Friday, July 15, 2016

SHAOLIN - Witnessing the esteemed Martial Arts form Live

I'm not a super Kung Fu fan, but at the preview, I saw what it was all about - the human spirit.

It's incredible how disciplined training of the body and mind can inspire great feats. I was honoured to be in the presence of such greatness, and the fact that the performers were sharing something special to them - it wasn't just tricks. It also hinted at their way of life.

During the media call I this caught my eye:


And with that I decided to have a little chat with the performer:

Hi. What's your name and how old are you?

Shi Miao Jia Ming. I'm 17.

How long have you been practising KungFu?

7 years.

How did you start?

*shuffles a tad awkwardly*

What do you like most about performing?

Doing air flips.

How do you feel when you're on stage? Do you get nervous?

I don't get nervous.

Have you performed many times?


What do you hope the audience will take away from your performance? Or how do you hope they'd feel?


As you can tell, he didn't say very much. If anything, the experience of talking to him just shrouded the Shaolin martial arts in more mystery.

Holding two buckets of water in this position is already a feat, but just look at his feet.

The Show

There's a storyline that takes you through the Shaolin temple's uneasy relationship with Chinese monarchy.

The performers were earnest and brought the energy. The show featured many styles familiar to casual fans of KungFu movies - the monkey was the most memorable, followed by one that resembled Drunken Boxing.

They also used meditation, and qi, concentrating their energy and gathering their strength for some incredible stunts like laying on blades, a bed of nails and having someone hammer a brick on their stomach to bits.

Just :O

My one gripe is that, some of the stunts, despite being incredible, and quite a sight to witness live, have been featured in Chinese movies. It wasn't as fresh as it could've been.

Who should watch it?

Family-friendly, and especially awesome if you're a fan of Shaolin, Kung Fu and Wushu. They're definitely at the top of their game.



With the code "JASONK", you get a seat upgrade (that means if you buy a Cat A ticket, you get bumped up to VIP!) and a 15% discount. You can get them here.

Showing at MasterCard Theatres, Marina Bay Sands from now till 31 July.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

So You Want to Pair Beer with Food? Here's a Beer Pairing Menu of Delicious French Bites

Bistro French Quays unveils a French Beer Pairing menu for Kronenbourg

It's more often we hear about wine pairing than beer pairing, so when Bistro French Quays came up with a beer-pairing menu featuring French food, I jumped at the chance to speak to Chef Chamara Fonseka, the brains behind this selection of awesomeness.

Unlike Like me, Chef Cham enjoys beer and he drinks not to get drunk, but because he really likes the taste of beer. When he was exploring what to include, he looked at dishes that weren't oily or deep fried, unlike your standard chicken wings. Rustic French food, he decided, was the way to go. Not coincidentally, it also complements his skills as he's specialised in French cuisine for more than a decade! 

He described Kronenbourg as fruity, and not too alcoholic in taste (It does, however, have a decent alcohol level. I had half a pint and my face was so red when I took a selfie with him I refuse to post it anywhere). To match that, he came up with food that was light (in taste), a tad fruity, a tad sour, and for sharing, as he pictures people chilling out with beer and having these light (not too filling) delights with a group of friends. Although I'm sure if you were having these with your lover, they won't make your date any less romantic. 

And so the 5 stars of the Beer Pairing menu:

Burgundy Escargots - $11

Pretty standard French fare, but I liked how the crispy smell of garlic crept up invitingly, calling out to me to eat some snails. Instantly satisfying.

Crab Cakes, Anchovy & Vitello - $18

Subtle, tasty, well-balanced, the crab cakes were pretty solid. Pleasantly surprised to cut open and see it packed with crab meat. The real stuff. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

Foie Gras Torchon - $22

This is when things started to get interesting. This foie gras was spectacular and memorable. True to his word, Chef Cham made this fruity - it tasted preciously good. You could taste, the white wine, the apple marmalade. It melted in my mouth. I felt like royalty. This is why people eat foie gras. And it doesn't get much better than this. Layered. Sweet. This was one that I thought truly complemented the Kronenbourg. Work of ART.

Roasted Frog Legs - $27

When we have frog legs we expect it to taste like chicken. When it's pan-fried to this beautiful shade of golden brown, it even looks like chicken. But make no mistake. It. Is. Not. Chicken. Underpromise, overdeliver - this was crazy good - fresh, juicy and with the taste of the sea. 

For once in my life I actually had frog legs that tasted like seafood. It was incredible.

Pear, Fig and Mirabelle Tart - $22

If you're a fan of blue cheese, this is a must-try. It's mind-blowing! I loved the pungent smell of blue cheese and cutting into it reveals tasty bits of pear and it had a gorgeous, charming aftertaste of mirabelle. Mirabelle, you can't really taste, but there's that lingering aroma and fragrance, that just makes it so satisfying. As a whole it tastes very complex and really opened my palette. It's also one of the creations Chef Cham is most proud of, and I was happy to tell him that he hit the jackpot with this one.

However being annoying, I of course, questioned him on the plating, which isn't very typical of a dessert. (And hence as a photo it doesn't stand out compared to the rest, but that might just be my skills.) Chef Cham skilfully answered that he wanted this dessert to be more communal. And it's quite power-packed, gelat, so yah you should share it!  

It was a great selection, with something for everyone. Also, you get to dine by the marina waterfront with a pretty neat view of Sentosa Cove:

The sensation of Beer Pairing
Kronenbourg Blanc is smooth and refreshing, so it goes well with the food, especially the fruitier, cistrus-tasting ones. Pairing makes the experience more memorable because as I'm sitting here, typing this a week later, I can remember how, especially for the Foie Gras, the sour taste played off real well with the beer.

Well, there's no point sharing this without giving you a chance to taste it for yourself, so check out this Facebook contest hosted by Kronenbourg to win a chance to taste everything on the beer pairing menu:

If you liked this post, follow me on Instagram. I'll take that as payment any day. 

[Food Tasting; Not a sponsored post]

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

That time when I was a shirtless window cleaner

Late last year I was coerced bribed persuaded made to do a photoshoot where I had to be a shirtless window cleaner.

So I obliged.

Rehearsing for the real thing.

I was awkward, stiff. I've never cleaned a window before. And it's not like there was a window for me to clean. There's this horrible video of me swinging by entire body from left to right so that I wouldn't look like a block of wood. It'd make a great gif if I knew how to make gifs. But I think that embarrassment needs to be locked away permanently. Until I can get over the trauma. I think. Which might be never.

The coercer was clearer very amused with her brilliant idea:

I was a bit less amused.

So the project took a long while in gestation and it finally came out a month or so ago. I'm only writing about it now because I'm lazy but...!

The reason I was up for it, because it was an amazing opportunity to be part of this amazing project: The Canon_Instazoom Instagram - 

To show off Canon's powerful zoom, they used to tag feature to allow you to zoom into the picture on Instagram.

(insert collective gasp here)

So tapping downtown_chinatown for example, brings you to:

And you can get even closer:

In all, there are 24 hilarious scenarios. Some of my favourite include kimye (Kim K and Kanye), the mermaid on a roof and a troop of zombies. Needless to say, I was massively entertained.

Tag me if you found me.

Happy hunting!


Edit: Here it is anyway -

Monday, May 09, 2016

Five Reasons to Catch The Illusionists Live at MBS


You've caught magic movie Now You See Me, and you suspended your disbelief because anything is possible in the cinematic universe. But The Illusionists is a different ball game. Are you prepared to accept the impossible happening in front of your very eyes?

Wee Keong and I with the extremely talented bunch of magicians

I caught The Illusionists on their opening night at MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands. It was epic and here's why:

1. Not one, not two, not three, but EIGHT of them take the stage

Eight talents from all over the world specialising in different fields magic take the stage in one night., Their look, accents, and representation from across the globe made the show even more exotic, leveling up its mystique.

You've got The Clairvoyants, who can tell what objects (down to minute numbers that no one else would be able to see) being carried by the audience; The Manipulator, who does the most amazing card tricks; the Alchemist who transformed tissue into a moving bird hopping on his arm; the Eccentric from USA who did a mash-up of juggling, acrobatics and magic that drew some of the greatest applause from the audience. Especially considering his age, he delivered some of the most visibly physically-demanding segment of the night.

2. Death-defying, but not dark

Impaling a pretty lady on a vertical metal spike and sawing a healthcare professional in half sounds like the stuff of nightmares. (If that's your fantasy, then get away from me.) The Illusionists are not afraid to go there, but they've thrown in a couple of toe-tickling bits for good measure. The end product is something that's intense but hugely entertaining and fun to watch.

3. Hold your breath as The Escapologist breaks free while being submerged inverted in a water tank

A photo posted by Krendl Magic (@krendl_magic) on

Skeptics might think picking locks with a paper clip isn't a magic trick but try picking a whole lot of them while holding your breath for four minutes. That's damn near impossible, and as real as magic gets for me. (That's The Escapologist's IG btw! Check him out!)

4. Crack your head figuring out the trick behind the tricks

The Prestige starring Hugh Jackman
Any one who has caught The Prestige (one of my fav movies of all time) would look at illusions with vicious cynicism. Trapdoors, hidden compartments, killing animals, cloning - nothing is too much to deceive, and, get a reaction from the audience. But okay this is real life, so I'm guessing it's not that extreme. Most of the time though , they are so well-executed, happening at a fraction of a second, so even if you could guess what's going on, you'd never be able to do it, because they are so, so, so good.

You'd be amazed.

5. Everybody performs a magic trick for themselves

Don't want to give the game away, but The Master Magician conducts a magician masterclass. Some time during the show, he gets every one in the audience to follow his instructions, and perform one magic trick.

I was pretty amazed that this happened, right in my very own hands:

This guy pictured happens to be said Master Magician Luis De Matos who hails from Portugal. He is as hilarious as he is handsome.

A photo posted by Luis de Matos (@luis_de_matos) on

The show runs till 15 May; that's this Sunday! For tickets, take a look at this link. It might help you get 30% off!

Ta-dah! Opening act - we present "The Illusionist".

Thank you so much Base Entertainment Asia for giving me the opportunity to witness such wonder. :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Five things to do in Pattaya ranked from meh to OMFG

AirAsia: whitehot_surfer, Pattaya needs someone who is not white, not hot, not a surfer, and we think you'd be the perfect fit.
Le me: Sure, but only if I get food on the plane.
AirAsia: Here are your flight details.  
That wasn't exactly how it went down, but that doesn't matter cos I went, I'm back, and here are five things you can check out in Pattaya, because everyone has been to Bangkok and Phuket more times than I have fingers:

5. Pattaya Floating Market - meh

The interesting thing about Pattaya Floating Market, from what I heard, is that it's totally man-made. They've decided to come up with a floating market and BAM, they made it happen. There you go. A floating market.

One of the highlights is that the market sells goods from the four major regions of Thailand. I wasn't discerning enough to tell the difference, but they've got a lot going on. I would say that it isn't as exciting as Bangkok's Damneon Saduak Floating Market, but go there on an empty stomach and it could be worth your time.

4. A La Campagne - hey

A La Campagne is a newly-opened area, kind of like an Alice-in-Wonderland place, with western-styled architecture, a pretty neat garden, and when I snuck around, I even found a small farm.

The gorgeous place boasts restaurant Somtum Villa and cafe Tea Factory, good places to hide away from the searing heat especially if you want to spend the afternoon chilling.

There's this pork dish in Somtum Villa that gets my mouth watering each time I think of it, and the tea at Tea Factory is really special. They've got great variety and aren't afraid to up the zestiness with citrus fruit. Amazing.

3. Walking Street - Ooh

This is where the party's at! Flanked by seemingly endless bars and pubs, Walking Street is totally up my alley. For SGD$2 I got a bottle of Heineken from 7-11, and we walked down the bustling street that really came alive with its touts, and very strangely, Russian establishments. I was told that there used to be way more Russian businesses here, but they packed up and left after a drop in currency. Their influence is still strong. You don't need to look hard to find bars with Caucasian pole dancers.

It's busy during the week days but I think it hits level cray cray during the weekends. If anything, plan for a Friday night there and challenge yourself to take a shot at every bar/club you enter.

I'm betting you won't make it out alive.

2. Tiffany Show - OMG

You have to see it to believe it.

Granted, I've never been to a ladyboy show, ever, but the Tiffany Show is known as the premium show out of the three in Pattaya, and probably the most famous in Asia. (Lots of PRC tourists there.) It's been entertaining crowds for 40 years, and we were entertained as hell from beginning to end.

The lip-sync performances spanned eras and cultures, borrowing everything from ancient Chinese and Korean tunes and props, to popular Indian music, then craftily sneaking in a scene from Moulin Rouge. I cheered like crazy especially at the Jolin Tsai mashup!

Just, really, be prepared to be blown away. The magnitude of the production was incredible - they must have had an entire stadium backstage to accommodate everything they were throwing on stage.

One of the acts that blew me away was this two-faced actor, singing a duet about how the man was cheating. Yes. One person. Two personalities. Left face, a poised lady, blonde hair, dress. Right face, man, macho, egoistical. Etched in my memory.

There are men, there are women and then they are ladyboys. The beauty, the confidence, the style, the dance, the grace. I cannot.

1. Cartoon Network Amazone - OMFG

If I had only one day, I would just spend it here.

Go in a group. A group of four would be perfect. If the group of four looks this good, even better.

I didn't expect much from Cartoon Network Amazone, but it has (almost) everything. It was thrilling without being too scary, it was fun, it was relaxing. There was almost no queue when we were there (on a weekday).

It's different from Adventure Cove. There were hell a lot more steps to climb for the slides. It was quite insane.

One of the highlights was this capsule that you had to enter, and then the trapdoor opens from under you and you slide all the way out... Epic.


Suphattra Land Fruit Garden - Rayong

I didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did. It's a bit of a drive from Pattaya, but Rayong is beautiful and Suphattra Land Fruit Garden is less like a garden and more like an enormous farm. For city-folk, the experience of looking at various fruit trees and better still, plucking and eating them is one of life's great pleasures that we've been deprived of.

The best part was gobbling everything in sight. There's more than one area that you can get to taste the produce. Some of the fruits and vegetables even get made into salad so you can shove a variety of fresh goodness into your mouth all at once.

For more pics of this place, click here.

There's definitely a lot more in Pattaya to discover, such as The Sanctuary of Truth and Silverlake Winery. The province is shaping up to become a great destination that's slightly off-the-beaten-path, and showcasing a different side of Thailand that might surprise you.

It was an awesome trip and here's a shoutout to my three companions. THANKS FOR BEING SO GORGEOUS AND MAKING ME FEEL BAD ABOUT MYSELF

All this would not have been possible without the awesome, incredible AirAsia. I mean, just look at the in-flight entertainment:

I'm not being sarcastic. It. Was. So. Good.

I don't need a movies or wifi. I can just read or watch shows on my tablet. BUT I cannot live without food on the plane. Time passes faster when I'm eating. I feel less nauseous, airsick, and I don't even need to remind myself to stay hydrated. This, is everything.

Also a huge thank you to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Singapore.

The last time I counted, this is my tenth trip to Thailand.

1 time in Junior College for OCIP to BKK and Chiang Mai;
4 times to BKK with my army friends, my family, and two Songkrans;
1 time to BKK and Rayong for company cohesion;
3 times to Phuket - JC friend, secondary school friend, ex-date...

Which makes this trip to Pattaya MY TENTH TIME TO THAILAND.

As you can tell. I'm a huge fan.

Can't wait to be back.

Friday, March 04, 2016

What I think of this whole Zexun vs AIA nonsense

So this happened:

If you need the full thing the Facebook post is here and mothership got it too.

I would like to congratulate him for pushing the self-destruct button.

Firstly, it's not like they were asking him to be a photographer for a campaign for free. He had already taken the photo. They saw that it tied in to their brand messages. They asked nicely if he would mind if they used it.

It was also a huge missed opportunity for him to state how much you would like to charge for that photo. How about "Hi AIA. I'm delighted that you think highly of me and my Instagram feed. I charge $500 per picture. Hope to hear from you soon."

He decided, instead, that going full-on bitch mode was the best way to respond.

Corporations with money to spend on creatives are never going to go near him, ever.

His disgusting attitude is not going to help the creative community, and he would've never gotten such public attention had he not had this epic meltdown

I could take a selfie and get more likes than you on Instagram. Your insta-game is not that strong brah.

His stand is that "companies should not ask for free photos with only credit and perceived exposure being given". I don't see what's wrong with this. What if the content creator was looking for a chance for his work to travel, to be seen by more people? What if it's just for fun, like collaborations usually are? What if it was by chance, the coincidental, magical fit of the same aesthetic?

It shouldn't be the case but in the creative community, we sometimes work for free, even for commercial projects. I've taken part in a government video by a creative agency - for free. I've done photoshoots for free, for no reason other than the creative team behind it was my friend, the project was interesting and I believed in the vision. I collaborated with a photographer this morning on a rooftop under the hot sun. His work ethic was amazing. If I had a paid gig, I'd look for him to work with him again.

Sure, it's not going to put food on the table. As if you're the only one with that problem.

Creatives, comms, PR, marketing, we are all part of the same ecosystem. We work together. We practically depend on the same things to make a living, all of us. Now he has thrown the people working alongside him under the bus. On a fucking Friday evening, he forced Dstnct, who handles social media for AIA, to come up with a reply, and probably riled up AIA's entire marketing and comms team, and their management, to do crisis handling.

Are you kidding me?!

I have great respect for great photographers.

But I have more respect for people who aren't bitches.

PS: His friend replied -  I think they confused "photographers" with photographers. With the rise of smartphone cameras and Instagram, the ordinary man can create supposedly beautiful pictures without much experience. They become "photographers". 

From what I understand, AIA is trying to reach out to these ordinary people who don't mind sharing their photos because they don't place a high implicit value on their own pictures. You are different because your work is of true value. I think they failed to understand the distinction

Elitist fucks, the lot of them.