About Grace Tan

Grace owns the award-winning business and lifestyle blog, WorkingWithGrace.wordpress.com. She is also the author of the best-selling book 'Blogging For A Living'.

SG Lit Prize Winner: ‘The Sound Of Sch: A Mental Breakdown, A Life Journey’ by Danielle Lim

The Sound Of Sch by Danielle Lim

The Singapore Literature Prize handed out 22 awards recently, and a co-winner of the English Non-Fiction Prize is Danielle Lim. I borrowed her book from the library, and I found it really deserving of the award. ‘The Sound of Sch’ is the true story of Danielle’s uncle Seng, who suffered from schizophrenia, and how her mother, Chu, became caregiver to both Seng and their mother.

Danielle has both an M.A. and B.A. from Oxford yet she writes in such a way that ordinary folk like myself can appreciate her recollections – Singapore between 1961 and 1994, the Singlish, the dialects spoken, the irrational fear people have towards those they deem mentally ill (‘siao’).

This 165-page book is indeed one of those rare literary gems that may be fully devoured in one sitting. I was close to tears reading about how the Ah Ma (the author’s maternal grandmother) tried to kill herself twice, succeeding on the second attempt. What would prompt an old lady to drink detergent?! Is it the daily agony of severe rheumatoid arthritis? Is it the guilt of delaying her son’s medical treatment at Woodbridge Hospital (now IMH), preferring to go to bomohs based on other people’s ill advice? Is it seeing her son daily and feeling this inextinguishable anguish at how this former top student could have had a bright future (career, wife, family) but ended up as a sweeper at the Police Academy? What (literally) pushed her over the edge when she threw herself out of the flat? If her main concern was about who would take care of her mentally ill son when she’s gone, and who would remind him to take his medication daily, why would she kill herself?

This book deals with so many interesting themes, but I’m not sure I’ll want to read it again because there’s so much pain within those pages…

  1. Love and loss: Seng’s would-be wife left him for his friend. I wonder if this was the trigger for his mental ailments. But can we blame this woman for what she did – choosing who she wanted to be with?
  2. Guilt: A mother’s guilt for not giving her son the treatment that might have ‘saved’ him from this terrible illness, and possibly guilt too at burdening her daughter with the need to care for Seng. Also, there’s the author’s own guilt for not spending a bit more time (and a few more loving words) with Ah Ma before heading off to school, which may or may not have changed Ah Ma’s mind about committing suicide.
  3. Desire to escape: The author’s mother ‘left home’ for a few hours but we’ll never know exactly why she did that, where she went, what she did. But it’s clear her love for her family keeps her going, and she says she came back so she can tie her daughter’s hair before school the next day.
  4. Meaning of life: What’s the meaning of life for someone like Seng? Someone who supposedly had a bright future, someone who excelled in school, someone whose classmates came to for advice… who became the one whom people forgot about, who was relegated to being a sweeper, whom people shunned because they think he might be crazy and violent.

It is clear, to me, that this book has helped achieve the author’s aims. I do agree with her now that not all mentally ill patients are violent, and we don’t necessarily have to be afraid of them. I do constantly bump into one weird guy at Hougang Mall. He has a small build, it’s hard to tell how old he is (but he’s probably above 40) and he talks to himself a lot. People generally let him be as he doesn’t cause any trouble. Though sometimes I wonder why he’s carrying so many NTUC FairPrice plastic bags with seemingly empty detergent bottles in them. I do give him a wide berth each time I see him. I know not why. Maybe he’ll hit me with an empty bottle? Hmm.

Perhaps he’s just like Seng. Perhaps something bad happened in his life, just like something bad will happen in all of our lives. But perhaps something changed for him after that. And there’s no real need to be afraid of him. He’s likely someone’s son / brother / uncle who’s just out for a walk. And if our society is to be truly accepting of all peoples, then let’s start at home with the sons and daughters of Singapore.

Blogging Workshops / WordPress Coaching: What My Former Students Say :D

Blogging Workshops Singapore - Students

[ My students featured on the TEDx stage and on radio ]

I’ve received a number of testimonials from former students so I felt this post would be necessary, and a good way to reflect on my blogging journey thus far. When I started blogging in October 2010, there were no books about blogging in the local, Singaporean context, and there were no blogging workshops I could sign up for. Thereafter, I wrote my book ‘Blogging For A Living’ in 2013, and I’ve been sharing the joy of Blogging with students since. And when I say “students”, most of the time I’m referring to working adults, usually older than me. In this particular blogpost, you’ll read the testimonials from my students who come from different occupations: housewife, art teacher, engineer, business owner, etc!

This particular one is an unsolicited email from my student, Alvin:

Blogging Workshop testimonial from Alvin

Sometimes, apart from going into the technical bits of blogging, I do also offer suggestions like a life coach would. If I think a particular book is really awesome for helping someone through a particular phase of life, I give him/her that book. Alvin, like many of my other students, are worried about issues like job security, retrenchments, and what other careers they can pursue. I gave him a book I thought would be most useful.:)

I do believe that as much as 90% of the things we want to learn can be found in books already. This is why reading is such an important hobby to cultivate in young children! Besides recommending great books, I do also share tips with my students, such as how I blog while on holiday (and without mobile data). If you’re keen to know, I simply use my phone to snap pictures, and I use the WordPress app on my phone to craft a post and add notes each time I purchase something, savor something yummy or have a traveler tip to share. And throughout the day, I usually won’t have any Internet access. When I’m back in the hotel or hostel, and get connected to wifi, then I hit on ‘Publish’ and the post is uploaded to my blog.:) Doing this is crucial because we tend to forget what’s located where, and how much something cost, when we get back to Singapore. And then when you want to upload a post about your awesome holiday in Korea or Taiwan, you feel upset that you cannot remember how to get to that amazing food outlet, or how much the airport bus cost. And that blogpost may not materialize because of that drop in motivation thereafter.

Also, you won’t want to give yourself ‘homework’ after your holiday, would you? Instead of posting about that holiday MONTHS after you got back, why not just hit ‘publish’ while you’re still overseas. After all, you and I both know that a deluge of emails (and work) awaits you when you return, ya?😉

This next testimonial is from Christine:

Blogging Workshop testimonial from Christine

Sometimes, people have been blogging for years and yet very few people read their blogs. It could be due to something as simple as the titles. If you are savvy enough to use the right titles for your blogposts, you can get way more traffic than you are getting now. And this is especially crucial if you’re writing a post about your travels. And I do love encouraging people like Christine, who have a heart for sharing, to press on and reach a wider audience. Just a few, simple tweaks will do. Nothing major. And you don’t have to sit through an entire course.

This one’s from Mae-lee:

Blogging Workshop testimonial from Mae-lee

If you’re starting a website or a blog for the very first time, it can get extremely confusing, and in some cases, frustrating too. What’s a widget? Do I need a Jetpack? What’s the difference between a ‘widget’ and a ‘plug-in’? Why do I have to pay so much money for a theme?

*Fauzi’s one of my ex-students too. And I had him teach Mae-lee together with me. And yes, he got paid. What he actually told me via email was this: “Wah that would be the first time somebody pays me for my knowledge.. other than my job. Thanks for the opportunity”. Indeed, I love helping my students see a world of opportunity. Not too long after this session, Fauzi got himself featured on radio – 938LIVE – just like I have in the past. I think it is so cool that an employee can have a hobby outside of work and get himself featured on radio because of that hobby. I may have done it before, but I feel even more pride and satisfaction when my students get to experience this themselves. And I didn’t even have to arrange the session for him. He secured it on his own. This is in line with my teaching goals: to inspire leaders, and not to gain followers. And if my students end up “outshining” me and doing even better than I could have imagined, AWESOME! It makes me so happy!

Once in a while, I have people emailing me about workshop pricing and saying it’s out of their budget (it’s all less than 400 bucks, by the way), so I’ll tell them they can simply get a copy of my book at S$22 or better still, borrow a copy from the library for free. The book offers you a “snapshot” (so to speak) of a particular period of time in my blogging journey, back in 2013. But if you were to meet me in person now, you get to learn about all 6 years of my journey and the lessons I’ve distilled from these years. I do not actually think my classes are expensive. I’d say the fees are too low. Because that’s what most bloggers earn for doing just one advertorial (of course, there are bloggers who earn 5-figure sums for their advertorials #justsaying). There are other students like Victoria, who consider their “money very well spent”…

Blogging Workshop testimonial from Mae-lee

 Victoria had wanted to attempt blogging (and make it work) on her own. After reading many books, even mine, she finally decided that it’s best to just meet up with me. I’m very proud of the book I wrote, and so far all the feedback has been 100% awesome. But where the book falls short is that it cannot evaluate YOUR blog and tell you what YOU are doing incorrectly. You need an actual human to tell you. In this case, Victoria picked me. And she’s also a student I am very proud of. Not too long after our coaching session, she got featured on radio, and she also became a TEDx speaker, sharing the stage with her teenage daughter who helps out in her planting and blogging adventures.

I don’t spoonfeed, I don’t handhold but I definitely help provide that fertile ground for my students to become more confident about themselves and what they are doing so they can go on to have adventures that they never dreamed was possible beforehand.:) And I haven’t even spoken on a TEDx stage before!😀😀😀

I do have a heart for young people, and their struggles, so when J (*name withheld to protect my young student’s privacy) emailed me, I offered her a special discount. Her (unedited) testimonial after the session:

I contacted Grace after finding her blog online and realised she was providing coaching lessons. I was at the time quite lost with my blog and the direction it was headed. I couldn’t quite seem to figure out SEO and how to get my blog noticed. As I’m still a student and couldn’t afford the normal workshop fee, she kindly offered a personal 1-1 1hr coaching session at a student discount.

When I met her she was really warm and friendly. She helped me to conceptualise my blog scheme and how I should progress from here on. On the technical end, she also gave me great tips to help my SEO and organise my blog better. Really looking forward to the growth of my blog from here on and am thankful I have someone I can look for for help in this area:)

I think that to be able to teach is truly a privilege. Of course, it doesn’t mean I would teach for free (unless it’s for charity, which I’ve done before). But I love being able to see people grow, blossom and take flight. I guess it’s like parenting without actually having to give birth to a baby!😀

~

Find out more about my blogging workshops here. Feel free to drop me an email and tell me more about your blog and/or blogging objectives before you sign up too.:)

*Main Image for this post is courtesy of SGStrawberries and Fauzi

That L’Oreal Paris Ad Featuring Hot Mommy Blogger Tammy Tay

If you’ve yet to watch the ad featuring hot mommy blogger, Tammy Tay, click on the video embedded above!:) It’s definitely an attention-grabbing ad especially when she says “I felt like giving up my life”. Why would a really pretty, very hot mommy blogger who’s probably inundated with ad requests every month, and who runs a popular online clothing store, ever feel like giving up her life?

L’Oreal Paris’ second wave of ads involves Pan Ling Ling. Once again, it’s touching, and probably tear-jerking too. But this one with Tammy Tay will likely resonate with many young people. Though it’s a rather concise ad, nothing long-winded, she touches on a number of points…

#1: Self-esteem issues and that “constant need to be well-liked, to be accepted and to stand out”

I think this is something everyone encounters at some point. And then we might realize that there are other things which are more important to us. For instance, the love from family and friends is more important to me than fame and fortune. So many people are famous, rich, surrounded by fans who adore/respect/stalk them, but they go through divorces, depression and some even kill themselves. So is there a real need to be well-liked by all, accepted by the “cool” folks and to stand out so you don’t feel left out? What if you already have all you need to be happy?

#2: Nice comments = affirmation = feel good. Mean comments = defeated = feel everyone is against me

I guess everyone with some kind of online presence will encounter negative comments at some point, whether you are a blogger, youtuber or instagrammer (or what have you). But I guess what people say about you is not a description of who you are, but a reflection of who they really are. If their hearts aren’t pure, there’s nothing nice that they can say about you. In which case, you have to pay no attention to what they say or think of you. Because what they think of you is really… none of your business.:) Often, what people dare to say about you online, they don’t have the balls to say to your face in person.

#3: Stay true to yourself

Tammy is a single mom who caused quite a stir online when she first revealed that she was pregnant (with her first child) and that she was going to have the baby but not marry the baby’s father just yet as they hadn’t known each other for a long time and she wasn’t sure if he’s the right life partner for her.

I think she’s super courageous, and I do support her decision. Other people might think that the child should not be brought up without a father figure but wouldn’t it be worse if the man is pressured into marrying her but they eventually split up? It is never easy for children whose parents get divorced, especially when the split happened while the children are still young. If they are already adults, then it’s not as traumatic, I guess. But I’ve yet to meet an adult who’s well-adjusted after his/her parents split ways while they were still young.

And now, Tammy has a second child too. I feel very happy for her. I know that regardless of whether she has a husband or not, she’ll be a good mother to her children. After all, how many female bloggers would give up their blogging career just to protect their family from the mean people online?

#4: Positivity begets positivity and good things will come your way

I like that this ad comes with an inspiring message, kinda like Dove ads in the past.:) If you can choose to be anything you want today, choose to be happy.😉

Why You Should Allow Your Man To Play Mahjong

Benefits of playing mahjong

If it’s Friday night and you’re home alone (or perhaps, with the kids) and your boyfriend or hubby is out playing mahjong with his pals, I feel you. We had dinner together and before he left, he asked me (for what was perhaps the millionth time) whether I was REALLY ok with him going for a mahjong session with his pals. They jio-ed him yesterday. But yes, I’m fine with it. Go… with all my blessings. As he’d said, 6 years ago, I might not have been so happy about being “abandoned” on a Friday evening for a stupid mentally-stimulating game of mahjong. And I do know of wives who are quite pissed at their husbands for loving mahjong so much.

However, woman to woman, here’s why you should allow your man to go for that occasional mahjong session:

#1: It Makes Him Happy

Just as you’d want your own “me” time for a spa, facial, bubble bath, whatever, he needs his own “me” time as well. And besides, everyone’s out on Friday evening. So why add to the crowd? Unless you really need him to be around such as if you have a new piece of DIY furniture to assemble, or if a child is ill at home, let the man go have some good, clean fun. Yes, he might lose some money at mahjong (it’s both about strategy and luck) but most things in Singapore cost money anyway. If it makes him happy, why not? (*Only for the occasional game. If your man has a serious gambling habit, then call the National Council for Problem Gambling at 6354 8154, ok?)

#2: He’ll Tell His Mahjong Kakis What He Won’t Tell You

At some point during an all-nighter game of mahjong, he is bound to share some ‘secrets’ with his pals, maybe due to fatigue or they’ve run out of topics for small talk after so many hours. Perhaps he made a HUGE loss in the stock market or some lady at his office has been hitting on him. He won’t necessarily tell you these things, but he might tell his mahjong kakis and if they aren’t tight-lipped, their wives and girlfriends/boyfriends will know too. If you’re friends with them, you’ll probably find out what he’s hiding from you.

#3: There ARE Benefits From Playing Mahjong

Firstly, a lot of focus is required – if you’re not careful, you could end up losing a lot of money. Conversely, if you’re good at the game, you’ll win a lot of money too. Also, it keeps your mind really active – figuring out who’s waiting for which tile, which combinations of your existing tiles can help you win, and which tile to discard to foil someone else’s attempt at winning the game. I think mahjong also trains players to ‘read’ the body language of others – who’s getting frustrated, who’s trying to suppress excitement at having a really good set of tiles, who’s faking confidence despite getting really ‘lousy’ tiles? If your man is the kind who doesn’t notice a thing when you come home really excited after getting a new hairdo / hair color / you’ve shaved your head bald (I’m kidding), then he obviously needs some training.

#4: He’s Finally Out Of The Way

Perhaps there are things you find difficult to do when he’s around. Say, you want everyone out of the house so you can clean the house. Then, great. Send him off to the babysitters *ahem* I mean the mahjong kakis. Or maybe you want to go paint the town red with your girlfriends, then great, have fun separately for one evening. Or perhaps, you just want some peace and quiet so you can finally catch up with some reading, without anyone wanting to share with you about how his day went, grumbling about how the stock exchange was shut much of yesterday or which CEO has to apologize for whatever lapse, then mahjong actually sounds like a good idea. Go!😀

~

So, as you can see, you can take the sting out of what used to really piss you off. All it takes is a little reframing. For instance, “flooding” can be thought of as “ponding” (which is kind of cute; like maybe we can rear some koi in the “ponds”). Our government is really good at reframing; perhaps you can list many more examples.😉 And then you’ll happily send him off for mahjong too.

Now… a good book awaits.:)

$1 Sushi Day at umisushi: Got mine at Waterway Point :D

Umisushi waterway point

I FINALLY got my hands on the S$1 special promotion sushi at umisushi – “umiday” happens every Thursday, from now till 4 Aug. I popped by Waterway Point early today to get some fresh sushi. Each pack of 2 pieces of sushi costs just S$1, and I got 6 of them. More than enough to share with my sister.

I think what really surprised me about the S$1 sushi is the quality of the rice – it’s tasty, soft and fresh. It’s not hard and dry like at some other sushi takeout places. I like the unagi, tuna and salmon roe sushi. I did not buy any of the tamago or crabstick ones as I don’t like them.

Interestingly, the sushi here doesn’t have a consistent size. In a pack of two, it’s really evident that one piece of sushi might be 10 – 20% bigger than the other. I suppose they make the sushi by hand. I know of some sushi places in which machines help get the rice into a standard shape and size, and employees simply add the ingredients on top. But for S$1, I’m really not complaining!😀

umiday is on 14, 21, 28 July and 4 Aug, so mark your calendars and make your way down to one of the outlets islandwide. umisushi has some 22 outlets in Singapore, but this promotion is not valid at Victory 8 (which I’ve just found out is in Sembawang). You can find the outlet nearest to your home or office using their outlet locator here: http://www.umisushi.com.sg/locate-us.html

*umisushi also serves bentos, udon, sashimi and salads – all of which I’ve yet to try.😀

Which Chicken Essence Tastes The Best: BRAND’s, New Moon or Eu Yan Sang?

Chicken Essence Singapore

Chicken essence is something I’ve been drinking since my schooldays (many moons ago). Besides helping students stay awake during those crucial exam revision periods, chicken essence has all along been a great gift for those who are ill, have just undergone an operation, are pregnant, or who are our elders (and we don’t know what would be a good gift for them). But have you ever wondered what is in your bottle of chicken essence? How come it keeps you awake? How does it keep you alert? Are those halal chickens? How is chicken essence extracted? And which brand of chicken essence is the best?

Well, I decided to get all my questions answered once and for all, with some research done online and with a taste test done.

What Is In That Bottle Of Chicken Essence? How Was It Manufactured?

Chicken Essence Benefits

BRAND’S chicken essence contains 99.68% essence of chicken and 0.32% caramel. New Moon’s chicken essence has the same composition, in the exact same amounts. As for Eu Yan Sang, the company claims to use only 100% essence of chicken, with no caramel added. What is caramel? Caramel is found in candy, ice cream and other desserts and sweets, and it is formed when sugar or syrup is heated till it turns brown. It adds flavor and color to food and drink. I do suspect that caramel might be the reason why chicken essence keeps me awake when I’m studying for oh-so-boring History exams *yawn*. If the essence of chicken (on its own) can keep me focused and more alert, then wouldn’t drinking chicken soup have the same effect? (However, the caramel is added in such small quantities that my theory might be wrong :P)

On Eu Yan Sang’s website, however, it is stated that “Chicken essence contains high levels of glutamate. Physical fatigue may be due to accumulation of ammonia, after intense exercise. Glutamate plays an important role in modulating the ammonia detoxification to urea, relieving physical fatigue.”

How are these bottles of chicken essence manufactured?

New Moon uses the double-boiling technique. BRAND’S uses a rather complicated process – you can check out the link below. Whichever process they use, fat and cholesterol is removed so this is probably the biggest difference between drinking chicken soup and chicken essence. Also, all 3 brands sell halal-certified chicken essence.

~ The Taste Test ~

Since I’ve been drinking BRAND’S essence of chicken for a long time, and I am quite used to its taste, I thought I’d like it most. However after the taste test that my love and I did, we had different favorites.

Eu Yan Sang’s chicken essence was his favorite while my vote went to New Moon’s.

His explanation for his choice was that Eu Yan Sang’s chicken essence tasted like real chicken goodness. However, I thought it tasted almost bland, but had a very strong smell that I cannot describe as being pleasant.

As for New Moon’s, I didn’t detect as strong a smell and I really liked the taste. He thought it was really ‘concentrated’.

He said BRAND’S is a 老字号 (established brand name) and he had high hopes for the taste test, however he described BRAND’S chicken essence as being “powdery”. I cannot explain how he came to that conclusion as I didn’t detect any powdery substance. I did think that the other two brands of chicken essence tasted a little better during this taste test.

It’s clear that taste is indeed subjective. So, to find your favorite brand of chicken essence, I’d suggest you try one bottle from each brand and determine which is your preferred choice!:)

~

For more information, you can head on over to these webpages:

http://www.brandsworld.com.sg/Research-Technology/Manufacturing/EOC-Manufacturing-Process

http://www.euyansang.com.sg/essence-of-chicken-888842543102.html

http://www.newmoon.com.sg/product.asp?id=43&mID=10&sID=

~

Other comparisons I’ve done:

Review of 4 slimming centres – which treatment was most effective?

Bak kwa brands – which has the most tasty bak kwa?

~

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Most Hilarious Responses to Lottery and DHL Scammers

Singapore DHL Scam

There are now so many scams in Singapore that we can probably call our country “Scammed City”. Hot on the heels of the DHL scam is the SP Services Scam. And I guess we are absolutely helpless when it comes to these scams; call police also no use ah! If nabbing a bank robber (who’s physically in Singapore) already takes a while, then it’ll be next to impossible to catch a scammer who is likely overseas. While some Singaporeans have fallen prey to these horrible scammers, others have come up with interesting ways to “con” those scammers too. Here are some of the hilarious responses I’ve read about online. Take that, you Lottery and DHL Scammers!😀

*This first one’s not from Singapore*

Lottery Scammer: We will wire you the 50,000 pounds you’ve won. We need your bank account details. What is the name of your bank?
Lady: Ok sure. The name of my bank is PIGGY BANK. The account number is 5432…

Piggy Bank Lottery Scammer

*And for our favorite scammers from “DHL”*

DHL Scammer: You need to go immediately to…
Lady: But I’m in the middle of killing someone. Can this wait?
DHL Scammer: We need you to transfer…
Lady: Ok can. But I need to kill this person first!

DHL Scammer: What’s your full name?
Guy: (*comes up with a fake Chinese name)
DHL Scammer: How do you spell that?
Guy: Erm… *sound of crickets* (Singaporeans are really quite bad at Chinese spelling)
DHL Scammer: It’s ok, I got it. There’s a package here with your name on it.

DHL Scammer: You have a package…
Guy: Wo Bu Zhi Dao (meaning ‘I don’t know’)
DHL Scammer: blah blah blah…
Guy: Wo Ai Ni (meaning ‘I love you’)
DHL Scammer hangs up.

~

There’s really no point calling the police with regard to these scams, especially if you did not lose any money to these scammers. Let the police first try to find the robber who brazenly walked into a bank, revealed no weapon, but managed to walk out with S$30,000. If banks can be robbed so easily, I think we’re all just sitting ducks for more scams coming our way. If cyber security is enhanced when civil servants get no internet access, then perhaps we will be safe from scams if we just keep our phones on silent mode the whole day. Woohoo!~

BreadTalk Changes Its Promotions Within A Day After Initial Feedback

BreadTalk Singapore

In the picture above, you see the voucher booklet that BreadTalk is selling at S$16 as part of its 16th Anniversary celebrations! Launched on Monday (4th July), there are vouchers you can use to redeem for free buns for each day of the week. On Monday, I used one coupon to redeem a free Fire Flosss bun from BreadTalk, and looked forward to returning on Tuesday to redeem a Pillow Raisin bun. On Tuesday, however, staff told me that I could redeem more than one bun a day, as the terms and conditions of the promotion had been changed!

Now:

  1. Instead of redeeming the bun stated on each voucher, customers can choose any bun within the store that costs under S$2.
  2. Instead of redeeming just 1 bun a day, you can redeem as many as you want to, depending on the number of vouchers you have.

What I noticed on Tuesday was that almost every customer in the queue was easily convinced to get one of these booklets because it’s great value for money. You can purchase it and use the vouchers immediately! As long as the bun you have picked is under S$2, you can redeem it using one coupon. Each booklet has 14 free bun vouchers, which you can use anytime from now till 31 August 2016.

Other vouchers / promotions include:

  1. 6 FLOSSS buns for S$8
  2. 6 Steam Cakes for S$6
  3. S$10 off minimum S$20 spending in a single receipt
  4. 16% off regular or classic cakes
  5. Buy 1 Get 1 Free Hokkaido Roll
  6. Free Golden Lava Croissant when you buy 2
  7. Free Yeo’s 100% Natural Coconut Water when you purchase any 2 FLOSSS buns
  8. Free Yeo’s Soy Bean Milk / Sjora when you purchase any 2 buns

I was impressed at how quickly BreadTalk changed its promotions’ terms and conditions based on customer feedback. For one, I don’t really like sausage buns and out of the 14 free bun vouchers, 4 were for sausage buns. Now, instead of redeeming sausage buns, I can use those 4 vouchers to redeem my favorite buns – Fire Flosss and Pillow Raisin.😀

Go get your voucher booklet now!~

Only One Stall @ Waterway Point’s Foodcourt With A Queue!

Punggol Waterway Point foodcourt

On a whim, I decided to have breakfast at Waterway Point‘s foodcourt this morning. Little did I know that it was a great way to find out which stall’s the most popular. Around 10am or so, when everyone who needs to be at work is already at work, people who can have a leisurely breakfast are those who are in absolutely no hurry to go anywhere, and who have the time for a good breakfast. They are also the people who know which stall serves the best food. When I pop by the foodcourt at dinnertime, for instance, everyone just wants to grab a quick dinner and head home, and some are in a hurry to get takeaways for hungry family members waiting for their food at home, so any stall will do.

This morning, I realized that no one stall constantly had a queue, except for one called “Lam’s Signature”. It serves a couple of noodle dishes. Their signature item is one noodle dish that comes with some (small) abalone on a satay stick.😀 I selected the one with watercress soup instead, and no abalone. It cost S$6.

I tucked into the noodles first. It was pretty simple: just noodles, some minced meat, chopped spring onions, and one medium-sized piece of fried lard. However, the noodles tasted so sour! I don’t know how much vinegar went into the dish, but strangely enough, it tasted really good!

The handmade fishballs and meatballs tasted really fresh and springy – delightful! Likewise, the watercress was fresh and also such a lovely addition to the meal. As for the soup, it did not overwhelm with MSG like so many other soups found in foodcourts. So I drank half of it, I think.

All in all, it was a really satisfying meal. If you’re at Waterway Point, and you don’t want to dine at one of the many restaurants in the mall, preferring the more affordable prices at the Koufu Foodcourt, try the food at this stall.:) The foodcourt is located next to Times Bookstore, in case you were wondering.

Why Singaporeans Go To Work When They’re Sick

Go to work when ill

I try to avoid taking trains during peak hours as it’s near impossible to escape when another passenger near me sneezes or coughs. Trapped in that impossibly small space, one either risks inhaling the airborne viruses or hold one’s breath till the next station and flee from the train. Singapore does not have a culture of being civic-minded, unlike countries like Taiwan and Japan, where people wear face masks whenever they are ill. In fact, if you cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, you are already very “polite”/”cultured”. So many people sneeze, cough and clear their throat with zero consideration for the people around them. But have you ever wondered why Singaporeans go to work even when they are ill?

#1: Too Much Work To Do / The Company Cannot Do Without Me

Some people are genuinely good-natured and do not want to trouble others to cover their duties for them. In other words, paiseh lah. Perhaps it’s a special project that the team has been working on for the past few months and today’s D-Day and everything has to go smoothly? Perhaps, too, you may not want others claiming the credit for the project’s success (during your absence)?

#2: For A ‘Wayang’ Show For The Boss

During my JC days, there was a tutor who “taught” us many things such as how to “act busy”. The tutor also taught us how to make our (future) bosses impressed by our work ethic and dedication to the job. One day, he was down with the flu but still came to teach, and when he had to leave for an urgent meeting with the Principal, he brought along AN ENTIRE BOX of tissues even though there was probably no real need for the whole box. But for dramatic effect, it worked. I heard he got multiple promotions later down the road.

#3: To Score That ‘No Sick Leave’ Bonus

Some companies offer staff a bonus if they go an entire month without taking sick leave. On one hand, it provides employees with an incentive to stay fit and healthy, and for the company’s operations to run smoothly as people do not go on medical leave for any little ailment. On the flipside, it means that employees who are ill may still come to work if their condition is not so severe that they cannot get out of bed. What this also means is that if they have a contagious virus (such as the flu virus), they’ll likely end up sharing the love within the office. If you have a performance appraisal coming up, you’ll also not want to have your superior take special notice of your absence due to sick leave either.

#4: Because Your Boss Is A Slave Driver

Someone told me that his slave driver manager once told the office that “If you are fit enough to walk to the GP to get an MC, you can come to work”. Good luck to that manager when he eventually falls ill. It means he’s probably in hospital if he isn’t in the office.

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Ever wondered why Singaporeans don’t wear masks when they are ill?

Excuse #1: It’s not comfortable.

Excuse #2: Worry about being ostracized. *I once wore a mask while on a train and a lady was about to take the seat next to mine – her butt was already hovering over the seat – when she noticed my mask, and hurriedly walked away. I’m not complaining. I love the extra space😀

Excuse #3: “Trapped germs not dispelled from body” – easily the weirdest excuse I’ve heard thus far. But I guess it’s also why some people don’t cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze; they don’t want the “germs” on their hands.

Whatever your excuse may be, do note that for the sake of the people around you, you really should put on a mask and practise proper hygiene and be considerate. If you’re ill, stay home. You’ll recover faster with adequate rest too!😛