Singapore Today: People Paying Respects to Mr Lee Kuan Yew

Saw the Singapore flag at half mast at a mosque at Jalan Eunos.

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Moving scenes on TV. I think Mr Chiam See Tong is a class act. It was heartwarming to see PM Lee greeting him.

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Scenes reflecting the importance of Mr Lee Kuan Yew to the people here. Astounding crowds who braved the unrelenting Singapore blaze. I can’t imagines queues of 5 hours let alone 10. But that is the level of respect they have for our first PM.

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Just didn’t feel right to blog about anything else right now. This week seems to me of tremendous historical significance and I want to observe and record that fact. And yes I can’t help but feel sentimental too. Especially watching and hearing old speeches and scenes on TV. It’s hard to witness the end of an era. Reminds me of the fragility of life.

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The Day After

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You can feel the presence of our first PM, Mr Lee Kuan Yew ( I see him more as Singapore’s founder and leader than Sir Stamford Raffles) everywhere.

I saw these flyers when we were at Little India. You can sense the nation a little more subdued, a little more glued together and a lot more proud of how far the little island has come.

I rather like the respectfully elevator type and sad music played by the radio stations.

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23rd March 2015

young PM Lee

Lee Kuan Yew and family

Singaporeans won’t forget the day we lost a giant – an immeasurably brilliant leader. Can’t think of Singapore without thinking of Lee Kuan Yew. Even if we didn’t agree with the methods we can’t help, but admire what he has achieved.

But most of all I felt most sentimental thinking about his son and his personal loss. Looking at photos of the wake and everyone on social media imploring our PM to be strong, perhaps it’s audacious of me,  but I can’t help but wish he could have some time to himself for his private grief as well as some time to rest.

It must be exhausting – both mentally and physically. For any of us who have been through the loss of a close loved one we know how draining it can be. And how hard to recover. Some of us never do.

Everyone is someone’s little boy or girl and the loss of a parent is the greatest loss which you learn to cope with in time, but never get over. No matter how old you may be. And especially if you were very close. A wise person told me this and it’s true.

From my own personal loss I don’t think it’s helpful to hear “Be strong”.  I appreciate those who sincerely tell me they are sorry and it was most comforting to hear good things and happy memories about my loved one.

An implication to be strong somehow connotes that you have to be brave and hold in your grief. I don’t think it’s a comforting thing to hear when you’re at your most vulnerable. My opinion is that they are entitled to fully feel their grief and no one should put a halt to that.

Here are some old photos of Lee Kuan Yew and family I blogged about in 2010.

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Singapore’s So Pretty at Night

Even with blurry hurriedly taken photos through a moving car window. Most people say the Esplanade reminds them of the eyes of a fly or a durian. I think the former.

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Random Stop for Kopi

At a coffeeshop opposite the Chinatown Complex Market. Friendly proprietors and the kopi wasn’t bitter like it is at some places.

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Keong Saik Road: Char Siew & Wan Tan Mee

Came to Foong Kee Coffeeshop at Keong Saik Road for wan tan mee, but we were more impressed by the well roasted Char Siew as some other blogs have mentioned. I especially liked the crispy almost burnt or charred sweet bits (sweetness courtesy of the honey added in the marinade). I think that it’s best to come here for lunch as it was almost deserted at dinner time and only a pathetic amount of meat was left and the wan tan mee seemed to be just warm and not heated up enough. Perhaps they cater more to the office crowd.

I think I have to continue my search for the best wan tan mee. Perhaps to the reopened Kok Kee Wan Tan Mee one day.

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The coffeeshop is rather sprawling and seems to be in it’s original state. Quite a rare sight in Singapore where there’s always a new restaurant or hip cafe taking over. But after reading this post but Nathanael I guess it was another old coffeeshop that was taken over 8 years ago but the decor retained.

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As we didn’t quite know the location we walked quite a distance from the Chinatown Complex Market to get here. The area seems to be gentrified with fancy bars and restaurants intermingled with old coffeeshops.

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Address:

6 Keong Saik Rd, 089114
Opens: 11am – 8pm (but it’s better to go for lunch as I think the meats run out as early as 6.30pm, and it’s closed on Sundays and Public Holidays)

Here are some other reviews:

Diary of a Glutton

I Eat I Shoot I Post

For the Love of Food

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Rangoon Road: Ba Kut Teh at Ng Ah Sio Again

Felt like having something relatively light after all the heavy meals so headed to our usual place for bak kut teh. I just have the yu tiao with rice and soup as I don’t care for light coloured meat.My preference is for either well roasted for preferably barbecued.

Learnt that a pair of you tiao (always comes as 2 pieces) is almost equivalent to 1 plain prata (212 calories minus the gravy) at about 192 calories.

I like soaking the crullers in the soup till it’s soggy with peppery goodness. Wish the you tiao was warm and crisp though. And I like added both sweet and salty black sauces to the red cut chilies they provide. That goes nicely with the steamed rice and soup. Is that weird?

They do fill up your bowls of soup without prompting, but we found that the first round is always the best and richest tasting (perhaps because the ribs have been simmering in the soup a long time and the top up soup is probably from a different vessel? – just guessing) B’s opinion is that the top up version should be just as good as the small portion of soup you first get with the ribs. To him it’s a big difference, much more than I can discern at the moment.

When we ordered water we got a bottle with the Jumbo Seafood label and discovered that the restaurant is now owned by Jumbo as confirmed at it’s website. Noticed they have more branches now including one at Marina Bay Sands.

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Here are some other reviews because I wouldn’t want you to rely on my opinion alone and after reading these I want to try some other famous ones that they say are superior.

Entree Kibbles

And More Food

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Artisan Boulangerie Co. (ABC) at Katong 112

Somehow prefer the branch at Vivocity, the pastries seemed fresher there and it was not as crowded. The coffee looks good but I find it a tad bitter.  They do baguette sandwiches best of all and you can’t go wrong with tea.

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Gazing at Swimming Fish at Honeymoon Dessert

Wanted to have a cupcake at Gastronomia Da Paolo but there were no seats available. So we ended up at Honeymoon Dessert where the service was lovely. It’s nice to be in a relatively empty space when you’re in always crowded Singapore. We had just come from Parkland Green which was not so serene anymore on a crazy crowded Sunday.

The white dessert you see is called Almond drink. It’s not as creamy as almond cream which I prefer. Perhaps I should have gone with the mango sago pomelo.

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I would come here again for some peace and quiet. It was relaxing watching the silver arowana (dragon fish) swim so gracefully before they got tormented by some noisy kids banging on their tank. The goatee like things on it’s chin is called barbels. Conflicting feels when I see animals in captivity. Marvel at their beauty, but I felt guilty that they are trapped and I am free. Even though the tank is long, it must be confining and claustrophobic for a wild creature. Makes you pause and think about your own freedom of movement you take for granted.

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Found out that this is part of a Hong Kong Chain with 300 stores, in Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Indonesia.

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Bad Meal: Rude Service & Disappointingly Bland Laksa

After a spate of good meals we had a bad lunch today.  

Walked in the blazing heat and was not sure where to go and ended up at 328 Katong Laksa. Spotted a long queue inside the cramped tiny air-conditioned area (there were seats outside too) and decided to just queue since everywhere else was crowded as well.

When you finally got to the front of the queue you’re met with extremely rude and aggressive service which was a real put off. Seems like I’m not alone as reviewers on Tripadvisor felt the same way both about the service and the quality of the laksa. And you’ll notice that the bad reviews are by locals from Singapore like myself. I figure that the good reviews are from people who are trying laksa for the first time so find the coconut taste appealing. (I would probably be just as generous if I tried a totally new cuisine in another country). I was giggling at the comment from Achomo from Miami Beach who said the service reminded him of the Soup Nasi from that Seinfeld episode. But I also feel ashamed and sorry for travellers/tourists who encountered bad service (often rudeness can ruin an experience or trip).

The laksa was tasteless if not for the added chilli.  (the only laksa that will satisfy me is the claypot one at Alexandra Village). Big mistake ordering the large $7 bowl of laksa, when there was a $5 version available. But you tend you order the largest available after queuing for ages in a cramped space (well at least there was air-conditioning)

This place is not known for nasi lemak ($1.80) but I actually enjoyed it, perhaps because I haven’t had it in a long time so any form of it will do and I was tired and hungry. And also it reminded me of the simple version we had at the school tuck-shop when we were in primary school with the pleasantly sweet chilli sauce. There was no way to eat the tiny fried fish though with the flimsy plastic spoon, so I ended up wasting it. Luckily we ordered some otak as well to go with the rice. B didn’t like the nasi lemak at all and said he has had much better versions.

This spot is mostly for tourists but we decided to walk here from Katong i12 looking for a better option than queuing at Din Tai Fung or squeezing into an overcrowded Toast Box.  Walked past an advert for a briyani that costs S$19.80, so cost-wise what we had was better, but I don’t think we’ll be coming here again if we have a choice.  Should have known, as the place was filled with mostly tourists including people from Hong Kong and Japan. I hope they get to discover more authentic laksa rather than this touristy tasteless, overpriced version. I dare say that even the mediocre version at Wang Cafe is better than this one. This is what happens when a brand name gets too popular.

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Only after writing this post and reading other reviews did I discover why this particular shop is so popular. They can thank Gordon Ramsey and the hawker challenge where he lost to this establishment.

After reading this blog post by Russell Wong I realise I didn’t have the real katong laksa today. Also when a food place starts to expand through franchising, quality often falls.

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