Friday, May 25, 2012

A day as a "house-husband"

Gotta have "house-husband" in quotation marks since that's not exactly true but yes, today I had a taste of what it's like to juggle between work and home

Well, it all started with a packet of Larb premix which Hyeyoung's Thai colleague gave. Qing and the folks were away, so I volunteered to whip up a Thai dinner.

What did I do? After work...
1. I went grocery shopping
2. Cooked 2 dishes (excluding rice)
3. Picked Hyeyoung up from gym
4. Come back to finish up the last dish (with extra hands from Hyeyoung) and, 
5. Served dinner at 8 (complete with a bottle of Hoegaarden for each of us). *BIG SMILE*

  Kaeng Khiao Wan (Green Chicken Curry)

 Larb Moo (Minced Pork Salad)

Khai Toon Puk (Vegetable 'Cup' Omelette)

Needless to say, I didn't make the Green Curry from scratch. ('tho I wish I did!) But Hyeyoung and I are very happy with the premix sauce so interested parties, do ask! Meanwhile, the recipe for the Green Curry and Khai Toon Puk was taken from this website.

Damn! I'm so happy and proud of myself! :)

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Some things don't change :)

Just chatted with an ex-student of mine. It's been more than 3 years since I left Okayama. (Had I been Japanese, Okayama will possibly be my hometown.)

It was a good hour's chat about some usual stuff - i.e. him asking me to come back to Japan and me asking him to visit Singapore, along with some random topics. But what's heartening is that it's so nice to know that while the Earth is constantly rotating and life is constantly moving on, some things, like friendship, just doesn't change. :)

So here's to us. (I know your English sucks but too bad, my Japanese isn't good enough to type this out in a few minutes.) 

I miss the crazy moments we'd shared in Okayama and hopefully, we will get to hang out, just like the good 'ol times, real soon! :)

Monday, March 12, 2012


It's been a year since I saw the news. I was first shocked speechless, as I saw how the waves destroyed everything that was in its way. Then came the heartache, as I fathomed the pain the victims had to go through. Loved ones, classmates, friends, neighbors and even pets were lost in a matter of seconds. For someone with heartfelt ties to the nation, after devoting so much passion in the language, culture and history, it was a heart-wrenching episode. In fact back then, I was in-between jobs and had wanted to fly over so badly to help. (But for many different reasons, I eventually didn't and it's funny how a certain colleague of mine was just talking about quitting the job to go help Japan.)

A year on, Japan is en route to recovery. Yet as Yuki's interviewee (in her partially done documentary, Kasama-Yaki) said, "scars remain", and that is certainly true. Think about the laughter or barks that have been missed and one will understand how important it is to cherish all that is close to your heart. Not that I am a rags-and-bones man but I think even the inanimate objects, like the silly photos you took in school, or the watch you'd received as a 21st birthday gift, can hold memories that once gone, will take away the memories that it was once tagged with. So reading from the various news sources, it's heartening to see how Japan has recovered - both physically and mentally. Knowing Japan, I am certain this is not something that can defeat Japan.

With all that said, I really look forward to the day that Japan will be able to look back to see how far it has come from this disaster.


Tuesday, March 06, 2012

A path leading to a forked road

So I recently started my new job (today’s the 11th day to be exact), and the stark difference between this and the previous one continue to appal me.

Just this morning as I was coming out from the train station, I was greeted not by clear blue sky with rays beaming through white fluffy clouds but, a dark gloomy cloud that looms over the grey towers with waiting to explode with rain. Immediately, Inception’s ominous “boom boom boom” OST played as I gasped at such Gotham-like skyline/scene.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate my job. The steep-learning curve has been very enriching and I love the new knowledge I’m gaining daily. What I do loathe, is the stone-cold environment that continues to elude even the extremely pragmatist me.

So like any good book, the plot unveils a twist and now, life (suddenly) presents me with an unexpected turn of events. Thanks to my very good friends, a Malaysian and a French, who have planted thoughts into my mind, I have been feeling a little lost since this weekend.

But today, as I look at Hyeyoung's smiling face while I was waiting for her to finish with her workout at the gym, and then her innocent, child-like face as she napped while I was driving her home, I knew, that there are (possibly many) things money will never be able to buy. So I must choose prudently, and also with my heart; for the outcome of such decisions will be borne by not just myself but the both of us as a team.

May God grant me the Wisdom, Faith, Courage, Strength and Perseverance to make the right decision at this juncture. Amen.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Our Third Valentine's

Possibly two or three weeks ago, Hyeyoung and I were strolling through Marina Bay Sands and we passed by this nice Brazilian Churrascaria restaurant, Carnivore, thinking that, "Hey, this looks like a nice place to have a nice dinner for Valentine's..." And so, it kicked off our pursuit for THE place to have a dinner on Valentine's.

The following was how it went:

H: Hi, do you still have a table for 2 on Valentine's Day?
Waitress: *checks book of reservations* Yes we do.
H: How much do you charge for Valentine's Day?
Waitress: It's $xx++ per pax for Valentine's Day.
E: I see. What's the usual price?
Waitress: It's $(xx++)-30%.
E: So what's the difference?
Waitress: You get a door-gift (which management has not informed us what it is yet) and two complimentary glasses of Champagne.
H: But the menu's the same?
Waitress: Yes.
H&E: ... Okay, we'll think about it.

*H&E walks a few steps away from the restaurant.*

E: WTF. It's a complete rip-off. They expect us to pay the 30% difference for two glasses of Champagne (when we don't even know what are they serving exactly) and some cock door-gift.
H: Fuck this shit. Let's just go somewhere for dinner on Saturday instead.
E: Yeah, fucking commercialism. *Throws name card into bin.*

(Okay, I admit I can't remember the exact words of the conversation but you get the idea...)

Those who are familiar with our habitual practices will know that Hyeyoung and I celebrate month-saries (which is merely a convenient excuse to find nice food haunts) and so honestly, we concurred that Valentine's Day nor more than just a commercial/marketing gimmick to rip the entire world off - very much like what De Beers did with the value of Diamonds during the Great Depression. I'm sure many restaurants and service providers do add value (at least more than just two glasses of Champagne and some-God-knows-what-door-gift that will probably just end up in the bin during 2013's spring cleaning), but for those who don't, I hope they will look into doing something more for the consumers.

Anyway, moving on... Originally, we wanted to get a table at Kilo for Saturday, 11th February but unfortunately, they were fully booked for some event. Not wanting to splurge, we turned to the ever-trusty Etna (the Duxton Hill outlet) for a 7pm meal that Saturday. Boy, what a nice, slow dinner it turned out to be.

Hyeyoung and I decided to be adventurous that evening and we strayed from the usual mozzarella-based-starter+pasta/pizza-main. Instead, we had Antipasto Enta, which was essentially deep fried おにぎり (onigiri) with minced beef/pork to start. Hyeyoung had chicken breast that's baked with mozzarella and parma ham, and graten potatoes on the side. Meanwhile I satisfied my ravioli craving with one that's home-made with walnut and four cheese stuffing, topped with the Sicilian pesto sauce, featuring Etna's famous pistachio from Bronte, Sicily. It was such a satisfying meal, for the palate, tummy and wallet too! 

Thereafter, as usual, we went for a good stroll. That evening, we decided to head for our newly found secret bar for post-dinner drinks. No address but here's a clue how it looks like.

Upon entering, this portal not only transports you to a chic and romantic NY-ish bar, but also serves awesome cocktails. Lost in the menu, we ordered rum-based cocktails, for the first time (again!). We know nothing about rum, but surprisingly, strong as they can be, the cocktails were smooth and the meticulous presentation only affirmed our decision to end the evening there.
But I guess the highlight of that evening was what happened back home, where Hyeyoung, (rather bashfully) presented me with a surprise:

It wasn't the big items that caught my eye at first, but the cute matching ribbons that Hyeyoung had delicately stuck on each Ferrero Rocher, along with the neatly tied (Happy) socks that melted my heart. I don't mean to brag but sometimes, you must agree that it's the simplest things in life that can make a day. :)

Happy Valentine's Day Hyeyoung!