Friday, March 30, 2007

Nothing fishy about this fish soup beehoon

Despite what’s been written about it, and how it's supposed to make us "smart" and happy, I’ve never been really fond of fish. Fishiness aside, it’s the texture of the fish meat that didn’t quite catch my fancy. I’ve always been a "porky" person, and I’m not ashamed to say bakwa, pig trotters, kway chap are my things.

So it was with some reluctance that I agreed to tag alone when Victor and Moogee suggested trying the fish soup beehoon stall in a kopitiam at Bukit Merah that perpetually draws long queue from office workers nearby. "Fine," I said to myself. "So long as I dun have to drive." Finding a parking lot in that area is a nightmare. Especially so if I have to parallel park. Go on Victor, snigger for all you want. Do I look as if I give a damn? Heh.

We’ve passed by that kopitiam many times, but we never had the patience to join the queue. Boy, we didn’t know what we were missing! The signs are all there, and as they say, the fatter the rats, the longer the queue, the better the grub? That proved to be true in this case.

There were already about 10 customers in front of us when we arrived at the kopitiam.

And when we finally got our beehoon about 30 minutes later, it didn't disappoint. I ordered fried fish soup to go with yam rice. You would expect the fish to be soggy in the soup, right? But no, the fish was surprisingly crispy, unlike most other fish beehoon stalls I know. What I love about the soup is that it is served with a generous amount of cabbage, coriander and spring onion. The yam rice was fragrant with a fair amount of yam. On top of the usual cut chilli, the stall also provides garlic chilli like those eaten with chicken rice.

If you don't like fried fish, you can order sliced fish. Or if you fancy both, you can even tell the hawker to have them mixed, which was what Victor and Moogee had. Try asking the same in another fish beehoon stall and the hawker would probably throw you a dirty look. Gee, I juz realised the stall actually serves pig organs and seafood soup, and pork porridge ...

If you're thinking of heading down to the kopitiam, be prepared to wait for 30 minutes or more for your food. Also, if you're driving there, you need to bring at least two other guys along. Patronising a popular stall like this calls for some strategic planning, especially so if you want to go back office on time to prevent your boss from accusing you of skiving. Okay, you need the driver (Moogee) who would alight you guys while he queues (what? And you think you need only to queue for the fish beehoon?) and wait for a parking lot; another guy (that's me, the idle smart one) to "choop" the seats at the kopitiam (sorry, I dun believe in choopping with tissue paper one); and the last guy (Victor, the primate who loves fish... how odd?) to queue for the fish soup beehoon.

Trust me, it's worth the wait!

The stall is at:
Block 124
Bukit Merah Lane 1

I dunno the unit number. But juz look for the stall with the longest queue lor. You can't go wrong with that. LOL.

Category: Food

Monday, March 26, 2007


A good friend of mine, let's call him Eugene (for he really looks like an old dear friend of mine who's called Eugene and with whom I've lost contact over the years) came over to my place last Saturday. He was there for a purpose - to do a sales pitch. See, Eugene is into this healthcare products by Elken. He was trying to get me interested in the Elken Pure Water Filteration and Purification system. The water system claims to clear away the many impurities in our water - impurities that cannot be totally got rid of even through boiling.

According to the salesman Eugene, the impurities or contaminants found in our water are categorised as follows:

  • Biological comprising bateria, viruses, parasites
  • Organic Chemicals consisting of pesticides, herbicides, industrial chemicals
  • Inorganic Minerals which include lead, nitrate, arsenic, asbestos, dirt & sediments
  • Disinfection by-products - one of which is Trihalomethanes; a mouthful but THM in short, and responsible for the 10,700 or more bladder and rectal cancers in the US per year alone.

Quite unnerving, isn't it? And you thought boiling water is safe.

As if this is not enough, Eugene produced two gadgets from his briefcase, and asked me for two empty clear glasses. He filled the first glass with boiled water taken from my house; and the other one with "purified" water he very shrewedly conveniently brought from his house, supposedly from the Elken purification system. Then he put what looked like a thermometer in the first glass. The digital reading in the gadget indicated 13. "That's the level of impurities in the water," he said. The he switched over to the 2nd glass, and it registered ZERO impurity.

Admittedly, I was a little sceptical. Then Eugene took out another gadget that looked like some kinda heating rod, juz that it has two rods attached to a black box, which he plugged into a wall socket. Within seconds, foams started forming from the water obtained from my house, gradually turning brownish black in colour. "Again, what you see here are the impurities from the water that has not gone through the purification process," Eugene announced. The other glass of water was clear as crystal.

At this point, I was totally convinced. And I asked, “How much?” “Usual price, $2200,” Eugene said. "But you can have one for $1880. You can also pay by installment, interest-free!" Does Eugene expect me to jump up in joy or what? I don’t believe in living in credit one.

I'm sorry if I've made Eugene look like a swindler. Because Eugene really is not. He's a good friend, a very strong believer who also happens to be working in the same office as me. So, I was almost 80% certain that I’m getting the water purification system. I reckon if it’s something that we put into our mouth everyday, and for the sake of my family, and myself, what's $1880 for good health? And for one and all?

Problem is, there are so many water purification systems of various brands in the market - Amway, Diamond, Aqua Technology and Elkan just to name a few. Which one should I trust? Anybody out there has one of these purification systems? Appreciate some advice, please. Thanks!

Category: Musings

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The boy, my son ....


When you were just a kid
Oh, you brought such warmth into our lives
You were our bundle of joy
The apple of Daddy's eyes

At 16, see how you've grown?
A tall and strong lad
Towering over
Your graying Dad

You always say
Daddy never has a clue
But I know how it's like to be young
Daddy was once there, too

It pains me deeply
To see the way you behave
The angst of teenage
Is this just a phase?

I'm sorry if Daddy's hurt you
And made you cry
Daddy never meant to hit you
I know it hurts, but it pains me too

Perhaps it's best, I let you be
One day, maybe you'd see
Daddy's really not as bad
As you made him to be .....

We love you son,
Mum and Dad

Category: Personal

Monday, March 19, 2007

Honey, they've de-dialectised our kids!

I have had written a few posts on how "successful" our "Speak Mandarin" campaigns had been and what these campaigns had done to our kids. You can read them here, and here.

Last Saturday, I was at one of the foodcourts in a shopping mall, queuing patiently for a bowl of bah chor mee. Standing behind me were two giggly schoolgirls, bantering happily and loudly in Mandarin.

Girl A to Girl B: What you want? (looking at the colourful menu of noodles splashed on top of the wall juz behind the stall)
Girl B: Mini Wok.
Girl A: Aiyah, why eat the same as me? (both broke into giggles)

Meanwhile, the stall assistant, an Indian woman, was looking very annoyed with the din the girls were making. Looking up at the girls, she finally interjected....

Stall Asst: Girls, what you want??!!
Girl A: Two mini wok
Stall Asst: What noodle? mee pok, or mee kia?
Girl B: What's mee kia? (directing the question at her friend)
Stall Asst: (looking at me and rolling her eyes upwards) This is mee pok (as she pointed to the noodle), and this smaller ones is mee kia (she was almost sniggering....)

She turned to look at me again and uttered, not without some exasperation, "Aiyoh, Chinese don't understand Chinese."

Well, what can I say? I dunno where to hide my face.

There's no hope for our kids.....

Category: Policies

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Six bloggers I want to get stranded with in an Island

If I were to be stranded
In an Island far away
I want these bloggers
To be with me all day

First in the list
Is the playful Monkey
His tricks and antics
Never fail to amaze me

The agile Monkey could fix anything
While swinging from tree to tree
He loves challenges, there's no doubt
Why? He even belts out songs, singing with his lil' red butt!

The ever-changing Chameleon is next
Oh, she roars so fearlessly
Her resourcefulness and determination
Really know no boundaries

With her wackiness and humour
She’d bring us much joy
And keep us occupied for hours
With her variety of toys

The Tasty Fish from California
She’s so far yet so near
She tickles our gastronomical taste buds
With her terrific culinary skill

Day after day she'd whip up
Imaginary spread of yumminess
And when we're done with playing masak-masak
We'll turn on the Tasty Fish
For a real feast!

The Sentimental Fool
Is a treasure to behold
He'd keep our boredom at bay
With numerous tales of yesteryears

The Kopi Soh
Whose "acquaintance" I've juz made
Has to be in the Island, too
For the wonderful kopi that she brews

Oh, how could I have missed out
The aromatic Peppermint?
Her simple takes on life's adventures
Make for a very good read

There you have it
My six blogger friends
To live or to perish
In the Island, we'd stick to the very end

(Disclaimer: Juz some fun verses.... dun blame me for tagging you hor. Blame Jayne, the Chameleon lor ....)

Category: Humoresque

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Unlike the gregarious Monkey who would chat up with anything that moves, I'm quite selective when it comes to making friends. That's not to say I have no friends. Rather, what one commonly calls a friend, I call "acquaintance". But as for true friends, there is only a handful, Victor being one of them.

I used to have a good friend. We clicked because we shared a lot in common. She was learning the piano, and I have been playing it leisurely, albeit amateurishly, for years. She loved Precious Moment figurines, and I was a one-time serious collector. (Victor, I know what you're thinking - don't start your nonsense now or I'd downgrade you to one of acquaintances!)

We exchanged presents on special occasions like Valentine's Day, Christmas Day and Birthdays. And we shared food often in the office. But friendship, like a flower, needs to be nurtured.

I'm very direct and hardly the kind of person to beat around the bush. I speak my mind and that makes some people take what I say the wrong way. I can be quite a joker too, and not everyone can handle my "nonsensical irritations" as well as Victor. Any wonder why I have more "foes" then friends in the office?

As time goes, I realise that she's never gotten used to my forthcoming ways. She only wanted to hear the nice things; and shut out all the negative ones that I said. There's a saying that goes, "Your enemies is actually your true friend." Why? Because he would tell you all your shortcomings in order to make you feel bad about yourself; and when you know your shortcomings, you'd strive to set them right.

And so we drifted apart. Well, we're still friends, but only on a superficial level. I used to get recycled corny smses about friendship from her. I hate these smses, finding them totally devoid of sincerity. A simple "how has your day been, pal?" would have meant much more.

Thankfully, there're friends so close, we juz feel a sense of affiliation to each other. We horse around, we monkey around, taking swipes at each other; but we're never really offended, for we know where to draw a line. These are the sort of friends who helped me fix my power adapter when it broke; recommended me plumber when my toilet leaked, took leave at short notice juz to chill out with me at East Coast, and drove me home for my pair of rollerblades while my car was being serviced at the workshop, and drove me to the workshop to pick up my car.

Of course, it's not all take and nothing given. Such friends not only deserve all my undivided attention and time in the world, they are also worthy of the unwanted but previously prized possessions sitting in my storeroom collecting dust. I generously gave them away FOC to dear friends like these. No, unlike MJM, I ain't gonna stamp a "friendship price" tag on them, especially to a good old pal like Victor.

Then there are virtual friends we meet in the blogosphere, many of them "faceless".

But how do you relate to the latter? And how much do we know each other? I think what's happening in the blogosphere is a good thing. We mere mortals are communicating more through the Blog. We are building bridges instead of walls, exchanging opinions and ideas. There's finally hope, for the human race.

But I was at once saddened by what was written by a Bloggerfriend, whom I've missing for a while, in one of her recent entries. She wrote something to the effect that she no longer wanted to waste time on virtual friends and that her time is only meant for those who are worthy of her time. She added that virtual friends wouldn’t be around when you need someone to listen to.

Well, I think that’s a fair comment. But are we expecting too much from the so-called virtual friends? Surely, common sense would tell us that virtual friends are the last persons we turn to for help or support, especially emotional help. It also depends on the comfort level we feel about each other..... But it brings us back to the question – juz how much do we know of each other?

Perhaps Andrew Matthews, in his book, "Happiness In A Nutshell" has a point when he wrote "problems begin when we get too attached to things...." or something to this effect.

Category: Musings

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Home Cafe - Authentic Thai Food

When it comes to food, my family isn't very adventurous. We dun eat out often mainly because the Queen of the house hates crowd. It is an unwritten rule in my family that I, the man of the house, are to buy dinner home every evening. I always joke with my colleagues that I can't stay back for OT because my wife and kids would die of hunger if I do. Ha!

Even if we do eat out, more often than not, it is to nearby places in the neighbourhood, usually within walking distance. And we would order dishes we are familiar with. If it's not sweet and sour pork, then it's claypot chicken. Or we'll have KFC or Long John Silver, the kids all-time favourite. Boring, I know - told you we weren't adventurous. That explains the very little posts I have of food, other than those home-cooked ones I whipped up at home once in a while. Gee, I'm even ashamed to call myeslf a "foodie" :(

Last Sunday, the last day of CNY known as 元宵(yuan xiao), my family including my parents, my brother and his wife (less the Slim Lady who was on seminar) visited our 5th Aunt at Potong Pasir. At the end of the visit, my sister-in-law announced that she wanted to buy us dinner for having passed her ACCA examination. My aunt told us of a little restaurant in the heart of Potong Pasir that serves authentic Thai food that's cheap and delicious, and whipped up by Thai.

So we headed for this restaurant, simply named, Home Cafe - Authentic Thai Food.

These are the dishes that we had:

Fish Maw soup ($6). I'm not really fond of fish maw - it looks like fat to me. And I thought the soup was a wee bit too starchy for my liking.
Dish rating:

Tom Yam Seafood Soup ($5). Tom Yam soup has always been one of my favorites, but this was a big disappointment. It lacks the "oommpphh" factor. I think there was not enough spice ....
Dish rating:

Egg Onion Omelette ($4.50). This was good. I dunno how the cook did it; but the egg omelette was fluffy, very unlike those we fry at home.
Dish rating:

Sambal Kang Kong ($4.50). I don't like Kang Kong very much (in fact, I dun like MOST veggie), even those cooked by my mum. But the one served here is quite good. The only set-back is the excessive amount of oil used, probably from the sambal chilli.
Dish rating:

Fried Glass Noodle ($4.50). This is one of the best dishes. My mum knows how to cook this dish too, but the one served here is moist and not too dry, unlike my mum's. It was really fragrant and tasty. I've never tasted one that's better then this!
Dish rating:

Boneless Chicken with honey ($5). One of their signature dishes. The chicken pieces bathed in honey is juicy and crispy. Junior loves it, but I suspect mainly because it's fried!
Dish rating:

Claypot Chap Chai ($5). Another dish my mum cooks occasionally. But I like my mum's one better because over here, they dun cook it with "Tau Kee" (beancurd "sheets").
Dish rating:

Fish Cake with mango sauce ($5). This is the Thai Otah. I like the version here because they are not chunky like those found in other Thai restaurants. But I didn't like the mango sauce though. It's too sweet and I'm not used to eating Thai fish cake dipped in sweet sauce.
Dish rating:

Steamed Seabass with lemon grass ($22). This dish should have been five stars out of five! The most expensive dish, but it is also the most delicious! The fish was very fresh, and the sauce, smelling of lemon grass was extremely tasty! I remember reading one of Tigerfish's posts (I tried searching for that entry without success)on lemon grass which is commonly used as a herb in Asian cooking...... You've got to try this dish!
Dish rating:

Phew... so there you have it, a total of NINE dishes for about 13 people. The bills came up to about $124 but wait... we ordered two sets of each because there were two tables! So if you're a family of juz 4-6, you can order exactly the same dish and expect to pay no more than $62, much less if you juz order a few of these dishes. Best of all, there is no service charge and the restaurant absorbs GST. Service wise, the waiters are attentive and they topped up the ice water without being asked.

Home Cafe
Authentic Thai Nonya Cuisine
Blk 148 Potong Pasir Ave 1
01-67, Singapore 350148
Tel: 6471 1138/6479 0118
Fax: 6475 7355/6286 3248

(Disclaimer: I'm not, in any way, related to the employees or owners of Home Cafe. Neither do I own part or any of the shares in Home Cafe. The opinion expressed here is mine and mine alone, all done voluntarily and willingly, for the gastronomical joys and pleasures of all foodies out there! Photos, all without photoshop tricks, are courtesy of Nokia N6233, my latest toy :))

Category: Food

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Endearing old folks .....

These are my parents. The woman on the left is my 5th aunt, the youngest sister of my Dad. We used to live under the same roof, in Club Street.

We paid her a visit on the last day of CNY. My Dad and his siblings hardly meet, unless it's festive seasons like the CNY. One thing I've observed is that whenever the older folks gather, their conversations would invariably lead to topics of yesteryears. They would reminisce about our living years at Club Street where life was hard but simple. They would talk about the old neighbours with whom they've lost contact. My aunt wondered out loud if some of the older neighbours had kicked the buckets. My Dad would relate stories about WW2 and how he was robbed of an education. He was about to enter schools when the Japanese invaded Singapore. And I juz sat there, enthralled, listening to their lively conversation.

But I juz learned something about my mum that kinda shocked me. Well, I learned that mum had aborted the last of her two kids after the arrival of my kid brother. This is something that my mum has never told us kids. All we knew was that there was a boy (my kor kor) before me, who was still-born. And all this while, we thought there were only four of us kids - my kid sister and brother, my elder sister and myself. So, in fact, there would have been seven kids! We could had been one rowdy bunch!

We can understand why my parents did what they did. Life then was already hard with four kids to feed. To have more kids would make our lives even harder. I know, some folks gave their babies away back then. But I guss my parents juz decided to do what they thought was the best for the family under the circumstances.

This is a chapter of my mum's life that she's never told us. Can you imagine it takes 42 years for me to know this? It juz shows how little I know of my mum .......

Category: Yesteryear

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I felt the earth move ....

No, the earth didn't really move. Rather, I felt the desk in my cubicle moved .... It was lunchtime, and the pitiful me was deserted by all my makan kakis who had apparently made prior engagements with other colleagues for lunch. I decided to lunch in, and had intended to tapau a packet of laksa from the office cafeteria later. It's okay, I'm easy about lunching alone. I enjoy my own company sometimes. Besides, some other company can get pretty tiresome and boring ... hehehe...

I didn't really take notice of the time (I'm NEVER a clock-watcher in the office....heheh). But it must has been about a quarter past 12. I was working on my computer and suddenly felt the desk moved forward for a couple of seconds, along with the partitions. Still, I wasn't that sure, thinking perhaps my hunger was behind my "hallucination", until a colleague who was sitting a couple of cubicles away from me walked towards my direction and asked if I had felt the room "shook" earlier.

That's when it dawned on me that what we felt earlier was actually tremors. We learned later that the tremors were the result of an earthquake that hit the Indonesian's Sumatra island. Some of my other colleagues who were in the office felt it, too.

At some part of Singapore, tremors lasting as long as 25 seconds were felt. Buildings in the CBD areas reportedly swayed and were evacuated for safety reasons.

When I was in Taiwan years ago, there was an earthquake, or should I say tremors that occurred in the middle of the night. But my colleagues and I were so tired that we weren’t even aware of it and actually slept through the tremors like a log! It was only when dawn cracked that we learned of the earthquake from our Taiwanese hosts. I reckon that the tremors, no matter how light, are more palpable to the Taiwanese who have lived in earthquake-prone Taiwan all their lives.

But this time, it's for real. After the Tsunami that hit the region, experts warned that one day, earthquake could hit Singapore, too. If this happens, I dun think our buildings, including those of the HDB flats, are safe. About 80% of our population live in HDB flats, which, I believe, are not designed to withstand earthquake or tremors. The engineers back then were probably saying, "Earthquake in Singapore? Nay, never happened and never will!". But the naysayers are saying that one day, it will happen! We better pray that that day never comes...

Category: Musings

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Home-cooked macaroni

I dunno what got into Victor. He's been making fun of my manhood, calling it into question juz because he does not measure up to me as a man. I mean a REAL MAN. For goodness sake! I p*** standing, like he does (the last we were in the men's room, he still did). I fathered two kids, like he did (unless ..... never mind). Juz how narrow-minded can one get? Either he's getting old (51 going on 15), or he has memory so SHORT he's forgotten about my post on Measure Of A Man.

Well, Victor, I've got news for ya. I'm no less a man then you are juz because I:

  • Cook and bake (I don't have a maid! And I sayang my wife. Cannot meh?)
  • Do the laundry (actually it's the washing machine that does the job)
  • Shop for groceries (Well, I need these to cook, you nincompoop!)
  • Decorate the house (who does not want the house to be spick and span?)
  • Love chocolates (So I have a sweet tooth)
  • Nag at my kids (It's for their own good, as all parents would know, and so would Victor!)

Not say I want to say one. There are people with minds so narrow and thin (can't say the same of their skin and skull, though) that the only way they can feel good about themselves is to make wise-cracks about new millennium guys who believe in sharing household chores with the women of their life (yes! believe it or not, nagging is a chore!) I'm a good catch; most millennium guys are. Juz ask Mrs Sim. But I pity Mrs Koo, though, I really do.....

Truth be told, Victor isn't really the male chauvinist pig he made himself to be. He may not be a SNAG, but I know for a fact that he does pole dancing, first with the vacuum cleaner, followed by the mop every Sunday without fail. 他这个人,就是死要面子!Or did Mrs Koo put a gun to his head to ask him to pole-dance? Hehehehe...

Well, call me what you want Victor. Do I look like I give a damn at all? I'm still gonna cook. In fact, I juz cooked macaroni today for my family! And you're NOT invited!

Cook yourself if you wanna sample it. Dun say I neber give you face.... here's the recipe. And dun ask me how much water or macaroni to use. Everything is based on agaration!

  • Macaroni
  • Chicken breast (to be shredded)
  • Minced pork (to make into meat ball)
  • Fish cake (cut into thin slices)
  • 1x chicken stock cube (for added flavour)
  • Yellow beans
  • Water

  • Spring Onion
  • Parsley
  • Fried shallot
  • Cut chili padi (optional)

  • Boil a pot of water
  • Throw in the chicken breast and dish it out when it's cooked. Keep the chicken stock for the macaroni.
  • Add yellow beans into the stock and boil for another 30 minutes
  • Drain away the beans, and throw a chicken stock cube into the stock for extra flavour.
  • Cook the macaroni in a pot of water
  • Once the macaroni is cooked, scoop some onto a bowl and pour the stock over. Garnish it with spring onion, parsley, shredded chicken as desired.

Now, go prove you're a man, a REAL MAN! Hng!

Category: Food

Friday, March 02, 2007

My Barbie Girl

Dear Barbie,

I've had my eyes on you since I was a kid. I've always preferred you to that ugly and hideous kid in the neighbourhood, the one they called the Cabbage Patch Kid.

Here're the reasons why I much prefer you:

  • You have nicer tits.
  • You're obviously blonde, and blondes, like Paris Hilton, have more fun.
  • You've dumped Ken, the impotent ex-boyfriend of yours.
  • And you're good enough to eat.

I was worried sick when I lost you at the party. Looking high and low, I found you sunbathing, half-nude, at the deck ;) Why didn't you call me? You're so delicious I could eat you all day ....

Life in plastic; it's fantastic. Wanna be in your plastic world, basking under the hot, steamy sun with ya....

Plastically & Inanely Yours,

Category: Humoresque