Sunday, April 27, 2014

Roti @ Clementi Town Centre (Good value!)

Roti @ Clementi Central.

This is a new bakery set up just opposite the Clementi Mall, two shops away from an existing bakery called Baker Talent.

A rather quaint shop sign.  I still can't figure out what those figurines are.  Flying elephants?

There was a good queue (longer than Baker Talent).  On closer look, I understood why.  The bread was going for very reasonable prices, as you will see.

The Swiss Roll / Buns you see where were 60 cents.  The Swiss roll serving was really large, for 60 cents!

The Nachos Cheesy Chicken Sausage was 90 cents.  Snow White Donut at 85 cents.

Chicken Luncheon Meat at 95 cents.  This must have been almost the most expensive piece of bread they were selling!  Just 95 cents.

Chicken Ham & Cheese as well as Char Siew Chicken Prosperity Bun.

I think the shop was quite new.  Running some promotions.  Apparently the usual price was $1.20.

We decided to try some. I got the Chicken Luncheon Meat bun.  I ate it immediately.  It tasted really good.   The bread was soft and fluffy.  The piece of luncheon meat was also of a decent size, and very tasty.   My wife had the red bean bun (60 cents) and she told me it was very good, for 60 cents.  We bought some Swissrolls to be consumed the next day (put them in the fridge).  Those tasted pretty good too.

For the price, you certainly get a lot of bread.  Highly recommended!

Safe Travels!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

SQ 322 Deflated Tyres

On Saturday (19 April), London bound Singapore Airlines Flight SQ322 was made to turn back to Singapore Changi Airport because the air-conditioning units on board the plane were not working. Yes, they use air-con units on the plane, the pilot can't open the windows.

The plane landed safely at 3am, however the tyres deflated. Not a pretty sight! The plane couldn't taxi to the aero bridge, so passengers had to alight onto the tarmac using the old-fashioned stairs and be bussed to the airport.

Why did the types deflate?
The plane landed with a near full load of fuel, recall the plane was on the way to London. The A380 can carry more than 300,000L of jet fuel. I am not sure whether the plane was beyond the maximum permissible weight to land, but since SQ said that safety was not compromised, so I shall take their word for it.

Safe travels!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

St Regis Yan Ting Dinner - Discovery Set Menu

St Regis Hotel Dinner - Yan Ting Restaurant

According to the website, "Yan Ting is the choice of world and business elite, a dining venue for guests to bring their most treasured family and respected business associates.  It is helmed by the St. Regis team of masterchef, presenting cuisine that are faithful to the traditional cooking techniques of Cantonese cuisine characterised by the immense diversity of ingredients used and the philosophy of bringing out the natural flavours of the freshest ingredients."

What a mouthful.

Oh well, the proof is in the eating, so let's get on with it.

This was our table set-up.  It was a private room for a private dinner.

Condiments, for each person.  Well, I like my chillis.

We had the Discovery Set Menu.  You can check their set menus online - they range from SGD 88++ per person to SGD 198++ per person.   The Discovery Set Menu was $108++ per pax.

We were early, so we had to wait for the other guests to arrive.  Just relax, and drink some tea.   The nuts were nice.

Dinner had started.  Our group brought our own wine.  A little wine to go with a nice Chinese dinner is always welcomed. People start talking more.

The first dish - Appetizer Trio.  Crispy Shrimps with Salted Egg Yolk, Tribute Vegetable Salad and Roasted Pork.  Portions were not big, but rather tasty.

Next dish, the Braised Lobster Broth.  These days, we try to avoid Shark's Fin.  Rather cruel, I must say.  I don't really care for it but I know many relatives who like it very much.  The broth was ok.

The Steam Sea Perch.  A good piece of fish, very rich and oily as I recall.

Peking Duck.  Oh, how dainty.  Nothing special about this dish, obviously not a very big portion, but hey this is not supposed to be a buffet.

Egg Noodles "Mee Pok" with XO Sauce scallops.  The scallops were good.  The "Mee Pok" was just so-so. Plenty of very good "Mee Pok" at coffeeshops and food centres.

Dessert was red pean paste with Lotus Seeds Steam Honeycomb cake.  It was not bad.  Not too sweet.

Overall, a very pleasant experience.  For the price we paid, this set was of decent value, given the location and dining ambience.

I would recommend St Regis Yan Ting if you want to throw a fine dining dinner, or if you need to entertain for business.

This is not an advertorial.  We paid for our food and drink.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

His Robes For Mine

"His Robes for Mine" sung by BJU Chorale - A beautiful hymn!

His robes for mine: O wonderful exchange!
Clothed in my sin, Christ suffered ‘neath God’s rage.
Draped in His righteousness, I’m justified.
In Christ I live, for in my place He died.

Chorus: I cling to Christ, and marvel at the cost:
Jesus forsaken, God estranged from God.
Bought by such love, my life is not my own.
My praise-my all-shall be for Christ alone.

His robes for mine: what cause have I for dread?
God’s daunting Law Christ mastered in my stead.
Faultless I stand with righteous works not mine,
Saved by my Lord’s vicarious death and life.

His robes for mine: God’s justice is appeased.
Jesus is crushed, and thus the Father’s pleased.
Christ drank God’s wrath on sin, then cried “‘Tis done!”
Sin’s wage is paid; propitiation won.

His robes for mine: such anguish none can know.
Christ, God’s beloved, condemned as though His foe.
He, as though I, accursed and left alone;
I, as though He, embraced and welcomed home!

Another rendition by Covenant Choirs:

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 18, 2014

South Korea Ferry Disaster - Captain Told Passengers to Stay Put

The Sewol was a 6,835 ton, 146m ferry, en-route to Jeju Island with 475 passengers and crew.  Almost 300 are still missing, presumably dead by now, including many High School students.  The Sewol had 46 life-boats, only one was deployed.

Did the Ship Sink So Quickly?
I had wondered why so many passengers were missing.  The graphic above shows clearly that they had time. The distress signal was sent at 9am.   It is apparently that the ship started to list quickly, by 9:30am the Ferry had tilted to 60 degrees!  According to the graphic, the ship overturned after 10am.  By this time, if you were stuck in the ship, you'd surely drown.

Passengers were Ordered To Stay Put
According to multiple and independent reports, the passengers were told to stay put and await rescue. Why? Having been on several cruises, I understand that passengers should assemble at the emergency stations and await orders.  If the ship was not in danger of sinking, the Captain would usually not give the order to abandon ship.  This is sensible.  But if the ship was going to sink, you have to abandon ship!

When Will A Ship Overturn?  
While I am not marine engineer, I am aware that once a ship tilts beyond a certain degree, the ship will sink.  During a cruise on the Celebrity Silhouette, one passenger asked the Captain how far that particular cruise ship could tilt before it would overturn.  The context of the question was about rogue waves.

The Captain of the Celebrity Silhouette said that up to a certain point ( I think it was 50-odd degrees), the ship could right itself up. Beyond that, the ship may stay in a tilted position.  Even beyond that point, the ship would overturn.

So Did The Ferry Captain Know That The Ferry Will Overturn?
I have to conclude that the Captain of the Ferry would have known, within 5 to 10 minutes of sending out the distress signal, that the 146m long ferry would eventually overturn.  Why do I say that?  He would be able to tell that the Ferry was listing rapidly and it would be incumbent upon him to give the order to abandon ship, once he realised that the Ferry was in a grave danger of sinking.

Yet, Passengers Were Ordered to Stay Put 
Why?  I cannot fathom.  Some survivors reported that the crew told them that the Captain and Officers were trying to stabilize the ship and help would arrive in 10 minutes.  Under such a situation, it was only natural to obey the crew's orders.

The Captain abandoned ship at about 9:30am, and he lived.  I don't think he ever gave the general order to abandon ship.

Quoting from Survivor Koo Bon-hee, who criticized the crew for telling them to stay seated,
"We were wearing life jackets.  We had time."

Fortunately, some passengers decided to disobey the direct orders from the crew and abandoned ship. They lived. Those who obeyed the orders to stay put, most likely died.

This is a very tragic episode for South Korea.  Lives were needlessly lost.  I hope the South Koreans learn from this.

Rest in peace.

South Korea Ferry Sinking - Captain Delayed Evacuation (Today Online, 16 April 2014)

Captain, Crew, Accused of Abandoning Sinking Ferry (Today Online, 17 April 2014)

S Korea Ferry Captain Rushed Back to the Bridge as Ship Listed: Crewman (Today Online, 18 April 2014)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

West Coast Plaza, Singapore

This afternoon, we decided to drop by West Coast Plaza to take a look. Once upon a time, this place was called Ginza Plaza.  We come to West Coast Food Centre to have our meals once in a while.  These days, it can be rather difficult to get a parking lot at West Coast Food Centre.

We crossed the road via the overhead bridge which leads us directly into West Coast Plaza. From the bridge I took this photo.  You can see those tall blocks ahead.  That is some condominium development that came up in recent times, near the West Coast Recreation Centre & West Cost Sports Complex.  We certainly know how to build many tall buildings in Singapore.

We headed to Fragrance to get some "Bak Kua" or sweet pork.  The family indulges in this once in a while.  There was some promotion going on.

Here is the promotion - Signature Sliced Tender Bak Kwa.

Bak Kua is very expensive during the Lunar New Year, at least $50/kg and with long queues!  That is when we do not buy Bak Kwa. Nobody likes the feeling of being ripped off!

Some more offers on the stand outside the store.  If you are willing to put up with loose Bak Kwa, it is rather cheap.  Right behind this stand is Cold Storage.

We bought 500 g of Bak Kwa.  It comes in this nice orange bag.  Very attractive.

While walking around, we noticed this Jalan Kayu Prata Cafe store on the ground floor.   This store must be quite new as we hadn't noticed it before.  It looked pretty crowded too.

Decided to stop for a drink and snack.  No, this wasn't our order.

Picture taken from inside the seating area, while waiting for our food.

We shared 2 plain prata.  We had expected the prata to be served piping hot. However, we were disappointed that the prata was rather cold.  Not sure why.  Perhaps they had cooked it earlier in bulk?  No reason why prata should be cold and somewhat soggy.

A snapshot of the drinks menu.

There is the prata man working very hard to fulfill the orders.  I guess something went wrong between the production and service.  By the time the prata got to us, it was cold.

Safe travels!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Alexandra Village Hawker Centre

Alexandra Village - a very famous hawker centre.  We hadn't been here in a while, so we decided to bring the family there for some lunch.  It would also be very good exposure for our kids.  They are used to eating in air-conditioned food courts and even restaurants.

Good hawker fare is one of the best things about living in Singapore.  Food, glorious food.  As it turns our, our Alexandra Village adventure was fun because we tried many things that afternoon.

Chinatown Tai Chong Kok Confectionary
A very traditional store selling egg tarts and other traditional delicacies.  We stopped to get one egg-tart, just to try.  The store certainly looked antiquated, but who cares.   In Singapore, you don't have to worry about food hygiene.  The standards are very high.

Here are some of the biscuits they sell, including the "Hong Kong Style Old Wife's Biscuit" - second row.

Those are egg tarts, at $1.10 per piece.  Freshly baked.

An old rattan chair.  Looked well-used.  Such chairs were very common 20 years ago in Singapore homes. Not anymore though.

We head over to Alexandra Food centre, just opposite the shops.  For some reason, I decided to try out this Thai store, called Phati Thai Food. Funny name, I guess a spin off 'Phad Thai'.

Here is the menu.  I chose a Phad Thai for $4.

Some chillis and condiments that you could help yourself with.

There were two ladies cooking.  It sounded like they were speaking Thai to each other.  My Phad Thai was freshly fried.

Here is the Phad Thai.  For some reason, I can't get the photo to turn around, hence the odd angle.  It was a decent portion.  Taste-wise, it wasn't great though.  Well, maybe that's because I just had very good Phad Thai in Bangkok.

Got some satay, 60 cents a piece.

The peanut sauce that comes with the Satay, with some pineapple.  Very traditional.  Frankly, I can't really taste the pineapple.

The chicken was quite lean.  Not much fat.  That was good.

Also got a ketupat.

I saw this coffee store nearby that also served premium coffee.  Decided to give it a try.

This place was called White Coffee Corner.  On top of the normal coffee, it served Cappuccino, Latte, Mocha and the likes.

Here was the price list.  For the White Coffee series, a Latte was $2.50 (hot) and $3 (cold).

There were some newspaper adverts.  Apparently, this store had made the news before.

This was the iced Latte.  Very generous with the milk.  Turned out that my kids loved it and they almost finished my Latte.  Oh well.

And now, we consume the egg tart.  It wasn't too bad.

We also got this Avocado juice from an Avocado store behind.  This store specialises in Avocado juice.  Didn't really like it.  There is a burnt taste, not sure why.

After the meal at the hawker centre, we went to look for a store selling kueh.  This wasn't the famous store, but another one facing the main road.

A lot of different stuff here that I wasn't very familiar with.

The various types of kueh - Bean, Coconut, Salty Bean, Peanut.  70 cents per piece.

Quite a number of newspaper cuttings.  Looks like this shop has been well featured in the press and magazines, well at least in the past.  Some of the articles looked rather dated.

On the way back to the carpark, I stopped to take this photo of this rather unique looking buildings.  Looks like some very large LEGO bricks stacked haphazardly on one another.

I gather this is the Interlace project.  Previously, this plot of land was the HUDC estate called Gillman Heights.  A lot of controversy surrounded that enbloc sale, which made so much news and even went to the Courts. Anyway, all that is history now.

Safe travels!