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Friday, July 30, 2010

Yong Vui Kong

The story of Yong Vui Kong, a Malaysian, is like a story out of a Hong Kong’s gangster movie. Left home at the age of 12, he first followed a gambler before eking out a living on the streets. He eventually left for the big town and ended up working for a syndicate. Unlike the movie though, he did not become the trusted lieutenant or usurps the big boss. Instead he ended in death row in Singapore and all this before even turning 21! 

Seems like his boss made use of him as a mule to smuggle drugs into Singapore. Of course inevitably he got arrested and under our law, the judge had no choice but to pass the mandatory death sentence (MDR). He has been in jail since 2007 when he was arrested at the age of 18. Supposed to be put to death in December 2009, he has had 2 temporary reprieve as his lawyer tries and pulls out all stops to get the death sentence set aside.

The local and even the Malaysian media has been relatively low key on their coverage of this. Malaysia too has a similar death penalty law so I guess another death of a Malaysian isn’t worth reading. But, very vocal in their criticism of the sentence is of course the various Western NGO like Amnesty International, and back here, The Online Citizen (TOC) for short. There was also a petition that was circulated petitioning the President to commute the sentence to a life sentence.

The gists of the appeals are that the MDP is barbaric and draconic and it does not give the Judges any option of sentencing. Some argued that Yong was young, got misled and fell into bad company, didn’t know what he was doing and on compassionate ground, deserve a second chance. Some people talked about the family of Yong who are left to pick up the pieces. Others talked about Yong’s life – that it is a waste of a young life. But did they consider the number of lives and families lost as a result of Yong’s action. If we do not have the MDR, how many more runners will there be in Singapore and consequently how many more innocent lives will be lost?

While I am saddened that a young life has to be snuffed out, and while I agreed that the death penalty is a very barbaric tool of punishment, somehow I am not convinced of the merits of the appeal. Sure, it will be great to save a life but at what cost to society? As the Law Minister rightfully pointed out, if we give weight to his age and background, would that not encourage the syndicate to use younger people? Already, the trend by oversea syndicate seems to be to use ladies as mule and it will be a nightmare of unimaginable proportion if they start using teenagers to do their drug running!

Yong has been running drugs since the age of 17. I doubted his argument that he did not know it was drug. He went in with his eyes wide open. There is a price to be paid for everything and in his case, he has to pay the ultimate price.

Yes, some argue that come what may, there will be drug traffickers and the problem will never be eradicate even with the MDR. So we might as well follow the example of the other countries that has outlawed the death penalty since it is of not much use. I beg to differ. It is sad but if his death can deter just 1 more person from trafficking in drug, it will be worth it. Do we want to be like Amsterdam where there are legalized drug taking and all social ills associated with it are swept under the carpet? Do we want to be like Mexico where drug barons slug it out openly in the streets killing innocent bystanders? No ~ until some people can come up with a better solution, the MDR should stay and all those, whether young, old, female or gay or whatever, be warned!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Durian Party 1

First durian party of the year and we went back to Ah Loon & Ah Teck of East Coast Road fame.
atering fart and burp inducing wallop of a fruit. And buffet no less! At $25.00 per head, it was a steal considering that each type of durian at the stall sells at an average o$12.00 - $15.00 per kg.

At first we were quite apprehensive about the buffet. Will we be gettif ng our $25.00 worth or the flow of durian be a trickle? The 2 kind gentlemen started us off first with the Red Prawn. 4 of them for 12 of us? Like not enough. But they some came round with another 4. And then it was on to the Golden Phoenix. These 2 small breed durian were superb. Each with its unique taste, it was just the beginning of more good things to come.

Because their fresh stock of durian had not yet arrived, we were next given the giant of a whopper – the Mao Shan Wang. These came with big whooping soft and pungent flesh and we were soon stuffed and couldn’t quite finish off the whole lot.

Then the lorry came and the first fresh batch of D24 landed on our table. Actually, we were quite stuff already but nevertheless you can’t look a gift horse in the mouth so down it went.

This was immediately followed by the Black Pearl, and in many of our opinion, the best of the whole lot. But not to the sellers though – they claimed they reserved the best for us – the XO durian. But seriously most of us were so full that nice as it is, we really had no more space in our stomach for more and had to wave the white flag.

And on a scale of 1 – 10, this has to be the best durian feasting ever and I shall rate it a 12. Go and try before the durian season end!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Princess' Creation

The Princess latest creation:

First a layer of butter cake

Next top it up with cream and strawberries

Add more layer on top

Of course must have the chocolate

And finally throw on more strawberries and volia:

Of course, the proof of the pudding er cake is in the eating, and in this case, speaking from a strictly biased point of view, can pass lah. Not exactly "Awfully Choc" or even Temptation standard but certainly can match up to those of the neighbourhood confectionery.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ter Kar's Lovers Rejoice

For all of us ter kar or pig trotter's lovers out there, rejoice. The ugly, unhygienic and sinfully looking pig trotters is not as taboo as it seems. And this is good news for those who is looking for the proverbial fountain of youth.

Look no more. According to a Japanese restaurateur in New York, quote: " Collagen helps your body retain moisture," says Okajima, who has introduced a chain of restaurants specialising in collagen cuisine in Japan. "Your hair and skin will look better, but it's not just for looking beautiful now. If you begin eating collagen in your thirties, you will look younger in your forties.".

Yes apparently, pig trotter with the folds of skins and fats have a lot of collagen. So forget about expensive SK-II or Royal Jellies. Just go to your friendly neighbourhood Bak Kut Teh stall or Teochew Porridge stall and tucked away. Remember, the more skin you eat, the more collagen you ingest, the more younger you get!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Distance Related Fare

I haven't actually worked out whether I am paying more or less with this new distance related fare.According to the PTC, only 31% of commuters will have increased fare.  Yet practically everyone I spoke to said their fare have got up. Why?

Seems like prior to this, there was inequality in the fare with passengers having to do transfer paying more than those taking direct journey. So through no fault of them, they had to pay more. To correct his anomaly, the fares have now been tweaked so that anybody travelling the same distance (be it direct or via transfer) will pay the same fare. Sounds good? Yes, if nothing else has changed but in the process, transfer rebates were removed, fares were tweaked if I am not wrong and those who are taking longer direct journey now pays more! To make it worse, concession for senior citizens and students were also tweaked and yes, of course majority now pays more - unless they go the indirect route.

So people, in order to save on fare now, you have to transfer and transfer. Forget about walking from home to the MRT. Take a shuttle bus to the MRT. Forget about taking a direct bus from East Coast Road to World Trade Centre. Take a bus, transfer at Paya Lebar MRT, take Circle line and transfer to again to North East line to Harbourfront station. It saves you money!

One *&#) minister even had the gall to say that commuters should plan their journey on a weekly basis and not on a daily basis. How? Next, are we supposed to have 5 years plan for our transportation need? And of course, we hear the oft repeated mantra - big picture and for the country's long term good! Good my foot. They should just come outright and said good for the shareholders of the transport companies!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cheap and Good

Two nice and cheap finds:

Mdm Tan's Nasi Lemak at Maxwell Food Centre. I loves the crunchy ikan billis. The mutton rendang was good although the server told me the curry chicken was the more popular choice. But the best part is the sambal chilli. Unfortunately, Peranakan nasi lemak don't seems to be as popular as those hybrid nasi lemak with the big fried chicken thigh/wings so business don't seem so good despite the prominent press write up.

 Crayfish Ipoh Hor Fun on the 2nd floor of Amoy Street Food Centre. Cheap with generous portion of crayfish and the crowd favourite, deep fried fish meat dumpling (top left). Go early to avoid the crowd and long queue.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Korean Melon

Picked up this interesting looking fruit from the Sun Moon outlet.

It is a Korean Melon. About the size of a dragonfruit or a large apple, this looks like a cross between a bell pepper and a papaya. The inside looks like a winter melon and taste like a rock melon but not as sweet. More like the big Korean pear. The skin can be eaten too.

At $2.00 a pop, it is not exactly cheap but according to this, it is low in fat, calories and sodium, melons are cholesterol-free. A good source of vitamin C, plus some potassium, melons offer dietary fiber. Er cheaper than a scoop of Ben & Jerry?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Who the Winner?

Well, I not exactly talking about the 2010 Soccer World Cup Champion but which 'predictor' is going to get his or it's prediction correct.

Let see.....

Apart from the bookies and bookmaker with their inhouse 'expert';

UBS, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have each came up with their own quantitative analysis method to pick the winner. UBS and Goldman have Brazil as the eventual winner and JP Morgan picks England!. Of course, by now you know that these so called financial experts probably have brains no bigger than a peanut cos they fare much worse than a little bird. Maybe that explains the financial meltdown in Wall Street yah?

Speaking of a little bird, back here in our little red dot, there is a little bird known as Mani who has so far picked the correct semi-finalists and has picked Spain as the eventual winner. Will this little bird be eaten alive by a dolphin or an octopus?

Everybody knows that bird flies and dolphin, well most of the time they just swim around and flop here and there and it is what this little dolphin did - flop after his pick of Argentina to beat the Germans went the way of  the economists.

Of course, by now, everybody with the slightest interest in the World Cup action has heard of Octopus Paul, the English Octopus that picks Germany to beat first England and then Argentina! Who will he picked as the next winner? Apparently, the Spanish are so afraid of his prediction that there is a hoax site that has the Octopus picking Spain as the winner in their game against Germany.

So the bird and the octopus has bested the human and the dolphin. Who will come up the winner? Mani or Paul? Anybody care to take a bet?

7/7/2010 6am - 1 down for the parakeet. Bird picks Uruguay (Netherlands vs Uruguay). Octopus picks Spain(Germany vs Spain) to win. This time it is not a hoax. If the octopus win... hmmm does octopus eats parakeet?

8/7/2010 8am - 1:1. The parakeet is back. But the octopus is now in hot soup, literally. The bird brain has already picked its choice for the winner. Who will the seafood pick?

10/7/2010 12 noon - The battle is on. Mani has Netherland and Paul has Spain. Will the bird be eating seafood or the octopus be picking bird brain from its box?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

20 years and counting

Came back from dropping the Princess off at school to discover a gift on my side of the bed. Awww, I remember it's our wedding anniversary but....

Oops I didn't get her any present and double oops... she had to remind me its our twentieth! Alamak, die. How to salvage?

Took her out for a nice lunch but come to think of it hor, Taiwan porridge isn't really terribly romantic is it? Nevermind, throw in a cheesy movie. Everybody loves a good old love story especially when the last time we went to the movie was eons ago and its a damm good way to kill 3 hours. After all, its quality time right?

I think she enjoys the lunch and the movie. I think she also don't mind no present. Seriously I really really think the time together is good enough, no need present. I think so, I hope so. . er I dunno...

Happy 20th Anniversary!