Learn Coding With The Micro:bit And Prepare For Jobs Of The Future

microbit singapore

Back in August, I went to the ITE College Central on a Sunday to attend a micro:bit workshop that was being conducted free-of-charge as part of their ITE Fiesta celebrations. I love the college’s sprawling campus (it’s HUGE and so gorgeous) that I wonder how people could have ever associated ITE with “It’s The End”. It’s the place to be to pick up relevant skills for jobs of the future. I did a quick search for ‘coding’ related jobs and found over 2,000 jobs! *I’ll include a screenshot and link at the end of this post.

Apparently, primary school students are already pretty familiar with the micro:bit. Some of my much younger “classmates” were already making music play using the micro:bit even before the lesson commenced! Meanwhile, I was staring at the computer screen trying not to panic as I was obviously seated among some very young but very “advanced” learners. The class was terribly popular – those who had not pre-registered were queuing in a line outside the classroom, waiting to see if there would be any available seats due to absentees.

An elderly lady seated next to me tried to engage in small talk. But I’m really not very good at small talk, especially when I’m prepared to focus 100% on the lesson and not be the worst student in class. 😀 As can be expected, the lady kept turning to me during the lesson to ask what she should click on next. She was having a lot of trouble following the teacher’s (admittedly clear and simple) instructions. I was feeling a little bit annoyed as I couldn’t be listening to her questions and answering them while also trying to concentrate on what the teacher was saying. Thankfully, the ITE student volunteers came to her rescue after a while.

Looking back, it was pretty interesting indeed. On one hand, there are the whiz kids who are SO comfortable with technology. And on the other end of the spectrum, there are the older folks who are in over their heads (but still trying to learn). And then there are folks like me who are kind of in the middle. Hmm. One day, I might be in that lady’s shoes, trying to cope with the lightning-fast speed at which technology has progressed…Uh-oh!

Anyhow, ITE was being really generous with giving each of us a free micro:bit (the usual price is $20+ each) on top of offering the complimentary workshop. Also, early birds received a bright pink pouch to store the micro:bit in. I think skills can be taught easily, but habits and values have to be inculcated from a young age. Take the habit of being punctual, for instance. Some adults have so much trouble with being on time. Even if they have the necessary skills, they may not be given the job. And… they’ll wonder why.

microbit ideas

With the micro:bit, you can program it to be your personal music player, or have it flash a message like “Welcome!”, and even have it be your very own steps tracker! It fits easily into your pocket, so you can have a different use for it every single day!

micro bit projects

I found the platform very easy to use once you get the hang of it. It’s like ‘Coding for Dummies’. And it’s so colorful too! If you’d like to check it out, you can head to microbit.org. And under the ‘Resellers’ portion, you can look for the companies in Singapore that are selling the micro:bit and get yours directly from them.

microbit lessons

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This image might be a little too small but it was a screenshot I took when I searched for ‘coding’ jobs on Mitula. Apparently, there are lots of companies looking for individuals with coding skills.

Mitula Jobs Search

Besides jobs, you can use the Mitula search engine for classified ads for real estate and cars too 🙂

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Jamie’s Italian @ Vivocity: Free Gelato One Time; Loyal Customers For Life

Jamie's Italian singapore

Have you ever experienced being rather lucky in a particular week, or just over a couple of days? Sure, misfortune loves company, but so does good luck! 😀 For about a week or so, I kept receiving free ice cream (is the Universe conspiring to make me fat-ter?) and no, it’s not because I’m a blogger. First, there was a scoop of free ice cream at Citrus Bistro when he and I dined there after our swim; I was very happy to leave them a Facebook review when they asked, so I got rewarded with free ice cream. Couple days’ later, my pals and I got free coconut ice cream (that was so delicious) at Samsung’s Galaxy Studio when we were there to check out the new Note8. AND we also received complimentary gelato after lunch at Jamie’s Italian (Vivocity). Wait… complimentary gelato at Jamie’s Italian?! Haha. I’ll explain how it happened at the end of this blogpost. It was my third time dining at Jamie’s Italian but the first time for both of my pals.

The ambiance, as you can imagine, is pretty awesome.

Jamie's Italian vivocity

We weren’t exactly very hungry, thanks to the ice cream at Samsung. But since it was past lunchtime, and we hadn’t taken our lunch, PLUS it’s Jamie’s Italian, we simply ordered two mains to share. We ordered “Our Famous Prawn Linguine” and “Gennaro’s Tagliatelle Bolognese”. (1st and 3rd pics in this post)

This dish may not look like much, but it’s very tasty:

jamie's italian prices

We also checked out the menus for their set lunch and dinner. It’s pretty good value for money! Just make sure you bring an empty stomach.

Jamie's Italian lunch menu

Jamie's Italian dinner menu

So… what happened was… at the end of the meal, the wait staff came by our table to help settle the bill. And then someone who looked like a manager / supervisor came by to ask if we’d enjoyed the meal and if everything’s ok. And, of course, I can only say the food’s awesome and service was good too. And my pal chimed in, saying that it would be even better with (free) ice cream. As a joke, of course.

The dude took him seriously. And told us to look for him at the gelato counter on our way out. Oh gosh. As we were exiting the restaurant, he said something like “three cups, yes?” and I responded along the lines of “For real?!” (@_@)

And for the cherry on top, my pal (again) had something to say about the gelato. He wanted the hazelnut flavor, but wanted to try a little bit of the chocolate as well. So the very kind manager gave him two scoops of gelato.

All hail the God of Ice Cream:

Jamie's Italian Gelato

I already love Jamie’s Italian because (most importantly) the food is good, and they have really nice decor. But these little touches really blow the customer away. When other restaurants ask for feedback, it appears they ask out of habit. They don’t really intend to act on your feedback; and some even get defensive (like “no lah, it’s not that salty, other customers say it tastes great”). When my pal said ice cream would really make the meal even more enjoyable (and we’d already settled the bill), the fact that the guy gave us complimentary gelato… *sniffle*

THANK YOU! And I’ll be back! 😀

Kuro Izakaya @ Suntec: Will Be Back For The Oysters

kuro izakaya suntec

Yesterday, I met someone who said that whenever he’s thinking of what to eat, the “default” would always be Japanese food. Isn’t that interesting? I’m a big fan of Japanese food myself, and it seems like we keep trying to find good Japanese cuisine in Singapore, but they always pale in comparison to what’s available in Japan. So why do we even bother with eating Japanese food here instead of saving up and pigging out in Japan?

Anyhow, he and I redeemed a Fave by Groupon voucher for a meal at Kuro Izakaya at Suntec City recently. The restaurant is a little difficult to find as it’s not within the mall per se, but outside. Check out the last picture in this blogpost.

This entire meal, without Fave, would probably cost something like $30+ / $40 per pax.

In the very first picture you see above, all I can say is that the sashimi is decent – thicker slices would have given more of a ‘wow’ factor that I’ll go back for again. The mochi dessert that came with the meal was a little tough. I like mochi that is fluffy and chewy; theirs is more dense, like something you’d defrost from a package purchased at a supermarket. For me, the dessert can really make or break the whole experience.

Both of us agreed that the oysters with the mentaiko sauce was the best item we tried:

kuro izakaya singapore menu

Took perhaps all of 45 minutes to prepare. The last item that was served up. But it was worth the wait.

$15 for 3 oysters. I’d totally order this again.

We also had the pork belly on a skewer. He’d requested for less salt, but it arrived with lots of salt on it anyway. Oh dear. If your blood pressure needs a boost, here’s something to consider. 😀

kuro izakaya suntec review

I love beef + egg + caramelized onions on Japanese rice. Who knew that those crispy garlic slices would be the missing element? Now all this needs is a really tasty sauce (that is, hopefully, not overly salty)…

kuro izakaya review

So here’s a picture of where Kuro Izakaya is located. Near Suntec Tower Three and situated outside the mall. 🙂 You’re welcome.

kuro izakaya singapore review

Book Review: ‘The Choice’ by Dr Edith Eva Eger

The Choice by Edith Eger

This ‘unputdownable’ book gave me (new) insights into the Holocaust that really shook me to my core yet it also provides hope: whatever happens to you, you can find a way to survive and even thrive. In ‘The Choice’, Dr Edith Eva Eger shares about her experience of being sent to Auschwitz at the age of 16. Her parents were killed by the Nazis but she and her sister managed to survive. She later became a psychologist, helping survivors of abuse and soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The book delivers two punches to the gut that I didn’t see coming. Firstly, I guess we’ve all read about torture that happens to prisoners of war, such as water torture during the Japanese Occupation, or how victims had their fingernails pulled out. In ‘The Choice’, the author shares about how a pregnant woman was (surprisingly) not murdered by the SS right away, but was allowed to live till the time she went into labor… then,

“…the pregnant woman who somehow made it to Auschwitz without being killed outright. When she went into labor, the SS tied her legs together. I’ve never seen agony like hers.” (p66)

It’s gone beyond just being cruel; it’s pure evil. And her story appears to be corroborated by other accounts from survivors of the Nazi regime. Just mind-blowing.

And towards the end of the book, the author drops another bombshell: her mother might not have died if the author had told Josef Mengele that this woman is her sister and not her mother, when he had asked. Her mother might have been sent to work with her two daughters (the author and her sister) instead of being gassed.

This is one of the most intriguing memoirs I’ve ever read. If you want to find out more about the person whom people call “the Anne Frank who didn’t die”, and how she survived Auschwitz (being one of the 70 survivors out of the 15,000 or so people from her hometown), this is one book you need to go get a copy of.

One quote from the book which particularly resonates with me is this…

“each of us has an Adolf Hitler and a Corrie ten Boom within us. We have the capacity to hate and the capacity to love. Which one we reach for – our inner Hitler or inner ten Boom – is up to us.” *Corrie ten Boom had helped many Jews escape during the Holocaust.

Walkabout SG: My Visit to Chope’s Office in Singapore

Walkabout SG 2017

I found out about the Walkabout SG event some time back and quickly signed up for visits to Chope and Twitter. The event allows participants to pop by offices of over 120 tech companies and meet the founders, find out more about the companies, and also ask any burning questions they may have. Some of the big brands participating this year include (in no particular order) ShopBack, Burpple, FourSquare, Redmart, Circles.Life, Google, Zalora, Skyscanner, Twitter, among many others. Some I did not get to sign up for as slots were snapped up very quickly; way before I even knew about the event.

I arrived at Chope’s office before the appointed time and met their very friendly HR (manager?), Joshua. It’s Chope’s first year participating in the Walkabout, even though the event has been happening (annually, I think) for a couple of years now.

Chope’s office used to be at Orchard Towers, before they moved to Tiong Bahru (‘cos the founder likes the “character” of that town – I can totally understand) and now they are located at Purvis Street (near Bugis MRT).

It’s a cozy office – open concept, no barriers and doors between the C-level executives and the rest of the staff.

Chope Singapore

Goodie Bag from the good people at Chope: includes a chicken rice-themed travel kit, tissues and a gift card code! 🙂

*I’ll definitely sign up for the Bus Tours next time. Somehow, they were added to the list after I’d signed up so I didn’t know about them.

I’d recommend these groups of people to go for the next Walkabout SG:

  1. Jobseekers: It’s a GREAT opportunity to get into different offices, check out the culture of the place (which you won’t get during a job interview), and also feel if you like the vibe of the environment and the people who are already working there.
  2. People working in startups / similar businesses: You get to check out the competition, get into their offices, see their targets and all on the wall, and even ask questions like “HOW did your company expand into those new markets?”
  3. People who want to network / collaborate: You might get to meet the CEOs / founders of the companies you go to. It’s unlikely you’ll get to meet them otherwise. Very good way to meet folks, hand out namecards, share about how you can work together.

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I think the organizers have done a great job with putting together this event and getting all these amazing companies on board. If anything can be improved upon, it would be (1) having the companies know that participants may not arrive on time as they can sign up to visit 3 companies within the hour so they’ll come by “in dribs and drabs” (as Joshua said today), and (2) it would be great to send out reminder emails to participants a day or two before the Walkabout so they remember to show up and be on time as well. 🙂

Match Your Accessories to Your Business Attire

accessories for business attire

Being a businesswoman can be a tricky thing. Some people will look to discredit you, some will ignore you, but you still need to be professional at all times.

One of the more pleasant tasks you will have is picking out outfits and the accessories which go well with it. However, even then, you must know what is acceptable and what is frowned upon. This short guide can help you choose the appropriate accessories, as well as the place where you can buy some high-end jewelry.

Engagement Rings

Even though you are a businesswoman, that doesn’t mean that you do not want to have a personal life as well. If you are engaged, chances are that you already have an engagement ring. That means you no longer have to worry about things like this https://www.leohamel.com/engagement/ring/store/poway.

However, you do need to consider whether your ring suits your outfit. With such an important piece of jewelry, it is much more acceptable to choose the attire to the ring, than the other way around. Depending on the material and the design of your engagement ring, you have several options.

If your ring has an impressive design and size, you might want to wear minimalist clothes, in order to focus attention on the ring. If on the other hand, it is more subtle, your attire can be less strict, but still professional. Make sure to choose colors which complement or match that of your ring, though.

Earrings

Earrings may seem to go unnoticed most of the times, but in fact, they do make an impact, although not as strong as some other jewelry pieces. If you are going in for a meeting, reserved studs should do nicely. If you prefer, you can have the diamond encrusted ones. If you choose something more conspicuous, once again, the attention may be drawn to the fact that you are a woman, rather than your accomplishments.

On the other hand, when you are at a work related party, you can give yourself a bit of a slack, and don wire hook pearl earrings. Pearls convey the message of reserved, yet beautiful elegance.

Necklace

When it comes to necklaces, the old saying less is more seems to be appropriate. There doesn’t seem to be a suitable way to complement a business suit with a necklace. Naturally, if a necklace has some personal significance to you, wear it. Other than that, a reserved thin gold chain should probably be the line. Various bracelets and anklets are pretty much out of the question, however.

A Watch

If you can, invest in a high-end watch. Not only will it last you a lifetime, but it can score you some points with fellow businessmen and business people who know good watches as a person with taste and class.

Not only does a watch look good, but it is also a functional item as well. In this hectic time, being punctual is imperative for successful people.

Silk Scarf

Business suits tend to be bland, to say the least. Typically, they are monochrome of blacks, grays, and navy blues, and they leave very little room for improvement. However, you can break that monotony with a colorful scarf.

A dash of color in a drab world of suits may be just the thing to help people remember you. There are numerous patterns and colors to choose from, and you can have your custom made as well, for that extra special feeling.

These are just some suggestions on how to pick a suitable accessory. However, ultimately it is you who should feel comfortable wearing it, so it is you who should find your own style and wear it proudly.

Citrus Bistro: Halal Eatery @ Sengkang Swimming Complex

citrus bistro halal

Thanks to a reservations site I like booking meals at ‘cos there are discounts of up to 50%, we had a most enjoyable meal at Citrus Bistro after our swim. He and I ordered quite a lot of food for 2 pax and ended up paying just half price. 😀 There was the set of beef sliders served with nachos that you see above ($10.90) and the potato wedges with 3 different dips – the wasabi mayo is the best – that usually costs $5.90.

citrus bistro sengkang menu

We also had the Mushroom Bruschetta ($5.50) that was delicious:

sengkang swimming complex food

And, without fail, I’ll order the Tom Yum Seafood Pasta ($12.90) which is a must-order dish, in my opinion:

citrus bistro senkang review

The lighting doesn’t do the pasta dish any justice, but you’ll have to trust me on this: the sauce is the right mix of tangy and spicy. It really whets your appetite so take it slow or else you’ll finish this dish in no time at all.

For dessert, we had the Molten Chocolate Lava Cake ($10.90) which came with a double scoop of ice cream thanks to the generous staff. When we were about to finish eating the first few dishes, one of them came over to present us with a loyalty card and ask if we would leave them a review on Facebook. And, of course, I happily obliged, and he said we’ll be given an extra serving of ice cream. 😀

citrus bistro sengkang

Their lava cake is really something else. It’s just a thin crust holding all that molten chocolate together. So expect that chocolate volcano to ‘erupt’ once you take a spoon to it. So awesome. 😀

citrus bistro sengkang price

Media Preview: Singapore Red Cross International Bazaar 2017

Singapore red cross international bazaar

Ambassador of Ukraine to Singapore, Dmytro Senik, holding an item commonly found in homes in Ukraine. It is said to be able to ward off the ‘evil eye’ and bring good luck 🙂

The Singapore Red Cross International Bazaar happening this Saturday will have 50 stalls selling food and products from all over the world, together with games booths and a full day of performances! Make sure you mark your calendar and make your way down to Suntec Convention Centre as this bazaar is for a good great cause! 100% of proceeds from the bazaar will go to the Singapore Red Cross’ local humanitarian programmes. I went for the media preview today where folks from the participating embassies showcased some of the merchandise that will be made available at the bazaar on Saturday.

There was the Kabsa (a traditional Saudi rice dish with meat) from the Embassy of Qatar. Too bad it was all under cling wrap or I’ll be able to tell you if it smells good. Looked delicious though! There’ll also be coffee, sweets, costumes etc on Saturday. So make sure you swing by their booth.

embassy of the state of qatar

And here’s some merchandise from Brazil. Expect Havaianas, sweets, tshirts, etc…

red cross bazaar 2017

I bet the stall from the Koreans will be very popular. What with the kimchi, kimbap, korean wine, lacquerware and… LANEIGE products. 😀

This is just a sampling; head to the bazaar on Saturday for the real deal:

singapore red cross bazaar

From Bangladesh, there’ll be food (samosas, briyani), fashion, jute bags, leather and porcelain items. From Egypt, look out for the hieroglyphics stencil (I think they’re so cool!) From Poland, there’ll be honey, picnic mats, cookbooks (even in Chinese!). At the Sri Lankan booth, you’ll find lots of premium Ceylon tea from 4 of the big brands.

I tried the chocolate from Ukraine – it’s really good. Also on sale will be cookbooks, some toys, design kits for children, and lots of other knick-knacks…

ukraine chocolates

Bring an empty stomach as there’ll be international cuisine and uniquely SG buys (pastry, ice cream, etc). Indulge in some henna painting or get a balloon sculpture, and definitely enjoy the cultural shows put up by the folks from Greece, Indonesia, Japan and Sri Lanka. There’ll also be a dog show, magic show and a cheerleading show!

MediaCorp artiste, Ya Hui, will also make a special appearance as SRC’s new ambassador. There’ll be a mini auction of her prized possessions and an autograph session for those who have purchased the limited edition Singapore Red Cross bears.

Do give SRC your support as funds raised go towards supporting the disabled, the elderly and the vulnerable members of our community through residential and day care, transport aid, food aid, elder aid, first aid and humanitarian training, etc. 🙂

singapore red cross international bazaar 2017

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Singapore Red Cross International Bazaar 2017

23rd Sept 2017 (Sat) Suntec Convention Centre L3 Concourse

10am to 6pm

Admission is FREE!

Coupons for sale at redcross.sg. Call 6664 0500 for more information.

Elisa Litz Hello Kitty Shoes: Adorable Footwear For Adults

Elisa Litz singapore

I find these Hello Kitty shoes from Elisa Litz highly desirable. At S$89 a pair, you’d expect good quality and workmanship (and you’ll get it). Plus, they should be comfortable too, right? You’d likely only have to look out for two things: sizing and design. For one, you might have to pick one size up from your regular shoe size. I wear size 38 shoes but these feel a little tight, and I’m only just walking around in my own home. Also, the interior’s made out of pig leather (our Muslim friends will have to take note of this). Unfortunately, sizes 39 to 41 are usually out of stock, so make sure you sign up for Elisa Litz’s newsletter so you may be updated regarding new arrivals.

Besides the Kitty face + bow, I love the gold accent at the heels:

Elisa Litz shoes review

SO pretty, no? 🙂

Elisa Litz Hello Kitty

Also, I like the Hello Kitty Diamond Flats, especially this pair in black (pictured below). However, there’s a common issue with designs that incorporate all these little pseudo crystal studs. If one falls out, it becomes pretty obvious, such as with the shoe on my left foot. The kitty has a “mole” above its right eye due to one of those studs having fallen out (during delivery?)

Elisa Litz Hello Kitty Shoes

I fear that more of them will fall out with regular wear. Thus, the pair in white seems like a better choice as the kitty ‘face’ is embroidered onto the synthetic leather (on the outside).

Either pair would look great with the Hello Kitty outfits from L’zzie. 🙂

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Check out Elisa Litz’s Hello Kitty shoe collection here:

http://www.elisalitz.com/category/hello-kitty

Delicious: Cadbudy’s Old Jamaica Rum ‘N’ Raisin Dark Chocolate

Cadbury Old Gold Dark Chocolate

I like chocolate kept at room temperature (all melted and gooey) but this bar was kept in the fridge for folks who aren’t like me. 😀 Better for breaking into pieces for picture-taking too.

To me, Cadbury chocolates have always been the standard for ‘cheap and good’ chocolates. They satisfy chocolate cravings without putting a dent in your wallet. But there’s a range of (also cheap) Cadbury Old Gold Dark Chocolates that are simply… amazing. You might not believe they are Cadbury chocolates if you sample them in a blind taste test! I picked the Old Jamaica Rum ‘N’ Raisin dark chocolates as I love rum and raisin (ice cream), and I found this Cadbury version SO GOOD. There goes my plans of clean dieting…

Anyway, how do you like your chocolate? Kept in the fridge till it’s solid or left out at room temperature so it’s sticky and gooey? 😀 I really don’t like chocolates kept in the fridge because it’s all hard and less flavorful then.

Whether you like your chocolates rock solid or soft and chewy, you’ll love the Cadbury Old Gold (Rum ‘N’ Raisin). Upon tearing open the package, that smell of rum just hits you in the face, and once you taste a chunk of the chocolate, you’ll be amazed at the flavor and texture.

Cadbury Old Gold Old Jamaica Rum N Raisin

The package is resealable. Just peel it open, take a piece, and then seal it all back. I then put it in a ziplock bag, ‘cos I want to keep the chocs out in the open but don’t want ants attacking them. 😀

I’ve always been a fan of Cadbury’s Fruit n Nut chocolates. These R n R ones will likely appeal to fans of fruit n nut chocs! Even if you don’t like dark chocolate! It’s not as sweet as milk chocolate and it’s not bitter like dark chocolate usually is either. It’s the perfect balance! I think I’ve found my favorite chocolates! 😀

I’m just hoping some smart entrepreneur will use these chocolates in cupcakes. Rum ‘N’ Raisin Dark Chocolate cupcakes! Yummy! These would be awesome in ice cream as well.

Gosh. I’ll have to go grab a few more bars to gift to friends. I’ve never felt this impulse before. Cadbury chocolates have always been “cheap and good”. But these are cheap and GOLD!