Singaporeans love eating

Whenever I bring foreign friends around Singapore, it is honestly quite tough to find an activity to do that doesn’t have anything to do with food. Ask any Singaporean what to do in our country and they’ll almost certainly say “eat”.

In that spirit, ChiakLah, a small eatery in the basement of City Square Mall came out with an entire menu of dishes whose names have the word ‘jiak’ in it, and drinks with the word ‘lim’.

Chiak/Jiak is a Hokkien term for eat, and lim is for drink.

The best part is, it is crazy affordable. We ordered 3 mains and a drink for SGD 19.30.

Chiak Song Song Noodles, $4.50

It’s just maggi noodles and some people will wonder what’s so good about this dish– all I can say is it is really comfort food for an Asian. Especially for me, I love noodles!

Chiak Prawn Ramen, $5.50

It was a little spicy and could have done with a bit more noodles but maybe that’s just my inner noodle fanatic 🤷🏻‍♀️

Chiak Pah Pah, $7.50

Looks vaguely like nasi lemak but the rice is actually chicken rice and I thought it tasted pretty good! The size of the chicken leg was very worth it too, much bigger than I expected.

And not in picture, the Lim Calamansi at $1.80.

Overall, pretty okay– I would definitely go again but I feel the eatery is a little small so I will avoid rush hours.


When service goes overboard

I’m not sure how many of you have heard of the news of EVA Air flight attendants being forced to wipe an American passenger’s butt on board. For those who are unaware, EVA Air is one airline that employs little to no male stewards.

In case you didn’t hear of this, an obese and wheelchair-bound American man took an EVA Air flight and informed the crew that he requires assistance going to the toilet as he allegedly injured his right arm. Usually, crew would wheel you to the toilet and wait outside for you to wheel you back to your seat. This man demanded they help remove his underwear which was already halfway down and he refused to take no for an answer. He then asked the crew to wipe his backside for him. When refused, he started shouting loudly at the crew and disturbing the rest of the cabin until the chief attendant had no choice but to comply with his ridiculous demands. Unsatisfied, he kept saying “deeper, deeper!” as the poor chief attendant suffered through the ordeal. As if all that weren’t bad enough, after deplaning a male ground crew wheeled him off and asked if he needed the bathroom and the man said “yes”. When asked if he needed assistance though, he replied “no”.

As someone who works for an airline that hires very few male stewards as well (out of all the flights I have operated over the last couple of years there have been only a handful of them where there was a steward on board), I felt very disturbed by this incident. Not to mention the fact that the airline I work for is one of the national carriers for a country known for its politeness and service standards. To put it in a not-so-nice way, it is also known for having sweet, pliant women who were raised in an environment and culture where men is more important than them.

The reason this affected me personally was because this could have easily been me, or one of my colleagues.

I have met plenty of unreasonable and downright crazy passengers on board but this latest incident is just too much.

The news naturally attracted a lot of attention and many people had this reaction, or something along the lines: “let him shit his pants then!”, “why not just leave him in the toilet”, “if it were me I would have beaten him up!!”. All these are very understandable reactions.

But the truth is, it’s never really that simple is it?

It is not as easy as “just say no”. Many people don’t understand how intimidating it can be for a woman to be in a situation where the aggressor is someone physically bigger and/or louder than her. When her options are to either speak up or give in (whether that means moving away or keeping quiet), many choose the path of least resistance and that is perfectly understandable. Until you are in a similar situation then you can fully understand the emotional stakes.

On the surface it might look like a customer service nightmare with the passenger from hell, but it reeks of sexual harassment undertones and forces to light the ugly company culture prevalent in many airlines: being critical of employees rather than outsiders.

This was said by one of the attendants involved: “ It’s difficult to stand your ground against unreasonable customers when your employer has exhibited a pattern of not only failing to support their own people in such situations but to instead question our performance.”

I completely empathize with her. This is the toxic culture present, and suffered by many. A lot of people close their ears to this fact because they don’t believe, or don’t want to believe, that there is any downside to being a flight attendant.

”Your job so shiok (Singaporean and Malaysian slang for a sheer pleasure), got bad side one meh??”

Being a flight attendant is like any other job in that there are also ups and downs to it. If being a flight attendant was so awesome there would not be a need for airlines to hold so many recruitment drives every few months and you would always see the same few faces onboard because they would not want to quit flying.

Some, if not many, of you would have had part time jobs when you were younger and these jobs were usually selling clothes, products, food. We are in the same service industry as well— have a little compassion for your crew. We didn’t go through months of training to learn how to pour a whisky on the rocks. While you sleep through the flight and wake up only for meals, we are awake most of the time. For a 12 hour flight our crew rest is usually 2 hours at the most. If you think you get off the flight smelly and tired, imagine how we feel. You don’t have to buy presents. Your greatest gift to us would be your understanding and cooperation.

She’s so Lucky

(Backdate: it was meant to be published on 27th December 2018 but somehow it wasn’t).

It’s been 4 days since you left me. Four days and a lifetime.

It was the hardest and most adult decision I had ever had to make in my life. It is some comfort to know that you are now healthy and pain-free. I like to think of you gamboling around the Lord’s feet.

The past 15 years flew by so quickly. You would have been 16 in March.

Before we first got you, my brothers and I really wanted a dog. I don’t know where we got that desire from– is it a rite of passage for all children to demand a pet from their parents? I remember I wanted one so bad I secretly posted my mother’s mobile number on a forum, pretending to be her looking for a puppy for her children (LOLOL). This, despite the fact that I had somehow developed a fear of dogs since we gave up our first dog due to the raging sinus problems she gave me.

One day we piled into the car and drove to a residential estate. And there you were, in a brown basket with one of your brothers while your breeder (home breeding was still legal then) stood over the both of you. I don’t remember much from that day, where that estate was or how long we spent there.

But I remember squatting down to gaze at the both of you. I remember tentatively stroking your fur. I remember spotting a couple of neighbourhood cats nearby and wondering if you would know to defend yourself against a mean street cat. I remember thinking how innocent you were. I remember shuffling closer to the basket protectively– as if a skinny 11 year old girl could have been an efficient shield against two street cats. I remember sitting in the backseat of our car with you, and your breeder leaning down to wave goodbye and telling you “You so lucky ah, you!”

And we laughed and said, “Eh! That is what we are going to call him!”

I was still a little scared around dogs, having largely avoided them for many years before that. I remember hopping up on a small rectangle of space on my kitchen counter as you raced around exploring your new home. I remember you skidding to a stop below me and looking up at me– how I must have looked like to you, a human curled up on a ledge above you and eyeing you with some wariness. I remember you cocked your head and we maintained eye contact for a few seconds before you raced off again.

I remember my dad locked you on the balcony that first night. I remember my younger brother and I sitting at the sliding doors and watching you as you scratched the door, wanting to come back in.

There were nights when I would sleep right at the edge of my bed, dropping half of my blanket on the floor so you could sleep on it until my mother eventually made me stop.

I loved watching you walk, if you could even call it that! It was more of a canter? I don’t know.. it was hilarious and I loved watching your ears flop up and down.

When we brought London home 3 years later and he became the baby, you never cried or whined for attention. You never acted up– never shat where you weren’t supposed to or chewed our stuff up. The mature older brother, except for the times when London would piss you off.

There was the time I stepped into the pet shop to collect London and you, and was pleasantly surprised to see you and the groomer chasing each other around the store. You were already getting on by then, and it soothed my heart to see you energetic and loved.

There were all the times you made me angry, although for the life of me I cannot recall now.

There were also the times you scared me. The first time I remember is you having some sort of a stroke and just lying there while we called a car. Someone came to knock at the door and the next thing we knew, you got up and ran to the door, right as rain again leaving all of us stunned and bemused.

You were the same that last day.

You were too weak to move, while I cradled you in your towel and suddenly you started moving and looking more awake. There were times throughout the years I thought I was gonna lose you but ended up going home with you still.

But that last day I think I knew deep down that I would be walking out of the clinic with empty arms.

I wonder if you knew at the end and whether you welcomed it. I like to think you did– if only just to console myself.

Your things are still lying untouched around the kitchen. It’s painful to see even two food bowls but it’s way too early to even think of clearing your things. I know that even after I clear them you will still be in my heart. The memories won’t fade but maybe with your things around I can still cheat myself into believing, even for just a second, that you are still here with me.

I was so Lucky to have you.

Kei Kaisendon

#02-95/96, Square 2, Sinaran Drive, Singapore

Roderick and I ventured into Square 2 to see what’s in there as it isn’t a mall we usually visit. We saw the advertisements for this place while going up the escalator (our heads were turned by the onsen egg in the poster) and it just so happened that when we reached the top of the escalator, the store was right in front of us! I think it was a sign that we were meant to eat there 😃

I had a hard time deciding between the Aburi Mentaiko Kaisen Don and the Scallops Kaisen Don but I eventually settled on the former (I really really love Aburi, and Mentaiko). Everything on the menu looked pretty good! Roderick had the Kei Signature Kaisen Don (left in photo).

Service was great, they gave us complimentary hard boiled eggs, and the food was amazingggg! Mine came with cubes of salmon smothered with a generous serving of piping hot, thick Mentaiko sauce, topped off with seaweed and roe. All of this on top of a portion of sweet Japanese rice 🍚

My Aburi Mentaiko Don cost SGD17.90 while Rod’s Kei Signature Don cost SGD16.90. I felt that the price was a tiny bit steep, but the food really tastes good, plus it was filling too.

Apparently they have a few other outlets as well so if you love Japanese food like I do, consider checking them out one day 😋

Right now it’s time to sleep and dream about my Mentaiko, and maybe scallops. 美味しいかったです!

2018 Review

“In this world you will have trouble but take heart, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

We are not promised an easy life; in fact, troubles are promised to come.

Like every year that has come before, and that will come to pass, 2018 was full of good and bad. I think there was more good for me than bad, though all the bad pales in comparison to losing my dog, Lucky. But even there is some comfort to be had in that.

I had a list of goals to achieve in 2018 and some I did, some I didn’t but it’s alright– you win some, you lose some.

A little of what went down in 2018 in random order:

  1. First official lead climb outdoors! It’s only a small slab but hey, baby steps.
  2. Climbing definitely improved this year. At the start of 2018 I couldn’t have imagined it, but I am getting on harder stuff (according to each gym’s grading) and while I got spat off a couple of 7A+(s) on top-rope just the other week, it’s gratifying to realise that I can at least start them.
  3. Made new friends, and it was amazing to play host to a couple of them when they visited Singapore!
  4. Climbed Mt Fuji. We didn’t manage to summit but there’s always next time.
  5. First Boston pattern
  6. First San Diego pattern
  7. First time in Chicago– purely for business class training
  8. Blessed with a pair of the baby pink So iLL Free Range LV shoes for my birthday in June, and the La Sportiva Katakis in December ❤
  9. Took the opportunity of one CDG pattern to visit Lille; a small but bustling city away from Paris, with gorgeous architecture
  10. Made another solo trip– Koh Samui in August
  11. Participated in my first climbing competition– Women Who Boulder (carnival style). It was pretty last minute because I landed back in SG the day before but it was a good experience!
  12. Got hit by a car in NYC– that was another experience, lol.

There was much more that happened but these are most of the highlights. Time flies by pretty quickly with my job– one long-haul pattern that could range between 6-9 days and then home for another 3-4 days before flying off again. Before you know it, the month is up and all you’ve been doing is working, sleeping (and climbing, for me).

Next year I’m determined to put in a little more effort into my goals and would like to shift my focus slightly to different areas. A lot of my goals in 2018 were climbing- and travel-centric.

In 2019 I intend to try to focus less on climbing: so far any climb-related goals are simply another climbing trip overseas and to work on progress at my own pace.

Happy New Year everyone! ❤️❤️❤️

My Solo Samui

Throwback to #MySoloSamui in August this year ☺️

Mu Koh Angthong National Marine Park has doable hikes (I did mine in flip flops coz it was an impromptu booking and I didn’t bring shoes), sandy beaches and gorgeous (to me) rock faces and formations. The short hike got me sweating so I pulled off my clothes (bikini underneath), bought a cup of ice milk tea and sat in the cool waters.

The feeling of peace was indescribable.

Midnight Reflections

The other day I was thinking about some minor irritation that happened and it got me wondering if I have become so used to being on my own that I have become very impatient with people.

I have never been a people person. I am not someone who needs to be surrounded by friends. I have never felt the need to be chatting incessantly. I have always been more comfortable blending into the shadows, and I have never felt the urge to put myself out there and make new friends. It’s not an indictment of people who are outgoing and sociable – it’s simply not who I am.

When I was younger, I was painfully shy. After I entered poly and started doing some shoots and events, many of which required me to approach people or mingle, I became a little more comfortable with socializing.

Throughout all those years I had been in long-term relationships and if I am to be brutally honest, I never really had time to myself before falling into the next relationship. So more than 2.5 years ago after my last relationship ended, I made a conscious decision to remain single and enjoy my life. I didn’t give myself a time frame, I just decided to let things be.

During these years, I spent a lot of time on my own. It was a little scary at first because I had become so accustomed to having a partner in my life that I can rely on, someone who would take care of me when I am sick and entertain my random nattering.

But as time passed, I became used to being on my own and I enjoyed it. I love the freedom; being able to do whatever I want. One top highlight was going on a solo trip, and then spending the last few days with a close friend of mine. I was barely 24 (I know, 24 is so old to some people) and took my first long-haul flight on my own, having to transit at Dubai, finding my way around a foreign country, wandering out on my own and being completely reliant on the assumption there would be free wifi somewhere (lol). Going on solo trips is definitely something I would recommend to everyone, even to people in serious relationships because yes, I feel that is doable and it shouldn’t be weird or wrong for one side of a couple to want to have some alone time.

But the best part is learning and experiencing for myself that I don’t need anyone for my life to be complete, or fun or happy.

And that whatever happens, I’ll be ok.

Pokeball! I mean.. poke bowl?

Ponzu Salmon Poke Bowl from Chikarashi.

Consists of Atlantic salmon, wasabi ponzu, shiso, avocado and tobiko – USD 12.99 for the regular size.

I came across Chikarashi when I was randomly zooming in on Google maps. It’s a pretty unassuming store front with not a very big signboard so you need to look out for it! The interior is minimalist wood (kind of my style but unattainable for me because I have too many things 😂).

The rice did remind me a little of ‘yu Sheng’, which I’m not really a fan of, but it tasted pretty good overall. Fresh salmon, creamy avocado and yummy tobiko! I couldn’t taste any wasabi btw which was fine with me coz I’m not a fan of wasabi 💁🏻

227 Canal Street

New York, NY 10013