I Trust My Own Tastebuds

A noodle stall holder said that the first two weeks of his opening were “quite quiet.” Then “I engaged a few TikTokers to spread the word and after the videos went out, we’ve been drawing a crowd.”

Now there are long lines at his stall, which sells an average of 200 bowls of noodles daily. Some people queue for an hour and a half.

I wouldn’t pay a visit.

No, it’s not the long lines.

What bothers me is that only certain types of people view TikTok videos and I don’t trust the tastebuds of this lot of people.

I refuse to be sucked into a social media vortex.

The fact of the matter is that most people are fucking stupid. Cerebral midgets live among us, and they breed! Beyond saying “I find the food too salty” or “the food is not spicy enough” most people don’t know enough about food, its nuances, its composition, the science behind it, etc. Even professional food critics get it wrong lots of times.

Yes this still happens despite the fact that our species is the result of 3.8 billion years of evolution.

So will I stand in line just because a million people say on social media that a particular dish is worth dying for?

You tell me.

I wouldn’t stand in line for an hour and a half for this.

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Latamcham Gala Ball

At last night’s Latamcham Gala Ball at the Shang, I ate the largest piece of beef short rib in my life; guests were quipping that it could have come from one of those ginormous bulls killed in a bullfight!

Mole Verde “A Mi Estilo”
braised beef short rib, “Mole Verde” sauce, corn puree, amaranth.

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Did this at home. Gone in 10 minutes.

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Hokkaido Scallops

Still on the subject of raw food for the primitive or barbaric among us, even I have to admit that these big Hokkaido scallops are super tasty when savored raw.

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Uni Sushi

Uni is the edible part of a sea urchin, and is also known as sea urchin roe or eggs. Again, eaten raw or as sushi.

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Eyes Wide Shut

The value of your currency is dropping like crazy. Your country is suffering from low domestic demand, low consumer spending, and high inflation; so you desperately need money from outside, money from tourists, but because you are at your innermost core, a very close-minded society, you are insular, you see what is “in” as “us” and what is “out” as “them” as a result, in your heart of hearts, you really hate those tourists bringing cash, those barbaric foreigners and their strange ways, so what do you do?

You make it difficult for them to visit. Record numbers of overseas tourists are travelling to Japan, where the number of monthly visitors exceeded 3 million in March for the first time. But in reality, you can’t stand those outsiders though you love the money they bring, so you take steps to make life difficult for visitors. You raise the price of hotels and train tickets in addition to charging people for trekking up Mount Fuji and now you are even going to build a big black barrier to block views of the mountain.

Mount Fuji, Japan’s loftiest peak, offers picturesque vistas from numerous vantage points in the charming resort town of Fujikawaguchiko. One such spot has garnered significant attention for its unique appeal: the iconic silhouette of the majestic and still-active volcano framed behind a ubiquitous Lawson convenience store. This juxtaposition has fueled a social media frenzy, with the location earning a reputation for its quintessential Japanese charm and undeniable Instagram-worthy allure, drawing visitors seeking the perfect photo opportunity.

Construction of the barrier – 2.5m (8ft) high and the length of a cricket pitch at 20m (65.6ft) – will begin as early as this week.

It is said that the measure is also aimed at safeguarding a nearby dental clinic from the intrusion of tourists who occasionally park there without authorization. There have even been reports of individuals climbing onto the roof of the clinic in pursuit of the ideal shot, further emphasizing the “necessity” of such moves.

Japan lacks any law which prohibits racism and many tourists often face discrimination. The homogenous, taciturn, chauvinistic, bigoted and xenophobic Japanese are not foreigner friendly. Don’t be fooled into thinking that their reticence and all that bowing are signs of politeness and courtesy. The truth is that most Japanese resent and loathe foreigners with a passion that burns deep and tourists descending on Fujikawaguchiko provides a perfect justification to curb their numbers. Some restaurants even practice “ichigensan okotowari” meaning they don’t accept first-time customers. How’s that for being hospitable?

And some won’t serve non-Japanese!

Other destinations are also struggling with “over-tourism” – a term they throw up when these places lack the requisite infrastructure to support a decent tourism industry. Bhutan has long imposed a minimum-spend daily amount and last week, Venice began charging day-trippers to enter the city, while the week before, tens of thousands of people across the Canary Islands – in fact, all across Spain – called for a freeze on visitor numbers. Amsterdam issued a new directive urging tourists to stay away and in Athens, locals have launched anti-tourist campaigns to make sure that foreigners know in no uncertain terms how unwelcome they are.

Yup, go ahead, shoot yourselves in the foot, you stupid idiots.

I will go where I am made to feel genuinely welcomed, and no amount of bowing can fool me.

Let me end with this insight:

When locals are blaming tourists for bad behavior, it’s not about the tourists. “It’s a sign that the tourism management has failed,” said Antje Martins, a trainer for the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and a PhD candidate in the tourism discipline at University of Queensland Business School, Australia.

JUNE 18th UPDATE: Not long after the screen went up, holes appeared! The authorities are now considering building a more solid wall made of metal (1.8m-high) by end of June.

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Fish milt/sperm. Yes, people actually eat this. Raw, of course!

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Burn Speed Demons at the Stake!

The 17-year-old was in this car.

The two fatalities of a horrific multi-vehicle traffic accident earlier this week were laid to rest yesterday – a 57-year-old very well-loved woman and a very bright 17-year-old junior college girl full of potential.

There are lots of speculation online as to the genesis of the tragic crash – which driver of which car started it, who was chasing who, which driver sped like crazy, beat the red light and slammed into vehicles at the road junction, resulting in the horrendous accident that sent eight people to the hospital – including two 11-year-old kids – and killing two.

I’m sure the truth will come out soon. And Singaporeans expect those guilty to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Last September; a jobless man was jailed for six weeks for stealing three cans of Coca-Cola. If I have my way, the guilty party who caused this accident should be caned and jailed. Know what I mean?

Having lived and traveled all over the world, all I can say is that we have some of the worst drivers in the world – many don’t give way, they speed up and block you when they see you signaling to change lanes, they honk incessantly, unnecessarily, they are super impatient and they drive like speed demons. I see an acquaintance transform into an ugly monster each time I am in his car. Each ride with this person sends my heart palpitating like crazy. Luckily, I only meet him only like three times a year.

These despicable retarded jackasses need to realize that the next victim they or others like them claim might be someone as close to them as their own mother or daughter.

Other countries may see mass shootings occurring often in schools, etc and people’s hearts grow cold and become desensitized as they are used to such news but here in Singapore, our population is small and we have a tightly-knit community living as one people, therefore precious lives lost needlessly and cut down in such an atrocious manner is something that breaks each of our hearts.

Traffic accidents claimed the lives of 136 people in 2023, a 25.9% jump from the 108 deaths in 2022, according to the Traffic Police’s annual statistics report released in February.

So, please, drive like a decent human being.

Drive like you have actually attended driving school, taken driving lessons.

I pay attention to actions, not words. I hear what many people say about what careful drivers they are, but I see how they act.

And my conclusion is still that we have some of the worst drivers in the world.

Maybe some of you bastards ought to have your mother or daughter mowed down and killed on our roads before you wake the fuck up.

Maybe the authorities should make drivers pass a test every couple of years in order to have their licenses renewed.

If not, every vehicle on our roads is just a killing machine, like another gun.

And soon, people will not feel a thing when they see dead bodies on our roads.

Is this the Singapore we want?

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Not Again!

Every mother’s son is playing tourist in Japan.

My super wealthy but thrifty – I use that word “thrifty” because I’m being polite – 72-year-old friend and his wife are avid travelers. Their destinations: Johor Bahru, Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, Genting Highlands, Bangkok, Japan, Johor Bahru, Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, Genting Highlands, Bangkok, Japan, Johor Bahru, Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, Genting Highlands, Bangkok, Japan, Johor Bahru, Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, Genting Highlands, Bangkok, Japan.

You get the idea. They go to the same places several times a year.

They are going to Japan next month and have already made bookings for yet another trip to Japan in July. And I bet they will go again at least three more times this year. Also Johor Bahru, Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, Genting Highlands, Bangkok…

I am 67 and I don’t think I will live as long as my dad, who is 90 plus this year and healthy physically and supersharp mentally. The United Nations say there are 195 countries in the world. Although I consider myself quite well-traveled – hey, I’ve even been to Russia, Cuba, Israel, Bhutan and North Korea! – I have still not been to many many countries. I don’t have all the time in the world. So I don’t want to visit the same old places over and over again. In my sunset years, I am no less adventurous, no less open to explore new experiences.

Well, I guess some people are motivated differently.

For example, I know someone who lives in District 10, owns a fancy car, is rich as fuck – shopping is a hobby – but goes on arduous bus rides  – “sorry, not driving!” – to Johor Bahru to buy egg tarts and to seek dental treatment because everything’s cheaper there.

Know what I mean?

Yet, the preoccupation of this person’s family members is turning up their noses at others they deemed deserving of scorn.

Ironic, isn’t it?

Yup, it’s one of those families whose members think they are the only ones with brains, and that the rest of the world are idiots.

I know. I have a couple of cousins like that.

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In this day and age is there still a need to eat raw food? Judging from the number of over-priced “Japanese” restaurants in Singapore – and most helmed by local Ah Bengs with super-inflated egos and zero knowledge of Japanese cuisine – it would appear that eating raw food is still very in. Well, any megalomaniac with a knife can call himself a “chef” I suppose. And hordes of equally ignorant and gullible suckers are making them rich. If I crave for Japanese food, I’ll pay to eat only at restaurants run by Japanese chefs.

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