27 January 2008

Messing around at Mint Bar @ Graze

We weren't too impressed with Bistro @ Da Paolo's. So we came over here to try out the potent concoctions the Girlfriend and I got really "happy" with. As usual, the Mint Bar @ Graze is a place nobody ever notices, which is good, because we get to have the whole place to ourselves over half the time.

From the last time I visited, which was nearly a year ago, they made plenty of updates in the interior decor. It's nevertheless still as cozy as ever. The Mint Specialties are still as good and potent and we got to try out their Mini Wagyu Burgers which was delicious. A highly recommended place for a quiet chill out.

Click on any photo to view the whole album

23 January 2008

Cheap Thrill Of The Day

What can a tallscreen (vertical widescreen) good for? Reading long blog entries! Better yet, a tallscreen with Google Reader!

16 January 2008

Baby Dedication at The Chows

Eric and Arlene dedicate baby Desiree to the Lord.

Click on the photo for the full album.

Changi Airport Terminal 3

It was raining last Sunday when I went to Terminal 3 for a look. But the most memorable thing was that it leaks...

The high ceiling at the Departure Hall was a sight to behold. Perhaps it was an idea to get Singaporeans to lift their chin up amidst the problem of escalating cost of living.

This was probably erected to be a new iconic spot to take those momentous photographs.

In a bid for a cleaner toilet, "the fly solution" was adopted for the urinals in the gents.

Catering to the "Easties", the basement has a shopping mall complete with the Uniquely Singapore NTUC Fair Price and food court too. And just to reinforce the shopping part...

For more photos, click here.

15 January 2008

Wild Olives - Astoundingly Cheap Western Food!

A friend of mine revealed a little secret tucked in Changi Airport Terminal 2. It's a staff canteen that serves surprisingly good food. One of which is Wild Olives which serves really good western food and pasta at really low prices even for public customers.

The stall front

After coming here, you'll suspect that other western food stalls are either paying astronomical rentals, or they are really ripping you off. With a pasta main as low as $2.90 and the most expensive at $4.20, it is not hard to start guessing. Others like Fish & Chips and Breaded Fried Chicken cost $5.50 and $5 respectively.

Mains Menu
Sides Menu

Anyway, pretty much everything they serve is really good. My list of favourites would include: Fish & Chips, Breaded Fried Chicken, Fusilli Di Bosco, Linguine alla Vongole and Potato Salad.

Fish & Chips

Fish & Chips The fish is fried to perfection with a light and crispy outer shell that covers the moist and flaky fish. The generous dollop of tartar sauce ensures that you can enjoy every morsel of the fish and its sides of chips and coleslaw.

Potato Salad

Potato Salad This cold dish packs a real surprise on the palate. The diced potatoes are mixed with mayonnaise and then sprinkled with spring onions followed by yellow raisins. The myriad of textures is just amazing with every bite. The sweetness of the raisins marry perfectly to the potatoes.

Fusilli Di Bosco For something with mushrooms, it is surprisingly cheap. What's more, this pasta dish is served with portobello mushrooms. At $2.90, it is an unbelievable steal, not to mention that it tastes absolutely fantastic as well.

Linguine alla Vongole You can taste that a good amount of white wine was actually used in this dish. The result is a creamy sauce which is rich with the taste of the wine. Easily a favourite with white wine sauce lovers.

Airport Boulevard, Changi Airport T2
Public Area
Staff Canteen
Singapore 819643

13 January 2008

Haato: Lovely Japanese Gelato!

I’m quite a sucker for Japanese ice cream. Mainly because it’s (1) Japanese and (2) got more familiarly Asian flavours. And that’s on top of the fact that Japanese ice cream seem to taste smoother, lighter and of course the illusion that all Japanese stuff equates healthier choice (even without moderation).

So I was whiling away my time before the Jackie Cheung concert (my review and photos) at the newly opened Kallang Leisure Park when I chanced upon haato in the basement, just beside the supermarket.

Curiosity and skepticism got the better of me and I decided the take a closer look. The flavours available are predictably Japanese, like matcha, black sesame, milk tea just to name a few. However the flavour that caught my eye was the sweet potato and honey chestnut. I was given a generous sample to try and decided to get a cup.

What I liked about this flavour was that it wasn’t too sweet and it was possible to taste chunks of the Japanese sweet potato with traces of its purple skin and yellow flesh throughout the cup. The honey blended very well to add the extra punch of natural sweetness and the chestnuts added its rich body to the texture and aroma. The combined result was a really well-balanced palate which doesn’t leave a heavy feeling.

5 Stadium Walk, #B1-01/02
Kallang Leisure Park
Singapore 397693
Email: enquiry@haato.com.sg | feedback@haato.com.sg
Website: http://www.haato.com.sg

10 January 2008

I'm trying to monetize my Multiply...

I'm trying to put some ads to generate some residual income from my multiply account as it is somewhat the most visited asset I have online. My wordpress does a great job getting tagged on Google search, but I need to pay to get more access to manipulate and include ads. My blogspot account has very limited visitors so putting ads there would just be pointless.

So here, I'm trying to put some of these ads on to my multiply through some indirect means.

9 January 2008

How it all ends

Here's a great homemade video to put us in perspective on Global Warming Global Climate Change Global Climate Destabilization.

And the Index which this high-school teacher spoke of at the end

And all the rest of the videos he posted on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=wonderingmind42

8 January 2008

The Year of Jacky Cheung World Tour ‘07

This post was written for Youth.sg. http://www.youth.sg/content/view/4162/54/

I'm an eighties kid. I was born in that decade. And growing up, people around me would listen to the music on the radio. There would be a powerful voice singing the some of the most popular songs on air. That voice is none other than Jacky Cheung's and he was easily the most popular Chinese singer around.

It is pretty safe to say that Jacky Cheung is a name well-known in every Chinese community in the world. His voice has captured the attention of countless audiences the everywhere and in this world tour, it was no exception.

The Indoor Stadium was packed to the brim. The atmosphere built up with the audiences' anticipation with every passing second. Everyone was eagerly awaiting the appearance of Jackie Cheung on stage. Sure enough, the crowd cheered as the dancers appeared to perform to the overture. Then he appeared...
His appearance

...and he kicked off his concerts with a medley of sexy, sensual, high energy dance songs. He danced and sang non-stop with amazing vigour as the ecstatic audience cheered him on. It is hard to believe that the man on stage is already 46 years old and outdoing people 20 years younger.

The medley of dance songs ended with some stage pyrotechnics. Then he began chatting with the audience. This was the 92nd concert in his world tour and he admitted that it was hard work to be dancing and singing at his age. Knowing how to please his fans, he runs through his repertoire for the night. It would be impossible to perform all his hits in this concert, (it would probably last for at least 8 hours if it were to include everything) so a number of his classic hits in Mandarin and Cantonese were selected. There would also be less of his newer songs as audiences in his previous concerts had lukewarm reactions. There would also be songs from his musicals, "Snow Wolf Lake" and the more recent "Perhaps, Love".
Jacky Cheung is perhaps best remembered for his sentimental love songs. It was common (and probably still is) to serenade girlfriends and wives with his songs. While most would probably suck at the difficult vocals, the green faces and/or constipated look (out of breath from singing) tend to convince the serenaded ones that they mean every word in the lyrics.

Despite singing for 23 years and a throat complication a few years back, his vocals remains strong and robust yet extremely versatile. In this concert, he effectively displays his showmanship, performing songs of vastly different genres, from sentimental love songs to rock to dance and musicals. He truly lived up to the title: "God of Songs".

Referring to the rock-styled pieces performed, he reasoned that it was one rare channel where he could transform into something more animalistic, and thus the screaming during some of the pieces. While he explained that he doesn't behave that way usually, he engaged the audiences in a brief screaming match to encourage the behaviour within the Indoor Stadium at his concert.

In this concert, Jacky would also share his with the audience his personal life. In fact, the concert could be considered as his autobiography. In his 23 year career, he has released over 70 albums, sung over 1000 songs and won about 300 awards. Yet his greatest pride and joy is his family. Behind all the glitz and glamour belies a humble family man. And he shared a little embarrassingly that despite having sang so many songs, he hardly had any songs specially dedicated to his wife and daughters. So in a recent album, he had a song written each for his daughter and wife. He joked that he was somewhat disappointed by his wife's "not bad" statement as he had expected a bit of tears in her reaction.

He also shared snippets about his childhood. He lived in a large family where all the men were sailors. They only returned every three years. He joked that he only knew the difference between a man and a woman when he was three because that was when his mum introduced him to his father! He also shared that he got seasick, which was why he never followed the traditional sailor's path of the men in his family. That would have been a blessing in disguise.

Relating how he entered the entertainment industry, re-enacted the singing competition which he participated in and won. It was no doubt his life altering moment which he shared in the most vivid and animated manner.

True to his observation from previous concerts, the audience reaction was lukewarm during some of his songs. They seem to only react in a more appreciative manner when he sang his more familiar songs. They cheered and sang along.

With a quick change of costumes, the concert progressed to the section where he performed songs from his musicals, "Snow Wolf Lake" and "Perhaps, Love". On stage, Jacky Cheung and his dancers played out the excerpts for each song performed. It was a unique and more stylised presentation which joined the songs of two different musicals together. If my memory serves me, "Snow Wolf Lake" was the first Cantonese and Mandarin musical ever produced.

Once the musical songs were over, Jackie left the stage for another costume change for the encore. The thunderous applause beckoned him back to stage where he would the last series of songs for the night. Encores must have been an idea stemming from Singapore's kiasu mentality, must always get more from a concert. Performing more classic hits, he got the ever ecstatic audience to their feet. The crowd went wild and the live cameras recorded every instance of fans waving their hands and light batons while singing along to his songs.

As Jacky Cheung introduced his last song for the night, audience gave their most appreciative cheer. While it was sad that this concert had to come to an end, they were probably also extremely appreciative of the he had made Singapore one of his world tour's stops.

In retrospect, compared to other concerts, Jacky Cheung hardly did the mic-to-the-audience-partly-because-I-forgot-the-lyrics trick. It is no doubt that he continually works hard to produce quality works and performances. This three and a half hour concert was a fantastic visual spectacle and absolute audial enjoyment. The set, lighting, sound and pyrotechnics all synchronised perfectly with Jacky Cheung's flawless vocals and showmanship. The concert was definitely worth every cent.

One thing's for sure, I feel more complete as a Chinese having watched Jacky Cheung live in concert.

2 January 2008

My Christmas Activities

I've been pretty occupied during this festive season. And I'm quite glad that time was actually spent on purposeful activities.

Friday evening, I met up with Martin and Justin for their company's Social Night.

Saturday was spent at Zexian's place with my church cell group.

On Sunday, I accompanied Miaozhen to attend church service and attended a Christmas Musical with the Girlfriend at her church.

Monday was a Christmas potluck in office, followed by a gathering at Lionel's place. Then I went over to Orchard Road to observe how the mess builds up and how the contracted cleaners clear up the place.

Tuesday, I attended the service at the Girlfriend's church and then yet another potluck at Peter's place in Sengkang.


Right after work, I went over to The Grassroots Club near Yio Chu Kang MRT to attend Justin and Martin's Social Night for their company. The newbies of the company had organized the event to a nerdy theme and sportingly performed a very nerdy and rather gay dance.

It is really something to see a the company's culture develop as the company progresses forward and it definitely reminded me very much of the times in SP Rovers. Perhaps to appropriately put it, having fun is serious business for them. And through fun, Cheers Connect International has slowly and surely established itself as an events organizer for schools and corporates, impacting the lives of the participants.

They ended with a mass dance which literally rocked the place. And after, they jested that the grassroots club probably wouldn't want to host them in the same venue any more.


Zexian had offered to open up his place for us to invite friends over for a Christmas dinner. I had arrived earlier to set up my new toy, the Nintendo Wii for early birds to try out. But since everyone was busy with the preparation of the food, I left the console to help in the kitchen. I had invited Carol, who used to be my insurance agent financial advisor while she was at Prudential. It took a few SMSes to persuade her to come as she had informed me previously that she met with an accident and had to undergo operation. Plus she lamented that she "wasn't the same as before" and that she "looked like an alien". I thought she lost a limb or got disfigured or something. I encouraged that she needed to come out a bit and enjoy herself to 'work' on her recovery, not knowing what really happened to her. It was only when she arrived that I realized that it was just a broken arm that would heal in time. Of course I'm sure it hurts tremendously, but I'm glad that she wasn't missing any body part. In fact, she had screws added to reconstruct her elbow, so she sort of a bionic woman now. :p

To start the ball rolling, the guests participated in a few ice breaking games before breaking for the meal. Kendice had single-handedly planned and prepared the spread including chicken stew, fruit salad, soba salad, pasta salad and roast beef to feed about 20 people. Once we were full, Zexian led everyone to sing Christmas carols. After cleaning up, we decided to turn on the Wii to help burn a few calories.

Seriously, the console is perfect for such group gatherings because people wave the Wiimotes silly as they immerse themselves in wacky games like Raving Rabbids and Wario Ware Smooth Moves. It is a pity I didn't record the madness in video.

It was nice that everybody enjoyed themselves that night. I thought the gathering was a glimpse of how Christmas was meant to be, to bring joy and laughter and to remind everybody that there is love in this world.

Taking attendance for the Christmas Dinner


I had also wanted to invite Miaozhen to the Christmas dinner on Saturday. But she wasn't available. Yet amazingly, she asked if there was any Christmas service on Christmas Day at my church. There wasn't one on Christmas Day, but we did have one on the Sunday just before. So she came. It definitely caught me by surprise.

One question that the pastor asked was about the impact and change God had in our own lives and wanted a show of hands. Seeing that I didn't respond to that, Miaozhen turned to give me an expectant look, asking, "Why you never raise your hand?"

The knee-jerk reaction was to raise my hand, but I added sarcastically, "I was just being modest. Or were you referring to my expanding waistline?"

Miaozhen went on to discuss this topic with Kendice and she also agreed that I'm different from last time. But really, I dunno lah. I got different meh?

Anyway, Miaozhen and I boarded the train to return home where we talked about old times at Rovers, catching up with internal gossip which I shall not discuss here.

We parted and went our separate ways. I went on to meet up with the girlfriend to go to a Christmas Musical at her church.

In 2006, the youth group at her church performed an entertaining skit for the congregation, which probably got a very good response. So this time round, they put up a new "production" titled "Prodigal", which talks about Luke 15:11-32 with a modern twist.

The story was about an adopted son who ran off to pursue his music career with his band. After the band made it big, the son squandered his success and lost his music career and ended up at an orphanage as a janitor. In a very convenient twist, (probably because the scriptwriter didn't want to go into details) the people running the orphanage set up a Christmas dinner at their place so that the adoptive father and the son can reunite.


It was a half day at office which we used for an office potluck. Thereafter, the girlfriend and I went to Lionel's place for yet another Christmas dinner. After that, I accompanied the girlfriend to Clarke Quay for her to meet up with her friends while I went over to Orchard Road to meet up with Zengrong. We were there to observe how the rubbish pile up and how it is cleared up before the following morning.

It was Christmas eve and people were out on Orchard Road soaking up the Christmas season. Many were armed with snow and streamer sprays as they walked down the streets waiting for the strike of midnight. Minutes before midnight, the anticipated spray war sparked off. Within moments the people involved were covered in the white foam that came from the snow spray. People literally grabbed their friends and sprayed direct into the faces.

The madness on the street continued for about 2 hours before all the spray cans have been depleted. It was then time for us to move out. The original plan was only for us to observe and photograph the litter situation on the street, but we ended up being part of the clean up team clearing up the mess but it was alright either way. Each equipped with trash bags, tongs and gloves ready for picking rubbish, moved out to different sectors in Orchard Road to clear up the place. For me, I also had a camera slung around my neck.

A few of us started off from Shaw Centre (Lido) towards the Thai Embassy. The litter along that stretch seemed manageable, except for some areas where there trash was a little out of reach.

Picking rubbish from out of reach places

When we returned to Shaw Centre, we saw the litter that was strewn among the plants just behind the seating area.

more trash

What's really interesting is that cleaning up Orchard Road is a territorial affair. According to the supervisor, the contracted cleaners didn't need to clear them as they fell into the building's area and thus not the cleaners' responsibility. So left the litter as it is and moved on to Marriot and CK Tangs.

The spray can wars apparently had not ended as people were still at it.

Snow warsSnow warsSnow wars

On our side of the street, we came across this:

So we proceeded to clear up as much of the trash as we could which consists mainly of empty spray cans. As I collected the cans, the smell also built up. And it was a terrible smell which led me to wonder if it the contents of the spray cans have any impact on the human body.

Another consideration that surfaced during this little project is how we can prevent litter from being thrown into the planted beds. This is because the litter usually get trapped deep inside the plants, making it difficult for cleaners to clear the litter among the plants.

It is ironic that while Singapore likes to beat our chest about being a clean place due to its successful anti-littering campaigns and laws when the real credit goes to the cleaners who go about unnoticed to clean up the place.

What's really amazing is that by morning, the whole place is all cleaned up and ready to project the image of Singapore as a garden city. I also have a new found respect for the people who made it happen within a matter of hours.

I guess the main takeaway thought from this project is a question how each individual can be hard-wired to do their own part to keep the place clean even in the perceived fun and madness.

More photos of this project is available at Zengrong's flickr account.

Tuesday - Christmas Day

I struggled to get up in the morning to attend the Christmas service at the girlfriend's church. Thereafter we went home to rest. I then went off to Seng Kang to attend another Christmas dinner at Peter's place and to catch up with some old friends from Rovers.

Looking back, I've got to say that this is one of the best Christmas seasons I've had. I liked it for being something simple and personal. A time for friends to get reacquainted to each other over a meal or an activity. A time to catch up on things we had missed in our friends' lives. A time to laugh and celebrate simple things in life and to really show that we care for each other.

I hope everyone had a great holiday season, I know I did.