Monday, April 11, 2011

Testing one two three..

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ladies and gentleman, presenting... my dinner! :P

So I swung by Penang Place last night with the intention of passing some stuff to J, and ended up being (happily) force fed dinner. Succulent chili crabs, crispy fried mantou and Penang hor fun were just some of the delicacies on the magnificent buffet spread available!

Warning: This review might be biased - I do know the wonderful family running this restaurant after all :P but i'll do my best to give a fair review while giving the food the justice it deserves :D

Penang Place has been proclaimed as having the best Penang Char Kway Teow by the Business Times, and I managed to secure myself a steaming hot plate of it when it got served. Delicious! None of that cheap pork lard taste here. The kway teow was soft and chewy - the al dente version of spaghetti. I'm not much of a connoisseur for char kway teow, but the taste, I like :D

However, the icing of the cake for me was the chili crabs! For those who know me well, you'd also know I'm a huge fan of crabs. All kinds of crabs. And this chili crab was the best I've eaten in a long long while. Now, I'm the kind of person that usually only eats Sri Lankan crabs. Yes, I'm picky. I think huge Sri Lankan crabs have wonderful, sweet meat with a certain flavour that is hard to replace. It doesn't take a lot of skill to bring out the sweetness in those crabs - just steam them for the right amount of time and you're ready to dig in! But the secret of Penang Place's crabs lay in their sauce - Bursting with flavor and taste, spicy but not overtly so, it brought out the natural sweetness of the meat and made it succulent and juicy. I still missed the firm and chewy texture of the Sri Lankan crab meat, though. But the sauce - better than Long Beach, I say! Don't forget to mop up the gravy with a crispy piece of fried mantou, and lick the plate clean afterwards when nobody's watching!

Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me, and my crappy phone's grainy camera resolution wouldn't have done it any justice. Or perhaps it was fortunate, because i was too busy eating to think about photos till i was almost done, anyway. Will grab photos next time and tag the Stockholmers in it :P

But what I really appreciate about Penang Place is the family that runs it, and their motivation behind running it. This place offers the best customers service I've seen, especially for a restaurant. The staff are friendly, polite, and genuine, and the place holds an overall homely feeling to it.

What's more, Penang Place contributes a large percentage of their profits to the needy. And this isn't lip service. It isn't CSR. It's the very reason behind why Penang Place was opened, to begin with.

So what's better than having a delicious, affordable buffet and leaving with your tummies full and satisfied?

Having a delicious, affordable buffet that leaves your tummies full and satisfied, while knowing that much of the profits made from your money went to a good cause!

Check it out:
6 International Business Park
Singapore 609918
Price: $10-30

View Larger Map

Monday, February 14, 2011

Homeopathy in Singapore

Thanks to one of my dear and respected friends, I came across this campaign, 10:23. It speaks up against homeopathy, and strives to raise awareness and spread the message that there is, in fact, 'nothing in it'. When I first heard about homeopathy, I thought, "What's the harm? Besides, Singaporeans won't get caught up in this silly beliefs anyway." A little Googling proved me dead wrong. Homeopathy can be harmful, and its popularity is actually rising in Singapore today.

But I'm jumping the gun here. Let's first give a quick introduction into homeopathy, from a purely unbiased view. Taken from the, no less:
Homeopathy - "A system of complementary medicine in which ailments are treated by minute doses of natural substances that in larger amounts would produce symptoms of the ailment. Often contrasted with allopathy"

Can homeopathy really be called medicine?
Most people who have heard of homeopathy believe it's "all-natural" or "herbal medicine", taken in a dilute form, with no harmful side effects. They say "minute doses" and "dilute form", but many people don't know how diluted it is. The normal prescription is normally one part of the remedy to around 1,000,000,000,000 parts of water. In other words, it's essentially taking a drop of your cough syrup, dousing it in 1,000,000,000,000 parts of water, dripping it on chunks of sugar and then calling that medicine.

Uh.. Does anyone else seem to think that something is very wrong with this particular definition of medicine? No wonder it's "all natural", with "no harmful side effects"! Yet, there are still thousands of people out there willing to lay claim to the 'miracles' generated by this 'wonderful medicine'. Why?

There's evidence that homeopathy works!
In reality, yes, homeopathy "works". Or at least, there is evidence that shows people recovering after receiving homeopathic 'treatment'. In reality, though, this is due to the placebo effect. Our mind is a powerful tool, and the simple belief that something works can, in fact, produce a perceived or actual improvement on the condition of a person. In simple terms, it's like scamming or deluding a person into believing that . And it works. When the condition of the patient is largely something that can be overcome through psychological treatment.

Remember the commonly used phrase, "laughter is the best medicine"? A person who believes that he/she is going to die tends to stop taking care of themselves. They become depressed, suicidal, don't eat/sleep/function well, and eventually their condition (both physical and psychological) deteriorates. And they die. Conversely, a positive outlook makes you fight to live and to take better care of your body, increasing your recovery process by manifold.

They call it 'treatment'. I call it self delusion.

...and those sugar pills are !#@%$#@! expensive!
In the UK, homeopathic pills are being sold at a cost of around £5.95 for less than 20g of sugar pills. Without any active ingredient, that ultimately amounts to a lot of money for not a lot of sugar. (Source - 10:23 Campaign Website) I haven't found out the cost of these sugar pills in Singapore, yet, but I did find out that Singapore does have a manufacturer and exporter of homeopathic 'remedies'. *shudders*

But it works, right? So since homeopathy can psychologically aid your recovery and has 'no harmful side effects', why oppose it? (Besides, people have lots of money to throw away anyway!)
Homeopathy is often promoted as "safer, highly effective medicine". (When it's not effective, it's because you haven't found the exact remedy to your illness yet.) And true enough, it's almost impossible to overdose from homeopathy. I say almost, because if you swallow a million pills in one shot, you'll probably get a massive sugar high and end up with diabetes anyway. But back to the point. On the basic level, homeopathy can be helpful, and can help to treat patients with minor ailments and psychological issues. Unfortunately, homeopathy as we know it today is largely abused, and is just another profit-making scam to dig out all the cash you've stored in your bank. But when people believe in homeopathy as the cure-all for all ailments, to the extent of forgoing proper treatment - That's where the harm kicks in. When you start refusing proper treatment and start taking sugar pills thinking that it will remove that tumor in your brain or make you immune from AIDS, you are losing precious time that could have been put towards giving your patient proper, effective treatment. You're deluding yourself into thinking that you are protected from diseases - by taking sugar tablets.

The worst part is, these pills are actually prescribed by doctors as medicine! Normal medicine has to undergo rigorous testing to ensure its legitimacy. Homeopathic 'drugs', on the other hand, are issued almost carelessly. It diminishes the real value of legitimate doctors and proper medicine, deluding the lay person into thinking that it's 'safe and alright to self-medicate'.

How can this be of no harm??

(Read more about Why Homeopathy Harms here)

*** What about Singapore? ***
"The UK National Health Service spends an estimated £4million every year on homeopathy..."
Let's not even go there. As of now, Singapore's Government actually recognizes homeopathy as an alternative medical practice. Compared to many other countries, however, Singapore is thankfully strict on legitimizing alternative forms of medical treatment. Let's keep it that way. Let's raise awareness about homeopathy so that we can prevent the dilution of Singapore's medical practice and NOT go down this path of legitimizing frequent self delusion.

Anyone up for organizing/participating in a Singapore 10:23 Challenge? Leave a comment! :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Stockholm Syndrome

It's been a long time since I've posted anything new here. It's not that I've not been writing - I have. I just haven't felt the urge to put them up. Will backdate the more interesting posts when I feel more up to it.

The Stockholm Syndrome.

I didn't really believe it when our seniors talked about it. But it's true. I do miss Stockholm.

I miss the crisp, cold air that blasted into my face every morning - It got me going at the start of every day. It made me want each of my days to be productive and useful.

I miss the drive and ambition that I had there. I felt a want to prove myself. I actually felt like I was worth something. Yes, it's pride at play as well. But the self confidence that I gained there motivated me to keep going, keep growing, keep doing, keep trying. There was a certain sense of 'i can do it'. There was a part of me that didn't want to give up, no matter the odds.

I miss the people. They are brilliant people. Geniuses in their own field, driven, confident yet humble, hardworking yet fun. They surrounded me with such a bright light, I couldn't help but start glowing as well. Here, the flame's starting to flicker. I'm scared. I don't want it to die out. It's too beautiful to let go.

I miss the working life that I had there - I enjoyed it so much, I didn't really think of it as work. It feels like my momentum is slowing down here, even though I'm trying to keep it at bay.

I miss the flat organizational structure, where I was able to call my colleagues and bosses by their first name. They gave me the time of the day, and patiently explained and discussed many things with me, even though I'm but a small fry who didn't deserve their attention.

One of the modules I'm taking this semester is about business communications. Many students complain about it, saying that it's common sense. But common sense isn't all that common. I look at the mistakes in the examples given, and see myself in much of it. Accusing people instead of the problem, being aggressive instead of assertive. And I realized that it's not really about how you express your words - It's about your attitude in the first place. You see, I'm quite a sarcastic, condescending, arrogant and critical person by nature. And selfish, too. With people whom I don't look up to, I don't treat them with the respect that a basic human being deserves. I become critical. Instead of objectively trying to solve the situation, my speech and actions are directed against the person. Instead of improving the situation, I typically end up destroying group morale, and then find myself complaining when I don't achieve the desired outcome. It's something I hope to work on - not the tone of my emails per se, but the molding of my actual character and attitude.

This is something I appreciated in Stockholm - Not simple diplomacy, but an actual attitude which comes from the heart. There were many role models that I could have learnt from, but my pride prevented me from doing so in that one year. Hopefully, this semester, I'll be able to improve in this area, even if it's just a little bit.

Somehow, I just feel like slumping in my corner and letting the world tick by. Not very productive of me. A complete opposite of my hectic, exciting life in Stockholm.

I know I've said it lots of times, but I miss that place. I'm just a little scared that, if I go back, things will have changed, and the beauty might have faded.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Still sick....

I just took a last trip to Blackebergs Gymnasium to thank the wonderful people there who have helped us to make SMUS possible. Per, Marie, Ismo and Hussein - thank you! This camp would not have been possible without your generosity and help!

Entering the building, I couldn't help but feel a sense of attachment to the place. Strange, because we spent just 3 days there. (the organizers slept over the night before, to prepare for the camp). But it felt welcoming, familiar and comfortable. And it brought back lots of lovely memories to mind. I miss the SMUSies - creative, enthusiastic and fun! We had an afterparty last weekend at my small cramped corridor, where we simply spent time talking and laughing. (And, for Therese, a good time shopping for food and baking lussebullar!)

Thank you, SMUSies, for these beautiful memories!

And to my SMUS team, Diana, Amelia, Charmain and James, THANK YOU! I loved the times we spent together, no matter how stressful they were. Thank you for your understanding, support and hard work. I will miss you guys.

And so, it seems like I've yet to recover from my SMUS-sickness....

Time is like fine grains of sand. Not matter how hard you try to grasp it, it still slips through your fingers...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christians are elitists - That's why we speak 'Christianese'

Chris Tilling posted this up on his blog, and I felt it was a sad depiction of the Christian community, but true.

Just like geekspeak, Christians also seem to have their own lingo that we *must* use, not realizing that we often shut out other people in the process.

Remember the parable of the Tax Collector and the Pharisee?

Do we speak 'Christianese' because we are self-righteous?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Suicide bomber fail!

So yes, I know I'm not supposed to make light of the suicide attacks in Stockholm. I am, actually, rather shocked that this happened, because Stockholm has been such a peaceful city. Well, I suppose that with all the ruckus churned out by Sverigedemokraterna, Sweden's ranking on the hit list just had to rise by a few notches.

My first thought when I heard about the news (while having dinner with the awesome SMUSies during our afterparty) was - oh wow! My post "There's a bomb in Stockholm!" turned out to be a 'prophesy' after all..

And Volkswagen has even churned out a YouTube clip about the bombing attacks in record time! hahaha.. You gotta love these advertising people - They never fail to leverage on all the horrors happening in the world :P

And now, I've gotta try to clear my emails before getting to work, so friends and family know that I'm alive and kicking....
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