The Day I Found Out Meow Meow Is Actually Miu Miu (@_@)

Punggol Community Cat

Imagine my surprise at finding the cat (whom I affectionately call Meow) following alongside a lady walking through the carpark at my block. Meow was so excited that at some point, she was even prancing about like a pony or puppy, whichever you prefer. Following them on my bicycle, I could not help but ask the lady if she’s feeding the cats at this block, and she said ‘yes’. She called my Meow ‘Miu Miu’ and the bigger cat ‘Boy Boy’. Actually I have no idea about their genders ‘cos it seems awkward to go check. But this older lady has no qualms with checking them out. And as she’s been feeding them for more than 4 months now, the cats are very familiar with her.

In the picture above, you see the cat food I gave the two cats. It’s fish right out of a tin, and smells delicious. So they happily tucked in. The other lady usually mixes wet and dry food (kibbles), I think. And she also provides a large bowl of water for the kitties.

Punggol Community Cat Feeder

Interestingly enough, she’s returning to Indonesia for a holiday soon, and she asked if I would feed the cats in her absence. I happily agreed, of course.

If you haven’t already guessed, the lady’s a maid / helper / FDW. I walked away from this encounter feeling a renewed respect for FDWs. And I can’t help but wonder what it says about us as Singaporeans when we depend on FDWs to take care of our elderly parents, our young, and even our community cats!

Recently, there’s a news report about an Indonesian maid who received a 7-year jail sentence for causing the death of her employer’s baby girl. Some netizens reacted badly, thinking the 7-year sentence was insufficient because the helper had essentially killed the baby with what she did. However, I think that based on the circumstances, it was inevitable something would happen to the poor child, because the parents had relegated all responsibility to an overworked (and possibly, arguably, underpaid) person who is not the child’s biological parent.

“[The maid] would wake up at 6am and sleep at midnight, but had to wake up again at 2am to 3am to prepare milk and feed Richelle.”

Because of the parents’ giving all responsibility to the maid, a life was lost (needlessly) and another has to be incarcerated. *SIGH*

I think us Singaporeans should do more in terms of caring for our parents, our own offspring, and even animals in our communities. While it may be convenient, and possibly even (relatively) inexpensive, to hire a maid, there are certain duties we should not shirk.

National Kitchen by Violet Oon: Homely Peranakan Fare Clashes With Atas Surroundings

National Kitchen at National Gallery Singapore

Imagine sitting under a chandelier and feasting on satay, unable to grip the satay stick with bare hands (‘cos you’re eating in such an atas place) and having to use fork and spoon to get the meat off the stick instead. Quite exasperating. Thankfully National Kitchen serves such good satay that I don’t really mind the effort. But seriously, can I just ‘tabao’ the satay next time, and sit on the stairs outside the National Gallery and facing the Padang, to tuck into this deliciousness? I’ll certainly enjoy it more. πŸ˜€ Anyhow, here’s a quick review, so I know what to order if I do return again, as there are some items I’ll want to avoid because I don’t think they’re worth the price *gasp*…

Here’s one: the Ngoh Hiang ($15)Β 

National Kitchen Ngor Hiang

At first glance, I found the color unappealing. The Ngoh Hiang looks dry and tough. It’s supposed to have been seasoned with 5 spice powder, but it doesn’t taste like it. Just extraordinarily bland and boring. Return the $15, please! πŸ˜› Ok, I’m just kidding.

Satay ($15)

National Kitchen by Violet Oon

The satay dish was FABULOUS though. Meaty chunks of grilled chicken paired with a delicious spicy peanut sauce with grated pineapple on top. The color was lovely, the taste was heavenly. Almost an insult to this dish to have it priced the same as the previous Ngoh Hiang dish. Just order this one, ok? Don’t say I didn’t tell you.

National Kitchen review

The Fish Head Curry ($42) I found a little overpriced. Nothing to shout about. I’ve had better fish head curry in coffeeshops before. And really, just looking at that layer of oil on the surface nearly gave me a heart attack. But I love that there’s lots of tomatoes, eggplants and ladies finger. Yum.

The Beef Rendang ($23) was really good. SO tender. Not suitable for people who love beef rendang that offers more bite. For me, soft is good. πŸ˜€ As for the Sambal Eggplant ($12), it’s passable. Again, nothing to write home about but the price is comparable to zichar stalls so ok lah.

I really do love how there’s a choice of the kind of rice you want though. There’s Jasmine Rice ($1), Nasi Lemak Rice ($2) and Chicken Rice Rice ($3). Mantou will cost $5.

National Kitchen Violet Oon

Finally, we had the Pineapple Upside Down Cake ($12) to share. I simply love sweet desserts so this did the trick for me. So small that you get one forkful only, when sharing. So there’s satisfaction without any guilt.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake National Kitchen

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Service was outstanding. Staff had no problems offering to help take photos. And there’s this Malay(?) dude who seems to be the restaurant manager and is an absolute gem. Water cups are refilled almost as soon as they are emptied. And everyone’s smiley and nice. The only thing National Kitchen could improve on in terms of service is to not lock their doors before dinner service? There was a big group of men who’d booked their private dining area and when they arrived about 5 to 10 minutes before dinner service, found themselves locked out of the place. One dude tried to pull / push both doors before giving up as they’re locked. I think he even felt a little embarrassed for the effort, as all the other guys were just watching him wrestle with the doors… in vain.

National Kitchen by Violet Oon is at level 2 of the National Gallery. πŸ™‚

Book Review: ‘I am not a label, I am Gary’

i am not a label i am gary

I regret picking up this book to read two nights ago when I was having trouble falling asleep. The reason I couldn’t seem to fall asleep was because I was buzzing after finally spotting Meow, whom I had not seen for weeks. And I regret choosing this book to read late in the night because it has just 168 pages, and was a relatively easy read, and so I finished reading the whole book in one sitting. (>_<) I think I may actually have seen the author working in Eighteen Chefs before, but I’m not quite certain.

Gary’s life is one that’s full of ups and downs, starting from the time his parents divorced when he was three years old. His story reads like the stories of many others before him – dropping out of school, joining a gang, getting into fights, substance abuse, blah blah blah. But in his case, there’s redemption. I love how he got his act together, doing extremely well in school due to sheer perseverance (4.0 GPA! Whoots!)

I was definitely horrified at the parts where he shared about sexual abuse he suffered as a kid, and when he later strangled a girlfriend till she fainted and had to be sent to hospital. I really hope the girl is well today.

I’m so glad Gary is a changed man, and he’s been actively giving back to society by reaching out to at-risk youths, and has even set up Happy Children Happy Future (find them on Facebook) to match volunteer tutors with children from underprivileged families.

One thing Gary wants to achieve with the writing of this book is to shine the spotlight on discrimination towards people with tattoos. I’m not sure what your take on tattoos is, but for me, I think people who DARE to get a tattoo (especially BIG ones) aren’t just brave; they are people who have experienced very painful situations in their lives, and therefore are able to ‘cope’ with the pain that comes with getting a tattoo. As for me, I’ve never wanted a tattoo before as I find that there’s no one perfect spot for a tattoo, and there’s no perfect design even if you’ve miraculously found the right spot, and if the tattoo artist makes a mistake, then guess who’s going to have to live with the mistake? So I really don’t mind if people have tattoos. If I’m an employer, I’d hire someone whether or not he/she has a tattoo (or many). But yes, if a GROUP of people with tattoos are walking towards me, my heart might start beating a little faster. While it may be art and self-expression and all that, one cannot deny that people belonging to gangs tend to also have tattoos.

All in all, I found this book to be a good read. Yes, the author thinks he isn’t a label. But I guess ‘inspiration’, as a label, would be a good one to have, ya?

Fried Chicken Master @ Nex: Why So Popular Among Young Ladies?

Fried Chicken Nex

The Fried Chicken Master outlet at Nex was filling up rapidly though we’d arrived just after the store had begun operations for the day. First an all-female group of JC students, then us, and another group of four ladies. I’ve always thought fried chicken would be more appealing to the guys. Has something changed? I’m more a fan of steamed chicken. And honestly, you don’t have to do much to have your chicken dish taste good. Just get fresh (not frozen) chicken from the supermarket (I like the ‘Kampung’ chicken from FairPrice), chop, clean and then steam it on its own. And it already tastes so good! I’d really just wanted to find out what the fuss about this Fried Chicken Master is all about.

There’s the chicken thigh you see above. Good choice of cut, I guess. Since I prefer the drumstick and thigh portions whenever I eat a chicken dish, e.g. chicken rice. I was a little concerned at how it looked so shiny with oil though.

It would actually be a good idea to provide hot tea instead of cold beverages like the roselle tea and lychee one we have here:

Fried Chicken Master Nex

I’m not a fan of roselle.

I wondered how much oil I could remove from the piece of chicken just by slapping a piece of tissue paper onto it. And here’s the result:

Fried Chicken Master review

As for the taste, I wish I can tell you it was super salty, or exceedingly spicy, but it was none of that. It’s just very crispy on the outside (obviously) and a little juicy within, with a hint of spice. I can’t even tell you what I like about it. It’s not so spicy that it’s really shiok, and it doesn’t have any unique flavoring that makes me go ‘wow’, such as if it’s kimchi-flavored chicken. It’s just rather oily, very crispy, quite ordinary chicken. But very popular.

I don’t know why.

~

Fried Chicken Master Nex Menu

The Buy-1-Free-1 Weekend Special seems like a good deal though. If you’ve been working out consistently the whole week, that is. πŸ˜‰ I definitely felt more than a little guilty after eating this fried chicken yesterday morning. (>_<)

Giveaway: Cat-themed Accessories From Alfie De Meow

alfie de meow giveaway

It’s the rainy season and I’m heartbroken as my community cat, Meow Meow, is nowhere to be found. I’m hoping it shows up soon so I can treat it to a feast. In the meantime, I have a giveaway for fellow cat lovers. I have two Meow necklaces and a pair of earrings from Alfie De Meow (aren’t they adorable?) and I’m giving away one of the necklaces – feel free to take your pick. The one I am holding in the picture above is in ‘Gold’ and the other one in the same design is in ‘Rose Gold’. Just feel in this form below and tell me which color you want:

This giveaway ends on 27th November 2018 and I’ll email the winner directly after making the announcement right here. So remember to check back. πŸ™‚

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Also, it’s definitely worth your time to check out the other merchandise for sale atΒ www.alfiedemeow.com or on Instagram @alfiedemeow. πŸ™‚ I do especially love the Singapore-themed accessories.

Especially those gold earrings. πŸ˜€

This necklace is absolutely lovely too!

If you’re looking for cat themed jewelry, make sure you head to Alfie De Meow. There are brooches, rings, earrings, necklaces, etc, that are sure to make a cat lover purr with delight.

Happy shopping! πŸ˜€

Beauty Hope: Meridian Bo Jin Facial Review

beauty hope waterloo

I have to be dragged to facial treatments because I don’t particularly enjoy them (especially the extraction process… OMG) and you will never know what the therapists apply onto your face. As a female pal told me once, these therapists may point to the shiny bottles and jars in their cabinets and say that’s the branded stuff that’s going onto your face. But once the lights are dimmed and your eyes are closed, who’s to know what exactly they apply for you? So it was with a little bit of trepidation, buoyed by reading the (likely sponsored) online reviews of Beauty Hope, that we popped by Waterloo Centre. The staff wear floral headbands and seem pretty friendly, so I saw that as a good sign.

I find the notices pasted everywhere “for gentlemen” quite hilarious too! πŸ˜€

beauty hope review

Their notices for the gentlemen are everywhere. I suppose the staff get many indecent proposals.

The first thing I noticed upon entering the treatment ‘room’, which was basically just a partitioned corner, was that the bedding seems a little worn out. But everything appeared to be clean, at least.

However, the sound-proofing was non-existent. I could very clearly hear the client + therapist speaking on the other side of the partition (not wall). They were talking about someone’s husband having an affair, and after the gossip was over, they chatted about their height and weight and who supposedly looks younger / lighter than whom. *eye roll*

The facial treatment itself wasn’t too bad, though the product sometimes got into my nostrils or between my lips. Otherwise, the therapist (whom I’m guessing is Malaysian based on the accent) was gentle enough.

And the effects last for about 2 to 3 days, and not the 7 they promised. Basically you get cleaner and brighter skin for a couple of days. And without the extraction, there’s no reddening and no pain as well.

~ But the ‘sales’ portion was a bit troubling ~

What I found most mind-boggling was that I thought I’d given them an objection they cannot counter, when I said the facial is good but the soundproofing is horrid. Wait, scratch that. There’s zero soundproofing.

Yet they still insisted on having us pay something. Whether it was $880, half of that, $100 and eventually even $30. I hate desperation. Don’t you?

And I think it’s also a rather sly move to have the two therapists who’d done the facials for us be the ones to sell us something too. I find it much easier to turn down someone who had done nothing for me, such as a sales consultant who has been sitting out there at the front desk the entire time.

Would I go back to Beauty Hope? NO.

Would I recommend you visit them? Yes. Why? If you are there for treatments, it is fine. Say if you have a problem with sagging skin, or need help with weight loss, or if you simply need a listening ear ‘cos you need to rant, this place seems right for that.

If you want to have a relaxing facial and massage session and bliss out on the bed, and catch up on much-needed sleep, then this probably isn’t the place for you. But otherwise, I think the service is good, the therapists are quite skilled, and the prices are not too expensive.

Dress Your Kid In Fashionable Outfits From ιš‹ζ£  Sonia Sui’s Label

sui tang tang label

I’ve only just found out that Taiwanese actress / model / host Sonia Sui (ιš‹ζ£ ) has a fashion label that not only has clothing for women but also for kids! πŸ˜€ Gosh! The label’s called Sui Tang Tang. And yes, I’m already eyeing a few pieces for myself; now all I need to do is lose a bit of weight to look as good as she does in those outfits. Muahaha! *I guess we should all be familiar with Sonia Sui, right? She got really famous after the drama series ‘The Fierce Wife’Β ηŠ€εˆ©δΊΊε¦». Who knew that models could also act so well?!

The Fierce Wife

At 1.73m tall, Sonia obviously looks good in most outfits, but what I really love is her sense of style. And now we can literally shop her style over at suitangtang.com.

If you’d like direct links to the outfits shown in the first image above, click on the links below:

https://www.suitangtang.com/Product/537?c=54&m=140

https://www.suitangtang.com/Product/558?c=57&m=140

https://www.suitangtang.com/Product/544?c=15&m=140

And here are some of the ladies-only outfits which have caught my eye:

sui tang tang clothing

$39.60Β https://www.suitangtang.com/Product/784?c=51&m=91

sui tang tang clothes

$39.60Β https://www.suitangtang.com/Product/818?c=60&m=91

I love the pastel shades, how easy it is to mix-n-match the pieces, and the price points, really! Sure, you have to pay a bit for shipping (I think it’s about $10 for 3 pieces or so). But overall, it’s still really affordable.

Head over toΒ https://www.suitangtang.com/ now! πŸ™‚

Book Review: ‘Unqualified’ by Anna Faris (Foreword by Chris Pratt)

anna faris unqualified book review

What a great memoir this is! πŸ™‚ Almost ‘unputdownable’, and I say ‘almost’ because I think those pages with input from Anna’s Facebook fans and podcast listeners seem to be fillers. And I might be wrong, but it appears this book was launched around the time Anna and Chris split? So, why oh why, does it not spill the beans on the reason(s) for the split, instead of just gushing about what a unicorn Chris is and how much they love and will sacrifice for their son? Hmm. Before picking up this book, I actually had no idea who Anna Faris is (and yup, I’ll probably pronounce her name wrongly too, just like you would – it’s supposed to be something like Ah-nah, not Ann-na). But after reading this book, I now know (just about) everything from when she lost her virginity to the time she got breast implants. Let’s just say this book is a tell-all, except about the part regarding the divorce. I’m guessing it’s somewhere in pre-nuptial agreements to keep certain things private? πŸ˜‰ So, props to them for somehow still being able to remain friends after a divorce.

It all seems so weird to me, how these angmohs can get divorced and have new partners and everyone can get to meet / know each other. It’s like they kind of accept that no one gets marriage right the first time, so it’s ok to call it quits (“till death do us part” hahahaa) and then stay pals with exes and even befriend their ex-spouse’s new love interests. (>_<)

Anna has this popular podcast called ‘Anna Faris is Unqualified’ and I really do love this word – ‘Unqualified’. She can say whatever she wants, and you can’t fault her, ‘cos she has already stated that she is unqualified and who asked you to believe what she says? πŸ˜€ In this book, she shares lots of relationship advice too, and ultimately I feel a little sympathetic towards these high-profile celebrity romances. If you’re a celeb, it makes sense to date / marry another celeb; someone who will understand the demands of your job and also not kick up a fuss if you have kissing scenes, etc, with another hot celeb. BUT the pressures of keeping up a facade of being in a marriage that is #relationshipgoals (thanks, social media) and having to deal with the press who’d happily plaster a picture of your sole, sad self along the beach alongside one of your husband laughing with his hot co-star… that can certainly take its toll. And when there’s a comparison of who’s more famous than whom? Sigh.

On page 194, Anna shares about the time she uttered “Don’t you know who I am?” in 2002 when the manager of a bowling alley bar wanted to kick her out of the place for getting (slightly) drunk. Reminds me of the time that our own local celebrity, Rui En, did the same. I suppose fame gets to your head, ya? Even a self-deprecating, funny, and lovable character like Anna also falls prey to it.

Read this book if you’d like to know Anna Faris a little better. She does share some interesting nuggets about Chris Pratt (which make him seem REALLY desirable) but don’t expect it to tell you (not even a hint!) about the reasons why they got a divorce.

Review: Dining In The Garden @ Ang Mo Kio Library

Dining in the garden ang mo kio libraryLocated within the Ang Mo Kio Library is this quaint little cafe called Dining In The Garden. I think it’s a really good place for brunch. And the fact that you can borrow books from the library and head in here for meal is a HUGE plus! Especially since we visited yesterday, when it was raining heavily outside. I believe this place is pretty deserted on weekday mornings, except during the school holidays! πŸ˜›

*Interestingly enough, the lady at the cashier yesterday appeared to be Korean. So don’t speak in Mandarin to her. πŸ˜€

As the two of us were feeling rather peckish, we ordered a third main course to share. Which turned out to be a wise decision. The All-day Breakfast ($10.90 nett) was supposed to be the ‘sharing platter’ and it was the best thing we ordered that day.

dining in the garden all day breakfast

I love that there are fries and sauteed mushrooms! The scrambled egg was creamy but lacked some seasoning. I love, too, how their baked beans came in a plastic cup instead of being dumped onto the plate itself and making the toast damp. The mayonnaise should not be on the salad greens though… ‘cos it makes me not want to eat the tomato and cucumber slices like I usually would.

dining in the garden mushroom tomato baked rice

He ordered the mushroom tomato baked rice ($8.90 nett). It was served rather charred on top but the portion was just right – there’s not too much rice. πŸ˜€ I seriously thought the mushroom nestled among the rice and cheese looked like oysters in an oyster omelette! Got me a little excited. But mushrooms are yummy too, I guess. πŸ˜‰

dining in the garden seafood marinara

The seafood marinara ($9.90 nett) tastes like something I can cook myself at home. The only difference is that they added TWO scallops, which usually isn’t found in this dish. I still think it could do with some chili padi for extra kick. Now I think chili padi should be added to most pasta dishes. I blame Pizza Hut for that – they have a Spicy Seafood Parchment dish that is AMAZING!

Here’s the menu and pricing for Dining in the Garden:

dining in the garden menu

dining in the garden prices

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If you book via Eatigo (<- clickable link), the meal costs just 7 bucks per pax. Yup, there’s no GST and service charge. So it’s as affordable as if you’re dining in JB, without having to endure any traffic jams along the Causeway!

I’ll be back, for sure. πŸ˜€

Recommended: Ah Lim Mee Pok @ Simpang Bedok

ah lim mee pok

I don’t usually pop by Simpang Bedok for meals so I didn’t know what to try when we went there for dinner over the weekend. I spotted a signboard for Ah Lim Mee Pok and decided that the caricature looked cute enough, and the mee pok must be quite good to warrant such a signboard and business name. True enough, it was a more-than-decent meal. For $5, you’d get a small bowl of noodles (if you are a big eater, get the *cough cough* $16 bowl with extra noodles and ingredients). For 5 bucks, there’ll be one prawn, one fishball, one meatball and some fishcake slices. A $5 bowl of mee pok here won’t get you feeling very full, which is great because it means you can have dessert (waffles?!) after. πŸ˜€

The Pork Spare Ribs Rice ($6) was surprisingly good. Very meaty, very tasty, with a generous helping of sesame seeds on top. As for that egg, you’ve already noticed the gooey center, haven’t you? πŸ˜‰ Ask for some green chili and be mindblown. $6? Cheap!

ah lim mee pok review

They don’t serve coffee and tea after 5pm, I think. So we simply drank from our water bottles. Remember, I blogged about Lotus Thai earlier and how they told us we couldn’t drink water we’d brought? No such issue here.

Here’s the menu and pricing for Ah Lim Mee Pok:

ah lim mee pok menu

ah lim mee pok price

Such a cute signboard, no? The decor inside is really pretty too! But who cares about the decor when the food’s so good. No GST and service charge as well! Really worth a visit! πŸ˜€ I’d totally come back here again for meals.

ah lim mee pok simpang bedok

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Ah Lim Mee Pok a.k.a. Thunder Fishball Mee πŸ˜€