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Studying in Coffee Shops and Cafes

February 5, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Exams are looming but it’s been difficult to carve out much time to get some studying done. So i’ve tried to drop off at coffee joints in-between meeting people to cram while refuelling the tank(s). For the price of coffee and/or non-liquid sustenance, you get air-conditioning, a chair and a table, free wifi, and maybe even complimentary drinkable water.

Loads of students study at cafes in Singapore. While nursing a cup of coffee for hours might give the right to these amenities, chope-ing seats with bags and papers to secure them in your absence would definitely be unfair to both the proprietor and the potential customer. And, in any case, it might be better to put coins in the parking meter if hogging a seat for more than a reasonable period of time. (Haven’t given much thought to this since my time in each cafe is necessarily limited by the next appointment and visits usually occur during lull periods.)

For now, etiquette for studying in coffee shops and cafes would probably include:

  • first determining whether the proprietor of the place has factored into their financial projections people hogging seats for prolonged periods of time to make use of power sockets or free wifi to study or work. Remember that this is a food/drink outlet not a library. The Book Cafe, for instance, actively encourages lounging around so you can do so with a good conscience;
  • purchasing food and/or drink at the location. Especially if it is a small independent place, do buy more than the minimum;
  • since you will be there for a long time, sit at the smallest seat instead of spreading out over 4 seats, so as to leave space for other customers;
  • certainly do not secure your space with books or bags while going off to get your food at some other establishment!;
  • be considerate – be polite to the waitstaff (even if they ask you not to study there after you’ve just made yourself comfortable), clean up after yourself (especially if you’ve been doing some messy artwork), tip and tweet if you think the service was good, don’t pollute the air with noise (either from laptop speakers or long phone conversations), don’t trail wires where people might trip on them (and, in this day and age, sue you or the poor proprietor), don’t hog the free wifi with huge downloads;
  • if you’ve been there for some time and the lunch/tea/dinner crowd has come in, it’s time for a break. Leave and let better peak period customers take your place.

Starbucks Rochester Park, 37 Rochester Drive
Starbucks Rochester Park, 37 Rochester Drive Starbucks Rochester Park, 37 Rochester Drive
Starbucks Rochester Park, 37 Rochester Drive Starbucks Rochester Park, 37 Rochester Drive
Starbucks Rochester Park, 37 Rochester Drive Studying Ephesians at Starbucks Rochester Park, 37 Rochester Drive

Most people have no qualms about camping at chain stores like Starbucks or Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Helpfully near the Buona Vista MRT station is Starbucks Rochester Park (facebook) at 37 Rochester Drive. As Bryant Simon notes in Everything But The Coffee, the comforting homogeneity of Starbucks outlets all over the world means you can expect a safe environment, clean tables and toilets, and the impression that you’re making a difference in the world by purchasing expensive java.

Jimmy Monkey Cafe & Bar, One-North Residences Interior with plush monkey, Jimmy Monkey Cafe & Bar, One-North Residences
Full cooked weekend breakfast, Jimmy Monkey Cafe & Bar, One-North Residences Flat White, Jimmy Monkey Cafe & Bar, One-North Residences

Jimmy Monkey Cafe & Bar (facebook), One-North Residences, was fairly quiet on a Saturday afternoon. Managed to have breakfast at 3pm and a bit of a read while waiting for a friend to get the kids napping. The coffee was decent but not as nuanced and dangerous as when Michael Ryan pulled it.

Toby's Estate, 8 Rodyk Street
Toby's Breakfast, Toby's Estate, 8 Rodyk Street Flat White, Toby's Estate, 8 Rodyk Street

The staff at Toby’s Estate Coffee Singapore (facebook), 8 Rodyk Street, said there was no problem at all using the wall sockets to juice up laptops and mobile devices. The Rodyk Street blend in milk was of usual good standard.

Selfish Gene Cafe, 40 Craig Road Selfish Gene Cafe, 40 Craig Road
Selfish Gene Cafe, 40 Craig Road70451 Selfish Gene Cafe, 40 Craig Road
Flat White, Selfish Gene Cafe, 40 Craig Road

Selfish Gene Cafe (facebook) at 40 Craig Road was quite empty as well. There was only one shot of espresso in the flat white so it was rather milky and the foam wasn’t quite micro, but it doesn’t claim to be a specialty coffee joint any way so might return to try the food.

Oriole Coffee Roasters, Jiak Chuan Road Oriole Coffee Roasters, Jiak Chuan Road
Oriole Coffee Roasters, Jiak Chuan Road Oriole Coffee Roasters, Jiak Chuan Road
Food Menu, Oriole Coffee Roasters, Jiak Chuan Road Flat White, Oriole Coffee Roasters, Jiak Chuan Road
Oriole Coffee Roasters, Jiak Chuan Road Coffee Beans, Oriole Coffee Roasters, Jiak Chuan Road

Just a few roads away, you’d be hogging the very limited table space if you tried to camp out at Oriole Coffee Roasters (facebook), Jiak Chuan Road. But boy, was their new Yellowbird blend something special – the aftertaste of pomelo was very prominent. A friendly barista confirmed this and explained that even after they calibrate the beans in the morning, they have to keep adjusting as the beans change throughout the day. There wasn’t much piped tobacco on the palate that day. Was happy to spot a copy of Scott Rao’s Everything But The Espresso that i’ve been hunting for for ages and a bag of single origin Ethiopian Sidama (not Sidamo?).

ReStore Living Cafe, Tanjong Pagar Road Menu, ReStore Living Cafe, Tanjong Pagar Road
Mug of Flat White, Mexican Snowball Cookie, ReStore Living Cafe, Tanjong Pagar Road Banana maple syrup waffle, ReStore Living Cafe, Tanjong Pagar Road

ReStore Living Cafe (facebook) at 124 Tanjong Pagar Road offered very decent coffee in mugs, waffles on vintage plates, and eye-candy vintage furniture. It was quiet when i went.

Pastor's Study Pastor's Post-It

Yesterday, multi-tasking took a different angle. We managed to get in a quick look at 1 Samuel during a lull in the Chinese New Year celebrations at the pastor’s house. Since it was a spacious enough bungalow, we scored a place in his air-conditioned study (nice to observe from his work space that he’s someone who works very hard at understanding God’s word, is serious about sin, and is disciplined about making the best use of his time):

1 Samuel 1 – 1 Samuel 2:10
Q: What do we know about the conception of Samuel? Who gave Hannah the baby?
Miraculous (she was barren). God.

Q: What is Hannah’s reaction to Samuel’s arrival?
She acknowledges that this comes from God. Praises God not just for answering her prayers for a child, but that he is LORD over all things in the world because he created the whole world – he judges his enemies, he gives life to the dead, he protects his people.

1 Samuel 2:11 – 25
Q: Who was Eli?

priest
Ithamar, son of Aaron, who was made a priest of the Lord at Mount Sinai along with his father and brothers (Ex. 28:1; cf. 1 Chron. 24:3). Eli was a descendant of this house, according to 1 Chron. 24:3, where it is stated that his great-great-great-grandson Ahimelech was “of the sons of Ithamar.”

Q: What was his role as priest?
mediate between God and man. Because of man’s sin, the holy God would no longer deal directly with man.

Q: Why does the Bible call Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas, “worthless men”?
1 Samuel 2:12 – they did not know the LORD (not ignorance but lack of relationship)
1 Samuel 2:13-17 – commandeered people’s sacrifices even before they could make the sacrifices
The priests were to be supported by portions of the sacrifices of the people. In various parts of the Mosaic law the portion to be given to the priests is specified for various sacrifices, e.g., Deut. 18:3 (shoulder, cheeks, and stomach) and Lev. 7:31–32 (breast and right thigh).
1 Samuel 2:22 – slept with women serving at the entrance of the tent of meeting

1 Samuel 2:26 – 3:21
Q: How did God respond?

Punishes Eli’s family:”the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. Then in distress you will look with envious eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed on Israel, and there shall not be an old man in your house forever. The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep his eyes out to grieve his heart, and all the descendants of your house shall die by the sword of men.”

Q: What sign would God give that all he had said will surely happen?
Both of Hophni and Phinehas shall die on the same day.

Q: Why does God respond in this manner?
Those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. Eli knew about the iniquity, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them -> so Eli himself despised God.

Q: What does this tell us about God?

1 Samuel 4:2 – 10
Q: What do we know about the Ark of God?
“The ark of the covenant had been “in the temple of the Lord” in Shiloh (3:3). (On the details of the ark, cf. Ex. 25:10–22; 37:1–9; and illustration.) Moses was commanded by the Lord to put the tablets of the covenant, or the “testimony,” into the ark (Ex. 25:16; Deut. 10:5; cf. 1 Kings 8:9). Cherubim often appear in the iconography of the ancient Near East as hybrid figures, with animal and human characteristics. enthroned. The ark was the visible sign of the holy presence of the Lord, whose real throne is on high, above the heavens. But it was more than just a sign, for the ark was also the focal point of God’s actual presence among his people (Ex. 25:22 says, “There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you …”; cf. Num. 7:89; also Ex. 29:42–43; 30:6, 36; 37:1–9; 40:34–38; Lev. 16:2; Num. 17:4). The conception of the ark as a visible sign of the Lord’s presence gave a military importance to the ark (as can be seen in Num. 10:33–36 and Joshua 3–4; 6); it functioned as a battle safeguard and showed that the Lord was present and fighting for Israel.” (ESV Study Bible)

Q: What did the elders of Israel think the Ark of God would do for them?
“Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that it may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.”

Q: Why was this a really bad idea?
The Lord is against you and you think by bringing his ark along you can force him to fight for you? Are you kidding me? The Lord is far more than his ark – it is only a sign of his presence. And he will not be forced into doing anything. And obviously the ark isn’t a magic object.

1 Samuel 4:12 – 22
Q: What do the deaths of Hophni and Phinehas mean?
God’s punishment on Eli’s house has begun, as he promised.

Q: What does the capture of the ark mean?
God is no longer with Israel, as he said he would not be if they disobeyed him.

Q: What does this tell us about God?

1 Samuel 5:1 – 7:2
Q: How do the Philistines and their gods fare with the Ark of the Lord amongst them?

The writer of 1 Samuel was really taking the mickey.

Q: What does this tell us about their gods?

Q: How do the Israelites fare with the Ark of the Lord amongst them?

Q: What does this tell us about God?

1 Samuel 7:3 – 15
Q: How do the people respond?

Q: What is God’s reaction?

1 Samuel 8
Q: But what happens when Samuel gets old?

Q: Why do the people want a king?

Q: What is wrong with this?

1 Samuel 9 – 11
Q: Who chooses Saul as king?

Q: Who determines Saul’s duties as king?

1 Samuel 12
Q: What are Samuel’s parting words?

Q: Why are they appropriate at this point?

1 Samuel 13
Q: Unfortunately, after 3 short years, Saul fouls up. What does he do wrong?

Q: Why is this so serious?

Q: What was his excuse?

Q: What was God’s reaction?

Q: What does this tell us about God?

1 Samuel 15
Q: Saul never learns. What does he do wrong now?

Q: Why was his excuse?

Q: In what way was this similar to what Adam and Eve did?

Q: What was God’s reaction to Saul’s presumption?

Q: What does this tell us about God?

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