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Friday, October 31, 2008

Pasta de Waraku

Call me suaku or what. Finally after so long, went to one of the popular Pasta de Waraku outlet for dinner on Saturday night.

Have heard about it, read about it and yet to not set foot in it for so long considering its fame is a big sin in gluttoney!

Anyway,I ordered 1 Waruku original Chicken Teriyaki with baked cheese Fettucine, M had the curry rice, Alicia had the set meal that comes with a plate of pasta and a small pizza and Alvin had the best of the whole lot - baked lobster pasta.

So how was the food? Actually probably more hype than what it was made out to be. Pretty decent portion, food presentation good, service prompt and attentive and taste.... okay not to bad but not something that I will queue up for or die die must eat. (picture coming up - just as soon as can find them to download from the phone camera) Each dish (single portion) is priced at around $12.80 to $18.80 so I supposed we are paying for the ambience as well.

But why must the serving staff keep shouting out loud their Japanese greetings. It is fine if they do it quietly but they shout it out loud to every tom dick and harry who walks in or out and the whole place is so noisy. If they are trying to imitate the Japanese, the Management should fly out to Japan and see how it is down over there. Politely, gently and softly and not like these people here so 'chorlor'.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Where is the Bull?

I am shocked! In my 20 years working in this line, I have never seen a bloodbath of this nature. And the blood continues to be shed. This morning, it looks like finally 2 consecutive days of recovery but by mid afternoon, it had again gone south.

I pitied the customers that we have been calling almost daily to top up their margin accounts. The pit is almost like bottomless. Can see the pattern. Initially, asked to top up, they respond immediately and sometime paying more than the required amount. Then as the days go by, and the prices continue to drop and our calling continues, u see them running out of steam and molahs and the tap runs dry. From millionaire to paupers? Unfortunataly I can't give the juicy details here or anywhere but believe me, it's scary and probably will happen to many people soon. 

So friends out there - don't buy shares now.   Not even if well meaning friends said this or that counter has hit rock bottom - not unless you can afford to lose it. And most important of all, don't buy on borrowed money or what some financial guru term 'leverage'. The only leverage one gets is the lever that is used to scrap up the mess when one jumps off the top of a building and splattered the pavement with his body:(

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


That's not the finishing position of a run but the number of people in the house who are down with gastric flu since last Friday.

Not together but one at a time - Friday - Alicia, Sun - Mum and Tue - M.

Who's next?

Following the pattern  - Thu - ????  Sat - ????? 

Hope not!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Kota Kinabalu

Touched down in Kota Kinabalu on Friday morning. We made all the bookings of air travel and rooms through the internet so didn't know what we were getting ourselves into. Checked into our hotel in the city, the Le Meridien and realised we had unwittingly booked into a five star hotel. Our room was enormous. Even the bathroom was huge. And we even had sea view and city view. And they stilled wanted us to upgrade.

Breakfast was a very tasty tom yum noodle at one of the coffee shop behind the hotel. Although we were staying in the city, there wasn't really much to see or shop. We walked along the waterfront pretty much and went to the fish port, the markets, the handicraft centres and practically all the malls near the hotel.

Dinner that night was at Seri Selera, a seafood place where there were a few seafood stalls. We had fresh prawns, squid and noodles.
Yummy! Other than that, we didn't know what else was good to eat in KK unlike say Penang which is famous for its CKT, laksa, etc... Nevertheless, we managed to spot another gem at breakfast the next day.

Breakfast the next morning was at this quaint little coffee shop selling fish meat noodle with yong tau hoo. The noodles are actually fully made of fish meat. Later, after collecting the race kits, went over to 1Borneo, the first hypermall in KK. Unfortunately, the place was new and a number of shops were still not open. Had a so so bak kut teh lunch before going back to the hotel. It rained after that so stayed in the hotel until nearly 8pm before going for dinner at the Chicken Rice Shop. This being the eve of the marathon, didn't dare to try any street food and we could only look lovingly at the barbecue seafood along the waterfront.

After the marathon, we checked out and went up north to Nexus Resort, another five star hotel. 5-star hotel but no 5-star food. The buffet dinner was expensive but horrible. Unfortunately, while the spirit was keen to explore Mt Kinabalu and the nature reserve, the body was not too willing so we spent the rest of the day lazing around the resort. But other than the beautiful sea and scenery, there wasn't really much things to do there. Tried to get M to go down to the spa but she baulked at the prices so we went back to the room after dinner for an early night.

After breakfast, wanted to book a day tour but got lazy to arrange and decided again to just explore the expansive hotel grounds. While exploring the beach, both of us got a foot massage and was lucky enough to have it finished off before it started to pour. On the recommendation of the massuer, we went to this seafood restaurant, Gayang, where we had the biggest lobster in our life.We also had a veg, a crab, noodle and another crab but somehow the restuarant got the bill mixed up and we ended up paying for a veg, lobster, crab and shellfish(which we didn't order). Tried explaining to the cashier but nobody seem to understand what the fuss was about so in the end just paid up and left.

Kota Kinabalu can be quite a boring place with nothing much to do or eat and shop. But it has its charm. The place is clean, the people are friendly and polite and there is a dearth of beggars and touts which are ever present in JB and KL And so I will probably return but this time to scale Mt K:) Complete photo here:
Kota Kinabalu 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Attended the mother of all funeral. I have participated in many funerals sometime as a kin of the deceased and some time as a friend of the deceased's kins but never one this size.

This was a traditional Teochew funeral and on 
Monday's night, the size of the 'Kong Ter' altar absolutely blow us all away. It was hugh. At least 3 storey high and the High Priest sat on something akin to a second storey. But of course it has to be big since the deceased was the Life Honorary President of the Seu Teck Sang Tong, a chain of traditional charitable monastery in Singapore and Malaysia and the deceased was known at one time as 'The Richest Teochew in Singapore'. That plus the other Sang Tong as in Boon Teck and Thong Teck also turned up made the sending one a gigantic 'party' to use the words loosely.

On Tuesday, at the actual funeral, things were a little bit more modest. No stilt walkers, no
 dragons but there was a modern chinese orchestra. Modern as in there was guitar, drum, keyboard but that also come with erhu, pipa and what's not. I guess music has gone fusion as well. And this group played well - much better than the band of motley old men playing the traditional pop  songs. But one thing about these bands. Don't they have any idea what the songs they are playing mean? I have heard 'Beautiful Sunday' being played at funeral before and today I heard 'When A Child is Born' (song by Johnny Mathis) played horribly by the old men band; Teresa Teng's Goodbye My Love (this one always bring a lump in my throat when I hear it at funeral); Auld Lang Syne (okay these 2 maybe appropriate) but the last one was believe it or not - Amazing Grace! I couldn't believe my ears - a Christian hymns at a traditional Chinese funeral!  It's enough to raise the dead!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cheese Burger

Tried this hamburger from a stall in Lau Pa Sat.

At $5.00 and above for each burger, it was a tad pricey but they have a quite unique varities of burgers. They have one version that comes with the sticko blue cheese. I tried the Cheese Melt which come with turkey, bacon bits and lots of cheese and it was pretty good.

I think this is a chain from the Philipines but I can't remember the name of the stall.

Worth giving it a try especially those who like cheese. 

I Spy ~ Foul Mouth

Was at the company's booth at the Motorshow on Sunday evening waiting for the contractor to come in and dismantle. We have a pair of game arcade race machine there and these 2 young ladies from a fellow exhibitor came over to play on the machine.

They must have been in their early twenties and quite 'lian'. But what shocked me was the language they were cursing in as they maneourve their way through the course. Not for them the usual 4 letters word or the 'wah lau' type of swearing words. Those are too tame for them. Instead, the Hokkien expletives they were using would leave even the most street tough guy in shock! Yah the real hard core type of words....I can't bring myself to repeat it here, but it include the mother, the private parts and everything and all these scream out loud in public.

I think if I am their father, I wouldn't have any face left to see my relatives if I have such daughters. 

Monday, October 6, 2008

Serangoon Garden

Did the Serangoon residents really expect the government to back down and agree to their 'demand'. If so, they must think they are living in some western country. Maybe without the rah rah and loud noise, and behind the door negotiation, the residents may have got their wish. Don't they ever learn that in Asia, loud protest doesn't cut any ice with the government. Witness Myammar, China, Malaysia. One thing these government and definitely the Sg government know is - give in to these people and it will set all sort of precedents. Also, this will be seen as a sign of weakness and a loss of face. 

So right from the start, it was a foregone conclusion that the dormitory is a case closed.  And I cheered the outcome! Who do those snobs think they are - to pick and choose their neighbours. I say not happy with the decision, sell the place and move somewhere else - may be to Siberia. Sure got no construction workers in their backyard!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Monopoly Increases


What does all this numbers have in common?

These are the most recently announced net profit after tax (in million) for SBS Transit, Comfort Delgro, SMRT and Singapore Power respectively.

And what do these organisations have in common?

All of them have or had recently announced increase in prices for the services they provided, namely bus and MRT fare, taxi fare and the last one - electricity tariff.

Who feel the pinch of these increases? Definitely not the rich - they don't take public transports and if they do, it's taxi and what is a few dollars when what they earn in a month is more than what most men in the street earn in a year?

All these organisations are providing a service that is considered a necessity and yet because they are private companies, year in year out they continue to increase their fees even though they are making good profits all for the sake of enriching the shareholders. So what happened to the age old convention wisdom that basic necessity services should be provided by government to prevent profiteering? In my younger days, I remembered studying economics and how they talked of why government should provide the basic services otherwise leaving such services in the hand of private companies would drive the prices beyond the reach of the poorer citizen Did I remember wrongly?

The 3 transport companies are all making good money. Look at their profit figures. In addition to revenue from fares, these companies also made money from rental income, advertisements, charter etc. Why are these not taken into consideration when the PTC approves the increases? In bad times, Singaporeans are told to tighten their belt and utilise their savings for the rainy days. What about corporate Singapore? Shouldn't they too dig into their savings to absorb the increase in fuel prices etc?

And SP has the most laughable reasons why electrical tarrif has to increase when crude oil prices is falling. Like some people had pointed out and SP has admitted, S'pore eletricity is 80% generated using natural gas and not fuel oil. So why in the world did SP tied themselves down to a contract based on fuel oil prices? To said that this is market practice is not a good excuse. The Singapore government has never been afraid of taking the unconventional route to protect its rights and access to unavailable resources (like water) so why couldn't they do the same for natural gas? And in the future they are going to sell fuel plan like phone plan? How the hell do they expect us to measure such usage!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Luncheon Meat

Thought the supermart had stopped selling made in China luncheon meat so was surprised to see cans and cans of luncheon meat. On closer look, realised that these are not Maling luncheon meat but Mili luncheon meat. Nevertheless and to heck with the China food scare, bought a can just to try out.
Out came the bread the next morning but this lookalike was a big disappointment. It tasted a tad too salty and not as fragrance as Maling's. A very poor substitute indeed.