SG50: What Does It Have To Do With Me (FLY Social Exchange)

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I received an invite from FLY Entertainment to attend this panel discussion held yesterday evening. Knowing Irene Ang is involved in this, I suspected that it would not disappoint. And I was right. It was an evening of fun and laughter.

Irene helped kick off the discussion by asking the panelists what SG50 meant to them.

Patricia Mok: Celebrating how Singapore has been independent for 50 years. It is now more expensive to stay here but still very safe.

Daniel Ang: A lot of heritage food is gone. Some hawker stalls are gone due to higher rentals, no successor to hand the business down to, etc. You will also get fewer likes if you Instagram char kway teow instead of waffles. :D

Kelvin Ang: When bringing kids to the playgrounds, one can’t help but lament the loss of those sand-filled playgrounds from the past. Now we have mainly those pre-fab and plastic ones.

Hayley Woo: Offers a platform for more work. But also celebrating our freedom / independence.

Tosh Zhang: Progress.

Pat Law: There is no one democracy that survives a hundred years. Cause for celebration?

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Qn 2: How can you make a difference for the next 50 years?

Pat Law: We jump the gun a lot to rant and complain. Instead of complaining, use the time to do something useful for the country. Stop blaming the government. Easy to say “hey govt do something”. Walk the talk.

Irene: We take our peace for granted. Pretty girls can go home at 3am and still feel safe, right? ;)

Pat Law: Half my business is for profit (bread-and-butter). Two years ago, our tote bags sold out within 24 hrs. Next week onwards, once every month, we will be documenting LKY through the years. 10 tote bags will be launched every month, from the Aug 9 1965 crying scene onwards. Proceeds go to charity. Why this project? We didn’t get here overnight. They did what they had to do to get us to where we are now. We are the ultimate ‘startup’ country.

Tosh: (when asked what NS means to him) I didn’t understand why, at first, we had to give the best 2 years of our lives to the country. But after training and listening to our commanders, we now understand why NS is necessary. We have such a small nation and with no military, ppl will “F” with us. We need a military.

Hayley: (when asked how she can contribute to SG) 传宗接代 – having kids.

Kelvin: (when asked about cyberbullies) Involve kids in posting and teach them which are the right and wrong things to post. Don’t post immediately when you reach a place in case of stalkers. Post a bit later. When FB allows then kids can have accounts. Be flexible and adaptable for the next 50 years.

Daniel: (When asked why it is important to protect SG’s old school bakeries. Is food so important to us?) Food is a big part of our culture. We connect over food and discussions about food.

Irene: It is hard for F&B businesses to find workers and even harder to ensure good service (e.g. some who work in a bar even have the cheek to say they cannot work during the World Cup season). Be kinder as influencers; give these businesses another chance.

[Daniel went back to an unnamed restaurant 4 times in a bid to give their terrible service a second chance, or four. He urges us to not be too judgemental or give 0 stars in our reviews so quickly.]

Irene: If you have nothing good to say, then don’t say anything.

Patricia: Don’t complain till the point that the point is pointless. Be constructive e.g. if you feel the need to fight for similar benefits for singles (that married couples get).

Bobby Tonelli: How can we combat this rising trend of xenophobia?

Pat Law: Our unemployment rate is not as high as in some other countries and many locals are not keen on certain jobs. My dad sells oyster omelette and is paying $10 per hour yet still cannot find locals to work for him.

There was once when my Mini Cooper (a vintage one) was parked on a downward slope. Tried to reverse but the car still rolled forward towards the other car parked in front. Three foreigners (Caucasians) helped push my car back up. Just because someone is white doesn’t mean he is a bad person. Don’t attack. Just have a civil argument. Don’t be rude or racist.

Irene: It boils down to our sense of entitlement. We have to practise tolerance. Doesn’t mean Singaporeans are the best and foreigners are the worst!

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Grace: It was definitely a thought-provoking session for me. :) If you were to ask me what SG50 means to me, I’ll say it is a time to think about what we can do for our country.

If you are a writer, perhaps a book on our history or a certain aspect of our culture?

If you are a parent, perhaps tell your children about how far we have come and teach them to remain humble, hardworking, resourceful and resilient?

If you are a blogger, perhaps a blogpost on SG50 and your thoughts to inspire your readers? ;)

“Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

Gardens by the Bay, MBS Skypark & Dinner at Carnivore: MigUpSG

I missed the first MigUp in Singapore so I made sure I didn’t miss today’s, even though I’ll be traveling to Penang tomorrow and I haven’t quite gotten my luggage packed yet! XD Bloggers from Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia and the Philippines came by for a meetup organized by migme.com (hence it is called a MigUp).

If you’re signing up for an account on migme, add me at http://mig.me/u/thegracetan :D

We had the company of the good folks from Changi Recommends – I can’t say very much about Changi Recommends right now as I’ll only be getting my wifi device tomorrow at the airport for my holiday in Penang.

A group picture at Marina Mandarin. Spot me:

Marina Mandarin Hotel Singapore

First stop: Gardens by the Bay

Juliana from Gardens by the Bay was an absolute darling. She was uber patient towards this group of bloggers who made her job as a guide very difficult as we tended to disperse in all directions to take photos of the Gardens, OOTD photos, etc.

Inside the Cloud Forest – my fear of heights always acts up a little here:

Gardens by the Bay

It was really nice to meet (in person, finally!) Valyn, a blogger from Penang. Been following her on instagram. And I have to say that I like Malaysian bloggers a lot. (But not if they have been staying in Singapore. This country changes them. LOL)

Valyn Lim

A ‘gong xi gong xi’ pose – a bit too early but whatever:

Gardens by the Bay

I’d say the Gardens look beautiful all year round. It’s just that it’s now really into the festive Lunar New Year mood, with fake giant firecrackers and all. I’ll probably only visit during TulipMania, unless I want CNY-type photos. And I’ll probably go in a cheongsam to match the decorations.

Next stop: MBS Skypark

57 storeys up, and still less scary than the Cloud Forest. LOL. We noted that the Infinity Pool was really packed with people though. It seemed more crowded than a public pool in the heartlands.

No swimwear, just windswept hair:

MBS Skypark

Final stop: Dinner at Carnivore

Carnivore MBS

I have never been to Carnivore before this as I’m not exactly a meat lover. So, as you can see in the picture above, I was glad there’s a salad bar. LOL! I love the roast potatoes – the best carbs on that plate.

The servers came by with different cuts of meat, but I had only one favorite. It was tender, fatty, juicy, and melt-in-your-mouth wonderful. I think it was beef cheek but I can’t be sure now, after a food-induced coma. Didn’t get to try the chicken heart *gulp* and I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.

All in all, a day well spent in the company of nice bloggers. Special shoutout to the friendly bloggers I got to chat with a little: Rian (from Indonesia) and Anton (from the Philippines). Anton gave me his namecard, and I’m now checking out his website: http://www.ourawesomeplanet.com/ (cool stuff!)

Off to bed now. And I really can’t wait for the next MigUp – wherever it’ll be. :D

*Want to join Migme as a blogger? Fill in your Mig ID and other social media stats in the Google Form here.

‘Blogging For A Living’ in Malaysia, & Coaching Sessions in SG! :D

Blogging For A Living

Totally skipped the Monday blues yesterday. :D On top of mailing out yet another autographed copy of my book to a Malaysian buyer from Selangor, I received an email from someone in Penang asking if I conduct blogging workshops overseas, and a reader from Sabah writing in to tell me he bought my book from a Popular bookstore in Sabah! Amazing!

If you’d like to get an autographed copy of ‘Blogging For A Living’, simply drop me an email. :) I’m absorbing the postage charges for all book buyers from Malaysia. You’ll pay the same price of S$22. Get in touch with me via email (gracewwg AT gmail DOT com) and I’ll advise you on the payment procedure.

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Last Sunday, I had a personal coaching session for Khan, whom I got to know via BNI. Here’s his handwritten testimonial after the session:

Blogging For A Living

Khan is in his 60s but he is not my oldest student. That title is still Steven Lek’s! [Steven blogs at retiredowhat.com and was last year’s Top 10 Finalist (Individual) at the Singapore Blog Awards 2014!]

Coaching someone who is more than twice my age can be challenging at times but I love a good challenge. For adult learners above the age of 55, here are some tips:

1) Come prepared with a written list of questions, then tick them off one by one as you get them answered. Remember to take notes!

2) Ask, clarify, and don’t be shy about asking again.

3) If something is too confusing or too technical or just too hard to remember, ask if you can get a video of the instructor teaching. This is what I have volunteered to do for both Khan and Steven. I know it is very helpful for them. Most phones have video-recording capabilities so make full use of them!

There is no shame in learning something new from someone younger than you. After all, 活到老学到老.

 For all who prefer individual attention, instead of learning in a group in my blogging workshops, you may drop me a note here to arrange for a personal coaching session:

~

And now, to answer YOUR question if you are wondering what gives me the RIGHT / AUTHORITY to conduct blogging workshops…

Just the truth and solid proof:

Blogging Workshop

Simon received his award from Minister of State (MOE and MCI), Ms Sim Ann:

Singapore Blog Awards 2014 Winners

I am not a self-proclaimed best blogger in Asia Pacific, don’t have pineapple stickers on my car, and neither have I been in a tyre commercial. What matters to me is that what I know, I can teach, and also replicate that success for my students. If I can teach a 67 year old to blog, I’m quite sure I can teach you. If my students can win accolades at the Singapore Blog Awards (organized by SPH, and not awards given to us by companies we have 5% shares in), I think I’m pretty good at coaching.

If I am all talk and no action, you can say it’s all fluff and bullsh*t, but here I present to you only solid PROOF. :) Of course, if you are not into chasing awards and accolades, and just want to have fun blogging, that’s fine too, you’re welcome to join any of my workshops.

See you around! :)

Blogger Interview #1: She Sold Her LV Bag To Pay For Plastic Surgery

I’ve interviewed many people for this blog – from celebrities to millionaires and young entrepreneurs. So why not bloggers too? :D I had many questions for Miss Lemonade, a Singaporean blogger who blogs mainly about plastic surgery – what a niche! I wanted to know if she thinks Dawn Yang had plastic surgery (she confirmed my suspicions!), how sponsorships work, how she makes money from her blog, and so much more!

But first… here’s how we met…

I got to know Emmeline, a.k.a Miss Lemonade, at a spa’s launch event. The only reason I kept in touch with her was because she made a great first impression on me. ‘Glam’ would be my description of her outfit that day, and she looked very pretty sitting there in the waiting area. I did not expect her to be so friendly. So I ‘liked’ her facebook page and was kept updated about her plastic surgery adventures, or what she calls ‘beauty trips’.

Emmeline helped open my eyes (pun intended!) to the world of plastic surgery, why it’s so addictive, why some people kill themselves after the surgery, and what many people don’t know about before signing up for their first surgery.

Her transformation:

plastic surgery blogger

[All pictures in this blogpost are courtesy of Miss Lemonade]

Procedures that Emmeline has done:

1) Fat graft (from leg to cheek, to get rid of the ‘sunken cheek’ look)

2) Botox on her jawline

3) Dimple creation

4) Double eyelid surgeries (3 times in total) The first two in Thailand failed, but the final one in Korea was a success

5) Nosejob (2 times) – Using silicon in Thailand and cartilage from her ear in Korea

6) Liposuction (thigh) in Korea

“The success of your surgery depends on Luck and whether you can find the right doctor. But even a good doctor can have fail jobs too.” – Emmeline

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1) First up, share with us how your blog name, Miss Lemonade, came about.

I used to love drinking lemonade. And when I couldn’t think of a good blog name, I settled for Miss Lemonade.

2) Why did you sell your LV bag to pay for surgery?

I bought that first LV bag with my bonus from work. I had been thinking about getting eyelid surgery for years but never took the next step because I didn’t have the money. One day, I thought that I just had to start somewhere, so I sold the bag, and booked that appointment.

Now, I book my air ticket in advance, and every month, I’ll convert some of my pay to the required currency (where my surgery will happen). No more procrastination.

3) How do sponsorships work for you? Do you get paid too?

This year alone, I’ve received about 20K in sponsored surgeries.

I don’t get paid for writing the blogposts but I earn commissions for referrals from my blog. Yes, there’s no way of tracking whether the hospitals pay me the right amount of commissions but I have a full-time job so this is a nice side income.

4) Why is plastic surgery so addictive?

First you change your nose. Then you think about changing your eyes to match your new nose. And then you feel something is still ‘missing’, and you go about changing that nose again or another facial feature. And this ends up becoming an addiction.

Your mindset must be right. Be responsible to yourself: know what you are doing and why you need to do this. Is it necessary? Will it improve anything?

5) Do you feel the same inside, despite the multiple surgeries?

I’m still me. But my character has changed for the better. I am happier, more confident and if I had stayed as the previous ‘me’, I would not have grown. In the past, I used to be fearful of even asking strangers for directions.

I had to take that first step. I can fail but I must not give up.

6) Any horror stories to share regarding plastic surgery?

For my first eyelid surgery, I read reviews on a forum which said that a particular Thai doctor was good. I went to Thailand, located the clinic, and found it to be rundown and dirty-looking. But I decided to just give the doctor a chance based on the positive reviews.

The doctor did not listen to me, for one. And I felt a sharp pain in the middle of the surgery (maybe the anesthetic had worn off). My whole face swelled up and my eyes looked scary. After two years, my eyelids still looked as if they had just been ‘cut’.

But it was my first time going for plastic surgery. I had no prior experience and just popped into that clinic based on reviews.

Emmeline’s most recent plastic surgery:

plastic surgery blogger

The bandage can only be removed after 7 days so you cannot wash your face. You can’t wash your hair too unless it is done in a salon. If water gets in, you risk getting an infection. Yes, the skin under the bandage will itch so you’ll have to scratch gently.

7) Is that bad experience the reason why you are blogging about plastic surgery now?

Yes. There is very little information on forums. Those with experience don’t share much, so I’m helping those with zero knowledge get the information they require before going for their first surgery.

8) Will you go for more surgeries? What if you strike the lottery now and suddenly have a lot of spare cash?

I won’t do more surgeries. The money will be put to better use for my kid’s education.

I’ll still need the maintenance work such as fat grafting though. As we age, we lose facial fat.

9) Which surgery was most memorable for you?

After my first nosejob, I teared in front of the doctor. Before that, I had no nose bridge, my nostrils were very wide, and I didn’t expect much change after the surgery. But my looks definitely started to change after I got my new nose.

10) Any advice for people going for their first beauty trip?

If you are below the age of 23, it is likely that you still do not know exactly what you want. Many bloggers go for plastic surgery and many girls want to go with this ‘trend’. However, they don’t know if they can deal with the outcome.

“Don’t go in with a lot of expectations or you’ll feel disappointed. You won’t emerge as another person! Plastic surgery is just for enhancement!” – Emmeline

Many ladies go for plastic surgery because of what their friends have experienced, or due to influences from the media and from watching amazing transformations in TV programs. What they do not know is that these TV programs show the ‘before and after’ but not the 9 months in-between! When your face starts swelling beyond recognition, you just might be unable to accept it. A girl in Korea committed suicide because of this reason!

[Grace: Thus Emmeline shows all the gruesome pictures and candidly shares about which procedures are painful]

plastic surgery blogger

Dealing with the downtime is not easy. Most people don’t know what to expect and when your face is swollen, you will start asking “What am I doing to myself?!” It is really not about the surgery or the recovery… it is about the downtime. Can you accept it?

You’ll be looking weird for six months to a year. Can you accept what other people are saying or thinking as they look at you?

Most people think that the swelling will last for only 2 weeks. But there will be micro swelling for six months to a year, before you get your ‘final look’. My nose is a bit slanted now because of the micro swelling. But I will not blame the doctor. I’ll give it the time it needs, and see the final result before I make any judgments.

So go to a few clinics and talk to the doctors. If you feel good about the clinic and service, then proceed with the surgery. Don’t blame the bloggers if something goes awry – what worked well for them may not work well for you.

In Korea, depending on which hospital you select, there is usually a 1 to 2 year warranty period for the procedures. So you can return to fix anything that doesn’t look right.

One of my readers became really gorgeous after her nose job but went and removed the silicon after because though she looked more beautiful, people could tell that her nose had been surgically enhanced. If you want a natural-looking, no-trace-of-surgery look, don’t go for plastic surgery. It’s not going to happen.

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Thank you for sharing, Emmeline! :D I now feel very lucky that I was born with double eyelids and dimples. I definitely will not be able to cope with the post-surgery downtime. You are one brave lady! Thanks for educating us all about what going for plastic surgery really entails. Most bloggers don’t tell us about the bloody, gruesome bits, and only post the glam, masked parts. So your honesty is very much appreciated! :)

~ Update ~

This is probably one of the best comments about any interview I’ve ever done. In the course of my interviews, people tend to open up and share a fair bit about their personal life, fears and failures, and even some things they later tell me they were shocked that they had revealed. But I don’t put any of these onto my blog because I know they may be happy to share things with me but not with the entire audience on the Internet…

Comment by Cecilia

So what you read here is what I find most relevant for me, and maybe for you too. :)

Lots of thanks to all who have shared snippets of their lives with me and allowed me to share them with others who read this blog.

Miss Lemonade

Sushi-Making with Indonesian Celebrity, Tarra Budiman

I won a contest on social media platform, migme, and got to fly to Jakarta to meet Indonesian celebrity, Tarra Budiman. Apparently, he’s very popular in Indonesia and can be considered a household name. I’ve never even heard of him before this trip, but I found him to be really friendly and funny. Tarra speaks good English though I don’t speak a word of Bahasa, so filming this episode entirely in Bahasa was a tad challenging as I had no idea what the chef was saying. Thankfully, I’ve made sushi once before…

Grace Tan Tarra Budiman

In-between takes, Tarra and I had questions for the chef. And we found out that:

1) He doesn’t like sushi (wow!)

2) Where sushi-making is concerned, he is self-taught (double wow)

Here’s the unagi sushi that the chef did for us as a demo:

Sushi from chef

It’s really interesting how the end of 2014 has been for me. I’ve already done a ‘cooking video’ with local blogger extraordinaires Xiaxue (Wendy Cheng) and Dr Leslie Tay (check out the blogpost here), and now this video is with Indonesian celebrity, Tarra Budiman! I take it as a sign that more food videos are in store for me. LOL.

I’m very particular about the way my food looks, so I didn’t make 8 pieces (as had been done in the demo) and served up just 4 bigger pieces with the ends chopped off. We also had to spell out the word ‘migme’ on our dish, so I wrote it in mayonaise on a piece of seaweed instead. The squeeze bottle wasn’t cooperative so the writing turned out wonky.

Three pieces of sushi, after Tarra ate one for judging:

sushi for Tarra Budiman

I didn’t have the guts to tell the chef that the reason his sushi didn’t get clean ‘cuts’ is because he didn’t clean his knife with a wet cloth in-between slices. I definitely struggled with mine too, as the cloths were all dry. So there you go… sushi-making tip from me to you!

Sushi-making with Tarra Budiman

In this picture above, the chef is the dude in the red uniform, the guy next to him is the Indonesian winner of a migme contest (he happens to be a bricklayer), Tarra is in the blue shirt, and there I am making sushi under those bright lights.

In the end, I won the sushi-making contest as the sushi I made was judged to be of a more consistent height and all, but Tarra gave both of us contestants a cap each from his own brand ‘Shining Bright’!

And of course, I got it signed by Tarra! :D

Grace Tan Tarra Budiman

Tarra Budiman Shining Bright

Tarra Budiman Cap Giveaway

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Looking back, it IS kinda crazy to fly 1.5hours to Jakarta, take a 1 hour cab ride to my hotel, and another car journey of 2.5hours in horrible traffic to get to the Japanese restaurant for this sushi-making experience! The filming lasted a really long time as it is generally ‘rubber time’ in Indonesia, and people do not exactly turn up on time (maybe due to traffic) and nobody is in a rush to do anything.

By the time I got to my hotel and was ready for bed, it was about 2am Singapore time. (@_@)

But I did meet some great folks from migme: @reynachan from the migme Indonesia team was awesome (thank you for going snack shopping with me!), Tarra was not intimidating though he’s a big shot in Indonesia, and lotsa thanks to everyone who took me around for food (I wish I remember names better). :)

More on the flight, hotel and taxi-hiring experience in a bit. Stay tuned. :)

International Gift Exchange: My Presents To & From the Philippines and Malaysia :D

It’s this blog’s 4th anniversary this month! :D And I thought it should feature presents of some sort. Last year, on the 3rd anniversary, I brought 3 blog readers to Orchard Road for a sponsored shopping trip (out of my own pocket). And this year, I thought I’d go further.

I’ve been doing an international gift exchange, and it’s currently still ongoing. But here are the presents I’ve sent out and received thus far…

[First gift to and from the Philippines]

International Giveaway

For this “gift”away, the presents must be made in the gifter’s home country. And only 1 gift is required. So for the very first gift, I sent the limited edition bottle of ‘Splash’ EDT from Singapore Polytechnic to Hoover from the Philippines. :D It was made by SP students to celebrate the school’s anniversary. And what did I get in return? A sling bag and two Philippine jeepney models in a beautifully gift-wrapped box. It was such a delight to unwrap that box, I tell you! :)

And the participants in my gift exchange do not follow the rules, or well, that one rule about just one gift required. So I sent to Hoover another package with Sticky rock candy which come with Uniquely Singaporean words like “Paiseh”, “Jialat”, “Wah Lau”, etc. It felt like I was literally sending a piece of Singaporean culture overseas – and I think he was quite amused by the candy too…

International Giveaway

And I think he definitely loved the cologne:

International Gift Exchange

For my second gift to the Philippines, I decided that I’d better add in a little something extra, in case the person is a generous gifter like Hoover. There was a pasar malam near my home at the time so I ordered a personalized key chain for Melanie:

International Giveaway

Unfortunately, though, the gift from her end never made it to me. Here’s the explanation she sent over:

International Gift Exchange

I didn’t hear from her regarding the key chain and rock candy I sent over as well. *shrugs*

Another person I sent the rock candy to was Cherry from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. And she sent me an amazing gift box filled with items like keychains (4 of them!), a purse with pearl accessories, a notebook, and a handmade pouch with 2 similar, smaller pouches inside. She even went so far as to detail each item in her really sweet letter.

I was so touched that I put together another present for her, with items I purchased in Bangkok during my recent holiday trip – with a makeup pouch from Naraya, a drawstring pouch, pretty earrings and a bracelet.

Gifts from and to Cherry (Sabah)

International Giveaway

And then for my gift to Kim Tan from Johor Bahru, Malaysia, I decided I had enough of the rock candy. And so I sent her a gift with two items from Ang Ku Kueh Girl, a decidedly local brand. :D Of course, I got her the handmade soap shaped like (what else?) ang ku kueh… and a journal from their online store.

She knew I’m a huge Hello Kitty fan so she sent over some Hello Kitty cookies, wet wipes and a hello kitty x tokidoki accessory.

International Giveaway

What I’ve gained from this experiment in the form of an international gift exchange is:

1) The immense joy from opening presents. If you’ve read about the 5 love languages, mine is ‘Gifts’. So receiving presents makes me really, really happy. If someone were to help me carry some groceries, or offer some words of praise, or spend loads of time with me, I probably wouldn’t appreciate it as much as when I was given a meaningful little gift.

2) A better understanding of what a really good gift is. Imagine putting a gift together for someone in another country; someone whom you’ve never met before. If you put that gift together with as much love and heart like Cherry from Sabah did, I can only infer that you must be one generous, big-hearted, and loving person. And the best part is, people tend to respond in kind.

3) Networking with bloggers across our borders. Kim happens to be a fellow blogger and she has invited me to join her for reviews in JB. :)

4) Understanding that not all gifts are suitable gifts. I’d bought some Tiger Brand plasters and AXE brand oil thinking that these made-in-Singapore items would be fantastic as gifts. The fiance stopped me from sending them out, saying that recipients might not be happy about getting them because one uses these things when unwell, right? Uh-oh. Not so good thinking there on my part. OOPS. Thankfully, no harm done.

So yes, some people might wonder why I’m doing this international gift exchange. My answer to them is “why not?”. It’s freaking fabulous! I’ve learnt so much and loved the gifts I’ve received so very much, and I think I’ll keep it going! :D

~ To Participate ~

If you are not a resident of Singapore, you are most welcome to take part. You simply have to send me a gift that is made in your country and I’ll send you one from Singapore.

To get started, drop me a private message on my Facebook page right HERE.

Blue Lotus Chinese Eating House at Sentosa Cove

Blue Lotus

[*Update: Click HERE to find out why I am NEVER coming back to Blue Lotus again!]

Tucked away in one corner of Sentosa Cove is Blue Lotus Chinese Eating House. I love the lanterns, really! :D

Their Signature Chili Pomelo Crab is apparently a must-try dish here! Compared to my previous crab dinner at Dancing Crab, an atas location like Sentosa Cove means you can’t really feel at home unless, well, you actually stay at Sentosa Cove. :P

Here’s what we ordered:

Blue Lotus

We ordered the lemongrass prawn sticks (S$18) for starters [bottom right in the picture above]. I thought it was unimpressive. It’s just oddly bland on its own and depends on the citrus spicy sauce for flavor. Like I said, I’m not impressed by this dish at all.

Similarly, the fried french beans with minced pork in xo sauce (S$22) was nothing to shout about despite its promising name. This dish was also a tad too salty. Thankfully, we’d ordered white rice.

The wok-fried kagoshima wagyu beef tenderloin with peppercorn (S$48) was lovely. The beef was tender and juicy and my only complaint is that for S$48, I should have gotten more of those bite-sized chunks of beef! I want more!

The signature chili pomelo crab (S$7.80/100g) was really good though. The pomelo added an interesting touch to the dish – I found it strangely addictive when slurped up with the saue! :D The crab was fresh (how delightful!) and the sauce they made from fresh tomatoes (not ketchup, mind you), chili padi and a host of other ingredients was yummy, if not a tad too spicy.

To end the meal, we had lemongrass gelo with lime sorbet (S$9), which was simply wonderful! A great mix of sweet and sour, it will leave you craving for more! Possibly the most intriguing jelly dessert I have ever eaten! #MustOrder

Where drinks are concerned, I liked the fresh coconut juice (S$8). The iced honey & lemon (S$6) was not the most pleasant. I guess I really should have gone with their iced lychee tea (S$6) which comes with real lychee! #IfThereIsANextTime

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I’m very impressed by how their menu and prices(!) can be found on their website, albeit without stating which are the recommended dishes to try – you can only find this on the physical menu at Blue Lotus.

Promotion: There is a 1st Anniversary Giveaway going on from 2 July to 29 September. Receive a S$50 Blue Lotus voucher with every S$200 spent in a single receipt. Check in-store for details!

Blue Lotus Chinese Eating House
31 Ocean Way, #01-13 Quayside Isle
Singapore 098375

Singapore Blog Awards 2014: Please VOTE! :D

Because of a new Singapore Blog Awards ruling (which I found quite lame), this blog is not participating in this year’s blog awards. HOWEVER, two of my blogging students have successfully made it into the finals on their first attempts! So I would like to request for your help in voting for them! :D

First, here’s the ruling I was telling you about:

Singapore Blog Awards 2014

I can safely say all blogs are “commercial” platforms. Do bloggers turn away advertisers? I’d think not. At least I don’t know of any blogger who turns down all advertorial requests.

Anyhow…

Please help vote for my 66 year old blogging student and dear friend, Steven Lek, as well as travel blogger, Simon Chan! :)

Here’s how you can participate and also win some cool prizes along the way:

Step 1: Go to the Singapore Blog Awards site, click on Editors’ / Judges’ Choice

Singapore Blog Awards

Step 2: Log in with your facebook account so they know you are not a robot. Your info will be kept secure! :)

Singapore Blog Awards

Step 3: Decide whether you want to participate in the Lucky Voters’ Contest

Singapore Blog Awards

Step 4: Scroll down till you see the Best Individual Blog and Best New Blog categories

Singapore Blog Awards

Step 5: Click on the circle to reveal the list of finalists and vote for Steven

Singapore Blog Awards

Step 6: Click on the circle for Best New Blog and vote for Travelled Paths

Singapore Blog Awards

To Win A Mystery Prize

Send your screenshot to gracewwg@gmail.com. Your screenshot should look like this:

Singapore Blog Awards

If their pictures appear in the circles, it means your vote has been counted. Also, I should be able to see the date and time in your screenshot of your desktop! :) [Mine’s in the bottom right hand corner!]

OR if you are using your handphone to vote:

Singapore Blog Awards

THANKS for voting! You Are AWESOME!

1 Vote Per Day If You Can! :D

Dancing Crab at The Grandstand: Why Do People Like Eating There?!

Initially, I wanted to title this blogpost ‘I’m So Glad You Are Alive!!!’ because of what happened before yesterday’s dinner at Dancing Crab. :D To cut a long story short, due to a mis-communication and an iPhone which decided to hang at the most inopportune moment, we waited for each other for over an hour at different spots outside the Botanic Gardens (but were just, maybe, 150m apart). LOL! When Max, Kelly and myself finally got “reunited” with Steven, after nearly starting a nationwide manhunt for him because this guy is never late, we were just so glad he’s alive. :D

Dancing Crab The Grandstand

[From left: Max, Kelly, Me, Steven]

I guess the fact that we very nearly didn’t make it for our Dancing Crab dinner meant we relished it even more.

And the place was about 70% full on a Tuesday evening. At a location like The Grandstand, it is nothing short of astounding!

5 Reasons Why I Liked Dancing Crab:

1) Dining Off The Table – No Cutlery Needed: It is probably not that novel an idea anymore but it was my first time being forced to eat in public without any cutlery. It truly makes more sense to peel a prawn with your bare hands (and eat the prawn while it is still hot) than try to de-shell it with a knife and fork.

Dancing Crab The Grandstand

[Server pouring a bag of seafood onto our table… and 1 prawn landed in front of me. It was evidently mine. :D]

I really dislike those atas events where I have to keep my elbows off the table while eating, try not to cut up my steak too violently, and dab at the corners of my mouth with a napkin every so often.

Needless to say, Dancing Crab, I will be back again. It’s just like eating at home, where I can eat with just my fingers and no one thinks it is rude. :D

2) An Interesting Visual Feast

Unless you are allergic to prawns, you definitely have to order the Flaming Moonshine Tiger Prawns, because of, well, the flaming spectacle when the prawns are cooked right before your eyes by the server who wheels the portable stove over.

Dancing Crab Grandstand

The prawns are sweet and juicy, and taste really good with the sauces provided.

*Prawns – S$8/100g, with a minimum order of 500g

3) No Usage Of Handphones – Not A House Rule

I can safely say that all 4 of us are handphone addicts. We just CANNOT help but fiddle with our phones during mealtimes, catch-up sessions, and just about any other time during the day.

At Dancing Crab, because our fingers got filthy, we had no choice but to concentrate only on eating and chatting. And it was a LOT of fun!

You know how some people go to restaurants with their friends, and everyone puts their handphones in a pile and promise not to use the phones, with the person who breaks his/her promise first footing the bill for everyone else? At Dancing Crab, there is no need for that. We can’t wait to drop our phones into our bags so we don’t get them dirty. LOL!

4) Yummy Food

I did not expect the crab cakes (just S$13) to taste so good! The prawn dips and the crab did not disappoint either.

The lobster roll was nothing fantastic, though, so I won’t order it again.

I do suspect that it’s because we were eating without using any cutlery, that the food tasted exceptionally good. Imagine eating at KFC but instead of using your fingers, you have to use a knife and fork. It will no longer be “Finger Lickin’ Good”!

5) Affordable

Our meal for 4 (including drinks) came up to about S$170+ after tax. It was pretty reasonable.

*A note about the drinks: The homemade iced lemon tea was VERY sour. I think they remembered to add the lemon but forgot about the sugar. Healthy but cringe-inducing.

Address: 200 Turf Club Road, #01-20/21

Tel: 64663303 [Call to make an appt, but if it’s a weekday, no matter what they say, just turn up anyway. We were told there were no tables till 8pm, but went in around 7pm and got seated. :D Don’t try this during Public Holidays and/or Fridays. I take no responsibility whatsoever :P]

5 Lessons From Winning The Luxe Snap Contest

Victory

*I won by 2021 points. There were just 2 people actually competing for the grand prize in this contest. ;)*

[The background]

When I did a blogpost about Luxury City, I did not expect to take part in their Luxe Snap contest. But since my photographer friend, Max Clyne, had taken such lovely pictures of me within the Luxury City store, I thought I’d just submit a photo for the fun of it.

Saint Laurent Classic Sac De Jour

Then things got serious.

Before I knew it, I was in the Top 3. Because the other participants had a maximum of around 200+ points only, it was rather easy to take the lead. (Every vote you get can give you up to 5 points)

I thought I would sail to the finish with just 400-odd points. Easy peasy.

Then, enter ‘pink lover’ – a lady toting a pink Kate Spade bow bag – as the ‘dark horse’. She was obviously gunning for top spot as well. I could not back down from a good fight.

Yesterday morning, I was leading by just 200+ points. At any time within the day, she could have easily overtaken me and gotten top placing. The battle began…

[Lessons I Learnt]

1) Always have people you can count on for help

I may have over 11,000 fans on my facebook page, but due to facebook’s settings, not all of them would be able to view my posts asking them to vote. In fact, only a tiny fraction of them saw my posts. A couple of personal friends were even in the dark about this contest when I messaged them.

I have a whole list of people I’d like to thank for their help, a number of whom are in my Blog Club: Carol, Flore, Kirbie, Simon, Eng Beng, Denny, etc. And especially to Steven Lek, who blogs at retiredowhat.com. He sent private messages via facebook to many of his over-1000 friends asking them to vote for me. He was sending messages at such an alarming rate that Facebook sent him warnings twice, telling him to slow down! I am eternally grateful, Steven! :D

2) Be more deserving of these friends you feel you don’t deserve

A number of people helped me out a great deal this time even though they stood to gain nothing. I did not pay them and they did not even receive prizes in any of my giveaways. They basically got nothing out of it than the satisfaction of helping a friend.

They didn’t just help to vote. They also shared the links on their own facebook profiles or sent messages to their friends!

Thank You

Max Clyne, Steven Lek, Derek Gue, Carol Lim, Chris Shia, Francyn Tan, Andrew Chow, Clarence Chin, Amanda Teng, Terence Chiew and many more I have not tracked down and personally thanked! :)

Fans from all over the world also got their friends and family members to vote. There are people from Croatia, Russia, Germany, France, Malaysia, Philippines, etc! [Some of you probably did it for the prizes but I love you anyway!]

I’ll be doing my best to return the favors and also bring more of my well-liked giveaways back. :D

3) Do whatever it takes – if you want to win

I knew that Saturday was extremely crucial if I wanted to win this contest. Trust me, I don’t care about the bag. I have too many bags at home. I just do not back down from fights – unless the person is wielding a knife, in which case, I’ll run.

So what I did was postpone all my appointments on Saturday. Yes, it was crazy, no doubt. But that is just me. If I am committed to doing something, I do it. I am glad my pal, Steven, knows exactly what I am talking about. Because he has the same trait. :D

This thing about commitment is what I TRY to teach some of my Blog Clubbers. Unfortunately only a handful have “gotten it”. There are some who still have no idea what commitment is about.

I spent the entire Saturday at home messaging friends, harassing them on Facebook (if I saw them online, they’d get a message), and basically replying emails and requesting that people keep voting.

Before I knew it, 8am became 5pm. Time really flew for me yesterday. I probably set a national record for email replies. Everyone who sent me an email got a reply within the hour, some within a minute.

I was THAT committed to winning this. And by the time I went to bed, I was leading by over 1507 points.

That is how I won this contest. But there will be some people who make senseless remarks… like this lady…

4) There will be sour grapes and people who hate your win. Learn to love them.

Sherry Ho

Who is Sherry Ho?

*Disclaimer: I understand that some people do create fake accounts on Facebook with other people’s photos.

Sherry Ho timeline

She apparently works at “Singapore Airlines” according to her profile.

Interesting how an SQ Girl cannot even get her ‘face’ within the profile picture thumbnail. Was this photo misused by someone else? ;) She also seems to have sarcasm you won’t expect from a Singapore Girl. Hmm. *I did not include a close-up of her picture here just in case it was stolen by someone malicious for the setting up of this account.

I didn’t pay anyone to vote for me, but I did run giveaways in order to get more votes. Pretty much the same as how Luxury City ran this bag giveaway to get more likes/fans. Perhaps “Sherry” could not comprehend that. :)

I am always of the opinion that if I were to ask someone to help me out, or do something for me, I need to provide a reason for them to do so.

Hence the giveaways.

Help me win this bag, and I’ll give you a prize. Fair trade, no?

I don’t suppose cabin crew will be sweet to me if I have not paid for a seat on their flight too. :) (Though I am a shareholder in SQ. Ha!)

5) Celebrate Your Win

At the end of the day, sour grapes will be sour. Victory is sweet. Do not let other people’s bitterness rob you of the sweetness of your win. :D

Gonna celebrate with the people who matter. Those who want to get sarcastic / sour / jealous can go get pickled in a vat of vinegar.

As a blogger for almost 4 years now, I have seen much worse. :)