Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dim Sum lunch at Yum Cha Singapore

Had a wonderful lunch - Dim Sum at Yum Cha. Dim Sum consists of many side dishes either steamed or fried. However, many of the dishes are heavy in carbohydrates. One can get easily bloated after eating a few dishes. All the dishes are very nice. I particularly like the century egg porridge and various prawn rolls.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dinosaurs Live Exhibition @ Singapore Science Centre

Had a wonderful time at the Dinosaurs Live Exhibit in Singapore Science Centre. There are 50 life size dinosaurs in the exhibition. Thanks to the local telecoms company (Starhub), I got to see the dinosaurs exhibition for free and even stayed over night in the dinosaurs exhibition!

The organised event was part of the Starhub cable TV channel - Fox channel 505's efforts to promote the latest cable TV block buster "Terra Nova" which is produced by Steven Speilberg and it is the most expensive television series on record. Every miniute of the TV series costs $200,000 to produce due to the high CGI effects in the show. Well, we had the sneek preview of the Terra Nova TV show and totally enjoyed the human tribe fighting against aggressive dinosuars like in Jurassic Park movie.

It was really fun having the T-Rex dinosaur and other dinosaurs as company in the over night stay in the Singapore Science Centre. The 50 life like dinosaurs were really interesting and all the dinosaurs moved according to motion sensors. The dinosaurs also emitted noisy calls and sounds.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Transformation of Punggol Park Singapore

The Punggol area in Singapore used to be place filled many rural villages. Moving forward 30 years later the place is transformed to become a new and clean Punggol with nice ponds filled with lotus plants and places to fish, take a walk or gaze across the sea.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tintin store in Singapore

I love Tintin. Tintin is a Belgian made cartoon character that had adventures in many countries. Love the stories of Tintin and Snowy (his dog) on the hard back book. Now there is a Tintin store in Singapore and located in the heart of  Chinatown.

The Tintin store sells t-shirts, mugs, posters, figures of Tintin. Snowy and his pals. Very nice store. Only manage to take one photograph because the store does not allow photography.

Haruki Murakami Bestselling Japanese Writer

Murakami Bestselling writer of the Japanese absurd - by article from Channel NewsAsia

TOKYO : Haruki Murakami, whose new novel "1Q84" is proving a worldwide phenomenon, describes himself as "the black sheep of the Japanese literary world" for his absurdist take on the spiritual emptiness of modern life.

In Japan the first two volumes of "1Q84", which can be read as "1984" in Japanese, came out in 2009, becoming a bestseller even before hitting the stores on the back of massive advance orders, and clearing a million sales within a month.

The third volume went on sale in Japan last year, boosting the number of copies of the popular series to more than 3.85 million, according to its publisher Shinchosha Publishing Co.

But the release of the foreign language translations of the book, his first in five years, have also come amid a blaze of excitement, garnering the sort of attention usually reserved for the Harry Potter series.

In France, where it was released in the summer, publishers, who printed 70,000 copies, were forced to reprint within a week.

And the launch of the first installment in Britain on Tuesday and across the United States next week has had bookshops planning midnight openings to cope with demand.

The novel, just shy of 1,000 pages, contains the usual Murakami mixture of parallel universes, bizarre characters and surrealist happenings as the lives of a female murderer and a male novelist intertwine.

Murakami, a keen runner who spends much of his time in the United States, is known for writing lyrically and surreally about Japanese who refuse to toe the line in a homogenous society, peppering his works with pop culture references.

His 2002 bestseller "Kafka on the Shore" is the story of a teenage boy who runs away from home to search for his missing mother and sister, and meets an ageing simpleton who has never recovered from a wartime affliction.

Translated into some 40 languages, his works have attracted fans worldwide with their so-called "Murakami world" -- fantastical scenes such as a giant frog inviting a salaryman into an epic battle, or skies that rain mackerels.

The top-selling novelist is noted for his disregard for the traditional Japanese qualities of discretion and understatement.

"Before, Japanese authors spoke about pain in an inaccessible style," he has said. "For them, suffering was an aesthetic question."

Murakami's quixotic themes strike a chord in a country that today records some 30,000 suicides every year. But Japan's nuclear crisis after the March earthquake and tsunami prompted him to deploy a more straightforward rhetoric.

Fukushima "was the second source of nuclear damage to Japanese people in history" after the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Murakami said in a speech when he won this year's International Catalunya Prize in June.

"But this time nobody dropped a nuclear bomb," Murakami said.

"We Japanese set it up, made mistakes, contaminated our country. We should have said no to nuclear power. We should have pursued energy development to replace nuclear energy."

Murakami was born on January 12, 1949 in the Japanese city of Kyoto, although he grew up in Kobe. After studying in Tokyo he spent seven years running a jazz bar in the capital and also studied cinema.

In a recent interview in the Britain's Guardian newspaper, he described how he did not know how he decided to be a writer and sometimes has a vision of a parallel existence in which he carried on at the bar.

"Do I have a sense of alternative lives? Ummm ah. Yes. So I feel it's very strange, still. Sometimes I wonder why I'm a novelist right now. There is no definite career reason why I became a writer. Something happened, and I became a writer. And now I'm a successful writer," he said.

He sold his jazz bar as he devoted himself to writing, but he told the Guardian: "I don't think of myself as an artist. I'm just a guy who can write. Yeah."

Murakami took up running to keep himself fit and in "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" (2008), he conveyed what the sport meant to him.

"No matter how mundane some action might appear, keep at it long enough and it becomes a contemplative, even meditative act," he wrote.

The author showed the same disciplined dedication to his running -- he has run numerous marathons and even an ultramarathon -- as to his writing, describing the routine of both activities as important.

Murakami has been compared to the US writer J.D. Salinger, whose "Catcher in the Rye" he translated into Japanese. Other influences, also from the pantheon of US postwar writers, are Richard Brautigan and Kurt Vonnegut.

He decided to begin writing in his 30s, and his first success came with "Hear the Wind Sing" in 1979.

"Norwegian Wood" (1987), a sexually frank novel about a man's fleeting romance with a traumatised young woman, brought him such celebrity that he fled Japan to spend time in the United States, his second home.

The film was turned into a well-regarded movie last year by French-Vietnamese director Tran Anh Hung.

Murakami has contradictory relations with his native land, describing himself as "the black sheep of the Japanese literary world".

"They criticise my style, which is too far from the classical canon," he says. "I left Japan partly for that reason, to be myself."

When he received the 2009 Jerusalem Prize, Israel's highest literary honour for foreign writers, he obliquely criticised Middle East conflicts that victimise innocent citizens.

"If there is a hard, high wall and an egg that breaks against it, no matter how right the wall or how wrong the egg, I will stand on the side of the egg," he said at the ceremony in Jerusalem.

He was awarded Spain's Order of Arts and Letters last year and the Czech Republic's foremost literary award, the Franz Kafka Prize, in 2006.

He has been tipped as a future winner of the Nobel literature prize.

- AFP/ir

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Break Through Cafe (Singapore)

Went to eat at the Break Through Cafe in Peoples' Park Centre Singapore (near Chinatown). It was a nice meal shared by 4 adults and 2 small kids. Break Through Cafe is run by a group of ex-convicts and back by a church missionary group. The ex-convicts serve out their rehab through working in the cafe. In the way, this helps to integrate the ex-convicts into mainstream society.

The food served was good and service was fast. The cafe had many helpers that was why the food served to our table was quick. We had curry chicken, curry fish, pig legs in vinegar sauce, dim sum and various kinds of hot and cold desserts. Do go to the cafe to try out the food for I think its all for helping people and giving a second chance to ex-convicts. We noticed that even the top crime lawyer in Singapore visited the cafe for their food.

Dim sum, curry fish and curry chicken, pig legs in vinegar sauce

Chendol, cheng ting hot and cold, iced grass jelly dessert

Front of the cafe

Sunday, October 16, 2011

PS Cafe - 'Home Style' Food

There is this PS Cafe in the Macpherson estate in Singapore. The Cafe serves home style western and japanese. We were basically there for their low cost western food like pastas, pizza, and baked rice. The food is always good, home style, fresh and the staff is friendly. The cafe serves nice pumpkin pita bread too!
The place is not easy to find as it is located right in the middle of Macpherson estate. Enjoy their food and check out the pictures below.

Onion and Mushroom Soups

Pepper man without its 'hat'

Seafood baked rice and Hawaii pizza plus mint chocolate drink

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ichiban Boshi Japanese Food (retro)

Took some 'lomo' type of photos of Japanese food ate at Ichiban Boshi (Nex Singapore)
- Tempura Rice
- Fried Sushi, Salmon avocado wrap california roll
- Green Tea

Friday, October 14, 2011

Doraemon Super Heroes & Rock and Roll Stars

Love this Doraemon Superheroes. Spiderman and Iron Man Doraemons look cool! Save the world!

Think the animator is really creative in drawing Doraemon as Rock and Roll stars. Elvis is in the House!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Roti Prata (Indian Pizza)

Roti Prata is a favourite food in multi-cultural Singapore. I had mine at the famous Roti Prata store along Casuarina Road in the Thomson area.

The photograph showed the spread of crispy roti prata: plain roti prata and egg roti prata with curry (shown on the left). There is also thosai - a type of Indian food with multiple curry dips (shown on the right). This type of Indian food is best enjoyed as breakfast after a morning trek in the Lower Pirece reservoir. All the Indian food would be accompanied by a hot cuppa of Tea 'Terek' - a type of milk tea. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Flor Cake Gallery Shop @ Duxton Hill

Enjoyed the sweet tart and butter cake from Flor cake gallery shop at Duxton Hill Singapore. They got a wonderful selections of cakes and I think all made by a Japanese baker. Prices are cheaper compared to other Japanese cake shops.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs Rest in Peace

Visionary Apple Chief Steve Jobs Rest in Peace. iSad and iThank.

Stay Hungry and Stay Foolish - Steve Jobs.

'Three stories of my life': Steve Jobs

Extracted from The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thursday, 10/06/2011 1:00 PM
Steve Jobs ( Jobs ( 
“Three Apples changed the world:
The first seduced Eve
The second fell on Newton
And the third one was offered to the world half bitten by him. RIP Steve Jobs ...”

This was among the top comments on a Youtube video on Thursday, displaying Jobs' speech at Stanford University's 114th Commencement on June 12, 2005. Regarded as one of Jobs' most inspiring speeches, the video has been viewed more than 6 million times and has drawn around 10,000 comments, mostly after news of his death at the age of 56 spread in the media.

The speech, written by Jobs himself, is regarded as some of his best work. In it, Jobs summarized his life into “three stories” and urged others to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life's setbacks.

Here is a transcript of the address:

You've got to find what you love, says Jobs
(Stanford Report, June 14, 2005)

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first six months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course."

My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK.

It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4,000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our board of directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down -- that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday, not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand, not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: It was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Steve Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011)