Friday, November 29, 2013

iPhone 5 Charging Cable Is Not Working?

Like many iPhone users, i shunned original cables due to their exorbitant pricing and opted for third party charging cables which came in many lengths, numerous colours at dirt cheap prices (put it this way, cheap enough for me to buy five or six in one online purchase).

In recent months however, i would get the above error message on my desktop whenever i plug in the lightning cable to my iPhone 5 and this would only happen after a few successful uses. I was confused and thought this had something to do with that particular batch i bought. 

Sadly, this was not the case. 

Apple, the big brother, has managed to render third party charging cables useless via a software update for iPhone devices (not sure if this is the case with ipod and ipads)! You might be able to utilise the cables for a longer period of time via power socket charging (don't plug it to your computer for charging or data sync) but remember to keep your fingers crossed.

It was frustrating for me as my original cable was spoilt and i depended heavily on my mobile for work, personal and entertainment. I don't have a choice but to do exactly what the Apple executives would like me to do; buy the original cable.

This original piece cost me S$28! 
I could buy more than ten of this online! 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Trip to Ipoh, Cameron Highlands & Kuala Lumpur!

By the time this was published, i should have arrived in Ipoh after enduring a coach ride of over ten hours and in the midst of seeking out good food for breakfast in this supposedly gastronomic city in Malaysia!  

Two nights stay in the capital of Perak and i would be on the way to the nearby highlands to breath in cool, crisp air untainted by urban pollution. Be assured; i have covered so much on cameron highlands that i am not expecting many posts to be generated because of this trip.

A night stay in Brinchang (a small town in Cameron Highlands) and off we go to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia where the tallest twin towers in the world dazzle visitors over and over again! 

As with my other overseas trips, posts have been scheduled to be published in this blog and you can look forward to new blog entries in the few days that i am away.

Enjoy and take care!! 
^_^

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Albert Centre Fried Carrot Cake (源记正宗菜头粿) - Black and White @ Bugis [Singapore]

Our intention was simple; have the famous bak png (meat rice) and off we go to our next round of makan!

Simple yet without the bloody luck to have our way; the stall was closed! 

We chose the next best alternative based on the length of queue - fried carrot cake! p.s the basis may not be the most accurate given that individual taste buds differ. 

Again, I'm just not a white carrot cake person! My aim was only to attack the eggs and nothing else! 

The Great Kon made the correct decision by asking for extra black sauce as that delectable sweetness was obvious from the very first bite. 

Pity there's nothing that's as good beside that saccharine-ness. The sweetness was a bit overwhelming without the wok hei presence and the Gang of Four kinda ignored the dish after a few mouthfuls. 

:(

=====

Location
270, Queen Street, Stall #01-59,
Albert Centre Market And Food Centre 
(near to Bugis Village and the famous Guanyin temple)

Price
S$3 each

Tan's Tu Tu Coconut Cake [陈家"嘟嘟"糕] @ Block 449, Clementi Avenue 3

I shall spare all of you the torture of reading a long history of the origins for tutu cake in Singapore as i thought the above information sheet has aptly summarised the important points.

The process of making tutu cakes might seem simple for amateurs; maybe a bit of repetitions but didn't appear to have the complications required to cook, for example, a plate of chilli crab.

If only things are indeed that easy - imagine having to do hundreds or maybe thousands of them every day by hand and keeping in mind that you must strike a balance of that initial scoop of rice flour on the mould; not too much (this would reduce the proportion of fillings) and not too little (the tiny cake, once steamed, would break apart even with a light touch).

Furthermore, the steamer was set to a high temperature that would definitely leave a few marks on a newbie's hands! And for an impatient person like me, the haste to churn out as many tutu cakes as possible would likely mean a high chance of screwing things up big time! 

I admit it would not be the job for me. That's why i am always thankful for the existence of decades-old hawkers with numerous awards and accolades who continue to offer us good food using traditional recipe; like the Tan's Family Tu Tu Coconut Cake!

With a history of over eighty long years, i am not sure how traditional or modern this has become. As i mentioned many times in this blog, authenticity is nothing if you don't like it at first bite!

But, i absolutely ADORE these little bundles of delightful kueh! 

The perfectly steamed cakes came in two types of fillings; the crushed peanuts which were traditionally used although i would prefer them better in pancakes (mian jian kueh). Nonetheless, take a bite, compare it with their competitors and you would realise the peanuts were not as sweet and tasted surprisingly light. 

Coconut filling is the one that makes my knees go weak! Instead of frying the coconut shreds with plain sugar like many stalls nowadays, the tan's family maintained having theirs stir-fried with gula melaka! And boy were they lavish with the yummy coconut shreds! 

=====

Location
Block 449, #01-211, 
Clementi Avenue 3

Price
S$3 for 5 pieces

Opening Hours
3pm to 9.30pm
Any enquiry can be directed to tans.tutu@gmail.com or 9737-2469


Monday, November 25, 2013

Cheng Mun Chee Kee Pig Organ Soup (正文志記豬什湯大王) - Truly The King @ Foch Road (Near Lavender Food Square)

I am not a fan of pig organ soup, otherwise known as zhu zha tang or 猪杂汤 since i don't enjoy eating any kind of internal organs except for foie gras!

But when the Great Kon proposed having a light supper in a very notable stall at Lavender selling (in his opinion) the best pig organ soup in Singapore, i got very curious. 

Because i have never heard about it despite its close proximity to Lavender Food Square, which i often frequent. 

Taking up quite a number of shops in the traditional shophouse buildings in that area, cheng mun chee kee offered only two stalls; one for drinks and the other for pig organs soup. This kind of strategy would never be sustainable in the long run if the food is not of a high standard.

The above was the supper for four of us! I think the word "light" is used very liberally in Kon's dictionary! How am i supposed to get my weight to below 60 kilograms if light refers to having such a heavy meal!?!!?!?

Luo Han Zai
南乳罗汉斋
My only comparison with this was the canned based luohan zai that my mom always buys from the supermarkets for the days she takes only vegetarian. The one above came sweet, crunchy without that disgusting chemical taste and pungency i often get from the canned version. Still not my cup of tea though. 

Meat w Chestnuts n Salted Fish
马蹄咸鱼蒸肉饼
Are you one of those food wasters who love pork buns but would ruthlessly throw away the edible bun and attack only the moist and juicy meat? 

I guarantee you would like the above steamed meat with chestnuts and salted fish! Notwithstanding the weird combination and the harder texture, it was as delicious as a good meat bun should be, without the sinful guilt i regularly get from ingesting too much fattening pork! 

Loving it is an understatement although i do have to caution you readers that you would have to prepare for that unfortunate scenario of biting into a piece of salted fish! Maybe i should not generalise; the above message is specifically for those who dislike salted fish. Like me.

Pork Balls Soup 
肉丸子汤
In the past, when i was almost a 0% vegetable eater, the kind of soups i drank must be meat based. One of them happened to be the pork balls soup. Normally, the taste would not deviate much from one stall to another. 

This was just different; the noticeably salted vegetables based broth was masterly boiled to have a light consistency that was not overly salty! The above revelation might disappoint absolute meat eaters who are looking forward to a robust, porky bowl of soup. 

However, nothing's lost yet. 

Not when you throw these terrific meat balls into your mouth! They were so amazing; they put all other meat balls sold in other places to shame! Till now, i could not fathom how the meatballs can be so soft, so tender, so q, so juicy and yet so good! 

To put it crudely, they are simply the balls of perfect satisfaction! 

=====

Location
24 Foch Road

Map
As above

Operating Hours
9am to 5am
Closed on Mondays

p.s. the website listed (www.chengmuncheekee.com) is no longer available

Price
Luo Han Zai - S$3
Meat w Chestnuts n Salted Fish - S$3
Pork Balls Soup (big)- S$6
Plain Rice - S$0.50

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pat's Schoolhouse Graduation Musical 2013 - Jerald Has Graduated from Preschool!

Jerald has finally graduated from preschool and shall be advancing to his next level of education in 2014! As his beloved uncle, i am thankful to be given the opportunity to attend his graduation musical yesterday. 

Location was at the 126 years old grand dame of Singapore: 
Raffles Hotel's Jubilee Hall!

In addition to the musical "Land of Oz", there was also individual class skit (known collectively as "Magic of Love") performed by the six graduating classes from both Mount Emily and Serangoon branch. 

I was late!!! Luckily my seat was at the back and my arrival created no disturbance. Actually, back seats were the best as they were elevated; making it much easier for me to take pictures. 

Jerald's class skit was the fourth and talked about a terrorizing monster snake that had created much havoc in a small village. 

As expected, many parents in the audience were taking videos and photographs to record these precious moments. Everyone was reminded to be considerate towards the people sitting at the back and that there should not be any flash. 

Coming back to the story, a Taoist priest was eventually engaged to chase away the snake (i initially thought the priest was Jerald) after much discussion among the simple villagers! 

Jerald starred as one of the many adorable villagers! 

With blinded encouragement from the priest, all the villagers were persuaded to join in the crusade to expel the snake from their village.

They failed because of the incompetent priest! Nevertheless, the little priest has had to save his "face" and suggested to the villagers that a human sacrifice would be necessary to stop the snake from creating more harm. 

Pink girl volunteered despite the objections from her parents but instead of resigning to her fate, she battled the nefarious creature and won victory over the great evil!

End of drama.

For a production involving kids no more than seven years old, i was taken aback by the quality of these skits! Bloody, i don't even remember having all my classmates performing such stuff when i was in kindergarten! 

Granted the dialogue was dubbed in Mandarin, the preschoolers displayed utmost confidence in presenting themselves to a big audience, even if they were masquerading roles way beyond their tender age.

Of all six dramas, i particularly enjoyed the one on Hua Mulan; a legendary lady warrior in ancient China who decided to take her father's place when he was called up by the imperial court to be conscripted in the army.

The battle scene was impressive! 

And came prepared with violence that was unusually endorsed by the many parents seated in the audience who yelled "fight" and clapped with laughter when the kids finally did. Tsk tsk. 

Of course, our dear Hua Mulan returned to her hometown after twelve years in the battlefield and was betrothed to a general by the emperor. 

After all six skits, the actors and actresses came together to perform a dance item for the audience; if i recollect correctly, it was something about love, harmony and stuff.

Conclusion of the first segment for the night.

Reception for all guests while the kids prepared for the next heavyweight item of the night; Land of Oz!! 

Cute Jovyn grabbing a bite of the delicious cake! She couldn't stand the darkness in the hall and was super pleased to be out. Plus, she totally love cakes! Oh, and sweets! Sighs...

Now a bit about the charming Jubilee Hall (i could not resist not talking about this as many of you are aware i really like old, heritage stuff) - it was designed in the Victorian style and was built as an extension of Raffles Hotel in the 60s or 70s. 

While everyone is using energy saving lighting, the bulbs in Jubilee Hall were still the filament type! I don't know what the eco activists would say but i thought the filament bulbs are more appropriate to create that classy Victorian ambiance.

The foyer outside the Hall, where the reception was held. I cannot imagine how much the rental would cost although we must keep in mind that Raffles Hotel is Singapore's oldest (and likely most expensive) hotel! 

Back to the show; Land of the Oz. 

Jerald again! 

The staged drama was divided into different acts with each class performing each act. That means we would see a few Dorothy, a few heartless tin men, a few cowardly lions and a few brainless scarecrows! 

Love this little actress for her evil portrayal of the Wicked Witch of the West! She was so full of vile; i was prepared to step onto the stage to banish her to the underworld! 

Banking on the strong love the group of four had cultivated during the journey, the sixth Dorothy finally managed to destroy the wicked witch! 

The Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion had their wish to come true. 

Wizard of Oz didn't have any power to speak of (i bet he must have gotten his degree from a magic university not endorsed by the Singapore government) to help Dorothy to get home although his cuteness still managed to shine! 

He offered a hot-air balloon but as we are all aware of the storyline, it took off without Dorothy on board. Anyway, she got home via the magical shoes she had been wearing all along. 

Grand finale where all the performers congregated!

The last picture included all the dedicated teachers who were involved in the extravaganza! It's never easy to teach young children and to be able to get all of them to work together for such spectacular performances; i am incredibly impressed!

Woah, the school really treats their charge like stars! We were all requested to leave a passage for the performers to parade from the theatre! Kaoz, star-like treatment that only lacked a red carpet! 

Photographs of our big boy who has grown (not just in waist size). It was barely a few years ago when i held him in my arms and to think he is already going to primary school next year. Damn, i do feel old. 

Okay lah, a few photographs of the brat who is still living in my house. 

For our dear Jerald, i am wishing you all the best in your next journey and to enjoy your childhood like every child deserves to! 

"Education is not about competing with your peers on who is ranked top and comparing who is better than the other. 
It is about learning who you want to be and to enjoy that complicated yet simple process without the pressure piled on by many parents" 

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