Monday, December 04, 2017

An untapped, beautiful place with fresh air and delightful, unblocked views of the blue skies and mountain ridges; delish food whipped up passionately and served by friendly locals; a wonderful holiday at a budget cost; a deserved treat for the soul, mind and body - we'll be back to Khao Yai again for sure!

More details to follow! :)

Friday, December 01, 2017

10 reasons why Changi Airport is the best place to work in Singapore

Been holding on to this draft for ages now, decided to just skip the frills and post it!


10 reasons why Changi Airport is the best place to work in Singapore:

1) Do your shopping here - at discounted prices!

Staff discounts on top of GST-free prices for your shopping ranging from everyday groceries (NTUC, Watsons, Guardian etc) to branded goods (Zara, watch shops, perfumes and cosmetics, TWG, Braun Buffel, Fossil, Crocodile, Adidas etc). During festive seasons you can also get the seasonal goodies (e.g. bak gwa during CNY; mooncakes during mid-autumn festival) at heavily discounted prices. You can also buy electronics, toys, eye care, chocolates, overseas sim cards etc....

2) Satisfy any food craving - at discounted prices!

Okay there's a loooong list of food that I recommend, so I'll just name a few popular ones:
- London Fat Duck
- Sushi Goshin
- Itacho
- Paradise Dynasty
- Imperial Treasure
- Nando's
- Chutney Mary
- Le Nu
- Tung Lok
- Harry's
- Peach Garden
- Ramen Champion
- Four Fingers
- Swensen's...

Plus several bubble tea and yoghurt stalls, Starbucks...

If you're on a tight budget, you can also get a full meal from more than 6 food courts and fast food restaurants! 

3) Watch aeroplanes take off, land and taxi

Remember when you were a kid and being awed by the unblocked view of the runway at the viewing gallery? Now you can go there everyday and perhaps take a nap after lunch =D

Be one of the firsts to witness new planes doing their maiden flight:

Airbus 350 receiving a water-cannon salute

Nowadays, one may even catch sight of otters if you're lucky ;)

4) Excellent accessibility via public transport

Accessible by all modes of transport (except ferry), including Grab and Uber haha. Buses and taxis come very frequently. Getting to and fro work shouldn't be a hassle.

5) One stop amenities

Post office, eye care, multiple ATM and AXS machines, Raffles Medical Group clinic, UOB bank, money changer... you can run most of your errands here. Best thing? The queue is much shorter than other places.

6) Eye candies

Fine-print: Actual product may differ from marketing material

Some may argue that the epitome of beautiful local girls his represented by those in our national carrier's costume. Sights of beautiful male and females are aplenty at Changi! Choose your nationality - local, middle-eastern, Viet, Indian, European etc...

And don't you find the below faces familiar? 

SPF poster boy (who happens to be my junior from sec sch) - spot his poster outside NTUC lol

Yandao security officer - in person he's really tall and handsome

7) 5-star washrooms – EVERYWHERE!

Having clean washrooms is such an underrated criteria for a great workplace! Imagine stepping into fully furnished, clean toilets and cubicles everywhere you go - such a luxury isn't it! This is such an extreme improvement for me as I used to work in a depot and the toilets there are heavily utilised and old... amongst my experiences are dirty cubicles not having toilet paper (for staff always kapok home) and another when a cockroach crept past me as I was doing my business in a cramped and dimly lit cubicle :(:(  

At Changi? Unlimited, good quality toilet paper that doesn't tear easily. Each cubicle has a disinfectant dispenser for you to apply on the seat cover!

8) Conducive physical environment

Air-conditioned, daylight, huge spaces, well-run skytrain, even (some carpeted) flooring. And due to the massively huge terminals you can be just strolling or checking out new shops during working hours and claim to be "walking to site" or "meeting contractors" =P

If you have had enough of concrete jungle and office environment for the day, feel free to indulge in nature at the beautifully created gardens:

Butterfly Garden

Sunflower Garden
Koi pond @ T4

9) Hand sanitizer dispensers

Located commonly inside lifts, just outside toilets etc. I use them to clean my phone occasionally :)

10) The best for the last - Jewel opening soon in 2019!

Chio or not?

An exciting retail and lifestyle complex, Jewel also boasts a breathtaking 130-ft ‘Rain Vortex’ which is expected to be the world’s tallest indoor waterfall! HOW COOL IS THAT?!


Another personal 'like' for Changi Airport is that I live in the east... takes me only 30 mins from door to door! I hope I won't ever need to move out! :)

Interested to work at Changi Airport? Check out =D

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Yesterday, I played void deck soccer

A soon forgotten sport - void deck soccer

Boys around my age would have played void deck soccer in their primary and/or secondary school days. It usually happens after classes, at the nearest void deck beside the school compound.

I thought children these days would have missed out on void deck soccer, for a variety of reasons such as:
- free time after school is spent on tuition, CCA or other activities like badminton, swimming etc..
- kids these days find more entertainment in e-games rather than being outdoors
- void decks these days have become soccer-unfriendly:

Barriers added to deliberately discourage such activities

Anyway, yesterday I went for a quick jog around my neighbourhood after work. Whilst cooling down, I heard the familiar sounds of void deck soccer originating from nearby. Excited, I hopped over and was happy to see a group of primary school kids engaging in the sport!

It's been eons since I last saw children playing void deck soccer. I mean, I assumed kids these days would be too immersed in pursuing their own interests and activities? Why would they fix a time to gather at a void deck? What captivated me was that in that group of 8 children of different ages, there was a mixture of Chinese and Indians, and even a sporty-attired girl who was defending stoutly and bravely putting in tackles and blocks!

Already in my running gear, needless to say I asked to join in, and they agreed without hesitation. I had a really enjoyable time with them. The kids were full of laughter, enthusiasm and sportsmanship. Whenever the ball went out of bounds onto the carpark, at least one of them would sprint away to retrieve the ball. Whenever a goal was scored, the scorer would celebrate ecstatically. When someone tripped or fell to the ground, they would check if he/she was fine before continuing the game. When a passerby helped to retrieve the ball, more than one would shout out, "thank you!"

The evening was settled at 10-8 in my team's favour (for the record it was 5-7 when I joined, heh). Everyone packed up and bade separate ways. As I was walking home, two of the children cycled past me and said bye to me.

I really enjoyed the game! =)

Friday, November 10, 2017

New York Skin Solutions - complimentary trial review

This is not a sponsored post

As I was confirming the flight tickets to BKK via Scoot, at the final webpages before I checked out, there was a pop-up advertising that I was eligible for a $28 facial session at New York Skin Solutions (NYSS). Thinking that it's been some time since I last had my face dug, I indicated my interest in the promotion.

Setting an appointment
A few days later, NYSS called to make an appointment with me. The salesperson introduced herself as Steph and shared that because of a special ongoing promotion, the trial facial session would be FOC! WHAT, FOC?! Mai tu liao!!

So we set on a date. Steph said the session would take 3 hours. I was like, huh?! She added it is the longest time it would take, and the session includes a detailed skin analysis followed by customized treatment. I was thinking to myself, aiya all this is sales talk la, confirm at the end of the free trial will sit me comfortably in a room and try to hard sell packages to me etc. Steph assured me that if I am not interested in signing up for packages, she can indicate in the note under my name. Still skeptical, I agreed on a date the following week.

I went home and told wifey about it. She asked me to be prepared for hard selling as she has read that NYSS are quite notorious for it.

A week passed. A day before my appointment, Steph called to remind me about it. I told her upfront I don't want to spend 3 hours of my evening doing facial, so I asked her to cancel my appointment, and I'll pass up the opportunity to another person. Steph tried to convince me otherwise but she knew I was not letting up so she suggested I can ask my family members or friends. I said ok but knowing that I wouldn't be bothered, then we hung up.

2 weeks passed without any phone calls and I thought NYSS wouldn't bother me again. I was wrong!

Steph called again and asked if I had family members/friends to recommend. I said no, and thought that would be the end of it. Bye bye, no more, go and call other gullible people, ok? But no, Steph said as I was the first 50 customers, the session would be FOC and I would also be able to bring home a cleanser and toner. That wasn't enough to sway my decision, nonetheless. However, I agreed to set an appt because I was keen to have my face serviced.

Thursday 9 Nov, Tampines 1:

Pre-session brainwashing
Here I was, seated in a room and having pictures of my facial pores taken by a scanner (that looks like the one used by the supermarket cashier), magnified a 1000 times and displayed on the computer screen.

Okay... what's that? Looks like craters... surface of the moon? Nope... it's dried orange skin with black pepper and black bristles. Yes. My face looked like that on the screen. But I wasn't surprised, to be honest. Nobody's skin looks great under the microscope! After more yada yada and sales talk that my skin requires collagen treatment, I was ushered into a small room comprising 3 beds separated untidily by white track curtains. Was told to don a gown and lie down on the bed.

My consultant, Angela, later stepped in with a bowl of water and cotton pads. The area was so cramped she couldn't walk past the equipment without spilling some of the water on the carpeted floor. So we started working on my face. She started off by complaining that shop spaces in shopping malls these days are getting smaller and smaller and more expensive. Anyway, the small talk went on before we found out we shared a common interest in steamboat. Lol.

Anyway, the facial works were completed in like an hour? I have gone for many facial sessions and I think that Angela's skills were not too bad, but also not the best. In her application of eye serum and mask, she didn't get anything into my eyes - that was good. Her black head extractions was not too bad, swift and fussless. However, her hand movements were too fast they felt hurried, and perhaps that led me to feel that the session wasn't as relaxing.

- The small room air-con was quite cold I had to hide my hands below my bum.
- Soothing acoustic music was playing silently and during that hour I was in the room, I didn't notice any repeat songs.
- Another customer's session started midway of mine and due to the small room I could quite clearly hear what they were talking about.

Post-session sales talk
After an hour, I was ushered into the same room and was served some warm water in a styrofoam cup (zzz so environmentally unfriendly!). My facial pores were subjected to the same NTUC scanner again and then the photos were put side by side with those taken before the session. Okay, so there is remarkable improvement in the brightness, lesser black pepper and my skin boosted more collagen. But I don't know, maybe similar results can be achieved if I do a mask by myself?

Angela continued selling koyok for a couple of minutes before getting down into the numbers. I'm an engineer so prices are all that I look at.

Round 1
10 sessions of Collagen treatment with eye care - usual price $3600. (WTF??)
13th year anniversary, less 50% - $1800 (WTF? still)

Deliberately putting on negative body language (folded hands, slouched back), negative facial expression (no smiles, half closed eyes) and negative verbal tone (no errs, no inflection), I politely said no thanks, and explained I can visit my wife's facial place for periodic maintenance if I wanted to (fyi, my wife's facial place is about $50 per session). Angela wasn't pushy and accepted my stand. She left the room briefly to process something.

Phew, I escape! Or so, I thought.

Round 2
A minute later she re-entered the room with some good news. The salesperson seated at the counter had a voucher to spare and said I could use it.

Suddenly, 10 sessions of $1800 ($180/sess) was no more. The voucher entitled me to 4 sessions and only needed $300 ($75/sess).

HAHAHA, what a fool anyone would be, to have paid $1800!

My mind was set that yes, I needed periodic facial maintenance. But if it's more expensive than wifey's existing package, there's no good reason for me to sign up with NYSS. Angela shared that NYSS uses "plant extracts" and "peptides" which are safer and more effective. But I told her, I am not so 爱美 la, so I don't appreciate all these stuff.

Round 3
Sensing I was not swaying, Angela included 1 extra session into the package. But this is for your wife, she added.

With that, per session works out to be $60. Still no cost benefit.

I turned her down.

Round 4
"Ok la, I see that you have some interest, I give you complimentary eye serum on 4 sessions la," Angela counter proposed.

How about you give me one more face moisturizer cream? I handed the ball back to her court.

She explained she can't do that as the cream, toner and moisturizer come in a set. However, she can give me a travel kit.

Round 5
With the clear end in mind (i.e. either <$50 or I'm not buying anything), I presented my ultimatum to Angela.

"Aiya, the price is still too steep, let me go back and think about it la."

"Already give you so many freebies, and you still find it pricey? I tell you, you come and try NYSS for a few times, the effect is really better than (wifey's facial place) treatment. I used to work there, so I know very well."

So I replied, "Ok la you give me one more session, I'll take it."

Angela excused herself from the room to speak to her supervisor.

She returned quickly. "You see we are very good, one more session you can have it. But, you cannot use this session. You have to refer it to your mom."

What started off with $360/session, then $180/session, is now $50/session c/w the following:
- complimentary eye serum; and
- complimentary travel kit,

over and on top of the normal sized (150ml) cleanser, toner and moisturizer that I'd be entitled to any way, as part of the promotion.

Done. Deal.

In order to document correctly the final terms of the negotiation, I asked her to note everything down in the invoice. She collected my credit card and said, "that will be $300 plus GST of $21."

..........that sees us begin
Bonus Round

"HUH?!" I exclaimed in surprise.

"This money don't go to us la, this one give to government one!" Angela replied hastily.

"But... it's still from my pocket..."

Angela pacified me with 6 packets of collagen drink.

Despite the many rounds of negotiation, I think both parties walked away with some wins la. She closed a deal, and I signed up for a reasonably-priced facial package (plus some freebies) that I needed. I may have seemed to be very ngiao and a picky customer, but I'd like to argue that the terms I requested for weren't over the top and demanding. In addition, my mom and wifey would be coming for their customized treatments and to NYSS that makes 2 more potential customers, no?


Editor's note:
If you happen to chance upon my review as part of your NYSS research, please do not quote my review as part of your 'negotiation' wager =)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

road trip in bkk???!

Few will associate road trip with Bangkok, but that's exactly what we're gonna do!


Updates when I'm back!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Things to do during retirement

Sometimes I hear people sharing their dream to retire at 50, 55 years old, so they can get the time to do all the things they want to do. Having watched my father retire since his early 60's (started from semi retiring in late 50's, I think), I learnt that if you want to retire early, in addition to ensuring you spend within your means, you BETTA MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THINGS TO DO TO KILL TIME!

Let me rephrase - yeah when we take leave all we wanna do (most) is to wake up naturally? That's shiok, no doubt! Then perhaps we wash up, get dressed, stroll to kopitiam to sip coffee and read newspapers leisurely, go to the mall, maybe grocery shop, cook dinner, watch tv... OKAY my point is - these activities are shiok on a one-day leave to spend some quality me-time - BUT HEY, CAN YOU DO THIS EVERYDAY???!

Chatted with my father-in-law some time ago on the topic of retirement. He's restless and active and like the Chinese say, buttock got needles i.e. cannot sit still and must be doing something. He has the financial means to retire very early but he doesn't want to - for he would be bored doing nothing or little.

As for myself - I don't think I want to retire very early, even if I can. I don't have many hobbies or huge interests. Many of my male friends are into (and can spend time researching on) cars, watches, cameras, IT gadgets, photography etc. I don't know what I can do on a daily basis that is not boring and sustainable!? I enjoy travelling but one cannot be travelling half the year right? Errr. So. In conclusion, at this point of time I can't imagine myself sitting at home after retirement. And nope, I also not one of those uncles you see sitting outside the pet shop and singing to the caged birds.

Ha! Decided to create a mental list (even better - note it down so I can refer to in future) of the things I can do after retirement:

1) Slowly read my diaries (dating to as early as primary 5) and blog entries
2) Re-read my favourite comics (dragonball and slamdunk)
3) Do gardening
4) Busk
5) Create music like this awesome fella (go read the comments left by the viewers - this guy is wayyyyy cooler than he looks!):

6) Bonus - part-time look after grandchild(ren)???


P/S: What I think my dad does in a typical day (assuming he's not babysitting):
a) sleep 30%
b) housework chores 10%
b) newspaper 5%
c) eat, bathe, dabian and other needs 15%
d) phone (facebook, news articles, funny videos, whatsapp) 5-10%
e) mall and outside 10%
f) hobbies (photography, post-photography editing) 5%
g) worrying and nagging and looking at the clock 5-10%


Monday, September 25, 2017

Wyx updates

Love bonding with wyx over the weekends:

Wyx is getting more articulate with everyday. With the extensive knowledge of vocabs and nouns, she can put them together into complete sentences.

Just that day, I went over to my parents for dinner as usual. Yx was having her dinner at the dining table. As I stepped through the door my mom asked her to address me, "叫爸爸?"

Gesturing to her mouth, she muttered through her full mouth of porridge, "Ying Xi 没有嘴巴叫爸爸."

She meant that her mouth was occupied and couldn't call papa at the moment. LAUGH DIE US!!!


Yx is also getting more adept at colouring! We left her alone for awhile with the colouring material and she surprised us with well-defined lines made up of distinctly spaced out colours:

Time to get her a proper table and chair! 


An untapped, beautiful place with fresh air and delightful, unblocked views of the blue skies and mountain ridges; delish food whipped up p...