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. :)

Beauty Cleanse: An Enjoyable Organic Juice Detox PLUS A Giveaway

My previous liquid fast was a real pain – the drink wasn’t tasty, cheating (in times of extreme hunger) was not allowed, and there wasn’t any support as well. This time round, I did an organic juice cleanse with Beauty Cleanse, and found it pretty enjoyable – what a change! I thought this organic juice fast was necessary since I’ve been experiencing a mild water retention issue, and I haven’t been visiting the loo as often as I should too. It came as a surprise that Beauty Cleanse offers some of the yummiest organic juices in Singapore.

One day’s worth of organic juices:

Beauty Cleanse

The supplements, if you are kiasu like me:

Beauty Cleanse

I did a 5-day juice fast (with supplements included) and noticed instant results: a slimmer face and waist. Of course, the results will not be permanent if one returns to unhealthy eating habits after any kind of fast.

The first day of cleansing is usually the toughest so here’s my diary about the day:

Day 1: I chose the orange bottle as my Morning Juice (it contains carrots, cucumber and pineapple). Despite the addition of the Colosan powder, which has a laxative effect, the drink tasted really good (refreshing and yummy!). The Colosan powder took effect pretty quickly as well. :D

  • Would have been great if the Colosan powder was packed into smaller, 1 tablespoon-worth, packets. So time-starved individuals don’t have to measure it out themselves.
  • Almost took a tablespoonful of Green Superfoods powder before realizing I required only 1 teaspoonful. (@_@) Individual packets would definitely be better.
  • Three visits to the toilet before 11am.
  • Feeling sleepy and yawning more frequently.
  • Had some coconut juice at a hawker centre, before my gym workout.
  • Ate 2 mini cucumbers around dinner time, and an avocado after that.
  • Drank some warm vegetable soup before my bath. It’s been a cold, rainy day, and all I’ve been drinking are cold drinks!
  • Overall, I found 3 of the juices super yummy, while the other 3 were less sweet, and hence less tasty to me.

Days 2 to 5 were much more enjoyable as I had figured out which 3 juices I liked most and I changed the order in which I had consumed the drinks – such that I won’t drink two yummy juices in a row.

So this is the sequence I drank the juices from Day 2 onwards:

  1. [10am] Orange bottle: carrot, cucumber and pineapple
  2. [12noon] Green bottle: celery, cucumber, mint, romaine
  3. [2pm] Lighter green bottle: apple, celery, cucumber, ginger, kale
  4. [4pm] Yellow bottle: cayenne pepper, lemon, honey
  5. [6pm] Purple bottle: apple, beetroot, celery, ginger
  6. [8pm] White bottle: cashew, cinnamon, honey

Why Juice?

Beauty Cleanse provides juices extracted using the Norwalk juicer:

The Norwalk Juicer

Fruit and vegetable juices are great for people who are picky about food. For instance, I would not usually eat beetroot, celery, carrots, cayenne pepper, kale, etc. But when these ingredients are blended to make yummy juices, I find them surprisingly acceptable!

Also, for time-starved individuals, who do not have the luxury of sitting down for lunch or dinner, and are always on-the-go, these juices are great!

I liked the fact that I didn’t have to think about what to eat for the next meal because the entire day’s “meal plan” has already been taken care of.

When I am REALLY starving (like after an intensive workout), I am allowed a small cheat here and there, like an avocado, some almonds and mini cucumbers.

If you REALLY have to, you can eat a few celery sticks or drink half a cup of black coffee too.

Beauty Cleanse

The Support:

Beauty Cleanse also stayed in touch daily via email and phonecalls. I’m very impressed by their customer service.

The Effects:

On the 5th day, I woke up to a visibly sharper jawline, and I knew this had nothing to do with the 2 gym workouts I had gone for during the cleanse. My water retention issue usually involves my face (puffiness) and waist (bloatedness). And this 5-day cleanse helped tackle these two areas!

Would I try this again? Certainly! Definitely before my wedding! :D

If you’d like to experience an organic juice cleanse, here’s how:

~ Beauty Cleanse ~

Tel: 9371 7949




~ Giveaway ~

Win a 3-day Skinny Genes Cleanse Plan worth S$315! :D Just follow these 3 simple steps:

1) Like my facebook post about this Beauty Cleanse giveaway

2) Like Beauty Cleanse’s Facebook Page

3) Comment on this blogpost and tell me why I should pick you as the winner! :D

This contest ends on 25th November 23:59hrs and the winner will be announced on the 26th. Check back again then! :)

Update: The WINNER of this S$315 3-day Skinny Genes Cleanse Plan is…


Congratulations! Please drop me an email (gracewwg [at] gmail [dot] com) and provide the following details:

1) Name

2) Mobile number

The good people from Beauty Cleanse will be in touch with you very soon!

Thank you, everyone, for your participation! More giveaways on my blog and facebook page so… GOOD LUCK! :)

Shopping with SnappyFit – Online Shopping Done Offline

Ever bought something online only to find that the item doesn’t fit you, or doesn’t look like the picture you saw online? I sure have!

So when SnappyFit claimed it could solve my online shopping woes, I was skeptical but gave it a try.

SnappyFit basically lets you try the items sold online first – in a physical shop – before you decide whether or not to purchase the item(s)!

So I signed up for SnappyFit’s online shopping concierge service, AND experienced a stylist session. Denise from Imago Image helped dress me up, tested my fashion limits, and put me into outfits I would not usually wear(!!!), just for the fun of it! :)

Denise and Me


This is why you should NEVER trust pictures you see online:

SnappyFit 1

These 3 outfits above looked SO GOOD on models in those pictures online, but in them, I looked like an OL who needs to lose weight, a sleepwalker in pyjamas and an aunty heading to the wet market, respectively. (@_@)

Hang in there. It gets better… gradually…

2nd set of clothes – colors I would not usually wear:

SnappyFit 2

The benefit of having a stylist with you is that she will challenge you to wear styles or colors you would usually just steer clear of. Mustard-colored tops and orange pants? An acquired taste and hopefully not in fashion-disaster zone. Ha!

But you can start breathing easily now… it’s getting better!

Here are some outfits that are more my style:

SnappyFit 3

And finally, two of the outfits that I eventually selected!

SnappyFit 4

And a group picture!

Denise, Me and Sin Ning (boss of SnappyFit)


If you’d like to check out SnappyFit’s services too, here are some blog reader benefits you can claim: 10% discount off any item plus one complimentary express manicure from Pretty 360 located in the same building [till 28 Aug 2013 or till vouchers run out!]

SnappyFit is located at Singapore Shopping Centre (near Park Mall, Dhoby Ghaut), #03-16.

One thing YOU MUST NOTE: ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS pay for registered mail, or your items *may* get lost when being delivered to you. You basically try on outfits at SnappyFit’s fitting room, place your order, then walk out empty-handed. Your selections will be mailed to you.

I received my Elska shoes very quickly, and the item from rolledit as well. But my parcel from bezooe went missing. I had to head over to the nearest post office, look through lists and lists of items that had not been delivered successfully, and walk away disappointed ‘cos I didn’t find my name on any of those lists.

Thankfully, Bezooe somehow got the parcel back and it eventually made its way to my mailbox. Phew! But what an adventure just because normal mail was chosen over registered mail.

Totally not worth the “savings”!

Now that you know what to do, you’ll have an amazing shopping experience. Get started here:

Have You Met ‘Ang Ku Kueh Girl’? :D (Part One Of The ‘Local Creations’ Series)

[Part One of a ‘Local Creations’ series]

The character, Ang Ku Kueh Girl, was designed right here in Singapore by Ms Sheryl Wong and her team. Inspired by a local pastry, the Ang Ku Kueh Girl has distinctive Singaporean characteristics, such as wearing her slippers everywhere she goes. She also has a brother, Ang Ku Kueh Boy, and friends like Png Kueh Girl! How cute! :D

Some products featuring Ang Ku Kueh Girl also involve a creative interpretation of Singapore’s national campaigns in the 80s, such as the “Stop At Two” and “Speak Mandarin” campaigns.

Besides the A4-sized folders and eco-friendly notebooks, there are also bags and wristlets with the ang ku kueh designs outside, and ang ku kueh girl printed fabric inside. The attention to detail is fantastic!

Sheryl sent me some of the products and I instantly fell in love with them. You’ll see why:

Folders: S$3.90 or 3 for S$10

Ang Ku Kueh Girl

I’ve never owned prettier folders! I’d initially thought I’d give at least two away but no, I’m keeping all three ‘cos they are so cute!

Eco-friendly notebook: S$6 or 2 for S$10

Ang Ku Kueh Girl

Ang Ku Kueh Girl Notebook

Ang Ku Kueh Girl Wristlet! I’m so gonna bring it with me during CNY visiting!

Very roomy! It’ll be great for stashing all my ang pows!

Ang Ku Kueh Girl

AKKG Tote and Wristlet

Ang Ku Kueh Girl

I asked Sheryl about why she decided to create Ang Ku Kueh girl.

Here’s what she said:

“I have always been interested in creating Singapore-themed products. I started doing it as a hobby from 2004, making Singapore-themed red and white rings and necklaces, complete with stars and the works.

Gradually, the idea evolved into Ang Ku Kueh Girl when I thought it will be fun to incorporate Singapore’s food culture into a cute cartoon character; this is something that Singaporeans can relate to and which showcases a part of our local culture to visitors from overseas. I thought that it would be interesting to create a character with a local flavour.

The team behind Ang Ku Kueh Girl is led by me; I provide the creative direction, ideas and concepts”.

Sheryl also shared that the ang ku kueh signify longevity and good fortune, besides being one of our favorite kuehs.

And here’s an Ang Ku Kueh Girl + Ang Ku Kueh Boy + Png Kueh Girl Birthday Card

You’ll have to get one to ooh and aah over the details, such as Png Kueh Girl’s white school shoes! ;)

Ang Ku Kueh Girl

To purchase the Ang Ku Kueh Girl products or to find out more, head over to AKKG’s Facebook Page by clicking HERE

*I’m looking for more local companies with interesting Singapore-themed creations to feature here. To get in touch, email me at gracewwg[at]gmail[dot]com. :)

Stay tuned for Part Two of this ‘Local Creations’ series!

The Most Versatile Chair I Own: The Kherlax!


A friend and former coachee has quit his job to start his own company ( *hurray for him* specializing in quality seats for your home and office.

He sent me one of the chairs pictured above (I like the red one) and told me to find out how awesome it is. So I did.

I love the adjustable height (I can lie flat on it for a catnap or sit it upright for a spot of blogging). If you’re watching TV, levels 4 or 5 would be good, any lower and you may fall asleep! :D

I think it is a pretty and practical addition to any living room :)

I was told that among the available colors (black, red, brown and green), red and brown are most popular. And it’s easy to see why.

Yes, I have an apple tree at home – Mum’s idea

It’s great for chilling out at home with a good book, some macarons and tea or maybe a slice of cake or icecream and cookies… *ahem*

I worked on this blogpost while seated on the Kherlax too. Pardon the messy hair – I’m at home, what do you expect? XD

Then when your Hello Kitty-loving, Japanese-wannabe friend comes over, you can seat her and her Hello Kitty plush (of course) on this very cushy Kherlax. Oh wait, said friend is still me. Muahaha.

I suspect your friends will also want to lie on it to watch TV or simply fall asleep on it ‘cos it is just too comfy.

Also, the Kherlax can be used on bay windows, providing you with a comfortable seating area by the window, for you to curl up and chill out.


“Isn’t this chair too pricey? I asked my friend. It sure has many uses and I think both kids and adults will love it but I will likely only buy one for my future home. I don’t know many people who will pay $178 for a chair.

Hence, the good folks at have decided that if you are willing to pick up the chair yourself (it’s really very light!), you’ll only need to pay $78. That’s a cost saving of $100 !!!

If, however, you require delivery of this item, it is chargeable at only $15 for unlimited pieces to one location. *Only for this blog’s readers!*

How to order:

1) Go to

2) Select the Kherlax and quantity you want to order, including other specifications like color.

3) Enter code “workingwithgrace” when prompted to “input promotion code”. Tadah! You’ll get your brand-new Kherlax at a cool $100 discount. *Promotion valid only till 23:59, 16th Dec, 2012.

You’ll thank me for it! ;)

Whether as a versatile piece to add to your home or a Christmas gift to someone you know will appreciate it, or a useful chair to have around when pals come to visit at Christmas or Chinese New Year, the Kherlax will delight.

Own one now.

Additional Information:

* Choice of color is subject to availability – order yours early.

* All chairs will be delivered by 22nd Dec, 2012. In time for Christmas :)

* Self-collection location: 58 Tannery Lane

* Enquiries:

Weekend Eats & Places to Visit! :)

How’s your weekend coming along? :D Mine’s super busy and lotsa fun! Will be heading to KL/Genting early on Sunday morning. XD

Before I leave though, I’ll share with you some of the coolest hangouts and yummiest food you can try while I’m away. How awesome is that?! :D

1) Yummy & Wholesome Snacks @ Dann’s Daily Pescetarian Cafe (20 Eastwood Road #01-06 Eastwood Centre, opposite Bedok Food Centre)

Definitely try their huat kueh-lookalike Steamed Cupcakes. I loved the Gula Blueberries with Dates matched with the Gula Melaka Cream Topping. The Earl Grey Almonds flavor would suit those without a sweet tooth like mine. :) The Pineapple Melon Seeds which I brought home with me tasted surprisingly good, even after I’d chilled it in the fridge!

Here’s (half of) the Gula Blueberries and the Earl Grey Steamed Cupcakes. :)

I found the fish soup a little too bland for my liking but I’ll try their pastas next time.

You should also try their Triangle Toasties (delicious!) and drinks like the Soy Chia Chia (full of chia seed goodness). Mmmm…

2) Hard Rock Cafe (50 Cuscaden Road #05-01)

I’ll just let the pictures do the talking. Then you’ll know why I recently uploaded those blogposts about slimming.  (>_<)

Thanks to Dawn for the invite! :)

3) CRS Haven, a boutique shrimp shop (Blk 477 Tampines Street 43 #01-158A)

(The picture above is from CRS Haven’s website) :D Aren’t the shrimp pretty?

I got to meet Colin a couple of months back and was pleasantly surprised to find that his hobby of shrimp-rearing evolved into a family business, after he roped in his mother and father to help out. :)

His mother wears the coolest spectacles (try not to stare) and does all the designing work – the lil ‘aquariums they sell are absolutely lovely!

1) Why start a shrimp boutique and how long have you been running this business?

We have been running CRS Haven for 5 years now and the shrimp boutique idea came about due to a passion for shrimp keeping. What we wanted to do was to showcase all the different types of shrimps available around the world under one roof and also to introduce the trend of CRS (Crystal Red Shrimp) from Japan to Singapore. CRS originated from Japan and became a popular choice for aquarium hobbyists due to their striking red and white colours. Like the Koi fish, these shrimps have different grading scales with higher grade specimens commanding more than a thousand dollars each, which hobbyists buy to admire and breed.

2) What were you working as before starting this business?

I did a couple of part time jobs in between but jumped straight into this business halfway during my studies so you could say starting a business was my first job.

3) Why do people rear shrimp at home or in the office, instead of the usual fish or tortoises? What is the joy of shrimp rearing?

An increasing number of people are switching over from keeping the usual fishes due to space constraints and variety of colours and species of shrimps available. In the past, aquarists are used to big 4-6 feet tanks keeping Arowanas, Luo Hans and other bigger fish but with smaller HDB flats and less space, many are having trouble trying to accommodate such big aquariums.  A 2 feet tank can easily house 50 or more shrimps. With regards to their maintenance, fewer water changes are required due to the shrimp’s lower bio load production. It’s a joy to keep shrimps as they are strangely therapeutic and are always doing something different rather than just swimming from right to left.

4) What are some mistakes people make when rearing shrimp and how should we take care of the shrimp?

The most common mistake people make when keeping shrimps is not cycling their tank before introducing shrimps. Cycling is when water is left to run in the tank to cultivate beneficial bacteria which breaks down the waste produced by the shrimps. The cycling process usually takes about 2-3 weeks and this is a vital step in ensuring the tank and water conditions are conducive for the shrimps.

5) I Understand that you also have a special type of Wonder Shrimps which are hassle free with no maintenance needed. How is it possible that the shrimps can survive in the setup without change of water, etc?

We launched the Wonder Shrimp eco-system units due to the fact that there are many people out there who are interested to keep pets but have no time to do regular maintenance. The Wonder shrimps are different from other ornamental shrimps offered at our shop and the system is specifically developed.

These special Wonder Shrimps can survive in the system as the water is specially formulated with beneficial bacteria and natural algae whereby the bacteria breaks down the waste and the nutrients are used to grow the algae and this is the source of food for the shrimps. Once this cycle is established, the shrimps can survive in these systems for months to years.

These ecosystems units make fantastic pets for the office or as unique gifts as they do not require any filter pumps, water changes, etc, and many of our existing shrimp keepers are keeping their favourite ornamental shrimps at home and getting these Wonder Shrimp eco-systems for their office to enjoy the best of both worlds.

4) Movie – If you’re thinking of watching Taichi Hero. Hmm…I’ve just watched it and yawned so many times during the movie that the boyfriend started complaining. :P I’d probably rate it 6/10. The first instalment, Taichi 0, was much more entertaining.

5) What are all these people queuing for in the rain???

Well, it’s for the Adidas sale held at the Wing Tai building near Kovan MRT. The queue was mad and never-ending. Even a light drizzle wasn’t going to stop these people (and yours truly) from participating in our favorite national past-time.

Not sure when the sale’s gonna end but if you’re free and would like to snag a good bargain, you can consider visiting the Adidas sale. I bought an Adidas top and he got a pair of running shoes. :D

Have a fantastic weekend! :D

Ladies Weekend Cruise to Tioman with Project Mares & DiveRACE :) 6-8 July 2012

[With selected photos from Project Mares & DiveRACE]

During the weekend, I swam so close to Nemo and his clownfish cousins that I could have reached out and touched them. And I watched wide-eyed as inquisitive fish swam up to us to stare at us! :D Watching a proud school of barracuda swim past was also an amazing sight I’ll likely never forget!

And it all began with an invitation to join Project Mares’ maiden cruise to Tioman (‘Mares’ is Spanish for ‘seas’ and pronounced ‘mah-res’). It was my first cruise ever too! And I am thankful to the two diving enthusiasts (Trina & Lionel a.k.a the Boss) for making diving and snorkeling trips more accessible to us.

I had never lived on board a boat before, especially not one that was subject to rocking by the waves 24/7. Thankfully, my body adjusted well and I had no seasickness!

So if you are ready, take the plunge with me into my memories of that fantastic weekend…

~ YOGA ~

Practising yoga on board a boat was certainly a first for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it! We do the Mermaid Pose (how apt!) here…

* Ever seen Cookie Monster do yoga? That’s me, by the way! *


Us after the yoga session

Our yoga instructor, Wendy, even attempted a headstand on the beach where the sand was so soft. I have NO idea how she did it but she has my respect!


I know all the ladies enjoyed the full body massage on board (either within the saloon or up on the sun deck), with products sponsored by Australian company, Sukin. We also took home goodie bags with Sukin’s bath and beauty products, worth $104 each. The company was also generous enough to stock all the bathrooms on the boat with their products!

The goodie bag sitting prettily on my bed was a welcome surprise! :)

We also received a 1-week Amore Fitness pass, $50 Amore Spa Voucher and accessories from Curated Editions!

How’s that for indulgence? :)

 ~ FOOD ~

I think I enjoyed the food on board as much as I enjoyed the dives! I have no complaints whatsoever with the meals – I just wish I can bring the Thai chefs home with me as I’m missing the yummy Thai food already! :D

Every meal was a delight and the BBQ dinner (with free flow of cocktails) was such a treat!

Now, I’ll introduce you to the Boss, who’s both a Professional Diver & a Professional PhotoBomber *LOL* Can you spot him?…

~ The DIVES ~

On both Saturday and Sunday, I woke up around 6am so as to catch the sunrise. There’s something magical about watching the sky change by the minute. The sky’s the most beautiful canvas I have ever seen, and at such sights, I can’t help but think such splendid sunrises can only be the handiwork of someone divine.

On Saturday morning, the sunrise was awe-inspiring. The wispy cloud formations looked like something from a fairy tale:

The black specks in the sky are actually birds. Lots of them!

And we had a great day of snorkeling and discovery scuba diving for the beginners (like myself) and open water dives for the experts.

I’m not a good swimmer and had never gone snorkeling before but I thought a lifejacket would prevent me from drowning. What I did not expect were strong currents which swept me further away from the boat and the group. Paddling was futile and I felt powerless as I was being swept away against my wishes. But I knew I just had to relax and someone would come after me. And one of the instructors did.

On such trips, it is necessary to have capable instructors and for participants to have faith in them. The DiveRACE instructors were outstanding and I really got to enjoy the snorkeling and watching all the pretty fish. The experience was really priceless.

Then came our discovery scuba sessions. The first one commenced from the shore so we weren’t jumping straight off the boat. Here, we’re likely being asked “Who wants to go first?” and I’m definitely thinking “Not me!” :D

So what we had to do was to get into our wetsuits. And ensure the mask doesn’t fog up later…

Grab our fins (I call them flippers) and head out to sea…

Got everything strapped on and dived when we were ready…

Then came my turn… *Woo hoo!*

I got to see different fish whose names I do not know. But I did recognize 3 Nemos (i.e. clownfish) among the sea anemone and I also saw a school of barracuda! It was extremely scary swimming amongst sea urchin though! I had to keep reminding myself to RELAX and to continue breathing using my mouth instead of through my nose.

Here’s Andrea & Winnie, both of whom enjoyed their dives too. I think Winnie spotted a turtle! *envious*

After we were done with our dives, we tried to do a group jump shot on the beach, which failed miserably but still looks kinda cute so here it is:


The second discovery scuba dive felt more scary as we got off the boat and into the waters directly. I’d love to tell you that I did not freak out but I totally did. At one point, my mask (or what I call oversized goggles) started filling up with water. I frantically signaled to my French diving instructor that I wanted to go back up to the surface as I didn’t know how to get the water out of my mask while underwater. (>_<)

Then we dived again and I spotted a bat fish, more Nemos, and some colorful parrot fish. I couldn’t believe how colorful EACH fish was! It’s as though they swam straight out from a watercolor painting of an overenthusiastic child. And of course, there were the cheeky fish who swam up to us to stare at us. LOL! We were amused by the curious fish and I would have laughed out loud underwater if I could. Ha!

They make diving look so easy…

On Sunday morning, the weather wasn’t as great. With the break of dawn came dark clouds and strong wind.

But the certified divers were going ahead with their morning dive… I shuddered at the thought of entering the water…

One of the instructors is a Frenchman named Eric, and he doesn’t look at all apprehensive!

Later in the day, we headed back to Singapore and the sky was beautiful.

With the fabulous crew :)

Finally, a big thank you to Trina (who’s seated next to me) for inviting me. This is one cruise I certainly won’t mind joining again. :)

Do check out Project Mares and DiveRACE on Facebook. They are organizing a Fireworks Cruise on National Day (9th August, 5pm). There’ll be a BBQ Buffet Dinner! :D Seats are running out fast so hurry. Book NOW by contacting Trina @ 81396657 or

Project Mares on Facebook

DiveRACE on Facebook

Interview with Guoyi, former SQ stewardess, Founder of Jigger & Pony Cocktail Bar

(LeRoy, Me, Anthony [Head Bartender], Guoyi) *We’re doing Anthony’s signature pose*

[How the bar got its name] A Jigger is a measuring tool used in Bartending. The smaller half of the hourglass-shaped tool gives you a ‘pony shot’. ;)

1) What do customers love about Jigger & Pony?

They love our attention to detail – from chilling the glasses to hand-cutting the ice. You can have your whiskey on the rocks and see how clear the ice is, as there are no impurities within.

Anthony, our head bartender, is also well respected in this industry.

2) How has your SQ stint set the tone for service standards at Jigger & Pony?

I’ve spent 6 years with SQ and found that ‘Service’ is providing what the customer wants. Here at Jigger & Pony, we implement hospitality, put ourselves in our customers’ shoes and treat them like our friends and family, and more importantly, we anticipate their needs.

A visit to a cocktail bar in Shibuya, Japan, spurred me and Indra (co-founder) to start Jigger & Pony. We want this bar to be a meeting place for friends. We are modeling the great cocktail bars in Tokyo, which not only make customers feel that they have been transported someplace different but also serve drinks which are amazingly balanced, made in a very smooth way and with careful thought.

3) What is the difference between Japanese bartending techniques and what we commonly find in Singapore? How will the uninitiated/layman tell?

Anthony spent two years in Japan to learn the bartending techniques. For one, special care is taken with the ice. Here at Jigger & Pony, we have 5 types of ice. We serve ice which melts slowly so it won’t dilute your drink. Handcut ice also has better taste quality and purity.

Anthony also stirs the drinks in such a way that no sound is produced, air does not enter the drink and the ice isn’t chipped (so it doesn’t dilute the drink)!

We admire the Japanese bartenders’ dedication to their craft and how they are constantly in search of the ‘perfect cocktail’.

Here, the ‘flaming’ of the orange peel for the Manhattan (the queen of cocktails) gives the drink a burnt orangey taste.

4) Since Jigger and Pony prides itself on “Good Food, Good Drinks”, share with us about what we absolutely must try on our visit and if it is applicable, how we can pair the food with the cocktails.

Cocktails go well with savory foods. Food which is too sweet tends to affect the flavor of the drinks. We don’t serve desserts but we do have ‘dessert cocktails’ – just ask our Bartender & Dessert Chef. ;) We once did a Blackforest cocktail for a customer who wanted an after-meal dessert!

Do try the Lychee Martini which all girls love:

[Grace says: I LOVE the fresh lychee!]

Anything we lack in the food department, Anthony makes up for in drinks. ;)

We do not serve the usual french fries and deep-fried chicken wings as we would like our customers to fully appreciate their drinks. There’s nothing too greasy on the  menu for a cleaner palate.


Grace says: If you’re like me and you often stare at the menu, dazzled by the many options without knowing what to choose, here’s what I recommend you try at Jigger & Pony! :)

Aperitivos ($14++ each from 6pm-8pm with complimentary canapes served; $20++ each thereafter)

Aperol Pompelmo (Aperol, sparkling grapefruit)

Cocktails ($20++ each)

Lychee Martini (Vodka, St Germain, lychee liqueur, fresh grapefruit juice, passionfruit syrup, elderflower syrup) *Not listed on the menu but available upon request/order from the bar

I tried only a couple of drinks but there is a whole list to choose from – Classic Cocktails, Forgotten Cocktails, Modern Twist Cocktails, Aperitivo Cocktails, etc. Share with the bartenders your preferences and they can recommend you drinks you just might fall in love with. ;)

Sharable bites

Warm Spinach Salad (Spinach, sunflower seed, pine nuts, poached egg; $12++)

 Buffalo Mozzarella Tartine (Buffalo mozarella, tomatoes, homemade basil pesto; $14++)

Where to sit

Do sit at the bar if you are open to chit-chatting. Anthony may look pretty stern while preparing the drinks (in my photos) but he’s actually a funny guy. :) You can choose the booths if you’d like to chill and ‘catch up’ with friends but do face the bar so that you’ll still be able to watch the bartenders concocting your drinks (you won’t want to miss it!).

So head on down to Jigger & Pony at 101 Amoy Street. I highly recommend this place for a drink after a long day at work – be mesmerized by the bartending and forget your troubles. It’s a plus the drinks taste so good too!

You can also check out Jigger & Pony’s Facebook page for the latest updates here.

Interview with Smith Leong, Ideas Guy @ Waddup

My first impression of Smith was that he’s a friendly chap. Later on, I realized he’s someone who embraces Life, follows his passions and can always be relied upon to give an honest opinion.

We first met when I accepted his invite to visit The Studio Cocktail Bar and interview the 23-year-old lady boss. And apart from running his events and marketing company, Waddup, Smith is also a sex blogger (I specifically told him not to mention this, but he went ahead to do so anyway in his email reply to my questions). :D And so I present to you… Smith…

1) Why did you start an events management company and did the previous part-time/temp jobs you held lead you to the point when you decided to start your own company? 

Events planning has always been my passion and moreover, I have a very short attention span so my events company allows me to work on different projects – from consumer products to oil and gas, cosmetics and even lingerie! This way it is always new and it keeps me “entertained”.

I’ve worked as an administrator, tutor, waiter, sales assistant selling toys, clothes, software engineer (yes, it’s true), marketing person, mascot, board game teacher (that’s what I called myself while I was working at a boardgame café) and maybe some other things that I’ve forgotten but nothing beats doing what I do now.

2) Share with us what you did, and what you are currently doing, with regard to Personal Branding. How has successful Personal Branding aided you in your business?

Branding has always been important for my business and I have to believe in it myself because that’s what I am “selling” to my clients too, right? Many of my clients and referrals came to me because of who I am and the services my company provides.

[Grace adds: Smith shared with me that in the previous company he worked for as a junior executive, his ‘seniors’ tended not to introduce the new hires to their clients. So he decided to subtly ‘stand out’ from the rest of his colleagues by wearing Superman tees every day. It paid off as clients came to remember him as that Superman guy even if they forgot his name. Smart!]

Clients remember us as being youthful and vibrant while new prospects are intrigued by us.

Where blogging is concerned, being known as the “sex blogger” has always been an interesting form of branding for me when meeting other bloggers. Although it’s something of the past and I haven’t really been talking a lot about it, the “branding” still sticks.

3) You’ve mentioned the initially counter-intuitive concept of “Helping others doesn’t mean I’m kind. Helping others is about being selfish too”. Share with us what you mean by this.

Often, people think that I am helpful because I go around helping everyone but I am just building my own personal karma. Although I do not need the individual to repay me immediately, I believe in “paying it forward.” You help others and you will get help from others in some form someday. So in a way it’s still selfish and for personal gain too right? By the way, go watch that movie ‘Pay It Forward’ if you haven’t – it’s a real good watch!

4) You’re a blogger too and you’ve mentioned how some “professional bloggers” have become “professional beggars”. What improvements would you like to see where the Blogosphere is concerned?

I think blogging has been a big thing for the longest time and I see a lot of new bloggers day in and day out but I do not see any innovation these days. Things are a little dry and everyone seems to be writing and managing the sponsors’ and clients’ expectations rather than writing what they want. Many are writing that way just to get popular or to get more freebies from the clients. Worst still, I have encountered bloggers who emailed my client for free meals in exchange for their 200 unique clicks per day.

What really makes me cringe are blogs that end up looking like an advertisement listing because the 10 latest posts are all advertorials and sponsored events. Do they really have nothing interesting to share on top of all these? I am not saying that it is wrong, just that in my personal opinion that’s not how I want a personal blog to be.

5) Your guy friends turn to you for advice on women and dating. What, in your opinion, do women really want? And your advice to guys who just can’t seem to find the right girl or the right relationship?

Every woman has different expectations and needs so we don’t have a one-size-fits- all solution here. What I am saying here is that we have to find the right “solution” for the right woman. Some may want love or attention or respect or even money. And in this evolving world of ours, you shouldn’t be surprised that some women have the pride and ego of a man and that is what you need to feed as well.

No woman is out of anyone’s league but there are women who are “out of fit”.

You may be able to attract any woman’s attention initially but if you cannot sustain it in the long run, it won’t make a lot of sense.

Before you can give, you need to know what to give. 3 words to sum it up: Observe, listen and give.

Grace says: Even I have no idea what Smith’s cryptic response to question 5 is all about. :D But there are a couple of takeaways from this interview:

1) Be unafraid to explore when you are young. Try out various jobs in various industries and you’ll eventually find your ‘calling’. As the late Steve Jobs said, “don’t settle”. Also, the experience you gain from one job could very well aid you in another job.

2) Put some thought into your personal branding and make it stick! People may forget your name, but they’ll remember what you are known for if it’s something memorable and out of the ordinary.

3) Being helpful can be rewarding… some day. Plus, it’s better to make a friend than a foe.

My own ‘two cents worth’ take on the professional-bloggers-turned-professional-beggars situation is that:

1) All bloggers have the right to choose the sponsors they prefer to work with. So, for instance, if Company A wants me to do an advertorial for them but I turn them down because I know I clearly prefer Company B more, then nothing should stop me from approaching Company B to ask if they’d like me to do an advertorial for them, even if my blog has only 200, or even 20 unique hits per day. Rather than just focus on quantity, I think companies need to focus on quality too – what sort of audience does a particular blog attract, and is that what the company wants?

2) Freebies are usually great to have. What irks me is when bloggers complain about the freebies. At the Lush (cosmetics) event I attended recently, we were each given one recyclable bag, period. I was later told that one blogger went on Twitter to complain about the perceived stinginess of the company. Honestly, I was expecting maybe a travel-size sample of their new mascara or eyeshadow which I could take home and test out myself. I saw no need, however, to complain about the freebie. ;)

So yes, now you know that blogging is also about business, dollars and cents, and politics. It’s what makes blogging so intriguing for me too! :)

And finally some pictures for your viewing pleasure:

Smith’s irreverence & funnyman antics knows no bounds…

All photos courtesy of Smith Leong

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Interview with Sylvia Tjandra from Her Adornings Jewellery

1) Your business is still pretty young, but you are already thinking of ways to give back to society. Tell us about your involvement with Life Community Services Society (LCSS) and Love in Revolt.

Love in Revolt was held in August 2011 and used art, creativity and engaging activities to create awareness among Singaporean youths about the plight of the poor in Singapore and in our surrounding countries. A friend of mine, Harris Gozali, spearheaded this event. When he told me about his ideas and the ‘heart’ behind it, I knew it was something that I wanted to be involved in.

An idea came to me: “Hey, why don’t I create a product collection inspired by the plight of the poor & display them?” That certainly got me excited! So there I was, having my products displayed and giving free jewelry-making sessions. The participants commented that I should do more of these sessions since I’m quite good at teaching them.

As for LCSS, I was first connected to LCSS through my church involvement with the youth in LCSS as we have frequent gatherings. A friend gave me the idea that since my jewelry-making sessions were a hit, I could probably do the same thing again. LCSS welcomed the idea, as this will be a great way to equip the youth with skills that can be useful for their future. Therefore, we will be starting our first jewelry-making session soon.

When I started this business, I knew that this business has to be more than just about profit-making and passions. My vision for Her Adornings is to equip women and bless more people. You see, I don’t believe that I will only be able to contribute to society after I have made it big. In my own small way, I will start to help others even in this early stage of building this business.

2) You were previously a banker but left to start Her Adornings. What prompted you to make this career switch and looking back, do you have any regrets?

I’ve been in the banking sector for 4 years and after being a banker for about 2 to 3 years, I discovered my passion for jewelry making. I enrolled myself in courses, trying to find out whether this would be another hobby that simply died off with time. The more I learnt, the more I was intrigued by jewelry making. There is a certain satisfaction you get when you are able to complete a piece that looks really good!

Hence, I decided to devote all my attention to building this business. When I made the big decision to leave my job, a friend’s advice was that I should probably wait until I get married and settle down before I venture into this business, making this venture less risky. I’ve thought about it, but I know I have to give my dream a push in the right direction and start pursuing my vision as early as possible.

Sure, there will be risks involved, but hey, it will be worth fighting for! Hence, no looking back and no regrets for me.

3) How did you get the inspiration for hosting tea parties for your business and what was your experience with manning a pushcart in shopping malls like?

The idea came because I wanted to showcase my products to close friends and acquaintances so they may enjoy browsing and trying on Her Adornings’ collections at a leisurely pace while chatting and enjoying afternoon tea. Throwing tea parties is quite challenging because I need to pay attention to every single detail -from room decorations, food, invitations to the event itinerary itself. Simultaneously, I still need to design and hand-craft all the items. So, you can imagine the work that is involved!

Fortunately, I’m surrounded by a group of close friends who are very supportive and talented at the same time. I have an in-house interior cum floral designer, musicians, and emcee! Awesome, isn’t it?

Likewise, manning a pushcart is a huge challenge that requires dedication and effort. I manned the pushcart myself for two whole months and I worked from 10am to 9pm every single day, attending to buyers while continuously designing and producing new items (don’t ask me how I did that, I am amazed too!) It is really exhausting. However, I will not trade that experience for anything. I’ve learnt so much more than I ever could, met up with many precious customers and became more efficient with my “production line”.

4) How would you define Beauty?

To me, beauty is something that lives inside of us and needs to be projected through the way we dress, our attitudes and our behaviors. I don’t believe in talking about outer beauty without mentioning inner beauty and vice versa. What is important is what we have inside AND our ability to express it outwardly as well.

I’ve seen women who look amazing. But that’s not the only thing that caught my attention. It is how you feel when you are with them. There’s nothing about them that feels ‘stereotypical’. They are friendly, genuinely concerned about others, sincere and laugh a lot. These women are ordinary women, but they become my inspirations!

5) Share with us some tips on how we can match our jewelry to our personality/ style of dressing. 

I’m one of the people who strongly believe that your accessories can change the ‘feel’ of your outfit. For example, if you happen to be wearing a simple black tee and pants, you could either look feminine by wearing dainty, ‘unfussy’ accessories, OR you could go for bold statement accessories with say, a bright coral hue, that will make your look sensational. The possibilities are endless.

Having said that however, I would like to emphasize that you really need to choose accessories that you love. Don’t force yourself to wear something that you don’t like. If you don’t like it, trust me, nobody else will. Also, go for something that can highlight your personality. If you are a fun and cheerful person, try wearing bright accessories.

An important tip is to keep your accessories in one family tone. You don’t want to wear a clashing combination of a green necklace, orange earrings and a yellow bracelet! Most importantly, have fun trying different styles and colors! You’ll never know what will end up looking good on you! :)

Grace says: Sylvia is one lady whose guts I admire. She wrote to me asking me if I’d be keen to feature her on this blog and if we could meet up for a chat even though I didn’t know her at all. During our lunch meetup, I also found out she had brought samples of her designs with her, so that she could approach business owners within the mall to ask if they’d like to place her accessories in their shops on a consignment basis. I don’t know about her, but it’ll surely take a lot of courage on my part to walk into stores, asking for these opportunities to work with them and face a (very high) possibility of being rejected. I believe this pint-sized young lady certainly has the gumption to make her business succeed. Let’s wish her all the very best! :)

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