Youtube link: http://mrbrwn.co/Q6q8EP
Music video for our 30 August 2012 Makan Day event! Rise up and eat, Singapore!
I got a strange invite some weeks ago, to have tea with the PM at the Istana. My wife's first reaction was, "What did you do now?". She had a similar remark when I said CPIB emailed me.
I was also puzzled but hey, limteh with PM leh, why not? So I said yes (little knowing that the day also coincided with Makan Day).
Turns out it was to meet folks who had commented or interacted with PM on his Facebook page. I thought it was gracious of him to invite me even though my main contribution to his Facebook page was leaving jokes in the comments section.
I rode my bicycle to the Istana because it was easier than trying to take public transport. I reckoned my bicycle would be safe behind the Istana's gates (if your bicycle can get stolen in there, then where in Singapore is safe, right?).
It was a bit of a challenge riding there because I was also dangling a plastic bag of tau huey for the PM. My mother says go people house must bring some food.
Acting Minister in the Ministry of Manpower Tan Chuan-jin, MP Low Yen Ling and MP Zaqy Mohamad were there too.
It was cool to meet folks from all walks of life at the tea and I made some new friends too.
I told PM the challenges facing parents with special needs kids. When Faith reaches 18, her special school, excellent as it is, is no longer able to retain her. This means that she has to go home. It is a huge problem because our daughter is likely to outlive us and without a proper place for her to spend her adult life, we worry for her future. PM knows this is a problem. I hope he gets someone to look into it.
I enjoyed meeting the staff there too. The butlers were a really friendly lot (even though they look serious here) and I chatted with a few of them. I even took a photo with Francis, the chief butler. I think they are such a cool part of the place, quietly taking care of things.
PM is a friendly fellow and laughs heartily. I hope he got a chance to try the tau huey I brought along. His Security Detail very tactfully informed me that they will take possession of the tau huey and tell PM I brought it for him. I suppose they had to x-ray it and stick a silver needle into it first, as per SOP.
When I mentioned the tau huey, PM thanked me and told me he usually has tau huey for breakfast, from Tiong Bahru market, with no sugar. I take mine sugarless too, because must watch the sugar at my age.
(Update: He just replied on Twitter that he enjoyed the tau huey. Good to know, haha! "@leehsienloong: @mrbrown Thanks for the tau huey. It was good – smooth texture and just the right sweetness. Hope you enjoyed the tea. - LHL".)
Here is a photo of Two Lees:
Finally, I thought I will share this official photo taken by Alex Qiu of the PMO. It is not my most flattering side but I think this qualifies as a legit photobomb. Can see me or not? (Even my Facebook tagging was at an awkward spot).
I popped down to Raffles Place at noon to join my friends Stef and Shen Yi for Makan Day. They arranged for all manner of good food to be brought and eaten with their staff, friends and me.
I had Tian Tian chicken rice and Lao Pan tau huey. There was roast duck, kueh kueh and tons of food. I have awesome friends, I tell you.
It was an awesome lunch hour. We tucked in, chatted, and "occupied Raffles Place". At least that little corner lah. (See how others spent Makan Day at the FB Event page!)
Next to us, a queue formed for the free tau huey that Power 98FM was giving away. I photobombed their giveaway with the Makan Day sign and also took some photos with their nice DJs.
Before long, some curious onlookers gathered around our feast. We were most happy to share our extra food. This is the part I loved most. Makan Day is about sharing the food culture and the food we love. And if there is anything that gets Singaporeans fired up, it's food.
Stef said it best on her Facebook:
"Best Lunch hour ever. Some like minded colleagues and friends - all dressed in beige - brought lunch and tau huay to Raffles Place. As we laid out our spread - Maxwell chicken rice, Old Airport Road Tau Huay, Tiong Bahru pau and chwee kuei and a famous roast duck - random people starting queueing up to get a share. We pressed boxes laden with roast meats and chicken into the hands of cleaner ladies and encouraged senior delivery men to grab a pao or two. We even had a banker lady mince up with her Miu Miu to steal a tub of bean curd.
This is the Singapore I love. Where everyone loves a good kuei kuei, and food is to be shared. This is my Singapore. Is yours dressed in white and too poncy to remember your heritage tonight?"
I zipped back to the office after this Makan Day lunch to grab my bicycle because I had another appointment. Where, you ask? Here's a hint:
This is the Makan Day flag. You can print it out or download it on your phone (right-click and save)
Here is what I propose we do. Spend your Makan Day anywhere you wish and with whomever you like. You may want to try, for example, void deck, the beach, the parks, or some place where many diners in white may be having a picnic.
For myself, I will be at Raffles Place for lunch at around noon (I hear Power98 FM will be giving out tau huay there too). And I am likely to be at Marina Barrage for the evening.
Since this is a decentralized event (you want me to kena arrested for illegal assembly ah?), let's mark it by taking a photo of your celebration of our food culture, with this Makan Day flag in it. Use a printed copy, use a digital copy on your phone, it's all good. Then post on Twitter (use hashtag #makanday), Facebook and wherever you like. I will collect as many Makan Day photos from you guys as I can and share them on my blog.
Oh ya, if you are having picnics, DON'T LITTER HOR! Throw your stuff properly, ok?
Ready? Set? Makan!
P.S. Do go to Dr Leslie Tay's ieatishootipost blog to find out more about his upcoming Ultimate Hawker Fest! He is looking for sponsors for his awesome hawker food celebration, bringing together 20 hawkers and Chefs to cook for 2000 people!
Once again, it's National Day Rally time! 3 hours of PM dominating most of the TV channels. Ok, maybe not the full three hours because he has a new band opening for him this year.
Here are some tweets from our annual #ndrsg ritual:
1. @mrbrown: Wah PM knows how to make a smiley! RT @leehsienloong: My staff will be helping me to tweet while I'm on stage. :) - LHL #ndrsg
2. @mrbrown: Must teach PM more emoticons! This is me waiting for #ndrsg
............( @ @)
3. @mrbrown: Ok. My last emoticon didn't look so hot on mobile twitter. Here's another emoticon for PM @leehsienloong to try: ლ(ಠ益ಠლ) #ndrsg
4. @Fake_PMLee; I am getting a few speakers to speak during this year’s #ndrsg. What’d you expect? Cut my pay lah, I talk 33% lesser.
5. @mrbrown: Me: "#ndrsg gonna start soon!"
Father-in-law: "No lah. PM speaking later. Now only the kalefare speaking."
6. @Gdy2shoez: @mrbrown I think he meant 'opening acts' #ndrsg (Nope. He meant kalefare. -mb)
7. @mrbrown: It's really weird to watch Halimah Yacob speaking in Malay for #ndrsg but a Chinese dude's voice coming out of the tv.
8. @mrbrown: This year's #ndrsg set/backdrop very the orbeet leh.
9. @mrbrown: Education Minister Heng Swee Keat looks like that Hong Kong actor who always acts as a father one. http://twitpic.com/anwrud
10. @mrbrown: And now it's #ndrsg toilet break for the fellas at the hall.
11. @CelineShanmugam: Can someone explain why couldn't @leehsienloong just speak and be done with. If this is a build up. Epic fail. #ndrsg
12. @mrbrown: I am watching the #ndrsg in Chinese #likeaboss (also because my father-in-law wants to watch it in Chinese).
13. @mrbrown: Me, shouting at my kids playing too loudly: "Oi! Papa trying to listen to #ndrsg to find out if PM is giving angpow this year! Quiet!"
14. @mrbrown: Wah PM using the Last Time 1960s We Are Kampung Card. 2012 liao leh. #ndrsg
15. @mrbrown: Wondering whether there is a lighted sign at #ndrsg for the audience that displays "APPLAUSE", "LAUGH", "BIG LAUGH" and "WOOHOO".
16. @miyagi: We need a new #Singapore story. Don't wait for Govt to write it. It's a DIY job. #ndrsg
17. @mrbrown: PM mentioning the remote controlled helicopter camera used to film Jack Neo's #AhBoysToMen movie. My scene was shot with that camera. #ndrsg
18. @mrbrown: When PM said UAVs may replace SIA in future, but probably not the Singapore Girl because you need the human touch, I hurhur-ed. #ndrsg
19., @mrbrown: Someone tell that fella at the back row that he cannot use flash photography at #ndrsg Quick, Speech Police, catch him.
20. @mrbrown: You know what will spice up this #ndrsg ? PM breaking into #gangnam style.
21. @mrbrown: "Ehhhhhhh Seksay Rally!" #ndrsg #gangnam style.
22. @mrbrown: Somebody give PM something more modern to use than a green laser pointer. Please. #ndrsg
23. @mrbrown: PM is a secret Star Wars nerd. He just identified an AT-ST walker. Props. #ndrsg
24. @mrbrown: Paternity Leave? Awesome. #ndrsg
25. @mrbrown: PM at #ndrsg : No homework is not necessarily a bad thing. My 8-year-old, Isaac: YESSS! My 6-year-old, Joy: I LOVE YOU, PRIME MINISTER!!!
26. Tomorrow MOE will look into how to introduce a new module to the curriculum called "Having Less Homework". #ndrsg
27. To celebrate becoming our 6th university, Singapore Institute of Technology may be renamed Singapore Hightech Institute of Technology #ndrsg
28. When PM said it's time he stopped saying No to paternity leave, fathers all over S'pore heard Yes to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive #ndrsg
A fun little pledge we wrote:
"We the Food Lovers of Singapore,
Pledge ourselves as one united dining table,
Regardless of colour, method of preparation, or atas-ness,
To build an inclusively hungry society
Based on hojiak-ness, shiok-ness and sedap-ness
So as to achieve happiness, yummilicious-ness and fulfillment
For our stomachs."
Adapted by @mrbrown from the original by @kallangfortis
I propose that Thursday, 30th of August be Makan Day! (hashtag: #MakanDay)
Our viral picnic no need invite one! Come one come all! Non-exclusive!!! French also welcome!
Bring and share food of ANY colour because our tastes are diverse. Fast food also can, slow food also can. Tau Huay also can!
Tell us your food's story or reason you brought it.
On that day, wear off-white (beige or khaki).
More details will follow in the days to come, like suggested locations!
Let's celebrate and share our food culture!
(Here is the Facebook Event Page!)
Update: In case you are wondering why the Dîner en Blanc Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DinerEnBlanc.Singapore is Dîner en Blank, the official explanation is that it was "temporarily disabled" to "afford the greatest number of participants, media, and page visitors, the opportunity to read" their important message on their site instead.
Well then, I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!
If I had them, I would fling a volley of farm animals over the wall at your atas picnic! Or launch a cow from my castle walls, you snobs!
And now, if anyone is seen in photos at this Dîner en Blanc event, he or she will probably be labeled a food traitor to Singapore.
Vive la République (of Singapore)! Vive la Résistance! Vive la Tau Huay!
(Props to Leroy for the Monty Python inspiration!)
I woke up this morning and the kids were watching yet another replay of this year's National Day song, Love at First Light.
"Papa, why do they keeping playing Love at First Light on tv?" asked my 8-year-old son.
"Because they're trying to brainwash you into liking a sucky song," I replied.
Joy, my 6-year-old asked, "What happened to the little girl at the end of Love at First Light?"
I thought for a while, and decided to tell her the REAL story of the music video…
"The Wicked Witch of the Bay, Queen Olivera, captured the little girl Natania and took her to the roof of OUB Centre because she needed her psychic powers to put the entire downtown area of Singapore into a snow globe.
"Natania's sister, Nutella, saw all her friends stuck inside the Evil Snow Globe and begged Queen Olivera's half-sister, Princess Zombie Curtains, to tell her how to set everyone free.
"Meanwhile, a dude plays a guitar.
"One of Singapore's top hackers, nicknamed Anonymousness, found out from Google how to stop Queen Olivera.
"Anonymousness rushed off to tell Dr Birdman, an eccentric professor who taught him how to set the Singapore CBD free again.
"Meanwhile, the under-appreciated super heroine, Scarf Girl, ran off to get some kungfu masters to help her defeat Queen Olivera. She found the Chong Pang Zone 9 Residents’ Committee Taichi club, who joined her in the fight against Queen Olivera, after checking with their Grassroots Advisor (who happened to be their MP too).
"All the people who had friends or loved ones stuck inside Queen Olivera's Evil Snow Globe (because they were working overtime at the office when she struck), gathered and walked all the way to Changi Airport, to see if they could rescue the Captured. This was because the MRT was down due to part of their stations being shrunk inside the Snow Globe, so it was by no means the fault of the SMRT or SBS Transit, or the LTA.
"They walked very far but finally reached Changi Airport, where many were imprisoned. Suddenly they saw some of their friends and loved ones come out of the clutches of Queen Olivera's transit lounge, pushing trolleys with looted duty-free perfumes and liquor!
"Everyone hugged and embraced. Some even hugged women they didn't know, because they could. Scarf Girl finally found a boyfriend who didn't friendzone her.
'How did you escape?' the mob asked the Captured.
"'Dr Birdman sent his trained killer birds to Queen Olivera's lair, and broke the Evil Snow Globe machine's force field with their sonic bird songs and toxic bird shit.' they replied.
"Meanwhile, the Averagers, Singapore's Most Average Heroes, broke into the roof of the OUB Building, and freed little Natania. She was reunited with her parents, but not before Queen Olivera stared at her, and took her psychic powers (and some of the knowledge from her weekend enrichment classes too), setting the scene for the inevitable sequel at next year's National Day."
And that was the story I told my daughter when she asked "What happened to the little girl at the end of Love at First Light?"
Oh, ok, I told Joy the short version: "Her parents rescued her from Olivia Ong on the roof."
Then I went and made the rest of the story up for my own entertainment.
My Mom, aged 70 and biker chick.
She was hitching a ride on my youngest brother's two-wheeler and he took a photo for Facebook. I didn't even blink when I saw the photo in my feed.
A few years ago, Mom broke her ankle hiking at some hillside village in Vietnam and when she healed up a year or two later, she was off to India and rode a snowmobile in the Himalayas.
She just cannot sit still and we've kind of given up asking her to slow down. Haha!
(Unrelated but awesome) Photo by Jonathan Kos-Read
A new movie is coming. And it's gonna kick your ass. Watch it at mrbrownshow.com!
(All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.)
AN OPEN LETTER TO MINISTER OF TRANSPORT, MR LIU TUCK YEW
Dear Minister Lui
My friend is dead.
If, only if, I had written this letter earlier, Freddy might still be able to cycle with me in the next Ironman race.
You see, he died pursuing his hobby. On the morning of 18 August 2012, along Loyang Valley, as he made his way towards Changi Village, he was run over by a truck. I chanced upon the wreckage, not knowing that it was that of my friend’s. I immediately posted a message on FaceBook to remind all my friends to cycle safe. Within minutes, I received the tragic news that that statistic was a friend of mine. He was my buddy in our cycling group, Team Cychos.
Freddy was a good, gentle man. A good husband and a doting father to his 5 year old son. And would have been an equally good father to his unborn child too, I’m sure.
Dear Minister Lui, I am appealing to you as many before me did. I am certain you are aware of the statistics. From 2008 to 2011, there were a total of 70 cyclists killed. That is a horrifying average of 1.46 cyclists killed a month. Sadly, that is not enough to spur your ministry into action to make the roads safer for cyclists.
We are not saying that motorists are completely at fault. We recognize both cyclists and motorists have a part to play in making our roads safer for all. Cyclists must be made aware of how vulnerable they are the moment they mount their bike. Motorists must be educated that, like pedestrians, cyclists too have a right to use the roads. Only when these two groups recognized this and develop a mutual respect will we see a drop in fatalities. Hopefully.
This, however, cannot be done without the Government’s assistance. In a recent article on the dangers of cycling in Singapore, an LTA spokesperson, upon being asked about introducing a cycling lane, declared that this will only give cyclists a false sense of security. A false sense of security??? Isn’t that akin to saying we should not have window grilles at home as they would give our Foreign Domestic Workers a false sense of security when cleaning windows in highrise apartments. I was flabbergasted by this flippant and dismissive response. Isn’t that the purpose of a cycling lane? To remind cyclists to stay within the allotted 1.5m and for motorists to be aware of cyclists within this lane so that we all can be safe. So that we all can go home to our loved ones. So that we all can continue to pursue our passions. Safely.
To the spokesperson from LTA, I say shame on you. Shame on you for taking the easy way out. If NParks is able to build 300km of park connectors (by 2015), surely the LTA is capable of painting a 1.5m lane on our roads. This is merely the width of 2 carton boxes. Are cyclists not worth that. If having cycling lanes islandwide prove too daunting a task, then perhaps we can start small, start a pilot project to paint only the more popular (and dangerous) cycling routes - Neo Tew Avenue, Mandai Road, Changi Coastal Road, Upper Thompson Road, West Coast Highway. I am sure the Singapore Cycling Federation, Singapore Amateur Cycling Association, Singapore Sports Council and perhaps even cycling clubs, especially the bigger ones like Joyriders and Anzac can advise LTA on this.
From 2010 to January 2012, there were 21 work-related height fatalities of Foreign Domestic Workers. This monthly average of 0.58 was enough for the Ministry of Manpower to implement a new rule forbidding FDW to clean the outside of windows. The ministry also felt the need to double the penalties (from the current $5,000 fine and/or six months' jail to $10,000 fine and/or 12 months' jail) to serve as added deterrence to employers.
Minister Lui, if 21 FDW were enough to get a new legislation in place, surely Freddy and the deaths of 70 other cyclists deserve an urgent re-look at how to make our roads safer. I appeal to you not to let more people die before the rest of us are able to pursue our hobby safely.
You can read more letters on this matter at Lovecycling.sg.
Joy and Isaac are watching YouTube videos and a banner pops up.
Me: "Look! It's an ad! What do we do?
My 6-yr-old and 8-yr-old: "Do not click it!"
Me: "Goooood. Very good."
Joy: "And if it doesn't go away, click the X!"
Me: "Learned well, you have, young Padawan."
This morning, the kids were up watching TV because there isn't any school till Monday. I noticed my subwoofer light was lit even though the kids were not watching a DVD.
Me: "Eh? Who figured out I also connected the HD cable box's optical-out to the home theater and turned on the receiver's surround sound?"
My 6-year-old Joy: "Me! The sound is better!"
All I could manage to sputter out was, "Er, ok. Just remember to turn everything off when you are done watching TV."
I stared at this Facebook page on my iPhone for a full 30 seconds before I realized it was a jpeg of a screencap I took yesterday.
I realized it was a screencap only after I tried to refresh the Facebook page with my finger and the page zoomed in. I thought it was some new Facebook feature.
The reason I was reading so long was because of the CNA headline.
"Enormous problems if Singaporeans don't reproduce Lee Kuan Yew" said Channel NewsAsia.
I think either there is a missing comma or CNA really wants us to consider cloning LKY…
(New Nation spotted this too.)
Seems like the whole island of Singapore is getting a login message to log into the staging server of examiner.com. It seems to be happening at the ISP level and Singtel broadband and 3G users the ones getting it.
It pops up every time you use a browser, like Safari and Firefox, or a twitter client like Tweetdeck.
At first, I thought it was my Macbook Air. Then the whole office said they were getting it too. Then I asked my Twitter folks and I got replies saying they were "infected" too. There is also a HWZ thread on this now.
Whatever is causing it, I hope the ISPs will fix it soon. Annoying as heck.
In other news, DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam is also on Facebook now. His Facebook page URL is longer than his hair lor: www.facebook.com/TharmanShanmugaratnam