Saturday 31 May 2014

Rosalyn Lee is so totes into using the word 'totes'

I started following radio DJ Rosalyn Lee on Facebook last June when she dissed SAF for not training because of the haze.

I noticed in her last few posts that she seems to be rather fond of the word "totes" - and not in reference to the bag.

"Totes" is the new shorthand for "totally".

I get it that you want to show off a trendy new angmoh slang you just learnt, but this is just cray-cray.

Sunday 25 May 2014

How I met your moth

I live on the third storey of a 16-storey HDB block.

To warm up before my regular jog, I usually climb the stairs to the top of the block and then take the lift down.

On Tuesday evening, the lift door opened and I was startled by a large moth flying around inside. How did it get in there?

I was paralysed for a second.

What should I do?

Should I take the lift with the flailing moth? What if it careened into my face? In my eyes? Or worse, my mouth?

The last thing I want is a moth in my mouth in the month of May. What would my mother say?

Maybe I should let the lift go and take the stairs down instead. Since this is 2014, I decided to take a selfie with the moth first.

But I wasn’t quick enough. By the time I got my iPhone camera ready, the moth had fluttered out of the lift and into the night. I was disappointed with my slow reaction.

My wife had told me a few days earlier that she and our daughter had also encountered a moth in the lift. I wondered if it was the same one. A photo would have confirmed its identity.

Now I would never know.

So I went for my jog with a heaviness in my heart. About an hour later, I returned home to a sight more chilling than a letter of demand from the prime minister’s lawyer.

Outside my flat, a large moth was perched above my front door.

Could it be the same moth?

How did it find out where I live?

Could it be the same creature that harassed my wife and daughter a few days earlier?

Oh my god, my family was being stalked by a psycho-moth!

This time, I did take a picture of the moth with my iPhone but was so rattled, I forgot to make it a selfie.

Careful not to let the insect follow me, I calmly went inside my flat and told my wife about our winged stalker and showed her the picture.

She didn’t freak out like I thought she would. I was a little frustrated that she didn’t seem to be taking the threat of the psycho-moth very seriously.

Before I went to sleep that night, I double-checked that all the doors and windows were tightly shut.

In case the psycho-moth had figured how to turn door knobs (and managed to get a duplicate of my house key), the front door was also latched from the inside.

That night, I slept dreaming I was an obese Godzilla battling two giant moth-like monsters.

No, wait, that was just a movie I saw the previous week. That guy who plays Bryan Cranston’s adult son is a terrible actor.

After surviving the night, I woke up the next morning to check my Facebook page and discovered that other people had also encountered the moth in other parts of Singapore.

Oh. So it wasn’t just me.

There were many moths. There was no single psycho-moth stalking my family.

That was a relief.

The species is known as lyssa zampa or the tropical swallowtail moth. I also read that it has a lifespan of only two weeks and that made me feel kind of sad.

How to reach the CPF minimum sum like that?

It made me wonder what I would do with my life if I had only two weeks to live.

I’d probably take even more selfies.

If I die in two weeks, I wouldn’t live to see a nationalised public transport system or the release of iPhone 6.

I wouldn’t get to watch the new Transformers movie with my daughter.

But at least in two weeks, I’d be able to complete my McDonald’s Hello Kitty Bubbly World collection.

I thought about death.

That’s right. I’m going there.

A campaign was launched earlier this month to encourage Singaporeans to talk about the usually taboo subject of kicking the bucket. The campaign is not-so-subtly called “Die Die Must Say”.

The trouble is that the entire campaign seems to consist of a way-too-perky music video of the Die Die Must Say theme song featuring a Hokkien rap, and a series of Chinese getai shows, which targets only the audience of such shows.

What about those who don’t watch getai shows? Or understand Hokkien rap?

Like me.

And the moths.

Why are we being left out of this deathly campaign?

Could it be mere coincidence that the campaign coincides with the sightings of the moths, which some consider a symbol of death?

On Friday, I climbed the stairs again and on the 16th storey, I saw another moth.

I don’t know if it was my “psycho-moth”, but instead of flying around, it was lying motionless on the floor in front of the lift.

I wasn't sure if it was dead, but I decided to take a chance.

I lay on the floor next to it and finally got my moth selfie.

Life is short. Yolo!

- Published in The New Paper, 25 May 2014

Thursday 22 May 2014

Why it's a bad idea to do chin-ups at the monkey bars (video)

I did something stupid the other day.

My head still kinda hurts a bit. I'm a little worried I might have suffered brain damage.

Sunday 18 May 2014

We don't have a new NDP song to kick around any more

For years, it was there for us to criticise, ridicule and complain about.

For years, we wanted it to stop.

But for years, it persisted.

The criticisms, ridicule and complaints became so frequent and predictable that they became like a tradition.

They became part of our uniquely Singaporean culture.

Like force-feeding foreign celebrities who come to our country - like footballers Rio Ferdinand and Sergio Aguero, movie star Hugh Jackman - strange local food such as fried carrot cake, durian and “Maya butter”.

Since the Instagram shows Jackman at a Ya Kun Kaya Toast outlet, we can assume the Australian actor meant “kaya”, not “Maya”.

But who knows?

Maybe next time Russell Crowe can come to Singapore, have breakfast at Killiney Kopitiam and compliment its Aztec bread spreads.

Anyhoo, where was I?

Oh yah, the criticisms, ridicule and complaints became so frequent and predictable that they became part of our uniquely Singaporean culture.

We took it for granted that the thing we love to criticise, ridicule and complain about would always be there for us to criticise, ridicule and complain about.

Until it suddenly wasn’t there any more.

No, I’m not talking about Hello Kitty queues at McDonald’s.

I’m talking about the annual TV licence fee.

For years, Singaporeans bitched about having to pay the $110 every year, usually as justification for bitching about how local TV programmes suck.

As in “Point Of Entry is so bad it’s funny, like VR Man. Why are we paying $110 every year for this? I demand a refund! The TV licence fee should be abolished.”

Then in 2011, the Government unexpectedly did just that. The 48-year-old TV licence fee was scrapped. No one saw it coming. It was like Christmas in February.

On top of that, the Government also refunded the money that people had paid in advance for that year's licence fee. If you guessed it was an election year, you’re right.

Explaining the move, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said the fee was irrelevant as TV is no longer considered a luxury and programmes can be watched on the Internet.

The fee was supposedly used to fund public-service content on free-to-air TV channels, but most people just assumed it was to pay for shows like Point Of Entry and VR Man.

But of course, the lack of the TV licence fee hasn’t stopped people from bitching about local TV.

I still can’t believe Channel 5 showed the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy on Good Friday last month.

Aside from the movie being 34 years old, how insensitive MediaCorp had to be to air a movie called The Gods Must Be Crazy on a religious holiday?

You might as well insult a blind woman on radio.

Anyhoo, I think people miss having the TV licence fee to bitch about, even though no one misses paying the $110.

Without the TV licence fee, I sense a void in our culture that can never be filled.

And now another void has opened up.

Last week, it was announced that there will be no new National Day song this year for the first time in 16 years.

Like killing the TV licence fee, the announcement was greeted with cheers.

This year’s NDP creative director, Dick Lee, said: “Why not bring old songs back on a more regular basis?”

Could one of those old songs he was referring to be Home, which happens to be written by someone also named Dick Lee? Coincidence?

Anyhoo, this announcement comes four years after I wrote a column in this newspaper in 2010 called “Why we don’t need new National Day song every year”.

If only they had listened to me back then, the NDP organisers would have been spared the ignominy of the disastrous public reception to last year’s song, One Singapore.

Bitching about the new NDP song had become an annual national ritual, but last year’s backlash was apparently so vicious that the NDP organisers have now raised the white flag, which I hope Vietnamese protesters won’t burn “by mistake”.

I believe that the online abuse inflicted on the song co-written by comedian Selena Tan could be partly responsible for the tougher new anti-cyberbullying laws Parliament passed in March.

But I’m not here to say “I told you so” or take a victory lap because I suspect the reprieve is only temporary.

Unlike the TV licence fee which is probably gone for good, a new NDP song is as inevitable and certain as death and taxes. It’s just a matter of when.

My guess is that they’re saving the new song for next year’s National Day, which seems to be the only one anyone really cares about now since it will be Singapore’s 50th birthday.

I’m surprised we’re not skipping this year’s National Day celebration altogether.

So while the tradition of bitching about the new NDP song will likely return in 2015, I will certainly feel the emptiness this year.

Perhaps Young PAP can upload another in-house video on YouTube.

Maybe some time closer to August.

- Published in The New Paper, 18 May 2014

Sunday 11 May 2014

Shitty times: Nasi goreng poisoning, $9.70 nasi padang & dry Rendang Burgers

Last week at home, I went to the toilet and read The Straits Times while taking a dump.

After I was done, I joined my teenage daughter at the dining table where she was having her lunch.

Although I had already eaten, I wanted to keep her company since she always complains about having to eat alone.

But instead of appreciating my thoughtfulness, she recoiled in horror as I sat next to her and continued reading the paper.

“What are you doing?” she asked. “I’m eating!”

“I thought you wanted me to sit with you,” I said.

“But you just went to the toilet,” she said.

“So?” I asked. “I washed my hands.”

“Your shit newspaper!”

I was confused at first by what she meant.

I know some people like to call The Straits Times “The Shitty Times”, but I think my daughter meant it more literally. She was not referring to what was in the paper, but what might be on it.

Apparently, just because I took the newspaper into the toilet with me, to her, it was as good as I had wiped my ass with it – which, I should make clear, I didn’t.

That was why I changed my mind about telling her about the faeces transplants at NUH that I had just read about in the paper while I was in the toilet. It might ruin her appetite even further. Shitty times indeed.

By the way my daughter over-reacted, it was like I had committed some sort of heinous food crime by joining her with my toilet-tainted newspaper at the dining table where she was eating the mixed vegetable rice I had bought for her.

You would think that I had tried to poison her with some over-spicy nasi goreng kampung.

Maybe she should go to Johor Baru and make a police report.

Just three months ago, the police chief of Johor assured Singaporeans that we are not specifically targeted by criminals in JB.

He said: “Crimes are committed when an opportunity arises regardless of (a victim’s) race, religion, sex and nationality.”

So what he was saying is that if you get scammed, robbed, kidnapped or murdered in JB, be reassured that it’s not because you’re Singaporean. It’s because you’re there.

The police chief also pointed out that last year, only 397 cases of crime were reported by Singaporeans, compared to 466 in 2012.

I wonder if any of those cases included poisoning by nasi goreng kampung.

This was what happened to a Singaporean in JB a week and a half ago.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Johor…

On April 30, retiree Lau Thiam Huat paid RM3.50 (S$1.35) for a plate of nasi goreng kampung in a coffee shop at Jalan Bukit Timbalan near City Square shopping centre.

It was not the first time he ate the dish there, but this time, it was different.

“My tongue was burning by the third mouthful,” Mr Lau told The New Paper last week. “It wasn’t the kind of burn you usually get from chilli.”

He stopped eating after that, but still felt the sting on his tongue the next day and decided to make a police report before seeing a doctor.

“I wanted to make sure I could nail them down easily if they really meant to poison me.”

But why would anyone want to poison a 60-year-old Singaporean retiree in JB?

It’s not like he’s King Joffrey at the Purple Wedding. (Uh… belated Game Of Thrones spoiler alert.)

“It’s just my gut feel,” said Mr Lau.

Gut feel? Or just acid indigestion?

The deputy police chief of South Johor Baru confirmed that the police had received the report, but said no action would be taken because there are no relevant laws about this matter.

What kind of cowboy town is this? How can there be no law against poisoning by nasi goreng kampung? That’s anarchy!

And you can spray-paint that on top of a Toa Payoh HDB block.

On second thought, don’t.

Of course, there is no lack of food crime in Singapore as well.

Just last month alone, posted two complaints from people claiming they were overcharged for nasi padang.

One woman paid $7 for rice, fried fish and mussels. Another guy paid $9.70 for rice, chicken, vegetable and stingray.

Mr Lau might have been poisoned by his $1.35 nasi goreng kampung, but at least he wasn’t overcharged for it.

More seriously, it seems that Burger King Singapore has been guilty of skimping on the rendang sauce in its Rendang Burger, which was reintroduced last month.

The fast food chain posted this mea culpa on Facebook on Thursday:
“Yes, BK fans. We hear you. We understand that the Rendang sauce is what makes the Rendang Burger so delicious. So from now on, you’ll get more yummy Rendang sauce in every Rendang Burger…

“Also, we’d like to ask for your help – if you still encounter dry Rendang Burgers, please send us a PM with your contact and date+time+location of your purchase!”

Regular readers of this column may recall that last year, Burger King also brought back the Rendang Burger for a limited time but added mayonnaise which I called “a crime against nature and all taste buds”.

Fortunately, this year, Burger King has ditched the mayo, so I don’t have to make a police report.

I’ll probably buy the Rendang Burger for my daughter for lunch tomorrow to make up for the newspaper incident.

The burger better not be dry.

Unfortunately, the rendang sauce looks a lot like… never mind.

Brings a whole new meaning to faeces transplant.

- Published in The New Paper, 11 May 2014

Friday 9 May 2014

What's with Stomp's obsession with the price of nasi padang & other rice dishes?

I guess the price of the rice is not so nice.

Posted on 5 May 2014

Will you pay $9.20 for this plate of curry rice?

Posted on 25 April 2014

Worth the price? This plate of Nasi Padang cost $9.70

Posted on 9 April 2014

This plate of Nasi Padang cost $7 for fried fish and mussels

Posted on 24 March 2014

Would you pay $6 for fish soup with extra rice?

Posted on 7 February 2014

Will you pay $6.20 for this plate of mixed vegetable rice?

Posted on 1 February 2014

Is this packet of fried rice worth $8 to you?

Posted on 30 October 2013 (No rice, but close enough)

Fair or not? Chicken wing, otah and hash brown costs $3.90

Posted on 26 October 2013

$6 curry fish rice has just 4 slices of fish, yet auntie argues there are 6

Posted on 17 October 2013

$8.50 for a few measly pieces of chicken, rice and an egg -- and it's supposed to be 'medium-size'

Posted on 19 August 2013

Can you spot the meat in this $3 curry rice?

Posted on 01 June 2013

Nasi lemak with fish, chicken and vegetables cost $13.50

Posted on 15 April 2013

Can you believe these nasi padang dishes cost more than $8 each?

Posted on 13 March 2013

$4.70 for Nasi Padang with only ikan bilis and pickles is too expensive

Posted on 24 April 2012

Expensive: Mixed rice meal at TTSH Kopitiam costs $5.10

Posted on 11 January 2011

Rice plate bought at ION cost me $7.80!

Posted on 14 May 2010

Would you pay $8.50 for this Nasi Padang?

Somewhere out there, Baey Yam Keng must be chuckling over his 50-cent bandung.

Sunday 4 May 2014

Star Awards without Ann Kok is like a protest without dog poo

What a disappointment.

And I’m not just talking about Ann Kok’s no show at last Sunday’s Star Awards show.

Last year, she wore a Herve Leger tube dress worn over a long-sleeved see-through netted top that made her look like “an aspiring porn star”, according to The Straits Times.

This year, I was hoping she would wear something that would make her look like an established porn star.

But it wasn’t to be.

Kok, 41, had left MediaCorp in March and is now promoting her new movie, Filial Party, which opens on Thursday.

And it seems I wasn't the only one disappointed by Kok not being at the Star Awards, judging by these Tweets:
  • “The only person I might remotely be interested in watching isn’t at the awards. #annkok”
  • “No Ann Kok no #ootn see the whole thing boring already sigh.”
  • “Ann Kok and Fiona Xie... The only 4 reasons to watch #StarAwards20 and they didn’t even show up.”
Wait, Ann Kok and Fiona Xie – that’s only two reasons, not four... ohhhhhhh, I get it. The tweet was referring to the busty actresses’... uh... eyes.

But despite Kok’s absence from the award show, she still managed to make headlines last week.

My favourite headline was by Stomp:
Ann Kok thinks this is even better than going to the sperm bank.

That headline alone was almost enough to make up for Kok’s Star Awards no-show.

There must be a rule somewhere that if one has the opportunity to use the words “Ann Kok” and “sperm” in the same sentence, one must take it.

So what is it that Kok thinks is better than going to a sperm bank?

No, not making a withdrawal at the sperm ATM (otherwise also known as just “men”).

It’s freezing her eggs.

Kok, who is single, told The New Paper: “If the technology for egg freezing is advanced and the doctors are confident they can be preserved well, I think it’s a good idea.”

I believe there are already volunteers to help fertilise her eggs.

Besides the Star Awards, another major event last week was the launch of the new McDonald’s Hello Kitty Bubbly World toys.

It was such big news that even the Wall Street Journal ran the story with the headline: “Singapore braces for a Kitty riot at McDonald’s.”

But it wasn’t to be.

There was no riot except possibly online where the McDonald’s website was overwhelmed by orders and the toys quickly sold out.

After all the build-up by the media, the lack of riots in McDonald’s restaurants around Singapore must have been galling to some.

You can almost sense the indignation in headlines like “What Hello Kitty craze? Online sales kill in-store McDonald’s queues” and “How did Singapore dodge a Kitty cat-tastrophe?

I got my Hello Kitty Bubbly Kerokerokeroppi toy from the McDonald's outlet at IMM on Tuesday with no problem.

And that was the problem.

Without the long queues, getting my Hello Kitty toy from McDonald’s no longer gives me a sense of accomplishment and seems rather – gasp! – pointless.

I just paid $4.95 (not including what I paid for the Extra Value Meal) for a mouthless cat I don’t know what to do with.

But that’s also not the disappointment I was referring to earlier.

No, that would be the Labour Day protest held at Hong Lim Park on Thursday.

Using Facebook, the organiser had called on protesters to “spit, throw eggs, splash dog poo, draw graffiti and kick at the poster of our Prime Minister”.

But it wasn’t to be.

They were “advised” by police not to do so.

I was curious as to how they had planned to “splash” the dog poo.

Would they first collect the dog poo and then take it to Hong Lim Park? Or would they take their dogs to Hong Lim Park so that they could get it fresh?

And the word “splash” suggests that they wanted to use liquid dog poo, which is even grosser than regular dog poo.

And were they planning to “splash” the dog poo on the PM’s poster with their hands? That’s gross to the max.

I think the police might have done the protesters a bigger favour than they realise.

But the lack of animal excrement at the protest wasn’t why I felt let down.

It was because that of all the Scorpions songs the protesters could’ve sung that day, why did it have to be Wind Of Change?

I hate that song.

So what if it was the German band’s biggest hit? The whistling is even more annoying than the whistling in Moves Like Jagger and I ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie.

Hello, this is Hong Lim Park, not the Berlin Wall.

If the protesters wanted a Scorpions song about wind, why couldn’t they have picked Rock You Like A Hurricane, only the best Scorpions song ever?!

What a disappointment.

- Published in The New Paper, 4 May 2014


Celebrating Singapore’s 17-year love affair with Ann Kok’s chest

How I failed to get the black Hello Kitty

Is there really a law against defacing PM's poster? No... and yes