Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

Breakfast, Ala Lil Red Dot Style

I remember having different types of breakfasts in different lands.

When I first had to work in Stavanger, Norway, I was stunned to see alot of cold meats, fruits, yoghurt, breads, types of milk and cereals. Quite a spread!

There wasn’t much hot food served other than scrambled eggs and mini sausages.

I soon learnt this to be “continental breakfast”

As I lived in that hotel for 2 weeks every quarter, I got used to it so much so that I learnt to appreciate hard, heavy breads that were chokeful of seeds. It was yummy and when toasted with butter, or dipped in olive oil it was scrumptious!

Living in America in my student days, I stayed in an apartment or townhouse of my own.

I tried American breakfasts…McDonalds etc…all bad for health. I decided to make my own toast and cereal but I got bored and my Lil Red Dot roots kicked in.

In Lil Red Dot, you have a variety of choices. 

Our Asian choices are best!

There is Carrot Cake (*not your cake you eat in a delicatassen) which is made of glutinous rice flour, fried with eggs, shrimps or mince pork if you like, dribbled with garlic and shallots garnished with spring onions or parsely.

It can be cooked “white” or “black” in sweet soya sauce.

Another top seller is Nasi Lemak. This is rice cooked in coconut milk served with side dishes of fried eggs, fish or prawn otah, deep fried chicken wings, fish cake and vegetables. 

Sometimes we eat mee goreng or fried noodles with satay.

We love our savories and not sweets…at least for me 😉

Or Indian pratas with curry.

In fact in lil red dot, breakfast food is anything your fancy.

There is no restriction and we are not one nation that settles for plain toast. It has to be cinnamon french toast ha ha!

Our chains of bakeries have buns on the run, filled with different fillings, ranging from sweet red bean or azuki beans, to sweet roasted pork or plain croissants.

As you see, we are a foodie nation 😉

Breakfast is truly exciting and we eat anytime….anytime is a good time!

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How Good Friday Was Spent

Nothing beats spending a public holiday which happened to be Good Friday with mum and dad.

This is especially true when I have time constraints tied to work. 

So much for work life balance….a meaningless adage to me😉.

Slept at 1.30am woke up at 7.30am as my legs were in rigor. Aargh!! As if like Rambo, I gritted my teeth to move those legs that refused to cooperate. 

Standing was a challenge but after true grit, I made it up but it seized again.

I feel like  irobot, looking hard for WD40 or some grease. Sheesh!!

Like a gallant knight I finally rose! Ha ha!

Then, I was off to fetch my parents to have tea.

We went to our usual haunt to have our usual teh o kosong (*sugarless black tea), teh (*tea with milk and sugar) and kopi si (*coffee with milk and sugar)

Yes, ordering local coffee or tea from our local food court is an art if you are a tourist or foreigner.

Just a if I am in a Don & Deluca or Starbucks outlets…the lattes, tall or short or skinny latte….jargon in different cultures! 😉 except in my lil red dot’s kopi tiam or coffee shop in dialect.

Dad’s accompaniment with his teh was 2 pcs of kaya toast.

Kaya is coconut jam made with fragrant pandan leaves, spread onto wafer thin brown colored toast that is crispy on bite.

Teh, teh si and teh o kosong with 2 pcs kaya toast cost $6.50.

Mum wanted to eat an old fashioned tutu kueh. It is actually a rice flour base that wraps over dessicated coconut or peanut fillings and steamed on fragrant pandan leaves.

10 pcs cost $6.00. Each bite is a morsel thin flan but it is a nice treat washed down with our hot drinks. This is a waning streer food item as many do not make it as a food sale item in view of high labor cost.

After that was our exercise as I made my parents walk close to 8,600 steps within a shopping mall.

 Thankfully my legs held and by 7pm, we were all tired.

Dinner was a simple 2 pc Texas Fried Chicken, a biscuit and serving of whipped potato for dad and mum split a chicken wrap with me. $18.80. I liked my light dinner though I tutted away at dad’s food choice. 

I would have loved to take them both to Krispy Cremes and try the lethal doughnuts! I heard they were yummy but high in calories. Sadly no stomach space left as we were largely tired.

By now it was pouring buckets. 

The skies mourned the death of Jesus as he was crucified at the witching hour of 3pm. 

As long as I could remember, it always rained at 3pm on Good Friday! My own Ripley’s believe or not I guess😲

As I kick up heels tonight with my inanimate furball Garfield in tow, chomping on a green sour kiwi fruit and a red plum,  I was happy.

Family time is precious but I am reminded of mortality. 

Each day I live, I am one day nearer to my end. I am sanguine with it for self as I leave no loved one behind – no husband, no kids just inanimate furballs and my favorite one will “go” with me.

But what saddens me is that the same holds true for my parents and I dread the day they are no longer around for me to sip and have tea to talk of this or that.

Life is about the now! 

Live, laugh and eat….not all chickens make it through the KFC witness protection program😉

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Some Facts About Lil Red Dot

I found out the following interesting facts about Singapore or I fondly call my lil red dot:

FUN FACT 1

Lil Red Dot is the 3rd largest world importer of Whisky with USA taking top spot and France in the 2nd spot.

The quantity imported into Lil Red Dot would mean each person drinking 15 bottles a day! But it is not for our consumption!

We are a trade whisky hub and whisky we import is re-exported to the region.

FUN FACT 2

Burials in Singapore’s only graveyard plots in Choa Chu Kang are leased for only 15 years. 

After that, the dead are exhumed and cremated. Land scarcity!

For religions who forbid cremation like Jews, it then means that the individual bodies are gathered into 8 or 16 bodies to be reburied together once the lease expires. 

FUN FACT 3

Dead bodies that undergo embalming have bodily fluids drained into white buckets and incinerated. 

In other countries it goes into the sewage system, but here in lil red dot, we have newater i.e. recycled water. So, bodily fluids extracted for embalming cannot be discharged into sewers.

FUN FACT 4

6 sided container for a dead body is called a casket, whilst a 4 sided container is called a coffin.

FUN FACT 5

We used to have 1 metre long clams that can feed 14 people over 16 weeks. These are now extinct and are grown in St John’s island to perpetuate this species by National University of Singapore’s marine biologists.

Little nuggets of information I never knew.


Good Friday is on the horizon. Tomorrow, I will get to watch on TV, Christian Bale in his role as Moses.

Wishing all Christians, a holy Friday and a joyous Easter! Enjoy hot cross buns and easter egg hunting!

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Sigh!! I Am Human…Sadly

Monday…..I only have one consistent wish for Monday and that is, to nail the job interview today at 4pm my time.

But it is still early days yet as our interview process takes 3 to 4 rounds. If I am lucky, I may be offered the job in 3 months’ time.

There are plusses to this destination – I only need to travel less than 10 kilometers to work and it was a familiar route. It sure beats an hour of daily travel driving more than 50 kilometers one way and with long working hours it means dinner at 10pm most nights.

As for my potential supervisor, this one would be a wage employee and not an owner. This makes a huge difference as he will think like an employee and not as an owner to milk us. *I sincerely hope so*

So far the traits of Lords I have been under, stem from ownership mindset. 

Their pockets are affected, hence I believe their sense of normal humanity disappears in the department of empathy or compassion for humanoids.

Whilst I know that we live in an era of one is dispensable and that there is always someone whom they feel is available for cheaper, it is still, quite sad.

I wonder what the future generations of employees will be like? 

With robotics and mechantronics, industries will not need flesh and blood beings but titanum, alloy and grease.

Though I have titanium rods and screws, I am at most 0.0025 “robot” and I unfortunately have flesh and blood in my form.
No need for benefits, replacement is instanteous and no talk back on long inhumane working hours.

Accountants, Secretaries, pencil pushers no longer needed! 

Aargh…I have outlived my usefulness. I must mask my humanoid traits.

I complain on things like toilet rolls left with only the cardboard core.

I get bored and do pranks.

I must behave like i Robot! 😣

And yes, I am FAT as per the first image in this post ha ha!

Sigh!!

Happy Monday folks 😊

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Spoils Of A Farmer’s Land

I love walking through farm land. 

Technically, we do not have farm land for agriculture in land scarce lil red dot but rather these are farm plots rented from commercial owners.

These days, urbam farming is taking on like a fad. Aspiring farmers working in offices or retirees and home makers want to live the fad of farm to table concept.

As I do not have green thumbs, I just admire the spoils of the land.

Below is a pot of Laksa leaves that is pertinent to a curry laksa dish. This herb accentuates the flavor of the dish.

Just pluck these leaves, wash it and chop finely. Use as a garnish for curry laksa dish. Yummy!


Aubergine or Brinjal or eggplant were given as a gift to me by the volunteer farmers, youngest age 67 and oldest age 78!

The eggplant tasted sweet and young despite mum thinking that given its size in length it might be “old” and seed filled. Surprisingly it was moist, tender and seedless!

I have yet to try the okra or ladies finger. I think these might be “old” and not harvested when younger.

Till I try, I will never know ha ha!

As I walked through I spotted red spinach in a trough. These were really too old and fribrous.

I saw some chinese chye sim.

The farmers also tried growing mint leaves using hydroponics

Below is another herb, artemisia or mugworts that I  not familiar with. They shared it had “cooling” properties and is steeped in tea 

Though it was a small community plot of 50 sq m, it required hard work.

I saw the elderly farmers reliving their “kampong” (*village) as they dug and laid stones to form the beds for their planting of seedlings.

Farming keeps seniors going…using their skills, coordinating mind with limbs…keeping busy as they worry about losing their precious minds.

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Come See Tropical Plants With Me

Singapore or lil red dot’s temperatures are not conducive to flowering plants.

Summer heat that is hot, humid and muggy will strangle roses, rob tulips of life or kil anything showy like sunflowers.

Still, orchids thrive in gardens but is rather difficult to manage as sudewalk plants.

Our greening policy then plays largely on colored leaves to give contrast in our garden scapes.

Though the hibiscus and bougainvilleas can be grown in abundance as a backdrop scape for overhead pedestrian crossings, the hibiscus is a challenge for sweepers to upkeep.

I share some photos of local plants grown here that adds color through usage of colored leaves.

Below is a common ground cover with leaves of yellow and green. The leaves are sharp and if one walks on it, accidentally scrapes can occur.

Below is another typical hedge or fence covering that also has hints of yellow amidst the darker green or lighter green leaves.

I am a duffer at botanical names and call the leafy plant below “tea leaves” – they are not tea leaves, definitely not edible. But don’t you agree it looks like tea leaves. I love the different shades of green that liven the area.

How this “tea leaf” plant is used as a hedge of sorts that lends shade and noise barrier.

Below is a ficus tree that has shoots of green, yellow and orange. As the leaves mature, parts of it turn green and or orange.

Below is a colored leafy plant. Planted in between greenery, it does add cheery life to the area.

Below is another tall pinkish red plant that grows from cuttings. If you snap off the top and plant it into the ground, the lobbed off plant regenerates whilst the replanted top grows.

This is a plant that grows and produces tiny floral bunches.

Another useful flowering plant is morning glory creeper below. By 12pm all the flowers will have wilted or dropped off unless shaded from the sun.

Useful as a fence covering, giving it that jungle overgrown feeling with purple flowers to show!

This is how my lil red dot green the sidewalks or anywhere that there is green lung.

I envy countries with seasons as they have flowers growing freely whilst if I ever want those, I would have to pay a price to get them as cut blooms in my vase☺

13 Comments »

And So The Story Goes #59

5 mins to the witching hour of going home time, my cell phone rings.

MR EX

“What time you going home? My plane just landed”

ME

“Welcome back! I don’t drive a Ferrari and will be home in an hour.”

MR EX

“Ok. Play by ear.”

ME

“Okie. Text you when am home”

“Am home. If you want coffee let me know.”

MR EX

“Later”

I made it home in 20 minutes. But I guess he is caught up with work already.

NOTE1

I don’t want to argue with him at work. 

Public area and arguing just makes it public noise. 

Besides, I needed his advice on Dragon Lady as this job was on account of Mr EX that I landed it. 

Mr EX had warned me that DL may be the devil incarnate of Electrical Lord except in a female version.

We code named her femme fatale betwixt ourselves LOL!

Still, I had stress issues. Mr EX may end up being my punching bag😉

He appeared at 8.20pm for a late dinner at a usual hotel that served his favorite desserts – anything durian!

It was a fruitful yet intellectual discussion with Mr EX. We did not argue but for once he spoke to me with kindness.

He dissuaded me from doing my PhD but instead he encouraged me to embark on an LLM with University of Salford, UK. He wanted me to study with him. 

I smelt a rat! I am sure he wants me to do something for him.

Truth be told, I have not heard of this university and wonder if it is any good.

My second MBA and his 4th MBA.

We would do it online  but with 1 semester as course work on campus in Switzerland or UK.

Why Switzerland, I am unsure!

He said he would send me the link to the course and he asked me to find out about fees. 

Plus he said that if I decided to shove DL’s job, I should turn up at his office 1pm to 5pm for work.

We parted. I checked the school fees for University of Salford. I text him.

ME

“12,000 CHF or $16,000 SGD”

MR EX

“Too expensive?”

ME

“I have to sell my backside”

MR EX

“I’ll find you a place to sell. Good night”

NOTE2

Moron had to swipe me….and he did it matter of factly too! Grr!

4 Comments »

Local Fruit Trees In Lil Red Dot

In our tiny common area garden surrounding the estate I live in, I realised we do have some local fruit trees.

Soursop Fruit Tree (*picture taken by me of the actual tree)

The soursop fruit looks like a knobbed shaped spiky fruit but it has a soft creamy white like texture that tastes sourish sweet. 

Our little garden tree is hardly strong enough to fruit. 

Local folklore claims that the leaves of the soursop tree helps in diabetic treatment and prevents cancer as it is rich in antioxidants.

The fruit is usually eaten in wedges or made into a drink or dribbled onto shaved ice for dessert.

Below is our little mango tree.

Last but not least, a young calamansi lime tree.

You have to search to see the green limes amongst the leaves.

Happy Healthy Saturday is wished for all….clean, green and carefree😊

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Landscaping Plants Lining Sidewalk In Lil Red Dot

It is great having a camera phone as it gives me an immediate action of taking photos whenever a blog post idea arises when I see something that  catches my eyes and feel it is worth sharing.

Today as I trotted out and about for a short walk, I saw trees that reminded me of Australian Gum Trees.

The tree trunks were white and peeling. This was planted along the side walk flanking a road.

Yes, in lil red dot we love greening our roads.

Not forgetting that the hardy bougainvillea bushes give out lovely flowers when it gets really hot! 

It has been a sweltering 34C daily and my car if parked in the sun all day registers 36.5C when I enter it to drive home from work at 6pm. Phew!! Hot! Hot!😎

Interesting to see that the weed we call lallang is now widely use as a landscaping plant!

I did a quote to landscape our office garden and for 2,000 sq m, I received a whopping quote of $160,000!

Jeepers….for weeds?!🤑

Well, we do live in an island city state but thankfully our government continues to green it, ensuring lush greenery!

This was the vision of our fore fathers; Mr Lee Kuan Yew, our first Prime Minister who passed in 2015 and the late Dr Goh Keng Swee, Dy Prime Minister. Thank you for teaching us to preserving a green lung!

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Some Things Cannot Be Bought

Today I learnt that Scorpion’s sister whom I worked with before has reported to the heavenly realm.

During my employment many years back, I urged her to seek medical treatment when she had an ovarian cyst.

During surgery to remove this benign cyst, the gynae friend of mine saw this large ugly mass in her appendix and recognised it to be a cancerous tumor.

He immediately removed it and this was where her troubles began.

Gynae surgeon told me that she was arrogant and not only did she not thank him for early discovery (*she lived a period of 5 years till her passing last evening) she challenged him on his diagnosis and he had to redo the biopsy test in 2 different hospitals and blamed him for the discovery.

As I walked her through her cancer journey to seek medical attention and find good oncologists for her etc, she nor Scorpion even bothered to thank me.

I did not bother until the evil Scorpion started ill treating staff and starting going into a cult worshipping of a living man – Indian man.

Whilst I am sympathetic at his loss, I felt this was something Scorpion had to learn. 

He and his sibling were arrogant Porsche drivers.

They turned their noses up against people and used people.

This reminds me that no amount of wealth can buy us health, wealth and happiness.

Many things money cannot buy.

To name more…

Laughter…hmm unless you buy a comedy club or own a stand up comedian

Trust

Friendships

Heartfelt sympathy

Empathy

Loads more….

May Scorpion be enlightened and learn that life is not about how much you have in wealth but people around you and how we treat people.

This may be his second chance.

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