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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

The Slog Reviews: 10/10. This book, as The Economist put it "A delight". It is well-written yet easy to read and most captivating (one could read it in a single sitting!). The book is the product of an unconventional, creative economist and a talented journalist and as the economist admits, there is no unifying theme at all. The book is rather, a publication of the economist's investigations of the riddles of everyday life and how the world really works. The economist's underlying belief is "that the modern world is not impenetrable, is not unknowable, and is even more intriguing than we think. All it takes is a new way of thinking".

Some bits of the book worth thinking about:

1. Experts are human, and humans respond to incentives. How any given expert treats you, therefore, will depend on how that expert's incentives are set up. It is one thing to muse about experts' abusing their position and another to prove it. The best way to do so would be to measure how an expert treats you versus how he performs the same service for himself.

2. This book has been written from a very specific world-view, based on a few fundamental views: incentives are the cornerstone of modern life and understanding them is the key to solving just about any riddle.

3. Economics is at root, the study of incentives: how people get what they want, or need, esp when other people want or need the same thing. We all learn to respond to incentives, negative and positive, from the outset of life. An incentive is simply a means of urging pp to do more of a good thing and less of a bad thing. There are 3 basic flavors of incentive: economic, social and moral and very often, a single incentive scheme will include all 3 varieties.

4. Any incentive is inherently a trade off: the trick is to balance the extremes. Every incentive has a dark side. Whatever the incentive, whatevcer the situation, dishonest pp will try to gain an advantage by whatever means necessary. As W.C. Fields once said: a hting worth having is a thing worth cheating for.

5. Who cheats? Well, just about anyone if the stakes are right. Cheating is a primordial economic act: getting more for less. If economics is a science primarily concerned with incentives, it is also a science with statistical tools to measure how pp respond to those incentives. All u need are some data.

6. Information is a beacon, a cudgel, an olive branch, a deterrent - all depending on who wields it and how. Information is so powerful that the assumption of information, even if the info does not actually exist, can have a sobering effect. It is common for one party to a transaction to have better information than the other party. In the parlance of economists, such a case is known as information asymmetry. Information is the currency of the internet - it has shrunk the gap between experts and the public - but it has hardly slain the beast that is information asymmetry eg Enron.

7. Armed with information, experts can exert a gigantic leverage: fear.

8. Five terms with a positive correlation to the sale price of a house: granite, state of the art, corian, maple, gourmet while five terms with a negative correlation: fantastic, spacious, charming, !, great neighbourhood. 3 of the 5 positive terms are physical descriptions of the house and such terms are specific and straightfoward and therefore pretty useful. Fantastic meanwhile is a dangerously ambiguous adjective as is charming.

9. Of the many ways to fail on a dating website, not posting a photo of yourself is most certain. For men, a woman's looks are of paramount importance. For women, a man's income is terribly income. But a woman's income appeal is a bell-shaped curve: men do not want to be date low-earning women, but once a woman starts earning too much they seem to be scared off. For men, being short is a big disadvantage but weight doesnt matter. For women, being overweight is deadly.

10. The gulf beftween the info we publicly proclaim and the info we know is true is often vast. This can be seen in personal relationships, in commercial transactions and of course in politics.

11. Emotion is the enemy of rational argument. And as emotions go, one of them - fear- is more potent than the rest.

12. A long line of studies, including research into twins seperated at birth, had already concldued that genes alone are repsonsible for perhaps 50% of a child's personality and abilities. The 8 factors that are strongly correlated with a child's early test scores (bearing in mind poor testing in early childhood isnt necessarily a great harbinger of future earnings, creativity or happiness): the child has highly educated parents, the parents have high socioeconomic status, the child's mother was 30 or older at the time of her first child's birth, the child had low birthweight, the child's parents speak Eng at home, the child's parents are involved in the PTA and the child has many books in his house. A child's family structure, a mother not working between birth and kindergarten, the child attending "head start" the child being regularly spanked, the child frequently watching tv, the child's parents reading to him nearly every day do not have any effect. The first list describes things that parents are while the second list (the ones without any effect) are things that parents do. By the time most people pick up a parenting book, it is far too late. Most of the things that matter were decided long ago - who you are, wh om you married, what kind of life you lead. But it isn't so much a matter of what you do as a parent; it's who you are.

13. An overwhelming no of parents use a name to signal their own expectations of how successful their child will be. The name isnt likely to make a shard of difference.

14. An economist might describe a gift as a signaling mechanism that allows 1 to tell another that she (a) is thinking about him (b) cares about him and (c) wants to give him something that he'll value. With adults, an adult is free to buy whatever he wants, and presumably he knows what he likes. So ideally, you'd want to give him something he might like but doesn't know about, or some kind of guilty pleasure that he wouldn't buy for himself. Either case, u are creating value for the recipient by giving him something that is actually worth more to him than the money you spent on it.

Just Another Pandora's Box (2010) Movie

I didn't want to watch this movie but it was the only available one and the movie ticket was SGD5 only so I did. And there went a good one hour plus of my life staring at the screen and feeling left out amidst all the guffaws from those around me. So I guess it's just me, my lack of appreciation for Chinese movies, lack of appreciation for slapstick comedies in Chinese and lack of knowledge about Chinese culture and movies in general.

The Slog Reviews: 1/10. Like Date Movie, Disaster Movie and the Scary Movie series, this movie is a parody of scenes/characters in more popular movies strung together. The plot is thin, nothing meaningful at all can be gleaned from watching the movie and the jokes are really bad (or maybe that's because I don't understand some of them where there are references to movies or characters I do not know). Unless you find a man lying in his back behind a reclining chair's back with a roller clutched in both hands and calling himself osim really funny (he gives a massage through the chair's back with the roller) OR you want to give a brain cells a holiday, then go ahead and watch this crap. The only reason why I haven't given it a negative score is that it is good for laughs at certain parts and hell, don't we all need some laughter in our lifes?

Monday, March 29, 2010

6 straight hours at Bishan Prawn Fishing at Sin Ming Avenue

After a "fishless" lure session (the grouper in the pic was given to me by 1 of my fishing friends who caught it on lure) which ended in the wee hours of the morning, I couldn't sleep and decided to go prawning / prawn fishing at Bishan Prawn Fishing Center by myself. It was about5am when I started and there were quite a number of fellow prawn fishing folks there to my surprise. Most were in groups or in pairs, and I was the only one alone but somehow that felt fine. I guess I've reached the unenviable stage where solitude and I are bosom buddies. No company beats bad company any time! Besides, look at my haul after prawn fishing with 1 rod for 6 straight hours - there was even one prawn almost as big as the grouper! The nokia phone is in the pic to give one an idea of the size of the super large prawn!

So, after I parked, I got out my fishing pliers (which are very useful in taking the hook out of the prawn), rented a rod, bought worms (on top of the chicken heart bait) and found a spot to sit down at pond 1 which the uncle at the counter told me had more and bigger prawns. Unfortunately, there was this plumpish ah soh who had a mouth turned down at the corners with an old man there and she gave me a long dirty look for reasons I can only speculate at. So I moved to an empty spot at pond 2 instead. Within 5 mins of dropping line, I had a bite. I'd forgotten to take the net to put the prawns so I left the first victim on the ground, re-baited (remember - always have the hook in the water as often as possible to maximise time) and went to the counter to get the net. When I got back, the rod was bent and I had another prawn. The group next to me wasn't catching anything for some strange reason (maybe I had the right spot) so I got dirty looks from them too - that's the thing about prawn fishing I dislike most - one must be able to endure dirty looks from luckless chaps at the pond if one is lucky and one must learn to quell one's feeling of envy, exasperation and helplessness when one is luckless and the people around are reeling in prawns one after another. The pic below is a close up pic of my haul in 6 straight hours (I didn't go toilet once from 5am to 12noon) which cost SGD 60. I counted about 40 prawns in all which means I averaged about 6 prawns an hour. The last hour was really bad though (11am to 12 noon) and I was tired and too insensitive to the float movement or just plain unlucky for I only caught 1 prawn. If you ask me when the best hour to go prawn fishing is or when the bite rate is highest based on my this one-time 6 hours experience from 5am, I would say that would be between 7am to 9am.

In my earlier review of Bishan Prawn Fishing (click here to read) where I had observed the bite rate and catch rate in the afternoon (about 5pm), the place scored 8/10 in my books. This time, where I had actually gone prawn fishing there for 6 straight hours in the wee hours of the morning to 12 noon, I would still rate this place a 8/10 in terms of catch rate and bite rate. The operators/employees there, in particular the Indian dude who helps out around the place, are very friendly, or should I say, can be very friendly. Like everywhere else, if you are friendly, chances are high that people will be friendly back to u...and all the more so, if u are alone, female, not over the hill, appear relatively ignorant at prawn fishing and possess a face that not just your mother would love. I noticed 1 of the employees there giving 1/4 net of prawns to the group next to me who hadn't caught much - it was really decent I thought, given that the group were planning to bbq their catch and they really hadn't caught too many prawns.

For myself, per the earlier pics, I brought all my prawns back home. My mum cooked some of them in soup for dinner the next day. The pic above shows the cooked super large prawn, an average sized prawn and a small prawn out of the haul. And the pic below shows how large the super large prawn was - after I peeled it, I put it back in the saucepan used to cook the prawns. I wasn't the only one who had a super large prawn though - the ah soh with the mouth that turned down at the corners also caught one from pond 1. My super large prawn was from pond 2. So, I guess there is an even distribution of prawns in both ponds.

If you have gotten this far in my post, you probably like prawn fishing or you would like to try prawn fishing so I'll share what was taught to me by 1 of the employees there when it appeared that I was a newbie at prawn fishing (well, as I said, one should always appear ignorant instead of a know-it-all).

1. Measure the depth of the pond using either a small sinker attached to the hook or using the rod itself by sticking the rod into the pond. Move the float to the level such that the hook will just touch the bottom of the pond.
2. Watch the float. As in, really watch it for movement. When a prawn starts to take the bait, the float will go down.
3. After the float goes down, extend / retract your rod so that the tip of the rod is directly above the float which has gone down in the water. The line from the end of the rod, and the rod should be at a 90 degrees angle.
4. Wait and count ten seconds
5. Flick your wrist (not arm or elbow) hard to set the hook in the prawn

If you want other prawn fishing tips which I have gathered from my own experiences and from the more friendly prawn fishing fellows around:
1. Bring a pair of pliers - it is easier to get the hook out of the prawn
2. Always position your float near the center of the pond (for Bishan prawn fishing center esp)
3. Sometimes, it helps to trawl ie drag the setup along the pond instead of waiting at one spot for prawns. Prawns aren't like fishes - they don't hunt for food actively.
4. Prawn fish at a time where there aren't many people so you can do number 3. above and there is less competition.
5. Always always be friendly with the operators as far as possible. Remember, they can tell you which pond is best for prawn fishing, give you some prawns if you have a luckless day and best of all, give you extra time for prawn fishing (though this wasn't the case at Bishan Prawn Fishing where they made sure you returned the rods on the dot. If not for this fact (that is, they wouldn't give an extra 10-15 mins), I would have rated this place a 9/10.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Macpherson Minced Meat Noodle

Like the rest of my family, I am a "mee pok" lover and last Sunday, we had some of the very best mee pok in Singapore. Check out this pic of my mee pok when it was first served after a 20 mins wait. The Slog Reviews: 10/10. Spongy chewy eggy yellow noodles in just the right amount of seasoning and oil, and a generous amount of ingredients such as fish cake, minced meat and sliced jucy mushrooms.

It is past midnight as I am typing this out while looking at the pic and the craving to get some mee pok right now is overwhelming! I've never eaten mee pok this good, nor have I seen so many people waiting to have just one bowl of this absolutely delicious noodle dish at a coffee shop which looks to have come right out of the 60s era (sliding panel doors and rickety fans). Even the soup which comes with the dish is full of flavor (and not seasoning flavor, mind!) unlike the thin watery versions that most ordinary noodles stalls dish out to customers. The cost of this bowl of mee pok? S$3.50. The place to get it? 13 Tai Thong Crescent. Note that the stall opens from 6.30 to 2pm and is closed on alternate tues. A definitely must-have for all mee pok lovers

When in Rome (2010) Movie

Hmmph - I didn't win the tickets to this movie despite my blog entry (I have deleted it in a pique and this can't be undone) which I expended at least half an hour of my life writing. I couldn't believe I didn't win (yeah, super ego. Go me.) so I checked hotmail about 5 times and even checked the junk folder in case the email informing me that I had won a pair of tickets was accidentally chucked in there by the electronic gods. No such luck.

However, at about 11am on the day of the movie itself, I received a call from the contest organisers informing me that they had extra tickets and since the tickets were free seating I accepted "graciously" enough their offer and turned up for the movie. I must say I am surprised that there are so many other bloggers out there, much less so many who have taken part in the contest. And I must also add that I felt very out of place because the other bloggers appeared to be in their teens or early twenties. Me, in my office garb and LV work bag looked very old and out of place. Hence, I was one of the first few to get out of the cinema when the movie ended.

I am not quite sure why the movie received such awfully bad reviews - true, it was predictable, true, it is a movie I'll advise anyone to watch on DVD (or wait for it to screen on TV even) and not waste a good money ticket on but it had its funny priceless moments too.

The show starts with Beth at an event she organised where her ex-bf approaches her to inform her that he realises how important work must have been yada yada (so the audience knows that Beth is a workaholic) and then breaks the news he is getting engaged to someone else when she is beginning to think he wants to work things out. The DJ overhears the word engage and makes an announcement that Beth is getting engaged. Everyone cheers and breaks into song. Beth then clarifies she isn't engaged and after that, the heel of her shoe breaks. She goes home muttering that it is the worst day of her life. Her doorbell rings when she is home and her younger sister bursts in to inform her that she is engaged to a guy she has known for two weeks. Despite Beth's attempts, she will not be dissuaded and even invites Beth to her wedding in Rome. Beth's boss, Celeste tasks Beth with an impt project (a fund-raising even) and Beth promises her boss she will pull it off. Beth is shown in Rome trying to receive a signal on her blackberry and arriving with her luggage bag at her sister's wedding. Her mother tells her that her father is somewhere around with his latest tramp and the father appears clarifying that his new gf is not a tramp. Anyway, in the church, the best man is seen staggering up the pews late for the wedding with his blackberry buzzing away. Beth shoots him a sympathetic glance and he turns out to be the lead of this movie, Nick. They hit it off when Nick rescues Beth from several italian traditions (like breaking a vase) and making a speech (Nick offers to translate what Beth is saying but gets it grossly wrong). Beth is seen to get champagne and look for Nick, only to find him being kissed by a hot brunette. Beth is so disillusioned (she thought she had found love) that she downs all the champagne and gets tipsy enough to jump into the fountain of love in her evening gown. She picks up several of the coins thrown there including a poker chip. Each time she picks up a chip, a scene where the person who has thrown the coin looking struck by love appears, all except for the poker chip. To cut a long story short, there is a model, a painter, a very short and fat sausage magnate and a street magician for each coin. Each madly pursues herand she finally figures out what is going on. But Nick is also pursuing her and after one of their rare dates where she finally agrees to meet him for dinner and they end up back at his house, she seeks a stack of poker chips on his table. Beth assumes that Nick has fallen for her not for her but because she picked his chip. So she leaves him and tells him to keep the painting he has offered to lend her for the project her boss has set for her. On the day of the fund-raising event, the 4 suitors turn up at her apartment and Beth is about to return the coins to them to break the spell when she realises that her assistant has taken the coins (the assistant wanted Beth to be loved). She then tells them that she has fallen for Nick and loves him. The 4 suitors appear disappointed but decide that if they love someone, they would put her wants above their own. So they pile into 1 of the suitor's small car and drive to the museum where the event is taking place. There, Beth gets the coins back from the assistant and returns each to the owner, breaking the spell. The street magician is mischievious and takes the poker chip from Beth, makes it disappear and then make 3 of the same chip appear, then 2. He finally gives 1 to Beth who loses her grip on it and has to run down the spiral downwards winding path chasing the poker chip. The chip lands at Nick's feet (he lent the painting which was a hit at the event) and he picks it up. Beth expects him to tell her he doesn't love her but he tells her he still does. Beth is elated and they decide to get marry in Rome. Cut to Rome where Beth is in a wedding dress about to go into the church for the wedding when the street magician appears with a poker chip. He gives it to her telling her that it must be hers since it isn't part of his collection and Beth realises that Nick might still only be in love with her cos he hasn't been returned his chip yet. At the wedding, the priest appears to be reluctant to marry them both and at the part where she is supposed to say I do, she says no and runs out of the church to the fountain of love where she climbs in again in her wedding gown time time. Nick chases after her and she gives him the poker chip. He asks her why she keeps giving him poker chips and assures her he still loves her. The poker chip is thrown into the fountain and the priest looks as if a spell over him as been broken. Beth realises that the chip was the priest's who had beaten Nick at poker and the story ends.

The Slog Reviews: 7.5/10. U know eye candy? That is exactly what Nick (the actor Josh Duhamel) is. Oh my gosh, I just checked and he is 38! He looks like he is in his late 20s to early 30s! What a hottie! And yeah, he is married to someone in the same league - Fergie of the black eyed peas. It looks like I have gone off track when I am supposed to be reviewing the movie. Well, the show is a romantic comedy and a reminder once more that love is all about serendipity.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tang Shifu

Was running really low on fuel today so decided to go into JB to pump petrol. Had to pay S$10 to top up some petrol along the way first so I wouldn't be in breach of the 2/3 tank rule - the cost was about SGD 1.80 per litre for Shell 95. The cost to pump better quality petrol (Shell 97) in Malaysia works out to be about SGD 80 cents per litre. Of cos with the 2/3 tank rule it doesn't make sense for me to drive from my home in the north-east, queue for 1/2 - 1hr to clear both customs just to pump that 1/3 tank of fuel so to make it worth the while, I do grocery shopping and eat in JB as well.

This time, we decided to have dinner at a different place called Tang Shifu (which translates to Soup Master in Eng) that looked relatively crowded for a weekday night compared to the other restaurants on the third floor of Tebrau City. This is the entrance of the restaurant which is located at the center portion of the third floor of the shopping mall.

The service was good, given the number of staff and that the restaurant wasn't filled to its capacity. We were handed two menus - one setting out the set menus for a fixed number of pax. The cost of each set menu was in the hundreds so we dispensed with that menu. The other menu which was impressively bound set out the cheaper set meals, ala carte dishes, desserts (bird nest soup even) and drinks. The most expensive item in there was less than RM100 if I remember rightly.

We were served with preserved guava as an appetiser but neither of us liked guava so we asked for the dish to be removed (oh no, I forgot to check the bill whether we had to pay for this!). We each ordered a bottle of cold american ginseng tea (top left pic) which came in a bottle and a stone mug for us to pour the drink into. For the dishes, it was easier to pick the set meals and I had the American Ginseng Nourishing Soup Set priced at RM23.80 (bottom right pic) while my eating companion order the mee sua set priced at RM 18.90 (bottom left pic). We also shared a veg dish which was about RM 8.90.

The Slog Reviews: 8/10 for the american ginseng tea drink which was refreshing. 5/10 for the veg dish which was tasteless and overpriced for a few leaves. I can't comment on my food companion's mee sua set meal but he seemed to enjoy the herbal soup well enough. His only comment was that the meal wasn't filling. As for my own set meal, I would give that a 4/10. The brown rice was tasteless, grainy and hard. The black beans and whatever it was next to the beans in the small dish was really not worth eating given how soggy and mashed the beans were. And, as for the soup, the black chicken was overcooked so that the meat was tasteless and hard (there was absolutely no flavor to the meat which should have been the case if the chicken was cooked in herbs for a long time) and worse of all, the amount of meat on the bones was for want of a better adjective, pathetic. The soup was "herbal-tasting" enough but not rich enough in taste unlike the herbal soups that I have drunk before. The price of RM 23.80 which is about SGD 10 for this set meal isn't worth it in short. I wouldn't recommend going to this place for dinner if one is at Jusco - there are better places to spend your money on a meal (and the KFC there is not one of them by the way). The total cost of the meal for us was RM 60 (SGD 25) which I thought was on the higher end for such inferior-tasting food. And it really is inferior tasting - and I don't think it was because I had lunch at Gunthers yesterday (too bad it was lunch with vvvvvips and those who decide my pay/fate else I would have taken pics of the caviar appetiser and my kurobuta pork shoulder slices drenched with truffle juice and the fine apple tart!!!!)

On a side note, Tang Shifu restaurant is part of the premises of a traditional Chinese medicine shop which sells abalone, bird nest, ginseng etc. I didn't take a look at what was being sold after the disappointing meal. One could do better with soups sold at a food court in SG for less the price.

Gottman's Four Horsemen and Flooding

I came across reference to Gottman's four horsemen again in yet another book I was reading late last night. I mentioned before that I finished the book "Blink" but have been too lazy to extract what I want to remember from that book. Anyway, one of the portions I wanted to extract was the reference to the four horsemen in Blink. Fortunately, someone else must have deemed that portion worth sharing too and you can click here, to read that portion of Blink.

Gottman is apparently a leading expert on the issue of divorce with the ability to predict with more than 90% accuracy, which marriages will end in divorce. Malcom Gladwell, the author of Blink concludes that such prediction is based on pattern recognition.

What Gottman looks out for is the Four Horsemen: defensiveness, stonewalling, criticism, and contempt. And, even within the Four Horsemen, in fact, there is one emotion that he considers the most important of all: contempt. "Contempt is closely related to disgust, and what disgust and contempt are about is completely rejecting and excluding someone from the community."

Criticism – Global negative statements about your partner’s character or personality. The difference between complaint and criticism is that criticism has blaming in it. It’s attacking someone’s personality or character, instead of being specific about a complaint
Defensiveness – This is a way of blaming your partner and can escalate the conflict. A person will try to defend himself or herself by denying responsibility and dishing back calculated insults.
Contempt – Sarcasm, cynicism, name-calling, eye-rolling, sneering, mockery and hostile humor can be poisonous because they convey disgust. What separates contempt from criticism is the intent to insult and psychologically abuse your partner. Contempt is the acid in the relationship. Putting down your partner with insulting jokes, critical comments, facial expressions and verbal abuse can destroy any chance of intimacy.
Stonewalling – A partner may disengage from the relationship, signaled by looking away without saying anything and acting as though he/she doesn’t care about what the other is saying. Stonewallers withdraw from interacting emotionally in the marriage. They just stop communicating, even if an insulting situation occurs.

The Four Horsemen alone predict divorce with 82% accuracy but when you add in the failure of repair attempts (repair attempts are efforts a couple makes to deescalate tension during conflict – “to put on the brakes so flooding is prevented.”), the accuracy goes to 90+% Dr. Gottman refers to flooding as when "you feel overwhelmed and disorganized by the way your partner expresses negativity..."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon (2010) Movie

The Slog Reviews: 10/10. This show is a MUST-WATCH! I didn't go in with much expectations, you could say even reluctantly but the visuals (this was 3d), the storyline, the exploration of the relationship between son and father, the growth of a young man who finds the courage to stand up against what his people had always believed in, the witty lines (Thank you for nothing, you useless reptile!), they made the 116mins spent watching this show worth it.

The storyline is deceptively simple. The story of the chief viking's son, Hiccup, is set in a time where the vikings and dragons are sworn enemies. Hiccup is shown to be a scrawny thing compared with the other hunky vikings and he is not allowed to fight a dragon. However, he devises a contraption and during a raid by the dragons, uses it and brings down the rarest dragon of all. He finds the dragon and releases it instead of killing it. He also brings the dragon food (fishes) and develops a relationship with it to the extent that the dragon allows him to strap a sort of tail wing to the dragon's lopsided tail. in the meantime, his father decides finally to allow Hiccup to take part in dragon training while the father goes searching for the dragons' nest. Hiccup uses what he knows from his pet dragon he names "toothless" to tame the dragons brought out for training. He wins the admiration and adoration of his fellow students and the other villages. The girl he likes, Astrid, discovers Toothless when she spies on Hiccup in her attempt to finish first at the dragon training course. Hiccup takes Astrid on a ride on Toothless and Toothless leads them to the dragon's nest on an island. There, a monstrously large dragon is shown to rise out of the pit eating the other normal sized dragons. It becomes clear that the normal sized dragons have been raiding the vikings' villages for food to feed this monster dragon (otherwise they would become food themselves) When the father gets back, Hiccup finishes first in the dragon training and the reward is that he gets to kill the first dragon. However, Hiccup refuses to kill the dragon in front of the whole community in an attempt to show them that dragons are not ferocious. His father is enraged and humilated and strikes the bars of the cage, scaring the dragon which reacts by breathing out fire at Hiccup. Toothless hears Hiccup's cries for help and flies to his aid, only to be captured by the rest of Hiccup's father. Hiccup when begging for the release of Toothless inadvertantly reveals that he knows where the dragon's nest is. The father rounds up the viking army and set sail for the island with a bound Toothless showing the way on his ship. They reach the island with the dragon's nest and attack. The monstrous dragon makes a fiery appearance, igniting all the vikings' ships. Hiccup, Astrid and the other students in the training course set free those dragons used in their training and ride them to the island to fight the monster. Of course, in the end, Hiccup and Toothless (whom the father eventually sets free) prevail, leading the monster dragon up into the stratosphere and descending rapidly, causing the monster dragon to catch fire. The really unexpected and I thought unnecessary twist to the show was the ending where Hiccup is shown to have lost half of one leg (a metal stick is fitted on). However, the vikings and dragons are shown to coexist peacefully at the end too.

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

I doubt I have the ability to summarise or condense this book - my mind is still spinning from the terminology used - ludic fallacy, epilogism, epistemic opacity, epistemic arrogance, mediocristan, platonicity, retrospective distortion and statistical regress argument. Nevermind the glossary page at the end.

The Slog Reviews: 9/10 and a must-read (well, for those who have a certain amount of faith in their intellectual and reading abilities)

Some bits which I thought worth typing out and referring to:

1. The lesson for the small is : be human! Just be a fool in the right places. Avoid unnecessary dependence on large-scale harmful predictions - those and only those. Avoid the big subjects that may hurt your future: be fooed in smal matters, not in the large. Do not listen to economic forecasters or to predictors in social science. Know how to rank beliefs not according to their plausibility but by the harm they may cause.

2. If you shed the idea of full predictability, there are plenty of things to do provided you remain conscious of their lmiits. Knowing that you cannot predict does not mean that you cannot predict from unpredictability. The bottom line: be prepared! Be prepared for all relevant eventualities.

3. Be open minded to let luck play a role. Maximise the serendipity around you. Trial and error means trying a lot. You need to love to lose.

4. People are often ashmed of losses so they engage in strategies that produce very little volatility but contain the risk of a large loss.

5. Barbell strategy - if you accept most risk measures are flawed, because of the Black Swan, then the straegy is to be hyperconservative and hyperaggresive instead of being midly aggresive or conservative. Instead of putting your money in medium risk investments, you need to put a portion, say 85 to 90 percent in extremely safe instruments, like Treasury Bills. The remaining 10 to 15 percent you put in extremely speculative bets, as leverages as possible (like options), preferably venture capital style portfolios.

6. Make a distinction between positive contingencies and negative ones. Distinguish between those human undertakings in which the lack of predictability can be (or has been) extremely beneficial and those where the failure to understand the future caused harm. In positive black sawn busineeses, you have to lose small to make big. You have little to lose per book and for completely unexpected reasons, one may take off. And you fare best if you know where your ignorance lies. This is different from collecting lottery tickets as these do not have a scalable payoff: there is a known upper limit to what they can deliver. The ludic fallacy applies here. Also, lottery tickets have known rules and laboratory style well presented possibilites.

7. Don't look for the precise and the local - chance favors the prepared. U do not have to look for something particular every morning but work hard to let contingency enter your working life. You got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going because you might not get there. Invest in preparedness and not in prediction. REmember that infinite vigilance is not possible.

8. Seize any opportunity or anything that looks like oppty. They are rare, much rarer than you think. Positive black swans have a necessary first step: you need to be expcosed to them. Collect as many free nonlottery tickets as you can and once they start paying off, do not discard them. Work hard, not in grunt work, but in chasing such opportunies and maximizing exposure to them. This makes living in big cities invaluable because you increase the odds of serendipitous encounters.

9. Beware of precise plans by government. U need to keep a vigilant eye on the side effects.

10. All these recommendations have one point in common: asymmetry. Put yourself in situations where the favourable consequences are much larger than unfavorable ones. The notion of asymmetric outcomes is the central idea of the book. This idea that in order to make a decision you need to focus on the consequences (which you can known) rather than probability (which you can't know) is the central idea of uncertainty. You can build an overall theory of decision making on this idea. All you have to do is mitigate the consequences.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Soon Heng Restaurant

Our dept has been going to this place for lunch a couple of years and I even brought my mum here once but I never knew the name of the restaurant until I made an effort to look out for it today. This place is rather popular I must say - while we were eating, a chartered bus dropped off about 20 Japanese folks at the restaurant. There is the the air-conditioned area and the al fresco dining area if one wishes to take a puff or bake in the sun.

Having the curry fish head is a must if you go to this place apparently. However, my taste-buds have been corrupted with the curry fish head that I absolutely love at JB and the curry fish head here pales in comparison. However, the stall specialises in more than just that and one has a wide range of freshly-cooked food items to choose from (see the pic below). The Slog Reviews: 7.5/10 all in all except for the prawns which I would give a 5/10 for being mushy and not too fresh tasting. If I had to recommend any dish, it would be the wildly popular ikam bilis (fried fish and nuts) which one can order to take away (SGD 5 per pack) as a snack. The cost of the dishes below (it was half a fish-head only) and a plate of curry liver (which hadnt come at the time of the pic) as well as 8 glasses of lime juice and 7 plates of rice was about SGD 16 per person (almost SGD 100 for 6 of us). I think that's really quite expensive honestly and would only visit this restaurant if the dept goes.

The address is: 39 Kinta Road, Singapore 219108. Tel No: 6294 7343 / 6294 6561.
They also have an outlet at Hyde Park Cafe located at 76 Prinsep Street Tel No: 63360983
If you wanna read more about them click here to go to their website which has the history, menu and maps (they do catering apparently).

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Food Center at 10/5 Permas Jaya

One of the things I really like going into JB for when I go in for gas, is their hawker (food center)'s food which is a fraction of the prices we pay here in Singapore and almost always equally good.

We were looking for pekin restaurant near stulang laut and permas jaya but in the end, I lost my way even with the GPS and we ended up at Permas Jaya. We thought of eating at Nijyumaru but it was impossible to get parking near and around the restaurant. In our bid to find a space to park, we ended up driving right to the end of the road where the open-air food center was. Hungry (it was about 8+), we ended up eating there instead and ended up ordering too much.

The Slog Reviews: 8/10 for the bak kut teh soup which is really popular (almost all the tables had a bowl). The portion for 2 below, with 2 bowls of rice cost RM 15 (rice at RM1) and the soup which had mushrooms, tau kee and tender meat was tasty though just a bit too salty. The dish at the far end is the Mongolian pork ribs which my fishing shifu introduced me to and comes from the same stall as the sambal kangkong (the store nearest the fishing tackle shop sells such tze char items). The pork ribs sauce was very much like satay sauce but the meat was thick and juicy. As for the kangkong, it wasn't too spicy but then I hadn't asked for it to be extra spicy. Both are worth a try. However, the sambal bbq fish was a disappointment. At RM 16, it tasted bland with the sambal sauce a tasteless watery mash - not that the dish was inedible but it was sub-par even for hawker standards. A far cry from the one I had at this other food center in JB (click here). The address of the place is Jalan Permas Jaya 10/5, just next to Fishingline tackle shop.

Green Zone (2010) Movie

When we saw the trailer for this movie, we thought it was linked somehow to the successful Bourne series given the fast-paced action and same lead actor (handsome Matt Damon). Of course, the title of the movie "Green Zone" gave us a hint that it wasn't and a far cry the movie turned out to be from the Bourne movies

The Slog Reviews: 7/10. My movie companion and I fell asleep during parts of the show - maybe it was the day and hour we were watching the same ( 8 - 10pm on a Mon night) but I suspect it's probably due to the awfully predictable storyline and the blurry fast-paced action. The plot summary can be done here. The story comes down really to just one thing - there are no weapons of mass destructions (WMDs) and the invasion of iraq was for really for another purpose (oil fields?). The ending was a bit of a twist though - I thought that Al Rawi put be brought in and tell the world the truth (that there were no WMDs) and until now I can't really fathom why Freddie shot and killed him even though there was a scene where Freddie told Miller (Matt Damon's character) that Freddie was helping the Americans for the sake of Iraq. Maybe Freddie figured having Al Rawi around would not be good for Iraq and if Al Rawi told the world the truth, the American troops would be forced to pull out and there would be no re-building of Iraq.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Alice in Wonderland (2010) Movie

A good plot summary of the movie can be found here

Besides, right after watching the movie and even letting a couple of days pass before writing this review, I hardly felt inspired to write about it, much less summarise the same.

The Slog Reviews: 6.5/10. The graphics was great (but they almost always are nowadays what with technology) but despite that, the exciting trailer and all the hype, the movie was, as my new-found movie kaki put it, "linear". It didn't put one to sleep of course - the plot was easy enough to follow and Johnny played his role as the mad hatter excellently. Maybe, just maybe, I wasn't the target audience. I think kids may like this show (viewed as a fairytale/fantasy tale) much more than adult would.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Yoshimaru Ramen Bar

The plan was to go Chomp Chomp for porridge and I even left work on the dot to get there so that I would be assured of a parking lot (parking is a challenge!). I found my lot, parked and waited for 15 mins in the car (I was early), only for the phone to ring and my friend tell me that he had just parked at his home and would be late by half an hour. He suggested I go home first and wait for him to pick me up instead. Thankfully I hadn't tore the coupon yet so I drove back, changed and waited. And waited some more.

Yeah, he was apologetic when he finally came by and I thought we were headed for Chomp Chomp but he was in a mood for something different (men!) and being the driver and therefore in charge of the wheel and our destinies, he drove to East Coast Lagoon area instead. Talk about a complete departure from what was originally planned!

He was lucky enough to find free parking along the side of the road. We weren't exactly spoilt for food choices so we ended up at Yoshimaru Ramen Bar and snagged the last available table there. The people just 2 steps behind us had to wait.

Again, we weren't spoilt for choice when we opened the menu - less than 15 (or 10?) ramen dishes to choose from ranging from SGD 11 to SGD 15. He had the Tan Tan Ramen while I had the seaweed ramen. If I remember rightly, the "selling point" for this restaurant was that the ramen was "original hokkaido ramen".

The Slog Reviews: 7.5/10. After ordering, one is given a small bowl of sesame and a "pounder" to pound the sesame before the ramen arrives. The ramen, as seen from the picture, is decently sized with a reasonable amount of ingredients. The only thing really delish about the ramen was the egg. It was so good that my best friend ordered another egg for an extra dollar. As for the place, no complaints about the asthetics except that there is no privacy (open space restaurant with no partition and tables rather close to each other). And one more thing, one has to queue up at the cashier to pay - it makes me wonder why I'm paying the same amt of service charge then as other restaurants where they bring the bill to one's table!

One minute for yourself - Spencer Johnson

I'm not sure why I left this book untouched (despite renewing it once) until the due date was over - maybe I was distracted by other fiction books along the way, and even, freakconomics, or probably that I have been travelling out of the country the past 2 weekends. In any case, I managed to finish this book a couple of days ago.

The Slog Reviews: 10/10. The book isn't thick, is easy to read and understand and gives one hope that things can be turned around with a few tricks. The cynics will scoff that it is far too simplistic but I'll say that unless they've tried the few tricks, they shouldn't be so quick to write off the book. The author is the one who wrote Peaks & Valleys and Who moved my cheese which I'd reviewed earlier.

Here are some extracts which I thought was worth writing down and referring back to once in a while, esp when one is down and out.

1) Finding your inner success is the best, easiest, and in fact, the only way to achieve and enjoy everything else in life.

2) Workaholics think they are happy. That's because they kid themselves. Workaholics in fact, lose themselves in their work so that they never have to look at themselves. Other people do this by filling their life with activities. They confuse activity is productivity. The deception is they think they are accomplishing a lot because they are busy. In reality, they never deal with what's important.

3) In 1 quiet minute with myself, I can first become aware of what I am doing and then I can choose to see a better way. I simply stop and quietly ask "Is there a better way right now for me to take good care of Me?" Just stopping and looking prevents you from running into something and hurting yourself. I stop, look, and see that I have a choice: to proceed ahead, or change directions, or do whatever I see is best for me. The truth is we each know what is best, if we will stop long enough to see it.

4) It doesn't matter what I do. It's the little things that make a big difference. 1 thing I do when I feel rushed, overwhelmed and lose my perspective is to ask myself another simple question "Ten years from now, how much difference is this going to make?" Another thing I do for myself is to laugh at myself and with myself. Other than the little things, there is something more important - I treat myself the way I want others to treat me.

5) ...So I avoid setting myself up wiht rigid expectations and comparing me to what I think ought to be. Now I simply appreciate what happens instead of comparing it to what I think ought to happen. I've learnt that my personal pain comes from the difference between what is happening and what I think ought to be happening. Letting go of what I think is missing from the fantasy and appreciating what is already good about the reality.

6) I take care of me by looking at what I want versus what I need. A need is something we require for our well being a want is something we hope will make us happy. I feel successful when I get what I want but I feel happy when I want what I get. Again, I see things more clearly when I stop and look at what I am pursuing. We can never never get enough of what we don't need eg money.

7) How do you know what you need? By spending time lokoing at what really makes me happy. When I take a min to ask "Do I really need what I am chasing?" Also, never look at where you don't want to go.

8) A quick way to reduce stress is to uncomplicate life - cut away more and more until I find the core of what makes me happy. Play is for the body what a good attitude is for the mind.

9) Attitude is the name of the game. How you look at life is the single best way to take care of yourself. You have a perspective that either beats you up or builds you up. And we can choose our attitudes. In one minute you can change your attitude and in that minute, you can change your entire day.

10)...It seems there are really only 2 basic emotions in life. Love (positive) and Fear (negative) . One is the absence of the other. Another way of taking care of myself is by giving away part of my time and my money because when I give away some of my money or my time, it reminds me that I am not afraid. I believe I will always have enough to share with others.

11) One of the best ways you can help other people is to encourage them to take better care of themselves and to reward them when they do.

12) You can get some very important needs met in a relationship - like romance and tenderness and belonging. But you cannot get your primary needs met - like becoming happier. You must do that yourelf. The min any of us looks to a relationship to satisfy our basic needs, we begin to experience pain. And we believe it's the other person's fault. When I feel no one else is nurturing me, I nuture myself by doing some silly little thing for myself that makes me feel good. The point is, I don't ask someone else to nuture me all the time. I do what I can myself. I also nuture myself by creating a beautiful environment because my environment affects me. But I nuture myself most when I create a beautiful internal environment - even more important than my being loved is loving.

13) The truth is, people are eventually going to do what they want to do anyway. so why kid ourselves. If you give up and do what the other person wants against our own best interests, sooner or later, you are going to become resentful. And then it is only a qn of time before you, consciously or subconsciously find a way to get back at the other person. ... should communicate and negotiate to help both of us get what we want. The whole idea is first to feel good yourself - even if it doesn't totally please the other person at the moment. And then, as you feel happy and peaceful, go on to feel good about the other person. And the important thing is, when you feel good about the other person, show it. It will be in their best interests. And that is what they are interested in.

14) The key to a good relationship is balance. That means we don't insist the other person be thinking of us all the time. The key is to hae a great relationship with yourself first. Start by liking yourself, with small steps. Only when you stop doing what doesn't work can things get better.

15) Getting in touch with our best self (that part of us that knows what we need) is like giving ourselves the perfect hug. We can have a wonderful relationship together when I have one with me and you have one with you. One good way of taking care of yourself is not to run away from yourself. We can help ourselves and each other by askin g"HAve u hugged yourself today"

Monday, March 08, 2010

Kyo-Nichi Japanese Ramen (Collagen Ramen)

One of my favourite ramen places in Singapore - Kyo-Nichi Japanese Ramen. I've been a regular patron there since 2004/5, primarily because I'm female and "Woman, Vanity is Thy Name". Their selling point as compared to other ramen restaurants here would be the collagen in the soup. I always opt for the "thick" version where there is supposedly more collagen but as I've no idea how collagen would taste like, I wouldn't be able to tell the diff between the "thick" and "standard", only that I'm paying a buck or 2 more. In fact, I wouldn't be able to tell even if there is any collagen in the soup!

Well, giving the restaurant the benefit of doubt (on whether they really do add collagen in the soup and in what sort of quantities), I would recommend ordering the set menus (Set A or Set B) instead of a la carte bowls of ramen. One gets a drink and an appetiser of one's choice of a certain value and a bowl of ramen for SGD 15 or SGD 18 (you can choose a more expensive drink, appetiser and bowl of ramen) before service charge and tax.

I ordered the seafood ramen (asked them not to include squid) and chose char siew as an appetiser. My companion had a bowl of char siew ramen and had the marinated fish as his appetiser. The Slog Reviews: 8/10 for the prompt service and delicious food. The ramen could use more ingredients though but the char siew was really "porkyliciously" good and tender.

I wasn't aware that this restaurant had other outlets in Singapore until I saw the pic below on their menu. All the outlets are in the city/business district and rightly so I should think. Lots of women would believe/do anything to stay young and that includes paying just a tad more for collagen in a rather satisying meal.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Kushin Bo at Suntec

I had Kushin-Bo's 60 minutes lunch with my best friend a couple of weeks ago (hence the plate of Yu Sheng in the pic). That lunch cost SGD 20.90++ per pax and is only available from Mon to Fri. During that 60 mins, one can eat as much of the spread as one can. However, rushing to eat as much as possible really spoils the fun of eating so we had the 60 mins lunch only because our dictated lunch hour is one hour anyway.

The soup is a must of course, and there's fresh salmon and tuna sashimi as well as chawan mushi, tempura, sushi and other cooked dishes. Everything is pretty good. The Slog Reviews: 8/10. A tad expensive (the bill came to SGD 50+) for a 60 mins lunch. However, Japanese food lovers won't be disappointed by the wide spread of Jap food available.

If one doesn't want to have to rush, the cost would be SGD 26.90++ per pax from Mon - Fri and sGD 28.90 on Sat, Sun and Public Holiday. Dinner is even more expensive at SGD 35.90 and sGD 39.90 respectively. Children (Below 1.4m) have to pay SGD 16.90++ to enjoy the feast though and senior critizens aged 55 and below get 10% off the bill.

There is only one outlet apparently at 3 Temasek Boulevard Suntec City 1 #03-002
The operation hours are 11.30am to 3pm (last round 2.30pm) and 5.30pm to 10pm (last round 9.30pm). For reservations: 6238 7088 (Advance booking is advisable).

Porridge and Satay at Chomp Chomp

I think I'm going to go to Chomp Chomp tonight after I finish work which will be, very late. Nevermind the flight out tomorrow morning for a really short trip to Kuching! The urge to have their most delicious, warm, soothing, full of ingredients porridge has overwhelmed me, rendering quite unable to think of anything else. This is the stall that sells such great porridge.

It was only a week ago that I had the pork porridge with century egg (with an additional ordinary egg thrown in) while my companion had porridge with liver which he proclaimed was the best. Here's a picture of my late night supper when it was served.

And a pic of it later, with all the ingredients (pork, century egg, egg) mixed well. The Slog Reviews: 9/10! For that much ingredients and a warm soothing tasty mash - each bowl cost less than SGD5. Go enjoy!

We also shared a plate of satay which I'd reviewed before so I won't say anymore except that it tastes as good as it looks below! There is a min order of the no of sticks of satay which is common at all satay stalls of course but the stuff below cost less than SGD 5 as well.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Accidental Husband (2008) Movie

As per the plot summary on Wiki which can be found here, this is a romantic commedy with a fairy-tale ending and lots of crap (IMHO) words of wisdom about love.

The Slog Reviews: 6.5/10. It's all-nice to indulge in a wee-bit of fantasy of course which I would have done if I had been watching the show by myself. As it was, my attention was captured by the person next to me who grew more and more incensed as the show progressed along. I had to hear "What an honourable man" a few times when poor Richard gave Uma's character time to think whether she wanted to proceed with the wedding and when he even helped her escape on the wedding day itself. I also had to hear "See, don't say things that you don't mean." "Don't agree to commit if you can't keep to it" and near the end of the movie which showed everyone being happy that Uma had dumped her fiance Richard at the order because she had fallen for Patrick, that same person went on a mini rant about how our present culture applauds self-interest and getting what one wants at the expense of others "Always about what u want".

He hasn't been in Richard's shoes as far as I am aware (being dumped or having his fiancee fall for someone else), that unpleasant honor is reserved for the POSAN that I know and POSAN well deserved it having neither the generosity nor humor displayed by Richard's character in the movie. But that's a movie I guess. And the reality is much harsher. Ah well. To conclude, after watching my companion's fury at the movie, I'll only watch to this movie if you haven't any emotional baggage or have blocked most of it aside.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Jurong Hill Prawn Fishing

I haven't been prawn fishing since Ebi Culture closed early Dec last year. As I was in the West, it was either Jurong Hill or Westlake's prawn fishing venues. I decided on Jurong Hill primarily as it was nearer to where I was and I could fill my tummy there as well.

This is a picture of the prawn fishing venue located off the side of the restaurants at The Village (the prawn fishing venue shares the same carpark as the restaurants). There are 4 ponds, 3 of which are operational (2 small ones,1 larger deeper ones). Do note that the depths of each pond varies so you will have to measure first and then adjust your float accordingly. The rates are pretty standard: SGD 15 for 1 hr, 25 for 2 hrs and 30 for 3hrs. Take my advice and buy the 3hrs package if you are not sure whether you really want to stay for the whole 3 hrs. Firstly, you can come back and "finish" the unused mins. Secondly, you don't want to end up like me where I bought 1 hour first to try, and when I wanted to extend another hour, I was asked to pay another SGD 15 for that extra hour instead of SGD 25 for 2 hours. Apparently, or according to the guy operating the counter, he isn't allowed to amend what is keyed into the system. There are bbq facilities at the prawning venue as well as fridges with soft drinks cans for sale (rather pricy at SGD 1.80). Chicken liver is provided FOC and earthworms sold at SGD 4 (a bit pricy but if you are paying so much to go prawn fishing anyway, you might as well take the "better" bait).

The Slog Reviews: Again, using Ebi Culture as a basis for comparison, I would rate this place a 8.5/10. The pp prawn fishing as well as the server where I had lunch (Su Korean Cuisine), spoke well of Jurong Hill Prawn Fishing. I got my first prawn within the first 5 mins and another one in the next 10 mins. The bite rate (about 8-10 an hour) and catch rate (6 to 10 on average) was excellent but then again it was probably because there were few rods out when I went. I heard from a regular there that the place can get very crowded in the evenings and esp on weekends. The rods are decent although you should specifically request for an extendable rod or a long one (I wasn't given either) if you intend to go prawn fishing in the larger pond in the middle. Be warned though that there are many little fishes in the water which eat one's bait and I even hooked up a tiny fish at one point.

AND, LOOK AT MY HAUL! Okay, about 1/3 was mine only and the other 2/3 was given to me by one of the regulars, a nice old man who prawn fished like a pro (a prawn every 5-10mins). He had his own gear box, rod, hook and even bait! He said he had already so many prawns at home (and I should think so watching him prawn fish) and insisted on pouring his netful of prawns into my plastic bag. Oh yes, and one thing about the prawns, they are of fairly decent size but not really impressively big-big although I did note one pair of very large orange claws left on the ground. Maybe there are monster-sized prawns there, I don't know. I pulled off all the claws of each prawn before I unhooked each prawn (bring a pair of pliers/nailclippers if you don't wanna use fingers) which is why the prawns poured out in my kitchen sink look the way they do.

And here is a close up of the prawns which I put in a kitchen basket (note the depth) - I do think they weigh in total about a kilo and there was one with egg (orange) even! I can't wait to eat them tonight! :D I really can't see why anyone wouldn't love prawn fishing at all - one gets to meet new friends, test one's patience and have the thrill of catching edible fresh seafood.

Here are some of the prawns that my mum cooked for dinner. My mum is a really good cook and the prawns were great! :D I'm going prawning again soon! Time to check out new places :D

From Paris With Love (2010) Movie

From the title of the movie (which reminded me of the book "To Sir With Love"), I thought that this was going to be a romance or foreign movie. As it turned out, the movie was filled with pimps, terrorists, crack, blood and guns.

The plot of the movie can be found here.

The Slog Reviews: 7/10. Although this movie is an unrealistic (all the baddies go down bullet-ridden but the two heros are unscathed) no-brainer with no memorable quotes or message for the audience, it was an entertaining watch filled with almost non-stop gun action. Nothing spectacular or memorable in my humble opinion.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Su Korean Cuisine

Because of a meeting I had at the end of the west of our island (I'd never been to this part of Singapore before and was amazed at the flat lands and massive factories), I ended up having lunch at The Village. Parking was free (although the sign at the entrance of the carpark said it was S$2/entry during work hours) and despite the rather deserted appearance of the place (there were about 20-30 cars max parked near the eateries), I decided to check out the restaurants there. I would have gone for Ah Yat but being just one person, I opted for the daily set lunch at Su Korean Cuisine Restaurant instead.

As is typical of the better Korean restaurants, appetisers were served. I don't eat Kimchi so I can't comment on the dish at the bottom right but the potato (top right), beancurd (top left) and veg (bottom left) weren't anything exceptional - the potato was in fact quite tasteless but the veg and salted fish with it was pretty tasty. The server removed the Kimchi which I hadn't touched and voluntarily returned to her, but didn't give me another appetiser to replace it. Bah.

There are 8 options for the daily set lunch priced at SGD 11.90 and I opted for the beef short ribs. The Slog Reviews: 7.5/10. Total cost of the set lunch and korean tea (SGD 1) with taxes amounted to SGD 15+ . A very healthy meal with lots of greens. Each slice of the beef short rib was thick but just a tad too chewy so that it didn't melt-in-the-mouth. The sauce for the beef had mostly dried up/stuck to the pan but whatever was left of it tasted fine, nothing special but nothing to complain about.

The restaurant was empty when I walked in although it was lunch hour. A couple came in about half an hour later but that was it. The friendly server informed me that in the evenings and on weekends, the place is far more crowded. The menu is pretty comprehensive so if I'm ever around the area again, I'll probably try something diff like the Korean Ginseng Soup which is just SGD 16 on Mondays (as opposed to other days).