Nothing Goes to Waste

Hong Kong has been my playground since I was a teenager.

Of late, there’s been a proliferation of so-called celebrity chef eateries in the territory as well as some with Michelin stars. I’ve tried them all and sad to say, this jaded palate of mine has yet to dine at a restaurant with a real “wow” factor. Look for my posts under Eat Drink Men Women for my earlier reviews of some Hong Kong eating places.

During a recent weekend jaunt, I decided to re-visit old haunts and had great meals at Fulum Fisherman’s Wharf Restaurant at Jordan, East Lake Seafood Restaurant at Paterson Street, Causeway Bay and also at Tai Woo Restaurant at Causeway Bay Plaza.

I dined on fresh abalones as well as the dried ones:



I munched on chicken claws and fallopian tubes:



I even ate pig-blood!


And for dessert, what better than bird nest cooked in coconut milk? Yup, nothing goes to waste, these secretions from salivary glands of swiftlets are made into delicious desserts. The Chinese are a resourceful people, even testicles from roosters are being feasted on.

NestGood food doesn’t always have to be caviar, foie gras or champagne. Often, it’s the simple stuff that’s so palatable and of course, the company’s important too.

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Chief Moron of Hong Kong

Ohhhh, that feels good in my ass.

Ohhhh, that feels good in my ass.

In order to carry a carton of duty-free cigarettes when flying into Hong Kong, you would need 20 people.

Each carton of cigarettes consists of 20 packs.

Each pack has 20 sticks.

The duty-free allowance for cigarettes into Hong Kong is 19 sticks per person.

For a smoker desperate enough to bring in a carton of duty-free cigarettes, he would need to look for 19 other passengers and seek their help to carry for him a pack of cigarettes each. And since each pack of cigarettes consists of 20 sticks, each person would need to take one cigarette out from his pack of 20 and dispose of it.

Stupid isn’t it?

Of course the 20 extra sticks would make one new pack but since duty-free allowance into Hong Kong is only 19 sticks per person, there will always be one extra stick.

I supposed you can always look for a smoking room in the airport and just smoke away that 20th stick.

Or smuggle it into Hong Kong, and find your way to Leung Chun-ying’s office and shaft that cigarette up his ass.

Leung Chun-ying is Hong Kong’s current Chief Executive, a stooge of Beijing and at best a running dog and ass-kisser, in short, someone retarded enough for allowing such idiotic duty-free allowances to be enacted into law, so brain-damaged is he that he actually deserves more than just a cigarette to be shafted up his ass.

Note that in this region, most countries allow in 200 duty-free cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g tobacco. Japan and Vietnam are the most generous, allowing 400 cigarettes or 100 cigars or 500g tobacco. Hong Kong’s duty-free allowance for tobacco is: 19 cigarettes or 1 cigar or 25g cigar or 25g other manufactured tobacco products.

I don’t smoke cigarettes, only pipe and cigars, and, honestly, I can’t be bothered to buy one stick of duty-free cigar at the airport’s duty-free shop prior to boarding my flight. Does Leung Chun-ying think I have nothing better to do or what?

Singapore does not permit any duty-free cigarettes or any tobacco products to be brought in. Ditto Brunei.

Hong Kong government hasn’t got the balls to do what Singapore and Brunei do but they are stupid enough to fuck with you. I understand that the Hong Kong government is trying to discourage smoking and judging from what seems to be an increase in smokers in Hong Kong nowadays, based on what I’ve observed during a recent weekend visit, it is only correct to assume that the Leung Chun-ying is desperate, but is this the right way to go about suppressing smoking?

I think Mr Chief Executive deserves that cigarette up his ass!

That’s him in the picture above, puckering his lips with delight.

I wonder if he prefers menthol or regular? Filtered or unfiltered.

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Whack, Whack, Juraimi Whack, Whack!


Last October 48-year-old cleaner Juraimi Kamaludin was standing in line to board a bus. He claimed he left the line for a drink but when he re-joined at the same spot he vacated, he was accused by a woman of cutting in.

So he spat at her and later forcefully pushed her out of the bus. Another woman who intervened was also spat at. In fact, Juraimi spat at this second woman six times within a space of 10 minutes.

“I can’t reach her. If I can reach her, I would have slapped her,” he told the judge at his trial.

“You know why I spat at her? Because she is a lady. If she’s a guy, she’s a man, I would whack him – whack, whack, whack,” he said.

“I’m not a bully,” he reminded the court.

See the video of the super prolific spitter here.

It’s indeed so easy to lose one’s cool and fly into a rage. These are difficult days indeed. Putin has just seized Crimea, a plane has just vanished into thin air, the beloved father of our great nation, the one and only Lee Kuan Yew, is not well, poor Yingluck torn the ligaments in her left ankle and is in a wheelchair, and IBM and HP are firing people and three domestic maids have just killed their employers. Plus the neighbors upstairs are again making helluva lot of noise in the middle of the night and some idiot I know continues to refer to his old woman of a wife as (puke-inducing) “girl” and another continues to call his wife “mummy” (irks me from here to eternity.)

Tough times indeed. Very tough.

One must resist the urge to “flip the table” and let one’s dark side rear its ugly head.

True, be assertive and all, but one doesn’t have to always win. If you have Gunnery Sergeant Hartman screaming into your ears, you would just have to grit your teeth and suck it up. Reacting differently would land you in hot soup. Sure, we’re indignant when we have been wronged, maligned and abused, but is retaliation the only response?

This little country is getting way too crowded and life in this pressure cooker is getting more and more stressful.

People are impatient, short-fused and easily riled up. A Briton just walloped a taxi driver over a 20-dollar fare dispute, an American was jailed for punching another cabby and just recently, Donnino Rossetti, the owner of an Italian restaurant was also jailed for hitting yet another cabby. Poor taxi drivers in Singapore seem to kerna a lot these days.

In this day and age, impulse control and anger management is critical. Learn to anticipate triggers and work around them. This is especially true for those who need to interact cross-culturally. Often the frustration of the other side seemingly not understanding us causes us to be really exasperated and annoyed. Our own inability to deal with our impatience and seething anger in a civilized manner translates into physical, often violent, action. Yes, before you know it, fist makes contact with flesh, and the rest is history. Faced with the inability to articulate or to reason, the inadequate resorts to brawn.

At the time of this writing, Juraimi Kamaludin has been found guilty and will be sentenced on Friday with a jail term and a fine. (He already has criminal records for mainly theft and drug-related offences.) He will no doubt pay for his toxic behavior in more ways than one.

Let’s hope fewer of us will meet a fate similar to his.

At the risk of sounding preachy, let me just say that I speak from personal experience. At 57, I am a lot mellower than before, yet I often have to fight the urge – even at my age – to give some morons a hard, deadly blow on their numb skulls or to just slice their heads off with a razor-sharp samurai sword. When I was much younger, I would just fly off the handle at the slightest provocation. I have fought with people before, and broken some bones. (Theirs, not mine.) I’ve smashed a TV set, hurled a durian at someone and once even threatened to throw one of my sons down 10 floors and till today I live to regret those acts of violence committed when I lost control in the heat of the moment, when I could not put my human nature down.

I cannot forgive myself for those acts; that heavy rock on my heart is punitive in and of itself, unfortunately, Juraimi Kamaludin’s punishment will be more than guilt in his heart or on his conscience, that is, if he has one.

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A Malaysian Sojourn

Had a three-day gig in Melaka last week but client didn’t want to brave the heat so we ate hotel food and at Nando’s and Secret Recipe. Not a chance to sample any of Melaka’s outstanding culinary offerings. So when my job was done I hightailed to Kuala Lumpur in search of some good Malaysian cuisine. Hatten Hotel in Melaka where I stayed arranged for a cab which turned out to be a hot tin can of an oven on wheels because its air-conditioning wasn’t working. Plus, the Melaka-based driver didn’t know his way around Kuala Lumpur and it took forever for him to finally locate Majestic Hotel, which is a KL landmark any idiot should know.

That night we had steaks at Las Vacas at Mont Kiera and later adjourned to Escobar for drinks and cigars.

At 6.30am the next day we headed to Ipoh.

First stop was Restoran Hakka for its famous noodle, which we ate with a bowl of yongtaufoo-like offerings and a plate of the same morsels served fried. Those tasty dishes, accompanied by good old-fashioned local Malaysian coffee was the perfect way to start the day!


Our second breakfast was at Keng Nam kopi-tiam where we stuffed our faces with dry and soup versions of curry noodle plus – brace yourself for this – glutinous rice with a topping of kaya, yes, rich Hainanese-style egg jam! Definitely artery-clogging but judging from the number of apparently-healthy old people working at that coffee shop the delicious food they sell probably aren’t as unhealthy as they seemed. And they were all so mouth-watering.  That’s the main thing right?


By then another couple from KL had arrived and they’ve headed to another kopi-tiam for horfun and pork satay. The satay stall was unusual in that it even served pork liver and intestine satay.


Afternoon was spent checking out some cafes housed in dilapidated, but cleaned-up buildings, apparently the rage with the youth and the yuppies of Ipoh these days. Some areas have been gentrified, and turned into hip places serving western food of dubious quality ala Singapore’s Tiong Bahru, which in my opinion is just dreadful. There are now some 30 such cafes and eateries all over Ipoh. Sad. I hope Ipoh doesn’t lose its heritage and become a big Bangsar.

We managed to squeeze in a relaxing massage before adjourning to yet another kopi-tiam – this one purported to be the original birthplace of Old Town Coffee.

My friends purchased pomelos (for which Ipoh is famous), salt-baked chicken and herbal duck before the drive back to KL.

The next morning I had a haircut and a shave at Truefitt and Hill, a Montecristo Edmundo and a Margarita at Majestic’s Smoke House and met my usual gang for high tea at the Majestic. For dinner we drove to the historical Sek Yuen for its legendary stuffed duck, and for supper it was KL Hokkien mee, no less.

It was a great trip, and a good break. But just before checking out, a business contact I had breakfast with told me that the Majestic is haunted and is “famous” – or “infamous”? – for being haunted. “Why did you choose to stay here?” he asked me, clearly puzzled and very perplexed. Well, thank God I didn’t see or sense anything during my stay. But I did notice that throughout my stay three rooms on my floor, 505, 509, 511 were left open all the time.

The Majestic wants to be known as a great hotel, but I rate it as a Raffles wannbe. The Smokehouse, for example is a poor, superficial attempt to emulate Raffles’ Bar & Billiard Room. Some minor touches were missing though. I wished they would deliver a daily paper to my suite – after all it was a suite and cost an arm and a leg. And I wished that, for the drive to the airport on Monday, they had not put me in that horrid mini-van driven by a driver with such bad body odor that I almost puked. Don’t hotels such as the Majestic have a fleet of limousines? (Plus the amount I paid surely entitled me to a limo?) And you know the drive to KLIA is a long drive indeed. Being olfactorically assaulted for an hour is sheer Guantanamo.

The journey back from KL was uneventful. KL immigration didn’t take any longer than normal though the country was abuzz with the sad news of MH370’s recent disappearance.

On MI339 back to Singapore, I was seated next to 2A, a seat occupied obviously by a retard born out of wedlock because only confirmed bastards would have manners such as those he exhibited.

Well, welcome to Singapore, I guess.

It was a rude reminder that I was home, after a week of mingling with warm, friendly, hospitable, caring and very well-mannered Malaysians.

The reminder continued yesterday evening at 6th Avenue when two cyclists swerved dangerously in front of the car I was in and rapped on the window on the driver’s side. They were apparently unhappy with the way the car was driven, for some reason.

If I meet those two hooligans again, I would slice off their heads. Yes, I would behead them.

Welcome to Singapore, indeed.

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Now Who You Calling Fat Cow?


Fat foa-gura don.


Tai no kuro-toryufu.

Fat Cow at Camden has been reviewed to death and half the people I talked to praised it sky high, the other half told me to forget it, so I decided to check it out myself last Saturday afternoon.

Turned out to be somewhat of a teenybopper type of a place (lots of giggling young lady customers) with very adult prices. Definitely a place for the easily impressed – youngish local chefs with zero customer-relations skills and zero creativity, churning out very unoriginal concoctions like cubes of wagyu beef and foie gras on rice and seabream with truffles, and very mediocre chawanmushi – see pictures above – all served by Filipinos.

If that rocks your boat, be my guest. Also, they could do with less theatrics. I was told that the earliest “slot” was 1.45pm and at 10.30pm the night before I received a call reminding me of my reservation. Even Michelin-starred restaurants don’t ring customers at 10:30pm on Friday nights to remind them about their reservations for the next day.

Ah, probably easier to get an audience with the Pope.

Fat Cow very clearly must up their professionalism quotient up several notches.

Will I go back?

Hmm, maybe just to ogle at the eye candy squealing with delight at the sight of foie gras.

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The Tsunami Pipe


My friend Ronnie Wong is a long-time pipe smoker and probably Singapore’s only pipe carver.

The photographs above – taken by Rob Balcer –  are of a pipe Ronnie has carved which he has named “Tsunami.”

Tsunami (bowl diameter 20 mm x depth 46 mm, length 165 mm, weight 72 gm) is a beautiful pipe. “It was carved in remembrance of the countless unfortunate ones when Mother Nature wreaked devastation on mankind,” said Ronnie. “It is a unique piece that no one had ever attempted. A solemn monument. A somber statement.”

Ronnie is offering it for sale to the highest bidder. He will donate 25% of the proceeds to a charity of the winning bidder’s choice.

The carving of this pipe was videoed and posted on YouTube. Click here to view.

All bids marked TSUNAMI$$$ to be tendered at You may put in as many bids as you like. The highest bid secures. All bids in Ronnie’s inbox will remain unopened and will only be opened publicly on the cut-off date listed which is April 30th 2014. The venue will be in Singapore and Ronnie will inform all bidders of the details.

I have no financial or any other stake in this project. I am merely using my blog to announce this event.

Posted in Thank You for Smoking | Comments Off

2014′s Forum Pipes

The pipe forum I belong to has released its pipes for 2014. Since 2010, the forum has been releasing its own annual pipes.

And I’ve been privileged to acquire a set since year 2010.

This year’s pipes:


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The self-centered “Me” generation is all about three persons – I, Me and Myself.

Having lived 57 years, I supposed I’ve earned the right to offer some advice to anyone who cares to listen; so here’s yours truly breaking my own rules of not giving anyone unsolicited advice. 57 things I’ve learned in 57 years:

  1. Be mindful – be conscious, be aware of the NOW. Listen, appreciate, give thanks, and enjoy the moment.
  2. Think of others – you are not alone, will your actions impact those around you? Will what you do cause someone to stumble?
  3. Sure, go ahead and be nice to yourself, indulge a little – but in so doing do not fall into the “Me first” narcissist trap and as a result becoming insensitive and negligent of those whose needs are greater than yours.
  4. Speak up for injustice and do something about it. Don’t just bitch and then walk away. Any fool can do that.
  5. Share what you have. Many are less fortunate than yourself. Whenever you can, give them a kickstart, a leg up, a nudge, an aid, a lesson on how to fish.
  6. Show the way, live an exemplary life.
  7. Buying a painting? Don’t just buy what you like. You could be the butt of jokes. Ask others in the know for their opinions first.
  8. Eat less than what you actually need. Always leave a little behind.
  9. Cut down on sugar. Obesity is not sexy.
  10. There is only ONE way to lose weight: Consume less calories, burn more of the same.
  11. Forget fad diets.
  12. People who tell you that you can lose weight, make money using the Internet, and get laid are all liars – if they really know how, why are they advertising to run courses to teach you how to do that? They should be in the Caribbean drinking Piña Coladas.
  13. The world is an unhappy place. Do your bit to make other inhabitants of planet earth feel the joy and warmth that unconditional friendship brings.
  14. Be thrifty. I’ve seen too many people who splurged and pampered themselves indiscriminately in their youth but when they reach my age, they have nothing to live on, they have nothing to their name.
  15. Stay healthy. All the wealth in the world is useless if your body is wrecked with pain and infirmities.
  16. Don’t be wishy-washy. You have to have a stand about issues.
  17. Sometimes it’s best to let go – let go of that phone number that is still in your phone book that you think might still be needed, delete that contact details, erase a particular memory from your mind, some friends are just not worth hanging on to, also let go of your ill-will towards some people. In doing so, you unburden yourself.
  18. Be teachable – you don’t know everything. Take feedback positively.
  19. Give new things a try, for all you know, you may actually enjoy them. Change is always difficult at first.
  20. Everyone has a dark side – try not to go there. Nurture not your venomous thoughts.
  21. Two essential skills for everyday living: Impulse Control and Anger Management.
  22. Very often the only person who can help yourself is yourself. You need to take that first step. Yes, take that baby first step and step out of your malaise.
  23. Don’t eat like a pig and talk like a sailor. Nobody is really interested in your sex life. Don’t let people wonder if you had parents or an upbringing. There is something called “table manners” and certain subjects are simply not fit for normal public discourse.
  24. Sure, you don’t have to apologize for how you look, but please try not to be an eyesore. The world is already an ugly place. Don’t make it worse.
  25. Suicide is NEVER the answer. There is ALWAYS a way out. Things WILL always sort themselves out eventually. In the deepest depths of my darkest depression, I always assure myself: “This too shall past.”
  26. If you know something you do irritates a loved one, for heaven’s sake, please stop doing it over and over again.
  27. Farting or burping or belching loudly in the presence of others is never considered acceptable behavior.
  28. Learn to be grateful, never bite the hand that feeds you.
  29. Be generous. You can’t take it with you when you croak. Money can always be earned. And it’s only money anyway. Get your priorities right.
  30. Pick your battles, some things are just not worth getting into fights for. A fool will always remain a fool. Save yourself an aneurysm trying to reason with one.
  31. Don’t try to change anyone, change the way you react to them. If necessary avoid them. Stay away from toxic and negative people.
  32. Want to be popular? Never provide unsolicited advice.
  33. But be true to yourself, if someone is about to derail, you may wish to consider offering him or her some assistance and guidance – in the nicest possible way. That is if you really care for the person.
  34. Every six months, ask yourself “Am I taking anyone for granted? Have I forgotten to thank anyone?”
  35. Ask for forgiveness, it sets you free from bondage.
  36. Forgive others, it releases you too.
  37. Be big enough to say “sorry.”
  38. Be big enough not to fight for the limelight. Do not be envious.
  39. For heaven’s sake, when dining out, sit across each other, NOT on the same side of the table. And stop playing with that phone.
  40. What you put on the Internet stays forever.
  41. The space for your profile picture is for your mug shot, not for the photograph of your dog or your baby.
  42. Expect nothing. This way you won’t suffer disappointment.
  43. People can’t read your minds, if you need to say something, spit it out. Most disappointments are due to unfulfilled expectations. Expectations are often unfulfilled because people don’t know what you want.
  44. Some people are assholes. You don’t have to like everyone. Most people want to see you fail.
  45. Most politicians are crooks.
  46. Don’t believe everything you read.
  47. A lot of clowns in PR and communications, when they are with friends and relatives, do not practice what they do for a living. In other words, in private, they are often the worst communicators, they have zero EQ and they know nothing about maintaining harmonious relationships with others.
  48. Look for inner beauty. Today’s beauty queens and hot babes will deteriorate to become obese, bloated mother hens in a matter of one or two decades.
  49. “Vengeance is mine,” said the Lord so leave revenge to Him. Trust me, evil doers WILL get their comeuppance. Remember, Gaddafi was sodomized with sticks before being shot to death and Hitler is still burning in the hottest part of hell. If you hate someone, you hurt yourself.
  50. Do what you like, there is no need to follow what others do. It’s important to be happy, to pursue what you enjoy doing.
  51. Count the cost of doing what you like. Learn self-sustenance. Remember: simplicity is good and what you own owns you.
  52. You have a thousand Facebook friends? You have 10,000 LinkedIn contacts? Sure, pigs can fly. Who are you trying to kid?
  53. Most tweets are a waste of time – I honestly don’t give a rat’s ass what you stuffed your face with at breakfast.
  54. Avoid casinos – the house always wins. No one opens casinos to give away money. And stay away from retailers too – they are evil. Anyone who tries to con you of your hard-earned money in exchange for the crap they sell should burn in hell.
  55. Celebrity chefs? Cooks shouldn’t elevate themselves to chefs and they have no business being celebrities. They should stay in the kitchen and focus on their jobs.
  56. A day will come when those who enjoy tobacco will no longer be treated as pariahs. (And if you must indulge, stick to pipes and cigars, cigarettes are nothing but cancer sticks consisting of paper and chemicals.) When I was a kid, they told me coffee will kill me and my parents didn’t allow me to drink coffee until I was a young adult. And now? Well, the Marina Bay area in Singapore has the world’s most number of Starbucks cafes within a 10-minute walk. Starbucks has over 20,000 stores in 62 countries. Nuff said.
  57. Tell those who condemn you for consuming shark fin soup not to eat live oysters, foie gras and veal. Hypocrites are all over the place.
Posted in Places in the Heart | Comments Off

Cherry Wood Churchwarden

CherryLast Saturday was the hatchday of yours truly and lucky me was inundated with three birthday cakes, heaps of well wishes as well as tons of gifts from friends and loved ones far and near.

Thank you all, thank you indeed.

Among the gifts amassed, I will cherish this the most: a cherry wood churchwarden from my two sons.

Ah, life IS darn good!

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Is this a Raid on an Al-Qaeda Hideout?


Yesterday’s Straits Times showed a picture of foreign workers who moonlighted as street barbers dropping their tools and fleeing for their lives as the authorities moved in. (These moonlighters were charging a measly four dollars for a haircut and their customers were also mostly foreign laborers as well.)

Like Navy SEALS going after Osama bin Laden, as many as 15 officers from the Ministry of Manpower and the National Environment Agency swooped in on the moonlighting barbers around noon on Sunday.

Three of the barbers – two Indians and one Bangladeshi – who were actually off-duty construction workers were arrested for contravening work permit and environmental health regulations. They may face a fine of up to $20,000 and up to two years in jail for contravening work permit regulations.

Carrying out business in common passageways, corridors, stairways and courtyards or landings of any premises is also not permitted. This is why the National Environment Agency participated in the raid as well.

The maximum penalty for doing business at the “wrong” places is $1,000, $2,000 and $5,000 for the first, second and subsequent convictions, respectively. I’m sure those otherwise very bored and demotivated National Environment Agency officers must have thought they have found mother lode when asked to participate in the raid. Must be heck of a boring chasing dengue mosquitoes, or second-hand smoke for a living. Must have always fantasized about being commandos raiding Al-Qaeda hideouts or at least apprehending Mas Selamat.

Frankly, this whole joint assault is a bit of an overkill. It reminded me of the authorities going after itinerant street hawkers back in the days of my childhood. Back then, food hygiene and the cleanliness of the environment was the reason given for the attacks on hawkers, who were later licensed and housed in “hawker centers” which are now known as “food courts.”

But these poor hapless fellas trying to make ends meet being hounded like petty criminals? It’s not like they were getting drunk and unruly like some of their counterparts or humping prostitutes on their off days or starting mega-churches to scam clueless believers of their hard-earned money.

And talking about prostitutes, how about going after those Filipino maids who moonlight as hairdressers, manicurists and yes, prostitutes? How about those “guest relations officers” from China who work in karaokes but would not hesitate to go down on their knees to give you a blowjob if the price is right? Is anybody going after them? How about the “study mamas” moonlighting as hookers when we let them in on the pretext that they are here to accompany their children who have opted to take advantage of our schools and our educational system? Also, where are the National Environment Agency officers when people are having sex at staircase landings and leaving their used condoms and soiled tissues all over the frigging place? And who is going after “health centers” who are nothing but fronts for prostitution? How about “foreign talents” who, through their sweet talk, have conned their way into our job market but continue to deliver nothing noteworthy? Isn’t that even more criminal than cutting hair by the roadside for four bucks? What about company directors who declare “altruistically” that they take no salary but accept huge “honorariums” and other paybacks amounting to millions of dollars? And how about going after the wealthy who hire experts to help them pay less taxes than they should so that they can buy private yachts or go skiing at St Moritz or fatten their ugly wives at places like PS Cafe?

I sure hope the authorities would be lenient with those three freelance barbers. Rigid implementation of the law by unthinking, inflexible bureaucrats always rile me up and make me root for the underdogs. Unless your heart is made of stone, you won’t tolerate defenseless underdogs being tormented either.

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