31 July 2007

Movie Review: Flashpoint

Flashpoint

It's been a long time since I watched a Hong Kong movie. Thankfully, Flashpoint wasn't anywhere disappointing. Flashpoint sort of stripped down to the basics. A simple police and thief plot. Add a liberal dose of real martial arts in the form of violent fighting (thus the NC16 rating). Testosterone fueled characters driven by ego and all those macho b*****t. This movie really serves to showcase Krav Maga and free-style fighting (correct me if I am wrong on this) Hong Kong does this kind of movie so well all the time. Simple plot, police and thief, real kungfu display, testosterone laden cockiness in every character. It's a great "Leave-you-brain-behind-and-bring-your-balls" kind of movie. You could watch it over and over again for the action.

29 July 2007

23 July 2007

Great Food Found!

I came across this really yummy deli along East Coast Road! Check out the food they've got!

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Mouth watering, right? There's more below!

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Well, let's see what is the name of this place with such lovely food...

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They even do delivery. Wow! They must have a lot of demand for their products!

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Huh?

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Then I bumped into the boss of this place...

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Just kidding! That's the US Doggie Bakery's guard dog. :p

Yup, this is a deli specialising in gourmet dog food! The only difference between human food, no salt and seasoning is used. Only in East Coast, the area of the well-heeled.

Food Review: Ice Cream Chefs

While on Leonard's mini-van, I talked about the newly opened Ice Cream Chefs somewhere in East Coast. I provided an inaccurate location of East Coast Park and we spent some time circling a carpark until someone finally connected to the internet and googled for them. It was in East Coast Road instead. So we moved along.

We then hit a roadblock of sorts when we couldn't find a parking lot in the vicinity. So we Xinzhan got off the vehicle and went straight to the shop to ask about parking. Surprise! Parking is free if you are customers.

One challenging thing about coming here is really figuring out the choice of ice cream. Like a few ice cream places in Singapore, Ice Cream Chefs makes it possible to mix flavours, 2 for a small cup and 3 for a large one. For every topping, or more correctly, mix-in as they call it, it's an extra 70 cents.

We got ourselves 3 large cups for 5 of us. No, make that 4 since Leonard was suffering from diarrhea had to be left out from partaking the ice cream. We stuck to 2 of the staff's recommendation of a fruity concoction and a chocolatey durian combination along with my mad mix of butter pecan with kinder bueno and marshmallows along with horlicks and mocha ice cream. All of which were rather enjoyable.

It is quite a fascinating sight to see the chef whip up your customised ice cream.
First your flavours are laid on the cold plate.
Then with one spatula laid on the ice cream, the other taps on it to create an indentation for the mix-ins.
Repeat the spatula actions to crush the mix-ins and then further reduce the size by chopping with the spatulas.
Fold them around a few times.
Finally scoop them into the cup and served.
Personally I found the ice cream on the watery side. It wasn't as rich and creamy as I expected. The novelty of zhng-ing your ice cream definitely helped a bit. But for continued success, they need to improve their ice cream formula.

Ice Cream Chefs
520 East Coast Road #01-06 (Ocean Park)
Tel: 64466355 Beside St. Patricks School & Along East Coast Road
Sun-Thurs 12pm to 10pm
Fri-Sat 12pm to 11pm

Post Script: Pardon the poor colour as the batteries (Sanyo rechargeables) in my flash died yet again. It seems that they just can't retain power for more than a week.

Reinventing Earth

Most of you might have been transfixed on the goggle box on 7.07.07 with all the concerts going on. Yes, Live Earth. Of course there were other events going on, like the Youtube gathering and the local ping.sg awards.

Anyhow, the concert was simply a publicity stunt for a more pressing problem, global warming.

So now that all the hype has passed, it's time get up and do our part for the only place we have to live on. Greenhouse gases is one of the main things that is causing Global Warming, and with it comes many other problems. Personally, if people just talk about the increase in temperature, we are missing the point. Maybe we are just looking at the face value of the term "Global Warming". I mean, since it's going to be warmer, let's just crank up the air-conditioning and live like Eskimos in tropical Singapore, right?

Unfortunately, "Global Warming" isn't just about higher temperatures. We need to see Global Warming as an incubator of global problems. Problems like epidemics, natural disasters and stronger strains of diseases. If you've gotten the flu recently, you might have felt that it was one of the worst you've had. The occurrence of diseases borne by mosquitoes like malaria and particularly dengue fever in Singapore are on the rise. I'm not anything thing of a microbiologist, but from all these that's happening, it is a matter of time mankind face an advanced epidemic. Hey, it never hurts to be prepared. Or for this case, it never hurts to take preventive measures.

Which finally leads me to talk about taking action. If you aren't already practicing these, well, you ought to.

Recycle

We Singaporeans are a lazy bunch when it comes to recycling. And the even messier problem comes from opportunists. Unfortunately, there are those who rummage through the recycling bags that people leave outside for the collector. They make a mess of things, thereby creating a huge challenge for both the collector and the giver.

Sembcorp does have contracted "karang gunis" who will come by to collect your recyclables every fortnight. If you do spot them, ask for their contact so that you can call them to collect your recyclables personally. This way you can prevent those opportunists from making a mess in front of your door.

Reuse

They may disposable, but it doesn't mean that they are only good for one-time use. For a start, plastic bags can be reused as trash bags, disposable utensils (especially those from Macdonald's Big Breakfast and Hotcakes) have a decent lifespan that can last a few picnics. (Speaking of which, they need to change those styrofoam packaging to paper ones soon.) Shopping bags make great organizers for documents, tin cans are great storage solutions. Many Singaporean guys like get hold of those trip flare or grenade canisters for their waterproof property. Possibilities are endless when we try to exploit advantageous properties of any packaging. Hell, even your fruit peel can be used to make compost for gardening.

Reduce

I think this is by far the most important thing if you want to be truly eco-friendly. Previous points only serve to make us feel better that we have done something. But I think the best way to reduce our impact on the environment is probably to do less or in some case not do it at all.

Less Shopping - If we reduced our shopping, a lower demands will bring about a reduction in energy consumption. So buy only what you need. It will do a lot for your pocket.

Less Packaging - Packaging is a problem when you throw it away. While still on shopping, look out for the items you need in less packaging. This could mean getting something in bulk or even the less attractive product.

If eating at a food centre, try ordering only from stalls that use reusable utensils and crockery. If you are getting takeaways, bring your own containers, just like the good old days of our parents. If you find those stalls that use the "opek" husks for packaging, it's just as good since it is biodegradable. And leave their addresses in the comments because they tend to serve the better tasting food.

If we ate less meat, it would reduce the methane (a greenhouse gas) produced by livestock. Even better, eating less means reducing the worldwide obesity epidemic.

Fan = good, Air conditioning = bad - Use a fan to aid the ventilation of a room. Open the windows while you are at it. It will bring down the overall temperature of the room. Air conditioning on the other hand isolates the air within the room. It's probably one of the biggest contributors to Global Warming in my books, either directly by the greenhouse gases it emits or indirectly by the energy consumption.

Switching off - A simple, straightforward tip.
Not using an appliance? Switch it off at the socket.
Appliance on standby still use up power. Switch it off at the socket.
Not using the room? Switch off the lights.
Easy. And this will help reduce the bills.

Going public - Driving is expensive. First, it's the car. Next, it's the fuel. Then it's the ERP. Even when you don't drive you are paying for parking! And let's not forget the jam. The world class transport that is the MRT takes you from point A to point B with only a human jam. If you are lucky, you will rub shoulders with someone really hot. If I had my way, I would make it mandatory for every car to be off the road one day every week.

So that's just a few ideas rattled off hand. If you would like to contribute ideas, just leave them as comments.

16 July 2007

Imitation as a form of flattery

I experienced a wardrobe malfunction earlier today and had source of replacement clothing. Being budget conscious a cheapskate, I gave Giordano a pass as their prices have rose beyond affordable and went to Hang Ten instead.

I noticed something awfully familiar, so I rummaged through my wardrobe and found this...

Imitation is a form of flattery

The emblems look awfully similar for 2 different brands...

On a totally unrelated note, the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon is now open for registration! If you've taken part last year, it's $44 from now till 31 July. After which it gets more expensive.

8 July 2007

The Simpsons were in Choa Chu Kang

Homer and Bart popped by Lot 1 at Choa Chu Kang to promote their upcoming movie and Bart almost wanted to drive away a Kelisa.

Homer Simpson

Bart Simpson

Guess it was a good effort for Singapore, but it's nothing compared to converting 7-11s into Kwik-E-Marts.

7 July 2007

And all we have is NDP for our independence

Samsung celebrated 10 million cellphones sold with this...

And all we have is NDP for our independence... Ok, we have fireworks, F16 and Longbow fly-bys, but how to compare with this?

My Budget Food Trail - Beach Road

I've recently been somewhat obsessed with the idea of amassing wealth, even though I earn a rather pathetic keep. And a budgeting spreadsheet revealed in detail my spending habits were not helping my plans in saving up.

And since I love eating like every other Singaporean, I figured that I could note down a few places for a good and affordable lunch. Affordable meaning less than $5. So I shall start this "series" (if there is one) with Beach Road. And with my camera, I took pictures of the food I eat along the way.

First up, Chicken Rice at Purvis Street. There are 2 places nearer to Beach Road that serves up pretty good chicken rice. I find both just as good. There shouldn't be any difficulty finding them if you frequent the area. I have to admit that it is rather tempting to splurge on food in the vicinity of Purvis Street. There are so many good things to eat here. But plans are plans, and I want to stick to them.

Chicken Rice

Further down away from Raffles Hotel along Beach Road is Alex's Eating House where they serve up one of the best roast duck, char siew and roast pork and anything that goes with it. The crowds here is a testament of how good the food is here.

Wantan Mee from Alex's Eating House

Moving on to the junction to Liang Seah Street, Kim's Wok Seafood serves up a decent plate of Hokkien mee at $4.30. 30 cents being GST.

Hokkien Mee

A good distance down, past The Gateway and Plaza Parkroyal Hotel is Blanco Court Fried Fish Bee Hoon at $4.

Blanco Court Fried Fish Bee Hoon

I personally like the fried fish head as there is more variety in the texture of the meat. This stall is also a crowd puller, so expect a queue. The stall is set up at those old corner coffeeshop. Here's a picture of its stall front for identification.

Blanco Court Fried Fish Bee Hoon

To add a sense of adventure, get off Beach Road and skip along to North Bridge Road, just behind the Golden Mosque where Zam Zam is serving up good and cheap prata. This is possibly the only place in Singapore where a murtabak and teh tarik doesn't cost more than $5. Ok, its neighbour also has similar pricing, so that makes 2 places.

Singapore Zam Zam

What do you know, that's exactly 5 places for good food, one for each day of the week!

Review: Alex's Eating House

Alex's Eating House

I am always skeptical about roast duck as there is always an impression that most of them are usually roasted till dry and tough and not to mention a flat, salty taste. This is one of the few places I've come across that serves up roast duck to perfection. The meat remains succulent and juicy after the roast and the marinate can be tasted throughout the meat, unlike others where it becomes bland right after the skin.

Also try their char siew if you don't mind the fatty cuts they use. (If you haven't already know, lard is healthier than margarine)

Or if you would like roast pork, you can't go wrong here either.

Once you've decided your choice of meat, think about the accompanying carbohydrate of either rice or noodles.

Then do whatever it takes to grab the attention of the people running the place to place your order.

Once ordered, wait to be served. It usually doesn't take too long, unless they forget your order.

Wantan Mee from Alex's Eating House

One last tip - the further you sit in the cafeteria, the warmer and stuffier it is, but you are more likely to find a seat there. The customers tend to sit outside as it is airier, so if you want a better seat outside, bring a friend along, because the stupid tissues will be swept away, not even if you have a tissue pack like this.

There is no hope for singapore...