Monthly Archives: June 2007

Chicken rice never fails me

When the going gets stuff, I go chicken rice. It’s my official go-to local food when I can’t decide what to eat or I have no other choice. When office friends invite Mike and I to lunch in some unfamiliar hawker center, we’d immediately seek out the stall where freshly broiled fowls hung behind the glass counter. When in post prod house and I’m asked what I’d like for dinner, I’ll waste no time saying, “chicken rice.” There was even a time when I had chicken rice almost everyday for close to 3 months! I was only a few months old in Singapore then, and about that time, I think I gained as much as 10 pounds. Well who wouldn’t, what with that succulent roasted chicken paired with rice steamed in chicken broth and wanton soup on the side. Mmmmm. Wherever I got them, they never let me down. Come to think of it, I never had a lousy serving of chicken rice. It’s probably because my tastebuds didn’t grow up on it and I wouldn’t know if the dish was not done the way it should be. (Although I tried one version with a gooey brown gravy and it still tasted like… chicken rice.) I ate it until it came out of my ears until the time came when the smell of oily chicken made my skin crawl and I went into a semi-healthy salad phase. Recently, my stomach’s love affair with chicken rice was rekindled because my other default lunch stall closed. Just this lunch, my feet lead me to the chicken rice stall at the food court and as usual, I’m a satisfied customer, like a cat licking her paws after a hearty serving of Tweety bird. Yum yum.


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Saving the planet, one plastic bag at a time

A Linkin’ Park song made me cry. It’s silly, I know, it happened when I saw the music video of “What I’ve Done”. The lyrics go “Let mercy come and wash away what I’ve done…” over images of various events in present history, man-made catastrophes and tragedies of global proportions, crimes against humanity and the environment. Really quite heavy stuff for a hardcore rock ditty, and to some, it might even be incongruous. But it had a strange effect on me. Blame it on hormones, I can be quite emotionally quirky at a certain time of the month. Or maybe because recently, Earth Day came and there was a lot of environment-related messaging going around. Or maybe I’m just really bored. Anyway, it got me thinking, what have I done or what have I not done for the earth, for my fellowmen, for children, for great causes? If I were to do an accounting of it all, the “contributed to the destruction of planet and its inhabitants” column will outscore the “helped save it” row.

Thankfully companies here in Singapore are taking certain issues seriously. Ikea, Times Bookshop, Cold Storage, and local groceries are encouraging people to bring their own bags and stop using plastic bags. HDBs also have their trash segregation drives going. And there are several products like paint, detergent, etc which are manufactured and certified to be environmentally-friendly. Although I heard from someone that companies in the city’s highrise buildings are made to switch off their lights later to make a bright and better-looking city skyline. And with the government’s big plan for making the country the Las Vegas of Asia, it’s going to be bright lights, big city 24/7. Hmm. Maybe that will change when Al Gore comes to town and reiterate his global warning, which other people are not fully accepting as true and accurate. Another hmm. Well I hope they will stop debating before the world crumbles. Meanwhile, I am trying to do my bit for Mother Earth, bringing my own washable cloth grocery bag, making sure I turn off my computer when I leave the office, walking instead of taking a bus, and those other little things. I’m also thinking of repaying my carbon debt but according to the carbon debt calculator, I owe the planet 122 trees for my air travel alone. As of present count, we’ve planted one tree in our little backyard at home in Quezon City. To plant the other 121 would probably take me forever. So I’ll do what I can do now. Even with just one plastic bag at a time.

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Goodbye, Yahoo Photos

What do you do on a Friday afternoon when Boss is not around, the big deadlines settled at 2pm, and work is but a trickle of tiny revisions here and there? Why, you work hard on more initiatives for clients! Well, that’s for the more productive hours of my day today. The rest of the time, I was busy doing a little housekeeping specially since I got this message that Yahoo Photos is closing which means all precious photos I uploaded to my account will soon vanish from the face of the world wide web. Fortunately, in the same message which was actually sent out by Multiply, I could transfer all my albums to my Multiply account. Sweet! But that meant spending some time sorting out my folders, etc. as well as my egroup’s account. Whew. Oh well, it’s a good excuse to reorganize my stuff and keep myself busy before quitting time.

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Walking Maps

This never fails, every time Mike and I are walking to anywhere, there’s always someone who’ll come up to us and ask for directions. We don’t really look local, well Malay, maybe. It could be the ask-us-we’re-so-into-each-other-we’re-no-threat-to-others aura that two people holding hands exude. Good thing we always know where to point them. One time, Mike had to walk a couple of Korean tourists to the AudioHouse in Clarke Quay. It was a long walk and for a moment they must have thought Mike is leading them to a kidnapping den. Of course, when they got there safely, they thanked him profusely for going out of his way to help them. Well, it wasn’t really out of his way, our place was just one small bridge away.

In our office, people looking for other people would begin their search by asking us as soon as they see us look up from our desks. Sometimes, I pretend to be really engrossed with work (when I’m actually just typing up my usual blog post). But that doesn’t stop them, even those who hardly ever talk to us, from popping in and asking anyway. In a Pinoy office filled with close friends, the answer to that would be, “Do I look like a locator board?” but this is polite society so I’d rephrase that in my head to, “Oh sorry, I saw him earlier but I don’t know now, maybe you can check with his assistant.”

So anyway, this morning as we were walking to work, a couple of charming old ladies caught us before crossing to the main road and asked for directions to Chinatown. Luckily, we’re already in Chinatown. But there are times that the questions get tougher and I have to channel the spirit of the MRT Map and the Singapore Guide Map 2007 edition. I am grateful though, that nobody has asked us, “Take us to your leader!”

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Care for a cup of coffee jelly?

If you’re bored with your dinner guests and would like them to leave, the polite way to do it is to offer them coffee. I forget where I heard that from but that’s supposedly the cue for the guests to leave after taking their last sip. But if you want them to stay and chat for longer, serve them coffee jelly. It’s an easy dessert that you can let your guests have fun with and make on their own. Just do the coffee jelly cubes ahead of time.

What you’ll need: Jello or Alsa packet, instant coffee, sugar, chilled Nestle all- purpose cream in a tetra pack, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, vanilla ice cream, and cherries if you like.coffeejelly.jpg

To make coffee jelly cubes, mix a few tablespoons of coffee and sugar in a bowl of water (depends on how much it says on the Jello pack). It should taste stronger than your usual cuppa. Pour in the powder, boil, chill to set then cut into cubes.

Spoon into serving cups. Squeeze Hershey’s chocolate syrup over the coffee jelly cubes, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream, squeeze Nestle cream around the ice cream. Then, sprinkle half a teaspoon instant coffee powder on it and top with a cherry.

A little trick which works on chilled (but not rock-solid) Nestle cream: cut 2 small triangles at the tip of the pack (where you’ve got the dotted lines with the scissors) then squeeze out the cream like you would an icing pipe.

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Cheers to Mister Hall of Famer

Bosses come in all shapes and forms and I am extremely lucky to have worked with and learned from the best of them. There was Ompong, my first boss who taught me to persevere, to be diligent, to tell stories from the heart. Then David who taught me how to have fun, to free my mind from the boundaries of my cubicle, to love my craft. And then there’s Richard.

The first two were inducted into the Creative Guild’s Hall of Fame a few years back. This year, Richard is in the spotlight. I’m sure he must have been overwhelmed as he is extremely shy, never wanting to be center of attention. And I’m equally sure that in his speech he’d have mentioned every single person who’s been with him through every step, thanking them with all sincerity. For that’s how I’ve known him to be. A selfless mentor. A giving counselor. The peg that propped you up at your lowest point. The light that let others shine. Now, it’s his turn and credit is finally going to where it’s due.

Like the other awards and citations he’s received in the past, this one is truly well deserved and rightfully earned. And I, like the rest of the creatives who grew under his wing, am honoured and blessed to have known him and worked with him. A boss and a friend with a tireless heart, who taught me to be true to myself and my work’s purpose, and to believe that in a world of half truths, integrity is one’s greatest strength.

And yes, he also said, there’s no such thing as free lunch.

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