1. Watch: Stream indie movies online
Chase the Covid-19 blues away with critically acclaimed films on indie cinema The Projector's streaming platform, as well as at the Singapore Mental Health Film Festival, which returns as a wholly virtual event this year.
On The Projector's website, take your pick from films such as Anthony Chen's Wet Season (2019), which explores the relationship between a teacher and her student; Capernaum (2018), in which a Lebanese boy sues his parents for giving birth to him; and Portrait Of A Lady On Fire (2019), a French historical drama about a love affair between an aristocrat and the woman commissioned to paint her.
All movies are priced at $10 for a 48-hour viewing window.
The Singapore Mental Health Film Festival will feature panel discussions, workshops and an assortment of movies you can stream online till May 30.
These range from Happiness (2016), a Hong Kong film about a young man who cares for a woman with cognitive impairment; to Sorry We Missed You (2019), an intimate drama about a British family struggling in the gig economy.
A single virtual pass costs $12 and allows you to view a feature film and a short film for 48 hours upon activation. It also gives you access to a live panel discussion.
2. Listen: Radio hits from Singapore and beyond
When I visit a new country, I like to tune in to the local radio station. I recently learnt about an app, Radio Garden, that allows people to surf thousands of these channels from around the world without leaving home.
You can "travel" to Rio de Janeiro on the airwaves of Bossa Nova Brazil; imagine yourself in the Mediterranean with Greek folk music channel 78kai45; and revisit theme songs from your favourite K-dramas at Aewen Radio.
There are also more offbeat channels such as London's Birdsong Radio and New York's Payphone Radio, in which you can listen to recordings of phone calls from New York City payphones.
Singapore's own radio hits of yesteryear can be found online in the National Library Board's (NLB) MusicSG archives. There, you can discover a trove of music by artistes from the 1950s to present day, such as Mandarin Talentime winner Yue Lei, 1960s band The Quests and Zaleha Hamid, the Queen of Dangdut (a style of Indonesian dance music). About 750 tracks are available for full-length streaming from home.
Also, check out NLB's podcast, Radio DDC, which features four episodes on Singapore's musical theatre, film songs, indie music and campaign jingles.
You can also search for Singapore artistes in the online Naxos Music Library. NLB patrons can log in with their myLibrary ID account. Highlights range from the Singapore Symphony Orchestra's recording of Balakirev's Chopin Suite/Overtures to albums by avant-garde pianist Margaret Leng Tan and composer Phoon Yew Tien.
3. Read: Savour local poetry
Local Flavours, a quirky website inspired by food delivery platforms, is a smorgasbord of works by about 30 Singapore-based poets and illustrators.
Choose from a "menu" of poems by writers such as Zulfadli Rashid, Gwee Li Sui and Tse Hao Guang, who reference local dishes such as chicken rice, garam assam and idli.
The poems are accompanied by illustrations by various artists, including Quek Hong Shin, Griselda Gabriele and Mithra Jeevananthan.
You can also check out various recipes and pieces of food writing, as well as a list of titles for further food-related reading.
The website is produced by digital storytelling studio Tusitala and is part of this year's Singapore HeritageFest.
Info: Local Flavours website
4. Tar Pau Nation: Good-value wagyu bento from Neon Pigeon
It is easy to be tempted by online photos of the luscious offerings put up by restaurants for takeaways and deliveries - until one looks at the prices. Not many people want to spend $40 or more on a meal, except on special occasions.
Modern izakaya Neon Pigeon probably had that in mind when it came up with a range of bento rice boxes for islandwide delivery, with prices of no more than $30.
The eatery in Carpenter Street mashes up Korean, Japanese and Western cuisines. The bentos come with a choice of toppings - such as Korean Fried Chicken, New Zealand Cod Katsu and Agedashi Tofu - and are mostly priced at $25 each.
Each topping comes with Niigata rice, goma salad, Japanese pickles and Tokyo hummus, a dip made with edamame beans instead of chickpeas.
I decide to live it up and order the Yakiniku Wagyu Beef Bento ($28) since it costs just $3 extra. The beef, while not top grade, is very good for the price. Its distinctive flavour shines through the yakiniku seasoning, which is neither too sweet nor too salty. Cooked with slices of sweet onion in the sauce and spread on top of rice with toasted sesame seeds and chopped spring onion, it is delicious.
5. Shelf Care: In The Martian, a man's remote work situation goes badly
By Andy Weir
Ballantine Books/ 2014/ 461 pages/ $17.12/ Available here
This is a book that will make you grateful to be working from home. Because astronaut Mark Watney is stuck in an office that is literally millions of miles from home and falling to pieces.
To be more precise, he is stuck on Mars, presumed dead by his fellow crew members who had to evacuate in the middle of the mother of all sandstorms.
Think the Tom Hanks film Cast Away (2000), but on Mars. Then throw in some MacGyver tactics for survival. Make that a lot of MacGyvering because Watney has a lot of problems to solve with very few resources.
Fortuitously, his skill sets as a mechanical engineer and botanist are exactly what is required for him to survive on the red planet. So he sets about solving the issues one by one, beginning with restoring contact with Earth.
There is good reason why Hollywood snapped up the rights to this self-published bestseller, which was turned into a film with Matt Damon in 2015.