21 Captivating 21st Century Films To Watch This Christmas Season

Watch any one of the below 21 films with family and loved ones for a jolly good Christmas.

Christmas is just round the corner! Christmas is an awesome time to get together and enjoy each other’s presence. What better way to do so – besides having a Christmas dinner – than to cozy up and watch films together?

But what exactly makes a film tick? What kind of films captivates one’s soul and leaves us wanting more? Is it an epic, timeless plot that inspires? Is it by purely awesome acting? Is it the beautiful visuals and cinematography? Or is it the film score that deals the home run?

For me, a good film has to possess all – or at least most – of these qualities in order to cement its position as one of 21st century’s greatest, most captivating films. But beyond that, the beauty of these films lies in the fact that you can watch them again and again, and not tire of it. Below are 21 of the most captivating 21st century films to watch over this Yuletide season.

Do note that as there are simply too many films that ‘should have’ made the list, some of your favourite films may not appear in it. Also, every reviewer has his own bias, and may not have watched every single film, hence his choices subjective. Nevertheless, these 21 films are in my opinion, some of the most beautiful and captivating films in the past 15 years. Enjoy!

#21. The Hundred-Foot Journey

PHOTO: collider.com

Displaced by a political dispute back in India, the Kadam family finds an abode and eatery business in a little town in Midi-Pyrénées, France. They don’t receive a welcome from Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), the proprietor of Michelin starred Le Saule Pleureur. An epicurean war erupts between the two establishments until they find common ground in Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal), the talented chef.

Everything about The Hundred-Foot Journey was delish and on point. I love the cinematography, acting, film pacing and score. Some may call The Hundred-Foot Journey pretentious and disastrous, I like it that the 2014 film is one that celebrates diversity in culture, love, and kinship. I do find the third act (spoiler alert in 3,2,1: where Hassan goes to Paris) too draggy, anti-climatic and unnecessary.

The Hundred-Foot Journey is based off Richard Morais ‘ 2010 novel of the same name and is scored by A.R. Rahman.

#20. Wild

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“I didn’t know where I was going until I got there” uttered Cheryl Strayed. These words would resonate with just about every human being that has gone through hardship – that makes all of us, I guess.

Reese Witherspoon plays recently divorced Strayed who goes on a 2,650 mile hike off America’s Pacific Crest Trail despite her lack in hiking experience. Healing in that process, Strayed deals with the divorce, grief from losing her mother, and her own self-destructive behaviour.

Give your soul a much-needed vacation, and watch Jean-Marc Vallée’s 2014 biographical drama film. Wild is based off Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.

#19. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

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Perfume: The Story of a Murderer tells of the story of a boy with a supernatural sense of smell, who set out on a bizarre journey to create the ‘perfect perfume’. He found his answer in the scent of women and started his quest to perfect the perfume by collecting the scent of thirteen women – after killing them.

Gripping and haunting, the 2006 German film concludes with a twist that nobody would expect. I chanced upon this film by pure coincidence on local television and was immediately spellbound by the plot. The film is based on Patrick Süskind’s 1985 novel titled Perfume and whose hauntingly ear worm score scored by Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer.

#18. Inside Out

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Once in a while, screenwriters come out with really good and independent scripts that’s not taken from a book. That is found in Pixar’s Inside Out. Riley is your average teenager who moves to San Francisco away from her friends. Riley’s emotions (Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger and Fear) tries to help her navigate through this tough period but things goes south when Joy and Sadness gets sent to the far-reaches of Riley’s mind.

Personifying emotions into characters was ingenious. What better way to explain how we deal with challenges than through how we deal with our innate emotions? Inside Out hits you hard on the feels and leaves you all warm and fuzzy on the inside. After all, emotions is something we can all identify with. It’s no wonder it’s a big hit with both children and adults.

Inside Out is directed and co-written by Pete Docter who got the idea for the film when he noticed changes in his own daughter’s personality as she grew up. The 2015 film is scored by Michael Giacchino.

#17. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

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What if you could grow young instead? Brad Pitt plays Benjamin Button, a freak grandfather-child who grows younger with every day that passes by. One may think that growing younger (and looking more dashing) is the dream, but with it also presents its own set of difficulties.

Button weathers through many of life’s challenges but realises he is not destined for a normal family life because of his condition. Ironically, Button matures into an infant while developing dementia, losing awareness of the life he’s lived like that of an elderly man.

The 2008 romantic fantasy film is directed by David Flincher and loosely based off a short story by the great F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is scored by Alexandre Desplat.

#16. The Pursuit of Happyness

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The most strongest material on the earth isn’t Wolverine’s adamantium but something we all possess; the human spirit. If there was a film that exemplifies that, The Pursuit of Happyness is it. Will Smith plays Chris Gardner, a homeless salesman-turned-broker who succeeded in an unforgiving San Francisco by sheer determination and willpower.

We all know Will Smith as the goofy guy in Man in Black or the smart-ass bloke in Independence Day. But for me, Smith delivers an award-winning performance portraying the downtrodden father. Was it the scene where the broken Gardner and his (real) son locked themselves up in the subway toilet for a place to stay, or the sweet intimate moments shared by the father and son?

Ultimately, The Pursuit of Happyness reminds us that come what may, we can reach a state of happiness as long as we don’t give up in pursuing it. The 2006 film is loosely based off the life of successful broker, Chris Gardner, directed by Gabriele Muccino and scored by Andrea Guerra.

#15. Inception

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Hollywood continues to push the envelope of science fiction cinema, dabbling with concepts such as space, time and even dreams. Corporate thieves Dominick Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) extracts information from their targets using an experimental military technology that allows them to infiltrate minds via shared dreaming.

The film gets a little crazy as the duo assembles a team to perform the (almost) impossible task of inception; planting an idea in a person’s subconscious. The most difficult tasks for today’s filmmakers is to develop a compelling story plot that glues audiences’ attention but isn’t overly complicated to comprehend. Inception casts a spell on us viewers with its complex narrative that both confuses and intrigues.

The 2010 film by director Christopher Nolan went viral and created a social media firestorm as viewers debate over DiCaprio’s totem and dream state at the end of film. Inception is also written by Nolan and is scored by legendary composer Hans Zimmer.

#14. The Grand Budapest Hotel

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There is this charm in candy-coloured The Grand Budapest Hotel that I can’t put a finger on. Implicated for a crime he did not commit, Monsieur Gustave H. escapes with his lobby boy Zero Moustafa while in pursuit by a ruthless assassin.

The cinematography is simply gorgeous and I love the use of candy colours throughout the film. The Grand Budapest Hotel is one multi-layered cupcake-of-a-film that keeps you entertained and in awe for a long time. The 2014 comedy film is directed by Wes Anderson and it’s whimsical score scored by Alexandre Desplat.

#13. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

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There is an apt saying that “Old is gold”. 2012’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel make difficult themes like growing old (and death) look a thousand times more uplifting. A group of British pensioners travels to a retirement hotel run by eager beaver Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) where they found that the hotel isn’t the best and exotic hotel it claimed to be.

In that process, the pensioners finds gold in the form of companionship and love. I like how director John Madden and screenwriter Ol Parker breathes new life to the theme of growing old through the powerful connoction of love and comedy. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is bound to be one of the timeless classics that will charm your socks off though I can hardly say that of its sequel. Scored by Thomas Newman.

#12. Hugo

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“Because, this might be an adventure! And I’ve never had one before, not outside of books at least. And I think we should be very… clandestine”, utters Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz). Those words captivated my heart. 2011 British-American film Hugo represents the beauty of cinema-watching; for a good’ol adventure.

Orphan Hugo sets out on a quest with the toy-shop owner’s goddaughter to repair and unlock the secrets of a broken automation, the last legacy left behind by his decreased father. The film pays tribute to pioneer filmmaker and illusionist Georges Méliès.

It’s a real pity Hugo didn’t do quite well in the box office. Hugo is directed by Martin Scorsese, scored by Howard Shore and is based on Brian Selznick’s novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

#11. Spirited Away

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Spirited Away is undoubtedly one of the best and most important animated film with the best music in animated film history. For a film so rich in symbolism from egoism, good and evil, Spirited Away hides a not-so-pleasant meaning; prostitution and children’s early exposure to sex in Japan (click here to read more).

In the film, Chihiro Ogino is trapped in a magical world where she slogs for a bathhouse under a new name (Sen). She meets Haku, deals with a spirit that sought to bribe her and almost cause her parents to be slaughtered. Ogino must save her parents and remember her name – an act of recovering her innocence – in order to escape the magical world.

The 2001 animated fantasy film is written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and its haunting music composed by Joe Hisaichi.

#10. Up

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It’s hard to argue with the internet saying that ‘Pixar told a better love story than Twilight in 8 minutes’. Up is the atypical feel-good story of widower Carl Fredricksen, an elderly man who sets off on a journey with his house – attached with tens of thousands of helium balloons.

He is accompanied by an unexpected visitor, Russell a young Wilderness Explorer who made helping the elderly Fredricksen his mission. The duo is met with adventure beyond their wildest imagination.

The 2009 animated film is directed by Pete Docter and scored by Michael Giacchino.

#9. The Theory of Everything

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James Malsh’s 2014 biographical romantic drama film is less about science than it is a love story. Eddie Reymayne plays the immensely talented Stephen Hawking opposite love interest Jane Wilde Hawking (Felicity Jones).

Cambridge University astrophysics student Hawking has it all; a good family, bright future, and a newly-acquired love interest. This would have been the classic love story but alas, things don’t always work out our way does it? At age 21, Hawking discovers that he suffers from an early onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that left him with a life expectancy of two years.

Despite pushing everyone away including his love, Jane convinces Hawking that they will be happy together. Putting aside her own studies to focus on Hawking, Jane takes care of his every need and that of their three children while Hawking pushes on with his theories.

The Theory of Everything reminds us that love is really a silly idea but is also the very thing that makes life worth living. Ironically, I thought that the film also made Hawking a jerk for betraying Jane after all that she had done for him.

The Theory of Everything is adapted from the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane, and beautiful music scored by Jóhann Jóhannsson.

#8. Ilo Ilo

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Whew! A Singaporean film made it on this list! 2013 family film Ilo Ilo depicts the life of the Lin family and their new domestic helper Teresa (Angeli Bayani) in wake of the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Father Lin (Chen Tianwen) loses his job, Teresa bonds with the Lin’s only son Jia Le (Kor Jia Ler) thus invoking the jealousy of mother, and the family struggles to make ends meet.

While Ilo Ilo chronicles the typical life of many Singaporeans in search of a better life, it also reveals the difficulties and stereotypical bias many Filipino (and foreign) domestic helpers faced in working in foreign country. Work isn’t work anymore when you’re at it 24/7.

As the maid and the family grows closer, the relationship between the two transforms from boss-employee to something much more intimate. ‘Nudity’ is portrayed in the film with a scene of Teresa bathing Jia Le, making that moment a poignant one. Ilo Ilo is directed and written by Anthony Chen.

#7. Life of Pi

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Is there a film that could make you ‘believe in God’? The Life of Pi makes a good contender for the position. Pi Patel is a victim and sole human survivor of a shipwreck catastrophe stranded on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Ironically, the dynamics between him and Parker is the very thing that keeps Patel alive for the 227 days that he is stranded at sea.

Exploring themes on spirituality and faith, checked. Stunning visuals of whales and calm seas, checked. Extremely realistic and lifelike CGI Richard Parker, checked. There’s so much going on in The Life of Pi that you need to re-watch it to gain a greater appreciation and understanding. Never mind that the ocean at times doesn’t seem to have any waves at all, the cinematography and visuals are simply gorgeous. I’m lapping in every drop of it.

2012’s Life of Pi is the triumph for every film adaptation, reflecting not only the author’s content but his imagination. The film is directed by Ang Lee and is based off Yann Martel’s 2001 novel of the same name. Scored by Mychael Dyanna. To read more about the themes explored in the film, click here and here.

#6. How to Train Your Dragon 2

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The sequel film was set five years after the vikings have made peace and domesticated the dragons. While exploring new lands, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless finds love in his once-presumed-dead mother, new dragons, and an enemy that could destroy everything that they have hold dear.

Immensely darker than the previous film, DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon 2 was a gamble that paid off. Unlike other animation films (for kid audiences), Hiccup was a damaged character in which he lost a foot and had to deal with (spoiler alert) the loss of kin. But I love how director Dean Deblois did not shy away from presenting hard issues even to his young audiences.

I’m not a big fan of animation but the film restored my faith. The world isn’t all cotton floss, but you can still find strength and hope in spite of it. The 2015 film How to Train Your Dragon 2 is based on the book series by Cressida Cowell and scored by John Powell.

#5. Ex Machina

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In filmmaker Alex Garland’s morbid but very-plausible near future, artificial intelligence not only attains self-awareness, but has the ability to love, to manipulate, and to overwrite the three laws of robotics (sorry I, Robot).

In the film, Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) interacts with Ava (Alicia Vikander), an artificial intelligence humanoid prototype and has to determine if Ava passes the Turing test; a test to evaluate the AI’s ability to exhibit human intelligence.

A film almost exclusive to pure dialogue, Ex Machina dazzles even without the usual explosions and pyrotechnics present in just about every other science fiction film, making it one of the foremost Sci-Fi film of all time.

The 2015 film is written by Garland himself and music composed by Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow.

#4. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

PHOTO: baltimoremagazine.net

The traveller in me connects with every frame of the 2013 adventure fantasy film. Ben Stiller plays Walter Mitty, a negative assets manager who goes on an epic transcontinental journey to find O’Connell and the missing 25th negative.

Mitty almost gets himself killed twice in that process – by an erupting volcano in Iceland and a shark attack off Greenland. As absurd as it is, The Secret Life of Water Mitty reminds us audiences not to view life through a lens, but to experience it for oneself. I like that Mitty uses a external frame backpack rather than the more convenient internal framed one. It’s like he’s making a subtle point.

“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is directed by Stiller himself and is loosely based from James Thurber’s novel of the same name. The film’s epic score is composed by Theodore Shapiro and features Swedish singer José González.

#3. Interstellar

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“We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars. Now we just look down, and worry about our place in the dirt.” Space is the final frontier and Interstellar reminds us of all its wondrous possibilities.

Widowed former NASA pilot Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) lives in a world that was degenerating. Taking a chance, Cooper leaves behind his family to travel through a supermassive black hole in search of a new place to safeguard humanity’s survival.

Science fiction films especially those on ‘space’ are a tricky theme to tackle because of the technicality which scientists always seem to find fault with. Interstellar manages to tread through difficult waters, delivering quite a stellar performance that checks out fine with scientists and has the dramatic narrative that doesn’t bore us viewers.

I like how space-time paradox is brought into the mix through space-time singularity. The final moments quite literally left me in the edge of my seat.

The 2015 film is directed by Christopher Nolan and scored by none other than Hans Zimmer.

#2. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

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How often do you want to live in the world of the film you’ve just watched? I will choose Narnia anytime. Evacuating London due to the German bombings during World War II, the Pevensies arrives in the country home of Professor Digory Kirke where they find a magical wardrobe leading them to another world.

Betrayal arises, war erupts, and the Pevensies must muster their every courage to battle evil. Very seldom can you feel the ‘magic’ in watching a film, but The Chronicles of Narnia does just that right from the moment that Lucy steps into the snow-covered winter wonderland.

Accompanied by the enchanting music composed by Harry Gregson-Williams, watching the 2005 film is akin to opening a box of Turkish delights which I will savour to the last bit.

I’m ready for Narnia, take me there Aslan. The first of the fantasy film series, the film is based off the children’s book series of the great C.S. Lewis.

#1. Cloud Atlas

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Cloud Atlas is one mammoth-of-a-film, combining 6 different story plots of 6 completely distinct eras into a 3-hour film. The earliest timeline begins in 1849 with the last era taking place in post-apocalyptic 2321.

In each of the timelines, the protagonist(s) of the period experiences moral dilemmas and crises that could result in cataclysmic repercussions, affecting either a few people, countless many, or even generations to come. As the protagonists of each timeline reaches the climax, each must make their decision which may be at a personal expense. “My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?” said Adam Ewing (Jim Sturgess) from 1849 timeline.

What’s also interesting is that the characters who appear across different eras could be a hero in one, a villain in another. Exploring the threading of human kindness and action in hindsight, Cloud Atlas is by far the boldest film adaptation to grace the silver screen.

The 2012 film was directed by Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer and Andy Wachowski and is based off David Mitchell’s 2004 novel of the same title. Cloud Atlas was scored by Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil and features the devilishly captivating Cloud Atlas Sextet which is easily the greatest song ever composed in my book. RW

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The LKY Musical: Story of Singapore’s First Prime Minister

Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that he did indeed play a pivotal role in making Singapore what she is today. Come July 21st, the life of our late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first and longest serving premier will be played out in The LKY Musical performed at the MasterCard Theatres, Marina Bay Sands.

Metropolitan Productions’ The LKY Musical was conceived three years ago when a group of theatre-loving friends came together and lamented why Singapore did not have any plays or musicals centered around their statesmen – like many other countries do. This deep admiration for Mr Lee thus became the driving force behind production of the world class musical which also doubles as a tribute to the late statesmen.adrian-pang-the-lky-data

The LKY Musical follows the life of Mr Lee from his early days at Raffles College to the founding of Singapore. The musical is based on a story by Singaporean writer Meira Chand. and its script is written by US playwright Tony Petito, the founding artistic director of the Singapore Repertory Theatre – the folks who brought you the highly popular Shakespeare in the Park!

The LKY Musical will be the second of three musicals centered around Singapore’s history, the first being Singapura: The Musical (19 May-7 Jun) and the third; Nanyang, The Musical (6-8 Aug). Tackling Singapore-themed topics can be extremely difficult because of potential political red tapes (the musical explores the dynamics between Lee and party member-turned-arch rival, Lim Chin Siong), Singaporeans’ high expectations, self-censorship, and Singaporeans’ personal take on how Mr Lee’s life should be played out on the international stage. Not to mention, emotions are still high since the jubilee year also marks Mr Lee’s passing which took place less than six months ago.

Heavyweights in the creative industry has been drafted into the musical cast and creative lineup.

adrian-pang-and-sharon-au-dataAdrian Pang stars as the man of the hour. Having performed in HamletMacbeth, Into The Words, Forbidden City, Twelfth Night… This man needs no introduction. I last saw Pang as the dysfunctional dad in Tribes and he was gold. I have no doubt that Pang is the best man for the job and that he will put up a spectacular performance.

Sharon Au stars as our late Prime Minister’s love interest, the late Kwa Geok Choo. In recent years, the media has revealed the contributions made by Mdm Kwa and her paramount importance to Mr Lee. Hence, whoever’s playing Mdm Kwa has to be crème de la crème. In all my years of couch potatoing, I have always known Au to be a terrific variety host. So it was conflicting for me when the role of Mdm Kwa was given to her. But since she supposedly nailed her audition to be awarded the most important (and only female) role, I will be anticipating her performance on the Mastercard Theatres. Hopefully she doesn’t disappoint!

The musical will also shed light on Koh Teong Koo (played by Sebastian Tan) the rickshaw rider who saved Mr Lee during World War 2 – God bless his soul- and his political arch rival Lim Chin Siong (played by Benjamin Chow).

Music veteran, Dick Lee holds the honour of composing the music for the musical. His lyrical accolades include sellout musicals such as Beauty World (1988), Fried Rice Paradise (1991, 2010), Forbidden City (2003) and so on. I happened to be watching The 5 Show on Channel 5 and that episode featured Lee’s first performance for the new song he wrote for this year’s NDP. It was… too musical-ish. Lee’s forte is clearly in musical song writing. I am looking forward to his score for The LKY Musical.

I must say I am also a teeny weeny bit apprehensive about the musical since the first Singapore musical (Singapura: The Musical) was supposedly a disappointment (according to reviews).

But The LKY Musical shows promise in delivering a solid Singaporean-ish musical experience that will make us relish and cry for the late Mr Lee who’s had so much to do with Singapore’s success today. Mark down your calendars, and book your tickets for The LKY Musical between 21 July to 16 August 2015. RW

The LKY Musical

MasterCard Theatres, MBS

21 July to 2 August 2015

Ticket Pricing: $78 – $108

Web Link: The LKY Musical

Eat Clean with Sheryl: Deconstructed Sushi Bowl

With so many cheap snacks and fast food joints serving up instant-gratifying unhealthy food, today’s consumers are spoilt for choice. It’s also a relatively tough decision to make when a bowl of healthy salad at a popular salad joint can easily set you back by $11 and above, while a Double Cheese Burger Meal at McDonald’s – upsize with drinks included – costs significantly lower than a bowl of ‘vegetables’.

However, consuming sugarly, refined, processed and fatty food creates a lot of stress for the body to the point of ageing it well before its time. For more information on how food ages you, check out Experience Life’s article ‘Food Habits That Ages You‘.

Preparing your own meals can help you take charge of your health. No matter your age, living situation, or culinary skills, you can learn to cook tasty, healthy, and inexpensive meals.

Cooking for One, Helpguide.org

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Preparing your own healthy food is one way to beat inflation and exorbitant price tags. But more than that, preparing your own meals also give you the power to take charge of your own health. We are what we eat and we are all given the sovereign right to choose what we bring into our body system. Our parents (moms) and their parents know this to be true, hence their preparing healthy and unarguably less salty homemade staple as dinner for the family. Shopping for greens are also made easier. Commercialisation of the food industries brings with it the proliferation of supermarkets from heartland housing areas to business districts.

Character-wise, preparing your own food trains patience and apparently, guts too. An Instagram fan who’s afraid of the knife asks Sheryl how does she chops her greens so ‘finely’ to which our lady chef coolly replies, “it takes lotsa patience and I also have a powerful shredder!”

Ah, patience. A virtue we can all do more with indeed. RET

Follow Sheryl on her instagram here.

Ingredients:

  • Brown Rice
  • Red and Yellow Peppers
  • Organic Tofu
  • Shitake Mushrooms
  • Avocado
  • Radish
  • Carrots
  • Purple Cabbage

*Greens can only be kept fresh for three days.

Preparation Process:

  1. Boil Shitake Mushrooms, Tofu and Brown Rice.
  2. Cut and mix assorted vegetables with boiled ingredients.
  3. Cut up Avocado bits and place in sushi mix.
  4. Sprinkle Shredded Nori and Sesame for flavouring.
  5. Enjoy.

Preparation Time:

  • 45 minutes for a single serving.
  • 1 hour for three day’s worth of lunch (Keep ingredients in airtight container and store in refrigerator).

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References:

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/cooking-for-one.htm

https://experiencelife.com/article/food-habits-that-age-you/

Eat Clean with Sheryl: Red Quinoa and Assorted Greens with Tofu

“The food options around my office are oily, unhealthy and expensive.” If you have ever entertained such a thought, perhaps it’s time to try your hand at preparing your own vegan diet.

Eating clean is a good way to refresh your eating habits: it’s about eating more of the best and healthiest options in each of the food groups—and eating less of the not-so-healthy ones. That means embracing foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains, plus healthy proteins and fats. —Lisa D’Agrosa, M.S., R.D., EatingWell.com

According to several online sources, clean vegan diets helps to rid your body of toxins from processed food, gives you better complexion and glowing skin, more energy, better sleep, better immune system, lesser mood swings (some of our friends might need that), and makes you happier among the many other benefits of eating clean.

It was also claimed to make you smarter, more creative and more attractive! Contrary to popular belief, preparing your own clean recipe is inexpensive and wouldn’t take more than an hour or so – from preparation to mealtime (once you get the hang of it).

Every week I speak with Sheryl, my colleague, vegan and mastermind behind all the eat clean recipes in this series. Eat Clean with Sheryl is a weekly series that introduces easy-to-prepare clean recipes for lunches in the office. The series also features insights into the eating clean culture to help you and I to eat (and feel) healthier, save more and most importantly, to be happier.

So roll up your sleeves, prepare the ingredients, set the table, it’s time to Eat Clean with Sheryl. RET

Follow Sheryl on her instagram here.

Ingredients:

  • Organic Tofu
  • Red Quinoa
  • Red Capsicums
  • Purple Cabbage
  • Japanese Cucumber
  • Edamame Peas
  • Avocado
  • Grapefruit

Preparation Process:

  1. Boil Red Quinoa for 30 minutes, replace water with Miso (flavoured water) for extra taste.
  2. Boil Edamame Peas.
  3. Cut and mix assorted vegetables.
  4. Sprinkle generous dose of Toasted Sesame Oil on Tofu for the smoky taste.
  5. Microwave Tofu before serving.
  6. Enjoy.

Preparation Time:

  • 45 minutes for a single serving.
  • 1 hour for an entire week’s lunch (Keep ingredients in airtight container and store in refrigerator).

References:

http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/10_ways_to_eat_clean

http://news.health.com/2014/09/02/5-reasons-to-eat-healthier-that-have-nothing-to-do-with-your-weight/

http://spryliving.com/articles/the-benefits-of-eating-clean/

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/perks-of-eating-all-clean-vegan-food/

Feature: One of Singapore’s Finest Eating Spot, Lavender Food Square

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“I raised two children all the way to university through this business!” exclaimed stall owner Mr Chng. Chng operates the famous Whitley Road Fish Ball Noodle stall in Lavender Food Square together with his wife. Home to some of Singapore’s most popular hawker stalls like Kok Kee Wanton Mee, Whitley Road Fish Ball Noodle, Albert Street Prawn Noodle, Miow Sin Popiah and Carrot Cake, and Kin Turtle Soup, there is something here for everyone here at the iconic 24-hours hawker centre. With more than 30 stalls in operation and spacious space, Lavender Food Square can feed and accommodate as much as 800 patrons at any given time. Other features include the iconic high ceilings, retractable shelters and wide screen television sets broadcasting the latest football matches.

Built back in the early 1980s, Lavender Food Square was initially established as Bugis Square. The food centre was closed for renovation to fix its public drainage system which used to clog up and cause flooding when it rained. It later reopened in 1992 as the iconic Lavender Food Square that we all know today. A place of good food for most, a source of livelihood for some, many of the hawkers have practically been with the food centre for decades. Chng himself had been with the food centre for two decades. The shutters will come down over the legendary food centre in the later part of the year. One thing is for sure, Lavender Food Square has had a good run, and its memories will remain etched in the hearts of those who was satisfied by its savoury delicacies.

UPDATE: Period of photoshoot and interview was conducted in early 2014. Lavender Food Square is no more, teared down to make way for an office building.

Writer’s Note: While the photos have not been watermarked, all rights belong to the photographer (me). Requests for commercial use of photos will not be entertained. For requests for editorial use, kindly email me at reueleugenetay@gmail.com. 

References:

http://mothership.sg/2014/03/lavender-food-square-at-jalan-besar-closing-down-to-make-way-for-rent-seeking-capitalists/

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Musical: A Night with Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

I was in the midst of interviewing a Singaporean and a Foreigner for a tribute story to our late founding father when my mom called to ask if I want to watch Beauty and the Beast with her at 8pm. And of course… I took up the offer! Who wouldn’t! Beauty and the Beast, the original Broadway musical spectacular seen by more than 35 million people is here in Singapore for the first time! The musical is based on the 1991 Academy-Award winning animated feature film where it premiered on Broadway in 1994 and ran for 13 years. After 20 years, the show’s original Broadway creative team reunites to re-imagine the international tour of musical sensation and bring this Broadway classic to life.

I must confess, I can’t remember for the life of me when did I caught Beauty and the Beast or whether did I watch the animated film at all. But the musical was oh-so-magical nevertheless even for someone like me who probably never caught the animated film!

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is the classic story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped in a spell placed by an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed to his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity.

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Everything about the musical was so right. While it is expected of Belle to be pretty and able to sing well, there were many other aspects of the musical that makes it a must-watch with your family and friends. The side characters. The spotlight may be on Beauty and her Beast, the side characters like Lumiere (candle stand), Cogsworth (clock), Mrs Potts (teapot), Madame de la Grande Bouche (wardrobe) more than ace their roles and parts. Lumiere was the most charming one of the bunch (spoiler alert)! Their humorous antics, heartwarming act and pitch perfect singing adds much volume to this larger-than-life musical.

Secondly, the costumes were top-notch. The costumes from Belle and Beast to the minor roles were carefully designed to entreat our eyes. And did you know that the yellow gorgeous, grandeur dress Belle wore weighs 10kg? Imagine her twirling in that 10kg dress for our amusement. But it paid off and was simply so magical for all of us in the audience to watch. One of the things that has left me bewildered and intrigued was how Beast changed to a man (and vice versa) within SECONDS!

Thirdly, the orchestra. Every score played out perfectly. Every BATB fan would agree hands down. Try not to sing along to the hit song ‘Beauty and the Beast’, I dare you. After the musical, remember to go to the stage front and look down to see the orchestra band in action.

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Here’s me in a sweat-drenched-and-dried tee and mom. I was probably the worst dressed ‘VIP’ but hey! I came from the Padang queue okay!

The musical runs till 3 May 2015. Experience the magic live before it disappears!

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Event Date
Sat, 21 Mar – Sun, 3 May 2015
Tue – Fri: 8pm
Sat: 2pm & 8pm
Sun: 1pm & 6pm
Venue
Grand Theatre,
MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands
Ticket Pricing
(Excludes Booking Fee)
Premium : S$190
A Reserve : S$170
B Reserve : S$145
C Reserve : S$115
D Reserve : S$85
E Reserve : S$65
VIP Box (For 4 Seats) : S$760
Box Seats (For 4 Seats) : S$460

Restricted View:
F Reserve : S$170
G Reserve : S$145

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