Monday, November 16, 2015

Spartan Race Singapore #TeamUbuntu

Spartan Race completed! Don't judge a book by its cover. There's a toughness behind these layers built from fluffy choux pastries and chewy chocolate chip cookies. It's important to specialize and do something well, but it's equally important to keep your interests open and varied.

As team captain (this is funny, because everyone on my team is fitter than me), we named our team Ubuntu, which in Xhosa roughly translates to "I am, because we are." We came out of Spartan Race bruised and battered, but all the more bonded because of it.

A video from my GoPro of the Spartan Race (SPRINT) 15 November 2015

So proud of our team!  A lot of last minute drop outs and last minute replacements (Kevin spur of the moment joined literally 20 minutes before the race started!!!), and most of us didn't have time to train over the month leading up to this race. Team members: Norman Hartono, Izzuddin Tahir, Caryn Cheah, Karen Heng, Kevin Ou, Xindi Siau, Khid Khairudin, Adam Rose, Steve Thoi, Victoria Cheng

 And before the race...
Made some brioche french toast, eggs, bacon, caramelized bananas for myself and Adam!

Thanks for sending our team FRESH coconut water before the race, COCOLOCO! Hands down my favorite coconut water ever. Unpasteurized, and so fresh from the coconut, it expires 2-3 days. The clarity and flavors are amazing.

Backtracking a little more, here's what we had the night before Spartan Race!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Beating Records: Chili Padi Challenge for

Pledging support online for the #XtheHaze campaign adds your voice to a growing movement of consumers who demand that our favourite brands start sourcing only from palm oil suppliers which do not cause the haze.

I think it says something that the haze affected me far worse than 10 chilis did. Because of the haze, I got sick with the flu, bronchitis, and pneumonia over the course of two months, in addition to triggering my asthma. The chili just gave me a slightly runny nose... potentially runny poo, but that hasn't happened yet.

See the FULL live streaming video on WillyFoo Live Studio's Page
On the video I nominated Alex Turnbull, DJ/Producer ATRAN (Alex Tran) and Fish (Matthew Stewart) of Wah!Banana.

For I took the HIAM Challenge: eating chilli padi! When challenged, I get competitive and nervously proposed that I try breaking the previous record (6 chilis in a row). I ended up eating TEN without breaking a sweat. I had no idea my body could do that, I was honestly wary about eating even one. Thanks for the spicy genes, mom. Won't lie, I'm kinda proud of tonight's completed mission.

About the Hiam Challenge: Hiam means spicy in Hokkien
The idea is to ‘fight fire with fire’ - when your eyes tear and nose run.. you’re reminded of what happens when PSI hits very high levels
This is part of the “X the Haze” campaign by WWF, People’s Movement to Stop Haze (PM.Haze) and Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA)

About the “X the Haze” campaign: What can ordinary citizens do to fight the haze?

There is currently no consumer demand for “haze-free” palm oil.
Palm oil is used in about 50% of everyday products found on supermarket shelves - e.g. lipstick, ice-cream, biscuits, toothpaste, detergent… Unsustainable, haze-causing, palm oil has become the accepted ingredient in many of these products. Restaurants, bakeries, food manufacturers, etc. do not use sustainable palm oil because there is no consumer demand.

Pledging support online for the #XtheHaze campaign adds your voice to a growing movement of consumers who demand that our favourite brands start sourcing only from palm oil suppliers which do not cause the haze.

Palm oil plantations will then automatically respond to meet this demand - this is how we can fix the haze problem once and for all! Sign the pledge!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Social Media Lies

"You decide to take money for a dress? That's your choice. You decide to spend hours taking the right photo? That's your choice. You decide to live a life that you feel is a lie? That is absolutely your choice."

Nailed it. Social media is what you make it. Don't blame the degradation of your own values on social media/celebrity/the industry etc. It's a tool to communicate, and it's up to you how and what you use it for, whether it's to feed your insecurities, mess around, bolster a business, or share ideas.

I like how he points out that you should take ownership for your actions if you choose to go down that path. No one is forcing you to fake it on instagram, and there are many others who've found 'success' on instagram without sacrificing truth.

Ultimately, he and her are conveying the same conclusion. She gave into the allure of social media celebrity and the pressures of putting out the perfect photos for the likes and validation. She didn't like what it did to her, and is now using social media to communicate her new message (that it is not as picture perfect as it seems). It's the same way some celebs speak out against the nature of magazines - photoshopped photos, near anorexic diets, hours of styling - to look picture perfect for the masses.

It is still YOUR CHOICE how you choose to portray yourself. You can give into the system (and sometimes your values with it), or you can do/post what you think is right. Social media is what you make of it. It's supposed to be a tool, or you can let it consume you.

Let me be clear, that I don't have anything against people who decide to carefully curate picture perfect moments for their instagram. It takes a lot of effort. In fact, I prefer those over social media accounts that air out dirty laundry or try to garner sympathy points.

Original post: 
Essena O’Neill is wrong; Social Media isn't a lie.
Social Media can be whatever the user desires it to be. Allowing yourself to become pressured into a false life that you're uncomfortable with is the result of your own actions and intent. The inability to define yourself, your life, your own sense of confidence comes from a lack of trying to understand yourself.

Blaming Social Media, calling it a lie, further shows your lack of attempt to understand yourself. Yes, deleting your Social Media is a step in the right direction. Disowning personal responsibility for your own happiness and shifting the blame is a step backwards.

I, and many others, have found a greater understanding of ourselves through our Social Media careers. The ability to explore unlimited opportunities, to create what our hearts desire, to speak with our own true voices. We found ourselves through Social Media because we made that choice to do so.

You decide to take money for a dress? That's your choice. You decide to spend hours taking the right photo? That's your choice. You decide to live a life that you feel is a lie? That is absolutely your choice.

Deciding to use Social Media as a tool to tell people Social Media is a lie contradicts that very same notion. Social Media is there to be used for the truth or for the lies. Essena O'Neil needs to find real help instead of redirecting personal responsibility towards mankind's greatest communication tool. I truly hope you do, because Social Media isn't a lie, you were the lie.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Today's tip about food reviewing, by Norman Hartono

"I don't expect everyone to know the ins and out of the industry, and I'm not saying bad reviews shouldn't exist, but that people become more humanized instead of selfish in their reviews (or general customer behavior)."
-Norman Hartono, General Manager of Dancing Crab and Lokkee (Tunglok Restaurants)

[PRESS] Forbes: The Hairy Crab Phenomenon

2 November 2015 by Cheryl Tiu

The Hairy Crab Phenomenon -- And Where To Have It In Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore 

Read Full Article on Forbes

“I like it for the creamy, luxurious texture and flavors but part of me loves the tradition behind it as well,” shares Singapore-based food writer Victoria Cheng. “It’s a precious tradition to sit with my dad at the dinner table, carefully and correctly peeling the crab for each other and savoring every morsel. Likewise with friends, it’s a good bonding experience. We usually end up spending a good three hours over dinner because of the process. It’s nice to do this especially in a culture (Hong Kong and Singapore) notorious for rushed dinners.” Read Full Article on Forbes

Monday, November 2, 2015

[PRESS] Lifestyle Asia: Instagram Me (Victoria Cheng, Gastronommy)

Ah, another round of Instagram Me with Lifestyle Asia!
2 November 2015

Girl-about-town Victoria Cheng is the foodie we go to when we want to learn what’s hot and happening in the city, thanks to her site Gastronommy.
But this past Halloween weekend, she swapped her chef’s apron for a crown and some royal jewels to host the Cointreau x Vanity Halloween Party at Vanity, the new bar at the South Beach Hotel.
With award-winning bartenders from Singapore and Thailand in attendance, and a limited edition Cointreau Blood Orange cocktail available, the night was a wonderland of a time. Told here through Cheng’s eyes throughout the night, it would definitely give Alice herself a run for her money. 
Full article on: Lifestyle Asia 
In collaboration with this event, GrabCar is offering a special promo for Gastronommy readers until 8 November. Use the code COINTREAU8 for $8 off your next ride! (First time GrabCar users only)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Chats with an Uber Driver in Singapore

Today's chat with a chatty UberX driver, Sin Choon, in Singapore:
About why he chose to work with Uber over Grabtaxi;
His insistence that I freeze fresh lemon juice in an ice tray, so I can get some vitamin C to help with my cough.
He is pro-government, pro-PAP (that's a first) for the safety standards, work standards, and general living standards of Singapore;
He shared his thoughts on food bloggers and food critics (trust no one);
His thoughts on the local Hong Kong food scene (dai pai dongs don't exist anymore);
To check out the nasi lemak at Changi Village, and that Chinese New Year in Malaysia is more fun than in Singapore. They're more festive and celebrate the tradition with more vigor.

He intermittently quizzes me, sure to name something or somewhere I don't eat: durian.. curry fish head... Chomp Chomp... Geylang... petai beans.... But I eat all. He said I passed the test and can stay in Singapore. "You eat a lot of things ah. You must be in Singapore for the food. I talk to foreigners and they never hear of petai. You can make it here, can get your Permanent Residence already."
Damn straight.
"You can get it easily, just marry a Singaporean, ha ha!"
Fuck off, one-star rating.

(I'm kidding.  He's kidding too.)


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