Friday, October 31, 2008

Comic Spotlight: Sei-ji Rakugaki

The Comic Spotlight is a new addition to this site where we will be looking at comic illustrators weekly. Today's spotlight falls on Sei-ji Rakugaki. He isn't really a comic artist though.

Sei-ji Rakugaki is a brilliant illustrator based in Singapore who does political illustrations. As far as I know - and can find on google - he's the only person in Singapore who does this online.

On the Severance Package

Sei-ji Rakugaki has been around since 2006, posting in his blog, My Sketchbook. His works give a satirical views on contemporary issues in Singapore and pokes fun at the foot-in-the-mouth speeches that our government is fond of making.

This includes speech by our Minster Mentor:
Summary of LKY's Mating Speech

And our economics woes of the ever increasing ERP gantries:
ERP expanding

Visit My Sketchbook for more of his humorous works. He also has another site where he posts drawings.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Food Review: Soyako

Since ladyironchef was recommending Soyako fervently, I decided to try for myself just how good was the beancurd.

Glutinous rice balls with beancurd was smooth. It wasn't too sweet yet smooth, as far as my inexperienced taste buds (with beancurds) were concerned.

The beancurds came with three glutinous rice balls (also known as tang yuans). Two of tang yuans had sesame fillings while the last remaining tang yuan had peanut fillings instead. The tang yuan was tasty though it made me extremely full!

The cost of a glutinous rice balls with beancurd is $2. An ordinary beancurd will set you back by 80 cents. I recommend people to get their beancurd instead unless you are in the mood for tang yuan or are famished.

Rating: 7/10

Soyako is located in Bukit timah food centre, #02-166.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Food Review: Tom's Kitchen

I was recommended this western food stall at Bukit Timah Food Centre. Since I was in the area for school, I just had to try it!

Grilled chicken

The Grilled Chicken with black Pepper Sauce was a little too peppery for me. The grilled chicken was done rather well. It was delicious though the serving is a little bit small. However, I felt that the strong pepper sauce ruined the grilled chicken. It might tastes better without the excessive pepper. The cold potato salad was sweet. Personally, I like it but there may be people (eg. my partner) who might not.

chicken cutlet

The Chicken Cutlet was crispy but salty. You can choose either rice or french fries. The rice comes with little bits of fried eggs. Both dishes cost $4.50, a standard price for western food.

Rating: 6.5/10

Tom's Kitchen is located in the Bukit timah food centre.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Book Review: How Starbucks Saved my Life

Waste of time.

Those were the words that popped in my head once I finished the book. To sum up everything? Terrible writings and full of flash backs. As I read the book, all I could feel is a old man trying to cram his best moments in his life into one book. And boy, does he fails at it.

The book is full of flashbacks. One moment he's talking about Starbucks, the next it's Queen Elizabeth and the Mess He Made in Front of Her. That is just one of the many examples in the book where he goes off ramblings about the famous people he has met and spoken with before. Is there a need to go on and on about his flashy past? I want to read about how he has changed and not the complete collections of Mr Micheal Gates Gill's fascinating past.

His rationalization of his so-called mistakes is even more baffling. Is he trying to make himself likeable to his readers by admitting that his affair was doomed to fail? Or that he has suddenly realised black people are people too!

I did wondered if he is trying to promote Starbucks. You see pages of him exhorting the goodness of Starbucks. If Starbucks has saved him, the book sure didn't explain how. Then again by writing this book and getting people to buy this book, he probably has saved himself using Starbucks's name.

This book probably would have been better if he focused more on his co-workers. Crystal and Kester are two of those who are particularly interesting. It's too bad he didn't for I will definitely not waste my time recommending this book to anyone.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Jam is not good for you

The author was stuck in a bloody jam.

The person sitting next to her was cleaning the windows with reddish dyed hair. If you call the creation of oil patches on bus windows an act of cleaning.

The person seated behind her was reading the newspaper. To be precise, he was reading the TODAY newspaper dated 23 October 2008. Each time the author tried to sleep, the toxic fumes emitted by TODAY gave her a headache and stops her from catching any winks. Of course, it wasn't as bad as the odour that she was inflicted upon the other day on the bus. Or the week before.

So here she was, in the Great Jam of Singapore, sitting in a bus that a old woman walking slowly could probably overtake. As though to aggravate her, the road across was beautifully void of any vehicles. Meanwhile, the bus was still suntanning at the long stretch of road beside MacRitchie Reservoir. And she was, oh, 40 minutes late for class. What a lovely morning...

Eventually the bus moved. The author made it to her school after 1 hours and 15 minutes being stuck in the traffic jam. She wondered who was that politician in Singapore who claimed you could get to anywhere in Singapore under 20 minutes.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Food Review: Food Anytime

The Mei Heong Yuen Dessert franchises has been take over by a new management, Food Anytime and is not no longer associated with the its stall in Chinatown.

I have tried the Mei Heong Yuen Dessert franchise at Hougang Mall before. Their mango pomelo with sago was terrible. So when I heard about Food Anytime, I was sceptical.

Mango sago

I was surprised by the Mango Pomelo with Sago. The mango puree was thick and creamy, and the mango cubes are sweet and delicious. I find that there was too much ice though. It still loses out to Ah Chew's Mango Sago and Pomelo.

Cold Egg pudding with Ginger
We also ordered two egg puddings (warm and cold). The cold egg pudding with ginger was smooth. However the taste of ginger is overwhelming. After taking the first few bites, the combined taste of the egg pudding and the ginger made it hard for me to finish the dish. As it was the first time I have eaten this dessert, I have no idea if this dish was supposed to taste this way.

On the other hand, the hot egg pudding without ginger tasted like a egg dish that my mum used to cook. My sister (who has also never eaten it before) commented that it was rather like chawanmushi.

Rating: 6.5/10 (I'm not quite sure what to make of the egg pudding, so only the mango pomelo is rated for this review)

Book Review: Get more Referrals Now!

I have decided to try to read and review at least one book every week. This is contribution of the week.

Get more Referrals Now! by Bill Cates

I borrowed this book on a whim. I already had 3 books and was looking for a random fourth book to borrow. The bright red colour of the book caught my attention and I took it.

This book introduced the concept of getting clients to recommend more clients. It also touches on how to navigate with clients who are unwilling to do so. Written in simple-to-understand sentences with some examples, it makes reading easy. Quite a useful book for a sales person who has yet to utilise this technique.

It has too much repetition though. I find that some of the topics he wrote could have been eliminated to create a more concise and better reading. Certain chapters should also be combined. In addition, things like good services to the customers and feedbacks are more of common senses than advices.

Get more Referrals Now! is a book that sales people or anyone starting a business should read if they have never read anything similar on the subject. While it does give some advices, a good part of those advices are really things that people in service sector should and must know.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Kyomomoyama Promotions

Kyomomoyama (京桃山) at Central has been having promotions for a few months. But it was only a few days ago that their promotions finally caught my eye.

They have special lunch at $6 only (15 sets per day). The lunch sushi in particular very value for money. They also have ladies night, special sunday and other similar promotions.

I don't know about you but my stomach is growling now.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Guarantee of Savings and What It Means to You

Yesterday the government has finally seen the light and has followed the footsteps of Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand and other countries to guarantee all savings and fixed deposits until 2011. SDIS's practice of insuring only 20k is over. People with savings above 20k no longer need to spread their money among different banks.

With the current financial crisis, interest rates has been increasing. You can place your money in any of the banks (foreign banks included) without worrying about the loss of your money. Right now, RHB (malaysia 5th largest bank) is offering 1.9% for a 3 months minimum fixed deposit of 50k. This is the highest offer right now, and if you are risk averse and have funds of 50kwhy not try its offer?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Movie Review: 20th Century Boys

If only there wasn't so much talking in the second half

It turns out that Lifestyle ($trait Time$) is right. The movie suffered from poor pacing. That is disappointing as in the first half of the movie, tension is building up from the horrifying events and the startling revelations (who murdered them? Friend is...?!).

However, the movie failed to maintain that tension with its often excessive flashbacks. As a manga reader, I know how important the flashbacks are. However, they interrupted the flow of the movie just when it got exciting. This is especially so when Kenji started remembering about his sister (yes, I know how significant that scene was but non-readers would not know!) and her dead boyfriend. It just breaks the atmosphere of Kenji's plight at Friend's hand. Where's the action?

One of the major flaws of the movie was constant jumping around in time. First 2015, then 1973, 1997, 2015 etc. It is totally disorientating as it is not well done in the second half of the movie. The trick they used in the last part of the movie is the ultimate. I have no idea what possessed them to do it as it is not slick and causes more confusion for the viewers.

There is also no build up for some of the scenes. For instance, it like BAM! Otcho returns from Thailand. Similarly the part about the professor's daughter. It's like BAM!BAM! daughter appears and do creepy act. I would have rather they stick to the manga version of this scene. Makes far more sense than the creepy act in a brothel thing.

My conclusion? Fans of the series will enjoy the movie as it sticks closely to the manga. Likewise, non-fans will not enjoy this movie as it has poor manga to movie transition.

BTW, if anyone is wondering why the military did not attack the robot and how that thing appeared in the end, see here, here and here.

Rating: 6/10 (I enjoyed the movie. bias rating? D;)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Waraku Ladies Night

Ladies night at restaurants are not a new thing. But 50% for a minimum of 4 people women? What are you hesitating for?