BreadTalk: New Store Concept At Vivocity

BreadTalk Vivocity

I attended BreadTalk’s launch of a new store concept at Vivocity last week, together with journalists from mainstream media. And what I gathered from the comments left on Facebook after the journalists uploaded their articles was that netizens aren’t letting go of past incidents yet – mainly the 李不开你 buns and BreadTalk x Yeo’s soya milk saga.

However, I think it’ll be interesting to watch how BreadTalk moves on from those incidents, and regains trust from consumers. Perhaps the new concept signals new beginnings? So… suspend your judgement for just a bit and let me take you through my experience at the media launch last week, ok? :D

Red Bean Queen

In this picture above, you see the Red Been Queen buns (with Taiwan-imported red beans, at S$1.70 each). It is just one of over FIFTY brand new items specially developed by BreadTalk’s international Master Chefs, like Shin Horie from Japan, Alan Zou from Taiwan and Janson Loo from Singapore. I got to taste items like the Sweet Potato Volcano, Mala Chicken, Himalayan Pink Salt bun, Rice Chiffon Cake and Hokkaido Swiss Roll. But my favorite, surprisingly, was the Snow White Yam (with Taiwan yam cubes, at S$1.60)! :D It’s a real surprise because I don’t usually eat yam – in fact, I avoid it entirely in desserts and pastries.

The new range of buns and cakes are made from premium natural ingredients such as Japanese-milled flour and pure butter from New Zealand. I like that no artificial elements, additives or preservatives are added. You can also check out the breads made from four different dough types: White Dough, Natural Yeast, Soft French and Wheat Germ. They have been paired with oriental ingredients like wine-soaked longan, sweet potato and Sichuan spices. Yummy! :D

A photo with BreadTalk Chairman, Mr George Quek, and my pal, Steven Lek

Blogger Grace Tan and BreadTalk Chairman George Quek

Mr George Quek holds a Doctorate in Business Adminstration (Honorary) from Wisconsin International University, USA. He is also the President of the Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan (潮州八邑会馆) and Chairman of Xinmin Secondary School’s Advisory Board. In 2000, he started the BreadTalk bakery business in Singapore and brought it to list on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) in 2003!


Attendees of the launch event were each given a “cube”. I’d hurriedly taken a photo with the one I scribbled on, before event staff took it away from me and placed it into a ‘wall’ filled with other cubes that people had shared their ‘recipe for JOY’. Mine’s ‘Smiles + Gratitude (*repeat)’…

BreadTalk cube [A note to my pal, Samy, if you’re reading this: No soya milk served at the event, ok :P Water, orange juice, and hot beverages only. Hehe]

BreadTalk Chairman George Quek’s take on the recipe for joy is ‘Love’ and being a giver. He believes that one should demonstrate love both at home and at work. When you love others, they will reciprocate, according to him. When quizzed about how he maintains a work-life balance, he emphasized the importance of having a good team and then delegating work to them so he can have more time for his family. He says that there are no shortcuts to success – 苦尽甘来, after the bitterness, comes the sweet.

Outside the Vivocity outlet, you see interactive panels like this one:

BreadTalk interactive screen

BreadTalk has a new “Hot and Fresh” notification system. On the screen you’ll see when your favorite buns will be out of the ovens, and you can also sign up for the Digital Alert so a message can be sent to your handphone to notify you! :)

I’m glad to know that BreadTalk will be rolling out e-Scheduling and e-Production, which is aimed at improving productivity by at least 3 percent and reducing wastage by an estimated 20 percent.

After the launch, there were fringe activities within Vivocity. I chanced upon one such activity at Level 1. Shoppers were given a (big) dice to roll, and there were prizes to be won. I won a free tea cake! :D I picked a strawberry-flavored steamed cake, and I must say I enjoyed it (not just because it was free). Haha!

BreadTalk voucher

All in all, I think I’ll still support this local brand which has done Singapore proud. It has spread its wings overseas and has won so many awards too! The BreadTalk Group has a global staff strength of over 7,000 employees, with 1,000 outlets in 17 territories. It is inevitable that an error or two would occur at some point. After all, to err is human. And I can’t even honestly say that BreadTalk buns are pricey, having bought (slightly bigger) buns from a popular bakery chain with items that can easily cost upwards of S$7. Eat and let live, I say. :D

Shopee: Buy And Sell In Less Than 30 Seconds

Shopee Door Gift [ Door Gift from Shopee‘s launch: necklace from White Fiction and Original Source Christmas Limited Edition Gift Pack from Original Store ]

This blogpost can be summed up in two words: Carousell, beware!

But here’s why they should keep an eye out for Shopee…

Shopee was “soft-launched” early this year in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Taiwan. And it appears to me that they are a strong contender for a (huge) slice of the mobile e-commerce pie. Let’s start with finding out who the CEO is…

Shopee’s CEO, Chris Feng, is also Garena’s Head of Mobile Business for Southeast Asia and Taiwan. He was previously the Regional Managing Director of Zalora Southeast Asia, and Regional Managing Director and Chief Purchasing Officer of Lazada Southeast Asia.

Shopee Singapore

In his own words, Shopee allows users to “buy and sell in less than 30 seconds, anywhere and anytime”. As a seller, you simply snap a picture of the product, add a description, set a price, and you’re ready for business. Shopee charges no listing fees, no commissions, no credit card fees, or any other fee right now.

And if you’re wondering how Shopee will make money without charging fees, Chris says they will follow Taobao’s model soon: charge search and placement fees, and also get advertising revenue.

Shopee Guarantee

Buyers will love the Shopee Guarantee: if products are not received in the previously agreed-upon condition, payment will be refunded to the buyers in full. This helps to eliminate fraud and transaction risks. Shopee’s CEO admits that escrow services are nothing new, but they will keep the money first to ensure buyer satisfaction. I do wonder what will happen if buyers don’t confirm that they have received the product, and the money doesn’t get released to the seller – I suppose Shopee will step in at some point.

For sellers, there’s Shopee’s Seller Assistant which aims to help individuals become successful entrepreneurs. But the best part probably is that you don’t have to register a business in order to make some money by selling products online. :)

The Live Chat function and hashtag functions are also popular with buyers and sellers. With live chat, you get to send your questions to the seller; the person who knows the product best, and with the relevant hashtags, you can find trending products easily.

At the media launch, we also got to meet 4 of the current Shopee vendors:

Shopee Vendors

[ Shopee vendors Belinda, Randy, Andy, and Hazel fielding questions ]

Andy is from Original Store – I received their limited edition Christmas gift pack in the door gift…

Original Source Singapore [ Mint & Tea Tree, Mango, and Strawberry & (pink) Peppercorn, with a free loofah ]

I’m currently using the Mango shower gel and I love it! :D Do check out Original Store on Shopee – they are the authorised sellers of personal care products from Original Source. I ordered these 6 products below from them too (Buy 5 Get 1 Free, for S$25, inclusive of delivery). Each one came individually wrapped in bubble wrap, and were delivered within 4 days of my placing the order. I got to use the Live Chat function on Shopee too! :D

Original Source Singapore

The only two drawbacks for me when purchasing from one of Shopee’s limited-time-only campaigns is firstly, the lack of a filter – so I’m seeing perfume, clothes and shower gels all in the same page when I’m actually only looking for shower gels. Secondly, as I’m shopping using my mobile phone, I can only scroll through the pages with 2 items per row. And it takes a really long time for me to scroll through them all. I cannot simply rotate my phone for a ‘horizontal’ view and scroll through, say, 4 products in a row. Something for the Shopee folks to work on, I guess.

The other vendors featured are from:

Imperial Studio: sells locally-sourced and imported licensed Marvel, DC, and anime figurines

White Fiction: sells women’s apparel and has a wholesale store in City Plaza

SD Perfume: sells perfume at 5 brick-and-mortar outlets in Singapore but likes Shopee because there is no need to apply for VISA terminals (customers’ handphones become “VISA terminals”) and there’s no high rental and labour cost


You can download Shopee for free on the Apple App Store and Google Play. If you want to list items for sale, do it while there are (still) no fees charged. :D

Lady First SG Season 3 Ep 9: Beauty Round The Clock

Lady First Singapore

It’s the final episode of Lady First Singapore – Season 3! You can still watch it on TV – hit the VOD button – if you’re a StarHub subscriber. :) I love how the team leaves us with great tips in this last episode to help us stay pretty 24/7… almost. Socialite Jamie, for instance, shared how she uses lavender oil to help her relax and fall asleep at night. Dawn also taught us some breathing exercises to do at bedtime:

Press down on your right nostril and breathe in and out through the left one:

Lady First SG

*To help you stay awake when you are feeling sleepy, do the reverse: press down on the left nostril instead.

STRETCH… and breathe deeply into each stretch

Lady First Singapore Season 3

Avoid using your computer, handphones and other digital devices before bedtime. So difficult, I know. Also, sleep facing the ceiling, instead of sleeping on your side which will lead to the formation of wrinkles (apparently these aren’t just the temporary ones). When you get sufficient sleep, your hormones are in balance and you don’t end up over-eating throughout the day. Weight gain is quite common for people who usually don’t get enough sleep.

Other Issues:

(1) Water Rentention: Drink coffee, and use a fat-burning massage cream on the problem areas (e.g. legs). The one that Kevin recommended has guarana extract, which supposedly has 3 times as much caffeine as coffee, thus aiding the fat-burning process. Use a 3D slimming gel for a tightening effect.

(2) Difficulties Falling Asleep: If you find that it’s hard for you to go to sleep because of an over-active mind, perhaps take a bath with water at 36 or 37 degrees Celsius. Try to get 7 to 8 hours of good sleep. One way is by keeping your bedroom as dark as possible – it’ll help you enter “Dreamland” easily. :)

(3) Puffy Face: Try to reduce your sodium intake if you find your face looking puffy even if you didn’t drink much water before going to bed. Jamie also recommends an electrotherapy device for a V-shaped face. Use a warm orange tone concealer for the under-eye area, and some contouring makeup products too. A lipstick in a redder tone will give the illusion of a “smaller face”. *wink*

Lady First Singapore S3E9

Not all of us can afford to be like Jamie who drinks birds nest before she even brushes her teeth in the morning. But what we can do is to take our vitamin pills after breakfast and put on suitable clothing so we can sleep comfortably. We may not all end up looking like a pampered tai-tai, but we most certainly can strive to look our best! :)

Dulux Ambiance: Your Wall, Your Personalized Canvas

Dulux Ambiance MRT Ad

Have you seen these Dulux ads at train stations like I have? Or perhaps you saw them on YouTube? I was pretty curious about what the Metallic, Velvet, Linen and Marble paints would feel like on a wall, and I most certainly found out when I visited Space Furniture at 77 Bencoolen Street. Dulux’s certified painters had transformed some of the walls at Space! And I was definitely amazed at what this new range of paints can do! Have a look…

SPACE Furniture

This first wall was painted with the Dulux Ambiance Marble paint…

Dulux Ambiance Marble Jasper

And my goodness! It doesn’t feel like an ordinary wall anymore. From afar, it looks like it could be marble, and when you get up close, it feels oh-so-smooth! I have no idea how paint can achieve such texture, but I guess you have to be a professional painter in order to do this.

I would consider getting this ‘Marble’ paint if I have a gallery of some sort. It looks very classy and atas, while I want my home to be fun, comforting and down-to-earth. So let’s move on…

Dulux Ambiance Velvet Silver Ice

Velvet looks very, very good as well! From afar, I may not even be able to tell the difference between the ‘Marble’ wall and the ‘Velvet’ wall. This particular Silver Ice color feels a bit solemn to me. It reminds me of banks and museums. Not quite my personality and not quite what I’m looking for at the moment.

Then there’s the ‘Metallic’ wall…

Dulux Ambiance Metallic Silver Taupe

If you’re into that Victorian-style home, then this might fit right in, with every corner dripping in opulence! :D You’ll probably feel like a million bucks everyday if you use this paint in your home!

But my absolute favorite has to be the ‘Linen’ wall…

Dulux Ambiance Nadya's Linen Felt Grey

Can you see how the criss-cross brushstrokes make the wall look just like fabric? It feels lovely and has a homely, comfortable vibe! I wouldn’t want to try painting the walls in my new place on my own. The level of skill required is beyond me. But Dulux has Certified Painters whom they have trained and audited, and who can do a good job with the Ambiance paints. So go ahead and give them a call.

Don’t you just LOVE how these different textures would suit different personalities? Don’t even get me started on the whole (wide) range of colors they come in! ‘Linen’ is definitely my cup of tea, but maybe ‘Marble’, ‘Velvet’ or ‘Metallic’ is yours? Let the walls of your home shout out your personality in no uncertain terms! :)

And here’s a bit more information about this range of paints…

~ Dulux Ambiance ~

Dulux Ambiance

I like that Dulux Ambiance All paints make walls resistant to stains, are easily washable, resistant to mould and fungus, and the colors stay vibrant for a long time.

And because the smell of fresh paint makes me nauseous (I can’t stand the smell of popcorn either, and I don’t know why), I’m happy to note that Dulux has this Paint Happy technology of theirs which research by Nielsen in June 2015, conducted with 110 Singaporean adults (aged 20-55 years old), saw 4 in 5 agreeing that there is virtually no paint smell when walls are freshly painted with the Dulux Ambiance range!

Two more reasons to select the Ambiance paint: it’s water-based, and environmentally-preferred paint (It even has the Green Label!)

If you don’t already know this, painting a typical wall with the special effects paints (e.g. Linen) requires 5 different coats. The first coat is a Dulux sealer, followed by 2 coats of Dulux Ambiance All, and finally 2 coats of the Ambiance paint for the Linen finish.

There are just 4 special effects (Linen, Metallic, Marble and Velvet) but you can tint them to achieve numerous other colors. The possibilities are truly endless!

Of course, you don’t have to paint all the walls in your home with the special effects paint. Some of the walls can be painted with just Ambiance All (in the color of your choice). :)


And you can finally say goodbye to wallpaper!

In our part of the world, wallpaper tends to peel and come off. And there might even be issues like misalignment, curling, overlaps, etc. It’s probably not the best idea for personalizing interior spaces within our hot and humid climate. So it’s great that paint can do that for us! :D

If you’re already inspired, and have an idea of the perfect paint texture or color for your home, read on for details about Dulux’s Instagram Contest!

~ Instagram Contest ~

There’s a ‘Dulux Ambiance Contest’ spanning 4 weeks. Three lucky winners will each win a 2D1N staycation.

All you need to do is upload a photo to your (public) Instagram account, include the hashtag #MyAmbiance & #DuluxSG and describe how that photo inspires you to personalize your space! (*T&Cs apply)

I’ve been told that when you take part, you might even get a little surprise from Dulux’s color experts – maybe an awesome tip or two?

And oh… here’s some inspiration from Brand Ambassador, Nadya Hutagalung:

Nadya Hutagalung

Nadya Hutagalung

Nadya Hutagalung

Nadya Hutagalung

Nadya Hutagalung

As for me, I’m in love with this piece of furniture from Space! Spotted it earlier this week:

Space Furniture

It’s that kind of furniture you can’t help taking a second glance at because it’s wayyy too interesting. LOL. I like the cherry-red color. And from the color chart I got from Dulux, it appears to have a close match with Ambiance All in the shade “O’Hara”…

Dulux Ambiance Color Chart

Or I just might match it with Linen Leaf or Teal. The red recliner against a leafy green wall would look really outstanding. :D

If you’d like more inspiration, head over to the Dulux Ambiance Page and download the free coffeetable book now! :D


This post is brought to you by Dulux :D

Dulux Ambiance

328 Katong Laksa: One Of The Best Laksa Stalls in Singapore

328 Katong Laksa

Since I just blogged about the awesome chicken rice stall in Katong Shopping Centre – a hidden gem at the basement foodcourt – I thought I might as well go on and blog about the famous 328 Katong Laksa as well. Let’s see how hungry blogging can make me become! LOL! :D I’ve included the prices of the items we ordered. The total bill came up to S$15.10, just slightly lower than the S$17.80 we paid for a hearty chicken rice meal which came with many free flow extras.

328 Katong Laksa is quite unlike other laksa stalls in Singapore. For one, you do not get chopsticks. Instead, the noodles are cut up into short strands so you can slurp them up easily using the spoon provided. Also, while they used to let patrons scoop the chili paste out of a metal (or was it plastic?) tub previously, they now give you pre-packed sachets of the rather fiery paste. Make sure you have water with you, or a beverage of some sort, because it can get rather spicy. The auntie next to me found herself choking on the spicy gravy. :D I had the lime juice (S$1.80), thankfully.

The otah sold here is pretty good too, though it’s not actually hot. It’s served at around room temperature so it’s not as shiok as those you can order from pasar malams for instance. Nonetheless, it’s tasty. Not sure if these came from an external supplier or if they made these here.

The laksa is something else altogether. The secret is really in the broth. I don’t know what goes into it. It’s probably a well-guarded secret, but I did find some minced meat in my small bowl of laksa. Perhaps minced pork? That would certainly give the broth its sweetness. The regular-sized bowl (S$5) is the most popular, and I think it’s definitely enough for anyone who’s not super hungry. If you’re famished, then go for the large (S$7). The cockles are really small though.

While you’re there, make sure you check out their wall plastered with pictures of the female boss and celebrities. You’ll probably find more than a handful of familiar faces. Hehe.

If you’re curious, 328 Katong Laksa’s business hours are from 10am to 10pm (Mon – Fri) and 9am to 10pm (Sat, Sun & PH).


328 Katong Laksa

51 East Coast Road S(428770)

Tel: 97328163

Nov 2015 Visit: Katong Shopping Centre’s famous Chicken Rice

Best Chicken Rice in Singapore

The last time I visited Katong Shopping Centre just for that particular stall’s famous chicken rice, it was probably some 7 years ago. And I went back this week on a whim, unsure if the stall is still there. I’d figured that since the chicken rice is so delicious, and the business so good, there was no reason why they shouldn’t still be there. :D And I was right! It’s still at the foodcourt at the basement (#B1-85/87) – just take the escalator to B1 and walk in the direction of the foodcourt.

And by no means are they being boastful when they state that they serve ‘Delicious Boneless Chicken Rice’. It’s truly delicious. And here’s a rare photo without a long queue of customers, just before the dinner crowd descended on the foodcourt:

We paid S$16 for half a chicken and it was so yummy. Rice is at S$0.80 per plate. The big bowl of soup and the platter of achar that you see in the first picture above are complimentary (I wanna sing~~~). When I was asked whether I think our dinner was expensive, I said “Not at all”. I think it is most reasonable because we had those awesome extras. The soup was not just water + MSG that is what many other stalls elsewhere tend to serve. What we were given was good soup with meat (pork?) and vegetables inside. Also, there’s free flow achar! And the achar is really yummy!

People who stay in, or near, Katong are so lucky!

Delicious Boneless Chicken Rice

I’d recommend that you head there early for dinner because the foodcourt is really small and seats are limited. In fact, we had to rush through our dinner because people were standing around us, waiting for us to leave so they could take our seats. Not a very pleasant experience, but nothing and nobody is permitted to stand between hungry Singaporeans and good food. :D #ourculture

The next time someone asks me to recommend good chicken rice, I’m gonna point them to Katong Shopping Centre. In my humble, honest opinion, I think it is even better than chicken rice from that famous chain of chicken rice stalls *ahem* – not saying which one. :P

Come to think of it though, I’m not sure if this stall served bean sprouts with their chicken in the past. Can’t quite recall as it’s been a longggg time. Tell me if you know ya? :D

*Update: A reader told me that there are soup refills too as the uncle is very generous! :D Ok, I love them even more now. Please keep the business operating till my next visit… which will be soon! :)

President Obama’s Q&A With Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative

President Obama Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative 2015

[ Screengrab from YouTube – GOP Debate ]

*I took some notes as I watched this video that is 1 hr 35 mins long. You can find it on YouTube titled ‘Obama Doesn’t Dye And Tell – Town Hall – Kuala Lumpur – Young South East Asian Leaders Initiative’. I apologize if names are spelled incorrectly (it’s as I heard them from the video) and I’ve done a bit of paraphrasing while editing for length. :) Feel free to watch the video on YouTube for all the details. *wink*


(1) Elizabeth from Indonesia asked about entrepreneurs and their role in combating climate change. President Obama noted that carbon pollution can be caused by industries during energy production and consumption. So one way they can help combat climate change is to become more efficient and use less energy. Also, there can be transition to clean energy forms (e.g. solar, wind), investment in R&D for new ways to produce energy. In the Philippines, one woman created a lamp that can generate energy (8hrs of light) from 1 cup of seawater or water + salt.

(2) Alphaeus from Malaysia asked the President to speak with the Malaysian PM about democracy and freedom of speech. The reply: Humility is required too as the USA cannot meddle in other countries’ affairs all the time because they make mistakes too. And sometimes, because of the need to work together against climate change, the US has to work with China even if they don’t agree with everything to do with human rights in China.

(3) Cherry from the Philippines asked about agriculture, food production and food wastage. The President said that we need to help farmers become more efficient and increase yield. Also, to ensure they get a fair price, such as by using cellphones to get day-to-day updates on prices. This helps in their planning and helps increase their incomes. Sometimes an entire village can share a tractor like an “Uber for farmers” by having a “timeshare” for that tractor. Then they can do some of the processing and start a cooperative, move up the value chain. Help them not stay as subsistence agriculture farmers but through interaction with the market, and the application of technology, make Farming SEXY. As they stay in their village, they can watch their standard of living improve. So we need to ensure they get seed capital, good terms on loans.

(4) Dom from Cambodia asked about Aging. The President responded by saying that young people are not trapped in the past, and human progress can happen when we look at a problem with fresh, new eyes. As we get older, we get into a habit of seeing the same things. But when we are young, we ask WHY – why does it have to be this way, why must my community be poor, why do we treat women differently than men with regard to going to college and getting an education, etc. The power of young people is in asking WHY. To dream about the way things can be – that’s the job of young people. Then they have to work. Flaw of young people: Impatience. Progress takes time. Sometimes you fail. Never give up. For example, there is Risk if trying to bring about political change in Myanmar – are you willing to make sacrifices? Can you get back up again when it doesn’t work? Have the Persistence to make progress. Have big dreams, and be willing to work for those dreams. It’s not gonna come right away.

(5) Jaslyn from Malaysia asked about challenges in USA and what lessons can be learnt by other countries. The President shared that there is growing inequality in USA. Automation replaces low-skill jobs, and there is more global competition. This results in economic stress and inequality, making politics harder. Those who are powerful can influence politics. People become cynical. Avoid a political system where money overrides ideas. Politicians waste a lot of money on campaigns, which makes them listen more to the rich people. Avoid personal attacks and saying sensational things in the media. Try to focus on issues and debate with people you disagree with without saying they are terrible. Don’t get divided along racial, religious, ethnic lines. Avoid discrimination, e.g. the Rohinga in Myanmar are not treated the same as the rest.

(6) Unnamed person asked about the most influential person in the President’s life. President Obama identified that person as his (late) mother, who had died from cancer. Her parents had humble beginnings but she was spirited, adventurous. She was kind and loving. When in Indonesia, she treated wealthy businessmen and peasant farmers in the same way. Like his mother, the President believes that everybody has worth and a purpose.

(7) Wong from Malaysia asked about Satisfaction and Regret. The President shared that he is most satisfied by what he did with healthcare law. Now some 17 million people have healthcare insurance that they didn’t have before. However, some politicians blocked it in their state so not 100% of the people have health insurance. Secondly, the system of immigration is “broken” now. You don’t really know what an “American” looks like now as it is a country of people who came from everywhere. That was a strength. Now, too many people come but without the right papers, so they don’t get approval. He wants to streamline the system but the other party is resistant. You do what you can. You will never be completely satisfied with what you have done. That’s why we have young people – give them something to do so they won’t be bored. If we have solved every problem, what is left for young people to do?

(8) Aung from Myanmar asked about Leadership: The President’s take is ‘Don’t try to do everything all at once’. Focus. Continually decide which are the things that are most important. Prioritize. Do the strategic things well first. Focus attention on those. Delegate. Surround yourself with smart people. Organize people with different talents and skills, joined with a common vision, give them tools to do what they need to do. Like a basketball team. Each person has a role to play, and they are working together. Managers or leaders who don’t know how to give up control get spread too thin, and the people don’t feel responsibility for the project. Identify talent you have confidence in, give them a sense of your direction, hold them accountable, expect them to tell you (early on) about problems that surface. Empower them. Duplicate yourself. Few great things are done by yourself, unless you are Picasso or Mozart. Great human accomplishments are usually done as a group. Assemble people in a common vision. Be honest in evaluating what works and what doesn’t, and make adjustments. Be open to new information and criticism.

(9) Kuma from Indonesia asked about countries selling artificial dyes to Indonesia. The President agreed that many are now choosing environmentally-friendly and organic products. Companies which produce products made with natural dyes can use that as a selling point to attract a lot of consumers. Countries which sell artificial dyes into Indonesia will likely not stop any time soon but as long as the dyes are not poisonous or hurting people, it’s still ok. He told her to focus on marketing – emphasize that she uses natural dyes, which would be appealing to some. To retain economic competitiveness, countries can learn from Singapore, a small nation that does well by investing in its people. Singapore’s government runs efficiently and is good in planning. If there’s new competition, they re-train people, and help companies transition to a new way of doing business. We have to keep up with the ever-changing economic environment and helping industries adapt is an important role of the governments in today’s economy.

(10) Rizal from Malaysia (half-Filipino) asked about Trade Deals. The President admitted that it would be tough to please everyone. It is important to close the initial deal, and have it subject to (yearly) reviews. If we try to please everyone during the negotiation stage, nothing will get done. Each country has to give up something in order to get a trade deal done, and likely at least one person within the country will not like it. Make sure change is good for most people. President Obama does not believe we can stop change. Putting up barriers to trade won’t help countries grow. Embrace change but ensure everyone benefits, not just a few. Market economies are the best generators of wealth, but need some government intervention to ensure basic protection for workers, fair competition so small companies are not excluded by monopolies.

(11) Dara from Thailand (bisexual) asked about whether LGBT people should be in jail. The President assured her that he thinks people of a different sexual orientation are deserving of respect and dignity just like everyone else. Marriage as a civil institution by the State should be available to all, not just some. Recognize that we are children of God, that we were put here for a reason, and are deserving of kindness and respect. Governments should ensure that we treat all fairly and with respect. Don’t treat people differently. Don’t make yourself more important by putting other people down. Celebrate our differences whether they be different clothes, food, ideas or lifestyles. Something that should be universal: to treat people with respect and dignity.


This took a while to put together and edit (briefly). Hopefully it’s of value to you – feel free to click on the ‘share’ buttons below! :D I love how the President shared at the end that we should not make ourselves (feel) more important by putting others down! I definitely want to keep that in mind at all times, and close to my heart. :)

Deliveroo: DISCOUNT CODE plus Why I Welcome Them To Singapore! :D

Deliveroo Plain Vanilla Cupcakes

Met the fiancé at Raffles Place yesterday and I spotted some people donning kangaroo outfits. I then recalled that I recently received a press release regarding Deliveroo’s distribution of Plain Vanilla cupcakes in the CBD area as part of their launch promotions in Singapore. :) I received the cupcake you see above – it is as delicious as it is cute! :D Read on for my first impression about the brand and get a S$15 discount code too…

So here’s the lovely kangaroo who gave me the freebies :D

Deliveroo Raffles Place

She took great pains to explain (in detail) about their IG contest, the restaurants they work with, etc! Thumbs up! (If only I remember half of what she said) :D

Anyway, the cupcake tastes awesome, so thank you Deliveroo!

First up, I think their giving out of 5000 customized cupcakes from the famous Plain Vanilla Bakery is a pretty generous gesture. Assuming each cupcake costs S$2 (probably more but…) they would have spent S$10,000, not forgetting the manpower and PR costs involved. It’s a sweet treat, no doubt, though if it were up to me, I’d ensure my company label/sticker is on top of the box, instead of Plain Vanilla’s. PV’s could be at the edge to keep the box lid shut. *I’m not sure if PV sponsored those cupcakes, or gave a huge discount, so I’m just thinking along the lines of a business owner or marketing person. Don’t shoot me! :D

I love those kangaroo outfits though – they attracted so much attention. Office workers were walking up to the roos instead of the latter trying to approach them. :D

Some background information: Deliveroo was first launched in London, in 2013, by William Shu and Greg Orlowski. It is a premium food delivery service, which currently has some 140 Singapore restaurants on board. Because they have just launched, they are currently serving only 5 zones now:  Bukit Timah, Tanglin, the Central Business District, Kallang and Katong.

I didn’t know this when I visited their website while preparing this blogpost… and found that Deliveroo doesn’t deliver to my home, nor my fiancé’s home YET. So don’t be disappointed. They’ll probably expand their operations to other areas soon.

I love that they charge only a flat delivery fee of S$3 to your home or office (in those 5 zones I mentioned earlier). THREE DOLLARS?! That’s totally disrupting the market! I think Deliveroo might end up putting some pressure on FoodPanda as I know the latter’s delivery fees have a pretty wide range – from free (with a minimum purchase) to tens of dollars.

Also, Deliveroo aims to help you get your food in an average of 32 minutes! That’s even faster than if I were to cook a meal myself! So I’m definitely waiting for the day they tell me they will deliver to my home. :P

From a business blogger point of view, I am so happy that restaurants will be able to get more customers without the hassle of owning their own fleet of delivery drivers/riders. It’s awesome! The customers benefit, and the restaurants benefit too! :)

You can order from establishments like Cedele, Mad For Garlic, Potato Head Folk, Sushi Burrito, and many more. Head over to and find out more:

Deliveroo Website

[ Deliveroo’s Office is located at 75 Kim Yan Road #01-01, Singapore 239371 ]

And here’s a discount code from the flyers distributed together with the cupcakes: THEKANGACAN

You get S$15 off your first order:

Deliveroo Discount Code

*Register and enter THEKANGACAN at checkout. Valid for 30 days (I received the flyer on 20th Nov 2015). Delivery fee applies. Minimum order of S$25. Full terms on their website. CONTACT only Deliveroo if you have a problem with your order or discount code. I’m only sharing this good deal.

~ Bon Appétit ~

London Weight Management: The Improvements After 3 Years

London Weight Management Ngee Ann City

Back in 2012, I made my first visit to London Weight Management. This time round, I was back for a free treatment session (for bloggers) worth S$500. Because I lost 900g in just one session three years ago, I was happy to revisit the company to check out the improvements they have made over the years, and also… to lose some weight as well. :D

At their Ngee Ann City outlet, I got to meet their consultant, Charmaine. And we went through the same checklist to ensure I’m in good health. I was then given a robe to change into, and the consultant also took pictures of my trouble spots: the tummy, back, thighs, etc.

London Weight Management

What was different this time round is how the company has changed those almost-transparent paper undies (that I detest) to black non-translucent ones. And you’re given a robe to wear most of the time.

Next, I went for a quick rinse in the shower stall, and popped into the steam room with a cold towel to help me breathe better. And right after a sea salt scrub (which came not from a shared tub, but from hygienic individually-packed sachets), I got wrapped up in a hot blanket:

London Weight Management wrap

I’d informed Charmaine that my blood pressure can be quite low sometimes, so she kept the temperature slightly cooler than what other clients receive. Then I was left on my own, with the lights dimmed, and a gentle reminder to not fall asleep (pretty tough when you’re lying down and there’s nothing to do).

Note, though, the button next to me on the wood paneling. It’s for customers to attract the attention of staff via a buzzer. Anytime you feel light-headed, or that the temperature’s too high, that button’s a real lifesaver.

After a quick shower, I got myself weighed again, and I’d already lost 500g.

Then I was hooked up to a machine for the electro-intensive treatment. Electric pulses were delivered to my arms, tummy, and thighs.

London Weight Management toning

The tummy region appeared to be most sensitive and I had to let Charmaine know that I preferred if she could tone it down a little for my tummy.

At the end of the session, measurements were taken again and I was told that I’d lost 500g in weight (that I noted from the weighing machine) and a total of 9.5cm off my arms, tummy, bum and thighs (that Charmaine noted from her quick measurements using a measuring tape). I do wonder if customers may take their own measurements because that would be the most convincing, I think.

I was also shown the itemized receipt which details the treatments I received that day, and how much the total cost is. The company also sent me an SMS right after the session regarding the total amount spent – this is what they send out to all their customers.

London Weight Management’s clients also get a booklet for noting down their food intake. This is important so the consultant can advise if they are on track to reaching their target weight, or if they need to avoid certain foods. I like that customers go back to the same consultant each time – it’s great knowing that someone is tracking your progress and encouraging you along the way.

Also, (only) customers get to purchase the coffee sachets that come with a special formulation by London Weight Management’s experts. It supposedly helps speed up your metabolic rate so you can burn more calories and fat. I’m not a big fan of coffee, though. Their formulation tastes like white coffee to me and I believe coffee drinkers will like it:

Besides the special coffee, there’s also a take-home kit with 4 gels for refining problem areas.

All in all, I’m pleased with the improvements in customer service at London Weight Management.

If you are keen on visiting one of their many outlets to experience the treatments yourself, I have some tips for you:

  1. Make sure you are not menstruating on the day of your visit.
  2. Maybe weigh yourself at home first, before and after you visit the toilet to pee so you’ll know approximately how much “weight” you lose after each toilet visit, and then you can better gauge whether their treatments have helped you tackle your water retention issue (if any).
  3. Ask your female best friend to be present to help take some additional measurements for you, if you’d like to be 100% convinced that you should sign up for a package – just ensure you let your consultant know about this first! :D
  4. Take note that London Weight Management has adopted a consumer-friendly policy of 5 days cooling off period for all purchases of their packages. Kindly inquire with the friendly consultants prior to your purchase.


If you’re interested to try out London Weight Management as well, here’s your chance!

They are offering a free Slimming Trial + Fat Burning Product Kit that’s worth a total of S$368. Simply go to this link and sign up now!

For more information about London Weight Management:
Hotline: 6222 1234

Ngee Ann City Tower B
Tel: 6757 1234

Business Hours: Monday – Saturday, 11am to 9 pm
Sunday, 11am to 8 pm
Public Holidays, 11am to 7pm

Hotline: 6222 1234

Jubilee Square
Tel: 6238 1234
Tel: 6908 1234
Ngee Ann City Tower B
Tel: 6757 1234
Novena Square
Tel: 6565 1234
Paya Lebar Square
Tel: 6262 1234
Tampines One
Tel: 6260 1234
The Clementi Mall
Tel: 6883 1234
Suntec City
Tel: 6363 1234
Woodlands Civic Centre
Tel: 6760 1234
Yew Tee Point
Tel: 6465 1234
Chinatown Point
Tel: 6388 1234

Interview with Mok Ying Ren plus BRAND’S Essence of Chicken GIVEAWAY

Mok Ying Ren

1. You’ve said that “Life is like a marathon” and if you look at how far you’ve already ‘run’, what would you say you are most grateful for, and what are some challenges you’ve overcome and also learnt important lessons from?

I am grateful for all the support I have from my family and friends who have been with me on this journey. When I first announced my 3 year campaign, including one year of no pay leave, to attempt to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics in 2012, I was met with much resistance from some of my peers and colleagues. Many felt that the one year of no pay leave will set me back very much in my medical career which is highly competitive. However, my family and close friends encouraged me to do so and I am grateful for that.

I think one of the key challenges I had to overcome was the social mindset and peer pressure. It is no surprise that in Singapore collegiate sports are at a much lower standard than our secondary school sports scene. This is because of the sudden increase in freedom and social activities. As a student athlete, it was tough to stay focused on the task when not many are beside you with the same goals. This is a challenge that will be faced by every generation of athletes in Singapore until we are able to develop a strong collegiate sports system like in Japan or the USA where there will be more athletes gunning for the same goals.

Another challenge that I have been forced to face are injuries. Unlike other goals such as academics and career, there is almost no risk in studying harder or working harder. Even though working too hard may not be good for your mental health, one will not get a brain injury from studying too hard.This is in contrast to sports where sometimes training more or training harder does not give you guaranteed success as the irony is that one may get injured from training too hard. I have been rather unfortunate to be sidelined for almost a year in June 2014 to June 2015 due to a shin injury. That was a huge blow to my preparations.

2. What is a typical day in your life like right now, as you are training to qualify for the Rio Olympics in 2016?

Currently I am training in Boulder, Colorado with the Boulder Track Club. My coach is Lee Troop, a three-time olympian in the Marathon event for Australia. I usually wake up at about 6:20am and have my breakfast. After about an hour, I will have my first training session which usually lasts for about 2 hours.

Thereafter, I will spend some time studying as I am also doing a distance learning course (Masters in Sports Medicine) with the University of Queensland, Australia. I will then cook my own lunch at about 11:30 which consists of a huge bowl of salad, rice and eggs. I will then take an hour nap after my lunch. At about 3pm, I will head out for my second training session which lasts about 90minutes.

In the evening, I will have dinner with my house mates. Then more studying or reading and preparation to sleep! The cycle repeats on a daily basis. A lot of time is spent preparing for each training session which consists of getting sufficient sleep and good nutrition.

3. What, to you, is “good goal-setting”?

A good goal is a goal that is achievable but challenging at the same time. One needs to do a thorough evaluation on where he is and the resources available around him to help him achieve the goal. For example, in 2012, I wanted to aim to qualify for the Olympics in 2016 for the marathon event. I then had a best time of 2hr 26min and to qualify for the Olympics, I would need to run 2hr 17min. To shave off 9 minutes is challenging but not unheard off. I have read of runners who had improved that much in a few years and I was positive that I could do it.

I had confidence in my motivation to run when I was working (I was working as a house officer then and will need to also serve my national service in 2013-2015). It was something that could be achieved if all the stars are aligned but as I mentioned, you also need to take into account the nature of your profession and whether simply working hard can lead you to your goals.

4. You recently injured your eye, and what surprises me is that you went for a 40-minute run instead of heading straight to a doctor or hospital first. What made you do that? 

Indeed, on hindsight, I think it was a silly thing to do. However, I think this is not uncommon among competitive athletes like myself who can be stubborn at times. We are known to train through pain and discomfort and perhaps we are very positive as well that nothing very bad can happen! Instead what was on my mind was to get the last run for the week in and hope that perhaps the blurriness in my vision may go away after a relaxing run. I will not encourage anyone to do what I did.

5. Did thoughts/fears of not being able to see after that accident cross your mind? What would be the ‘worst case scenario’ for you, and what do you think would be your response to that?

Yes. During that short run right after the accident, I thought of my career. I had been selected to begin training in Orthopaedic Surgery in July 2016. I was sure that being blinded in one eye, which is the worse case scenario, I would not be able to perform surgery as depth perception would be very much affected. But I thought to myself that I could perhaps still do Sports Medicine as a specialty which does not involve surgery and still survive. Perhaps it was natural for me to try to think positive but at the same time prepare for the worst. And I told myself losing vision in one eye is not as bad as being totally blind!

6. You are a pretty rare example of a local sporting talent who is strongly supported by various sponsors, and you even appear in commercials too. What are the reasons for your success in this aspect, and have you thought about ‘giving back’ to the local sporting scene in future? 

I think the key to garnering sponsorships is to give back to the local sporting scene on a regular basis from the get go, which I am already involved in. I do pro bono running clinics with running events, schools and the community and I strongly advocate sports and exercise to keep one healthy.

I relate well with student athletes and have given multiple talks at junior colleges on key aspects of juggling sports and studies. With some of my friends, I have also set up the Run to Walk movement which is to encourage people to invest in their health through running and we have a free weekly 4.8km run at Bedok Reservoir.

Due to my ability to connect with the community, sponsors then want to come into the picture to support my dreams and not the other way round. My next goal is to pursue my dreams in specialising in Sports Surgery which will take me another 8-10 years. Thereafter, I would be excited to serve the local sports community in a different way.


Mok Ying Ren is a marathoner, doctor and an ambassador of BRAND’S Essence of Chicken. He is a two-time SEA games gold medalist in the triathlon and marathon events and is currently taking time off as an orthopaedic surgery resident to pursue his Olympic dream in the marathon event.


BRANDS giveaway

BRAND’S would like to reward three of my blog readers with a week’s worth of GET SET 4 LIFE BRAND’S Essence Of Chicken (7 bottles) EACH! :D To participate, head over to my facebook page for the giveaway :)