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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Photo Outing @ the Quays

Went to the Singapore Quays for a photo outing with Xiang (Boat Quay, Clarke Quay, Robertson Quay), started from Raffles Place.

Was planning to take the river taxi from Boat Quay... but can't find the boarding point (I think it is the one on the opposite bank, near Empress Place), so walked down to Clarke Quay to take it to Robertson Quay.

P.S. Had Ramen @ Ichibantei, Robertson Quay - they are GOOD! Best I have tried in Singapore so far. (L. rating: 7.5/10)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Idiot's Guide to Getting Your Girl

From Kineda:
Step 1. Finding Her
Step 2. Standing Out
Step 3. The Chase
Step 4. 9th Inning
Step 5. Lock Down
" - 5 Steps to Getting the Girl of Your Dreams

A interesting, short, goal-oriented step-by-step dating guide, you really gotta love the creative roleplaying by the Lego Starwars characters.

Let's me do a quick self check.... Ooops... I am still on Step 1., I guess there is still some a lot of work to be done XD

Not sure where this guy is based at, but I am pretty sure he is not in Singapore. Either that or I seriously need to look for a better paying job. Look at his date budget - Porsche 997 is considered as "On a Budget"! Haha...

So people how effective will this guide be?

(p.s. RC, now I know how you snagged SL)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

World Without Humans

Ever wondered what will happened to the world without us humans?
Will the world be a better place? What will happen to our pets? Or our wonderful legacy of urban landscape and sky reaching buildings?

A new documentary from History Channel - "Life After People" attempts to answer these very interesting questions.

After watching the show, I finally understand nothing last forever. I come to appreciate HDB Service & Conservancy Fee more as the only reason why our buidings are standing this long is due to maintenance, and maybe, I have figured out why HDB flats comes with 99 years leases.

The show runs in a chronological sequence, starting from 6omin after the disappearance of humans... then 1 day, all the way to a whopping 1500 years! It made no explanation on how or why humans disappear, just focus on the topic of this hypothesis, which is good - avoiding the show becoming another sci-fic movie.

The show gives a very interesting insight and exploration of the would-happens. And more importantly give a sense that humans are part of the world, not the world, life still goes on here without us.

Check it out at History Channel or on our ever friendly Youtube.

p.s. I watched the 9-parter YouTube series from frshholygrailzEGO

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bak Tuk Tek that HK Chief Executive Tsang Missed

I had Bak Tuk Tek at "Ng Ah Sio Pork Ribs Soup Eating House" at Hong Building on Rangoon Road today. This store made news sometime ago for refusing to open after its opening hours to serve Hong Kong's Chief Executive Tsang.

I seldom eat Pork Ribs Soup, or as local called it "Bak Tuk Tek" - Pork Bone Tea in Chinese dialect. But this store serves pretty good one, their soup is peppery but not too spicy wih the taste of Chinese herbs. Tasty! Goes great with a bowl of white rice. The star is the soup, the ribs is really nothing to shout about, since like all Bak Tuk Teks its taste is absorbed into the soup. Recommended side dished will be fried dough fritters and bruised pork legs.

Name: Ng Ah Sio Pork Ribs Soup Eating House
Address: Hong Building 208, Rangoon Road S(218453)
Opening Hours: 6AM - 2PM (Close on Mondays)

Spoils of War - Tokyo Mar 08

Got this cool sneakers from the Adidas store in Harajuku, Tokyo. This is from the Japan only Adidas Originals line. This one is from Porsche Design edition. I like the sleek lines, cool design and the fact that you can't find this in SG. Cost about 14700yen, a bit exp but will worth it.

Porter Mania! : Went Porter crazy for this trip. Porter is known for making super durable bags (Jenius swears by it). Got a brown monogram Header Porter card holder (3,465yen) , a black Porter Office Bag (32,550yen) for myself. A brown Porter Wallet (7,800yen) for my bro. Got the Head Porter from Harajuku shop - I think it is the only place selling Head Porter stuff, a special cross over edition of Japan Porter with other designers. For the rest of the Porter stuff, I got it from Takashimaya in Shinjuku.

TIPS: you can get the coupon from the staff in Takashimaya which gets you 5% discount if u are paying by cash. And then go to the 10 floor for an additonal 5% tax refund when u present your passport! (applicable to most stuffs - I think perfumes and cosmetics are not covered)

NOTE: I heard that Porter has just opened a store in Singapore. Not sure where it is, but I reckon it is cheaper in Japan. Since the Japanese prices are cheaper then stores in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Phiten - My colleague told me it helps to lessen pain and improve health. These made in Japan bracelets and necklaces have a big following in Japan. It is also cheaper in Japan too. I like the ragged look of the necklace, the rubber waterproof bracelets is a pretty good idea too.

Pharmacies in Japan is a must visit, they got all type of cool stuff into there. Things you do not see in other countries. I am a fan of clay for hair styling (my hair do not have much texture and volume), caught this cool looking clay which I do not remember seeing in Singapore, going to give it a try. (Seems like I also got a tub of clay in my 07 JP visit)

My fellow travel mates, Sana and Snoopy highly recommends this for gastric problems (in fact they are carrying tonnes of this back). Understood from them that it is safest to get from Japan since other countries may be selling fakes. Well, I guess no harm having one at home for standby. (found at most pharmacies)

I also try to get a picture for each trip and place I had been to add on my wall. For this trip, I got this wooden charm of Reimon shire from the shire. This for safe travels.

Uniqlo - something like Japan's budget clothing line. They have pretty good designs at great prices. Sometimes they do crossover designs with others. Since my haversack had been hijacked by bro, I reckoned I get myself another one. And the golfer's cap looks pretty neat too.

Kawaii!!!! This cute chick cake has sweet white red-bean paste in them. It is one of the trademark snack to bring back home for gift (another is Tokyo Bananas). I got this at the airport 1050yen for 9 cute chicks. Only one problem, they are too cute to be eaten ><

Others: Finally checked out what is H&M about in Hong Kong, I think they are pretty "Zara"ish but at a better pricing. Not bad, people looking for an alternative and not found in Singapore brand can check it out when you are in Hong Kong. I got like 3 tops from there.

- Happy Shopper sign off.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lost in Transition - HK

At the time of writing, I had been stuck in Hong Kong airport for 6 hours and 40 minutes (yes, I am still here.). I had arrived in Hong Kong from my Tokyo holiday trip (HEY!) at 1.40PM Hong Kong time, I am connecting via the 8.20PM flight back to Singapore.

Tried to change to the 4PM or the 6.30PM flight, but luck was not with me, both were full and standing by did not pay off. (Snoopy, now I know how you feel - I can't believe you do that every time). The suspense of waiting and finally knowing the results is a draining process. I am not more than a wooden block in a super stoning state.

To make things worse, my original flight was delayed till EST 21.07PM.. (more stoning)

Lucky, I have my notebook with me for some manga reading.

I felt like I am in the movie of Lost in Transition and the other Tom Hanks stuck-in-airport movie....

Someone ping me the movie title if you remembered... too tired....

Hopefully, I can get home fast..

p.s. I can't believe I am working tomorrow. Someone wake me up.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

HK Workshop - Day 2: Central Buzz

After a mind draining morning and physically exhausting afternoon around Hong Kong, it was time to enjoy a great evening - SHOPPING and DINNER @ Central with AL, Ashley, Summer, Estuko.

Heard about the just-came-to-HK-in-2007 H&M store, since Singapore doesn't have it. It was obviously that a visit is needed. Grabbed 3 tops - a s/s shirt for my bro and a tee and l/s shirt for me. Very well priced & pretty good designs too.

After that, more shopping around Central - nothing much for me, I got my stuff - before going to explore Soho for dinner. Too bad AL got a headache (too much shopping) and did not join us for dinner.

Checked out the amazing seemly endless escalators at Mid-levels and chanced upon a great fusion restaurant JASPAS at SOHO (after lots of walking...).

Buzz of Central

Nice Architecture - According to Jaz the shopping guru it sells shoes

AL going ga-ga over a surprise discovery of Botero

I like this shot a lot, caught the moment

JASPAS, Soho, Central - Fusion Peking Duck

On company bill :P
(AL see what u are missing!)

Happy & Satisfied People

We looked into this kawaii shop

SOHO @ Night

Coffee time!

HK Workshop - Day 2: Amazing Race HK Island

PM Session

This outdoor teambuilding event organised by Marco and Wayne got to be the highlight of the week, it runs like a mini Amazing Race of HK Island. I felt it was vey well planned, I'm pretty sure a lot of time, effort and thoughts were put into it. Thanks Guys!

We are divided into 4 teams, all teams are given the same tasks and 2 hours to complete them. The first team to finish all the tasks wins! Tasks includes find eating local food at famous shops, shopping for some stuff and taking group photos at iconic places. I told it you right? Mini Amazing Race.

My group consist of Jaz, Horst, Summer, Roshini, Michael. Our tag along judge was Wayne.

The tasks were focused around areas of Central, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay.

Everyone was pretty sporting! We learnt some of the hidden gems in HK - i.e. there is actually a street market across the street from Wan Chai - very local feel, gotta check it out when you are there! And also found out that some of out members have hidden talents - the gals are really good in shopping tasks!

It is really a pity that we came in second.... lost by just a few minutes! It got to be the time in each we were stucked in IFC.

Since I am leaving the group early for my Japan trip, I went around to have my photo party with everyone! Great to see you guys, cya in SG soon!

Here are some photos:

Task 1 - Cookie from Queen's Cake (Causeway Bay) Completed

Task 2 - Group Photo @ IFC - Flag Banners are a must (Central) Completed

Task 3 - Group Photo @ a classic breakup place of HK dramas (Central) Completed

Task 4 - Shopping @ Wan Chai Completed
(Hidden Talent Discovered - Fast Accurate Shopping)

Famous HK Cafe, Pheonix Cafe @ Wan Chai for chicken pie @ Wan Chai
(chk out the queue - the friendly people for letting us cut the queue)

DING DONG - Last task completed by Michael, Jaz & Horst (I like this photo a lot)

MTR (HK's subway) and walking were the only 2 approved mode of transport

THE Team! Okie we were the runner ups.
(From Left Clockwise: Michael, Horst, L., Wayne, Summer, Roshini, Jaz)

Winning Team with their prizes - I suspect it was because Marco gave too much hints :P

All others get a consolation prize - good old traditional "Good Morning" towel!

Photo Party!: (Left Clockwise) L., Horst, Estuko, Summer

Marco, L., Wayne

Chris, L.

HK Workshop - Day 2: Towards Enterprise2.0

Okie, I got lazy of writing the blog, so for this entry (and the next few ones) I use a few words and many pictures (Hey, a picture says a thousand words right?)

Today is my session , I had the whole AM session and into afternoon it is around teambuilding and mini version of Amazing Race in Hong Kong island.

AM Session

Back to my session, I teamed up with and a HK colleague (Learning&Training Dept), Alex, to run this session. Me with my nerdy technical background and knowledge of the web, Alex with his innovation thinking sessions. Since we will like the group to take ownership of the projects, we decided to let them do the thinking (hey, works for me too! ^^).

Goes like this:
  • L. intro sessions objective and brief on Web2.0 and Enterprise2.0 ideas and tools
  • A. run some game to get everyone's brain juice pumping
  • Short Break
  • L. show Youtube video "Did you know" to emphasize on the need to change & some discussion topics
  • A. runs briefing of "Bold Step Vision" and "Bold Step Plan"
  • Groups work on Game Plan and Bold Steps
  • Short Break
  • Group Presentation

Alex running the innovation session

Summer and Roshini taking a break

"Did You Video" - stats from US Gov

Brainstorming Time

The Bold Step Vision

Working on Bold Step Plan

Presentation Time

The session was okie. But I felt that the focus had been brought too high level and not all of my objectives had been met.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

HK Workshop - Day 1: Work & Seafood

The day of work finally started (well actually, it started yesterday for me), I woke up super early in the morning was down at the cafe @ 7.20AM. It is strange to find no one there, so I just enjoy the peace, having an international breakfast (with a lot of Hong Kong focus) looking out at people doing taichi in the park across. This have a surprising mind calm effect, how long had it been since we last have some time to ourselves, having breakfast at our pace without any distractions. Great start to the morning. ^^ (I later found out that breakfast was catered for in the meeting room - but it was crappy - lucky me!)

The morning session was pretty boring with discussion over mandate stuff. A lot of time was wasted on topics, which I thought could be better prepared and views solicated before the session. To be frank, I think the session generated more questions than the ones it answered. :P

The PM session was a working session on Risk Acceptance Managemet - I was grouped together with my boss ==; Some people are havin problems differentiating between Risk Acceptence and Risk Prevention. I guess that's normal most people see risk management as prevention. But hey the good thing about it, we do get some good ideas on both Risk Acceptance and Prevention.

Now for the most interesting part of the day - GROUP DINNER! We got on a chartered bus and went off to some where off town for HK-styled seafood (the area is 鯉魚門).The by-the-river place has a rustic feel to it with boats on the water, the scene if further enchanted by the beautiful sunset. Led by Chris, we went into the alleys of old shophouses consisting of both shops that sells fresh seafood (yes, I meant it literally, FRESH and ALIVE) and seafood restaurants. The setup in this small village is unique from other seafood places I had been to, here, the restaurants only cooks the dishes, they do not sell seafood. You will to select and buy the seafood from one of the many shops around. The variety available is just mind bogging - from normal snappers to giant lobsters to simply alien looking "pissing prawn". Once you selected your choice of seafood, the store owner will send to the restaurant where you are will be dining for it to be cooked. Cool yeah? It is surely quite an experience, I have a great time checking the different marine creatures around the market out. Ooohh... and the food, it is great too! (btw, the name of our restaurant is 龙门) Fresh without a doubt and tastely too, a different of cooking to the seafood we have in Singapore. Which is better? Each has its plus points.

鯉魚門: The Seafood Village

鯉魚門: Boats & River

One of the many seafood stores

Seafood! (a sample of the choices available)

Alien looking "Pissing Prawn" - I think it has the back of a clayfish and the body of an insect ><

After dinner, some of the folks where to Kowloon to check out night markets. For me, I am heading back to hotel a happy and satified man.

Monday, March 03, 2008

HK Workshop - Day 0: Off to HK Office

Off to Hong Kong for my department's regional engagement workshop on the 4th Mar 08, I was tasked to hold a session on Enterprise2.0 and draft out a roadmap for its implementation to increase awareness of Web2.0 and improve knowledge sharing. This trip was pretty last minute, I was alerted less than 2 weeks before, it clashed with my planned Japan trip with Snoopy, lucky we were able to work things out eventually ^^V

Okie, back to the HK trip - Left darn early in the morning for the airport (hey I am taking off T3 for the first time!), thinking that it is not peak hour (6.30AM), I could probably get a cab easily from my place. Man, I was so so so wrong - I waited like ages, in the end up calling for a cab (even that is not an easy task - no cabs, lines engaged), I finally got my ride 30min later. I noticed that by 7AM (start of peak surcharge), there were tonnes of cab coming out. I seriously think there is some wrong with our taxi system here, hopefully our well paid, newly appointed Transport Minister will do something constructive about this real problem and not coming up with silly rules like no stop by the roads in the city (if you are reading this - it had been proven time and time again that raise fees DOES NOT solve the problem!)

I was on the same flight as JY, AL and Starris. I caught a movie onboard - Juno - an Oscar nominated film. Very interesting and funny, but since Miss Juno have a smart-ass mouth, you will to be pretty good in English slangs to catch their jokes.

Once we are at HK airport, I was pleasantly surprised to see Summer waiting for us there, she was on a earlier flight from Korea. Too bad, not much chance to catch up with her, I need to rush to the HK office to attend some meetings.

So off I go on the HK cab to what will become one of my most expensive cab rides to date - HKD400! (the rest of the folks took an airport shuttle to the hotel) Well to be fair the office had been relocated to, Tai Koo, an off city area which was much further than before. The new office is a huge shopping city, I think it is easily bigger then Suntec!

Anyway, meetings went okie. Actually one was very fruitful, glad to know we have understanding people around the company.

Met up with Marco and Wayne from HK team for dinner, my first meeting with Wayne, I always get this "OOhh-so-u-are-the-person-in-the-email" everytime. In this digital world, you are so used to dealing with faceless people behind the email, that you forgot how a really good face-to-face meetings are.

Marco and Wayne are wonderful and funny gang to hang out with. We went back to Park Lane Hotel in Causeway Bay to check-in and off we go to explore the area. With them leading me through the small lanes and turns, I find myself at a loss of direction and finding HK streets very complex.

We decided to catch up on work-talks and other misc crap over dinner and ended up in one of the well known, long established place, Tai Ping Koon Restaurant, that serves Hong Kong styled western food. Their star dishes are Swiss-sauce Chicken Wings and "Soffie". The Chicken Wings tasted like my mom's stew chicken wing, not so special to me. But "Soffie" is something special - we ordered and was told we need to wait for 30mins since it is freshly baked. The wait was well worth it, I have never seen or tasted a dessert quite like it, it looks like a GIANT muffin but when you dig your spoons in, it is so soft - like cotton candy. It has this slight sweet egg-pudding taste to it. A must try for people going to Hong Kong.

Wayne, Marco and "Soffie"

Then it is time for us to call it a day - I still have a very early workshop the next day.