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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Not so Old to New

Everybody knows that most of the old pre-war houses in Chinatown have been torn down and in its place have risen nameless concrete high rise building that bears no semblance to the past and is a clone of buildings all over the world.

But in the name of development, a fair number of post war high rise buildings have also been torn down and in its place have risen newer and higher buildings.

This was the old Robina House. I remembered MacDonald had its first CBD outlet here in eighties.

In its place now is a gold color shiny One Shenton.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chia Seeds vs Basil Seeds

Most superfood are actually very normal food that we consume almost without any thoughts and become superfood only when some angmoh company decided to teach us Asian and the world how to eat them and make them; the angmoh company get rich in the process. So we have mangosteen juice costing $80 a bottle, acai berries and Chinese Wolfberries (Goji) costing an arm and leg. Then there is Chia Seeds - one of the latest superfood. Thankfully, the Chia Seeds appears to be pretty reasonably priced in comparison, about S$15 for 250 gm. And even more so, Basil Seeds have not gotten on to the spotlight of the angmoh and is still cheaply available.

Chia Seeds (image from Wikipedia)
Chia Seeds (Silvia Hispanic) originally comes from Mexico but Australia is the biggest producer in the world. Chia Seeds was popularised by Christopher McDougall in his book "Born to Run" and has become some sort of cult food for runners. Chia Seeds looks a little like sesame seeds and comes in either brown, black, white or grey. It expands when soak in liquid and is commonly added to pudding, juices and salad. 

Chia Seeds are rich in Omega 3 and calcium and according to some websites, a respectable amount of antioxidants.

Another website list the benefit of Chia Seeds as:
  • Heart Health 
  • Increase Energy
  • Relief From Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Feeling Good
  • Anti Aging
  • Regulated Blood Pressure
  • Reducing Menopause Symptoms
  • Gastro-intestinal Health
  • Bone Health
  • Mental Health
  • Control Of Type ll Diabetes
  • Prenatal Health
  • Breast Health
  • Basil Seeds
  • Prostate Health
Wow, so great! Die die must try right?

Then, there is the Basil Seeds (Ocimum basilicum)  Basil Seeds looks almost like the Chia Seeds but is found in the Mediterranean and Asia. In this region, it is consumed mainly by the Indian and is added to juice and desserts.

It supposedly have antioxidant, antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Potentially it can be used to treat cancer. According to one website, it can aids in digestion, treats cold, cure respiratory disorder, is a stress reliever and is good for treatment of skin infection.

So there you have it. 2 super food that is cheap, easy to eat without needing any preparation and full of health benefits.

What are  you waiting for? Add them when making jelly, agar agar, add to juice, tea, milk, sprinkle onto salad, bread, throw them into rice, side dishes etc.

NB: Information obtained mainly from Wikipedia.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mellben Seafood Pasir Ris

Have always wanted to try the famous Mellben Seafood in Toa Payoh but has never found the courage and time to brave the crowd. Fortunately, here in Pasir Ris, there is a branch of the famous seafood restaurant. And after moving here for over a year, finally found the time to go down and try the food.

We ordered Mom's favourite, the cereal prawn.

Also, there house specialty, the tofu. It came with a nice thick sauce and plenty of chye poh. This was good.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Little Critters

With no running to do, my weekend has gotta kinda boring. So when M goes for her runs, tagged along (actually not much choice there, have to be the driver). So when the occasion calls for it, decided to turn photographer. First up was the  TNF 100 Challenge 2nd Progressive Run at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

While waiting for the runners to return, went around the trails looking for some subject to snap. First came across this little critter - a cotton stainer bug as I later found out. I also found out it was damn tough taking this sort of 'macro' photo without a proper macro lens. 
Cotton Stainer Bug
I was using a 55 - 200mm len initially for the runners but for the bug, no matter how I zoom, or stand far away, I couldn't get a clear sharp picture. So I switch to a 28 - 55 mm len but didn't fare much better. I didn't dare go too near in case I scare off the fella but standing far away means I couldn't be able to get a nice close up. In the end, went with all the possible permutations of manual focus, auto marco, plain auto on manual mode, aperture priority, shutter priority, full auto and finally got one which I think is decent enough.

It was the same with this grasshopper. So the lesson to take away from this session was macro photography of nature needs a steady hand, a good set of macro or extension len  of which I have neither and a tripod which I have but hate to carry around.
A weeks later was back at the same place. This time for some trail maintenance under the TNF 100 programme. While clearing part of the place, the Princess unearthed 2 little critters:

A hammerhead flatworm which we mistook for a slug.
Hammerhead Flatworm
A Black Eye Litter frog which we thought M killed with her changkul but fortunately did not.
Black Eye Litter Frog
Both these latter photos were taken with the Canon SX210 compact camera. Again, we found it wasn't easy taking such photos with the camera without the necessary accessories even if set on macro mode.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mooncake Index 2011

It's that time of the year for the Mooncake Index, first stated in 2007. For the life of me, I can't remember why there wasn't one last year. Maybe I didn't get any moon cakes? Not very likely though.

Anyway, the MCI reflects the state of my expenditure and the business given out and the corresponding reactions to the business doled out. On this count, the year appears to be a good year for businesses despite a drop in ad spending.

The first one (actually 2 of them) was from Crystal Jade.

Among the early bird to arrive at my desk was everybody favourite, the Champagne Truffles Mooncake from Raffles Hotel.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pulau Tekong

The last time I stepped onto Pulau Tekong was more than 20 years ago. And unlike the younger male of today, I did not do my Basic Military Training there. So I had very hazy memory of the island other than that it was bare and hot!

View of Tekong camp from the sea
Recently I managed to visit Pulau Tekong. No I wasn’t going there to do any soldiering. Me I too old for that. I was there to send off the Kid for his stint. D day for him and a good old walk down the memory lane for me.

The last time I went there, we were dumped onto Changi Beach from our 3-tonners and then herded like sheep up to a hot and open RPL. Once on Tekong, we had to march to the training ground. But nowadays, the soldiers are ferried in air conditioned passenger launch from a airy clean ferry terminal at Changi and whisked off straight to another equally spacious jetty which leads directly to the compound of the camp.

I don’t have any impression of the old camp there but certainly the camp on Tekong now squeaks squeaky clean. It looks a little like one of those nice holiday resort!

We were taken on a mini tour of the camp. Much has changed from my times. The parade square is tiled.  The obstacle course has changed too. Now there are more obstacles and only a few favourite have remained. Training for the soldiers has changed too! Now, it seems there are no night training in Tekong and training ends the latest at 6.30pm. Is that true? Maybe the Thursday night story is real after all! Now, the soldier uses mini-note book instead of paper manual and honed their shooting skill in air condition comfort in an arcade like simulator room!  Now, the mattress the soldier sleeps on is 6 inch thick, branded some more! Mosquitoes net are available for those who fear mosquitoes!

Swearing In
Last time we did our swearing oath at CMPB. Now the enlistees get to do it in air con comfort in an auditorium with all the parents, friends and relatives present.
The standard of army food has apparently improved. Even the canteen looks different. More spacious and seems like they no longer use those heavy compartmentalised metal tray.

Chicken Rice
We got to sample the day lunch of chicken rice which comprised one roasted chicken thigh and some cabbage. It also come with a small bowl of tofu soup. The food is certainly edible. Not great gourmet food but at least the normal food court standard. I remembered back in our days when beehoon taste like rubber band and the hot beverage that they poured out was whatever our mind wants it to beJ

All too soon, our little tour ended and we bid goodbye to the Kid and memory of what it was as they marched off from the tiled parade square to 2 years of learning how to defend the nation and become a man in the process.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mariners' Corner Restaurant & Steak House

I have heard of this place for a long long time since I started working in that area 25 years ago but have never went in there until now.

It was a quaint old place just like The Ship Restaurant or Shashlik. The decor is so dated. They used those cheapo plastic table mat and red and white checkered table cloth. Even the music they played were oldies. And best of all, the price of the food stayed almost in the 80's, that is to say, it was pretty decent.

Having survived for so long and in such an obscure corner of town, I reckoned the food must be pretty decent. Indeed even on a Sunday evening, there was a sizeable crowd in the small little diner. Unfortunately, that didn't turn out to be true. The portion was fairly big but taste wise, it was so so and nothing to shout about.

We ordered a plate of baked cheese which cost $16.00. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

One Saturday Afternoon in Orchard Road

One of the few times that I walked down Orchard Rd from Scotts Rd till Orchard Central. Along the way, pass this giant poster that has been attracting the wrong attention.

Some 'concerned' citizens have written to the press to complain that the ad is indecent! Read the complaints here and here. I looked left and right and mostly up and down and frankly I can't see anything indecent about it. However, I do agree that the ad should be removed. I thinkthe visual of a half naked male torso serve more to attract the 'other' group of 'guy'. Me think, they should replace it with something that is more soothing to the eyes like this ad:

Further down the road saw this super long queue snaking all the way from Orchard Building to Yan San Building. 

What were they queuing for? To get into H&M, the latest international brand that opens its door in Singapore today. People even queue up overnight! All this to get into an outlet which is so common in other part of the world! Singaporean really got nothing better to do!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Chinatown - Preserving the Old

The gahmen has been trying to preserve the old pre-war shophouses in Chinatown. However, somehow even after restoration, although the buildings now look nice and clean, somehow they have lost its charm.

This is the Nagore Durgha Shrine. It used to be so run down it was in danger of collapsing but after a few years of renovation, it is now opened as an Indian Muslim Heritage Centre. What is said is that it is now so commercialised and there is a cafe right in the middle of the hall! 

Some of the shophouses have been restored by the private sector. This one is fairly well done although it is a pity the coffeeshop on the ground floor spoiled the ambience.

This one at the corner of McCallum Street and Amoy Street is so colorful it looks so weird and out of place! And the picture of the Chinese Junk!