminders gave an excuse to drop in. After all, we had "our time". 

The ex who appears in your Bang With Friends matches, do you reminisce with a triumph smirk of conquest or do you cringe your face & glad you don't need to return? I had an ex whose ex sent me a friend request (i didn't accept), & when we decided we aren't working out, she knew(she must have done her fair share of social media stalking)! She wrote me a message asking if i wanted to "heal together". I also had an ex who's ex used public information to sow discord or the ex who's ex introduced herself to me on Facebook. 

There's the ex i follow so i know if he's still available. And the ex i follow so i know how to avoid him in person, only to walk into him and his new girl at a movie premiere making out in front of me.  

An early ex disliked me posting couple pictures, that stuck with later exes. It was a good exercise, because there's nothing to clean up after each failed relationship. I would hate to go through my timeline, manually pressing "delete" than to just sleep over it. Perhaps to some people, manually deleting online photos could be part of a healing process.

For the exes of my girlfriends who are active in social media, they will continue being "in a relationship" with their exes. S's ex, a blast from the past recently wrote her a long Facebook message to diplomatically explain why he is going to un-friend her. She didn't know how to reply. I advised her to write back,"i understand, all the best." Short and curt. That's how it should be, with an ex. There is NO MORE between them. She was reluctant, because she wanted to keep him as a "friend". She wants to be able to continue being updated about his life. Social media has certainly changed our mindsets. 

Older generations didn't have this kind of thing—they couldn't have. 

Exes used to be a thing of the past, forgotten lives. Now they are part of the permanent present, a person you can follow for years in tweets or pictures. There ought to be a new descriptive for an ex. Because ex now contradicts.

One ex asked after breaking up if we could continue being intimate without commitment. I was flabbergasted, i wasn't that "open-minded." Today, he still gets into my pants. By Whatsapping me i mean. Phone, in my case i needed to explain. They usually occur unexpected and late at night. I like to decipher it signals loneliness (another ego stroke for me). Phones are intimate devices, with texts from an ex, it is easy to reminisce every once in a while together. In safe distance. With the multi-screen effect today, we have drama on a dozen screens playing at the same time starring me. Although i really don't know why i need to follow one on all different platforms. Few master the art of catering content for different platforms.

My exes never 'liked' my selfie(s) enough, an ex who doesn't reply until hours later is over me. An ex whose tweets whom my friends retweet is certainly popular. Self-conscious if an ex tweets and adds a #badrelationship. 

Is it a torture to continue being 'friends' with an ex? Yet you do not want awkwardness in 'un-friending' or 'un-following? S knows when an ex quietly un-friended her. Because their updates stopped showing up, or that when she proactively goes onto their profile, she sees. I had an ex who un-friended his ex because she kept Facebook messaging him. What is the right way to go about social media after a break-up? To prevent awkwardness  you could try these tools.

1. Killswitch is an android app that removes all content that your friends or you have posted about your ex. They just discreetly disappears from your profile or timeline.
2. Block your Ex is a Chrome plug-in that also removes all traces your ex on the Internet

Staying in touch with exes via social media isn't all that unhealthy. It has turned platonic, at least for (mature) me. Staying in touch provides amusement some times, reaffirms decisions most times (you've never changed), some catching up and then a reminder that i did create history.

  1. The study of past events, particularly in human affairs.
  2. The past considered as a whole.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

CONTEST: Win Movie Tickets from CiNE65

I remember when I studied in Film and Media Studies in NP, video production was the most fun projects we would do. We enthusiastically write our scripts, find props, loan cameras and shoot. We don’t often get lookers willing to be on-screen though. A pity none of our projects was appropriate for short film competitions. Imagine killing two birds with one stone, winning the grand prize of an overseas learning trip to a regional film festival in addition to cash prizes and Panasonic cameras.

That’s what the winners of the second season of short film competition ciNE65 walked away recently with their entries.

“Priceless” won the “Overall Best Film” and “Best Screenplay” in the Open Category. I must have premonition! I embedded Priceless in my last post and said it was my favourite. Country flag erasers were such a prized possession as a child! How we have forgotten that and this short film brought back the nostalgia. 

For the Student Category, “Going Away” won.  Many of the ciNE65 clips relate to me personally and deeply. Especially the Student winner,‘Going Away’. An unexpected ending, I thought it would lead to her going overseas for education, which many Singaporeans do these days. I did contemplate enrolling into the military when I was 19 and everyone thought I was crazy. I chickened out in the end, heh. 

Short film “Honey.” won the Favourite Film award, which was determined by public voting. The grandfather looks familiar, i think he's a veteran Mediacorp actor no?

The art direction and accompanying music of Honey is beautiful lah.

The theme ‘I’ll be There for You’ sees a bumper season for CiNE65 II with 166 submissions, double from last year.

The Inter-School Challenge Trophy, a new award this season, went to Temasek Polytechnic, which submitted the highest number of quality entries in the Student Category. Is my Alma master lagging? Ngee Ann Polytechnic was the best school for Film and Media before are they still now?

There are 13 other awards presented for Best Direction, Best Editing, Best Screenplay, Best Sound Design, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Favourite Actor and Favourite Actress. You can find them on
So proud of the old lady for winning Favourite Actress voted by the public! Makes me abit sad and reminds me that my own parents are growing old too.

Living abroad first in 2007 (then again 6 years later), while it is refreshing to make new friends, encounter international cultures; nothing beats the familiarity of bumping into another fellow Singaporean. At the workplace or in school, Singaporeans look out for fellow Singaporeans.

The grass may seem greener on the other side, but home truely is where the heart is.

I have 5 pairs of GV movie tickets (any film) to give away!
You simply have to

1. Like and follow 
2. Email me the screen shots with your contact details (name, mobile and IC)
3. Share on your Twitter ' Win GV movie tickets from @chrispytine blog! #cine65'

Contest ends 16 July, winners will be contacted via email.

7 Great Things to do in Milan

1) La Rinascente, where food look fashionably good.

I was only told on my last day in Milan that the infamous street where fashionistas see and be seen is at Montenappolena. May told me that there is an Armani cafe along that street where Giorgio himself lives upstairs. He once came down to mingle with the cafe patrons, and her friends asked about his next collection. He went upstairs to bring down some draft sketches for feedback!!! How cool is that. Then again, if i was there, i am probably as ignorant as a baby. I don't know how these famous fashion designers look like!

My only fancy shopping is at La Rinascente, next to the Domo. La Rinascente is a multi-storey departmental store that has apparel, accessories, designer homeware and food. It also has an alfresco roof top (level 7) cafe that has a nice view of the Domo. I spent 2 hours in La Rinascente just in its basement gawking at creative homeware and upstairs drooling at food souveniers.
Balsamic vinegar in an ink bottle for EUR 8
Mustard with Cognac
Pretty bow of sugar for your cup

Escargots in a can and empty shells to complete the experience?
I bought this bowl 'There's a Shark in my Soup'
Very tempted to get this old-school Italian coffee maker too.
Except that i'm no coffee drinker.
If your sole reason in Milan is to shop, try Corso Buenos Aires. It is the shopping street that the locals go. While there is international labels like H&M and Berska, they also have other Italian labels i've not seen or heard of. It's like our Orchard Road, but not malls.
I stumbled upon a shop along that street that sells Italian leather shoes, all for EUR 20 per pair. Get off at the metro station Porta Venezia.
2) L'Isola Del Tesoro
was recommended by our friend to eat at. This Italian restaurant hand-make their buffalo mozzerella and their delicious dishes are served generously. Prices are also reasonable. You can find it near the Missori station.
The seafood pasta comes in a bread bowl and cute bibs!
After food, it is the Italian way to finish off either with Lemoncello (a shot of lemon liquer) or Morrocino (shot of coffee with cocoa powder).
I found Italians the smoothest operators. Their pick-up lines are super original and they make any woman feel beautiful all the time. Standing at the counter, is the Italian's way of grab-and-go coffee. Prices are different if you sit to drink and eat a crossiant.
3) Duomo
This stunning peice of architecture is not to be missed. We climbed the 120 steps to the top instead of using the lift to save EUR 4 and to work off all that pasta.

4) San Bernardino alle Ossa
I thought Milan's bone church was the highlight for me. It seems very understated because no one quite knew where we were asking for. As i have never seen a bone church before, i was determined to find it. It is near the Duomo, Google maps it here. If you see Star Hotel, you are very near. It is just across the road.  An unassuming church facade, we couldn't find it at first because we wasn't expecting it to not look like the usual cathedral.
This is how it looks like from outside
Next to it stands a misleading cathedral which we thought was the bone church at first.

We thought we were misled by wrong directions and were about to give up when i spotted this peice of paper by the unassuming building next door!

It states the name of the bone church! It only opens till 12 noon on weekends.

Shrouded with mystery, bones (as i thought they would) did not greet me the moment i stepped in. In fact, we had to poke our noses around in that empty silent church to find a passageway leading further into a seperate chamber. There, rows and rows of skulls greeted us.

Perhaps there is some sort of serenity in a church, my hair didn't stand and i didn't find it creepy to come face to face with thousands of skulls.

 If you follow me on Instagram, you'll find a video of the church as well as many other fun pictures.
The Italians are known to treasure odd items of important religious people. It could be a withered finger of a priest, a beheaded nun or even a veil of blood. Such are relics.
 We found slips of paper inserted into some skulls at eye level. I think they are prayer requests.

History says that the San Bernardino alle Ossa is a medival church and the side chamber is filled with skulls because the cemetry and hospital next door was full. We met an Milanese lady in the courtyard and her story was different. She told us that in the 1200s, there was a plague. Many people died and the priest decided to use the victims skulls for the chapel as a celebratory sign that they are now in Heaven with God. It was meant to give grieving families comfort and give hope to the community in that depressing period. I prefer her story, LOL.

The church is free to visit, but we gave a donation of EUR 1 each.

5) Cardona Castle
Located just out of Cardona station, take a walk in Milan's castle and surrounding garden for free.
6)  Getting a value-for-money aperitiv
I can't understand how the Italians stay slim. It truely is I Ea(TALY). When night falls, Porta Genova (station name too) offers a whole line of watering holes. You can take your pick to park your bum and have an aperitiv for only 9 EUR. This covers your first drink and unlimited buffet of Italian eats (salads, pastas, small selection of dessert, cheese, ham, grilled vegetables, cooked food and pizza). Our friend recommends Manhatten for it is one that has good cocktails and food.

This is much better than our Clarke Quay!

7) Spin the Bull's Balls
Lastly, you cannot leave without spinning on the bull's balls found at the famous Galleria (next to Duomo. Myth says that if you spin 3 times with your heel, you will return to Milan!
 I like how she sympathizes the bull as she drive her heel in.
Never say never. 
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