My mom just died

last office

My mom has passed on peacefully at Changi Hospital Isolation Ward 2 at 2:14 pm Singapore time just now. It’s a blessing that all of us were with her when she took her last breath. I’ve been in Singapore for a couple of days now and there’s a lot of procedures involving embalming and death certificates and what not over here.

I just came back from the hospital, she has been struggling a lot with the pain last night and it was heartbreaking to see the blight that end stage cancer brings.

My mom has been real strong though, she has been fighting lung cancer since 2010 when she went for the initial operation in Auckland.

entombing service

We will all be flying back to Sibu with my mom’s body on Saturday night – if anyone wants to pay their last respects, the coffin will be at our home in Sibu for at least one (1) day before funeral proceedings on Monday.

The Christian service will be tomorrow morning at Singapore.

Thank you all for your well wishes and condolences.

You’ll be sorely missed by all of us, mom. I know you’re in a better place now.

A selection of Hors d’oeuvre

chocolate cubes

This is one of the most awesome chocolates I’ve ever had – it’s made of over 80% cocoa, very dark and bittersweet, with a dusting to finish it.

chocolate cocoa

I think a whole bunch of us in Singapore had way too much of these. I know I certainly did, totally ruined my appetite for dinner.

hors d oeuvre

This is pretty good too – it’s a layered chocolate cake and almost impossible to dissect but let me attempt to describe it – it contains layer after layer of moist and fluffy pastry covered with chocolate. I was impressed, it was so light it felt like I was eating mostly air.

lobster shots

Lobster shooters. I liked this one too – awesomely concocted pieces of lobsters with the accompanying sauces and garnishes in one ready-to-drink (eat?) shot.

liquor chocolates

This were the chocolates that had liquor in it – it’s infused with Bailey’s Irish Cream. I preferred the original high cocoa content chocolate cubes instead but a lot of others liked these. :)

Stuart Anderson’s Black Angus Steakhouse

stuart anderson black angus steak

This is a higher end quick service restaurant that I had dinner at last week in Singapore. Stuart Anderson’s Black Angus Steakhouse has several outlets there – it’s a franchise that started in Seattle.

Black Angus Steakhouse serves All American fare like steaks (obviously), burgers and root beer. The prices are pretty reasonable too, if you don’t convert – the root beer float goes for SGD 7.50.

stuart anderson black angus singapore

It’s primarily known for steak though – the menu describes it lovingly as air flown USDA tender, flavorful Black Angus steak aged to perfection. There are several cuts available in different sizes.

I settled for a center-cut New York Steak – medium rare. It’s SGD 43.90 for 10 oz. I love the sauce options – the waiter recommended Red Wine sauce, which I went with.

black angus steakhouse new york steak

You can also choose the trimmings – I went for the standard side of fresh steamed vegetables and switched my baked potato to garlic mashed potato, which was an excellent choice. My only beef (no pun intended) is that they got my order wrong, it came out medium well instead of medium rare but in a group of about a dozen near closing time, I guess mix-ups are inevitable.

stuart anderson steak soup

You also get to choose an entree from the menu to go with your steak dinner and I went with Stuart’s Steak Soup which was recommended and I wasn’t disappointed – it turned out to be the best dish I had. Heh. The steak soup has generous chunks of beef inside as well as a hodgepodge of beans, veggies and even barley. Nice, thick soup for the soul.

gigantic burger pound black angus

They also have a monster of a burger, with patties made of Black Angus beef weighing a whole pound! That’s like eating 4 quarter pounders and this has strips of bacon on top to boot. Decadent stuff. Just look at the size of it. It’s about SGD 24 or so, and it would certainly take a very hungry man to finish it.

How I won SGD 1 in Singapore

singapore pools

Heh! I did this during my first trip to Singapore to see my mom, there’s a supermarket near my sister’s place that has an outlet for legalized state betting *right inside*, of particular interest being football and motorsports.

This is different from the common lotteries that most countries have, with much lower odds compared to online betting sites as a form of taxation.

singapore football betting

It was the start of BPL and I bought SGD 10 for West Ham to win at 2.10 odds. I won this one, getting me SGD 11 nett (after deducting the original SGD 10 – the total winnings was SGD 21).

It’s basically winning a pack of smokes, just did it for fun.

sports betting singapore

I went for a random K-League match after collecting my winnings the next day while grocery shopping, also with a SGD 10 bet for a return of SGD 28.50.

There are various permutations possible – total goals, HT/FT, etc with corresponding odds (highest I’ve seen is 300 – which will net you SGD 3,000 with SGD 10). The minimum bet is SGD 5.

I lost this one, and stopped playing – the queue was wayyyyy too long and I just wanted to see how Singapore Pools works.

singapore dollars

…and that is how I won SGD 1 in Singapore. :)

7 photos of stuff I did in Singapore

1. Hung out with my mom

food singapore

She’s doing another course of chemotherapy and we’re here for her. My dad flew in too and we’ll usually walk to Hola and eat there. Cheap and decent food. The caterers (old skool Tiffin carriers) come weekday nights.

My mom eats separately; she still can’t stand a lot of food, not even the smell of it. That’s her hiding in the room coz she’s so nauseous from the chemo.

2. Went to church

bedok methodist church

Took a cab to Bedok Methodist Church. Service is familiar but the praise and worship had an unusual twist – women dressed in traditional Chinese garb were dancing and twirling long silk ribbons. How I wish I managed to take a photo…

Got an EZ-Link card so I could use the MRT, bus and pay for food and groceries at places which accepts it.

3. The Gospel of Pool

church pool

Poster stuck beside the pool table at church. Words fail me. Sometimes a cue is just a cue. smirk

Mom got temporarily better and asked me to get her a Mocha soy ice blended drink. I bought it and she had a sip and promptly got sick again.

4. Salted egg yolk mooncakes

mini mooncakes

Dad got this from Sibu. It’s really quite good, there’s an entire salted egg yolk inside that’s almost the size of the puff pastry.

I ate all of them. Heh.

5. Grocery shopping

singapore grocery shopping

Got soy milk for my niece. She’s allergic to nuts, gluten, and most other things. This is the brand that we know doesn’t have any additives or traces of abovementioned. Also got reacquainted with the same brand of cigarettes I smoked last time I was here.

Middle of the night scare from my niece’s talking chair.

6. Timbre @ The Substation

timbre pizza buffulo wings

Lovely watering hole at 45, Armenian Street with live bands playing every day of the week. You can text song requests in for them to perform. Fiona recommended the Timbre Buffalo Wings – love the hot sauce and nuts topping but a tad overcooked for me. They do good pizzas too – got a half and half with Goodfellas and 53A. They’re both names of bands playing there.

Here’s a cover of Oasis’ Stand by Me.

7. Left my keys with Fiona

timbre substation singapore

Had a couple of drinks and hung out at Timbre. I put my sister’s condo keys and tag card in her bag earlier that night (tend to chuck my stuff in her tote due to lack of pocket space, thanks Fiona) and forgot to get it back from her. I only realized after I got back and couldn’t go in. Went back to her place to get it.

It’s a good thing we live near each other. Heh.

Posted: 4:08 pm Singapore time

My newborn nephew Josiah and my grown up niece Kara

josiah ng

This is my two month old nephew. He’s named Josiah and weighs 7 kg! :)

nephew

I love how his folds of baby fat makes him look like a little emperor. Heh. He’s quite heavy for his age, a nice weight to carry around.

me josiah

…although a pram makes more sense. Haha! I was out shopping with my parents and my sister’s family in Singapore a couple of weeks ago and I can appreciate how hard it is to take care of a baby. I still would love to have one though. :)

josiah

This here is my niece Kara, who’s all grown up now. She’s almost 3 years old and she can already string a sentence together very cohesively.

josiah kara

She’s already very mature and it never fails to surprise me how fast babies turn into kids. It’s amazing, the thing she says and does, more of what I’ll expect from a 7 year old than a 3 year old. :)

Lingerie, alleys and balls with Fiona the flight attendant

fiona

That just sounds downright dodgy eh? Heh. This photo was taken at around 3 am in the morning. There’s a rather funny story about how we got here from drinks at Orchard Road in Singapore.

…rewind to about 8 hours earlier

peranakan place

I met up with Fiona for dinner – it turns out that she lives quite near my sister’s apartment in Simei. Thus, we met at Eastpoint Mall. She got there about the same time I did and called me saying she doesn’t know if she’s at the right entrance – it’s at the place where there’s a lot of lingerie.

lingerie

I pretty much knew where that was since I came to the mall the day before with my parents to the supermarket downstairs. :)

Anyway, Fiona is a flight attendant and I’ve known her since her words of encouragement when I was being all emo and shit after the last relationship I was in. I haven’t actually met her though so I only have a vague idea of how she looked like from my Facebook account.

alley bar singapore

We took a cab to Orchard Road and told the taxi we didn’t have any destination in mind, so he dropped us off somewhere near…er, I can’t actually remember. I know we walked for a bit and checked out the drinking holes around the Peranakan Place area before settling on Alley Bar.

pulled pork burger

It has the most awesome pork burger ever! It’s called the BBQ Pulled Pork Burger and it’s a juicy and tender mess of 5 hours of smoked pork shoulder smothered in barbecue sauce, topped with a whole jalapeno chili pepper.

Fiona had a bite and she concurred. Actually eating it is a messy affair – it’s like a sloppy joe except it’s not made with minced meat but rather loose meat. It’s the best pork burger I’ve had to date! I’ll need to save up for cosmetic surgery if I continue eating food like this. How much does liposuction or abdominoplasty cost nowadays anyway?

sloppy joe

We were seated outside at a place simply called Outdoors – Peranakan Place has three distinct areas built around a real Peranakan settlement. Outdoors is the al fresco zone which is a “Designated Smoking Area” (damn Singaporean laws) and there’s also Acid Bar and Alley Bar, which is the main place.

There’s a live band playing – the music is piped to Outdoors for those who’re not inside, loved this cover of Radiohead’s Creep.

I had two pints of Erdinger Beer – there are two, one dark and one white. The “dark” one is Pikantus and the “light” Weissbier. We were eating, drinking and talking and it was around 11:30 pm when the subject somehow changed to pool and Fiona found a place that’s open until 3 am.

dodgy singapore

We walked down the opposite direction at first before the GPS on her phone told us we’re heading the wrong way so we turned back. The pool place is at Concorde Hotel – somehow that place looks really seedy, it’s full of KTV hostess bars and dodgy characters loitering about who look like they would totally mug you if this was Malaysia instead of Singapore. HAHAHA

It turns out that Fiona is quite good at pool. I wouldn’t say that she kicked my ass but it was a really close thing. Tomatoe tomato.

fiona pool

Speaking of asses, Fiona is left handed, which I didn’t notice until we were playing. I was standing behind her trying to see how she plays. I thought she would think that I was checking out her butt. It turns out that she didn’t, she’s probably used to people ogling at her as cabin crew. :p

See what I did there? smirk

It’s a masterful (wah damn syoik sendiri) way of neither confirming nor denying the statement, just like how Israel’s nuclear ambiguity works, except bombs and butts are two very different things.

Anyway, they don’t sell beer inside, and we were alternately playing pool and 9 ball before I suggested we head to the 7-Eleven outside to get some. It wasn’t a 7-11, it’s a similar concept called Cheers (how apt) and I told her to just scull the 500 ml can before we head inside. It’s a strong beer at 9% and you don’t exactly drink it for the taste.

fiona apprehensive

Look at Fiona’s apprehensive face! ;)

I think we spent more than the 5 minutes we told the pool hall clerk we’ll be away outside, downing that beer and smoking in the rather unusual backdrop of closed shops, dark segments and KTV bars.

broken dreams

We went and played until it was nearly three before heading out for more beer. This time we brought it inside using Fiona’s bag, and using the same to discreetly conceal the two cans by putting it behind and out of sight. That was the first picture. Smart.

The place was supposed to close at 3 am but we were still playing so the clerk started cleaning up. I don’t think he cared about the alcohol anyway, we were the only customers in there at the time. Thanks for the beers Fiona! :)

scull

It was 4:30 am when we finally shared a cab home. I could only spare one night coz I’m here for my mom so I only went out once. I had a lot of fun, one of the more memorable night outs in a long time despite only getting two hours of sleep two nights in a row to wake up for church. Say hi to Fiona if you see her while flying!

Simei Singapore Style

eastpoint green

Helllooooo! I’m in Singapore for the long weekend for a bit of a family reunion. My dad is flying in too – we’re basically here for my mom. I’m crashing at my sister’s apartment – Eastpoint Green in Simei (at least I think that’s what this place is called, it’s in Changi).

simei singapore

I’m about to fall asleep so I’ll just do the good ol’ cut and paste from my earlier post in FB:

Holy shit my mom’s chemo treatments costs SGD 12,000 per cycle of 3 weeks!

She just competed a full course of 3 cycles for 36k.

…and I thought *my* medication is expensive.

She’s looking good though – just a bit bloated from all the liquid that’s transfused together with the chemo via IV drip every two days.

Tumor marker went down to an all time low so she’s going for another course to capitalize on it. Starting a new course of chemo.

mom

Hi mom! :)

P/S – I took out the dash in the smiley face emoticon that my Android phone keeps putting in, I personally prefer the compact smiley so it’s not technically a verbatim cut and paste. Haha.

P/P/S – Thanks for all the kind words and support everyone!

Plans for February and March

Hello. I’ve waited here for you. Everlong.

ishinha

They say Singapore is the entertainment hub of Asia. For all intents and purposes, it is. Hey, we’ve all flew down to Singapore to catch all the awesome concerts and theater performances that never comes to Malaysia. I watched Ishinha’s When a Grey Taiwanese Cow Stretched last year, all done in Osakan street rap with English subtitles and enjoyed it tremendously.

It’s a good thing it’s not that far away so we don’t miss much. I’ve even driven down to Singapore before.

It’s very accessible, that’s for sure.

There’s several interesting events that’s coming up in Singapore – and it’s all happening in February and March! :)

M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2012
Date: 15-26 February
Venue: Esplanade, National Museum of Singapore, The Substation, ION Orchard

Yes, the Singapore Fringe Festival is BACK!

singapore fringe festival

It’s an annual celebration of theater, performance art, film, dance, visual arts, mixed media and music. The Singapore Fringe Festival started in 2005 and has been running every year since. There’s a different theme each year and the 2012 theme is…

Art & Faith

It goes on at various different locations and there are free and ticketed performances from local and international artists.

iraq is flying

One thing that caught my eye is Iraq is Flying – a collection of photographs by Jamal Penjweny. I love stuff like this. It’s one of the free events where you can view pictures of post-war Iraq and the lives of the people living in it taken by a renowned Iraqi photographer. It’s also one of the festival highlights.

Get more details of the listings and at the official M1 Singapore Fringe Festival site.

Mosaic Music Festival @ Esplanade
Date: 9-18 March
Venue: Esplanade

mosaic

The Mosaic Music Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. This is a music festival that knows no genres – jazz, hip-hop, soul, electro, it’s all represented here. The theme this year will be Celebrating Life – The best of the Human Spirit through the Arts and can best be described as a call for peace and harmony.

Just to give you an idea of the wonderful lineup – here’s a couple of acts that will be performing:

  • Stacey Kent
  • OMD
  • John Butler Trio
  • elbow
  • Russian Red
  • Blind Pilot

…a lot of these names will be familiar to music and theater aficionados.

Get the full performance list and details at the Mosaic Music Festival site.

elbow

There are also concerts galore during this period:

Foo Fighters Live in Singapore
Date: 2 March
Venue: The Padang

foo fighters

Yes, it’s Dave Grohl from Nirvana! Everyone said they wouldn’t make it when Kurt Cobain kicked the bucket and Dave went and started Foo Fighters. Their debut album was awesome and Everlong is still one of my favorite songs. The music video for that one is *amazing*.

They’re coming to Singapore for one concert, one night only and it’s the only destination in Asia they’re going to play. BOOK YOUR TICKETS NOW!!!!!!! :D

Charice Live in Singapore
Date: 5 March
Venue: Skallang Theatre

Yup, it’s the Filipino that appeared on Glee. Now, she’s appearing on stage in Singapore. :)

Duran Duran Live in Singapore
Date: 10 March
Venue: Singapore Indoor Stadium

This is for all the old skool music lovers. They were really huge in the ’90s and now they’re coming back in a big way.

Olivia Newton-John Live in Singapore
Date: 27 March
Venue: Esplanade Theatre

She has over 100 million albums sold so she’s gotta be doing something right. The co-star of Grease, her music will appeal to those who likes easier listening.

Roxette Live in Singapore
Date: 6 March
Venue: Singapore Indoor Stadium

Okay, I have a confession to make. I ADORED them when I was in Primary Six. I had a huge crush on Marie Fredriksson and I know most of the older songs by heart. Instead of discovering them *after* watching Pretty Woman, I *watched* Pretty Woman because one one of their tracks was featured in the movie.

I see the list of songs and it all automatically plays in my mind. That was how much I used to listen to them back when I was a kid. My favorite track? Cinnamon Street.

Just close your eyes and listen to the vocals. That was how music was when I was a kid.

…and I still love them. :D

Evanescence Live in Singapore
Date: 27 February
Venue: Singapore Indoor Stadium

Amy Lee comes to town to rock your world! I first heard of them when they did a Korn cover. I’m a huge fan of Korn. I guess you know what kind of music I listen to with my enthusiastic proclamations of bands I like.

Their cover of “Thoughtless” is quite different from Korn’s. It’s more mellow and it really highlights Amy’s melodious vocals instead of Jonathan Davis’ more raw expressions.

All my hate cannot be found. I will not be drowned by your thoughtless scheming.

It’s the reason I started listening to Evanescence.

Yup, plenty of good reasons to visit Singapore this February and March. :)

Signature 8 flavor Dynasty Xiao Long Bao with foie gras and black truffle!

flavored xiao long pao

Okay, this is one of the most interesting and unique things I’ve heard in a long time. There’s an 8 flavor xiao long bao course at Paradise Dynasty which includes premium fillings like black truffle and foie gras.

paradise dynasty

I couldn’t wait to try it when I first heard about the concept. I headed down to ION Orchard in Singapore yesterday with Lainey to meet up with Michelle and Ben just for this.

8 flavor xiao long pao

Paradise Dynasty claims to have the world’s first 8 flavored xiao long bao and you have to eat it in order. The restaurant is famous for it – the open kitchen is filled with cooks preparing it and a lot of patrons order this specialty.

signature dynasty xiao long bao

The 8 different fillings are:
1. Original
2. Garlic
3. Ginseng
4. Foie Gras
5. Black Truffle
6. Cheesy
7. Crab Roe
8. Szechuan

dynasty xiao long pao singapore

…and you have to eat it in order to have the optimal experience. :D

tea

The set costs SGD 13.90 and it’s well worth the price. I found the Garlic and Ginseng xiao long pao very flavorful, with the juices bursting from the skin as you bite into it. The Foie Gras and Black Truffle ones are suitably decadent and I loved the Crab Roe filling too.

black truffle

However, I felt that the Cheesy xiao long pao should have been #7 as the overpowering taste of cheese can be a bit…well, overwhelming. The Szechuan deserves its final spot as the filling is extremely spicy (even for my desensitized taste buds).

lainey hb michelle ben

It certainly is an epicurean adventure that you MUST try if you’re ever in Singapore. Thanks for brunch Ben and Michelle! :)

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Feeling hungry but don’t want to go all the way to Singapore for some awesome food? Check out this MilkADeal offer:

charcoal king

RM15 instead of RM31 for Charcoal King Set Meal at Charcoal King Clay Pot Chicken Rice Restaurant, Kuchai Lama. Non Halal [52% OFF]

It’s a great deal at RM 15 – there’s even soup, drinks and side dishes in addition to the authentic claypot chicken rice and it feeds 2! It’s an unlimited purchase and redemption offer that just debuted today and heaps of people have already gotten their hands on it. Where else can you get prices like this for good food in the Klang Valley? :)

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