My current obsession: Fountain pens

Hi folks, if you’ve been following me on my social media channels, you’ll know that I went to Cameron Highland last weekend for a wedding.

As much as I like to write about the road trip, I kept getting writer’s block so I give you another post instead.

I’ll be talking about my current obsession (apart from playing Skyrim and improv which I’ll get to these one of these days)–fountain pens. I have these little spurts of obsessions from time to time. I can’t really remember my other obsessions (um, travel?) so I’d better jot this down.

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Why going to a cat café is like online dating

(A belated Caturday post.)

I love cats. I’ve never owned a cat but based on all the internet cats I’ve seen, I love cats very much.

A few weeks ago, I went to a cat café called The Company of Cats. I didn’t know about that particular cat café until the afternoon that Mystery Friend and I were going.

I was enchanted by The Company of Cats’s cat pun-filled website: “Meowketing Director”, “KGB (Kitty Girl’s Brigade)”, “Catppuccino”. These people speak the language of my people!

After obsessing about the website, I imagined a fun filled night of kitty chin scratches and lots and lots of cat snuggles. Of course, things don’t always turn out as you wish.

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What has YQ been up to? June 2014 update

Hello,

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Why? Because I haven’t been travelling much so I don’t know what I could share with you good folks.

Anyway, I wanted to give a short update on what’s been happening while I was YQnotTravelling.

I pose with Daruma

I pose with Daruma

Update about my job situation

Since my last major posts about the pros and cons of quitting your job to travel, I have found a job in the travel and tourism industry! *toast a glass of bubbly*

Strangely, there is no official job title for it since the stuff on my name card doesn’t really match my real job. So I introduce myself professionally as a “Content Marketer” but the actual duties are that of a “Blogger”.  It’s still unbelievable today that I’m an actual Blogger (with a big B).

Fun things I’ve been doing

Enough about boring work stuff, now it’s time for the fun stuff.

Since I was hired in March, I couldn’t take long periods of leave for travelling so I had been stuck in Singapore for a while.

I might have Stockholm syndrome since I don’t think life was that boring in the previous months:

  • I went to a friend’s wedding in May

chiawoon wedding.08

I travelled to small town Raub in Pahang for a friend’s wedding. It was great meeting my old friends and getting to feast at the wedding dinner. Om nom nom.

  • I went to another friend’s wedding in Singapore

kei weddingMore happy things happened!

  • My sister is getting married

sis marrying

The official wedding dinner is happening next year but they’re going to register this year. More and more happy things happened.

  • I discovered that Singapore has improv classes

I absolutely adore improv ever since I saw it on Whose Line Is It Anyway? (Improv-A-Ganza is awesome too, with the same cast). I didn’t know it was a real thing that I could actually do.

Then I found out that The Improv Company teaches improv. I’m going to sign up for their longer course when their schedule suits me.

  • I’ve bought music from Amazon France

I have a thing for French musicals and the paranormal. That’s why I was hooked on Dracula, l’amour plus fort que la mort.

I had to jump through multiple hoops to get the soundtrack for Draculabut I have it now! And I play it again and again. This beats trying to listen on Youtube.

What do you want to know about Singapore? I’ll find out for you!

Since I’m stuck in Singapore for a while until any major trips. I thought it would be good to share with you some of the places in Singapore to visit or things to do.

south east asia aquarium cheap ticket

Where to buy discounted entrance tickets for S.E.A. Aquarium

[Update Jul 2, 2015 Check out RWS’s promos for S.E.A. Aquarium.]

Even though I’ve stayed in Singapore for almost nine years, I didn’t know that it was possible to buy cheap tickets to various attractions. I always thought that I needed to pay full price, and thinking about it makes my miserly heart cold.

Luckily, my friend Lilian showed me where I could get discounted entrance tickets. Lilian who is now back in China (and whose wedding I attended) wanted to visit the South East Asia Aquarium (SEA Aquarium) before leaving.

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Ghee dosa

FoodFriday: Ghee dosa

Even though I grew up in multicultural Malaysia where Malay, Chinese and Indian are the three biggest races, I am terribly unfamiliar with Indian food. It’s because we don’t have as much Indians where I live.

To tell you the truth, the only Indian dish I can order confidently is plain roti canai (which is yummy and flaky).

So when my friend Debbie introduced me to the wonderful world of Indian food, I was curious. And now, I am proud to say that I have a favorite Indian dish: ghee dosa.

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i love singapore postcard

With love from Singapore + postcard giveaway

Hello everybody, it’s YQ writing from Singapore. Yes, I am back in the land I am most familiar with. Yes, I’m more familiar with Singapore than my hometown Kota Kinabalu.

It’s been more than a week since I came back and I am now in full job hunting mode. I’ll update you guys on my job search if I have any happy news. Oh, if you know anyone in Singapore hiring writers, do drop me a mail at hello@yqtravelling.com.

I am actually very glad to be back in Singapore, for five reasons:
Check out the rest of the post…!

around the world with overexposed model

Around the world with The Overexposed Model

There’s a side of me on the internet that I’ve not shared on YQ Travelling, until today.

Back in December 2012 when I was in Singapore, I created a Tumblr called The Overexposed Model (OEM) to record ads which I’ve come across that feature an ambiguously raced young lady.

The tumblr was actually a follow up of a blog with a similar goal. The blog was called The Overexposed Big Mouth Model but it disappeared when I was trying to submit my sightings.

Since OEM was in so many ads as the generic smiling women, I thought it was fun to chronicle my discoveries. I shared the blog link with a few friends but I mostly kept it as a semi-private collection.

Then one day, a freelancer from the Phillipines asked if he could interview me about the blog as part of a feature on the model. I can now honestly say that I was in Esquire Philippines (or something like that), however not as a bikini model.

In March, the Singapore media ran out of story ideas and featured The Overexposed Model in various print and web outlets. Some readers started submitting their own sightings of OEM to the tumblr. I put those up too.

Naively, I thought that the tumblr will hibernate while I go on my four-month journey. I still keep seeing OEM.

In the beginning, it was fun spotting OEM but now it feels kind of like a nightmare. Each time I see her, there’s less giddy surprise and more “NOT AGAIN!” Of course, I still obediently take out my camera and snap her photos.

Overexposed Model in Malaysia

OEM selling ulcer medication in Sabah, Malaysia.

OEM selling ulcer medication in Sabah, Malaysia.

My first overseas sighting of OEM was back home in Sabah in a clinic. She was in a ulcer medication ad.

Overexposed Model in Greece

Overexposed Model in an optician ad in Athens, Greece.

Overexposed Model in an optician ad in Athens, Greece.

In Greece, I found OEM hawking glasses in Athens.

Overexposed Model in Argentina

Overexposed Model in Buenos Aires airport

Overexposed Model in Buenos Aires airport

I thought I was safe from OEM but I found her at Buenos Aires airport, selling some sort of travel card.

Overexposed Model in Peru

Overexposed Model on Cruz del Sur website.

Overexposed Model on Cruz del Sur website.

I found her on a bus company’s website, ready to go for an unplanned weekend travel.

Overexposed Model in a clinic ad in Arequipa, Peru.

Overexposed Model in a clinic ad in Arequipa, Peru.

In Arequipa, in a lonely building, I found her in a life size printout. I thought I should stand next to her to prove that I spotted her.

Overexposed Model in the papers in Peru.

Overexposed Model in the papers in Peru.

Then I saw her again in the papers.

Overexposed Model in San Salvador

Overexposed Model in a pharmacy ad in San Salvador

Overexposed Model in a pharmacy ad in San Salvador

When I was out window shopping, I saw her outside a supermarket.

I don’t think I will ever get used to seeing OEM in an ad. It’s funny how she’s featured in so many different countries. Does her looks makes her the everyday person of the countries she’s been featured?

Have you seen the Overexposed Model? Share where you’ve seen her in the comments below.

#FoodFriday Samsui Ginger Chicken in Singapore

My favorite meat is chicken so I want to introduce a chicken dish for today’s Food Friday: Samsui Ginger Chicken.

The chicken is served cold (versus steaming hot). You can wrap the chicken inside a sheet of cabbage, dip it into ginger sauce before eating it. (I would prefer inhaling the whole large plate of chicken.)

The chicken is slightly oily but very soft. The chicken skin melts in your mouth too.

Samsui Ginger Chicken from Singapore's Soup Restaurant

Samsui Ginger Chicken from Singapore’s Soup Restaurant

Soup Restaurant explains what is Samsui Ginger Chicken:

A traditional Samsui dish consumed by the Samsui women in Chinatown. Due to their low income, the Samsui Ginger Chicken was only consumed once a year, during the Chinese New Year. Chicken was steamed without much seasoning after which, dipped in ginger sauce before consumption. The ginger sauce is a fragrant and tasty compliment to the chicken. Ginger and sesame oil, as believed by the Chinese, removes excess wind from the body. You may wrap the chicken in lettuce to achieve that crunch when you bite into the popular Samsui Ginger Chicken.

I suspect this dish was an invention, and not really a Samsui dish. Or it could that the restaurant hyped up the dish.

The price of Samsui Ginger Chicken at Soup Restaurant is a little expensive for what is simply steamed chicken.

Do note that the Samsui women were real people in history and they played important role in the literal “building of Singapore”. The wiki for Samsui Women has a very good explanation of who they were.

The person didn't give me permission to take the photo so I gave him sunglasses.

FAQ Tips on taking train from Singapore to Malaysia

The original post Tips on taking train from Singapore to Malaysia brings the most search traffic to my post. It’s been more than a year since the post went up and thanks for your support.

Besides encouraging comments, I’ve also gotten A LOT of questions about this particular train route. Some questions were stuff I didn’t think about when I was writing the post while others were questions about stuff I’ve already mentioned in the post (this drives me nuts).

Instead of answering the repeated Qs, I’ve gathered the questions here.

1. Where can I book train tickets from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur?
2. My online booking didn’t go through. HELP!
3. I picked Kuala Lumpur as my destination, why isn’t there a night train?
4. Is it safe to travel on the Malaysian train?
5. How do I get to [location in Singapore]?
6. Where do I board the train at Johor?
7. Is there food at JB train station? (No one asked me this, actually.)
8. On the online booking, If I am coming to Singapore, which KTM train stop should I stop?
9. How do I get to JB’s train station from the rest of Singapore?
10. How much is the price of bed/seat/chamber/narnia’s closet?
11. How do I get to Bangkok on train?
12. Hey! Your post is about Singapore to Malaysia. But I’m in Malaysia, how do I get to Singapore by train?
13. Do they still give blankets for the common carriage?
14. I need to get to [location in Malaysia], can you help?

FAQ begins here! I hate the formatting too!

1. Where can I book train tickets from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur?
If you are booking online, the link is https://intranet.ktmb.com.my/e-ticket/Login.aspx Sign up for an account and you can check past reservations.
You can also visit the train stations to buy the tickets but I don’t recommend doing that for night trains.

2. My online booking didn’t go through. HELP!
Check your bookings in your account. I’m not sure what the phone number for KTMB is.

3. I picked Kuala Lumpur as my destination, why isn’t there a night train?
Pick Sentral Kuala Lumpur, not Kuala Lumpur (which is one stop after KL Sentral).

4. Is it safe to travel on the Malaysian train?
Have you watched too many wild wild west movies? I don’t think there are any robbers ambushing the trains. It’s safe.

5. How do I get to [location in Singapore]?
Check out http://gothere.sg/ or https://maps.google.com.sg/.

6. Where do I board the train at Johor?
Johor train station. Map here (click to enlarge):

7. Is there food at JB train station? (No one asked me this, actually.)
There is a 24-hour KFC. A Starbucks is open until 10pm (I think).

8. On the online booking, If I am coming to Singapore, which KTM train stop should I stop?
Pick Woodlands. This isn’t the Woodlands MRT, it’s a KTM train station near Woodlands MRT.

9. How do I get to JB’s train station from the rest of Singapore?
If you are at Bugis, you can head to the Queen Street terminal where there are buses to JB. There are also Causeway Link buses to JB from Kranji and Newton.

* Woodlands train station is at the checkpoint. It is different from Woodlands MRT.

10. How much is the price of bed/seat/chamber/narnia’s closet?
It’s best to check directly on the site. https://intranet.ktmb.com.my/e-ticket/Login.aspx

11.How do I get to Bangkok on train?
I’ve never taken the train from Singapore to Bangkok (but it’s on my wish list!) So check out the wonderful Seat61: http://www.seat61.com/Malaysia.htm#Singapore_-_Kuala_Lumpur_-_Penang_-_Bangkok

12. Hey! Your post is about Singapore to Malaysia. But I’m in Malaysia, how do I get to Singapore by train?

Just reverse engineer my tips for Singapore to KL. Pick Sentral Kuala Lumpur as your starting point and Woodlands as your destination.

13. Do they still give blankets for the common carriage?

They didn’t have the thin sheet the last time I was on the morning sleeper to Singapore.

14. I need to get to [location in Malaysia], can you help?

Unfortunately, I come from Sabah so I am clueless about travelling in Peninsula Malaysia (unless I did research on it for a trip). Please check out the rest of the internet.

Best iced kopi I've had in Singapore. At Koufu Sengkang Sculpture Park

Glutton in Singapore

It’s funny how I’ve been in Singapore for so long but I have not had a Glutton post on the food here.

Since I’m leaving Singapore next week for the world, I thought it would be apt to have a post on food in Singapore, especially food that I love.

To be honest, food in Malaysia (especially those served at dingy restaurants) are a lot tastier than food in Singapore.

In Singapore, I usually eat at food courts where the cook is someone hired to put everything together and get it out of the stove as quickly as possible. This leads to disappointing meals.

Why don’t I go to nice places with nice food? Well, I don’t have a car and I don’t want to pay too much money for nice food. However, I have been having a lot of nice food this week as part of my many farewell parties.

Anyway, here are a few dishes and food places which I will miss if I leave Singapore:

Chicken rice

chatterbox chicken rice

Chatterbox chicken rice

When my friends were organizing a farewell party, one asked what food I would miss from Singapore. It took me a while to think about which dish but in the end, I chose “chicken rice”.

When I was a kid, there was a chicken rice branch called Singapore Chicken Rice. I loved that place. The chicken was tender and the soup that they served always had bits of chicken feet and vegetables.

While there are famous chicken rice stalls in Singapore, most of the time I just have it at a regular food court. The chicken rice comes with a bowl of rice decanted onto the plate and a few bits of chicken. That said, it’s one of the cheaper (less than $4) dishes around so I go for it frequently.

Kopi

Best iced kopi I've had in Singapore. At Koufu Sengkang Sculpture Park

Best iced kopi I’ve had in Singapore. At Koufu Sengkang Sculpture Park

I love coffee. Even though local coffee in Singapore and Malaysia are served similarly with condensed milk, I like how easy it is to just get a papercup of kopi to go.

In Malaysia where I live, I usually have kopi when I am out at the kopitiam, not as a pick me up in the late afternoon.

Mee hoon kueh

A stall at Compass Point serves really good mee hoon kueh. It’s a noodle dish where the noodles are flat and squarish.

Ayam Penyet or ayam anything!

Near my old workplace, there was a Malay stall which served ayam penyet (fried chicken hammered flat and served with rice) every Tuesday and Thursday. I loved that place but having fried chicken almost every week wasn’t such a good idea.

Eateries I will miss:

Saizeriya

Saizeriya food. Oishiii

Saizeriya food. Oishiii

Saizeriya is a Japanese-Italian family restaurant. The food is quite cheap for a restaurant environment. If you pay a few dollars extra, you can have unlimited drinks from the drink bar. I love drinking non-alcoholic drinks as much as eating.

I usually go to Saizeriya with friends and we chat over our glasses and glasses of cordial orange. I don’t have a favorite dish there but I do like their seaweed.

Check out the list of Saizeriya branches.

Botak Jones

Botak Jones have branches serving affordable Southern US food. When I was in university (that was 4 years ago?), their portions were crazy large (or what is considered normal-sized in the US) with fries that spill over the table if you accidentally bumped into a plate.

Now, the size has shrunk but I do like their cajun chicken. I had a Botak Jones branch near my old workplace and I usually pick that spot for online dates (less walking for me).

What is your favorite food in Singapore? Share them in the comments below.