29 April 2008

David Tao Concert - This is no block of wood!

Amidst the glossy and fickle Chinese music industry, a few truly talented and well-marketed artists stand out, one of them is David Tao. His well-known signature R & B tunes have come to be the genre in the Mandopop industry. Well, he is also one my favourite singers, so called me biased if you want. :)

The Capacity Crowd
The Capacity Crowd

Towards show time, the capacity crowd streamed into the venue almost like those time lapse videos. Like all concerts outside Esplanade, this concert didn't start punctually. But the waiting definitely helped to build up the anticipation. As soon as the light dimmed to signal the start of the concert, the crowds were already all well warmed up and cheering for David Tao to appear.

The overture started with chants of "1, 2, 3" in Mandarin and then in various languages which pleasantly amused the audience. Then David Tao rose from below the stage to appear before the excited audience.

David with the quintessential guitar
David with the quintessential guitar

Within the first 3 up tempo songs, he had already had the extremely responsive crowd standing and waving their arms to the rhythm of the music.

After the fourth song, David took time to interact with the audience. Momentarily, it seemed rather awkward that he conversed predominantly in English for a concert consisting of Mandarin songs. It was later that I realised that there would be a number of band members as well as audiences that only understood English or not as familiar with Mandarin.

One of the main visual surprises at this concert has got to be the use of laser lights for the heavier up-tempo numbers. The first time it came on for the song "鬼", plenty of oohs, aahs and howls complimented the stunning effects. It was clear that plenty of effort and heart was put in for this concert.

The Laser Effects

It seems that there has been a trend of Easternisation in Mandarin pop. First there was Jay Chou's "千里之外", soon there would one from Jeff Chang's new album. Under David's belt would be "Susan 说". This live version was preluded with a pipa recital accompanied by a modernised opera dance, giving it a very strong Chinese flavour.

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Before his next song, "爱我还是他", David took time to introduce one of the many local talents in his crew. On the keyboards was Goh Kheng Loong, the music director whom he has worked with for 8 years. More amazingly, there had never been any arguments between them, something he attributed to God. That got a rather muted applause from the audience. If you didn't know, David Tao is very upfront about his Christian faith and is unapologetic about sharing it with the audience at his concert.


Next was the jazzed up version of Teresa Teng's "月亮代表我的心" which I felt was a little over-sang. He then followed up with "10:30的飞机场". For "今天要回家" "今天没回家", David got the audience to sing-along for the easier parts of the song. But when he challenged them to sing the following faster stanza, the audience stumbled. Nonetheless, the crowd enjoyed every moment of it.

"小镇姑娘" was definitely one of the more refreshingly rearranged songs. Originally a very light, country and folk sounding number, this live version was heavier and really rocked the house and had the audience on their feet and arms in the air.

A significantly slower "寂寞的季节" was then performed to lead up to his unplugged number, "普通朋友" which he shared the stage with his guitarist on tour, Jamie Wilson who surprised the audience when he replied to David's questions in Mandarin. This would be just one of the numerous occasions in the concert where he showcases his band of talented musicians.


One of the things that set David Tao apart is how he uses his music for positive change in the world. The next song "Dear God" was one he wrote in response to the tragedies that had happened around the world in recent times as a cry out for change. It had a video prelude with the accompanying crew introducing themselves, their role in the band, their different nationalities and racial diversity. Then they introduced themselves in common as human to drive the point that the fighting that is happening around the world needs to stop and that we should recognise that our most effective weapon is love instead.

"今天你要嫁给我" is a duet which he wrote and sang with Jolin Tsai. Of course Jolin wasn't around. So Singapore's very own Tay Kewei sang her part as David flirted with her on stage as always in every of his concert. It is a pity her talent is not as recognised locally, judging from the somewhat awkward audience response when David referred her as the pride of Singapore. But hey, it's just a few more songs before her debut album rocks our air waves, but if you are curious, visit her blog for her demo tracks and support local talent!


Producing a concert is always a team effort, so David took ample time after the song to introduce everyone that made this concert possible, on and off stage. Notably, there were many musicians that hail from Singapore and Malaysia. I was darn impressed that every musician on stage could sing and play at least one instrument! A special mention for Alisa Elisa, the multi-talented Taiwanese back up vocal who can also play the flute, trombone and violin. Not to mention that she quite gorgeous as well.

Kewei David and Alisa

David then shared a little secret - he is a closet dancer, but a bad one at it. That's why he remains a closet dancer. But still he wanted the audience to have some fun, he included a dance medley so that everyone can get on their feet to shake it up little. Interestingly, during the dance medley, David took the role of the back up vocals for John Tan David Tan (back up vocals and guitar) to take centre stage.

Halfway through "就是爱你", David decided to get off the stage and get cozy with the audience. The ladies screamed with delight as they flooded towards the barrier for a hug, handshake or even just a touch of their idol. The fans loved it tremendously. Due to the local concert regulations, he could only access a limited area of the crowd. Returning to stage at the end of the song, David even thanked the security for their hard work in making that up-close and personal experience possible and safe for everyone.

The lady in red gets her tickets' worth with a full embrace
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Near the end of the concert he shared that he was considering a move to Singapore, because it was one of the few places where there is racial and religious tolerance. On a lighter note, he said that said that contrary to what people said, Singapore is actually a fun place, with the latest attraction being the Singapore Flyer, which is really slow and expensive.

For those who remembered his comments on desperately anxiously seeking a life partner at his press conference, David picked out a lady in the audience to serenade with the song "沙滩", on stage. Darn lucky girl. Hmm... Isn't he awfully transparent laying out plans to get a Singapore PR, don't you think? I could almost hear some of the audience chanting, "PR! PR! PR!" Or maybe David's already aiming for Singapore citizenship?


For the last song of the night, David sang his break out hit, "爱很简单". With it he thanked the audience, the crew and especially God, sharing his testimony of miracle healing of tonsillitis on the morning of the concert. Yup, that too got a rather awkward reaction from the audience. But that didn't affect the concert experience one bit. It was undoubtedly a great concert that would be remembered for a long time.

26 April 2008

Overheard and identified?

men discuss sexploits

I was pretty irritated by the man in blue with his legs wide open and taking up 2 seats on the train. Yes, I heard your luxury car is with the mechanic and you found public transport more efficient, but this isn't the place to "sit outside the box" or "let your floodgates open".

But then his conversation with the fellow passenger got interesting. Proudly, they started discussing about their exploits involving "sweet young things" and how well they kept them entertained and how nice they felt to the touch and many other suggestive and graphical areas, as if they were "connoisseurs of sweet young things". If that ain't enough, they even verbally agreed to exchange contacts of those whose services they were exceptionally pleased with.

Oh yah, the man in blue even mentioned that it's ok since his family isn't around...

Guess everything can be viewed as "okay" if people who matter don't know about it nowadays.

17 April 2008

Pointless Shots - More "Not Pretty" models

Waitress 1

Waitress 2

Waitress 3


MRT Platform

Look what curiosity brought in!

Little Mr Curious
Photo by Ittaboon @ Flickr

Some time back I joined some newfound Thai friends to visit the zoo. And this little fellow was immensely curious of my camera and started scrutinizing it.

Also, have a look at this picture if you want to know why the term "hung like a horse" came about.

Anyhow, other photos can be found at: http://kormmandos.multiply.com/photos/album/190/A_Zoo_Visit

16 April 2008

This is some weird photo op...

A glimpse of how rich Indians celebrate their 21st birthday - by holding a banquet along with plenty of song and dance and fashion show.

A few of the photographers I met there were rather pissed that we got duped into this fashion show where the runway wasn't even elevated, and the lighting miserable. I figured that the coordinator must have "made use" of our equipment to provide an additional gloss to the "fashion show".

Still it was nice that the models played along for us to take a few shots.

Table decor

Table set up

A closer look at the table set up

A Dance Performance

The models

11 April 2008

Haji Sulaiman and Wartinah's Wedding

Congratulations to Haji Sulaiman and Wartinah!

Malay weddings are really nice, fun and warm because of the location and setting, usually a HDB void deck that is elaborately decorated and sometimes lasts for a few days to cater to literally the whole kampung or nearly the whole neighbourhood. Yup, it is a community event with a very unique kampung-spirit.

The life of these parties are almost always the parents and relatives that congregate at these momentous occasions to shower their blessings on the couple. Their expressions are of pride and joy and absolutely infectious.


Click here for more pictures from the event!

10 April 2008

Kevin and Shan Shan - Wackiest Wedding Ever!

KAPOW! Every one of us who attended were as pleasantly bewildered as you are!


Kevin and Shan Shan held the wackiest wedding ever, first with some mad antics at their Tea Ceremony, then their singing during their first march in, live band performances, magic show, juggling. The best part had to be them breaking into a dance to Doncha wish your girlfriend was hot like me during their second march in.

(Ok, this shot was photoshopped to death, but you get the idea...)

They said it best, "We can't take gorgeous wedding photos, so we might as well be totally wacky, lor!" So anybody else want to have a wacky wedding? Let me know! I want to cover! I might even consider doing it for free!

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Click here for the full album at my Multiply.

Special Bonus Video just for the fun of it!


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Although the design is compliant to FIPS 140-2 standard with PKI technology, FAST easySafe, as its name implies, is rather easy to deploy and use as compared to other sophiscated security products that require dedicated IT specialists for deployment and maintenance.

Fast And Safe Technology Pte Ltd (FAST)

FAST easySafe can be purchased at the following locations:-
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9 April 2008

Musicovery : interactive webRadio

Credits to Ying Huei for this great site that serves up plenty of music according to the kind of mood you say you are in.

Wicked app!

Now I don't even need to download music!

Plus, registration not required! Perfect for cheapos like me!


5 April 2008

B Bakery - A Quaint Little Find

Some time back I visited this quaint little restaurant (less than 10 tables inside and 4 outside) in Bussorah Street which is within the Arab Street network for a friend's birthday dinner. The food was pretty decent and I liked the fact that the owners took effort to ask for the group's (10 of us) food order in advance so that they can handle the orders, as well as providing a non-public menu for our selection. Not too sure if this menu is now printed, so when you do go, ask the staff about it.

The food was served rather quickly thanks to good planning by the restaurant even for such a small group. These are what I managed to try.

Grilled Vegetables & Hummus Platter - $5
Grilled Vegetables & Hummus Platter

A very interesting starter. Deceptively simple in preparation. All the vegetables used were grilled just right for that soft mashable texture. Though some of the vegetables were quite badly charred, like the onion on the 9 o'clock position. But still worth the mention was its surprising sweetness and the absence of spiciness. The hummus in the middle was great with the default basket of bread. A colourful, cheerful, healthy appetiser. I do wish that the portion would be larger. But at $5, maybe I will order 2.

Water Melon, Feta Cheese & Rocket Salad - $5

I almost forgotten about photographing this! Nevertheless, I must say is is a wonderful salad that cleverly combined watermelon with feta cheese. The strong taste of the former was nicely complimented by the refreshing crunch and sweetness of the latter. Both together made the salad eating extra enjoyable and fun. Clearly another happy and comforting dish.

Braised lamb shank in wine sauce, mashed potato, sauteed vegetables - $20

What's this thing about braised lamb shank that every restaurant seems to be serving? Not that I am complaining, though. Anyway, the one here tasted pretty much like every other decent braised lamb shank with exception to the wine sauce which tasted sharper and might take a little getting used to. The fibres of meat could have been more tender and moist, but if the texture is your thing, it was done just right. I do wish the lamb shank had a little bit more of the tendons though.

Salmon papilote (oven baked in paper), vegetables, capers - $18

The salmon was nice, moist and flaky thanks to the way it was prepared. Unfortunately, zesty sauce used was not necessarily the best thing to go along with it, in my opinion. The saltiness from the pickled capers masked taste the fish by a bit too.

As for ambience, I like it for being small, quiet and personal. Perhaps the name, B Bakery also wanted to suggest its humility.

Lastly, the recommendation is to make reservations and order in advance as their inventory for dinner is quite limited.

Also note that they are open for dinner from Thursdays to Saturdays, 6pm - 10pm only.

1 April 2008

Absolute Haven - not all that impressive

Thanks to the good folks at HGW, the girlfriend and I managed to give Absolute Haven a try. I was expecting something refreshing, cheerful and something close to "fireworks-on-the-palate" after so many positive reviews.

The new menu

The menu of the day was a revamped one, so in a way we were all guinea pigs sent into an experiment. Which is actually more fun actually, as there would not be any references. Best of all, we get to dine at a fraction of the usual price. (Yes, I am plugging for the next HGW outing, check this forum thread)

Anyway, on with the food review and photos.

Soup - Cream of Rocket

Cream of Rocket

We started off with cream of rocket which was quite nicely done. The soup was not overly smooth so that bits of its potato base (my assumption) could be felt. It is a nice thoughtful touch to have added that dimension in the texture. For me, perhaps lacking was a tinge of the rocket's bitterness to authenticate the dish itself. Maybe a bit of minced or chopped rocket might have added a little character to the soup?

Starter - I tried Panchetta Ham & Smoked Salmon Roll

Panchetta Ham & Smoked Salmon Roll

I like the combination of the smoky panchetta ham and salmon with the greens wrapped in them. The textures of the meat and leafy greens stood out for themselves with every bite and distinctive flavours complimented each other really well. The smoky meats provided the punch while the greens cleared the palate for the next piece. My only grouse is the saltiness from the ham, but I am sure it can be easily neutralised with more of the salad greens.

Panchetta Ham & Smoked Salmon Roll

Starter - The Girlfriend tried Duck Breast Salad with Berry Sauce


I liked the sweet and tangy taste, but foresee it may be too overpowering as one progresses to consume more of this salad. This is perhaps catered to those with a sweet tooth.

Main Course - I tried the Pan-seared Seabass with Poached Egg, Miso Braised Daikon and Olive Pilaf Rice, served with Lemon Cream Sauce

Pan-seared Seabass with Poached Egg, Miso Braised Daikon and Olive Pilaf Rice, served with Lemon Cream Sauce

High scores on the presentation, but average in taste. The fish wasn't exactly fresh and was over-cooked with edges totally burnt and bitter. Rest of the fish was tough and dry by my standards. Taste-wise, the fish was very plain with the minuscule amount of lemon cream sauce. Overall, it felt like the dish was conjured by a randomised process where you pick cards for every accompanying item and a poor excuse for a fusion dish. Every item did nothing to each other or for each other in terms of taste.

Main Course - The Girlfriend tried the Oven-Roasted Yorkshire Pork Rack with Herb Potato, Vegetables Ratatouille, Fresh Mesclum Salad, served with Coffee Chocolate Sauce

Oven-Roasted Yorkshire Pork Rack with Herb Potato, Vegetables Ratatouille, Fresh Mesclum Salad, served with Coffee Chocolate Sauce
The pork rack was nicely done with a tinge of pink in the centre and tender to the bite. The marinate was done just right to allow the freshness of the pork to be tasted. However, the coffee chocolate sauce with meat combination reminded me too much about the coffee ribs available from the tze char stalls. The girlfriend mentioned that the pork could have been better used, i.e. prepared in better ways.
The ratatouille seemed out of place because of its "heavy" flavour was more of a clash with the pork and it just felt additionally pretentious thanks to the movie. The use of fresh cut fruits like lychees, longans, dragonfruits, pears would have provided a refreshing edge and balance to the dish.

Dessert - I tried Victorian Creme Brulee

Victorian Creme Brulee

I liken this to the Hong Kong steamed egg pudding, but mushier. Well done for that important crusty top layer of caramelised sugar. Unfortunately it tasted pretty plain for a place where I expected more of. No exciting layers of surprised or infused floral scents. Or perhaps that was what the "Victorian" stood for - old, traditional and outdated.

Dessert - The Girlfriend tried Passionfruit Panna Cotta

Passionfruit Panna Cotta

Here at Absolute Haven, Panna Cotta has a texture of curdled cheese and plenty of zesty punch from passionfruit, orange peel and berries. I can't be sure if I like this dessert as it didn't taste bad, but neither did it taste fantastic.

Overall, the food just didn't wow me as I had expected more thoughtful, cleverer, refreshing combinations in ingredients.


The staff was friendly but rather slow with service and response and lacking in initiative. However the worst part has to be their failure to prioritise. The girlfriend and I had to run off for another appointment, so we asked for the food to be served slightly faster. Our expectation was only to be served with the first batch of the dish we ordered, but they weren't even able to do that. Worst, for a group of over 20 people, they failed badly at coordinating for the food to be served together, making patrons without their food stare blankly at those who do. Some had even finished their food before their partner's had arrived. That is totally unacceptable.