Monday, 15 October 2018

$1,500 bus stop bench? Ikea, Courts cheaper

Are you sitting down?

Apparently, a metal bench at a bus stop in Braddell Road is worth $1,500.

And it’s not even created by Banksy. (Or is it?)

I mean, that’s even more than the cash prize the Miss Bikini Universe Singapore winner gets, which is only $1,000.

The pageant organiser could just give her two thirds of a bus stop bench.

How do I know a metal bench at a bus stop in Braddell Road is worth $1,500?

Because The Straits Times reported last week that such a bench was stolen by Tan Ke Wei, who was sentenced to a seven-day short detention order for committing mischief and thereby causing damage or loss amounting to $500 and above.

Seat happens.

ST said the incident occurred in June last year near midnight when Tan was waiting for a bus.

Apparently, the bus took so long to arrive that Tan started “meddling” with the bolts that secured the bench and he managed to unscrew all eight with his fingers. He then wrapped the dismantled bench in a garbage bag and took a taxi home.

My question is, did he just conveniently happen to have a garbage bag with him?

Some people carry an umbrella in case it rains. I guess this fella carries a garbage bag in case he needs to wrap a bench he removed from a bus stop.

And did Tan take a taxi because he missed the last bus of the night, since it was already around midnight when he started unscrewing the bench?

The midnight surcharge must have cost him an arm and a leg, though probably not as much as the bench.

But why did he take the bench in the first place?

Tan reportedly “intended to renovate his new flat with a bus stop design concept”.

Wait. Did I miss an issue of Home & Decor?

Is public transport-themed interior design the latest thing along with plogging and flossing (the Fortnite dance, not cleaning between your teeth)?

Who doesn’t want to be reminded that they are too poor to afford a car even when they are at home?

After all, Potong Pasir MP Sitoh Yih Pin said last month:
“When you talk to the young, it appears to me it is becoming very fashionable not to drive so much, maybe not to even own a car, and to take public transport more, to take the trains more and to take the buses more, even to walk and to cycle.”
Just call me Mr Fashionable then.

Actually, I wouldn’t mind renovating my flat with an MRT platform design concept if I can get one of those giant ceiling fans.

You’ll need an ez-link card to enter my flat.

But the biggest question of all is, how can a bus stop bench cost $1,500?

And I thought the new iPhones were overpriced.

With that kind of money, the hawkers at Jurong West Hawker Centre could pay for 7,500 returned trays at 20 cents each.

It didn’t help that after the ST report came out, both Ikea and Courts posted ads on Facebook promoting benches costing noticeably less than $1,500.

As if to rub it in Tan’s face, Ikea touted its $159 Industriell bench as “No dismantling required” and Courts said its $179 Callum dining bench “comes with no detention”.

Kick a fella when he’s down, why dontcha? I think those ads are a form of cyber-bullying.

But judging by the pictures of their benches in those ads, I find the Ikea and Courts offerings don’t quite capture the special essence of a place where I would wait for a bus and contemplate the meaning of my car-lite existence, if any.

So as enticing as the lack of dismantling and detention may be, it seems that if I really want to authentically recreate the grim ambience of a bus stop in my home, only a $1,500 bench will do.

Perhaps I can win the Miss Bikini Universe Singapore contest one and a half times.

- Published in The New Paper, 15 October 2018


With regards to your article, I think the bigger concern we should be looking at is why are the taxpayers paying 1500 dollars for a bus bench?

Who is the company selling it? I’m sure if you do some proper digging, it will be all about ‘commission’ and lining certain people’s pocket.

Sent from Aedie's iPhone

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Chua Chu Kang Big Farm Run in the rain

Flag-off at a little past 7.30am for Chua Chu Kang Big Farm Run (8km) this morning.

I jogged from home to the starting line, which added 3km to my distance..

It rained, which made the weather nice and cool for running. I don't mind getting wet because I get wet from sweat anyway.

I didn't know SPCA is in the area.

Relive 'Choa Chu Kang Big Farm Run'

EARLIER: Chua Chu Kang Big Farm Run 2015

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

I tried the controversial angmoh 'Hainanese chicken rice' recipe... and it surprisingly works

So last week, The Guardian newspaper in UK published an advertorial sponsored by UK supermarket chain Waitrose & Partners featuring an interview with English actress-turned-celebrity chef Lisa Faulkner and a recipe for "Beautifully Simple Hainanese chicken rice".

Singaporeans who saw the recipe were triggered because it doesn't resemble the Hainanese chicken rice we all know and love.

“Blasphemy” someone called it. It’s not the kuey png that S-Hook Lady would hook on her top.

“Fuck off, Lisa” someone else commented.

It didn't help that Faulkner’s boyfriend is John Torode, the MasterChef UK judge of "crispy rendang" infamy.

Being Hainanese, I feel I have a stake in this, but instead of piling on, I decided to at least try the recipe before trashing it.

So I first gathered the ingredients, which are all stuff you can get from Waitrose:
  • 125g pack trimmed salad onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal keeping the green ends separate
  • ½ Cooks’ Ingredients Red Chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lime,
  • 2 tbsp essential Pure Clear Honey
  • 1 pack 2 chicken breast fillets fed on an omega 3 enriched diet
  • 150g hom mali jasmine rice, rinsed
  • 40g Cooks’ Ingredients Hainanese Paste

But I'm in Singapore. So I went to NTUC FairPrice instead and got the closest equivalent.

I think I might have overbought.

The Woh Hup Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice Paste I got is made up mostly of garlic, ginger and shallot.

I'm not much of a cook, but I tried to follow the instructions as closely as I could within my non-ability:
Combine 1 tbsp of the green salad onions in a small bowl with the chilli, lime zest, juice and honey, then set aside.

Place about one third of the remaining salad onions in a medium saucepan, thinly slice the chicken breasts and add to the pan. Pour over 350ml water and season with a little salt. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 6-8 minutes until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and there is no pink meat.

Remove the chicken from the pan, keep warm and set aside. Stir the rice into the pan of chicken cooking liquid. Cook gently, covered, for about 10 minutes until the rice is tender and the stock absorbed. Add a dash of water if the rice is still firm and cook a little longer.

This was where I got into some trouble.

The recipe said to "add a dash of water if the rice is still firm". I tried the rice and it felt a little grainy so I added more water. Too much it seems as the rice turned mushy.

Sorry. I had never cooked rice in a pan before.

But committed, I followed the recipe to the not-so-bitter end:
Stir the remaining onions and rice paste into the rice and heat gently, stirring for a couple of minutes to heat through. Pile on to serving plates and top with the chicken fillets. Serve drizzled with the reserved chilli and lime sauce.
And here it is:

This is what it's meant to look like:

Sure, it doesn't look anything like traditional Hainanese chicken rice, but it actually tastes like a pretty close approximation despite me ruining it with my mushy rice.

I suspect the Woh Hup Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice Paste did most of the heavy lifting.

At least the end result tastes more like Hainanese chicken rice than the terrible Hainanese chicken burger from Burger King.

I even managed to finish the whole plate of rice by myself even though the recipe says it's supposed to serve two.

Granted, my standards are low.

And maybe they shouldn't call it "Hainanese chicken rice" when it's Angmoh chicken rice. (I’m feeling generous enough to consider it an homage rather than cultural appropriation.)

But I'm giving the "Beautifully Simple Hainanese chicken rice" my Hainanese stamp of approval.

I mean, if a non-cook like me can produce something edible from the recipe, imagine what a real cook can do.

So maybe we shouldn’t too hard on John Torode’s girlfriend.

UPDATE: The Straits Times also did what I did (minus the mushy rice) and pretty much came to the same conclusion.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Hooked on S-hook lady Lerine Yeo: Why I may never eat luncheon meat again

Dear Ms Lerine Yeo,

Just when I thought it was safe to watch Facebook videos again…

You know that Nas Daily guy? His videos are so annoying, right?

If you like Singapore, just say you like Singapore lah. Why must say “I hate Singapore because I’m jealous”?

So extra.

Then he called Singapore “the almost perfect country”.

Hello? What “almost”? Singapore is the perfect country, okay?

I want to complain, but I’m scared he’ll call me “crybaby”. I’m very sensitive. I may actually cry.

But he’s gone now. You have taken over from him. It’s your Facebook videos everyone is talking about now.

And all you were trying to do was sell some clothes from your online shop Misshopper Boutique.

It started when someone posted a video of you promoting a top with metal rings as sort of a wearable rack where you can use S-hooks to hang umbrellas, ez-link cards, wanton mee – “whatever you want to hook, you can hook”.

I also wanted to buy the $9 “designer top” in case one day, I go to the market and have no hands to carry, but alas, I understand it’s sold out.

The video has been viewed more than 2 million times. You’re even more famous than Baby Shark, doo doo, doo doo, doo doo.

But with fame come those who seek to exploit your fame.

And I’m not just talking about Ikea, Jollibee, Wingstop and Scoot shamelessly using the S-hook in their ads last week. They should pay you a commission.

I saw your post warning of imposter Facebook pages using your Misshopper Boutique name.

You wrote:
“A police report has been lodged 25 sept at 00:51am, my taglines and photos have been used on the other page. Kindly spread the word and take note. I am not related to the other 2 page as below. Be careful cos it might be a scam. If you need clarification pm me.”

Well, you know what they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and copyright infringement.

The good news is that I read that Mark Lee has signed you to his company. He said you reminded him of a young Patricia Mok.

What an insult. You’re much more chio than Patricia Mok.

Maybe Jack Neo will cast you in Ah Boys To Men 5: Money Make No Enough.

After all, your videos are more entertaining than all his movies put together.

But I have a complaint about one of your videos.

Please don’t call me a crybaby. You know how sensitive I am.

You remember that video where you warn customers more than 1.6m tall about a dress that may be too short for them?

You said:
“And then you walk, you cannot open big big already. You must close and tight(ly), okay?

“If not, your luncheon meat, your seaweed come out give people see.”

What did I just hear?!

If you mean what I think you mean, I’m very distressed by that last line.

I like luncheon meat. I always add luncheon meat whenever I get fried bee hoon for lunch.

But because of you, I don’t think I can ever eat luncheon meat again.

Please don’t scold me for complaining. You’ll make me cry.

Luckily, I don’t like seaweed that much.

Maybe like that Nas Daily guy, one day you can get PM Lee to be in your video too.

- Published in The New Paper, 1 October 2018


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