Sunday, 12 October 2014

Haw Par Villa - Singapore's Very First Theme Park Of The Bizzare Kind

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Did you know that long before USS (Universal Studios Singapore) arrive upon our shores, we already had Haw Par Villa (previously known as Tiger Balm Gardens). This 77-years old Chinese mythological park was built in 1937, making it Singapore's first, and oldest themed park to date.

Built by Aw Boon Haw for his brother Boon Par, this pair of Burmese brothers arrived in Singapore during the 1920s with their father's secret recipe to the Tiger Balm ointment. Tiger Balm not only make a name for itself in the region but internationally as well.

The park did not started off as the park we see today. Aw Boon Haw had bought the land and built a villa for his younger brother to thank him for helping with the business.

During the second world war, the brothers returned to Burma where Boon Par passed away. When the war ended, Boon Haw returned to Singapore and had the villa demolished. In its place were statues depicting traditional Chinese legends. The finished park was then opened to the public.

The Aw family later sold the site to the STB (Singapore Tourism Board) who took over the management of the park but, unfortunately, failed to retain the crowd.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Life Liberation @ Ulu Tiram, Johor Bahru

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A week after returning from my Malacca trip, my folks and I were once again heading to Johor Bahru with Dad's friend (yes, that same uncle we went to Malacca with).

We are going there to take part in this "Life Liberation" (fangsheng/放生) event where we will be releasing animals into the wild. It is my first time attending such an event and as a Buddhist, while I applaud the cause, I am at the same time thrown into a dilemma.

I believe the purpose of liberation is to rescue animals from a live and death situation (eg, live animals saved from being slaughtered for food) but, what if the animals (eg. birds/fish) are intentionally captured/trapped from the wild for the sole purpose of selling to us to free them, then what is the point?

UPDATE: This is exactly what I meant but unable to summarize in a few words!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

2D1N Malacca Trip - Hang Tuah Well, Jonker Walk, Chicken Rice Balls, Christ Church, Klebang Coconut Shake, Peranakan Dinner & No Toilet Bowls!

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I went for a two days and one night weekend getaway to Malacca (马六甲) with Dad and his friends two weekends ago. To be precise, it was his friend and this friend's other friends.

We woke up super early that morning to meet up with his friend (and this friend's other friends) then, we board a chartered coach heading for the customs.

Malacca (a UNESCO World Heritage site) is a few hours drive away from Singapore and thankfully, I managed to catch some much deprived sleep. Along the way, we stopped for breakfast at Gelang Patah before continuing our journey towards our first destination - the Hang Tuah well.

Friday, 19 September 2014

添发云吞面 Tian Fa Wanton Mee @ Keat Hong Shopping Centre

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I am at Keat Hong Shopping Centre (actually it is more of a wet market) because I heard that there is a nice Wanton Mee on the second floor. There are two coffee shops on the second level and the Wanton Mee which I am looking for is located at the coffee shop called 85° Cafe.

The Wanton Mee stall only have a chinese name called 添发卤面云吞面. As its name implies, the stall sells Lor Mee and Wanton Mee.

I had the Wanton Mee.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Tokyu Hands Arrived In West Gate Singapore!

Tokyu Hands (東急ハンズ) has recently opened a new store in Singapore - its first outlet in Southeast Asia - earlier this month.

This Japanese lifestyle store sells such a wide variety of merchandise that you can call it a part hardware, part hobby, part kitchen, part gift and stationery store all in one.

Seeing some excitement from friends about its arrival, I decided to check it out to see what was the commotion all about.

From what I found out, Tokyu Hands is a multi-level shopping paradise in Japan but the store here is located in a 7,500 sq ft store on the first floor of West Gate Mall in Jurong East.

Actually, it reminded me of Daiso but a more upmarket one (read: EXPENSIVE).

Monday, 15 September 2014

威记面家 Wei Ji Noodle House Wanton Mee @ Chinatown Complex

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Sick of having the same old usuals at Chinatown Complex, I walked around the food centre, hoping to uncover something new for lunch when I stumbled upon Wei Ji Noodle House (威记面家).

Hidden at a inconspicuous part of the complex, business is sluggish - or at least that's what it appears to be - when I was there just before noon. This is a striking contrast to the other stalls just round the corner.

Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try and ordered myself a plate of Wanton Mee.

The person taking my order is quite aloof who made no effort to take my order even though I was standing there in front of the stall for a good whole minute.

I had to take the initiative to call out to him what I wanted. Even then, there was no communication between us during the entire transaction as I am the only one doing all the talking.

I wonder is that part of the reason for the lack of business?

Monday, 1 September 2014

鯛パフェ Tai-Parfait @ Bugis Junction

Last month, I was passing by Bugis Junction (the truth is, I was there to borrow the toilet) when I realized the basement is undergoing renovations.

While walking around, I learned that some of the new F&B tenants are Boost Juice, Yellow Submarine, Bear Bites, Tai-Parfait, etc.

Among those, what caught my attention was Tai-Parfait, a Japanese-concept store selling fusion dessert which combines Taiyaki with Parfait.

That is why, I am back a few days ago, to try the Taiyaki which is a traditional fish-shaped pancake from Japan filled with a sweet filling (usually Azuki) on the inside.

At Tai-Parfait, the Taiyaki filling options are Azuki, Matcha, Custard Cream and Chocolate. The Taiyaki is shaped like a fish with a gaping mouth where your preferred Parfait ingredients goes in.

You can buy the Taiyaki as it is without the Parfait portion (SGD2.20/pc) which includes ingredients like fruits, matcha and soft-serve ice cream.