Friday, December 17, 2010

Fish & Co (Park Mall, Singapore) Review

The other night a party of us ended up going to Fish & Co at Park Mall (after unsuccessfully trying to get a table at the nearby Sakura International Buffet restaurant - we turned up without a reservation, and was turned away).

The visit actually started out in an optimistic vein. We had a hyper waiter come over to highlight their "Ladies Night" special. 1-f0r-1 on selected dishes. Cool, or so we thought. And I appreciate that you could ask for water for free (When a group of us went to Mad Jack at Nex, that new shopping centre near Serangoon MRT, recently, we had to pay for mineral water. Oh, and their brownie was overdone -- parts of it had turned hard, like biscuit!).

One of my friends ordered one of her favourites at Fish & Co - calamari rings fried in batter. The batter was not too thick, and the calamari was soft. A good start to our meal. A fairly generous serving too for under $10.

Then... our fish with peri-peri sauce came (that was one of the dishes under the 1-for-1 Ladies Night promo). It seemed like the best choice on paper. The picture on the menu looked inviting, and peri-peri sauce sounded different in a good way. Big mistake. The sauce was way too salty. I had to scrape most of it off the fish. If you ever go to Fish & Co, do not order this!!!

Overall, the service was average. Don't get me wrong - the staff do try hard! But the restaurant was obviously too busy for them to give everyone the fastest service.

Also, that's one location I would not choose to go to again. Too noisy for me!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Checking out Thong Chai Medical Institution

Singapore Thong Chai Medical Institution was apparently featured on Singapore television recently, with the result that it got my mum interested in trying out its services.

I thought I'd write about our experience, just to give an idea to anyone else who is thinking of seeing if the doctors there can help them out with their particular ailments.


According to its website, Singapore Thong Chai Medical Institution provides "free medical consultation and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to the public regardless of race, religion or nationality." In practice, the outpatient clinic provides (1) traditional herbal medicine (2) acupuncture.


If you're going by MRT, you can stop at Outram Park or Chinatown. We stopped at Outram Park MRT station, then took a taxi because my mother has difficulty walking any distance. Taxi fare was $4. Alternatively, take SBS Bus 174 from opposite Outram Park MRT. The bus stops very near Thong Chai Building.



  • When you enter, you are given a queue number for registration. Patient has to be present at the clinic before a number is given.
  • First-time patients will need to bring identification - IC, passport or birth certificate (they have signs saying this is a requirement of the Singapore government). Basic details are entered into their computerised system, and a patient card is given to you.
  • You are then allocated to a doctor. What's also interesting is that you are allowed to request specific doctors. Waiting times for the more popular doctors can be quite a bit longer though, from what we understand from another patient there.
  • One thing to note: on any one day, you can only see either the doctor for herbal medicine, or the acupuncturist.
  • The waiting time for registration was over an hour when we were there to register as first-time patients, and about half an hour when we visited again a week later.


  • If you're familiar with traditional chinese medicine, then the procedure is pretty much the same at this clinic. The doctor talks to you to discover your symptoms, checks your pulse, then prescribes a formula tailored to your complaint(s).
  • Waiting time for the doctor can vary depending on the popularity of the doctor, as I mentioned in the section above. One patient waiting for the most popular doctor said that she had been waiting over 2 hours. In our case, it took under an hour.


  • While many traditional chinese medicine clinics nowadays provide medicines in powdered or liquid form, Thong Chai still does it the traditional way. You are given a combination of dried herbs, which you can see the staff weighing and wrapping up in red paper, just like what they do in a traditional chinese medicine shop. Preparation of the meidicine at home: three bowls of water to be added to the herbs, then boiled down to one bowl for the first day; two bowls of water boiled down to just under one bowl for the second day. (Be warned! Many chinese herbal concoctions are extremely bitter).
  • A printed copy of the prescription is also given to you, which gives you the option of purchasing the formula from a chinese medical hall convenient to you. You may also go back after two days for more medicine, but do note that you'll have to see the doctor first.
  • The two days that we went, it took 45 minutes to an hour for our prescriptions to be filled.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Helpful websites to help you get around Singapore

Public transport is extremely efficient and convenient in Singapore. But how do you figure out which route to take? Here are few sites which may be helpful:
The Journey Planner here is pretty easy to use and gives fairly accurate results, and it's a site I use often. All you need to do is enter a Start Location, and a Destination. Drawback of course is that the site only provides info for SBS buses (does not cover SMRT services).
Very easy to use. Want to go from Bugis Junction to MacRitchie Reservoir? Enter just that in the search bar, and you get directions for various transport options. At the moment, though, it doesn't give the best bus routes for less well-known locations.
This website has a journey planner which provides info for services run by SMRT. I must say I found this planner rather confusing to use. Hopefully, it'll get easierto use.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Getting a new Malaysian passport at the High Commission of Malaysia in Singapore

I thought I'd share my recent experience applying for a new Malaysian passport at the High Commission of Malaysia in Singapore. Hopefully, it'll be helpful to others.


  • What I did was call the High Commission's telephone line for Immigration and Consular matters - 67328067 - for recorded instructions. The recorded message also gives fax and email contacts.
  • The message mentioned that they process a maximum of 200 applications a day.


  • The High Commission is located at: 301 Jervois Road.
  • To get there, I took the MRT to Redhill, then Bus 32 to the stop opposite Valley Point (on River Valley Road). From that stop, it takes less than 5 minutes to walk to the High Commission.

  • You will need a pass from the guardhouse. When I got there at 7.45 am (they were supposed to start giving out passes at 7.30 am), I got a green "I" (Submission) pass number 096.
  • I was also given an application form while queueing at the guardhouse to get my pass. There is no charge for the form.
  • I noted that older people were reminded to show senior citizen cards. They got a pass with a different colour - I assume that means they get priority.


  • Submission is accepted from 8.00 am - 11.30 am, subject to limits on the number of applications processed each day.
  • To get a queue number to submit your application, you have to produce:
    - Completed application form
    - Current or expiring passport
    - 2 passport-sized photographs with the right specifications
    - Malaysian IC and photocopy
    - Singapore IC (or work permit, student pass, etc.) and photocopy

Photos and Photocopying

  • There's a photo booth at one side of the submission area. You'll have to go to the person manning the booth to get a queue number, then wait till your number is called (you can take a seat). Charge for photos: $6. When I got there at about 8 am, I was given number 43, with about 30 people in front of me. I waited an hour there.
  • The photocopying service is next to the photo booth.

Getting a submission queue number

  • This step requires you to stand in queue. I started lining up at 9 am, and only got the queue number about an hour later. Luckily, I had the foresight to bring a page-turner along (Barbara Nadel's Arabesk: Inspector Ikmen #3 in case you're wondering. Engrossing story!).
  • After that, you can take a seat while you wait for your number to come up on the display board. Whew! I definitely needed to sit down by then.
  • It was slightly more than an hour, 11.15 am, before I was able to submit my application and make payment. The fee for a new passport is RM300,and they accept Singapore Dollars in cash only. On the day that I went, I was asked for S$124.


  • Collection is from 2.30 pm - 4.15 pm.
  • You have to first get a yellow "Q" pass from the guard house. I got to the guard house at about 1.45 pm, and was given number 028.
  • Collection started promptly at 2.30 pm, with everyone getting their passports based on their Q pass number. It took about 15 minutes to get to my turn ie number 28.

Once I had my new passport, I proceeded to the Singapore Immigration website to transfer my Singapore re-entry permit. You can do it electronically nowadays - Just fill in a few details, and print out the new re-entry permit.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Review: OSIM uSqueez Warm Massager

We were looking for a foot massager for my mum recently, and found out quite a bit about the OSIM uSqueez Warm, which motivated me to write this review on Hubpages:

Review: OSIM uSqueez Warm Massager

Although I didn't mention it in that article, I actually also tried a similar product from OTO -- the OTO Power Foot. According to the OTO salesperson, a unique features is that it has three rollers, and offers options for massage of other parts of the leg like the knee. It's worth checking out not least because the price and freebies are quite attractive. In terms of how good the massage feels, though, I think the OSIM uSqueez wins.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Matthew and the Mandarins at the Esplanade on 1 February 2010

It's been a while since I blogged, but this I must mention:

Coffee Morning & Afternoon Tea: Remembering Johnny Cash by Matthew & The Mandarins

1 Feb 2010 at the Esplanade Recital Studio

Matthew is an outstanding country singer, with a voice that's warm and rich, and a real feel for the music. I also really like the Esplanade Recital Studio as a venue -- it is small enough for you to hear and see properly, and there's an intimate, cozy feel to the place.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Great book for learning to use GIMP

I've been using GIMP for a couple of years now, but very blindly, and because of that to perform only very rudimentary tasks like cropping pictures. So when I discovered the book/manual, Grokking the GIMP recently, I was very excited. Particularly since I found the book very well-written, and very enjoyable to read.

And... the book can be read for free online. Don't you just love free stuff?

I've written a review (with info on where to find the book online) and published it on hubpages:
A Novice's Review: Grokking the GIMP by Carey Bunks