Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Chipmunk Enclosure at Mount Tengu in Otaru [Hokkaido, Japan]

I seemed to be blogging a lot on animal feeding and this is definitely not the last; however, this took place in Hokkaido, on a mountain top within the port city of Otaru. 

The chipmunk enclosure was actually decently sized and installed with a double gate so that visitors can enter for a close-up experience with the cute little rodents. 

Admission was free and if you need things to entice the chipmunks; you can consider purchasing the pack of sunflower seeds at 100 yen. Ours were included as part of the package we bought for Mount Tengu ropeway. 

What's the one thing you noticed from the enclosure? No trees at all and it's not very high; the man in the middle was about the same height as the meshed up fence.

I did try my best to spot the chipmunks and there was no beginner's luck; did capture a grasshopper that appeared to be sunbathing on a big leaf!

As chipmunks are known to be extremely agile with the insane ability to behave like flash (the super hero), do be mindful of where you step next. You wouldn't want to hear the terrible sound of bones cracking.

Since i am not very good in finding things, i had to rely on other visitors; they would usually express alarm and happiness in finding the chipmunk and tend to congregate at the area where they last saw it. And i did see one! 

Another one hiding in the bushes. Wait, it could have been the same one as it was so fast; my eyes couldn't catch up with its movement!

My multiple attempts of using the sunflower seeds failed miserably as it simply didn't have any interest. I could empathize; i love chicken rice but i would get sick of it eventually if you ask me to eat chicken rice every day.

Cute right?! Asshole was munching through a sunflower seed it found on the rock! I had like a dozen on my palm and it literally didn't give me any attention. 

The problem lies with me as the chipmunk had no issue picking the seeds from Alex's hands! To be fair, i was holding on to a huge ass camera which could have been intimidating.

Since most visitors would step in with a pack of sunflower seeds, the entire floor was littered with the shells. Doubt they would be swept away as i guess they would make do as compost for the soil. As i had no luck with the rodents, i eventually passed my remaining pack of seeds to a Japanese kid. Don't waste mah. 


On top of Mount Tengu,
Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan

Free admission but ticket for ropeway applies.

For my summarized 8 days, 7 nights itinerary to Hokkaido in summer (including a few days of self-drive), click here.

Sin Heng Kee Porridge 新興記粥品 (Chong Pang) - So Many Kinds of Local Porridge in an Air-Conditioned Setting! @ Yishun [Singapore] #sinhengkeeporridge

Every weekend, it's a routine for me to pay a visit to Chong Pang food centre for breakfast and then some marketing at the wet market. 

My route rarely has any diversion unless i need to draw money from the ATM and that's how i got to know of this new air-conditioned porridge restaurant known as Sin Heng Kee! 

It really helps to engage a good photographer to take mouthwatering pictures and i was immediately drawn to the above picture of the restaurant's signature porridge! Heck, i think i must have been staring for quite a few seconds as the waitress loudly beckoned me to make an order.

Breakfast was already settled that day and i am not going to take in more carbohydrates! Nevertheless, i shared the menu with my family and we arranged to meet up for breakfast at Sin Heng Kee on a Sunday! 

Menu that's pasted on the table; if you need a visual reference, you may refer to the menu i am appending at the end of this post. Ordering is fast-food style; at the counter where you make payment and get a paging device to alert you when your food is ready.

An excruciating wait of 20 minutes before our food was ready! We had three different types of porridge but they all looked the same; hence, keep your ears open when the lady tells you which is which. 

Signature Porridge - yes, this was the signature porridge and it sure didn't look anything like the second photograph that i shared earlier in this post! However, i am aware that plating is necessary to catch your attention and a stir might reveal the treasures within. 

Stirred and even though it did drag up the ingredients like cuttlefish, pork, meat balls, sliced fish, minced chicken, century egg, liver and intestines, it just didn't appear as luxurious as the picture. 

By the way, youtiao is not part of porridge and you need to order them separately. The same goes if you like to have egg in your porridge. 

As shown, the porridge is in the classic Cantonese style that's sticky and gooey yet smooth and flavourful with the light fragrance of sesame oil. For that wide variety of ingredients, the taste of the gruel was nice enough even though i feel that it lacked the oomph to differentiate itself from a typical bowl of porridge from a good hawker stall. 

Key, however, lies with the ingredients and i must admit that despite the visual disappointment, the portion was generous for the pricing and i love the tender meat, the fresh fish and the soft cuttlefish! Next time, i will add in an egg! 


Having hot porridge in an air-conditioned setting would have been a comfortable affair but i thought it was still pretty warm! The operator should consider lowering the temperature further, putting up glass doors at the entrance to prevent the cool air from escaping and / or installing a few ceiling fans.

Block 101, Yishun Avenue 5, 
#01-19/21, Near Chong Pang Food Market,
Singapore 760101


As above.

Operating Hours
7.00 am to 9.30 pm

Menu (Visual)
The picture was cut off and didn't show the full menu. For better representation of the menu, do refer to the fourth picture in this post. 

Signature Porridge - S$6.00
Youtiao (Chinese crullers) - S$1.20
(inclusive of GST)

Friday, December 29, 2017

Feeding the Rabbits in UK Farm @ Kluang [Johor, Malaysia]

The most memorable activity at UK Farm is actually the high number of animal feeding visitors can experience; by feeding, i am literally saying you, as a visitor, can hold the food right to the mouth of the animals.

I counted six different animal feeding and that doesn't include the one for the rabbits which was separately charged from the farm package; admission was free with a pack of pellets costing RM 3.00.

Section reserved for the rabbits was huge although the pens themselves were placed under a nondescript sheltered hut for logical reasons. You wouldn't want to find cages filled with lifeless rabbits on an extremely sunny day. 

As an authentic kampong boy who spent much of his childhood in a village, this scene wasn't too remote for me and since my family used to rear rabbits (for food), i must say that the condition at UK Farm was way better. 

It was bright and there wasn't much of a stench. In fact, aside from the raw looking yet practical cages with cold metal grilles, each cage wasn't squeezed in with a lot of rabbits as in the case of some pet shops.

Personally, i would prefer a bigger space for the rabbits and could only hope that their carers would allow them to run around the huge grassy patch surrounding the hut on a daily basis. 

Educational information about the rabbits; i am drawing your attention to the last paragraph as i don't think i can confidently say that a rabbit meant to say thank you when it licks your hand. To be fair, i have had hamsters, chinchillas but i never had a rabbit as a pet. 

Let the feeding begin! Surprisingly, i didn't get a single bite / nip even though i rotated the pellets with the rabbits in all the cages; they were gentle and very adorable! 

Now, i mention about the lack of stench earlier and i got my answer in the above picture. Notice the bottom of the cages where there are metal sheets hoisted on an angle? 

Rabbit poos, poo falls through the meshed flooring, poo rolls down the metal sheet and poo plops into a plastic container! Didn't think we had that in the village. Haha. 


Within UK Farm Resort,
Kluang, Johor State, Malaysia

Google Map

Check out my google map (look for UK Farm under Day One) as above.

Admission Fees
Entry is complimentary after you purchase the tour package. The basic package (RM 47.70 an adult) would bring you on a 2-3 hour bus journey with interesting stopovers comprising of animal feeding (with free feeds) and even a visit to a mock up Jakun village! 

To read more about our short two days, one night trip to Kluang, click here!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas 2017 - Unwrapping the Presents

Belated Merry Christmas! 

Time flies (as we get older) and before we knew it, Christmas is over and we are all looking forward to a better year in 2018; i actually didn't check out much of the Xmas decoration this year as i was mentally and physically exhausted.

Nevertheless, i am blessed with many presents from friends and colleagues although i am not really a gift person. In fact, i would very much prefer having a good time with friends instead of receiving presents; save the money and let's spend it over a delicious meal! 

To be frank, i have three groups of friends that decided on not having gift exchange this year; no more tearing our hair from guessing what presents to buy and praying hard that the recipient would like what we bought for them.

However, i do appreciate the gifts i received; love them! Would like to grumble about the chocolates though; nice but they are deterring me from losing weight! Most unique is a pack of biscuit with a hidden message written in the insides of the box; who the hell could have guessed that!? 

p.s. not sharing the content of the message. :P 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Mini Zoo in UK Farm Resort @ Kluang [Johor, Malaysia]

Even though i have somewhat outgrown my love for zoos, i would not hesitate to step into one if it is a part of the package; as in the case for UK Farm where we got to visit the mini zoo at no extra cost!

Tagging it as a zoo is pushing the definition and having the word mini does cushion it somewhat as i was under the impression i had descended on to a farm with poultry running around freely.

There were cages alright and i peeked in excitedly; expecting to see rare animals that i don't get to see commonly. To put things in context, i used to live in a village with a wider exposure to animals we don't chance upon in our concrete jungle.

p.s. budgerigars / parakeets are common pets in Singapore and i was disappointed to see behind the steel netting. A few cockatoos might excite me more.

Honestly, i feel sad for the animals behind cages despite the educational value, no matter how little, zoos are supposed to impart to the younger generation.

Such basic information doesn't tell us much about the habitat of the animal, its behavior in the wild and the distribution in the region. That's why i appreciate the highly acclaimed Singapore Zoo so much although we really can't compare given the financial considerations.

Furthermore, i believe there's a practical reason for the information as this guinea fowl (known locally as pearl chicken as translated from its Chinese term) is sold as food. I remember see the featherless version for sale in a Singapore's wet market.

What's behind this elevated walled enclosure?

Lazy crested porcupines! To be fair, the information did attempt to list down the species' diet, life span, breeding period etc in four different languages; Malay, Chinese, English and Japanese.

Chicken coops for the free ranging poultry.

Humongous tortoise in the pen! I am not sure about the species but i sure am impressed with the paws! Condition of the pen didn't appear good even though this would be exactly how we kept animals in our village days.

Wild boars - for Chinese, it's said that we can eat anything with their back facing the sky and wild boar meat is in fact a delicacy and served in many tze char restaurants.

Ducks and geese in a large enclosure; it's not that hard for me to cross over but i wouldn't do it for the sake of my shoes. No way am i going to get them caked in poultry shit!

A long line of cages with a fence that did little to deter any adventurous, reckless individual from getting closer! Individuals like me who don't mind taking a bit of risk.

Monitor lizard - i actually felt sorry for it as it was feebly pulling at the steel nets; just like what a defeated-minded person might do in their countless attempt to escape the contained prison.

The same goes for this monkey.

It didn't look like the common long tailed macaque and could have been found in the wild. It did seem to be digging a hole; good luck with that as it's in full view of everyone!

Did you notice the metal 'pendant' around its neck? My suspicion told me it's a hook for the leash and it's likely it would be brought out for walks on a good day.

Ducks; i am wondering if anyone of them would be chosen for dinner at the resort's resident restaurant... Frankly, it's all about practicality sometimes and we must remember that this is a working farm.

Sleeping civet cat!

At the end of the cage; a python! Please be assured that it wasn't as large as the picture made it out to be even though i find it sinister to place it right next to the chicken cage!

If i am the chicken, i will definitely be diagnosed with chronic paranoia after a while.

Lastly, the squirrel cage. The weather was insanely hot and while the stench wasn't obnoxious, the heat was actually getting to us! It didn't help that we just had a filling mutton meal at the resort's non-air-conditioned restaurant and the sleeping bug was gnawing at our brain!


Within UK Farm Resort,
Kluang, Johor State, Malaysia

Google Map

Check out my google map (look for UK Farm under Day One) as above.

Admission Fees
Entry to the mini zoo is complementary after you purchase the tour package. The basic package (RM 47.70 an adult) would bring us on a 2-3 hour bus journey with interesting stopovers comprising of animal feeding and even a visit to a mock up Jakun village! 

To read more about our short two days, one night trip to Kluang, click here!