Voice-Over / Acting – Wonders of the Voice Workshops by Ms Noella from voice4ads.com

And so I came across this Wonders of the Voice Workshop series in one of the Facebook groups I’m in. This piqued my interest as I thought that the voice-over / acting industry here in Singapore isn’t that prominent as compared to United States and Japan, especially since I’m a big fan of Japanese animated series and films. Thus, I was surprised to see something related locally and clicked on it.

As I’ve just mentioned, being almost obsessed with Japanese animated shows was a huge contributing factor as to why I decided to go for these workshops in the end – I’m rather familiar with many of the Japanese voice actors / actresses (they call them seiyuu, or 声優). Used to boast to my friends about being able to identify the voice actor just by hearing a character’s voice in a series – only because some of the voice actors have really distinct voices. It’s like fingerprinting, if you want to put that figuratively. Goes to show how many shows I’ve watched also HAHA.

Anyways, I was really curious to know more about what goes on behind the scenes, how it’s like in this industry, and how voice actors go about doing their jobs. It seemed to me that this workshop series is one of its kind – at least in Singapore, so it really appealed to me. These workshops definitely aren’t for free, but I thought of them as a good investment for me in terms of personal development. Furthermore, it also matches my current goal of wanting to experience as many different industries as possible before I graduate.

Initially signed up for the sessions that the facilitator, Ms Noella, opened in July. However, due to insufficient numbers in the end, it was postponed to August. But since the new semester had only just started for me then, I didn’t really mind. So now, let me share about some of the activities we did during both the Beginner and the Advanced sessions. As usual, it’s mostly just pictures and captions HAHA.

Beginners’ Guide (20th August)

Mimicking character voices of popular western animated films: Khairul and Elaine attempting the voices of Hiro and Baymax from Big Hero 6 respectively.

After that, we split into pairs for this activity of Group Character Building, where we had to come up with a script meant for two people and act out the characters in it.

Execution of the Group Character Building activity

Next, we formed groups for this activity where we were given a particular keyword. We had to use this keyword to create a jingle – a catchy song to be used in an advertisement, meant to make the audience remember a brand or its products. For example, everyone would probably know Pizza Hut’s delivery hotline due to its singsong tagline.

My group was given the keyword ‘Pingpong’. All of us were at a total loss while brainstorming HAHA. But we somehow managed to pull it off with Khairul and I doing the main singing of the jingle, Lowell doing the instrumental sound effects and announcing the details of the brand or the product or whatever it was that we were promoting right after, with Harlim beatboxing all the while before finishing our mini performance off with a tagline.

Subsequent activity was dubbing / lip-syncing, where one of each pair had to mouth the lines and perform much exaggerated actions – with the other actually doing the voice.

Following that, the activity was one of which where one participant goes to the front of the room. While he / she closes his / her eyes, any one other person at the back of the room disguises their voice and says something. The participant at the front of the room has to then correctly guess who it is. Meant to gauge whether one manages to pull-off not sounding like himself at all.

Did I mention that there was lunch?

Group photo at the end of the session

終わった!Individual completion shot with the facilitator – Ms Noella.

Advanced Guide (27 August)

So basically the advanced session focuses more on how to put ourselves out into the market as well as to maintain relationships with clients. What to do, what not to do and such. The beginners’ guide is technique-based, where you learn how to make your voice sound totally unlike your usual. It is also when you can find out whether your voice is more suited for narrations, acting and so on. Not only that, but how to make yourself sound of a higher or a lower pitch without straining or endangering your vocal chords.

Okay so the main highlight of the advanced session is the demo reel recording. Each of us had to prepare four excerpts of different genres (commercial, narration, radio, public service announcement and character acting etc) in English beforehand. Besides that, we could also go multilingual and prepare extracts in other languages to record as well. I definitely didn’t let go of the opportunity to do so, especially when you get to use microphones and pop filters as if in a real recording studio. Furthermore, with Ms Noella giving out pointers in real-time throughout the recordings – when else would one be able to receive professional advice on the spot?
As a result, I prepared a narration in Chinese and a character acting script in Japanese. Had to challenge myself there as I haven’t obtained the native level (in other words, nirvana for Japanese yet or so I’d like to think – suddenly remembered my j2 economics teacher’s favourite phrase and had to use it here HAHA). And yeah I acted as a tsundere character – initially wanted to do a yandere one but there was difficulty in trying to deliver the lines as smoothly due to the choice of words in the script. If you’ve no idea what all these tsundere yandere business being sprouted about are, Google is your best friend. But hope I managed to pull-off the character at least decently enough.
Told my good friend about this afterwards and he totally scoffed upon hearing this. He tried to coverup later by saying that character acting suited me (apparently I entertained many people besides him in the past with my reactions and just how I carried myself really – glad to be of such personal service to my friends yeah thanks a lot la HAHA sometimes I wonder if I’m better off being a comedian).

終了!It was nice getting to know people from all other walks of life. And not forgetting Ms Noella, who shared with us her personal experience in the voice artiste industry. An immensely talented yet humble individual – still couldn’t forget how during the the first session she gave us a live demonstration of an evil witch and I almost launched myself out of the chair in shock – totally didn’t see that coming. Thankful for her patience and guidance throughout these two sessions as well. More importantly, I’m personally satisfied that I got to learn about something totally new to me – whether or not I decide to take a further step in this industry in the near future.

Looking for something unique? Why not make exciting discoveries about your own voice and realising your capabilities in this field? With Ms Noella’s Wonders of the Voice workshop series, you could well have taken your very first step to become the next internationally-renowned movie trailer voice. I mean – who knows if you won’t try? As long as you have the passion, step forward! Do check out Ms Noella’s website and Facebook for more details on her workshops.

Photo Credits to Ms Noella.


Lickety Ice Cream & Waffles (📍 Bugis, Singapore)

Finally another place checked off my list! Decided to try out this shop with my best budz once again after my class today. Got to know about this cafe from popular food bloggers like LadyIronChef, SethLui, DanielFoodDiary and JiakSimiPng as usual. When we arrived at the location, it was about 2.30pm and it was packed, considering that there were only very limited seats and tables inside the store as well as outside.

There were a rather large number of ice-cream flavours and toppings to pick from. Ice-cream flavours include Lemon & Lime, Cookies & Cream (which for some reason that I couldn’t understand, was vibrantly blue – Abby commented that it was totally Cookie Monster), Earl Grey & Fig, Mao Shang Wang Durian, Mango SorbetRoot Beer Float and Banana Nut Cream (I think?) just to name a few. All rather exotic flavours I would think. Toppings include Crushed Oreos, Rainbow Sprinkles, Marshmallows, Pocky Sticks, Nuts, and more.

One can either just have a cup ice-cream, a cone one, or with egglet waffles. There’re two flavours of the waffles to choose from – either Red Velvet or Buttermilk. Alternatively, you could choose to mix both. The egglet waffles with one scoop of ice-cream and one topping goes for $8.90.

Initially Abby couldn’t decide on an ice-cream flavour, so she test-tried the Mint one (which looked vibrantly green – evenly matched with the Cookies & Cream in my opinion) and the Banana Nut flavour. She eventually settled for the Banana Nut topped with Nuts. She went for the mixed Buttermilk and Red Velvet egglet waffles. I tried a spoon of her ice-cream and it tasted totally … banana HAHA.

Featuring my gorgeous friend! I insisted on snapping a picture of her with her egglet waffle, despite her best protests HAHA.

As for me, I chose the Buttermilk mixed with Red Velvet for the egglet waffles as well. Toppings-wise, I just picked something that was very me HAHA (I probably ain’t even making any sense here). In simpler terms, something that I’ve eaten before yet not for a long time already – a safe choice and combination that I thought would go hand-in-hand with the ice-cream and the egglet waffles. So there you go – Pocky Sticks. As for the ice-cream – being someone really picky with the flavours, I set my sights on the Earl Grey & Fig. It was a tasty flavour, as expected of Earl Grey. Abby and I agreed that the Buttermilk part of the egglet waffles tasted better than the Red Velvet portion of it. The Red Velvet part had a little too strong a taste? The Buttermilk part was simply yummy.

Another shot since I chanced upon a lamp at the corner of the store which lit up the egglet waffles with a glow. I had to kneel down on the floor to get this snap, and of course got totally judged HAHA.

Just me from three different angles with my egglet waffles. Couldn’t decide on one to put so just insert all three. Make use of the photos Abby took for me, all while munching on her own egglet waffles HAHA. And yes I know my arms looked super awkward there (evident of their owner).

When we initially arrived at the row of stores where Lickety was, I had to admit that the artisanal bread shop next door totally caught my attention first. Being someone who likes bread a fair bit, I was immediately attracted to how aesthetic each product looked and was displayed. I was totally distracted by the looks of the food that I didn’t even notice the prices HAHA. But according to Abby, they weren’t expensive. Can consider checking out this store when you’re there as well. Subsequently I was trying to snap photos of the breads, all while over the top of a guy’s head (he was sitting at the table right in front of the display window). Got judged again but anything for good pictures of food yeah? And I just found out that both this bakery and Lickety are owned by the same person.

Lickety is located at a very artsy fartsy place – near Haji Lane. Hence, a lot of tourists could be seen around this area. Many artistic walls and architecture as well (pardon my close to zero vocabulary when it comes to things regarding the creative aspects). We would have stayed to snap more pictures of this location, but it was sweltering hot today for some unknown reason. One could almost see the heat simmering from the ground and from your own skin.

Location-wise, it is not very near Bugis MRT station – though it is the closest. One can possibly walk there, though this weather really puts people off. Even though we drove there (we wanted to walk there initially), the heat was already killing us. However, there wasn’t much difficulty in trying to locate the place. You can park on the road (Arab Street) right next to where Lickety is – 34 Bussorah Street. Bussorah Street is a no vehicle stretch of road, which explains why. Walking there from the train station would probably take around ten minutes. And did I already mention that Lickety is halal and Muslim-owned?

KARA Cafe & Dessert Bar (📍 Tan Kah Kee, Singapore)

Due to myself being crazily busy during summer hols, I didn’t have the chance to check out any cafes. And so, I’m determined to check some places off my list before the semester turns even more hectic. Yes I know that the new academic year has already begun, and honestly I’m little guilty of being so slack-ish right at the very start of a new semester (not a good thing yeah). But I vow to study my ass off for the rest of year (a solemn promise to myself). However, at least for these two weeks during add / drop period it’s blogging and good food HAHA.

Met my best budz at our usual drop-off point and she drove us to KARA Cafe & Dessert Bar. I chose this place because it was featured on LadyIronChef, DanielFoodDiary and even JiakSimiPng. The pictures of the waffles had immediately caught my attention – oh how much I love desserts HAHA. There were quite a number of customers when we entered the shop – it was lunchtime. We decided to sit at a two-seater table further inside the place. We then decided to order one savoury dish and one sweet dish to share.

The savoury dish – Pork Belly Miso Grain Bowl ($16). Personally, I liked this dish more than the waffles one. There was sauce drizzled on garlic Japanese rice, giving it a subtly salty flavour. There were also ramen crisps (I’m sure that for most of us, the first thought that came to our minds was the mamee monster snack). In addition to that, the cucumber edamame salad – I really loved the refreshing and distinct taste of the cucumber. The edamame (immature soybeans) was surprisingly not bad as well, given that I usually pick out my green peas (or anything that is green and round HAHA). As for the soft egg, who doesn’t love it when the yolk oozes out after spooning it into half? And finally, the star of the attraction – fork-tender kakuni braised pork belly. All I can say was that it was superb. As someone who loves pork trotters, pork belly is an equal favourite. Though I ended up picking a layer a fat from my piece and got judged HAHA. A definite must-try at this cafe!

The sweet dish – Charcoal Sesame Artisanal Mochi Waffles ($12.50). We chose the lychee rose froyo as our choice of accompaniment. It was the best – the perfect fruity and sweet flavour for my sweet tooth. There were also other flavours of froyo or ice-cream to pick from for the side dish, but some of them were not available at that time. I was rather surprised to see a teh tarik flavour even – so exotic. The small sesame biscuit sticks were a pleasant bonus. It would be an added plus point if the fruits are cold – that contrast in taste would be great. As for the mochi waffles, it was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, but it wasn’t a total wow factor for me in comparison to other waffles I’ve tried. I did like the Speculoos crumbs and sauce a lot though – fell in love with this ever since I got a taste of this with Llaollao. I would say that the highlight of this dish was certainly the froyo.

View from my table further into the shop.

You can check out the current available froyo / ice-cream flavours from here. There is also a gigantic pitcher of water to serve yourself.

A fridge of all the tubs of frozen yoghurt you could possibly pack home.

Possible toppings for your sogurt serving.

View from my table towards the counter.

View from my table towards the outer area of the place. Kind of liked the interior design of the shop – especially all the hanging potted plants, giving the entire store a closer to nature atmosphere. The plant-design wallpaper complements it and brings everything up a notch. As you can see, the crowd started to clear out after lunch hour.

View from outside the shop.

Personally I thought that the Pork Belly Miso Grain Bowl serving was not justified, considering the price of it. But together with the Charcoal Sesame Artisanal Mochi Waffles, it was really filling for two people. Prices are exclusive of GST, and they do not charge for service. A recommended stop for all cafe-goers – would definitely go back a second time to try out their other dishes. Kind of like this new concept store by Sogurt – I remember Sogurt as a place with really sweet yoghurt (I don’t like the supermarket plain-flavoured ones that taste sour).

In case anybody may be wondering how to get to this cafe, it’s really near Tan Kah Kee Downtown Line MRT Station. I was rather shocked when the train station came into sight immediately after we drove off from the location. KARA Cafe & Dessert Bar‘s exact address is 617 Bukit Timah Road Singapore 269718.

NTU School of Biological Sciences FOP 17/18

First blog post in August! Came back from FOP on Saturday night. And yes, the new academic year had already officially begun yesterday. But since some of the photos taken during FOP are up already, I shall share about them here. Can’t really remember the specifics of happenings throughout the four days, so I shall just post the pictures and caption / comment on them here. This is my second year being a programmer in FOP as a senior and my third SBS FOC / FOP.

Day 1 (8 August): Day Games

Day 1 NTU Games 01Day 1 NTU Games 04
Proggies at the ‘Shooting Stars’ station at NIE, led by Jacelyn. Don’t know what they were doing in the second photo though.

Day 1 NTU Games 03
The station I was helping out in at NIE – ‘Milky Way’, led by Jiahao. Liked this card game we were playing while waiting (it was some memory game), but I forgot what it’s called.

Day 1 NTU Games 07
Bonus photo: One minute of silence … for zero freshie chiobu spotted (at least according to Zhisheng’s standards HAHA).

Day 2 (10 August): Amazing Race

Day 2: Amazing Race
The station I was at for Amazing Race – ‘Space Bomber’, led by Zhenxuan. Legit died spending the entire day at Bukit Gombak – it was super (can’t emphasise this enough) blazing asdfghjkl hot. And yes I went home for National Day HAHA.

Day 3 (11 August): Wet & Pool Games + Escape

Day 3: Escape
The proggies setting up Escape! It’s nice to see some of last year’s Escape people come back to help out with the preparations.

Day 3: Wet Games (1)
At the same time, the proggies at the Wet & Pool games.

Day 3: Wet Games (2)
The proggies at the other station for Wet Games (forgot the name of the station – was it still something like Fruit Ninja or has that changed already HAHA), led by Yuanteng. I thought this station had something to do with a beach volleyball though.

Day 3: Wet Games (3)Day 3: Wet Games (4)
The station I was at – ‘Bounce’, led by Wenjie. Evidently Sijie and I didn’t get the memo about shouting ‘Yum Seng’ HAHA.

Day 3: Wet Games (5)
Initially we wanted to do this bouncing cheer for every og that came to our station – Marco’s idea.

Day 3: Wet Games (6)
Vogue enough?

Day 3: Wet Games (7)
Thanks Juncheng for making me look very tall here HAHA.

Day 3: Wet Games (8)
To the senior behind, I don’t know who you’re but thanks for playing along with my owl business HAHA.

Day 3: Pool Games (1)
Pool games were a pity though, it started pouring when we were halfway setting up the SRC pool for the games. And it didn’t let down for very long – it was already really freezing for me, couldn’t imagine how it was like for the swimmers who went into the water during the preparations. Only managed to conduct station games for a little while at the end.
Special thanks to the SAs for assisting us with the setting up and with the running of the station games! I was thoroughly entertained watching the charades games going on between the proggies and the SAs while we all sought shelter during the thunderstorm.

Day 3: Pool Games (2)Day 3: Pool Games (3)When Moana turned R-rated during charades (Bernard’s fault HAHA). Had to post the second photo cause it was just hilariously disturbing. I shan’t comment on my own expression though.

Day 4 (12 August): Beach Games

Day 4: Beach Games (1)
‘Capella’ station – led by Warren.

Day 4: Beach Games (2)
‘Meteror Race’ station – led by Sijie.

Day 3: Beach Game (3)
‘Three Kings’ station – led by Shiming. I personally thought this station photo looked the coolest – I told Shiming that I liked the poses and the formations here HAHA.

Day 4: Beach Games (4)
Finally, ‘Flying Comets’ station led by me HAHA. Special shoutout to Cheryl, Zhuqian, Dorothy, Patricia, Janice, Bernard Patrick, Zhenxuan, Wenjie and Kaiheng for helping out in more ways than I can ever say – don’t know how everything would’ve turned out without you guys.

Day 4: Beach Games (5)
Team Wet & SP Games.

Day 4: Beach Games (6)
Team Day Games.

Day 4: Beach Games (7)
Team Escape.

Day 4: Beach Games (8)
Team Amazing Race.

Day 4: Beach Games (9)
And my Beach family HAHA.

Day 4: Beach Games (10)
The Chief Programmers who led us with all their hard work and sleepless nights.

Day 4: Beach Games (11)
Last but not least, minna san!

After around four / five days, I literally turned fifty shades darker HAHA. And sunburnt once again after just like three weeks? For now, it’s time to conquer year 3 / Junior year!

Photo credits to our resident proggie-photographers: Juncheng & Zhangbo

Castle of Glass – Linkin Park 🎶 (Piano Cover)

A post to end off the month of July. I was actually hoping that I could get this piano cover done sooner as tribute to Chester Bennington. However, this piece has proven to be much more challenging – given that it’s my first time attempting a rock song on the piano. After on-and-off practising for about a week and zillion recording takes later, this is the result. Still mistakes here and there, but it’s the best I could do at the moment. Castle of Glass is my favourite song of Linkin Park’s. My piano cover is based on the arrangement by YouTuber ‘piano3479’, and mine sounds super different from his sobs. Hope it sounds decent enough for you though!

And I’m not sure if I still have the time for any more piano covers – the new academic year is just around the corner and there’re still three songs on my list as requested by my friends. Otherwise, I guess you’d have to wait until winter hols for my next cover. Stay tuned!

River Flows in You – Yiruma 🎶 (Piano Cover)

I know I told some of my friends that I’m working on a Linkin Park song right now, but that piece is proving to be more challenging that I had thought. As such, I’d need a few more days to fine-tune that song before recording and posting it. For now, I’m posting Yiruma’s River Flows in You as requested by a good friend, as this song is simpler and I had already learned this piece quite a while back. Hope you enjoy it!

CATfeine Cafe (📍 Beauty World, Singapore)

Initially got to know about this newly-opened cafe from LadyIronChef‘s website. I then went to check out their Facebook page. After which, I went to search for their Instagram location tag. They probably don’t have a website of their own nor Instagram account yet, as I couldn’t seem to find them with my searches. But I was already intrigued by the photos on LadyIronChef’s page, especially the picture of the waffles. Somehow I always have a certain degree of ‘bias-ness’ towards nice-looking desserts and waffles. After checking out the menu on the cafe’s Facebook page and seeing their almost excellent reviews, I decided that I definitely wanted to check this place out before my summer hols end. A bonus point for the cat-inspired theme – you can probably guess that I’m more of a cat person. Thus, I went to have lunch at this cafe yesterday afternoon.

The nearest MRT station is Beauty World, so from there I took Exit C to the bus stop right outside of it. At that bus stop, you can take bus numbers 61, 66, 157, 174, 970 and 985. Following that, alight at the third stop. The condominium where this cafe is located is right opposite the road. I caught a glimpse of its eye-catching signboard from bus even before it had reached its stop. As such, it’d probably not be a problem for people who’re unfamiliar with the Bukit Timah area or are heading there for the first time. Location-wise I’d say it’s really far for people who don’t stay in the North-West area, but it’s not inconvenient to the extent that you’d still have to walk a long distance even after taking a bus from the nearest train station. If you’re interested, the address of this cafe is 182 Jalan Jurong Kechil, The Hillford, #01-50, Singapore 596152.

Okay enough about the details and let’s just jump straight into the food. I had already made up my mind that I was going to get the Sweet Summer homemade buttermilk waffles due to aesthetic purposes. But that’s not all of course. The exotic honey lavender ice-cream flavour caught my attention, and its array of fruits (Orange, Grapefruit and mixed berries) as its sides hint at a healthier suggestion.


The orchestration of colours in this dish is definitely gorgeous – the myriad colours of summer, just like its name. Okay now comes to the tasting. The waffles are of the crispy type, and the honey lavender ice-cream tasted / had the same scent as the lavender-flavoured oil that my mum has HAHA. But it has a refreshing taste together with the waffles.

There is also the I’m-guessing-it’s-the whipped cream with coffee sauce drizzled over it. This wasn’t mentioned in the menu but I guess cafe owners don’t actually mention every single ingredient in their dish right down to even the sugar sprinkled on the plates. I loved the coffee whipped cream immediately though – it’s just like those whipped cream in the drinks of Starbucks though maybe a little sweeter? Probably due to the coffee sauce. I’m a fan of whipped cream until I stopped consuming Starbucks altogether quite a while ago – I’m probably just missing the taste of the whipped cream’s richness. But the whipped cream does go well with the waffles too.

In addition, the plate seemed to be glossed with maple syrup before the fruits were placed on it. The syrup together with a piece of the fruit gives a unique yet addicting taste – a very different kind that makes you poke at a slice of strawberry with your fork one after another.

As for my mum (I practically implored her to accompany me to this cafe HAHA), she tried the Wraps with Side Salad dish on the menu. There were two different kinds of wraps available then and my mum picked the Chicken Tortilla Wrap (the other one was a Pizza Wrap with another kind of meat that I don’t remember).


I also snapped some photos of the interior of the cafe:


A simplistic and clean layout in my opinion. And I couldn’t take my eyes off the Pusheen cat plush toys  – they’re so adorable omg. Someone buy me a collection of them with different designs please HAHA. As I was sitting at the table nearest to the bookshelf, I was also examining the type of books displayed. They’re mostly books on coffee and tea beverages as well as on cats (not surprisingly so). I spotted a few of Murakami Haruki’s books and found myself nodding in approval – I’m an avid fan of poetry and literature you see. That was until I saw the popular Divergent series present as well – not judging or anything but I was surprised at the sudden pop-out change in book genre. Like from lifestyle-themed to fictional if you know what I mean.

Was at the cafe during lunch hours, but when I arrived there were only two other office ladies sharing a plate of waffles. Sat there for about an hour and a half and there were only two other customers coming in for a cup of coffee or tea and another customer who came in for a meal. They were probably nearby residents or office workers. The condominium where this cafe is located isn’t occupied yet – I found out that its TOP date is at the end of this year. The other units along the same level were either vacant and seeking tenants or occupied but closed at that moment. Perhaps there were less people due to it being a weekday and that the cafe had only opened its doors a few months back, but I think more customers would come flocking once more people are aware of this new hangout. The customer service at this cafe is commendable as well – the lady who took our orders at the cashier and the man who served up the dishes were both very friendly and polite, greeting my mum and I when we first entered the cafe and when we left. I’m guessing they’re the owners.

Would recommend this place to everyone as a potential cafe-hopping spot. Plus points if you like the tranquil neighbourhood kind of atmosphere. A place where you can just chill and relax at your own pace – whether alone or with a friend to catch-up about the old times.