Friday, March 30, 2012

Counting down to my flight to Lisbon and Marrakech, Morocco!

Havent packed, havent googled, havent plan much. Such a lazy traveler...
Still, looking forward to the trip!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Just when I thought the conversation about his mum's death was over, 2 days later my ex decided to text me to continue (note, not continue off) the watsapp thread we had. Now, let me see how did the last conversation ended? Well, it went like

Ex: I think I will move back once I sell my biz here in China.Been telling my mum everyyear I will be moving back but now she's gone. It's too late.
Me: At least you can still keep your dad company. Not too late for that. You should be looking fwd to moving back then.
Ex: Yeah.

So with that, I didnt think there was much more to say and I left it at that and went back to mugging my Jap.

Then today he decided to start the conversation again out of nowhere

Ex: I guess I have been away too long. Dont miss much.

Took me a while to recall where that line come back and had to scoll back. Honestly, didnt really want to continue the chat. Have better things to do like studying for my Jap test. Still, felt a little obliged to reply so I kinda did a quick reply.

Me: Well, I dont miss the place SG persay since I like living in HK alot. However, it's the people that you will miss, the little things you will regret like missing out on spending time with your frens & family, personally I regret not seeing my nephews growing up. I have basically missed their entire childhood and that's something I think I will sorely miss since I will never have another chance with that. So, yeah, maybe its good for you to create more memories with your family back in SG before you completely miss the chance of making up for lost time.

Ex: Yeah true. I am just glad I made it back in time for my mum before she died. Maybe I should have moved back earlier.

Me: Yeah that's good. Well, at least u are there. For me, I hope to spend more time with my mum. Then again, it will always be a balancing act for me since my husband will also like to spend more time with his parents when they get older. So I guess we just have to shuttle between SG and Australia more in the future. But I guess it's easier since I dont have kids to worry about.

Ex: Oo Australia is far. Tough.

Me: Yeah.

Ex: Did I tell u my grandma died? 

Me: Yeah

Ex: I am waiting for my daughter to drop. Like literally. waiting for her to be born now.

Me: in SG?

Ex: Guangzhou. Private hospital

Me: Oh! 

Ex: Last time only took 30mins for my son, this time more difficult birth.

This is the time when I think to myself, I really dont need the details. I really dont have to know if your wife, the bf stealer, is having a tough labor or not.

Really dont want to continue this thread. Honestly, I dont even know why he is sharing this moment with me. Go call your sister or father or something. Damn...why do I always somehow walk into a situation where I rather not be at.However, courtesy got the better of me and so after 5mins of silence, I decided to reply

Me: Your daughter is just doing the princessly arrival. They will be fine.

Ex: Did I tell you my sister 2 boys? 

Great...more details...let's get it done and over with.

Me: Nope didnt know Sharon had kids. Great. Your parents must be happy.

Ex: Show you the pixs.

Next thing I know, my hp got flooded with tons of his family pictures, his parents, Sharon's kids etc.
Awww man!!! At least he has the decency to not send me any of his wife.

Ex: Just few weeks ago, I was watching my mum die. Now I am waiting for a new born life to begin.

No answer to that one.
Anycase, I just quickly glanced thru the pictures and what stunned me the most was how much his parents had aged over the 12 years since I last saw them. Ghee-es! His dad had practically shriveled into this small fragile old man. Shock was an understatement. Suddenly, looking at his parents shots, I really missed my mum. A little worried too?

It's not that I dont know she is getting old. However, knowing is different from feeling. The brain is somehow disconnected with the heart sometimes. Looking at someone's else parents looking old is scary. It's like a reality jolt like "How much more time I will get to spend with my mum before her health deteriorate? What other things I think she want to do?" Arrrggghhhh...

When I was wondering about it, my ex told me the baby had arrived. He was still sending me pixs until I told him he should go keep his wife and new born company. He didnt get the hint. Finally, he sent me his baby girl's photo.

Didnt know what to say. Canx say she is cute. New newborn are never cute. They just look like any other baby. So just said congrats, now he has somehow to celebrate birthday together with in March being few days apart and told him to GO.

Think he finally got the idea.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A little shocking news

Was a little shocked a while ago. My ex just told me his mum passed away last week.

Even though I had never liked her in the years we were together and she was a real mean bitch to me, yet, I didnt expect myself to be surprised at the news of her death, but I was. Maybe coz my mum and in laws are still relatively healthy and I still havent reach the stage of thinking of anyone's parents passing.

I think back about those long years I knew her, or rather barely knew her, I couldnt think of anything nice about her. She was always snotty, grumpy and always silent. The only times she said anything was to her husband. I told him I was sorry to hear about her passing but I cannot truly say I felt any loss, unlike the passing of his grandmother several years ago coz the lady was nice to me.

His mum wasnt that old really but apparently she had acute liver failure and he told me she had to struggle 8 days before her passing.

Such is never know when God decides to take you back to his side.

We chatted abit more, about his plans to sell his China business and about moving back to SG. He was abit down that he didnt get to do it in time to spend more time with his mum. Never knew he was that close to his mum, but that was decades ago. I dont even know the him now. He's different. Hard to put a finger to what is different, just not the sort of person I thought he will become. Maybe that's why destiny had us go separate ways for a reason.

Anyway, with his mum gone, makes me want to go back home and spend more time with my mum. Life is so short. By the time someone leaves u for good, it will be too late to regret not spending enough time with them. We can lament about not having enough time, or who irritates who, but really, you will wish u still get to argue with them than not having a chance to.

Hourly rate in HK

How much is the hourly rate in Singapore say in a food cafe? I just found out in Hk, you are paid about HK$40/hour with meals provided.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

An interesting day out on and about...

The problem with buying some of the Suunto watches is that it is a bloody pain in the arse to get the thing fixed, such as changing the battery.

Apparently Suunto watches comes in the Diving range and the sports range, which are serviced by 2 different set of authorised people. I didnt know that of course until today when I went to Pro Dive shop @ Wanchai (127 Lockhart road) and the very nice lady there told me.

It was driving me mad, having to run to various places looking to get get it fixed. The lady at Pro Dive was very very helpful and offered to check where I can bring it to get it fixed. She got the number and allowed me to use her landline to make the call. Finally when I got through, she took down the address and whipped out her street directory to try to help me locate the new at Kwun Tong.

Her service level despite me not being a customer was amazing. I felt so taken care of and honestly, grateful is understatement. In the midst of all that, the shop had 2 bulldogs strolling around. For some reason, they decided that they like me alot after a quick sniff and hung around me. Being a dog lover, I naturally give them a good pat. The bigger bulldog didnt want to share my affection and bullied the smaller dog away. So I stopped. It's either both or nothing. So the big fellow realised that he wasnt gonna get any more scratchies and lumbered away. The smaller fellow was still next to me and as I started to scratch his top, he decided he liked me enough to plonk himself down and flip over for me to scratch his belly! Talk about not being shy!! I just knew you barely 2mins buddy! Lol! he looked so contented that I hate to stop.

After like 15mins or so, I was finally set to leave. However, being a scuba dive and snorkel shop, I decided to do a quick browse. To my amazement, they were selling rashies for Hk50!!! What a freaking steal!!! I tried a couple and finally bought the Roxy rashie since it was the only one right for me.  The shop had a good range of diving suits, gears and accessories. I didnt realise they had such a good stock here! Would have bought it here instead of Australia if I had known...

So from Wanchai, I headed down to Kwun Tong.
I havent been there since 2006, not since my last job required the shop visit for our brand new cosmetic flagship store then @apm (which is closed now!)

However, the place i was heading to was not APM, it was some factory like building at Lu plaza at Wing Yip street. When I got there, I realised it was the service center for Victorinox. So they serviced Suunto watches here as well.

While waiting, this old HK guy in his 50s or 60s asked to have his watch strap replaced. The whole conversation was in cantonese of course but I will narrate it in English.

"How much is it to change it to a leather strap?" He asked
"Sorry, this model does not come with a leather strap, only the plastic strap" the service lady politely replied.
"No, this HAS a leather strap. I am sure." He said.

The service lady politely asked him to wait as she consult the repair tech at the back. She came back and again politely replied to the customer "I'm sorry but the tech confirmed this model do not come with a leather strap."

Now, one can tell the old guy was annoyed but he didnt have to shout or be unpleasant. However what he said in a long drawn tone that mirrored someone trying to be patient. He goes :"I am telling you this watch comes with a leather strap. I own this watch for years, would I not know my own watch model? If you dont have stock, or you stop carrying the strap, please just say so and I wont argue with you, but PLEASE do NOT try to correct me that this model do not have leather strap when I am telling you it does."

The lady seeing him so adamant, went to check the catalogue. It turned out that the old chap was right! The watch did come with a leather strap, just that HK itself didnt carry the leather strap for the model. The lady apologised politely, and the old guy also didnt persist on or become smug. He merely accepted he was right all along, that needed no further attention to the point made.

What I had wanted to point out here was simple - good attitude on both ends.
The guy could have raised his voice being irate at being right but told he was wrong, or the lady could have just ignored him rather than proactively went to check the catalogue. And when it turned out the customer was right, he didnt try to shame her or make her feel inadequate. If only all transactions could be done this way, without having to test the patience of both parties.

After a good 45mins wait, I could leave with both my watches. As I walked towards APM, I found myself in a completely different environment from Causeway bay. Indeed, people smoked here along the streets at every corner which is very infrequent at Causeway bay where I lived. I dont recall having to evade much smokers or having to hold my breadth much here but obviously over here in Kwun Tong, the more industrial estate, its a different kind of HK scene here. I had to chuckle when I walked past this building under renovation and the workers were blasting the ABBA song "Money money money". Quite funny...

In APM, I headed off for a late lunch at 4pm. Went to Menya Musashi for pork belly ramen. It was quite decent actually. Again, I have to point out the attentive service. You see, I walked in with my scarf round my neck. When I was shown to the counter seat, I was about to take the one nearest to me when the serving staff paused and asked me while offering the other seat closer to him, "Do you want this seat instead because it will be less cold. I see that you have your scarf on, so you may not like that seat so much." I was impressed at his consideration of course and took his offer. I was about to move my heavy backpack from the other chair to the floor after I settled down but he told me I didnt have to since the place wasnt busy. Nice!

While wondering what to eat, I asked him what was the different between the "white" and "black" soup option. He recommended the white and I went along with it. While waiting, he came over to tell me the bowl that the chef was cooking was mine and it will be ready soon. After I finished my meal, he also came over to inquired how was my meal and if the "white" base soup was to my liking afterall. It's all those little touches and consideration that really makes me appreciate the top notch service level here as compared to Singapore. Maybe Singapore should start hiring more HK people in our retail sector rather than mainlanders and whatever non local. Afterall, these HK people seemed better trained...

After lunch, I headed off to Taiko Shing to buy dinner. I havent been to Xiyan for a long while. When I got out of Taikoo station, I realised I didnt have their address. LUCKILY for me, nowadays, selected HK MTR seemed to have free internet stations installed before you exit the gantry. So I went over and googled the address. How perfectly convenient!!! Do Singapore have this free internet kiosk in our MRT station? i dont think so right? See, another reason where public service in HK is ahead of Singapore.

At Taikoo Shing, it's like I am transported to another different part of HK. The place here was rather serene, and quiet and very neighbourly. It kind of reminded me of Singapore estate in the 1980s before all the gigantic facelift and overhaul. It has a sense of close community to it. I really like it here and I actually felt relaxed here in the middle of HK. The birds were chirping. yes. indeed. the birds. I realised too there is a new hotel EAST which I havent noticed before.

I board the train and headed back to Causeway bay. Transported back to the most crowded city on HK isl with tons of human traffic on the road. I guess I traded the tranquility for the convenience and constant changing of shop offerings:) I didnt mind since living here, accessibility is utmost importance to me.

Yet, my little "excursion" today truly reaffirm what I suspected for a while, that different parts of HK  has different set of people, behavior, dressing, culture and lifestyle. Unlike Singapore where people in the North, West and East do not differ much, I see a pretty drastic different between Kwun Tong, Taikoo and Causeway Bay alone, and I;m not even talking about dressing. Interesting. perhaps that is why my fren living in Hon Hum hated living in HK and bitching about it, while I am totally happy and seeing thing differently while living in Causeway bay. Maybe I am surrounded by the affluent HK people living here from expats to local, so the "behavior" is somewhat less Hong Kongish?

Sun Xu saga, published in HK media.

Saw this article in the papers, guess even Hong Kong people now know we have an ingrate China dude  Sun Xu who blasted Singaporeans as dogs. Well, obviously they didnt followup on his online swearing that we are cunts as well and that he was ready t whatever o brandish a knife to stab anyone who dare to challenge him. However, I loved how the article reminds those chinese that so call "culture" they had, were ALL DESTROYED during their cultural revolution years.

Unlike some big shot old Singapore "lawyer-author" who had the cheek to comment on our ancestors condescendingly as poor uneducated coolies migrating to South Asia to seek a better life in his published book, while praising the almighty brains remaining in China, yet I beg to differ.  True, we are the descendants of manual labourers, merchants etc but we ARE the offspring of the brave, worthy and charitable. Our forefather may be poor, but without their wits and entrepreneurship, they would prob have found it hard to survive, not to mention raising their kids, leading to us now. Our forefathers, they had the right spirit, backbone and courage and not wimpy to stay behind, shamelessly waiting for others to send money back to Feed the whole village all these years even up to 1980s. I know because my father, my father in laws were still sending money for their education etc, buying white goods to the people back in China.

More importantly, the author seemed to have forgotten that it is not the "education or wealth status" that make the mark of a man. It is the intrinsic character such as integrity, honor, and backbone that makes a great man, which applies to many of our forefathers who banked on the shores many decades ago. Sure, having a good education is a boon for a good man, but those isnt everything. Do I want smart, calculative, selfish neighbors who would be first to stab me behind my back, or in my face or would I prefer honest, caring, integrating but maybe not the most brillant mind nor living next to me? The answer is pretty obvious isnt it? We want people who are rich in character, not just someone intelligent to replace us.

People seemed to forget. Those great intellects in China during the Cultural Revolution were no doubt either being sent to corrective labor, killed or they had escaped the country to Taiwan or other countries as far as Brazil as one of my Taiwanese fren's relative had. My relatives in China back then, as I was told, the family of farmers told on their relatives who were teachers so as to gain some "monetary" reward. The poor couple had to do corrective labor for many years...So imagine, if in those days, even your relatives will betray you, what sort of people are left in China after that is unthinkable, esp being left poor for so long that the sudden leap to modernization left many blatantly obnoxious in the face of wealth.

Most of the Chinese culture are thankfully left intact, thanks to us, outside of China. So China should be telling us THANK U for retaining the culture, and stop bragging about your non existent thousand years of culture. Books for burned in case one had forgotten. Plus if China is that great, most of our ancestors wont have left.

The China people shouldnt be insulting us, for the longest time, Chinese people by race out of China have been supporting and caring for people in China when they were still poor and underdeveloped decades back, hundred year back. So it gives them, the Chinese nationals no rights at all for any to insult us at all, regardless if you are on scholarship or not. Please do not become obnoxious just because your country is a rising power. Which translate, do not become the bully. It is sorely unbecoming. So what if your mandarin prowess is greater than ours, so what if your sense of poetry is more acute than ours, so what if you can spew more chinese idioms than us? So what if you can play all those chinese instruments better than us? It means nothing at all if you are ungrateful, manipulative, and opportunistic at the expense of the people who offered you a silver lining or a dream.

Back to the itchy fingers Sun Xu, do I expect any demerits or actions taken against this chap by NUS? In all honesty, no. These so call people in charge wont rock the boat nor ruffled the feathers of the apparent national on-going policy of all out china import. I dont think there's a need to revoke his scholarship but some sort of penalty such as repaying the course fee for 2 semesters would be really nice. One semester for each nasty thing he said. It would be at least a proper punishment for someone that is biting the hand that feed. Even my husband who is not a true blue Singaporean was sorely appalled and disgusted by the behaviour of this so call scholar. He asked me, why is the singapore govt spending so much money on these foreigners who obviously will never treat Sg as their real or final home? Esp with China growing economically, who will abandon their own "motherland" when they think China is the now the oriental land of dreams? Chinese people are pragmatic people. They go where the pot of gold is, and Singapore definitely is no longer the most sought after place to rest their anchor. It is prob the best spring board to other bigger nations but it will not be the final resting place for many well heeled, educated Chinese nationals. So if we just need labor force to ram up the GDP, why offer them the PR? If they want to, and proven they had contribute enough to the economy, only then should we consider their application. (You get why Australia made it sooo hard? It makes it all the more precious of course.)

Perhaps that is also why Singapore govt is importing so many "blue collar" Chinese nationals and offering them PR. For it is not the rich that will stay on, it is the "poorer" ones who really wants to better the lives of their children that will try to make it a home here in SG for them. People who are the hawkers and cleaners and what have you are the ones who will have children integrate here, esp the ones born here. It's not the good brains, (I wont say best because China will NEVER let their best out of their country to embrace another) that will stay in Singapore.  Just like any well heeled professional Singaporeans that are working and residing overseas, if they are not sick of the political scene back in Sg, they probably will like to head back someday too. At least that is what I would like to do someday too. So I really dont get these no strings attached scholarship that the govt are dishing out freely, accompanied by the PR forms so readily.

Personally, I have no issue with scholarship with bonds, but completely free with no strings attached is like helping China trained and feed their kids for free. I had about 7 Asean scholars in my class back in Secondary days, and not one, NOT ONE of them stayed on in Singapore to work or to stay as citizens. They had all moved on to other western nations or returned to Malaysia. I have nothing against them at all though and I still stayed in touch with one. Did they raise the bar in class? No not really. We were all still studying on our own speed. The scholars were actually competing secretly amongst themselves and not with us the local kids actually. The fact they are all older than us means they are much more mature and "wiser" than us, esp in the studying department. Did we learn anything from them, despite our harmonious relationships, not really unless you consider tibits of their courtship life in hostel as something worthy of knowing.

Fast forward to NTU years. Do we have Chinese scholars amongst us, yes amongst us in the hostel. Do we like them, my answer is frankly NO for the Chinese living on our floor, and also in our block.

They are anti social, band amongst themselves as if we are outsiders, they never participate in any of the activities or even simple social (food/movies) events that is less than an hour. They would rather stick to themselves in their rooms, talking in Mandarin. It isnt that we didnt try to include them but rather, they were out to exclude us from their circle. In fact, the Chinese gal living next to us had her Malaysian roommate up in arms because the Chinese refused to clean her hostel room. It got really disgusting because you can see the floor clearly black and white in half. My Malaysian neighbor even complained of the stench from the chinese gal because she doesnt bathe during her period and weeks leading up to exams, she smelled fishy. Her side of the window was all blacked out from dirt, and you can see all the instant noodles overflowing from her basket without a care. She didnt care what we think either. She didnt need friends. She didnt see the need to integrate. She was just here to milk the system. In fact, I still rem clearly that some gal actually shitted on the floor in the shower area and the cleaners was shocked. We were shocked! This is definitely not the behaviour of any Singaporean, nor Malaysian. The only other foreign national was the chinese gal in our block, on our floor....Did we kick up a stinker and confront her, no we didnt. We were just disgusted and let it slide and left a notice on the door on "acceptable toilet behavior". If we are so xenophobic as some like to put it, funny how we got along beautifully with our other foreign friends, just not those from China who seem to think of us as ....? And all these was in 1995. Even then, they were so unpopular but less arrogant, haughty and frankly they wont be openly condescending for sure as those now.

The following year, I had myself a Malaysian room mate, we lived together beautifully. No kinks, no problems. She stayed on and continued working in Singapore, contributing to our economy. Oh, she wasnt paid to study here. She PAID to study here and she stayed on. So you see, you dont need to pay people to come here to study to make them stay on. If they truly liked it here, they dont need Singapore govt to entice them here. They will come. However, when you make it sooo easy for them to come, to be given PR status so readily, then they wont cherish it as they will see it as part and parcel of the deal to come here. They no longer see it as a prize, but just a mean and medium to get to their final destination, which certainly dont seemed to be Singapore these days.

Just look at those Ivy league school or even Australia schools like Monash. People are flocking there, or wants to flock there NOT because the country is dangling free carrots like free scholarship or free PR status. In fact, the school fees for foreign students are pretty high. For the Ivy leagues, the academic institution in itself is so alluring that people will PAY to go there if their grades permit. Australia wise, the country's lifestyle is so alluring that people will also PAY to go there and stay on if they life it. So you see, our govt get it so wrong. You dont get the best minds to come just via monetary bait. You get the best minds by creating an environment that is so irresistible that people are drawn here on their own like moths to the flame. And when these people come because of their OWN accord with no promises or treats, they will come with humility, respect and willingness to integrate.

The problem with Singapore varsities is their unwillingness to be transparent and open like those Ivy league. Maybe it is time for them, all the schools to publish annual reports on the student cohort statistics. Ivy leagues have set a portion of their cohort for foreign students and no one there begrudge the foreigners. They have a proper set of statistics put out there for all to see such as "the ratio of foreign students vs locals,", the ratio of scholarships of foreigners vs locals", "the % of those on finanical aid" etc etc. All these information served to keep a tight leash on the board of not over indulging themselves on foreign students fee, and keep speculation and resentment down to a minimal over the number of placements going to foreigners. I dont see why Singapore schools cannot do the same, rather than just broadcasting a "national" overall figure of foreigners in Singapore/ in Singapore schools.

Wong Fei Hong's martial school, anyone?

The thing about taxi drivers, is that when you meet a nice one, they are often pretty interesting people to chat with.

Just like this cab driver who was friendly enough to start chitchatting with me, he told me his is a disciple of Wong Fei Hon's grandchild! Oh wow! I didnt even know they had a school like that. I shouldnt be too surprise but I was when he said even those international schools will invite them to conduct classes for the students! How cool is that!

I grabbed the namecard off him so that I can do a shout out for anyone interested in learning some martial arts! lol!

Another year passed, another year wiser

Despite being far from my usual friends in Singapore, I am blessed enough to still receive some presents and dinner treats for Birthday this year from my Hong Kong frens, and a card. Sad huh, one card...

Sure, I had gotten alot of Facebook, and sms birthday greetings but I cannot keep those can I?  It's just plain sad that with technology advancement, it had gotten rid of the simple sweet gesture. Why do people not send cards anymore? So I should count myself lucky that at least one fren still gave me one. Hahaha!

I think once you pass some age, one just stopped counting how old one gets. I think mine stopped at 27yr old. Yeah, that's when I felt ancient enough to stop counting. When people asked me how old I am now, I paused to think. I really had forgotten. The numbers had no bearing on me for now, well until the 40 comes round, which isnt too far away so I was told...scary! Will I still be the same, silly, crazy, and whatever that I am now? 

Noticed alot of my friends had changed, esp those with kids. Nothing wrong with that except they just seemed all grown up. The guys hadnt changed too drastically in all honesty, still the same playful lot but the ladies...hmmm...they just I dont morphed into another being. It's nothing bad, it's just like suddenly they seemed to be plucked from the same world as I am in, and transported and undergone some alien transformation and turned out different. All serious, and singularly focused on only one thing -kids. I mean its not just the mentality, its the looks as well. At least half of them just looked...matured suddenly. Do child bearing really alter the hormones and mindset so much? Dear lord....I cannot imagine the rest of my life tethered to one singular being. Even after marriage, I cannot stand losing my privacy, how does having a kid not conflict with that string desire to be alone at times? I guess they are mutually exclusive, at least for their growing years huh. Then again, as all well meaning frens will tell me, "You will change when u have one". Sure, that's what they say to me when I got married but I havent change one bit. I still dont check my phone the whole time I hang out with my friend. I still dont "report" my whereabouts regardless. I still dont share my password to any of my accounts nor have open access with each other's account. Mine is mine and his is his. Is that so strange? 

I asked my husband if it was just me being odd ball, and getting all crazy in the head but no, he seemed to notice the same thing. He was lamenting how all his female frens seemed to be so kid obssessed too and plastered every living detail of their kids on FB every available min. It was driving him insane and he had to secretly opt to hide their post so that he can get a break from more "My kids are so cute" pixs. Sure, we share your delight in your kids, and some of the silly stuff they do, but I cannot imagine either of us being so absorbed. Does that mean we are naturally bad parents to be? So maybe its a good thing we are not.  I asked him will we ever want to change the way we are? We stared at each other and went "nooooooooooo" like 2 kids being told Santa was a fraud. Maybe that's why its hard to imagine us as parents, because basically, we are still 2 big kids ourselves, or as we were repeatedly told by our parents, and sales people who often laughed at our banters. 

I rem having a conversation with a friend, not a close fren, just somesome I knew over the years through friendster back then and we somehow clicked and met up. She asked me "dont you want to leave a piece of yourself after you are gone?" refering to having kids. I told her I didnt see the need to. I mean when I am gone, I am gone from this world right? Why do I need to leave any piece of myself behind? I mean, if I really want kids, I can adopt right? Plenty of poor orphaned kids out there that can do with a good family. I am seriously toying with that idea. However, her response was "but you cannot possibly love another as much as your own." Now, that is stupid. really stupid thing to say. I told her I disagree. My mum used to babysit a kid since she was 1 month old and I loved her with all my heart and was totally heartbroken when she left us at 1year old. There is nothing to say that you cannot love someone just because they are not blood related. If that is so, hello, how can you say you love your husband as much as your own family? Wont that be self contradictory? Of course I didnt say that to her. I just shrugged it off and told her I disagree and left it as that. 

Back home, i repeated the story to my husband. He was equally appalled by the idea that you cannot love an adopted child as much as your own because you aint blood linked. he thought she was being egoistic. I mean, love is unconditional, which is why we can love other people and animals like dogs wholeheartedly, not to mention someone whom you live with, care for, and share your bread with.

Meanwhile, another year had galloped past me and soon, hopefully my life will always remain such a great life, thanks to my very hard working doting husband. 

Cakes Review: Tony Wong Patisserie & Cheesess

For my birthday, one of my Jap classmate decided to treat me to lunch and this dessert place, known as Tony Wong Patisserie located at Wan Chai, some short walking distance from Causeway bay.

What greeted me at the window display were these 2 cute adorable cakes! 

Rose cake

I opted for the NY cheesecake while my fren had the Mango cake. It was good, but the mango cake reminded me of Lei garden restaurant mango pudding. Lol!

That night, still craving for more cake, I decided to try this new cake shop near my home. It's called Cheesess, which replaced the former "Awfully Chocolate" store  (originating from Sg) which folded. Not sure if it was the legal tussle or just bad business from average choc cake, but I heard its from the same boss Regina.

OMG, I have to say the NY cheese cake was really good though it wasnt cheap. For a small round cake, its about HK138 for small size. Still, worth every bite! I love it! Definitely going to try it again! I would highly recommend this place!!! They have a few flavors like Earl Grey, Kyoto raspberry flavour etc but I just like my good old NY cake, though i wonder how Kyoto white cheesecake will taste like. 

To read more and see other pixs (in chinese), click here

尖沙咀彌敦道100號The ONE Kiosk 1 四樓
電話:2530 0050

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Please dont give your partner a "makeover" in public!

Back to dinner at Mango Tree.

As we had to wait a long time on a packed Sunday night, I had plenty of time to scan around me and check out the diners in the same joint.

What caught my eyes were this pair of HK couple, aged about 40yr+. We arrived at 7pm, and then they had already long finished their meal presumably and were sipping their pot of tea. When my main came at about 8.30pm, they were STILL hogging the table and sitting there. In fact, they even whip out their papers and were chatting and reading as if it was those Sunday Cha Chang Teng/ local Dim Sum place. I thought they were rather funny, the ability to sit there for over 1.5hour after their meal when they could be doing other stuff elsewhere. I dunno, I just dont think hogging the table when the place is so busy is a good practice. That's just me.

However, what really stunned me was that the woman (gf/wife whatever), proceeded from fiddling his nails, to onslaught of doing a full scale nail clipping for him at the seat! Oh dear lord! I couldnt believe my eyes. She was going all out, body in all angles to try to get the right "clip"! I nudge my husband to take a look and he was equally appalled and astonished that someone who do something like that at a fine dining place.

As usual, we started to make fun of them. As she had a huge pouch sitting on the table, where she had taken the nail clippers out from, we imagined the next course of possible actions. Will she start shaving them with a razor? Or better still, we mockingly laughed that she would get him to lie down on the sofa seat they were at, and she would start digging his ears or something with those ear scoop!

I figured if you are that ballsy to display such inappropriate behavior in public, you are fair game for all stares, open mocking and scrutiny. We must have laughed so hard while looking at their direction , and they prob heard us given the small distance between the tables. The guy quickly and abruptly stood up, wore his overcoat and left. The woman scrambled to keep her stuff and hankered after him. We were still laughing even minutes they had left. I am frankly surprised. I would expect such behavior from someone from China since I had seen aplenty of those on Singapore MRT, but from Hong Kongers, I had expected better especially a couple who seemingly seemed well brought up..oh well, looks are deceiving.

Sorry, I dont think this open "makeover" in public is romantic or display of affections. We are not monkeys where they have no qualms about picking out fleas anywhere, anytime. Dont get me wrong, you can do it behind closed doors but please, keep those nasty picking habits behind closed doors, public display of physical upkeeping aint romantic, it's plain disgusting and bad social manners.

Food review: Mango Tree @Cubus, CWB (Hong Kong)

Sunday, I decided to give my sweetheart a break and opted to eat out instead of him cooking dinner. I have heard some pretty good reviews for this new Thai restaurant Mango Tree for a few months now and decided to give it a go. This would be my 3rd attempt since the last 2 times I didnt manage to secure a booking even with 4 days advance notice and so I did this 1.5weeks in advance. Cubus is really turning out to be a up and coming building, stocking all the fine dining joints with good review. Good for me since its just round the corner reachable under 7mins on foot.

Mango Tree was supposed to originate from Thailand where the original restaurant is also very popular and a hit with many. That wasnt a main draw, I just wanted some decent Thai food and the reviews for this place seemed to indicate that it was living up to its authentic Thai cuisine reputation.

When we arrived on the 5th floor, the place was jammed pack. All the staff are Thai, and speak pretty good English. I guess this place is targeted at expats or well, not the "local local" people I suppose. I think they speak cantonese too but it wasnt heard frequently here.

The first impression when we glanced through the menu was "Hold crap, this place has a pricey price tag!" Everything is like above the Hk150 range and some way higher...My grilled pork neck starter dish is at a whopping HK98, and fresh coconut juice HK45. Fresh lime soda also at HK45 a glass.
Not cheap....

I wanted to try curry, so I ordered the lamb shank curry, together with some mixed vegetables. My partner wanted to have his fish maw soup (HK150 for 1-2 pax portion) and so I didnt get my grilled squid since I didnt want to over order.

His pricey fish maw came and came with big chunks of fresh crab meat! I dont mean pathetic few scattered pieces, I meant SOLID big chunks. I think I am getting the drift.

Next came our grilled pork neck with spicy sauce. Ooooo so delightful juicy tender good. I really am getting the drift....While waiting, I looked around other orders from other table, esp the Chinese table next to us who had the seafood food, and some curry crab. The reason for the price tag was that they served diners with fresh, HUGE sizeable seafood. It looked so good and yummy! I suppose u pay what u get, fresh seafood of top quality.

It was a long wait though for the main dish. We had arrived at about 7pm and by the time our main came, it was close to 8.15pm. By then, I was through one coconut and almost through my lime soda. However, at this note, I have to admit, the main dish was spectacularly good, beyond my expectation. the lamb shank was utterly melting in my mouth and the curry was just right, not overly sweet like some other Thai joints I had been to.

Desserts however would be something to avoid here.

I felt rather cheated with my waterchestnut in coconut cream. True it was a huge serving, prob meant for 2. true it had plenty of coconut strips and jackfruit. HOWEVER, where the hell is my water chestnut? All I had were blob and blob of gluey pink gelatine which I absolutely hate. There was no crunch, hell, there wasnt even a pin sized chestnut in the pinky jelly ball. Disappointing, utterly disappointing. Of course when the server came to take the bill, she asked how did I find it and I told her truthfully, I hated it because there were no water chestnut. She was taken back, and she said that was the top hit here. I explained that there were NO water chestnut so i was let down. She said she will inform the chef about my feedback, but she didnt take the item off the bill.

My hubby had the banana fritters with brownie. Errr...I can honestly say I make better brownie than this. The brownie was dry, not moist and taste worse than those sara lee pound cake reheated. You get the idea. It just looked better than it taste.

So all in all, will I return for the food? Yes when I feel like splurging since this dinner alone cost me close to HK1000 just for two. However I will avoid the dessert the next time at all cost, esp when I can get very good cakes from Zoe cafe just a stone's throw across the street.

My god, come to think of it, its almost the same price as Nadaman dinner I had at Shangri-la. Something doesnt add up I think considering I had meat, seafood and 3 course meal at the latter.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Food Review: Nadaman@ Shangri La (Hong Kong)

This will be a short post since I dine here so often that I dont know what to write anymore, except, it's still excellent!

Came Sat nite, we headed to Nadaman for their Teppanyaki.
Personally, I prefer the Teppanyaki over the Japanese set meal here. It's not that one is better than the other, it's just personal preference.

We didnt manage to get the Teppanyaki seats, so we were seated in the main dining area. The Japanese server was very prompt, efficient, and told us they would try to serve as as soon as they can but as it was busy, it might take longer. We were mentally ready for the drawn out wait, but surprisingly, it wasnt that bad.

We took the Tszumi Teppanyaki set (as always) and as usual, the food didnt disappoint. I love my steak cubes done to perfection! However, I am not that taken by the fried rice which I normally do not finish.

The foie gras was rich in sauce but I didnt fancy the bread bed it was sitting on...thought it was abit soggy and overly rich in sauce.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Food Review: La Fleur@Star Street (Hong Kong)

As part of my birthday celebration, my partner decided to book a weekend stay @Shangri-la as a short getaway, which means no cleaning and cooking. Hoo Hoo Hoo!

I thought we should give some of the dining joints at Star street a go. So I booked a dinner for two at La Fleur@16 St Francis Yard within Star street area.

To say I was not dubious about the place hailing as a French cuisine joint will be a straight out lie. For one, the outward appearance looked dismissible, and it didnt have any French chef to boot. Then again, food is food. It doesnt mean that only the French can cook a good French meal. Plus, the general HK diner reviews for the place seemed rather alright.
No venture no gain right?

So came Friday, we called to push back the appointment from 730pm to 8pm as my partner got held back by another one of those late night meetings. When we arrived, the place was packed. I would best describe the place as a cosy small cafe-like French dining spot. It's not a bistro, just cafe style seating. We were greeted by a rather jovial looking HK chap who sat us down by the window, good for me since I didnt want to be anywhere near the long table of jolly, intoxicated Westerner expats.

The menu had a decent offerings from starters to dessert. It was the usual suspect for me. I ordered the pan fried foie gras, a mushroom soup and Duck confit for main. The husband  of mine had wanted the mussels in broth but since they ran out, we were offered clams instead. The chap was very confident of the clams and so we thought, what the heck. Let's give it a go. For his main, we went with the recommended lamb rack as its the special.

While the decor may not be impressive, the food definitely was not a let down. Let's be honest here, I wont stick my neck out and say its an authentic French cuisine. It definitely hasnt reached the "Oh this is yummy french food" state yet but cast that aside, it was good wholesome food, well cooked. I mean, I am not going to quibble over its authenticity. I just want to have a nice place that serve relatively good quality food and not ruined by bad cooking.

The clams were indeed fresh and decent size. I was afraid of being dished out those puny small clams but no, these has a good bite size and yes, repeat, fresh! Not frozen chewy rubber, but delectable sweet succulent ones. The broth was light and not overly seasoned.

The server decided to split all our starters for us. So we shared the next 2 dishes. The foie gras was done nicely! Infact, better than Brasserie on the Eight@Conrad hotel. It was nicely crisp on the outside and warm on the inside. The mushroom soup however, isnt to my liking as it didnt have the richness and creamy texture I favor, and it was lacking the truffle taste. A few drop of truffle oil might do it some added enhancement, but that's just me. Before I forget though, this place serve the most delightful basket of bread, or rather baguette sliced. I dont usually like bread served in some places but this place had simple good warm bread! Plus points!!!

My duck confit came and I love the fact they served the skin crispy as it should. It sat on a bed of veges and potatoes but I think they need to be more generous with the sauce. Speaking of sauce, ummmm...I think it could be better. That said, the dish was good dont get me wrong, but somehow, I think they need a stronger, more salty sauce for it. the current sauce is lacking something, I dont know what but I know its not a 100% good match. I would give it 80% compatibility. Still, I polished off everything on my plate.

My husband's lamb rack was also perfectly good for medium, pink on the inside. All these without being told. Perfect! Shows the chef knows what he is doing for SOP stuff.

Dessert offering wasnt that spectacular with Tiramisu, cream brulee and choc mousse and cheese on the list. We went with choc mousse. It stated with orange sauce on the menu but it came with whip cream instead, which was perfect for me since i hate orange sauce in anything I eat.the cake was nice, not too rich and not too creamy. We asked for English breakfast tea and for some reason, it was on the house. Happy! But we tipped them so it kinda cover for that as well.

All in all, a rather good meal. Did it live up to the "french cusine" namesake? I canx say it is there, but did it live up to reputation of solid good food with good size at reasonable price, it certainly did! So will I return? It's a positively resounding yes!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My new addition : Brand new Mitsubishi Dehumidifer

Am so happy that my new family addition is here! My brand new, made in Japan(or prob assembled in Japan)  25L/day, 4.5L capacity Dehumidifier!

When I switched it on, my living room was indicated at 83% humidity. Not surprising since my whole floor is condensing with water moisture and damp to the feet. So i brought my laundry in from the laundry room to the living room and having it dry at the same time while I "dehumidify" the room. Currently, the moisture indicator is at 77% and my floor is already feeling dry! I love it!

if this works out well, I wont hesitate to get another one specifically for the laundry room while this one will roam free from room to room. I dont know if Singapore sells dehumidifier now (they didnt 6 years ago) but maybe they should given all the rainy days coz this will surely speed up the drying of clothes. Then again, electric bill may be a consideration even if its energy saving label 1. Afterall, Singapore power service provider is sucking gold from all Singapore residents unlike in HK where the bill is significantly cheaper. I prob pay only HK$250 on average, with alot of gadgets such as PCs, fan etc turned on 24/7hr.

Anycase, I am just happy.

Go baby go! Go suck up all the moisture in the air! Go do your best damage!

Monday, March 5, 2012

The experience of buying a Dehumidifier over the phone and cheaper than Fortress

The weather in HK has been nicely cool but super humid. The air is basically saturated with moisture up to 100% on some days that it basically made everything at home feels damp, especially of all your clothes not drying properly.

Even though I havent needed a dehumidifier for the past 4-5 years living in HK, I figured this year I actually do need one given the extended "wetness" in the air and increasing massive load of laundry that we go through each day. (I still dont get how both of us can amass so much washing each day.)

I went to scout the dehumidifier at Fortress on Saturday. I basically just went to look at the assortment since it was impossible to buy anything with the store being jam packed with other customers shopping for dehumidifiers too. I snapped down the model numbers for the ones I think I would be interested given its larger water tank capacity, ranging from Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Delongi, Rowenta and Hitachi. I wanted to do some internet research before making a choice. I am one of those people who do not like to listen to sales person in general. They all have a personal agenda either to move the goods or they represent certain brands. So I prefer my good old internet tales to help make my choice.

As my check reveals, HK ESDM actually made a few testings against the manufacturer's claims vs the actual performance. Mitsubishi seemed to fare well though it did have one model being pulled out as the actual performance differs too far off from the stated specs. Hitachi fared well though with a 11% differentiation and Mitsubishi seemed to garnered the most favorable results with average 5% differentiation. I didnt bother to check Delongi and Rowenta as some forum feedbacks from the locals indicated their issue with the noise. One indicated that Rowenta works well first 2 years and then the noise escalates progressively. Seems to be a design flaw with the axle that loosen over time.

This is the time when ability to read traditional fonts truly pay off, esp understanding written cantonese. I thank my mum for letting me read all the Taiwanese edition Doreamon comics all I wanted all those years...thus giving me this added skillset. Hahaha!

So I hope down to Fortress@ Times Square today and to my horror, even the display set for Mitsubishi was gone! A check with teh staff revealed that ALL the Mitsubishi inventory were gone and the earliest delivery will be end March. WTF! She tried to get me to consider other brands which I am not. I hate sales people who tries to convince customers to buy other brands when it is apparent I had my mind made up.

Disappointed, I went home wondering. However, those who knows me will know that I generally hate taking a "No" for an answer unless I had tried all avenues. I am the stubborn sort I suppose...So I decided to try one of those website that I had gotten from ploughing all those HK forumn chat sites after  googling the model number.

I tried Electric Tung first but no one answered, so I tried the original Hk Electric Association website number which I had wanted to try (but coz the URL was on the other PC I was lazy to leave my seat at first to recall the site)

The guy picked up my call and sounded really hurried and busy. I asked him if he still have stock for Mitsubishi Dehumidifier and gave him the model. He said yes and delivery was for tomorrow. Cool!!! So I gave him my address and halfway he paused and said he is going to logged my order first before its gone. So I was waiting while I listened on to him logging the order over another phone. Then in 2 mins, he got back to me and continued where we left off. He told me I was so lucky to get the last one because another Hk lady didnt believe him when he said it will be gone if she waited. So she didnt hold the order and he gave it to me instead. He told me just as I placed my order, the woman called back changing her mind, but sorry lady, you have to wait for new orders now.

I have to thank Fortress for running out of stock because, not only am I getting my new dehumidifier tomorrow, it will be HK$1000 cheaper too since this is a wholesale place where I placed my order!

The next time I am going to buy something, I think I will stick to this website from now on before heading to Fortress. I wish I knew them before I bought my washer....

If u are non local and staying in HK, thinking of buying some household stuff, you can check this site out with English page - HK Electric Association (

Alternatively if you read chinese, you can also check out electric Tung website but this site do not have English information.

(Update: July 2014: Electric Tung website has Englush website now, BUT i found that their price has also increased for some items!)

To take a look at my brand new dehumidifier