Sunday, December 12, 2010

Singapore Medical Expenses

It has been quite a while people complain about rising medical expenses in Singapore.  I didn't actually feel the pinch as I am mostly covered by company's medical benefits and under normal circumstances, the amount is sufficient to cover me for a full calendar year, with this year being the exception.

In total, I have S$650 a year as the max medical claim I have a one year.  Out of this S$650, S$70 went to a routine dental checkup (which used to be around S$35), then another S$300 went to my annual medical check-up.  I don't think you can complain much about these two, they are necessary, as recommended by the medical professionals.  Then another S$300 went to my glasses.  Didn't make any glasses in two years, so it is time to make a new pair.  S$300 is at best, the median price you pay for a decent pair of glasses, not even for any fancy frames, or expensive lenses yet.  Then that goes my S$650.

Unfortunately I got a flu recently.  Then the bill gave me a big surprise.  S$23 as doctor's consultation fee, S$17 as the cost of some anti-biotics, and the rest for the rest of the medicine.  Total damage is S$53!  This is only for a common flu, not something serious.  If one visit to the doctor is not enough, then 2 visits will cost at least S$100.  For someone earning S$1000 a month, that's 10% of his/her salary.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Worry Too Much想太多

You worry too much, so said someone.  Or, do I?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Forgotten

It has been 10 years, and somehow my presence in the same place for 10 years has been mostly unnoticed.  I have been waiting for the delusional 'opportunity' to come, and yes indeed it came, and went to others.  I was left totally unnoticed, forgotten, and mostly ignored.

It feels bad, really bad.  You have asked to do the hard work, take the difficult, challenging task but then credits went else where.

It is pointless, to lament about all that unfair treatment.  It is time to create that opportunity, instead of waiting for one.  Gathered enough courage, opened my mouth, and asked for an opportunity.  Some resistance, outcome less favourable, didn't get what I wanted, but no, I will not give up, I will try again.  I can't wait, I don't want to waste another 10 years in waiting.  Waiting without any action is just a waste of time, I must act, until I get what I wanted.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tomi Sushi

Tomi Sushi is a Japanese restaurant hidden in one corner in downtown Singapore.  I wouldn't even know its existence if my friend didn't bring me there.

They have a very typical Japanese restaurant setting, with small tables, small chairs, and the typical cute and nice tableware.  What is different is they separate the dining space into different sections, separated by classic bamboo curtains, giving diners some much needed privacy in a crowded restaurant.

We ordered a set meal, which consists of a sashimi plate of 3 types of fishes, a sushi plate of 7 different types of sushi, and a bento of salmon plus tempura.

The sashimi plate is really good.  I can't name all the 3 different fishes, but I know there is tuna.  One of them is exceptionally good.

Our sushi plate.  The sushi is not bad too, and somehow sushi turns out to be a point of 'contention' between my friend and I.

Our bento set is not bad either.  The food is not only a feast to our taste buds, but also a feast to the eyes too.  The delicate arrangement of the food, the blending of colors make the food so much more appealing to the appetite.

Last but not least, Tomi Sushi is famous for the rice.  They use the high quality rice from a famous rice producing region in Japan.  The rice on its own is selling at S$3.00 a bowl, comes with a small plate of lovely pickles.  Well, the rice is soft and warn to the stomach and really warms the body.

It is a nice little Japanese restaurant, perfect for gatherings of close friends.  You can talk freely in comfortable private setting.  Price-wise it is obviously a bit more expensive, we spent about 70 bucks for 2, so it is reasonable.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Danga City Mall in JB

Danga City Mall is the reincarnation of a previous closed-down mall in JB.  Its revival was with quite a bit of fanfare as KTM dedicated a train station at the door steps of the mall, and the train service is from Singapore's Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.  With such a 'special' arrangement, I would have expected the business at the mall to be very good, and lots of visitors from neighbouring Singapore.  However, the reality is just the contrary.

What has gone wrong?  The KTM train is really a pain in the neck and nobody would have taken the train at such insane timings.  Go and take a look yourself at the train schedule here.  What do you expect the shoppers to do if they take the 8.45am train from Singapore?  Do you think the shops in the mall will be open this early in the morning?  The train schedule basically kills at least 50% of the business of this mall.

Another issue with the mall is its location.  It is not near any public transport, there is no bus, the only way to get there from the custom is take a cab (around RM6.00).  Nearby the mall, there is nothing anymore.

Nowadays if you visit the mall, it is more or less like walking in a ghost town.  No customers.  The shops are mostly vacant.  I guess they want to model the mall after Singapore's Funan Center to be an IT themed mall, but then obviously it is not successful.

That aside, there is indeed some entertainment in the mall.  They have archery, paint ball, bowling and karaok on the higher floors.

Overall, I guess it is just a matter of time when this mall will close down again.  It is sad, but it is reality.  Moral of the story?  If you wanna invest in commercial property in Malaysia, better do your own due diligence.  Nobody will be responsible if things don't turn out right.


Breakthrough, breakthrough, breakthrough, I need to have some breakthrough in career, in life, in every aspect of my life.  Life has gone into a repetitive pattern and I always remains in my comfort zone.  There is no more challenge, no more excitement, no more goal.  Day after day, month after month, days go by in the exact same way.  I need improvement, I need an upgrade!

But how?  That's the question.  Where shall I start to tackle my boundary?  How shall I move beyond my boundary and venture into unchartered territory?  What do I really like to do?  I ask myself.  What am I good at?  What do I enjoy doing?  What do I want to achieve?  What kind of person do I want to be?  Circumstances are bad and unfavourable to me at this moment, but it should not in another year's time, or another 5 years' time. If I don't have breakthroughs in life, then there is be no difference now and future other than I would be older and less valuable to the corporate world.

I need a mentor.  How to find one?  I need a breakthrough, but how to get onto the right path?  So many questions, so many doubts, so much uncertainty.  It is time to ponder, it is time to search.  A watershed moment...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pompeii - Life in a Roman Town 75CE

The exhibition about Pompeii is now on-going in the National Museum of Singapore.  Admission is S$12 for adult, but on Deepavali day, it is FREE!  Thank you our Indian friends!

Pompeii was a prosperous Roman town in southern Italy, and it was buried under the ashes of Mt Vesuvian when the volcano erupted in 79 BC.  Thanks to the volcanic ashes, the town was well-preserved and two thousands years later, it is presented to us how people lived 2000 years before :)

Some stuff we only see in movies and TV dramas, gladiator's shoulder guards.

How can a typical Roman town have no naked statues?

And the Romans are never short of the sense of humour.  Do you see that thumb at that water jar handle?  When you pour water out, your thumb will be pressing against that 'thumb'.

Overall, it is a very interesting exhibition.  As the number of exhibits are not overwhelming like in the other big museums such as Louvre Museum, you can walk with a slow pace, read every single caption, take a detail look of each exhibit, it is pretty good, a worthwhile exhibition for you to consider.

Sizzling StoneGrill@Bukit Indah

There is a Sizzling StoneGrill restaurant somewhere along East Coast Road, with a chic black store front, but so I heard the price there is also chic, on the high side.  Recently, I found many restaurants bearing the same name mushroom'ed out in our neighbouring Malaysia, in Pelangi Mall, Bukit Indah Mall, and also Sutera Mall.  They all the this Sizzling StoneGrill restaurant.  The business seems to be ok, and so I decided to give it a try.

My lamb leg came on a white plate, with a sizzling hot square black stone in the center (that's why it is called 'sizzling' stone grill).  The raw lamb leg rests right in the center of the stone, 'burning'.  The concept is very much like the hugely popular 'pepper lunch' in Singapore.  You have to do your own cooking.  As a result, the reactions from customers can be vastly different.  Some say it is crap as you pay for the raw meat only, and still have to do the cooking yourself.  The restaurant offers no added value.  At the same time, some like it very much, otherwise the pepper lunch restaurants wouldn't have opened a few more branches.

Ok, back to our food.  The trick here is how you cook my lamb leg with the hot stone.  There is no button to adjust how much heat should come out, at what time.  It all boils down to your skill.  To do it well, you must know that the stone serves as a piece of heat storage.  It releases the heat slowly, gently so that you won't over cook your meat, you can choose your own rare, medium or well-cooked.  The key is to decide on how long you leave your meat on the stone, how often do you turn it over.

Many have the misconception that you need to turn the meat over constantly.  That's not true.  You can leave the meat on the stone, but don't turn it.  Let one side of the meat to harden, sealing off any escape of the precious juice the meat has.  Then you cut small pieces out and then do your turns with the small piece only.

I must say that it is a lot of fun, but then you are also very busy during the whole meal, as you have to keep tending to your food, before it becomes charcoal!  Definitely it is not ideal for a friends' gather where you want to have nice, cosy chats over the table.

My rating: 3.5/5

It is not too bad.  If you want to have good experience with your lamb, steak, it is a good choice.

Friday, November 5, 2010

New Lucky Claypot Rice

My friend recommended a clay pot rice at a coffee shop in Clementi.  Clay pot rice is not special, so what is the big deal of this one?  What is special about this one is they cook the rice on demand, that means the rice is not pre-cooked, and they use charcoal to cook the rice, instead of gas, so it is said that the rice is more fragrant.

So here came our clay pot rice, after a wait of about 30 minutes.  During non-busy hours, the wait is about 20-30 minutes, during busy hours, the wait is about 40 minutes.  You can tell the rice was cooked from fresh, but the other ingredients were not.  The chicken and the sausage were for sure pre-cooked and they were put onto the rice after the rice was about fully cooked.

Now let's talk about the taste.  The chicken and the sausage were just so so, can tell anything special.  The rice is indeed different from your electric rice cooker type of rice, but the difference is not really that big.  It is a little bit more crispy and as our Chinese put it, more 'fire'.  But it is really a matter personal preference, for me, rice cooker rice is more moisture, not so dry, suits my taste more.

We also ordered a bowl of lotus root soup.  The portion is quite big for the price of S$4.00.

My rating: 3/5

If you are a fan of traditional cooking, you might like the rice, other than that, the rest is pretty average.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pho House@Suntec

Wandering around in town and ended up in Suntec.  Pho House has this 3-course set meal, so decided to give it a try.

The first course is the famous Vietnamese spring roll.  Somehow, I don't know why Vietnamese like spring roll so much, as it is generally lack of any taste other than the taste of mint leaves.  However, it is indeed very healthy.  As it is not deep-dried as Singapore's local version of spring rolls.

Pho House's spring is not too bad, I must say, if you dip it in the right sauce :)

My main dish is grilled beef with salad and rice.  The beef is a bit overdone and was too chewy.

My friend's main course is beef rice noodle.  There are three types of beef in the noodle, including beef ball, marinated beef & some kind of tender beef.  The taste is not bad I must say.

The finale of the meal is Vietnamese coffee.  They serve it with that traditional French coffee dripper.  Well, too bad that neither the dripper nor the coffee is authentic, so you can lower your expectation.

My rating: 3/5

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Long Xia Zhou Shi Jia@Orchard Central

Saw this 1 for 1 promotion of lobster porridge at S$29.90 at Long Xia Zhou Shi Jia at Orchard Central, so we decided to give it a try.

The location of the restaurant is not bad.  Looking out from the window, it is youth park down below, and the skyscrapers in Orchard area, you see a very modern Singapore

The pickles they provide is not too bad, but it is kind of expensive, S$2.00.

Then our main course, the much anticipated lobster porridge came.  Each bowl has half a baby lobster.  The lobster is quite ok, not really extremely fresh, but still acceptable.  The best part actually is the broth.  I am not sure whether they put in a lot of MSG, or they really put in lots of high quality ingredients.  The porridge itself is a disappointment, I must say.  It is the teochew style porridge, put it simply, this means they simply dump some cooked rice into the broth and then call it porridge.

We also ordered the pork ribs, at the recommendation of the waitress.  The pork ribs are too dry, too lean, too tasteless.

Overall, the lobster porridge is quite ok, but I don't think I will come again at the full price of S$29.90 a bowl.  Just under the same roof of Orchard Central, another restaurant is offering half a baby lobster at the price of less than 10 bucks.

My rating: 3.5/5

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Van Tharp's Peak Performance Course

It has been almost two years since I first took up Van Tharp's Peak Performance course.  This course is meant for traders to improve their investment psychology, so as to improve their trading performance, which should translate into more profits.  However, this course is not limited to traders.  It is very useful to people from ALL walks of life, it does not matter whether you are a housewife, an engineer, a banker, a politician, or whatever your profession is.

I went through this self-study course, and it has changed me significantly.  I managed to unload my emotional luggage, especially the rubbish, and start to see improvement in life.

Just an example, my score for the LSI:SPI ratio, a ratio used in the course to gauge your condition of life, has improved from a high score of 2.28 (which is bad) to 0.67.  I find my life now is a lot more meaning, I start to have profits instead of losses in my investments.  I am more cool when faced with adversity.  I don't feel constantly upset or depressed.  It may be still a long way for me to become successful, but I am sure I am on the way there.

This is a course definitely worth your money, time and effort.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Bad Year?

It so happened that a blogger, whose blog I frequent, went into some headwinds in his life after he came back from a free trip to Japan last month.  The frequency he updates his blog has gone way way down than normal and you can somehow sense quite a bit of anxiety and upsets.   By law of attraction, as I am attracted to his blog, and now I am attracting anxiety, as well as some bad luck.

Just when I got comfortable, somebody came up to tell me I must go and my current comfort is not what I deserved.  Too many bridges have been burnt, and I obviously didn't put up some grand fireworks for the grand show, so many are disappointed.  An actor who can't put up a great show will be punished by audience, he will become box office poison that everybody tries to avoid.

It is sad sad sad.  If you are not successful, people don't even want to befriend you, people will only belittle you. Success is the only way out.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dave Wang's World Tour Concert - Singapore

Formerly I mentioned I would be going to Dave Wang's World Tour Concert in Singapore on 23 Oct, 2010 in this blog entry, and so I did last night.

The Max Pavilion at Singapore Expo was almost fully filled up.  In an interview with the media, Dave mentioned he worried sick about his concert's ticket sales, and he was afraid his concerts may not get more than 50% filled.  Now there is really no worry about that.  The concert attendees are mostly in their 30s and older.  The generation grew up with Dave's songs.

There were also fans coming all the way from Hong Kong and Japan to give their support to the star.  They were the only ones came with flash board cards.  Singapore fans are a lot more quiet and reserved, but they gave their support with their wallet :)

The concert started at 8pm, Dave appeared on stage in jeans and a jacket, that's all.  Nothing fancy.  No stunning opening, no stunning ending.  Through the entire concert, there was nothing glamorous, nothing fancy, it is a 'naked' concert, devoid of everything but music.

Dave sang 20+, close to 30 songs in the 2.5 hours concert.  He was singing, singing and singing, with the occasional chit-chat with the audience.  His songs usually have very high key, and extremely taxing on the voice.  Yet he managed it beautifully.  At the age of 40+ close to 50, his voice has deteriorated a bit, no longer as smooth as when he was a 20+ young man, yet it is still remarkable good.

The audiences, although mostly in their 30s and above, were surprisingly cooperative when Dave asked them to sing along, especially of those of his famous pieces such as A Game A Dream (一场游戏一场梦).

It was a night of pure music, a night of good old feelings from a super star.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Foggy Singapore

It is the second day Singapore is being covered under a thick layer of smog.  The air quality has deteriorated with PSI rising up to 108 points in the evening.

This is the annual forest burning season in Indonesia, and Singapore and Malaysia both have suffered badly from this barbaric activity.

The smog is so bad that the visibility has significantly reduced, the air is filled up that burning smell.  It irritates your eyes, throat and nose.

May this smog disappear soon!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sutera Mall @ JB

Went over to Sutera Mall in JB yesterday.  Sutera Mall is one of the suburban malls in the outskirts of Johor Bahru downtown.  The mall is not very big, there are only two stories.  The anchor tenant is CarrFour hypermart, so you can expect there is quite a bit of crowd here.  In its annex, there is a Peiking Restaurant with two or three wedding halls catering to traditional Chinese wedding banquet, so there is even more crowd.  However, there is a pity that there is no cinema in the mall.  Well, you should guess by now what is the most popular industry here :)

The shops in the mall are quite normal, and you can find similar restaurants in Bukit Indah mall too.  For example, you can find Tang Shifu here, you can find Stone Grill here too!

Highlight of this mall for me is actually JB Archery, a small little archery sanctuary tucked at one corner on the mall on level 2.  Here, you pay RM 10 for 18 arrows, or RM15 for 36 arrow, or if you are strong enough, you can pay RM20 for 60 arrows!  This is a lot cheaper than in Singapore.

The bowls they have are the cheaper normal bowls, not the carbon fibre type, which is quite understandable.  One carbon bowl costs like a couple of thousand dollars.  They also have assistants there to provide guidance and advice.

It is the first time in almost a decade for me to pick up a bowl.  All that I learnt in my archery course somehow has gone down to the drain and I could hardly remember anything :P  Anyway, after shooting for a while, I started to pick up a bit of the feel.  But, after shooting, my left hand pains like hell.

Anyway, it was quite fun doing shooting again.

How to get there?  From Singapore, you can take CW4s from Jurong East MRT station.  Under normal circumstances, it takes only 1 hour to get there.  However, if you go on Sunday, the CW4s service is partially combined with CW3, and you have to change bus after you arrive at Geylang Patan, change to bus 666.  Bus 666 takes a big big big detour and it takes another hour to reach Sutera Mall.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ip Man 2

Ip Man 2 is sequel of the hugely successful movie Ip Man.  As usual, the sequel is not as good as the first movie, and Ip Man 2 is, unfortunately, of no exception.  Still starring Donnie Yen as Ip Man, he is still so skillful in both fighting and acting, and still a man of manners, but this time the weak point is in the story.  The story is on the plain side and cliche.  Nonetheless, it is still a good movie, especially when you look beyond the surface.

Ip Man, as a Chinese kungfu master, has fought Japanese in episode 1, now fought a British in episode 2.  How much fact in the movie does not really matter, but Ip Man is actually the embodiment of China, China including both sides of the Taiwan Strait.  China had fought Japanese invasion, China had fought the British and won back Hong Kong, although a bit late, in 1997.  And now China is fighting with the descendants of the British - the Americans.  Ip Man's fight in the movie is a direct reflection of present day China's struggle to become strong and to stand equal to the super-powers, economic and military wise with the Japanese, British, & American.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

detective dee and the mystery of the phantom flame

Detective Dee is another one of the star-studded, big production movies.  The stars are good, including Andy Lau, Liu Jia-ling, Liang Jia Hui and some others.  Their acting skills are not bad.  Then the director added in quite a bit of western style of dreamy fairy kind of computer graphics to make the movie more like happening in a fantacy land, rather than on planet earth. 

However, the story is not that great.  It is ok, but too lengthy, and they don't have much suspense.  I couldn't tell who the bad guy is until towards the end of the movie, but then somehow there is very little ups & downs and the movie simply doesn't attract your attention. 

You can watch this movie in a low cost way when you free and have nothing better to do :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

随笔(3)- 快乐

常常听人说我们要去寻找快乐,快乐是可以寻找的么? 快乐是什么? 它看得见,摸得着,有定价钱么? 好像都没有, 那要到哪里去找呀? 说实在的,也没什么好找的, 快乐就是一种心理状态,你说你快乐,你就快乐;你觉得你快乐,你就快乐。 快乐也是一种选择,你选择快乐, 你就快乐, 别人想抢,想偷,抢不到,也偷不了你的快乐。

赤贫的小孩生活很苦,但是他们也有快乐的时光。  抛下心中的忧愁,他们一样欢快玩耍。 富裕的孩子,拥有赤贫孩子没有的物资,无后顾之忧,他们也可以很快乐。 赤贫的小孩, 富裕的孩子都可以快乐,只要他们选择了快乐。 

多少人总是说他如果有了什么什么,他就会很快乐; 如果他达到了什么目标, 他就会很快乐, 但结果呢? 到头来他还是很不快乐。 快乐很简单,如果你选择快乐,你就会快乐,这一刻就选择快乐吧!

25% Cash Machine

Title: 25% Cash Machine
Author: Bryan Perry
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc 2007

In this environment of super low yield, investors are constantly looking for high yield and safe investments, in place of the traditional safe but low yield investment products.

The book was published back in 2007, a year before the arrival of the great recession in the states, as a result, some of the investments do really look very favourable, high yield although they are, their prices have come down by more than half.  However, this book is still quite an eye opener, opening your door to a new world of high yield investment.   Some of the investment principles are still valid in this post crisis world.

It is a book worth reading.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

随笔(2)- 木头人之歌

近来有机会与一木头人接触。 既是木头,面目本来没有什么表情,造物主就将一个微笑的面具挂在了他的面上, 让他永远看起来都是笑呵呵的,永远重复的都是一样的笑容,哀,怒,乐,都是木头人不能表达的感情。 爱,那是不能说的秘密,那是一种只能永远藏在木头人心中的情感。

木头人渴望别人的关心,渴望别人的注意,渴望别人的爱,而木头人却总是与自己的意愿背道而驰,说伤人的话,做伤人的事。  为什么呢? 他要维护他的面具,他的尊严,无谓的所谓的尊严。 所谓的尊严的背后,是一颗怕受伤的心, 脆弱的心。

木头人啊,  木头人, 敞开你的心扉吧。 你可能会遇到冷嘲热讽,不过更多的会是关怀与关爱, 枯木也会逢春。


岁月无声,悄悄地光阴就晃过去了三十多年。 当年也就因为懵懂少年怕冬天里没有热水洗澡,而那个时代的中国大学都没有热水这么简单的原因,懵懂少年就下南洋,到了永远都不用担心没热水的天堂。 可能这就是所谓的心想事成吧?

学生时代常读古人的教训,孔夫子的逝者如斯夫,岳武穆的白了少年头,空悲切,天天提醒自己要珍惜时间,但偏偏一个又一个的十年从眼前晃过去。 十年前事几番新,周围的人有的已回归自然的怀抱,更多的已成社会的中流砥柱,人中豪杰,用自己的双手谱写未来的历史。懵懂少年却只知道刘德华的一首《笨小孩》,人将近中年,却保持着一颗童心,用好奇的眼光看这个他看不懂的世界。

学生时代喜爱语文课,它带你去领略中华五千年的灿烂文化,很有一种站在巨人肩膀上的感觉;教人真理的政治课也不错,人类历史斗争吵吵闹闹好不精彩;英文课让人在那能讲几句洋文就似乎高人一等的年代可以自以为是一下。 数,理,化,生,真的是好闷好闷,公式背得然人的脑袋发晕。懵懂了一番之后,却发现所谓真理其实在那无聊的 数,理,化,生之中,精彩的,轰轰烈烈的,反而多了许多的修饰,许多的美化,太虚无,太飘渺,如佛经所说,如梦幻泡影,如露亦如电。

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sinma Live Seafood Restaurant@Geylang

Sinma Live Seafood Restaurant is a popular seafood haunt for the locals, tucked in a small corner in Geylang Lorong 3.

It is called a 'restaurant', but actually is more of a coffee shop Chi Char type of food haunt.  The business seems to have grown over the years, now it occupies two corner shops on both sides of the road on ground floor, plus a air-con dining area on the 2nd floor.  Looking around, you find most of the patrons are local Singaporeans, or people who live nearby.  They come here for the restaurant's famous dishes, including crab & their frog-leg porridge.

We ordered quite a number of dishes, including of course their signature dishes chilli crab, frog-leg porridge plus deep-fried Soon Hock fish, plus some vegies.

Here is the Soon Hock fish.  The guys started eating before I managed a photo, so that's the minus side of eating with all guys :(   The fish is quite fresh, and although it is deep fried, the meat remains flesh and tender.  It is not dry, but the out shell is very crispy.  The down-side is the fish is not very big in size, so it is finished in a much shorter time than I had expected.

Their vegies dishes are quite standard, cooked with lots of oil, so if you are health conscious, you may not like it too much, however, in terms of taste, their vegie dishes can get at least a pass.

The chilli crab came as a surprise to us.  Two giant crabs came to our table.  They use Sri Lanka crabs, so the shell is thick and hard.  But, their chilli crab is not really spicy, more toward the sweet side, rather than spicy hot side.  Freshness of the crabs are ok, at least better standard than No Sign Board Seafood.

The disappointment is actually the frog-leg porridge.  For non-Singaporeans, when someone mentions frog-leg porridge, they may think the frog leg and the porridge is together, but it is not, not in Singapore.  The frog legs and the porridge are cooked separately, and you only mix them together in your own bowl.

Now, let's talk about the porridge first.  The porridge has not much taste, and it is not the well-done type of porridge, how do I know?  I just know it, or my taste buds just know it.  Then the frog legs are too spicy.  The chilli crab is not spicy, but the frog-leg is.  The dry chilli they use is so strong that I choked a couple of times.  After finish eating the frog legs, my lips were still hot!  The frog legs somehow lacks in tenderness and sweetness.

In terms of service, it is a coffee shop, manned by mostly mainland Chinese workers, so don't expect outstanding services.  They didn't give up the cracking tool for eating crabs, and it took them a long time for them to bring one when asked.  They will only change your plates upon request, so if you are choosy about service standards, then don't go there, it is not that kind of place.

My rating: 3.5/5 (by coffee shop standard)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mastering Trading Stress - Strategies for Maximizing Performance

Title: Mastering Trading Stress - Strategies for Maximizing Performance
Author: Ari Kiev
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc

It is a book on the psychology size of trading.  The author examines the different aspects of trading stress, the common mistakes traders make.

Although it is a rare book on trading psychology, the author spends too big a portion of the book on case studies, and the case studies are mostly conversations between the author and the trader in question.

In the last two chapters of the book, the author introduces some practical tips that you can apply to manage your stress.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Tang Shifu@Bukit Indah Jusco

Last time at Tebrau Jusco (see my previous blog about Tang Shifu here), I didn't have the opportunity to try out Tang Shifu's set meals, so this time I grapped the opportunity to give it a try.

I ordered the Zhuang Yao Tang (壮腰汤) set meal.  It includes a Du-Zhong (杜仲) soup, a small bowl of brown rice and two small little side dishes of pork & black bean.

Black bean is good for blood, brown rice is good for your digestion system, the Du-Zhong soup is good for your kidney.  It is specially good for people who lead a sedentary life, with little or no exercises at all.

In terms of taste, it is not bad.  The soup is thick in taste and smell of Du-Zhong.  The pork tastes a bit like Bak Kut Teh, melts in your mouth.  Black bean, unfortunately is always hard, no matter how you cook it.

At RM 18.80, it is value for money.  You can't expect to have immediate effects on your body, making you a strong man/woman instantly, but it does help those busy people who have no time to cook some nutritious soup to nourish their body get a quick fix.

The service is just so-so, although they still charge you a 10% service charge.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Kinsahiya Japanese Restaurant@Bukit Indah Jusco, JB

We had lunch at Kinsahya Japanese Restaurant at Bukit Indah Jusco.  The restaurant has some funny deco, can't really tell what kind of style it is.

I don't know why they want to use such big ropes as deco, to warn customers if they don't pay up, they will be tied up :P  Just joking.

I ordered the Yakitori, which is grilled chicken in a stick.  The chicken is way too dry and hard, not juicy at all. To compensate for the lack of juice, they put a lot of sauce on the chicken.  The sauce is not too bad, I must say.

Price: RM 7.90

Another dish I ordered is Shisamo, which is grilled fish.  I can't really tell what kind of fish it is, but the taste is not bad.  There is a lot of fish roe, and meat is good.  If they can serve the fish really too, right off the grill, I think it would be better.  Anyway, it is already not too bad.

RM 11.90

My main is Zaru soba, which is cold Japanese wheat noodle.  The main came after much delay.  According to the waiter, their first attempt was not successful, and they had to do it again.  Ok, never mind.

RM 13.00

When the soba came, I was a bit surprised.  The soba they use is smaller in size comparing with the normal Japanese wheat noodle I am used to.  The soy sauce they provide is more healthy (read 'less salty').

Oh, I forgot about the appetizer.  The appetizer is egga wasbi mayo.  It is a mixture of egg white and some vegies.

RM 5.00

Overall, I will give them a 3.5/5.  It is not too bad for that kind of price.  It is top class, but quite acceptable.  The environment is good too, especially for a few friends to gather together for some chit-chat.

Kinsahiya Japanese Restaurant
Lot F09, Aeon Bukit Indah
Tel: 07-234 8087

Jusco@Bukit Indah, JB

Went over to JB again today, but this time we took a different route.  Normally we would go by the causeway at  Woodlands, which is infamous for long long queues and traffic jams.  This time, we took bus CW3 from Jurong East bus interchange.  The bus goes to JB via 2nd link, which is at the western end of Singapore island.  2nd link, although it has been there for many years, the usage remains low due to its high costs.  For example, to go to Bukit Indah in JB via 2nd link costs S$4.00!  But the advantage is that you have almost no traffic jam (under normal situations), no queue at all the immigration, so everything goes like a breeze.

After the bus gets into Malaysia, it has a number of stops.  Bukit Indah is one of the major stops, and you will not miss it with its giant Jusco sign.

The Jusco building is actually a 3-story shopping mall, with Jusco as its anchor tenant.  There are many restaurants and various shops available in the mall too.  Nearby, you have Tesco and Giant hypermarts.  The bad thing is that there is no cinema in Jusco, too bad.  You can't have all your entertainment here under one roof.

The mall is not crowded at all.  You can wander around at your own pace.  When you are tired, you can sit down for a hearty meal, or just sip a cup of coffee while letting your tired feet have some rest.

The return bus fair from Bukit Indah to Jurong East is RM5.00, a 50% discount.  So overall transportation cost is not that bad.

However, be warned there isn't much around Bukit Indah Jusco, so if you find yourself can't really kill your time there, you can only choose to go to downtown JB, or take the CW3 bus home.

Anyway, it is good to know another place we can hang around :)

Tiger Airways Cancels Flights Again

It is the second day it came out in the news that Singapore-based budget airline - Tiger Airways has cancelled flights due to technical faults with two of its 19 A320 Airbus aircraft.  As usual, passengers are not informed, and the solution Tiger offered is less than satisfactory.  Passengers were given two options, one is to get a refund, two is to go on another (Tiger) flight.  Well, at least now is not any major holiday period, imagine if we buy a Tiger Airways ticket to go home for Chinese New Year, and they tell you the flight has been cancelled when you arrive at the airport, at some obscene time of the day, how would you feel?  Worse, you may not get an air ticket to get home to spend the new year with your family without burning a big hole in your wallet.

The purpose of getting a budget airline ticket is to save on the cost of traveling.  The budget airline's duty is to fetch passengers from point A to point B on time, although without all the 'good' services provided by normal airlines.  Now, budget airlines are getting more expensive, and the service is getting more unreliable, then what is the point?

It is also worrying news came out that after Tiger Airways' IPO, a key personnel in the Tiger management team sold off a significant amount of Tiger shares.  It should really get you thinking what is really behind such actions.

I am wondering when we will see an anti-Tiger Airways facebook group would surface... Sooner or later, it will, if there is no improvement.  Or, consumers will vote with their money.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

SIA 2.15% 5-Year Corporate Bond

SIA for the very first time in Singapore's history to issue corporate bonds to retail investors, at a much lower capital requirement.  The minimum investment sum has been reduced from the normal S$250,000.00 to a mere S$10,000, with applications in increments of S$1000.

In terms of return, the bond yield is really low, it is only 2.15%.  Mind you, the official inflation rate for the past quarter in Singapore is ~3.5%.  This means the bond yield is not even enough to cover the depreciation by inflation, but then if you compare with the interests the banks give out to your savings accounts or fixed deposit accounts of less than 1% pa, it is still much better.  It is no surprise then the bond issue is still very very hot.  I applied for 10,000 units, but I got none!  This means there are many people out there with some cash savings looking for more decent yield.

What this reflects will be something interesting to ponder.  Happy investing :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Budget Airline More Expensive than Normal Airlines

If you always think that budget airlines are cheaper than normal airlines, think again.  I just got myself an air ticket from Thai Airways for SGD$574, but with one stop in Bangkok.  For the same route, Tiger Airways is asking for SGD$570 for a direct flight, excluding extra charges.

Keep in mind that you still need to pay SGD$10 for paying with credit card, SGD$12.50 for 1 piece of check-in luggage, SGD$12 for administration fee.  In addition, you still have to pay for your food and drinks on board the flight.  So the total cost is 570 + 10 + 12.50 + 12 = SGD$604.50!!

On top of that, the timing of Tiger flights is odd, taking off at the wee hours of the day, or midnight.  You still need to fork out extra bucks for your taxi, with 50% surcharge!!

For Thai Airways, at least their timings are more reasonable, they provide you with meals and drinks in flight, they let you check in one piece of luggage, free of charge, and they don't ask you for extra charge for seat selection.

SGD$604 against SGD$574, there is a SGD$30 difference in price, but a lot more in terms of comfort and fringe services.

Ever since Tiger Airways went public, their prices are up and up and up, but service is inferior to other normal  airlines.

If you think budget airlines are cheap, think again, seriously!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Classic Cantonese Songs

Donnie Yen's latest movie Legend of the Fist - Return of Chen Zhen, reminds me some of the classic Cantonese songs from Hong Kong that had inspired at least a generation of Chinese.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Potential Risk of Identify Theft with e-Passport

With the change of entry requirement after 9/11 terrorist attack in the United States, countries around the world are now required to issue e-Passports, ie. a passport with a microchip embedded in the passport, which holds your biometric information.  The intention of this move is to provide added security to all countries, and make it more difficult to use a fake passport to travel.

However, this strategy has an unintended side-effect.  Identity theft actually has gone up after the e-Passports are issued.  Why?  e-Passports has this microchip embedded.  To read the biometric information from your passport, RFID technology has been employed.  RFID, means the information is transmitted through RF frequency, and the information can be captured by the reader.  Here is the problem.  If only the government agencies have the technology to make the reader, and can use the reader, probably it is still ok, but actually everyone who knows the technology can produce a reader.  Someone with the reader can just go near you, can he/she can then collect personal identify information from your passport!

Is it something difficult to achieve that?  The answer is YES.  Not anyone on the street can do that.  The RFID has other forms of security measures, such as data encryption.  But can it be done?  YES.  Nothing in this world is really safe.

How to prevent others from getting information from your e-Passport without your knowledge?  The solution is actually very easy.  RFID works with RF transmission.  To block it, just put your passport in a metal container, like the old-style cigarette box, then it will do.  Or you can get yourself a metal passport holder like the one being offered from PacSafe.

New technology solves some problems but brings new problems too.  Problem-solving is a never-ending process :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Legend of the Fist - Return of Chenzhen: Movie Review

I first blogged about the movie in this blog entry.  Thanks to the generosity of, I got myself a pair of free tickets to the moive's gala premiere at Lido.  So today, after work I headed right down to Shaw House with a friend.

There was a reception there for the celebrities and VIPs.  Please forgive me, I really couldn't recognize anyone that I know.  My friend managed to spot our local TV star Li Nanxing.  Anyway, it is not important.

Let's talk about the movie.  With Donnie Yen being the action director, the actions will never disappoint.  The actions have Donnie's signature movements.  Fast, accurate, and lethal!  His fightings are real Chinese Kungfu, not something good for show only.

Then it came Chinese beauty Shu Qi.  Her interpretation of a Japanese secret agent disguising as a night club hostess is right to the point.  A bit more will be too much, a bit less will be insufficient.  And her beauty is hard to deny.

If we only have fighting and a beauty, the movie is hollow without a soul, but thanks to the playwright, the movie has a good story too.  The story was set in the 1920s'-30's Shanghai, during which time China was at the high of a civil war, and western countries as well as Japan were all eyeing a fat slice of China for their own interests.  Our hero in the movie - Chen Zhen (by Donnie Yen), together with many many other ordinary but patriotic Chinese work together to defend the country.  Many sacrificed their lives in the process.  A patriotic, and touching story.

The movie comes at a very sensitive time.  Sept 18, the date Japanese invaded the northern provinces of China in 1931, was just a few days ago.  It is considered to be one of the most unforgettable days in Chinese history.  And, Japan just detained the skipper of Chinese vessel around the disputed DiaoYuTai area.  The incident, coupled with the memorial activities of Sept 18, have led to street protests in many Chinese cities.

Let's hope people in both countries will realize borders are man-made, what is most important is to share the resources given generously by our mother nature.  Peace, all will win; war, everybody will lose.  Amman.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tampopo @ Liang Court

Tampopo at Liang Court seems to be a very popular Japanese restaurant.  At as early as 6pm, you already see queues start to form at the restaurant, with hungry patrons waiting to get their table.

We went in at around 5.30pm, just to beat the crowd, and it proved to be a wise decision.  I ordered their original Kyushu Ramen and grilled Aji.

I must admit I was actually a bit worried about how the ramen would turn out.  Based on my own experience with ramen, those 'authentic' Japanese ramen tend to be very salty, too salty for your health and my own taste buds.  However, Tampopo's ramen gave me a surprise.

The soup base is thick as expected and full of flavours, but it is not too salty, just nice.  Maybe it will be a bit plain to those with strong taste buds, but for me, just nice.  The soup is creamy and you can tell from your first  sip that the soup must have been boiled for many hours.  The ramen itself is cute, a little bit chewy but nice.  It somehow reminds me of the Vietnamese noodle that I had in Saigon some years ago.

Grilled Aji is not bad too.  I am not sure, but I suspect aji in Japanese is something like our saba fish, which is used in Korean cuisine as grilled fish.  Anyway, the fish was nicely done, and you can peel off the fish skin completely.

In conclusion, it is a pretty nice restaurant that provides reasonable Japanese food at reasonable price.

My rating: 3.5/5

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chef Daniel's Kitchen

Chef Daniel is one of Singapore's celebrity chefs who appears on TV food programs frequently in recent years.  His restaurant, which is called Chef Daniel's Kitchen, is located on the roof top of the newly opened Iluma shopping center in Bugis.

The location is really good.  As it is on the roof top, you can have a bird's eye view of downtown Singapore, even a glimpse of the iconic Marina Bay Sands.  The design of the restaurant is simple but clean, it gives you a very neat feeling.

They are having a lunch set menu for only $10.50.  It sounds like a good deal, as it includes a soup of the day, a main, plus dessert.  So we happily sat down and ordered our food.

First came the soup, which is creamy cabbage soup.  The taste is very plain, better than plain water, that's for sure.  Other than that, it is not much higher standard than our company's canteen western food.

Then it came our mains.  Mine is sirloin steak, medium rare, my friend's is Teriyaki chicken.

The portion is really small.  Maybe because it is considered to be 'fine' dining.  It is just a small bowl with a few pieces of chicken on it.

My sirloin steak at least still comes with a reasonable size, plus fries and half a tomato.  The fries are too dry.  Not even up to MacDonald's standard.  The steak is acceptable, but it is really just a thin slice, and it is a bit on the dry side.

Highlight of the meal is the dessert.  At least the dessert is quite decent and gives us a bit sweet taste.

We went there with an empty stomach, and we came out with a hungry feeling.  For $10.50, I must say this meal is value for money.  However, I still prefer Raindrop Cafe's $25++ steak, which tasted good, and gives me more satisfaction.

For $10.50, it didn't give me a good fine dining experience (which I should not expect in the first place with this kind of price), neither did it fill my empty stomach (which is the fundamental purpose of eating).

When we were dining there, we saw Chef Daniel walking around, inspecting the work in the kitchen and the restaurant in general.

Well, what I experienced at his restaurant somehow is different from the impression he gives on TV.  I think one key point for Chef Daniel to ponder is the place he wants to be in in Singapore's restaurant scene.  He has to decide what kind of customers he would like to cater to.  If he is aiming for rich customers, then what he is doing is too low class.  If he is aiming for the mass market, I think what his restaurant is offering now is not really good for the mass market.  Anyway, my feel is he is making nobody too happy, nor too upset.

My rating: 3/5