Friday, December 18, 2015

The Thailand Winter Getaway Series 2015: Sunrise and Sunset on Doi Patang, Chiang Rai

It's that time of the year again, when I sleep without air-conditioning and wake up feeling totally blessed by the cool dry breeze blowing into my apartment. It's also a reminder that I have to do my customary annual post/s to beef up my Thailand Winter Getaway Series.

The stars have aligned this year to allow me to go to Chiang Rai for a charity trip with the Singapore-Thai Chamber of Commerce. Even though the schedule was pretty tight, as we often had to make distributions at villages in the early mornings before breakfast and even at night after dinner in the pitch-dark under a night sky FULL of stars, I cannot help but admire how beautiful Chiang Rai really is.

The usual captivating view during our drives.
As we drove through the mountains from village to village, the scenery reminded me a lot of South Africa, while to others, Switzerland.

So of course, even though it was a charity trip and a lot of work had to be done, our team took the opportunity to admire the sunrise and sunset when we were staying for a night on Doi Patang. When we arrived, it was already evening, and sunset happened right outside our rooms. We literally watched the sun disappear into the mountains, changing colour from deep yellow, orange then finally red in a space of 15 to 20 minutes.

The beginning of the end
My camera cannot do the view justice, but I hope you understand what I am trying to portray anyway

The following morning, at 5.15am, we began a short ascent up Doi Patang to experience sunrise, and boy was it an experience of a lifetime. We were basically above a sea of clouds awaiting the morning sun to pop out, and the entire atmosphere was just amazing.

My comrades looking like they were sitting on the moon
Above a sea of clouds. Photo credit:onghq

Following this experience, I do have a few things for you to take note of if you are considering a winter getaway in Chiang Rai.

1. Be well-equipped

It will be cold. Especially in December and January. Temperatures can easily drop to around 10degC or even less in the mountains. You will be waking up at 5am in the morning to start your journey up, so not only will it be cold, it will also be windy. It helps to be well-prepared for the cold.

It will be pitch dark during your ascent, so some good hand-held lighting is crucial for a safe climb.

Lastly, you need to be confident of every step you take, whether its during the ascent or descent, and trust me, the way down is a little more exciting than the way up. I was nursing a twisted ankle and wore leather shoes, so I had to be extra careful every step I took. The right footwear is absolutely crucial for such an expedition.

The careful descent. Photo credit: strikingjacqpot

2. Be mentally prepared

Even though the sun rises and sets everyday, it does not necessarily mean you will get to enjoy it. The sea of clouds do not form everyday. Sometimes, it will rain, and the terrains will get too challenging to overcome unless you are really very fit and used to such treks. We were lucky we got to enjoy the best of both worlds, but my advice is to be mentally prepared, especially if things do not work out. There is still a lot to savour in Chiang Rai and you can always go again.

Finally, I want to emphasize the fact that this does NOT have to be a winter getaway. You could do this anytime if you are in Chiang Rai. I just happened to be here during winter, when the chill gives it a whole different feeling compared to other times of the year.

Till next year folks, enjoy winter while it lasts!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Stranger's Bangkok Rediscovery: 3 Tips for visiting ArtBox@The Em District



Update 19 March 2016:

This latest version of Artbox is built on the plot slightly behind the area used in December, which is now Dinoland. It feels a little more enclosed, but still pretty comfortable. However it seems like food has become the majority, taking up possibly a good 60 to 70% of the stalls. I also did not see any booths with artists drawing portraits for visitors. So please visit when you are very hungry, preferably after a visit to the loo!

Look out for this signage for the walkway leading you into ArtBox. If you see Dinoland, it means you are near!

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Before the cool winter winds start blowing by the end of this week (my prediction), I have used some of my rare "me" time to bring you my verdict of the much-hyped ArtBox, a mobile pop-up weekend night bazaar that gets its name because of its unique use of containers as their stalls.

Get down Exit 6 at Phrom Phong BTS Station, walk past Benjasiri Park, keep left and you won't miss this.
Everything made from containers, thus Art Box!
And of course, ArtBox is renowned for attracting high quality vendors, many whom are still on their notoriously-long waiting list eager to showcase their products. I was thus really looking forward to a feast for all my senses.

Product-wise, most of the stalls were selling clothes and ladies' accessories. I am a bit old now to be interested in purchasing clothes off the streets especially if I am not given the chance to try them, so in this aspect, most stalls did not attract me at all. Of course there were some stalls that sold interesting items like camera straps, wooden cutlery or home decoration products which were slightly more interesting for this old man, but I would have liked to see more.

Fashionable camera straps and leather camera casings.

Full of street fashion like this one

I would actually recommend you to check out the artists available though. There were numerous stalls with artists offering to draw your portrait, and they all specialise in different techniques, for example they could draw with pencil, markers, water colours etc., and portray you according to their personal artistic styles. It could be amusing to get a portrait drawn, but do be prepared to wait, as they need to spend 30 minutes per portrait on the average, so you might need to wait up to a couple of hours for your final product on a busy day.

One of the many groups of friendly artists on show.

Things got crazier when it came to the food, which took up at least half of the stalls. Aside of container stalls, there were many food trucks parked all over the place as well, so do stroll around if you want to see all available items before starting your meal.

Fried squid much larger than your face.

A lady using a machine to mash up everything inside a single orange and sells it as Juice on the Rock.
One of the funkiest looking grass jelly I have ever seen.
One of the cocktail trucks, with the most attractive female drink-vendor at Art Box.
You could shoot your friend with one of these Bloody drinks.
As ArtBox is partly catered for tourists, you can also find many stalls selling typical traditional Thai dishes like Tom Yum Soup, grilled meat skewers and Pad Thai. In spite of the dazzling array of choices, I couldn't make up my mind, so I decided to go on a mission looking for the most handsome chef at ArtBox to cook me dinner. So here comes my tips while visiting ArtBox @ The Em District:

1. The most handsome chef (according to the Stranger in Bangkok):

Tadaa! Good taste? Flawless hair despite his work!

He's at a yellow food truck named Answer Cheeze, which serves a yummilicious cheese sandwich.
Full review of Answer Cheeze here.

2. Come late, and hungry

As the temperatures have not dropped to Bangkok's usual 'wintry' depths yet, ArtBox is significantly cooler later into the night. I suggest 8.30pm onwards, and hungry, because food might just about be the most interesting thing here.

3. Come after you have used the toilet

The toilets at ArtBox are mobile toilet trucks, those that you have to pay and even guys have to queue for, and are probably not very clean. So as much as possible please use the toilet before entering ArtBox.

There are more than enough seats for you to make yourselves comfortable in the accompaniment of live music.

Verdict:

Considering it's a stone's throw from Phrom Phong BTS Station this month, ArtBox has never been more accessible. I was slightly disappointed myself by the slight lack of size and stalls, but probably that's because it was a bit warm (having just come back from Chiang Rai didn't help) and that I was all alone. So if you are reading this, I feel that this month's ArtBox is definitely worth a visit, especially if the temperature drops by the end of this week.

Note: ArtBox @ The Em District will be open every Friday to Sunday this month from 5pm till late.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

How to Stay Motivated at Work: Maybe it's more than just money?

If you are reading this, may I ask you a question?

Why are you waking up before the sun rises, going to work at least 5 days a week and possibly arrive home when the sky is just as dark as the moment you woke up?

Let's face it. Most of us work primarily for the the income our work generates, so that we can give enough to our families and ourselves. But to a large extent, the things we do at work are usually not directly related to the money we bring home at the end of the month, so if work becomes simply doing enough to reach payday, it will be very hard for us to stay motivated for a long period of time.

There is no perfect job in the world, but every job has its worth and value-adding element to the society. There are people who stay motivated because they are passionate about what they do, others stay motivated because they are so good at their craft that it will be a disservice to their customers/supporters if they stop. What about you?

What I do in Thailand predominantly revolves around importing small hand-held agricultural equipment and their spare parts and distributing them throughout the country. Truth be told, I have absolutely no love for the products I sell. I do enjoy the process of building the company from scratch and putting the system in place for it to run smoothly within the relatively short period of time I have been in Thailand, but the 1 thing I have found that will always keep me going is this:People.

I appreciate my co-workers, every one of them. I would not be living a comfortable life in a foreign country if they did not commit themselves to helping me. Many of my colleagues were doing odd jobs on the streets like driving motorcycle taxis before joining me. Over the years, I have seen colleagues recover from 2 bouts of pneumonia and acute appendicitis without needing to pay a single cent, all because they can enjoy the benefits of Thailand's social security as they are working for a properly-registered company. I have also seen another colleague blossom from a bell-boy at a hotel into a successful sales manager owning 2 family cars. My colleagues motivate me, to keep going, to grow the company even more to make everyone's life better.

My customers inspire me. I came in as a foreigner holding the distribution rights to a couple of brands which were not popular here. They had no obligation to support me, but many of them did. Today, some of my customers have become much better off because of this belief and trust in me and my products. For them, I cannot stop.

Preparing lunch for toddlers at a children's home

My company's charity work motivates me. In the last 4 years, we have contributed to many charity projects, including building a road that provides improved accessibility to a poor remote village and the building of toilets and playgrounds for schools in rural Thailand. I have seen for myself how such small contributions can make big differences to the lives of people who are not as lucky as us. This drives me to work harder, so that we can do even more for them year after year.

To a job well done.

Your source of motivation might not be the same as mine, but I feel that the only way to push through the difficult times at work is to find some meaning from what you actually do everyday at work. Good luck looking for it.



Monday, October 19, 2015

Bangkok Life Hacks: Free WiFi!

If you have been living in Bangkok for a long time now, does data connectivity give you constant headaches? If so, maybe there need not be any headaches at all? Let me explain.

According to my understanding, post-paid dataplans in Thailand usually come with limited high-speed data. For example, if you signed up for a package with 3GB of high-speed data, once you reach the limit, your data will continue to run. Good news is, you will not be charged for unlimited additional data usage, bad news is, this data is no longer high-speed. You will be given access to much lower-speed data with speeds closer to 512kbps, yes, so slow you might pull your hair out waiting for something to happen.

We all want to agree with this, but come on, give me my WiFi!!

How then, do you go around the problem and survive a full month with high-speed data? Firstly, you might want to call your telco's hotline. They might have a top-up package that will give you more high-speed access at a reasonable price.

A second way is to use this life-hack and see how far it can bring you.

If you still do not know, most reasonable postpaid data plans in Thailand already come with unlimited access to WiFi hotspots all over the country. TrueMove boasts that it currently has 100,000 such hotspots country-wide! This means that once you are in the vicinity of a hotspot provided by your telco, you are just a step away from disabling your dataplan and gaining access to unlimited, stable, high-speed WiFi. These hotspots are available in most indoor spaces like community malls, cafes, shopping centres and department stores.

How then, do we access this free WiFi then? Simple, just dial a number to receive your username and password (usually permanent for your mobile number), log-in and you are good to go! Here are the detailed instructions from the 3 main telcos in Thailand:

  1. AIS  
  2. TrueMove 
  3. dtac 
  4. AIS and dtac users can use 3BB hotspots too
Remember, you can use the same method to connect your laptops and other devices as well, or even share with your friends when they are in need. Just remember that one code can only be used for one device at any time!

Need more Bangkok life hacks? Leave me a message!


Disclaimer: The information above is accurate to 19th October 2015. The Stranger in Bangkok does not take any responsibility if any of the mentioned telcos make changes to their dataplans and packages.



Monday, October 12, 2015

Ping's Hotpot: The Best Hotpot/Steamboat Restaurant in Bangkok for Soup Lovers

I used to live for 2 years right opposite Seacon Square along Srinakarin Road. Before Centralworld appeared, Seacon Square was the largest mall by floor area in Bangkok, and is patronized by locals from all walks of life in eastern Bangkok. Aside of its sheer size, one other aspect of the mall stunned me. Last I counted, there were no less than 11 hotpot/bbq buffet restaurants occupying its top floor, with more than half of them completely full half the time. I later found out that the famous MK Restaurant has a whopping 422 branches across Thailand, which is more than double that of the number of outlets McDonald's currently has(!!).

We finally found a hotpot that we truly love.
Even though Thailand is well and truly a hotpot-crazy nation, with well-established brands locally (MK, Sukishi, Shabu-shi etc.) and internationally (Coca), I personally have found it difficult to eat at any of the big names, because a soup-lover like me cannot bring myself to enjoy steamboats with starting soup-bases which are almost as bland as water. Some are better than others, but on the whole, the focus of the local consumers seem to be their dips and the familiarity of the highly-advertised local brand images.

However, after 6 years, I am happy to say that I have finally found a restaurant that serves hotpot like it should be. Ping's Hotpot is located right beside Ping's Thai Teochew Seafood Restaurant in Pathumwan Princess Hotel, which I earlier reviewed on my blog to serve arguably the most delicious fish maw soup in Bangkok. I was told that the original soup base used for the hotpot is the exact one used to make their famous fish maw soup, so that's a good starting point. Ping's serves 4 other soups, the Teochew Herbal, Mongolian Spicy Herbal and 2 versions of Tom Yum, clear and milky. If you ask me, if you are here for the first time, you absolutely have to go for the original soup base, and probably the Tom Yum with coconut milk, just because you are in Thailand.

The original soup base on the left, and milky tom yum on the right, bubbling away.

Like its sister restaurant, Ping's Hotpot focuses on bringing out the best in quality ingredients. I especially enjoyed their assorted meatballs made in-house, as well as their seafood set, which included premium fish like salmon, cod and 2 incredibly sweet and succulent scallops.

My wife and I finished all these!

Wide range of sauces available, together with minced scallions, chilli padi and garlic. If you are not sure, just ask the helpful wait-staff to help you make a standard dip, which is what I usually do.

If what you just read is not tempting enough, let the Stranger in Bangkok tell you a secret that's not on the menu. If you have finished all your food but still have some soup left, there is actually a way to conveniently finish every last drop.

Order the boiled rice/ khaotom set!

In fact, I am almost embarrassed to admit this is my favourite part of the entire meal. With the remaining soup (preferably the original soup base), the meticulous waiter will require a few minutes to incorporate the ingredients above and turn it into the tastiest porridge you would have eaten in a long time.

A shot of the shimmering egg yolk before it's carefully beaten into the porridge.

Tadaa... the perfect ending to a satisfying meal. The porridge set costs 140THB and gives you 4 rice bowls of porridge.

I think I will need to end here. It has been an utter mistake writing this in the middle of an afternoon in which I do not have the time and resources to have a proper lunch. Time to grab a bite.




Monday, September 28, 2015

Parenting Poem Month: Love is...愛. 是.

Before we become parents, ideally we would have fallen head over heels in love with someone. One who makes our hearts beat faster every time we hold his/her hand, one whom we would like to grow old with. 

But the real challenge comes AFTER the initial flutter of our hearts. How do we love our spouse more each day, so that we can walk through life's challenges hand in hand? My Parenting Poem Month ends off aptly by a poem, written in 2 languages, by a respected sister in Christ, Ann, who casually spells out her little definitions of love. 


Love is...every day's compliments and heartfelt "I love you"
Love is...every day's hugs and kisses.

Love is...taking care of the 6 a.m cries.
Love is...taking responsibility over the family's finances.

Love is...asking "is there more?" after complaints.
Love is...making me the priority everyday.

Love is...the well planned getaway for two.
Love also is...the chat over sunset on the couch.

Love is..."I'll get take out" during one of those days.
Love is..."thank you for dinner" for the simplest of meals.

Love is...finding out four hours flew  by.
Love is...bringing up a new topic even after lights out.

Love is...sharing the Spirit's promptings.
Love is...baring the soul's condition.

Love is...over the top passions.
Love also is...sweet ordinaries.

Love is...praying together every night.
Love is...celebrating every year.

Love is...after 12 years of marriage
Still feeling...Yeah...I do like you.


Writer of the poem Ann, and her lovely hubby Tim

愛。是每一天的讚美及由衷的「我愛你」。
愛。是每一日的擁抱及親吻。

愛。是每一早上照顧六點鐘哭醒的小娃。
愛。是擔起這家的經濟責任。

愛。是投訴一篇後的「還有嗎?」
愛。是每天作「你是重心」的決定。

愛。是精心預備的兩人度假。
愛。也是兩個人在沙發上看夕陽聊天。

愛。是懷孕時的「今天不要煮了」
愛。是對每天的粗茶淡飯說「謝謝!好吃!」

愛。是有說有笑後發現竟然過了四個小時。
愛。是晚安,熄燈後的又再最後話題。

愛。是聖靈感動時可以分享。
愛。是靈命枯乾時可以坦白。

愛。是轟轟烈烈的熱情。
愛。也是平淡中的甜蜜。

愛。是每晚的禱告。
愛。是每年的紀念。

愛。是12年的婚姻
還是覺得。。就是喜歡你。


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Parenting Poem Month is not about parents writing for the sake of writing. Such emotions cannot be faked, and you will not be able to write phrases like these without experiencing them yourselves.

If you missed our other pieces, here's where to catch them:

Friday, September 25, 2015

Birthday Letters from Daddy - Ellie turns 1

Our little celebration at home on the actual day
Dear Ellie

Before you, there was only Noah. Your korkor had Mummy and Daddy exclusively to himself, every moment, everyday. Looking back at the past year, the overwhelming emotion I have is a lot of apologies.

You did not wake up in the morning with Daddy on one side and Mummy on the other.

You did not listen to Daddy sing softly into your ear to coax you to sleep.

You hardly ate food specially planned and cooked for you by Daddy.

You hardly enjoyed any showers given to you by Daddy.

You hardly spent any actual time with Daddy since Day 1.

Being the little one in our house, you have been forced to share right from the start -- Daddy and Mummy's time, the clothes you wear, the books you read, the toys you play with.

Luckily, we are blessed that you have a big heart. You beam at me with love in your eyes even if I didn't do much for you. The cheeky, feisty streak that you are developing is also a welcome addition to the house formerly completely owned by your possessive brother.

You are such a precious little lady, and that's why, on the week leading up to your 1st birthday, Daddy and Mummy planned a whole week of activities to make sure your special moment is properly celebrated. Every single guest at your birthday party was hand-picked by Daddy and Mummy. They represent completely, the people who have showered you with love and welcomes into their houses in the past year, plus Daddy's special friend from Singapore who made it a special effort to be present.

What a cheeky pose from you, at Uncle Romans' house before going for your birthday photoshoot

Your birthday party at Champions Restaurant!

Your emotions swung from the highest
To the lowest 
You had what could be the most incredible-looking nyonya kueh cake for a 1-year old in recent history

All our lovely guests

Daddy promises you that from now onwards, I will make up for lost time. You will see more of me and do more things with me. I also hope that you will grow into a toddler bursting with positive energy, surrounded every moment by the boundless love showered on you by Daddy, Mummy and korkor.

Happy Birthday Ellie.

Love,
Daddy

PS. Special thanks to Jacqueline for making the party such a great one, and Romans for the beautiful pictures.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Itim Lamoon: Traditional Thai flavours frozen in Premium Ice Cream

Slightly less than 2 weeks ago, during my weekly visit to Mega Bang Na, I chanced upon an ice cream stall like no other. It looked rustic, playful and vintage all at the same time, and after tasting their concoctions, a wave of excitement rushed through my brain, as it's been a while since a F&B concept in Bangkok grabbed my attention in such a manner.

Itim Lamoon's shop front at Mega Bang Na
Think of Thai sweets and you can come up with a few names. Mango Sticky Rice, Thai Durian, Coconut and the ever-reliable Thai iced tea. But having lived here for almost 6 years, there is much, much more. Take Yakult for example. Back in Singapore, we are used to Yakult being sold everywhere in assorted flavours, but here in Thailand, Yakult cannot be found anywhere readily. There is only 1 flavour, the original, in a tiny bottle, which can only be purchased when the Yakult lady appears in your neighbourhood. I reckon if I were a little boy in Bangkok, I will be waiting eagerly for this particular lady to appear at my doorstep everyday to have my favourite drink.

Yesterday, I spoke to Danupon (more affectionately known as Moo), the owner of Itim Lamoon, and was suitably satisfied to understand that his concept is to weave together the childhood memories of local adults and present them in the form of premium ice cream. His first signatures were coconut cream, Thai tea and Milo, and he slowly came up with more and more flavours, most of which carry a distinctive Thai soul. Some interesting ones will be the Thai coffee (Oliang), Taro coconut, Sala(a red syrup carrying a similar identity to rose syrup in Singapore but tastes different) cider with Lime, Rum and Raisin (which uses locally-famous Sangsom Thai rum) and even a Red Bull sorbet.

Even his toppings have a vintage feel about them, from crispy dough fritters to mug bean to rainbow sugar

Moo shared with me that his biggest challenge was to convince the Thai locals that local Thai flavours are not always cheap, as even though he tries to emulate traditional tastes, he uses imported raw material to ensure his ice cream are as good as the premium home-made ice cream we can find in other more internationally-established dessert shops. As a foreigner, however, I feel that spending 49THB on a scoop of good quality ice-cream (with a free topping, no less) that tastes uniquely Thai is more than worth it.


The ice-cream shop is designed to look like a vintage playground. Kids are encouraged to play with all their toys.

Aside of selling ice cream by the scoop, Itim Lamoon also comes up with their own vintage sundaes and drinks, all of which carry a Thai traditional flair as well.

Can you recognize this character from Kamen Riders?

One of their specialties really surprised me. I bet most of you understand Affogato as an Italian dessert that involves pouring richly aromatic espresso over some gooey vanilla Gelato. What if I told you the Lamoon Affogato is pouring rich Thai kopi-O called O-liang over their signature creamy coconut ice-cream?

Lamoon Affogato looks and tastes charming

The main reason why I have such a strong feeling over Itim Lamoon is because After You and Mr Jones Orphanage have been hogging the Thai dessert headlines for far too long. Both have legitimate reasons for success, with Mr Jones Orphanage depending more on their atmosphere than cakes to attract customers. However, both these big names have earned their reputation recommending foreign-style desserts to the public. Finally, Itim Lamoon has a concept that brings local traditional desserts to the next level, packaging it in a attractive way, yet versatile enough to refresh their flavours as frequently as they wish.

All said and done, at this moment, Itim Lamoon is certainly not the finished product yet. The ice cream is still a wee bit too sweet for my non-Thai palate, and I do wish they eventually come up with a proper ice-cream shop that allows customers to enjoy their pretty desserts like the Lamoon Affogato in a more comfortable space with their whole family. I also think they should start considering opening stalls in places where tourists have more access to.

If you do manage to see it though, please give it a shot, as it might transport you back to your long-lost childhood. The Stranger in Bangkok's favourite flavours are Thai Tea and Yakult Jelly.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Parenting Poem Week: The Singlish aka SG50 chapter

Parenting is not a bed of roses, for every beautiful moment that tugs our heartstrings, there might be more than one contrasting moment of complete frustration, which I believe, will be quickly forgotten, or not.

So here's my rendition of one such instance, spoken silently in my brain, now also silently on cyberspace, in a language that best suits the occasion:




The day is great the sun is high
Finally the clothes can dry

Then someone nudged me on my thigh
"Daddy Daddy, I just bang sai."

Wife look at me, I say chin chye*
But deep inside, I want to cry

Ripped off diaper, he said “Wa!”
Ohhhh that smell
Really can die

“Poopoo mountain, I so lihai!”
Wah lau eh, sibey kana sai


Nuff said. Photo Credit: Busy Chris

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Parenting Poem Month is not about parents writing for the sake of writing. Such emotions cannot be faked, and you will not be able to write phrases like these without experiencing them yourselves.

If you missed our other pieces, here's where to catch them:

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Parenting Poem Month: The Emotional Chapter

I might regret not putting in 20 more hours a week in the office.

I might regret not visiting my customers more often. 

I might regret not going out enough with my friends, who deserve more of my attention. 

I might regret not going to more networking events to know more business associates. 

I might regret not putting in all my time to try push my career to its ultimate limit.

I might regret not trying harder to earn more money.

I will regret not spending more time with my parents.

But what I will definitely not regret, is to have spent as much time as I could, with my growing kids.

Daddies and mummies out there, take a deep breath and devour every heart-felt emotion in this beautiful poem written by my friend Constance last night. If you have walked the path of parenthood, like me and her, I am sure you will be touched by every word, and every phrase:

One day you will no longer be little
You may be so busy that you might forget to doodle

The tiny notes we write for each other
May become fewer but still none the sweeter

My little ones chasing butterflies
Will one day grow, with wings bigger than mine

The endless hours we spend doing everything and nothing
May become rare, all the more precious, these moments fleeting

But for now you are still little
And not so big that I can no longer cradle

Though your big voices are demanding your rights
Your small bodies still want hugs real tight

While you now do so much with your friends or alone
My time is still something that you wish to own

There is no one parent who looks back and lament
"I spent too much time on my kids."

For there will surely be some regret,
if you don't, while you can.

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Parenting Poem Month is not about parents writing for the sake of writing. Such emotions cannot be faked, and you will not be able to write phrases like these without experiencing them yourselves.

So thank you my friend Constance, for inspiring me, and inspiring all parents reading this beautiful poem of yours.

*wipes tears*


Monday, August 31, 2015

Singapore Food in Bangkok: Champions Restaurant and Sports Bar

Update 27th June 2016:


A week ago, I was at the new Champions Bar at Suan Lum Night Bazaar Ratchadpisek watching Zlatan's 3rd-last game for Sweden and felt the need to update you guys on how the new Champions looked.

The indoor area which has air-conditioning and also live music every Thursday
Outdoor area in front of the bar

With the opening of their sister restaurant Talay Zaa a few doors away, Champions Bar has now become possibly the only place in the world that allows you to have standard beer, cocktail, pub grub, authentic Singaporean cuisine (see below) and fresh Thai seafood dishes (from Talay Zaa) all on the same table in a sports bar setting. No kidding!

Best Hokkien Mee in town hands-down, and much better than the average plate in Singapore too!


Original review:


In the most unlikeliest of places, probably the most authentic-tasting Singaporean food in downtown Bangkok has been found. Previously Bangkok's Manchester United Cafe, Champions Restaurant and Sports Bar looks like the place to be with your pals who want to down some draught beer while watching their favourite football match. You could do that, but what if you could also have some Singapore Laksa or Char Kway Teow while doing so, 24 hours a day, everyday?

How it looks in the day

Yesterday, with my family and a few Singaporean friends, we hopped down to Champions Restaurant on Sukhumvit Soi 11 just in time for their popiah party (this either needs to be ordered in advance or you need to get REALLY lucky, like us). What I loved about the popiah party was that they let us wrap the rolls ourselves so we could do it to our personal preferences.They also have a Singapore food brunch buffet every Sunday so we got to enjoy a plethora of different dishes.

Popiah party!
Probably the dish I enjoyed the most on a day I had to eat with Noah sitting on me the whole time
New dish on the block, Mee Siam, tasty and tangy
They have a good chicken rice as well

Char Kway Teow with huge fresh cockles which are not too raw when served
Prawn noodles, with a clear robust broth and noodles nicely al dente (very important for me)

If you are a Singaporean/Malaysian living in Bangkok, and have been craving for some authentic flavours from home, please trust me that at Champions Restaurant, every dish you get will be better than the average plate you order in the hawker centres in Singapore. Aside of the dishes I ate yesterday, they have other Singaporean favourites like Laksa, Nasi Lemak and Chicken Curry too. I would loved to have tried them all, but God only gave me one tummy, shall save them for my next visit!

So now to my absolute favourite dish from Champions. Even though I have never been a really big fan of curry puff, I frequently eat it when I was in Singapore. Thus, it shocked me when a recent taste-test conducted from the Straits Times yielded Polar to have the best curry puffs in Singapore. I certainly feel that the ones from Champions are more enjoyable!

Soft flavourful curry chicken and potato with a quarter of a hard-boiled egg, yummy!

Are you tempted yet?



stranger in bangkok

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