A reporter from local broadsheet Straits Times found me through my most popular post and wanted to ask for my comments on the new service. Thankfully, I caught his e-mail in time as my e-mail notification pinged while I was staring at my phone.
I prepared for the interview by reading on the background of the new service. I even jotted down “juicy” quotes that would make me look slightly unhinged but endearingly colorful to the audience.
The reporter called and we had a 12-minute chat during which I sounded bipolar. I was totally against the service at one point, talking passionately about its cons but at another point, I discovered its merits. I couldn’t make up my mind.
Still, the reporter summed it up in two sentences and made me look like a very practical traveller (which I am).
I did request that he use “travel blogger” as my job title as “marketing exec” seems like a totally irrelevant commenter on this subject. He obliged. Thank you, good sir.
The report came out on Page A2 on Straits Times and also on My Paper. I can now officially say that I was on the news as a travel blogger.
The news outlets reported that there will be six long weekends in 2016. But if your workplaces gives you off-in-lieu for Saturday public holidays (not all companies do), you actually have eight long weekends (nine if you take leave on 8 August, Monday).
I really love weekend travels. Even though this means that my trip is short, I don’t want to use my work leave. I’m a hoarder even when it comes to annual leave.
If you are planning to go for more weekend travels in 2016, I recommend these locations to go for their yummy yummy food.
I would visit Ipoh again and again for its food. It might not be as famous as Penang for its local food but that little town serves really good chicken.
How to reach Ipoh from Singapore:
Long-distance bus (7 to 8 hours)
Several bus companies run Singapore – Ipoh routes.
Airplane (1 hour 35 minutes) Firefly and Tigerair has flights between Singapore and Ipoh. Remember to research on the timing.
Pronounced as “Jogjakarta”, the town on the Java Island is home to gorgeous historical sites such as Borobudur and Prambanan. But the food is fantastic too.
I was deceived by nasi gudeg the first time I ate it. I thought the dish had a surprisingly generous serving of beef boiled so soft that I don’t have to chew it like a cow. Later found out that the “beef” is actually young jackfruit. I was disappointed but it’s still a very tasty dish.
I also had the best mie while in Yogyakarta. It was in a noodle shop inside the main shopping mall. The noodles were springy and seasoned lightly with soy sauce.
How to reach Yogyakarta from Singapore:
Airplane (2 hours 15 minutes)
AirAsia flies to Yogyakarta at a rather good timing. But the flight back leaves in the morning which is annoying.
If you find the flight timing for Yogyakarta terrible, your second best choice is Jakarta since it is the capital. There you can drink all the avocado juice you like.
I went to Bangkok for my birthday in April, spending a three-day weekend there. I ate normal stuff like pad thai, I didn’t eat enough food. I still haven’t tried Mango Sticky Rice.
How to reach Bangkok from Singapore:
Airplane (2 hours 25 minutes)
Loads of budget airlines fly from Singapore to Bangkok. Pick those with good departure and return timings so you can maximize your trip.
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
When I was in university staying in the dorm, my Vietnamese neighbors would cook with fish sauce. The potent smell wasn’t to my taste so I avoided Vietnamese food.
Then I went to Vietnam and I discovered that fish sauce is kind of like durian–stinky when you smell it but delicious when you taste it. I also discovered many other deliciousness that doesn’t involve fish sauce.
How to reach Ho Chi Minh from Singapore:
Airplane: (2 hours 5 minutes)
Loads of budget airlines fly from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh. As usual, pick those with good departure and return timings so you can maximize your trip.
I would travel to Shanghai for just a weekend so I can eat the food. In fact, I’m doing it at the end of May.
My tongue still longs for the taste of shengjianbao: dumplings fried on one side ’til crispy. Take a bit and the soup flows out so you have to slurp it up fast. After two slurps, you can eat the meat along with the crunchy part.
The home-cooked style restaurants in Shanghai are fantastic too. The soups come in porcelain basins and the servings are gigantic. I loved Grandma’s Place (a chain restaurant) when I was in Shanghai.
How to reach Shanghai from Singapore:
Airplane (5 hours 25 minutes direct)
Choosing a plane with a good timing is critical. I am taking Malaysian Airlines so I will reach Shanghai early at 7:30am on my first day and leave at 2pm-ish on my last day.
Another good alternative is Taiwan if you don’t want to fly that far to Shanghai.
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.
There’s a strange relationship between being a writer and publishing a book.
In the day of the possibility of publishing online to an audience of millions, having a solid book in hand is still the goal. The part where bringing out the Champagne is called for.
At least that’s for me.
Before travelling, I had hoped to be able to gather enough stories to piece together into a travel memoir, or a book.
During travelling, I kept a digital journal each day to remind myself of what happened.
After travelling, I went to the library to get my hands on books about writing books.
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
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
More happy things happened!
My sister is getting married
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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?
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.