Tuesday, June 30, 2009
On Sunday, my client, Eunice, dropped me at the Bukit Gombak MRT after viewing a condominium nearby.
On impulse I decided to take the train heading towards Marina Bay, which is a longer route. I decided to drop at Bishan MRT to take a look around the mall and to get my tenant, Jasmin, a little present for helping me with some work.
I realised I could also take the new Circle Line to Little India and it would be a shorter route. Since I had never tried the new mrt line, I thought it would be fun to try something new. Wow! What lovely designs and everything is shining and sparklingly new! Best of all there are also travellators like the ones at Dhoby Ghaut MRT station.
I was so happy and felt so blessed to be able to enjoy such a wonderful transport system. I could not help thinking of the crowded and dilapidated buses I saw when I was in Nepal. I am so happy that I no longer own a car for it means freedom to move around and I can connect my activities without having to worry about car parks and traffic jams. However, I must make sure that my two "kah" (Hokkien for legs) are strong for walking whenever I decide not to take the bus or train.
Kudos to our government for our excellent transport system.
Posted by The Oriental Express at 5:01 pm
A place to anchor the yachts
The Coast @ Sentosa Cove
The view from the balcony of living room and master bedroom
The two bedrooms at the back also have full sea view!
One of our clients has asked us to market his newly completed condominium at the Coast at Sentosa Cove. Frankly, it is the first time that I have been to Sentosa Cove! When my partner drove me there, I was mesmerised by the beauty and sheer opulence of the place. Bungalows with their private yatchs and lovely condominiums are a sight to behold.
I love my client's unit. There is a full sea view in front of us. From the bedroom at the back there is also a view of the sea. It suddenly made me feel as if I were in an ocean liner with sea view on both sides of the building!
Of course the price of the condominium is equally opulent! A cool $4.2M!
I am happy for the success and wealth of my client. I am blessed to be able to enjoy the beauty and opulence even as I am marketing the property.
I come back to my little apartment in Little India with gratitude and sheer contentment in my heart to the Lord for His abundant blessings. As a property agent, I get so many opportunities to admire beautiful architecture and designs and to meet interesting people from all walks of life. Since I work from home, I could wear the most comfortable of clothings - in housecoats and pyajamas, and I can dress to the nines when I am at a client's open house party! I can work anywhere - at the table by the pool side of my clients' condominiums, or at McDonalds or any foodcourt while waiting for the next appointment. I just love the flexibility of my work.!
Posted by The Oriental Express at 3:44 pm
A toastmaster friend, Bilora Chowdhury, sent me the following email which I would like to share with my readers.
I wish you Enough !
Recently I overheard a Father and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure.
Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the Father said, 'I love you, and I wish you enough.'
The daughter replied, 'Dad, your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Dad.'
They kissed and the daughter left. The Father walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, 'Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?'
'Yes, I have,' I replied. 'Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?'.
'I am old, and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is - the next trip back will be for my funeral,' he said.
'When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, 'I wish you enough.' May I ask what that means?'
He began to smile. 'That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My father used to say it to everyone..' He paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail, and he smiled even more. 'When we said, 'I wish you enough,' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them.' Then turning toward me, he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory.
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.
He then began to cry and walked away.
To all my dear readers, friends and relatives, "I WISH YOU ENOUGH!" Let us always remember to count our blessings and name them one by one!
Posted by The Oriental Express at 7:43 am
Monday, June 29, 2009
Basil plant blooming with flowers!
Basil is one of my favourite herbs. I first came across basil when I was taken to a popular Vietnamese Restaurant in Melbourne by my second sister, Ean Ean.
The fragrance and the sweetness of basil won me over instantly, and since then, whenever I patronise a Vietnamese outlet, I would always request for extra basil leaves.
When I went back to Penang during the recent Chinese New Year celebration, my niece-in-law, Ser Ling, gave me some basil plants from her garden. I was somewhat apprehensive when I put them in a pot, because the previous attempt at growing basil plants was a total diasaster. Hence I was thrilled when I saw the basil thriving so well, and recently many lovely purple flowers have bloomed!
I always like to add a few leaves to basil to my bowl of piping hot noodles or I would also add them when I fry some Hokkien mee. The fragrance enhances the taste.
What is life without herbs? Herbs not only enhance the tastes of food; they also keep us healthy!
Posted by The Oriental Express at 7:34 pm
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Cute and friendly Duffy
Corgis are always so adorably cute!
I like dogs and do not mind any breed, big or small, purebred or mixed. I see the beauty and unique characteristics of each breed. Whenever I meet a dog, I would be sure to pat it on its head, after asking the owner about its characteristics. If the dog is shy or unfriendly, I will just try and greet the dog, "Hi, doggy!"
I understand that Queen Elizabeth particularly likes corgis and she has 21 dogs to boot. Wow! What lucky dogs! I heard that sometimes the corgis would go along with the queen on her flight. ! Wow! Travelling dogs. Some adults have never even flown in a plane throughout their lifetime!
I came to appreciate corgis when I visited Ericcson Pet Farm at Pasir Ris. At that time, the owner of the pet farm, Eric, had a corgi. He was like the mascot of the whole place and literally greeted all the visitors when they arrived. I was impressed by Bubbly, the corgi. There he was at the main entrance, like a concierge of a hotel. If only he could speak, he would probably say, "Welcome! May I show you around?"
Bubbly followed us everywhere as if to make sure everything was alright. I smiled because somehow corgis reminded me of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, for indeed, corgis look like little dwarfs with their expressive eyes, short legs, oversized bodies and longish ears. Everthing about corgis is out of proportion, yet on the whole, they look so adorably cute! I asked Eric if I could buy Bubbly but Eric said he was not for sale. However, if I wished, I could bring Bubbly back for a week to dog sit. I was delighted and yet worried at the same time for I was not sure how my dog, Kamlette, would react to having a four-legged stranger in the home.
Kamlette was at first unfriendly towards Bubbly. Whenever she saw Bubbly snuggling to me, she would spring forth and Bubbly was very clever. He would quickly lie flat on his little body with his four little legs dangling in the air! It was a sign of submission! With this show of humility, Kamlette was forgiving and left him alone.
I observed with amusement how Bubbly would try to win Kamlette's favour. He would try to go close to her and Kamlette showed her disapproval by snarling at him. Yet he would try again a few more times. On the third morning, I woke up and was surprised to find the two dogs sleeping together! Another lesson for me. If we try hard enough to be friendly, even the most hostile of persons would soften and relent!
It was with a heavy heart that I returned Bubbly to Eric after a week. Bubbly stood at attention at the main entrance again when he heard the arrival of customers.! I went back to the farm a few times to see Bubbly and each time when I was about to drive off, he would jump into the car, as if thinking I would bring him home.! Dogs do remember!
I was delighted when I came across a lovely corgi while walking back from my client's apartment at Pristine Heights. Duffy was friendly and cute, and loved to be tickled on her belly.
Dogs make my world go round!! I am a happier and better person because of the lessons I learn from them! Lessons of faithfulness, forgiveness, giving and receiving of unconditional love.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I was pleasantly surprised when I received a call.
"Hi, good morning to you. I am not buying property, but I read your blog about your Nonya porcelain antiques and I am interested to buy them," said someone who called himself Andrew.
"Oh! Hi! How did you get my number?"
"I phoned up your company, Dennis Wee Group for your number," replied Andrew.
I told him that if he had read my article carefully, I had mentioned that I would like to give my porcelain antiques to my beloved niece, Woei Yann, whose husband also specialises in painting Nonya artifacts and furniture. Yap Chen Ho, a Malaysian artist, is well known for his still life paintings.
"I would like my niece to keep these antiques, and hopefully, they will be passed on throughout the generations."
"I understand; all the best," said Andrew.
I am heartened to note that after the successful and popular TV serial, The Little Nonya, more people became more aware of the Nonya culture. It is wonderful to observe more youngsters becoming keen on collecting Nonya items.
It is amazing how things of yore were always so beautifully made. Probably people had more time then, and life was going at a slower pace. Nowadays, people are always rushing and rushing, and most things are made by machines. When something is handmade the difference in price is so great. For example a pair of beaded Nonya shoes made by hand would cost about MR250; while the ones made by machines would cost only around MR28. A box of machine made chocolates would be so much cheaper than a box of handmade chocolates created by boutique chocolatiers, eg. Chocoelf and Prestat, just to name a few. There used to be a boutique chocolatier called "Sin". I am not sure whether it is still around. I used to admire the lovely handmade chocolates, but never got to buying them because they were so costly. Indeed I would feel really "sinful" to eat them when so many kids in third world countries are dying of hunger. I am already happy and satiated with my box of Rochero chocolates.
Nevertheless, handmade objects will always outshine the machines! The power of man's deft fingers and his equally brilliant brain!
Posted by The Oriental Express at 7:16 am
Monday, June 22, 2009
Yesterday, my tenant, Jasmine and I took a guest, Chetan, from India to visit the Botanical Garden. We saw four lovely swans gliding gracefully on the lake. Immediately I thought of the lovely ballet music by Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake.
The lovely white swans also reminded me of an incident. I used to run Rialto Italian Cuisine and we often had home parties for our Indian clients who love our vegetarian pastas, pizzas and tiramisu. Once we were asked by a regular client to cater some food for his daughter's 16th birthday party. The host had also set up a pavilion by the poolside with different caterers for Thai, French and North Indian cuisines. There was also a free flow of soft and alcoholic drinks.
I met the photographer and he whispered to me, "Do you know what business the host is doing?" he asked.
"No", I replied nonchalantly.
"He's in the diamond business!"
"So?" I knitted my eyebrows, wondering what he was driving at?
"If I had known that, I would have quoted him a higher fee for my photography work!"
"Please lah. Whether my customer sells roti prata or diamonds, I will still charge him the same price. You don't charge someone a higher price just because he is rich."
Wow! The hostess was so elegantly clad in her sari, and someone whispered to me that the glittering stones on her sari could be real diamonds! The guests were also as glamorous with their graceful and gorgeous saris. The men wore costumes that we seldom see when we go to the office or shopping at Orchard Road. I was mesmerised by the colour, gaiety and beauty around me.
When I went down to the lower floor of the condominium, I was surprised to find a big pond and there were two beautiful swans. For the first time I saw a swan at close range and realised how flawlessly and snowy white and smooth were the feathers. It dawned upon me the absolute beauty and craftsmanship of nature by the great Creator. Suddenly all the beautiful saris and even the ones studded with diamonds pale in comparison!
Suddenly the verse in Matthew Chap.6 vs. 28 to 29 came to mind.
"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow.! They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even King Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
That night, I left the party with my staff at 1 a.m. with a spring in my steps and a song in my heart.
Posted by The Oriental Express at 5:21 am
Sunday, June 21, 2009
When I first saw the advertisement, I was not quite sure of the advertiser's intention. Did he mean to scare every reader into washing his hands without ceasing or little monsters will appear from a dirty hand and bare their fangs?
I guess that advertisement came about in the wake of H1N1.
Just like one previous advertisement on cancer caused by smoking which was a failure, this advertisement looks like it will meet the same ending. Advertisers must always remember that when something is too exaggerated, it loses the effect for which it is intended.
I am not a copywriter, and I will leave it to the copywriters to ponder over how they could improve on the advertisement.
Posted by The Oriental Express at 11:13 pm
Saturday, June 20, 2009
One of the most fascinating and versatile herbal plants to me is the aloe vera. I started growing aloe vera quite seriously when I was given a plant by the Hongkah North Toastmasters Club. Yatti, the club treasurer, not only cooks but also prepares special gifts to visiting appointment holders.
My little aloe vera plant has bloomed and has also "given birth" to many smaller shoots. In turn, I am now giving away the baby plants to friends and neighbours.
I noticed that some of the Chinese restaurants like Crystal Jade have been using aloe vera for their desserts.
Every now and then, I would cut the aloe vera plant, and separate the soft gel which I cut into smaller pieces and put them in my fruit juice. It tastes really nice and is a healthy drink.
I will use the remaining aloe vera to rub on the face. It makes a nice mask...cooling and firming the skin.
When my pet dogs had wounds I would squeeze some aloe vera juice from smaller shoots. Amazingly the wounds heal quite fast, and I would also not worry if my dogs were to lick it.
The Creator has given us so many wonderful plants and herbs!
Posted by The Oriental Express at 9:06 pm
Friday, June 19, 2009
The amount of wastage left behind by inconsiderate diners at McDonalds at Tiong Bahru Plaza!
I had arranged to meet my client, Sharilynn who lives near Tiong Bahru Plaza. I looked around for a table and spotted one which was just vacated by some diners. There was a lot of uncleared mess on the table. Just then I saw that there were little containers of chilli sauce. Gosh! Why would anyone take so much chilli sauce and left them unconsumed.? People have no qualms about taking more than they need! Just because these are given free? Should they not think of the poor operators and their less than desired profit margin?
A number of years ago, I visited England, and was somewhat surprised when a food outlet made it mandatory for customers to pay for packets of chilli sauce. You can bet that some people did not even bother about chilli or tomato sauce. Perhaps it is about time that MacDonalds start to do the same. Perhaps MacDonalds should also introduce vegetarian burgers. After all, we have been encouraged to consume less meat.
Hence, instead of constantly increasing the prices of the food served, operators should rethink how they should go around to reduce wastage and to reward those who are considerate and have civic consciousness. There were also so many cups of unfinished cokes, seven-up and sprite. I immediately think of the poor African boy who had to wash his hair with horse urine! Let us try our utmost not to be wasteful, but to constantly think of how we can help to save the world! Above all, to be grateful that we have food on the table, and clean water to drink and to shower with.
Posted by The Oriental Express at 11:27 pm
The herbs that are taken once every morning - from left to right. Herb for hypertension, herb for cancer, herbs for diabetes and mint leaves.
The herbs for cancer
The herbs for diabetes
For almost the whole month of April, I often had giddiness and headaches. After taking some herbal remedies, my headaches have been greatly reduced.
My niece-in-law, Dea, had given me a plant that is popularly grown in Africa and is well known for lowering hypertension. I had often brewed the dried leaves as tea. It was only recently that sister Lee Lee mentioned that I should take the leaf as it is. Wow! It is really bitter, even more bitter than bitter gourd!!
I regularly take the herbs for diabetes and have been able to keep the diabetic level at a healthy range. Whenever I feel my throat getting sore, I will take some mint leaves.
Fortunately I like to eat leafy things - hence taking these herbs is not a problem at all. Best of all, I enjoy growing them at the broad passageway of my apartment.
It gives me a nice and warm feeling when I pluck these leaves with gratitude to the Creator, for He knows we need these natural herbs to sustain us in good health.
I am grateful that I am now in better health, as I have to run around more as the property market has been spicy hot the past 7 weeks.
I was glad when my best friend, Amu, came to visit me recently, and I boiled some "ren" tea for her as she had been coughing for the past one month. Amu also plucked some mint leaves to take home for daily consumption.
If any of my local readers are convinced to try the herbs that I have mentioned, please feel free to ask, and you will be given.
It is really no fun being sick and looking at the world with somewhat hazy eyes.
How true when someone says that good health is great wealth!
Posted by The Oriental Express at 8:05 am
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Blue, blue, my love is blue.
A million dollar view from the 24th floor!
Part of the lovely landscaping of Citylights Condo!
The sky garden with plenty of breeze and fresh air!
Yesterday, my working partner, Dickson and I brought a client to view a unit at Citylights Condo. It is located beside the Lavendar Mrt, and is just opposite the ICA building where we can obtain our identity card and passports.
What a lovely condo! I love it most when we were at the sky garden on the 24th floor! There was so much breeze and immediately my headache was gone. The view is spectacular - truly a million dollar view! Wow! If I were to live at the condo, I guess, I would spend most of my time doing my work there! There are also some gym machines at the Fitness Centre as well as a spa pool at the sky garden. We could also see the Singapore Flyer! I can imagine the night scene with all the lights! What an appropriate name for the condo - Citylights!
As Citylights is sitting on a 99 year lease land, the price is cheaper. A two room unit of about 900 sq. ft. is going for about $1100 per sq. ft. now. If it were freehold, it would be about $1500 per sq. ft. I would consider the location. In real estate, it is always location, location, location! 99 year lease condos near the Business District are now going for about $2000 to $2500 psf. eg. Marina Bay Residences and The Sail.
This is what I love most about my work as a real estate agent. I get to admire works of great design and architecture, and best of all, I can also read or do my work while waiting for my clients.
Posted by The Oriental Express at 7:04 am
Monday, June 15, 2009
I am sick and tired of seeing all these rubbish vans with their backsides exposed glaringly and blatantly all these years!
It is ironical that when we cough, we are advised to cover up our mouths with masks. Yet these vehicles carrying billions of germs would just leave their backsides uncovered! Is it too difficult for the driver to just press a button, and hey presto, the cover will come down.? How could the vehicles ply all over Singapore, with their vehicles uncovered, leaving passers by with a stench and an exposure to inhale unhealthy organisms in the air.!
When I was in Taiwan, I noticed that the rubbish vehicles had their backs covered up. Better still, the rubbish vehicle is always accompanied by another smaller vehicle which collects recycled items. It is interesting to note that classical music like Fur Elise and Maiden's Prayer will accompany these vehicles, as if announcing their arrival. The residents would await eagerly with their rubbish bundled neatly. The recycled items will be collected by the smaller van. I was quite impressed with what I saw, for the residents seem to be enjoying what they are doing with civic consciousness, and with the loud music in the air, it almost appeared like a carnival!!!
It is about time that something is done with the way rubbish is being disposed in Singapore, as befits a country that is well known for its greenery and cleanliness.
Posted by The Oriental Express at 8:16 am
A man was riding his Harley beside a Sydney beach when suddenly the sky
clouded above his head and in a booming voice, The Lord said.
'Because you have TRIED to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you
The biker pulled over and said, 'Build a bridge to New Zealand so I can
ride over anytime I want.'
The Lord said; 'Your request is materialistic, think of the enormous
challenges for that kind of undertaking, the supports required reaching the
bottom of the Pacific and the concrete and steel it would take! It will
nearly exhaust several natural resources. I can do it, but it is hard for
me to justify your desire for worldly things. Take a little more time and
think of something that could possibly help mankind.'
The biker thought hard about it for a long time. Finally, he said,
'Lord, I wish that I and all men could understand our wives. I want to know
how she feels inside, what she's thinking when she gives me the silent
treatment, why she cries, what she means when she says nothing's wrong, and
how I can make a woman truly happy'.
The Lord replied;
'You want two lanes or four on that bridge?"
I received the above email from a toastmaster friend, Aziz Mustajab. It made me think of a joke someone had shared before.
After God made the earth, the trees and the flowers, He rested.
Afer God made the birds of the air, the huge elephants and tigers, He rested.
After God made the mountains, the sky, lightning and thunder, He rested.
After God made women, He never rested!
And it is God's two legged creatures called men who end up marrying these women!
Posted by The Oriental Express at 7:14 am
Sunday, June 14, 2009
An 80-year old man goes to the doctor for a check-up.
The doctor is amazed at what good shape the guy is in and asks,
"How do you stay in such great physical
"I'm a golfer," says the old guy, "and
that's why I'm in such good shape. I'm up well
before daylight and out golfing up and down the
"Well," says the doctor, "I'm sure that
helps, but there's got to be more to it. How old was
your dad when he died?"
Who said my dad's dead?"
The doctor is amazed. "You mean you're 80 years
old and your dad's still alive. How old is he?"
"He's 103 years old," says the old golfer.
"In fact he golfed with me this morning, and that's
why he's still alive . . he's a golfer too!!"
"Well," the doctor says, "that's great,
but I'm sure there's more to it than that. How about
your dad's dad? How old was he when he died?"
"Who said my grandpa's dead?"
Stunned, the doctor asks, "You mean you're 80
years old and your grandfather is still living!? Incredible,
how old is he?"
The doctor is getting frustrated at this point, "So,
I guess he went golfing with you this morning too?"
"No. Grandpa couldn't go this morning because
he's getting married today.."
At this point the doctor is close to losing it,
"Getting married! Why would a 128 year-old guy want to
get married in the first place?"
"Who said he wanted to? The bride is pregnant...that
Hence, are you convinced now why everyone should play golf?
Mm, not for me though. I would rather take a brisk morning or evening walk. Golf is boring to me. You hit one ball, and you walk, walk, walk. It would appear to me that most golfers talk more than they walk. I would certainly not want to be married when I am a centurion. I am one of those who prefer life to be shorter and sweeter! :-)
Posted by The Oriental Express at 6:21 am
KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - - A Malaysian prince has denied abusing his estranged teenage US-Indonesian model wife and threatened to launch legal action against her for making false allegations, his lawyer has said.
Tengku Temenggong Mohammad Fakhry, the prince of Kelantan state, on Thursday lodged a police report in the Malaysian capital denying that he had raped and tortured his 17-year-old wife, his lawyer told the state Bernama news agency.
"A police report has been lodged... we will be contemplating legal action with regard to the false allegation," said the attorney, Haaziq Pillay.
Manohara Odelia Pinot last week told reporters she was treated like a sex slave after her marriage last year to Tengku Fahkry, whose father is the sultan of Kelantan.
She escaped the prince's guards at a Singapore hotel and returned to her family in Indonesia with tales of abuse, rape and torture at the hands of the 31-year-old prince.
District Police Chief Zulkarnain Abdul Rahman confirmed to AFP that a report had been lodged by the prince and that police would investigate.
"The investigations will be transferred to the Kubang Kerian police station in Kelantan as the incident was alleged to have occurred there and comes under the jurisdiction of the police there," he added.
Manohara -- a well-known socialite in Jakarta -- claimed to have been cut with a razor and injected with drugs which made her vomit blood while being held under guard in her bedroom at the palace.
Her lawyer said she had filed a police report on the abuse but Indonesian police say they are unable to investigate as the incidents took place outside their jurisdiction.
An Indonesian forensics expert said Tuesday that Manohara had been physically abused.
"He (Fakhry) is just panicking to guard the good name of his family. We have proof that Manohara was abused. He should be jailed," her attorney Farhat Abbas told AFP.
Sue! Sue! Sue! These words seem to be the favourite threat of the rich and powerful! My heart goes out to the pitiful and beautiful wife of the Malaysian prince, Manohara Odelia Pinot. I applaud her for her daring escape from the hands of her cruel and perverted husband, Mohammad Fakhry.
Though most of us have not witnessed the abuse, we could only deduce some truth in the matter. Which lady would want to escape from the comfort of a palace with so many maids in attendance.? Which lady would want to flee from a kind and loving husband? Which lady wants unnecessary publicity and attention towards her shame and sufferings? Morever, an Indonesian forensics expert had proof that Manohar had been physically abused. The prince could lie, but wounds, injuries and scars do not lie.
I hate it when the rich and powerful abuse the people under their care. It is worse when they sue even when they are in the wrong.! In Hokkien, we call it, "Gong gong pai" translate into English means "Stupidly fierce". All of us must remember that no matter how rich or powerful we are, there is Someone up there, even more powerful than us, and His judgement is something to be reckoned with.
Posted by The Oriental Express at 5:45 am
Of late, I have been visiting Great World City Shopping Centre quite frequently for lunch and dinner because of its proximity to Mirage Tower and Rivergate.
I have tried the food at Kenny Rogers and Crystal Jade Restaurant as well as some of the food stores at the food court. I have passed by this restaurant with the name, Czzar, and thinking that it is a Russian restaurant, I give it a pass. However, one day, I had a little more time, and began to read the menu.....the pictures of the food look familiar....maybe some kind of fusion food.!
Yesterday, after an open house, Carrie and I decided to have an early dinner. We had quite a load to carry and Carrie decided to try the food at Czzar, instead of walking further to the food court. We were warmly welcomed by the well-groomed staff and to our surprise, she told us that Czzar is pronounced as "Zhi char!" Zhi char is popularly known as good food cooked by restaurants in coffee shops....their a-la-carte dishes are as good as restaurant menus and are more economically priced. Hence Czzar serves zhi char food which is cooked in a more refined manner.
Yes, Czzar is as good and as "upperty" as the name suggests. Their yam basket is slightly smaller, but the yam and ingredients are fresh and not oily. The spareribs were cooked just right, moist, yet devoid of excess oil. Carrie and I like the soup the best....winter melon cooked with pork and herbs. The pretty supervisor came to talk to us when she saw me snapping some photographs and she was delighted to hear that I would be posting an article about the restaurant in my blog.
Having studied in Canada for four years and having sweetened my tastebuds, dessert is always a must especially after a good meal. Carrie ordered red bean with peanut balls while I tried the avocado pudding which comes with some brown sugar. Excellently prepared and a must try.!
Czzar's set menus are attractively priced at $68/- for a table of six, and $208/- for a table of ten.
Hence if my local readers or any of my foreign fans were to visit Singapore, do drop by at Czzar for a great and hearty meal of finely cooked Singaporean cuisine!
Posted by The Oriental Express at 5:31 am
Saturday, June 13, 2009
While still on the subject of gratitude, it is amazing how often people forget so quickly. Spouses forget about the wonderful things and sacrifices their partners have made for them.
I once met a lovely lady from China while I was walking my pet dog, Xiao Bai very early in the morning. Monica saw my cute Chow Chow and immediately came over to pat my dog. "So cute and lovable", she said, with a distinctive Beijing accent.
"Where're you going so early in the morning?", I asked her.
"Going to the temple around here....by the way where is this famous temple located?"
I pointed her to a road not far from where we were standing.
"Dogs are wonderful.....they make better friends than human beings", Monica continued.
To my surprise, she began to share with me about her ex-boyfriend, a Chinese doctor whom she had sponsored his 5 years of university education. She worked very hard to support him. Yet, after his graduation, he disdained Monica's secondary school education, and finally married his classmate, a gynaecologist.
"I wish I could kill him!", said Monica, her pretty face somewhat contorted with pain and revenge. One could detect the hurt and remorse etched on her pretty face.
I invited her to have breakfast with my sister and me. Eldest sister spent the whole morning, sharing with her about the love of Jesus and to encourage her to forgive. Grudges are too heavy to carry. It would be better to release them.
I am sure, Monica's story is familiar to almost everyone. I guess if husbands and wives show gratitude to each other, there would be less divorces in the world.
Posted by The Oriental Express at 3:18 am
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Chelsea with her beloved playmates - the Slaters' two lovely children
Chelsea's favourite resting place in my home - the sofa!
Chelsea endears herself to everyone - a very sweet dog
Chelsea with her favourite ball
I was very tired when I arrived home late at night. Just as I was about to proceed to check my emails, I received an sms from Shahnaz, "Dear Lynn, I am writing to you with some very sad news. Lovely Chelsea has passed away peacefully this evening. We know how much you loved her and she loved you so much too. Please say a special prayer for her. Thank you for always being there for our Chelsea. May her soul rest in peace."
I cried. On that very morning, I had told my tenant, Jasmin, that when Chelsea comes to stay with us again, we would be able to take her on longer walks with us when we have our morning exercise. It would be great if Chelsea comes to stay with us during the school holidays in June as it tends to rain in December.
I first met Shahnaz walking her pet Cocker Spaniel when I was marketing a unit at Clementi Park. Shahnaz asked if I was living in the condominium. When she found out that I was marketing a unit she asked if she could view it too. Shahnaz later bought a bigger unit which I found for her and family. Thanks to Chelsea, our paths crossed because I would always pat any dog I met along the way.
Hence for the past few years, whenever Shahnaz had to leave Singapore for a vacation, she would ask me to dog-sit Chelsea. Shahnaz had adopted Chelsea from the SPCA. It would be hard for anyone to know that Chelsea was once an abused dog. With the love given by Shahnaz and family, Chelsea had become a loving and affectionate dog. She loved her favourite game of "Catch". She would retrieve the ball I had thrown to her. Chelsea had a good appetite and had a healthy coat of ruby-brown fur.
I was relieved to hear that Chelsea was sick for three days, for her immune system had broken down. She did not have to suffer for too long. The memory of sweet Chelsea will be forever etched in our memories.
Posted by The Oriental Express at 12:57 am
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She told her boyfriend, 'If I could only see the world, I will marry you.'
someone donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages
came off, she was able to see everything, including her
her,'Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?' The
girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind. The
sight of his closed eyelids shocked her. She hadn't expected
that. The thought of looking at them the rest of her life
led her to refuse to marry him.
boyfriend left in tears and days later wrote a note to her
saying: 'Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before
they were yours, they were mine.'
how the human brain often works when our status changes.
Only a very few remember what life was like before, and who
was always by their side in the most painful situations.
The above email was sent to me by Pradeep, a toastmaster friend. I was very moved when I read the story and tears filled my eyes. I remember Pastor Derek Hong had mentioned in one of his sermons about the perversity of man. "You can do nine good things for someone, but when you fail the person once, he somehow remembers only the one time you have failed him. He absolutely forgets the nine good things!"
I am sure many of us can identify with the above. However, it is important that we get over our disappointment with people fast, forgive them, and get on with life. To avoid being disheartened, now, I tell myself that whatever good I do for others, I do it as if unto the Lord. God's blessings and grace are sufficient for me.
Being the hopelessly optimistic person that I am, I always look at the bright side of things. Recently I failed badly, and it is through this failure that I realise who my truly good friends are. I am full of eternal gratitude to the people who have stood by me and who continue to believe in me.
Hence, now that I have picked myself up again, I remember these people with gratitude and am thrilled with having the opportunity of returning my favour and blessings to them.
Papa was very wise when he constantly reminded us to be grateful to God and to man. Gratitude always puts us in the right perspective of things; it makes us humble and contented, and the realisation that we owe our success to God and people around us.
Posted by The Oriental Express at 7:11 am
Sunday, June 07, 2009
In one of my previous articles, I have mentioned about the essence of, or crux of a matter.
In real estate work, I am surprised that some clients are not wise enough by being nasty to real estate agents. I have seen clients blowing off their minds just because they had been unable to secure the properties they wanted. Amazing how some people act as if the world owes them a living.
It is futile to lose one's cool. Agents are mere instruments of bringing a deal to closure; they do not own the properties and hence, do not have much control over the sale or ownership of the property.
It is wise to be nice to agents so that they can perform their best and help you get the property you want.
In the same token, it is also crucial to be pleasant to the secretary because she holds the key to opening doors for you to meet up with her boss. Some people are just bent on achieving their goals. They miss the essence of what is the easiest and most important way of doing something, so that they end up being cheerful and being able to enjoy life to the fullst.
Posted by The Oriental Express at 11:57 pm
As I was waiting for the newly fitted lift at my block, I peeped through the glass door and saw only some ropes dangling as the lift made its way up to the top floor before it would descend.
"Scary!" I thought to myself. "What if the wires or ropes were to break? Do they really have the strength to carry so much weight?" I smiled because my block only has 13 storeys. I have been on lifts to floors as high as 101 when I was in Taipei!
Amazing how people would have faith in lifts, planes, buses, taxis, etc. Yet, when we tell them that God created this world and everything in it, some would actually doubt. Some philosophers even believed in Darwin and some people believe we actually orginate from the apes!
In my work, when I tell clients to quickly buy the properties during a quiet market, many would doubt. Despite telling them that my hunch told me that prices would soon be on the rise, some doubted me. Some actually chose to trust their friends who are investors, but which investor could beat a good agent who has been in the market for almost 15 years and like a good doctor, could actually feel the pulse of the market?
I guess the Creator understands His homo sapiens, for He only asks us to have faith as small as a mustard seed! As a child in a Sunday School class I had often wondered why the Creator never asked us to have faith the size of a football, or perhaps smaller like a tennis ball, or perhaps even smaller like a ping pong?
Now I realise that it is difficult for many people to have faith as small as a mustard seed for the more they analyse, the more they become paralysed with fear, doubt, confusion and anxiety.
No wonder we often like to say in Mandarin "Sha ren yiu sha fu" - direct translation, "Stupid people have stupid luck" or in Hokkien "Kiang lang chiak gong lang; gong lang chiak ti kong" - direct translation, "The clever people eat up stupid people; the stupid people eat up God".
Life will certainly be easier and happier when we have a little mustard seed of faith.
Posted by The Oriental Express at 8:50 am
Saturday, June 06, 2009
I met up with my ex-students, Carrie and Esther, from River Valley High School. It is always such a joy for a teacher to see her ex-students basking in the brilliance of success. We arranged to meet at Great World City at Ya Kun Kaya as Esther works as a Human Resource Manager in a company that is the main distributor of Levi Jeans in Asia Pacific.
Esther looked really chic in her lovely jeans, and we found out that the jeans cost a few hundred dollars! "Huh, jeans are so costly meh?" I queried with an air of Singlish flippancy. Somehow, speaking in Singlish made the conversation seem more relaxed and made us feel closer.
"Ya, some jeans even cost over a thousand dollars leh", replied Esther.
"You don't know meh?" asked Carrie with mocked surprise.
"You know lah, I never wear jeans, except for one occasion 30 years ago when I was studying at the University of Alberta. I bought a pair of jeans in a garage sale for 25 Canadian cents. Later, I shortened the jeans and made them into shorts as they were too warm for the summer season. That was the first and last time I ever had anything to do with jeans. I remember I bought it because my flatmate commented that her classmates found me a freak as I hardly wore pants, even during the cold winter. With so much blessings of "double insulation" who needs to wear pants anyway? I guess the Creator must have blessed me with extra "blubber" like the seals and penguins, so that I hardly felt cold even when the temperature was hovering around 5 to 10 degrees celcius. As I lived in the students' hostel at the campus, I did not even have to get out of the building as many of the buildings were linked together. Hence, I would often run to my classes after drowning my cup of hot coffee, and I would enter the lecture rooms, flustered and perspiring, much to the amusement of my classmates! I remember my best friend, Carol, once commented, "Choo, looking at you, one would think it is summer!"
When I went travelling during the winter season, I would often end up lending my jacket to the other members in the tour group, who felt cold despite having two to three layers of clothes on.
Hence for those of us who are overweight, let us look at the bright side of the weight. We do no feel cold so easily, and hence do not have to worry about heavy and cumbersome clothings!
Posted by The Oriental Express at 7:50 am
Thursday, June 04, 2009
TAIPEI (AFP) - - A Taiwanese doctor who collects artefacts of the ancient Chinese practice of footbinding has drawn criticism from feminists who say he is romanticising a tradition that suppressed women for a thousand years.
David Ko has spent the past 30 years collecting the tiny colourful shoes that Chinese women wore during the 1,000 years they were forced to have their feet broken and bent in half for the sake of fashion, beauty and sex.
He insists the practice -- which inflicted a lifetime of pain -- was a romantic fashion that continues to inspire modern trends.
"I think of footbinding as a form of fashion in ancient China, with the lavishly embroidered shoes and accessories," he told AFP, calling the results "sexy".
"The French and Italians debate about who invented high-heeled shoes but I believe they originated in China to support women with bound feet," he said.
To promote his ideas about footbinding Ko has published three books on the topic and has exhibited some of his vast collection in Taiwan, China, Canada and at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington.
Perhaps not surprisingly he has also drawn criticism from some women who regard his fascination as something of a sick fetish, and see the binding of girls' feet as little less than torture and the perhaps the most extreme example of a fashion fad.
"I agree that footbinding should be preserved like any piece of history but it's flimsy to promote it as a beauty and fashion concept in our time," said Wang Ping, secretary-general of Taiwan's Gender/Sexuality Rights Association.
"Footbinding limited women's movements to satisfy men's desires in a patriarchal society when women didn't have an equal status.
"This notion of beauty was based on suppression," she said.
The practice, which deformed women's feet into a shape known as a "three-inch lotus," endured until early last century, when the imperial era ended and China became a republic.
It was only completely eradicated after the civil war victory of the communists in 1949, yet even today, elderly women in remote areas of the country such as southwestern Yunnan province can still be seen tottering painfully on bound feet.
Ko has 5,000 pairs of the tiny shoes worn by women with bound feet. Many of them are delicately embroidered as they were meant to attract attention to what was the main female erogenous zone -- and the smaller a women's feet, the more beautiful, and marriageable, she was considered.
He also has around 10,000 accessories, including stockings, buckles, cases, drawings and shoe-shaped wine glasses, all carefully stored in his private hospital in Taipei county.
For his books he interviewed 300 elderly women who had their feet bound as children, and describes the practice as a "cultural legacy" and an inspiration for modern fashion.
Ko said that contrary to the generally negative view of footbinding among scholars and historians, he wants it to be seen more positively, as an important aspect of China's cultural heritage.
He backs his claim that the three-inch shoes are the prototype of latter-day high heels by pointing to the tiny platforms sewn to the heels of many pairs in his collection.
"I still remember when I first saw a woman with bound feet when I was six years old, I was fascinated by how small her feet were," said the 54-year-old surgeon.
That fascination eventually inspired him to create what must be one of the most extensive collections of "lotus" paraphernalia and become one of the foremost experts on the subject.
"I would probably have become a historian if it weren't for financial and family reasons," said Ko, who was raised in a family of doctors.
Theories on the origin of footbinding vary, but it is generally believed that small feet became fashionable around the 10th century, after an emperor admired the tiny feet of a dancer who performed for him with colourful ribbons tied around her ankles.
Over the years, footbinding became a symbol of beauty, grace and class, and as the practice became universal, writers and poets eulogised the "golden lotus," and broken and bound feet became the symbol of female sexuality.
Eventually, bound feet became so normal that without them a woman could not marry. They were never shown to any male except a husband or lover.
Usually a girl was subject to the painful ritual from early childhood when her feet were literally bent in half -- often by her mother or another female relative.
They were then wrapped in long strips of cloth -- which themselves became fetishised -- ensuring a life of agony and high maintenance. Because the rotting flesh stank, the feet were powdered to mask the smell.
Yet so erotic were the feet considered that men were known to eat crushed almonds and even sip wine from between the deformed toes, and the sight of the bindings was said to be enough to stir libidinous passions.
"The richer a woman was the smaller her feet were bound, and for some matchmakers their first question was about the size of the feet of prospective brides," Ko said.
While footbinding forced women to walk in an unnatural way, tottering from side to side as they struggled to maintain balance, Ko said he believes it made them more attractive and sexy.
Indeed, he compares lotus feet to the tightly-laced corsets popular in Western Europe during the 18th century -- despite the fact that Western women chose as adults to wear the corsets, whereas Chinese women had their feet mutilated as children.
I came across the above article. Gosh! How I wish Dr. David Ko had been born as a woman during the Ching Dynasty. Then he would realise the excruciating pain that women had to go through to have their feet bound. As a little girl, I was somewhat shocked when I saw our neighbour, an elderly lady's tiny feet which had been bound. Ching Po (Grandma Ching) was a great grandmother - a very kind old lady, who would walk very slowly as she inched her way to the market every morning to sell some cakes and delicacies. Fortunately Ching Po was petite. Can you imagine if Ching Po had been overweight? I remember reading a book by Pearl S. Buck and she described a fat lady with little bound feet who had difficulty balancing herself as she walked! In the modern context, I feel sorry for ladies who run about town with their four-inch high heeled shoes. All in the name of beauty!
It is about time that women put their feet down. Wear shoes that are comfortable for your feet for you are the one who suffer backaches, headaches, etc. because the feet support the whole body, and you can't torture yourself wearing shoes with so little support!
This is probably why a foot reflexologist will know your state of health just by your foot massage. Much money has been spent on foot reflexoly machines and going to the foot reflexologists because people are now beginning to realise the importance of maintaining good health.
Thank God for the late Dr. Sun Yat Sen who abolished foot binding! Dr. Sun could remember the screams of excruciating pain every evening when his little sisters had the cloths removed from their feet in the early stages. See the difference between Dr. Sun Yat Sen and Dr. David Ko?
Posted by The Oriental Express at 11:45 pm
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Politics is one subject that I find almost incomprehensible. But I guess, after I received the following illustration, I began to have a slightly better understanding of politics. I received the following email from my toastmaster friend, Fernando, and would like to share with my readers.
Finally, politics explained in simple common language by Suleen.
Whether you are for PAP or WP, or UMNO or PKR, Conservative or Liberal ANC or whatever, Republican or Democrat, I think you'll get a kick out of this!
A little boy goes to his dad and asks, 'What is Politics?' Dad says, 'Well son, let me try to explain it this way: I am the head of the family, so call me The Prime Minister. Your mother is the administrator of the money, so we call her the Government. We are here to take care of your needs, so we will call you the People.
The nanny, we will consider her the Working Class. And your baby brother, we will call him the Future. Now think about that and see if it makes sense.' So the little boy goes off to bed thinking about what Dad has said. Later that night, he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him. He finds that the baby has severely soiled his nappy. So the little boy goes to his parent's room and finds his mother asleep.
Not wanting to wake her, he goes to the nanny's room. Finding the door locked, he peeks in the keyhole and sees his father in bed with the nanny. He gives up and goes back to bed.
The next morning, the little boy says to his father, 'Dad, I think I understand the concept of politics now. ' The father says, 'Good, son, tell me in your own words what you think politics is all about.' The little boy replies, 'The prime Minister is screwing the Working Class while the Government is sound asleep. The People are being ignored and the Future is in deep shit.'
Posted by The Oriental Express at 11:21 pm
WELLINGTON (AFP) - - A zookeeper was mauled to death by a white tiger at a wildlife park in New Zealand's north, police said.
"A male wildlife keeper was fatally mauled by a white tiger while cleaning an enclosure in Whangarei's Zion Wildlife Gardens today," New Zealand police said in a statement.
A report said visitors to the park had seen the attack, although this was not immediately confirmed by police.
An Auckland man told the Fairfax newspaper group he had seen the mauling.
"It was very, very frightening," said the man, who declined to be named.
Despite the efforts of the second keeper and a rapid response from other wildlife park staff, the tiger would not let the park worker go and he died at the scene, police said.
The tiger was later destroyed by wildlife park staff.
Fairfax's Stuff website reported eight foreign tourists at the park were understood to have witnessed the incident.
I was pretty upset by the above article, and was stunned by the ignorance of the zoo officials and management. How could anyone be allowed to clean the tiger's enclosure without the wild animals being locked up.? Do the zoo authorities expect the tigers and other wild animals to understand and think, "How nice, the homo sapiens are making our dwelling clean and neat? Let's give them a welcome lick!" And when the animals attacked, they would be destroyed! It is sad that there was no attempt shown to understand the attack of the animals! Some of these animals are getting lesser as they are depleted with hunt for their fur and other parts of their bodies!
Animals are animals, especially wild ones. Even domestic animals could go bonkers if they were not properly being treated and handled. I remember a church friend in Penang who used to tie up his pet dog day in and day out. One day, the dog just bit and mauled his young daughter. If you were to be tied up the whole day and night long, would you also not go berserk? Tying up the dog with a short leash everyday is tantamount to animal cruelty.
I would urge everyone to always be alert where animals are concerned, especially wild ones. Take the trouble to read up books or information on animals before you adopt a dog or a cat. This will help to preserve your sanity as well as the mental health of your pets.
Posted by The Oriental Express at 8:39 pm
Lovely new condominium - As pristine as the name suggests, "Pristine Heights"
Jasmin with his morning run cum walk
Is the Cambridge University nearby?
It has been almost two years since I moved to Little India. I love living here!
Apart from the absolute convenience of being able to walk to Orchard Road, Bugis Junction, Newton Circus, Clarke Quay, Chinatown, Lavendar and Beach Road, I have also discovered the charm of the vicinity.
Almost everyday, my tenant, Jasmin and I would either take a morning or evening walk around the vicinity. As I am now not too athletically inclined, Jasmin would do a few runs around the area while I walk briskly. There is so much greenery. Best of all are the lovely road names that remind me of England, one of my favourite countries to live in ...Cambridge Road, Oxford Road, Gloucester Road, Kent Road, and Owen Road, just to name a few.
This is why when my client, Amelia, asked me for help with renting her brand new lovely apartment at Pristine Heights, I immediately agreed for I enjoy walking to her apartment from where I live. It is a short pleasant walk. I enjoy watching people playing tennis, walking their dogs, etc. Best of all, I realise that the food at the Cambridge Road Market and Food Centre is both cheap and good. That is where the famous Wah Kee Prawn Noodles is located. It was at the food centre that I discovered the availability of my favourite Dong dong juice. I now buy my fresh vegetables from a popular store for they are reasonably priced.
It is amazing how beautiful Singapore is. In the midst of tall buildings there are still pockets of greenery and beautiful landscape. I am sure there must many lovely places around if only we take time to discover, and I realise that discovery is best when we walk and observe.
Posted by The Oriental Express at 8:21 am