Author: Raffles Press

Food for Thought: Thai in Town

Reading Time: 5 minutes

By Wilson Chan (15A01C) and Valerie Chee (15S07B)

Photos by the writers and Stephanie Cheong

Here’s some good news for jaded J2s who are beginning to exhaust the food menu at our favourite down-the-road restaurant, Jai Thai, and eager J1s who want to try out a new location for their next OG dinner. Having opened just this year at Upper Thomson Road, Thai in Town is only 4 stops from the canteen bus stop via bus 410, and serves delicious Thai cuisine at relatively affordable prices.

The shop's interior [Source: Stephanie Cheong]
The shop’s interior [Source: Stephanie Cheong]
When a group of us from Raffles Press stumbled upon this new, underexposed addition to the Thomson dining scene, we simply couldn’t resist taking a chance at some of its signature Thai delicacies — and we weren’t disappointed. Due to the restaurant’s decent price range of approximately $11 to $20 per pax for a full course, we were able to order enough dishes to satisfy all five of us, while only racking up a total bill of around $60. Thai in Town is ideal for students eating out in groups as the portions of food are large enough for sharing amongst friends, and it is definitely worth trying out a variety of their dishes anyway.

Fried Chicken Midwings
Fried Chicken Midwings

We started off our meal with the Fried Chicken Midwings ($5.90) which came coated with a strong seasoning, perhaps more suited to those with a higher tolerance for spicy food. One main shortcoming was its tough exterior which made it difficult to chew, although the meat inside was still quite tender. Another grouse we had was that the seasoning was overly salty. Altogether, it was a relatively filling, if slightly overpriced and subpar, appetiser.

The Tom Yam Seafood Soup alongside the Thai Green Curry
The Tom Yam Seafood Soup alongside the Green Curry Chicken

Next, we ordered the Green Curry Chicken ($10.90) and the Tom Yam Seafood Soup ($13.90). To supplement these main dishes, the restaurant sells bowls of rice for $1 each. While the Green Curry dish could have used a more generous amount of chicken, which came in the form of stringy pieces, the curry itself was slightly sweet and minimally spicy, making for a heartening meal.  On the other hand, the Tom Yam Seafood Soup was served with a good portion of prawns, fish and shellfish, and had a fairly spicy aftertaste. It was relatively thick, and the sourness of the soup was well-balanced with the fragrance of the herbs. As the portions of curry and soup provided were rather big, we would recommend splitting the costs of the main dishes amongst a small group of friends.

Mango Sticky Rice
Mango Sticky Rice

Following the main course, we had the Mango Sticky Rice ($5.90), one of the most popular Thai desserts, although the unique combination of rice and mango may at first seem strange to those unacquainted with Thai food. Overall, the chewiness of the glutinous rice contrasted perfectly with the softness of the mango pieces, and the base of coconut milk added moisture to the overall texture, completing the balance of this sweet and addictive dish.

Honey Toast
Honey Toast with Ice Cream

Lastly, we indulged in the Honey Toast with Ice Cream ($10.90), which was served with rainbow sprinkles, strawberry slices and a generous drizzle of caramel sauce. The toast itself had a great consistency; it was crispy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside, having been softened by the honey. The vanilla ice cream complemented the honey toast well, although the dish was a little excessively sweet due to the caramel sauce. Even so, the strawberries did help in balancing out the sweetness. It is perhaps best shared with a friend or two, except in the case of those with exceptionally sweet teeth.

Sabai Sabai
Sabai Sabai

On a risky venture into the less familiar section of the drinks menu, we ordered the Sabai Sabai ($4.90) on a whim and were presented with a tall glass of pink, fizzy syrup. It is meant to be stirred in order to spread out the concentration of Thai basil seeds at the bottom of the glass. The drink itself was extremely fizzy and overly saccharine for our unused taste buds, but the staff do allow you to sample the drinks before ordering them in case they are not to your liking.

Thai Coffee Iced
Thai Coffee Iced

Finally, the Thai Coffee Iced ($3.20) was rather impressive with a good balance of coffee and milk. The coffee was sufficiently strong as to not be overpowered by the milk, something that unfortunately happens often. However, to the untrained coffee drinker, it merely tastes like a better version of Singapore’s famous Kopi and may not be worth your money.

As we visited on a night when the restaurant wasn’t too crowded with customers, the service staff allowed us to stay for quite a while, and even offered to bring us glasses of water for free. Despite its minimalist furnishing and humble interior design, Thai in Town has great service, affordable and palatable dishes, and a decent ambience. So if you have an affinity for Thai food and don’t mind travelling a little further than the stone’s throw distance between school and Jai Thai, grab your friends and make a trip down to Thai in Town for a taste of their best cuisine.

Opening hours:

– Mon — Fri: 1130-2300

– Sat — Sun: 1100-2300


#01-00, 244P Upper Thomson Road

Fearing to be Emotional: A Response

Reading Time: 6 minutes

By Myko Philip (15A01B)

“Your emotional resilience must be higher. How are you going to survive if your resilience quotient is so low?” A memorable lesson from that night’s tortuous but meaningful reprimand. The scene of the crime: oppressive 31˚C heat at midnight; invasive and almost painfully suburban yellow lights; Chopin Op. 28 No. 4 (a lovely, plaintive prelude aptly titled “Suffocation”) on the piano; me, crying.


I am telling you this because a peer of mine, Yeo Jia Qi, recently published an article on our website extolling the virtues of being more open and candid with our emotions. He was prompted to write this article because in his view there was a patent dearth of emotion in our institution or society at large. This aberration, he claims, is due to our fears of being emotional, a fear which he implies is irrational and even deleterious. While I agree with him that we should not be afraid to feel, I think that most people are right in their attempts to be emotionally reserved and cool. This is different from being emotionally dead and completely apathetic, and I think is a good balance to strive for.

Before I proceed, there are certain ambiguities I would like to clarify. Does Mr Yeo, for instance, refer to Rafflesians or society in general when he says that “we fear being emotional”? And on that point, does he genuinely believe that Rafflesians or Singaporeans are cold phlegmatic grade-scoring machines who deliberately suppress their emotions? And why do they do so? Mr Yeo offers us his theory that people are afraid to feel because of a pervasive “uncertainty about what emotions can be expressed appropriately” which “perhaps creates an unconscious need to control our anger, fear, sadness or empathy”. In my personal experience, most conversation with friends and teachers — once the trimmings like witty banter and mordant commentary on current affairs or sensational gossip have been taken away — involves extensive emotional exchange. Friends are not afraid to show displeasure (is not our country’s chief industrial output complaints?) or voice out their misgivings and doubts. Constantly, the sense of being loveless and its accompanying deluge of solitude and feelings of inadequacy are brought up. Even the fear of growing old, which at our age seems a distant and irrelevant consideration, is a perennial conversational centerpiece. Add to that the immense trepidation of being thrown into the wide, unstructured world where what you do and learn is no longer dictated to you by the quantifiable and  easily compartmentalized sentences on a single-A4 page of paper. We feel all the time. And these friends are not just my batch of Humanities students, but include also sporty rugby players and floorballers and proudly self-titled science geeks on the other side of the campus. In fact, I believe that the opposite of what Mr Yeo says is true: that the uncertainties we uncomfortably swim in provoke emotions and emotional discourse. There is no choke point in the circulation of emotions in the school. Yes, there are many out there who are unable to confide their emotions in a close friend. But is this really a fear of sharing emotions? I argue that the issue is in the demand and not the supply. And to this extent we should try to be more inclusive and friendly towards these people who, more than anything, are so withdrawn because out of kindness they are afraid of being ‘burdens’ or ruining your day. Are they afraid of sharing emotions? Or have they just not found an appropriate human outlet? Hence the diaries, which are not a running away from showing emotion but an attempt to confront it within one’s self whilst waiting for someone to approach them and ask if they need help.

Moreover, our doubts over whether our emotions are appropriate or not are symptoms of having powerful and authentic emotions in the first place. We only doubt whether they are appropriate or not because we doubt if we are experiencing them in excess. When Mr Yeo talks about anger management, his argument is invalid insofar as anger management is not traditionally an attempt to stifle mild harmless annoyance but to control violent urges that are potentially dangerous to the people around us. He derides it as a “palatable way of saying not to show [anger]”. But that’s because that is exactly what it is. Someone only goes for anger management when his anger is so extreme that it becomes both unhealthy and even unsafe for him and for everyone around him. The same goes for depression. Ironically, the trivial sadnesses that we experience are more likely to flow out from us than more profound angst that we hesitantly harbor like a fugitive only because he has no other home. For every confession of terrible, seemingly insurmountable misery, you will have three others about the bus being crowded or the timetables being unfair or the death of some likeable character in a television show. When anguish is genuine, however, the fear of feeling it is entirely justified, and letting depression flow naturally isn’t something we should encourage. Depression can be debilitating. It seems clichéd to say that it saps all the energy out of you like a vacuum cleaner, but it does. It can be a cruel hindrance to any form of productivity and activity. It feels like a self-imposed glass ceiling stopping you from doing what you want to do. You fear emotion in these cases because it might consume you. Is that wrong? Mr Yeo rightly points out that people are afraid to express emotions when their severity is of such magnitude. And for those who are unable to find a willing, listening ear, the Raffles Guidance Centre (or the Underground, as it is affectionately called) is always there. But excessive anger is harmful and depression is an illness. To eradicate both is something all parties rightly desire. He correctly identifies the fact that a “respect for others’ lives” prompts a reluctance to “affect them with our own emotions” or that we feel “vulnerable” when we expose ourselves so completely to the world. But when feelings are trivial, there is nothing wrong with people keeping them in. And when feelings are in excess and powerful, they are right in trying to control them. While Mr Yeo is right that we should not attempt to deny our emotions, we should keep them in check when they start hampering us from functioning.

Which brings us back to where we started, with me in the middle of the night practicing a piano piece I didn’t even like for an inordinate number of times in order to satisfy my parents that I was ready for my piano exam. Cue my father’s spiel; cue my crying.

Mother: [sternly] Why are you crying?

Myko: I-… I don’t know.

Mother: [her voice rising in anger or incredulity] Why are you crying? Are you stressed? Are you stressed, Myko?

Myko: Yes.

Father: This thing is so small already and you feel stressed? You feel stressed? You think the world is easy? Wait until you get a job, then you will know what stress means. Wait until you live under Martial Law and are poor and don’t know if you have food on the table tomorrow, then you will know what stress means. Crying? Pah.

But is there not some truth to this? My parents, and many other parents for that matter, have shared for the first twenty years of their life an intimate relationship with suffering and tribulation. They have had prodigious knowledge of the world’s capacity for indifference from a very young age. My parents both lived near the poverty line under martial law in the Philippines when a dictator came to power. For many of us who bemoan the need to assemble at 7.40am in the morning half the days of the week, their suffering and pain and emotions are far beyond what we can imagine. And yet they soldiered on.

Of course depression can be debilitating and affect anyone, even if they seem to have every reason to be happy: relative financial security, popularity, family. We all remember Robin Williams from last year. But many who are not afflicted by depression are right to sometimes try and inject perspective in their life. Their emotions are inconsequential compared to what others are feeling, and if they begin to accumulate insidiously and affect our way of thinking, then that’s bad. So when I cried because I was “stressed” and thought that crying might earn me some sympathy, my parents were entirely correct in scolding me. Sometimes, we truly need a wakeup call from our insular, self-centered thought-processes and have to be reminded that we are not the only people in society. We need to be reminded that when a mental illness is as obstructive and painful as physical illness, mental training applies as much as physical training. That sometimes when emotions are really trivial, we shouldn’t at all play the sympathy card or claim that people just don’t understand us for what we are. Iago in Othello reminds us that “’Tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus” and if our bodies and minds are the gardens, he says, we are the gardeners.

CCA Preview’15: Raffles Runway

Reading Time: 3 minutes

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

— Coco Chanel

Raffles Runway batch of 2015
Raffles Runway batch of 2015

In 2005, a small group of like-minded students with a love for fashion came together to form Raffles Runway. A CCA like no other, Runway is home to all students passionate about fashion and design. Runway provides a time and space for its 30-odd members to try their hand at fashion design – students design, sew and embellish their own work, using materials that range from the conventional (cotton, chiffon, satin) to the slightly less conventional (duct tape, fairy lights, paper ribbons). Each student’s innovations are showcased at Raffles Runway’s annual fashion show, RProject. Every RProject is organised, curated and planned by our very own student designers, assisted by student volunteer models.

RProject takes place during mid-late May each year. As the biggest event on the CCA’s calendar, preparation for RProject starts months in advance (2015’s RProject is already in the works and it’s looking to be a very special show – be excited!) As a student-driven project, every year’s RProject is an exciting journey of exploration and discovery. The direction that the fashion show takes, and what it chooses to express, is completely up to its members’ discretion. Some memorable themes from previous years include 2008’s political commentary The Mayday Parade, the dramatic Memento Mori of 2012, and this year’s Alice-inspired Down the Rabbit Hole.


Don’t let the glitz & glamour of a fashion show fool you – those one, two hours of glittering dresses, flashing lights, adrenaline and backstage-changing-frenzy are only the tip of the iceberg. There are many things to be done in preparation for the show and members must be prepared to take on a myriad of roles & pick up skills in double-quick time. Oftentimes, a Runway member is a photographer, make-up artist, stylist, editor, and Runway Room housekeeper all rolled into one – but that just keeps things interesting!

If you join Raffles Runway, you can expect CCA sharings where we critique and commend each others’ designs, sewing classes from external instructors, consultations with a seamstress, and meetings to discuss the upcoming RProject. As RProject nears, you might find members hard at work sewing their garments together and helping each other through the difficult bits (or at least attempting to).

Runway currently holds its sessions from 4 to 6:30 each Tuesday afternoon (although this might be subject to change). Members are expected to commit fully to the CCA, and the first half of the year is particularly busy for us as RProject approaches. Full attendance during every session of April & May is required as we prepare for RProject and need all hands on deck.


So if you spend too much time on, love flipping through Vogue, plan your head-to-toe outfit while brushing your teeth, or are just itching to make a dress and see someone wear it down the runway – then Raffles Runway is the place for you. We’d love to see you & your sketches at trials!

P.S. No, being able to sew is not a prerequisite. It is definitely a plus though – and now is as good a time as ever to start!

CCA Preview’15: Chinese Language Drama & Cultural Society

Reading Time: 3 minutes

CLDCS, the Chinese Language Drama and Cultural Society, is a Performing Arts CCA which includes three sections, Drama, Songwriting and Calligraphy.

Many people know us from our annual concert in early May. We perform and showcase what we have done for the whole year, performing dramas and songs originated by ourselves and exhibiting our calligraphy. Our aim is to promote Chinese culture to everyone in every way we can. Hence, we value individual talents. If you are people who have lots of creative ideas, our CCA is the place for you.


We are just a group of people who are passionate in the Chinese culture and we express our passion through acting, singing and writing. No worries if you do not speak Chinese fluently. Our external instructors usually use English or mix English with Chinese when they conduct lessons, promoting better understanding. Even our members discuss and communicate in English as well. Don’t let the lack of fluency in Chinese stop you from joining our CCA.

Since we have three sections, you can choose according to your interests. We will take in those who are passionate about music and acting, who are excited to transform the club and take the lead, and those who want to shine under the spotlight and share their passion with other people. No worries if you are not interested in all three sections. We welcome students who have the interest in stage managing, light effects and sound effects as our annual concert is all fully planned by our members only. We need different talents to make our performance a successful one.

In the Drama section, we play games to train our acting skills, write scripts according to our interests and train one another to become better actors and actresses. One script requires almost one year to complete. We act it out, and then do amendments. And the process repeats. This ensures that our script improves better overtime. We try our best to ensure that our audiences can relate to our drama to the greatest extent and have the emotional connection, in order to convey our message. Every drama has a message to convey and we express our thoughts through these dramas. And we have to thank our external instructor, Mr.Chou, an experienced and friendly teacher as well as an actor, who taught us all these things.


In the Songwriting sections, we have two external instructors to teach our members how to compose a song, create a melody and write the lyrics. No music background is required as long as you have the passion to perform. Songs are also amended again and again to ensure the quality. We will also record and sell a CD with all our music pieces to raise funds for charities. Sounds exciting to own an album?


In the Calligraphy section, members go for training without the help of external instructors. It does not matter that much that there is no external instructors because calligraphy is an Art that requires more practices than theory. You will benefit from the training as you learn discipline as well.

What we want our members to have is the passion to learn and to promote the Chinese culture. If you have it, we will take you in. No past experience is required.


Our weekly training sessions will be on Tuesdays for Songwriting and Calligraphy and Wednesdays for Drama after school. You can choose to sign up for one section or more. There will be more trainings near our annual concert to make sure that our members are well-prepared and ensure the quality of our performance.

In the club, we help each other to learn and grow together. Apart from many leadership opportunities, you can also look forward to a fulfilling year of new friendship, pursuing your passion and showcasing your talents.

We hope you will join us!

Open House Preview: Raffles Palette

Reading Time: 3 minutes

by Michelle Zhu (15A01B)
Photos courtesy of the Raffles Palette Facebook page

Watch the Raffles Palette video here!
Watch the Raffles Palette video here!

Why Raffles Palette? A palette symbolises diversity — although each colour may not stand out individually, they can come together to form a painting, which represents unity, inclusiveness and the fact that all colours are equally important. The tapestry that is created by the colours mixing also signifies our vibrant school life.

Choosing the right JC for you can be a difficult task — it may be the gateway to university, but also offers many more opportunities than academia alone. Raffles Palette 2015 will showcase the myriad of choices available for you, our future Rafflesian, be it in terms of sports, the arts, or other talents you may want to develop.

Open House will be held tomorrow, 14th January, from 9am to 3pm. Majority of the activities are concentrated in one area — the Multi-Purpose Hall (MPH), Indoor Sports Hall (ISH), Gryphon Square, Innovation Centre, and the Cage, as seen from the map below. In line with our palette theme, visitors who visit all 5 areas and get their palettes stamped will also receive a special prize.

Campus map, key areas
Campus map; key areas are clustered at blocks J, K, and L

Upon registration, you’ll be given a goodie bag (with Marble Slab Creamery vouchers!) and our friendly Befrienders will take you on a tour around our campus. Afterwards, you’ll be free to walk around and explore the various areas. Our principal, Mr Chan Poh Meng, will also be giving a talk at 1200 at the PAC. Other highlights include:

  • Different route options: ‘full’ and ‘express’, depending on how long your visit will be
  • Food booths: Domino’s is selling subsidized pizza, as well as other stalls selling tutu kueh, burgers, bubble tea, and more at the canteen
  • A showcase of our house spirit and cheers at the Gryphon Square
  • Performances by performing arts CCAs at the MPH and Gryphon Square, live demonstrations by sports CCAs in the ISH

The programme can be found below, and will also be included in your goodie bag. Alternatively, just approach any Befriender for any information you may need. We hope to see you at Open House!


For more information, visit:
Facebook | Website

If you’re unsure of how to get to RI, directions can be found below:



ETA: An earlier version of this article erroneously stated that the goodie bags will contain Domino’s vouchers. It has since been amended to reflect that the bags contain Marble Slab Creamery vouchers.