Monday, February 25, 2013

Batam [18Feb-19Feb]

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My off days are fixed on Sunday/Mondays until May but I happened to get a Tuesday off because a shift swap with my colleague. So.. I decided to make an impromptu trip to Batam to visit Santi & Welly!

Both of them are working there now. Welly is shuttling between Batam and Singapore for work but we don't have the time to meet up cos his schedule is super packed and my work schedule is weird (night shift). Santi doesn't have the weekends off so I can't go in together with Le bf cos he is off on weekends. Yes, it's a nightmare trying to coordinate everyone's schedules.. that's why it's easier to retain friendships and have frequent meetups when you are in school cos everyone is having the same schedule.

Anyways, I woke up in the morning and bought the ferry tickets online. I took the Sentosa Monorail to RWS just to buy Garrett's Popcorn for both of them cos it's their favourite! Yes, I am such a wonderful friend.. ^_^ Then I went to Cold Storage to tabao Yusheng, followed by Bee Chiang Hiang to buy Bak Kwa. It's a rush rush rush buying trip because the shops are located all around the place and I only had less than 1.5hrs to buy everything before the final call of my ferry departure! But I made it in the end with time to spare.. thank God for long legs! Haha!

Santi booked the room for me and both of them were to meet me in my room cos they only finished work at 6pm but I will arrive before 5pm. I bravely took the taxi myself from the ferry terminal to the hotel. Well, it's quite impressive ok! Cos throughout the ride the taxi driver kept trying to chat with me in Bahasa Indonesia and I was cracking my brain on how to reply him -- which I managed lah, with the lousy 8 lessons I took. 

I don't know why but I really like Bahasa Indonesia a lot! I like the way they speak and I like the way the words and intonations sound. When I have the chance, I will move to Batam for 1 month to just stay there and pick up the language. Like seriously. It won't be a big problem since there's lots of Chinese living there and their dialect are predominantly Teochew! Welly is Cantonese and he said he's a minority there cos most Chinese are Teochew. Haha! Santi is Teochew too and she has the same surname as me! Which makes me wonder.. are most people with the surname Tay, Teochew too?

I arrived at the hotel, Harmoni Suites and checked in. Arranged all the presents I bought for them nicely on the table.. including gifts we bought from our US trip and their Xmas present.


I am impressed with the extra bed! It's not those dodgy lousy type, but a proper mattress! There's a flat screen TV, a full size cupboard, a functional kitchen with microwave, kettle, stove, pots, pans and utensils, and a spacious toilet with a bathtub. Very nice! Well, it's not as new as the iHotel but it's big and there's a kitchen (which we didn't use) and it's cheaper. 

Santi arrived first! I gave her their Christmas present which Le bf and I bought for her and Welly and she's so happy! Haha! We never meet since October 2012!! So it's like forever lah! :(

Ding dong! I went to the door and saw Welly standing outside holding this sign! I laughed so hard I nearly fainted! Made him pose for me again when he's in the room! Haha! He wanted to go to the ferry terminal to pick me up and asked his colleague to print this sign but unfortunately he couldn't leave work early to surprise me.. His colleague asked him who is Jasmine Tay because they did not have a scheduled meet & greet for this customer but Welly just told him not to ask so much and print cos I am a very VVIP. Super kua kua kua lah! 

Welly is a super big American Express fan! Whenever I have AMEX branded merchandise from work, I will give it to him. Stuff like pen, luggage tag, cardholder, etc.. And it comes in useful for him at work cos he said his clients and suppliers treat him nicer when he flash them the AMEX logo on his cardholder when he hands over his namecard! What the..... LOL! Like, when they first meet, they will be kinda sian sian but after he "flash" them, they will widen their eyes and be friendlier. Apparently if you have an AMEX card in Indonesia, it's a super big deal cos only affluent and rich people can sign up for the card. 

LO HEI TIME!

There's no Yusheng in Batam, though there's a lot of Chinese there.. So it's their first and only Lo Hei during this CNY and we did it on the 9th day of the Lunar New Year! :)

There's no Yusheng in China too, if you don't know.. cos Yusheng is a Malaysian dish. Well, people claimed it originated from Singapore but I really don't want to get into that silly argument of who invented what.. It's a Teochew style dish, so most probably the "inventor" is a Teochew.

Our hotel is located just opposite Windsor Square where we usually go for our seafood! Only thing is they recently erected this stupid metal fence in the middle of the road to discourage jaywalkers and we have to walk one big round.... Welly said they know I am coming so they put up the fence for me. Siao! Haha!


Group picture before I dig into my crabs!

OOOOH!

#AchievementunlockedCrabChampion

Super nice dinner but the total amount was doubled than what we normally pay for the same quantity! We got a bill shock but the boss explained cos it's CNY and there's a premium on prices.. well, tell us earlier before we order lah! But it's still nice anyway.. Just that the 7 crabs + 1 plate of Tofu costs around SGD90 which is super expensive in Batam's standard cos their average salary is around 2 million ruppiah, equivalent to SGD260.

Tabaoed my favourite MARTABAK MANIS!! AAAHH!

Yum yum yum yum!!!

I love the cheese flavour! OMG! I want this now!!

Welly and his Towkay pose

We chatted in the room till about 3am while munching on popcorn, bak kwa and martabak manis (super shiok!) before falling asleep.. Welly had to wake up at 7am to take the ferry to Singapore for work but Santi is off on Tuesdays so she can accompany me the whole day! I planned my visit to Santi's off day cos Welly doesn't have an off day. Yes, fuck his life. There's like literally minimal or no employee benefits in Batam (or in most parts of Indonesia). They don't get annual leave in their first year of service. They don't get off days until they are confirmed after 3 months probation. 

Compared to both of them, my work life is really wonderful and I thank God for it. I get 2 days off per week, 21days annual leave and other benefits. My one month salary is their one year's basic salary! But of course our expenses are different, though when you just compare pay to pay it really sucks for them. But thankfully have sales commissions and allowances which is equal or more than their basic, so at least that's not too bad.. But looking at the prices in Batam, even as a Singaporean with my salary standard, I find it not very cheap... imagine for them with their salary standard? The prices in Batam keep going up due to Singaporeans tourists and the locals are suffering cos their salary cannot rise fast enough to match inflation.. 

I really wished with all my heart that they can work in Singapore, but due to government's restrictions on foreigners that wish is literally impossible now cos they already had difficulty securing a work permit before the new stricter regulations. But at least they are working in the same city now instead of being apart cos they are not from the same hometown, and they are happy together now. :) Hope they will get married soon and fulfill their wish to buy a house and do business together in Batam!

We went supermarket shopping - my favourite activity in Batam other than eating! The stuff are seriously cheap and good! OMG! I want to bring back a whole container (those big industrial shipping size) of stuff! I love the little packaging that they have for everything from soap powder to shampoo!

I always thought it's cute until Welly told me solemnly that the reason why everything is so mini sized is not because the locals like to go on holidays so they prefer "travel size" toiletries. It's because they are poor and cannot afford bigger bottles so they can only buy in small quantity. For example the shampoo, there's mini satchels for one time use cos they cannot afford the whole bottle. Super sad right? :( Even the rice.. they don't buy in prepacked quantities like in Singapore.. they sell them by the gram. So if you only have a little money, you can come in and buy one cup at a time for that day's dinner. I don't know how I can live like that.. that's why I love to travel out of Singapore to visit the world because I gain new perspective like that. Well, not all countries are worse off than us, many other countries are richer and more affluent than us but it's poorer countries like these that gives me a reality check that my life is good and I should be thankful for it.

Lunch is Ayam Penyet at Nagoya Hill Shopping centre!

With Santi guniang~

We cabbed to MegaMall (opp the ferry terminal) and I bought Cheese bread from Breadtalk to bring back! You can only find these in Indonesia, not Singapore and it's so annoying cos it's very nice!! In the end I gave Le bf all the bread cos I had food poisoning and I couldn't eat any dairy products. Super sad cos I bought some for myself and some for him. :( But at least he gets to eat it and he said it's very nice.

My favourite dessert from Es Teler 77! Ice Avocado! But I think this is the reason why I got food poisoning.. The ice might be contaminated or something (and I had refills of ice!!!).

Love this too! Bread with cheese, butter & condensed milk!

I love their cheese-foods! Murtabak, bread.. they call cheese "Keju" in Bahasa Indonesia . I love anything that's Keju! Hahahahaha! It's just shredded Kraft block cheese.. but it's nice lah.

So that concludes my very short Batam trip! Hope I can go back real soon and visit! Miss them already!!
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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Happy Birthday to Cheryl!

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Cheryl's birthday is on the 21st Feb and she had a birthday dinner with Le bf & Pamela. I skipped dinner cos I am working the night shift and I really don't have the energy to get out of bed to dress up to go.. Moreover I had food poisoning since I returned from Batam and my appetite has been horrible the past few days. Add my dry cough & flu into the mix.... bad bad bad.

Whenever someone is having a birthday in the Chew Family, they get to choose the location for a family lunch/dinner and Mama & Papa Chew pays for the meal. Last year, Le bf's birthday was at Taste Paradise Ion (I chose that for him cos he loves Dim Sum). Pamela's birthday was at Brussels Sprouts East Coast and this time Cheryl chose Margarita's at Dempsey Hill!

Luckily my bout of food poisoning is over though so I can join them for dinner! :)


Patrick in Le bf's car boot!

Le bf and I bought this balloon from PartyCity in Las Vegas. I love love love that store! You can buy their items online at Partycity.com but it's so much better to be able to see and touch the items in the shop! I frequent their website so often that I actually can memorize the prices and range they have! Same price online and in stores and they always have special coupons and deals. :)

Cheryl loves Patrick Starfish! We wanted to buy a Starfish figurine for her but it was out of stock and the backorder date is damn far.. So we gave her the balloon and a big angbao so she can go buy whatever she likes.. But knowing her I think she'll most probably save up the money. Haha! Last year we gave Cheryl a Fossil watch. Le bf said he never give his sisters presents until we are together.. To them, birthdays are not such a big deal, that's why they don't give each other presents and they only go out for a meal together... 

Things are gonna change with me around! Birthdays are huge to me! I love birthdays and I love celebrations! Everyone in the family (including Tita, their domestic helper) gets a present during their birthday from both of us! ^_^ Le bf indulges in me cos he knows how important birthdays are to me.

Cheryl's best friend bought a birthday cake for her and waited at home to surprise her! So sweet right! :)

Birthday girl with Patrick & Brownie!

Make a wish make a wish!!!

Pam is so naughty! Haha!

Family picture! :)
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Day 2 of Chinese New Year

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Happy New Year everyone!

This is one of the best CNY I ever had! Not the conventional one with gambling, noisy gatherings and angbaos (I did not receive a single Angbao, but I already outgrew that stage long ago), but a cosy one spent with Le bf and his family!

We had steamboat on CNY eve and it was so yummy!! So much food until we had no space on the table! T_T"

The Chew family can't go house visiting cos Ahmah passed away in December. I have seen the entire Chew clan, but not Mama Chew's family members.. so I am actually thankful that I am spared the "interviews" from Mama Chew's family members until next year. =X

I had a few days off so the past few days I've been spending with Le bf at his house.. just lazing around, napping, watching him play his game, playing games together on Wii, eating, relax.. Happy and nua times! :)


First time at Equinox with Pam & Cheryl!

Since Papa & Mama Chew has plans today and won't be home the entire day, we decided to go for High Tea! Just the 4 of us! The last time we went out together was last year, March... Our schedules kept clashing so I am glad we finally can go out together yesterday!

Since it's a last minute decision, we really don't know where to go.. Le bf suggested Equinox cos both Cheryl & Pam have not visited it before. Le bf and I always frequent Equinox cos he has the "Feed at Raffles" card which gives us discounts when we dine there. Recently we did not go as often as I am in the night shift now and the timing just sucks big time.

Thank you Le bf for treating us! ^___^ Such a sweet kor kor + boyfriend. Hee!

There are some specialty items that are not normally featured in the usual High Tea (and they marked up the price too. Annoying cos I asked if there's a price difference when I made reservations and the idiot girl told me "It's the same price". Imagine my annoyance when the bill came!)

Orange Mini Tarts

Strawberry Shortcake with Snake chocolates

It's usually Creme Brulee or Macaroons. 
I prefer the Creme Brulee.

Afterwards we walked around Raffles City Shopping Mall a bit before heading home.. on the way home, Cheryl said she wanna tabao Carrot Cake from East Coast Hawker Centre.. I had craving for satay, so I went to tabao Satay! :)

Bought from the famous Haron Satay stall. Luckily the wait is just 10mins cos they are so popular, they just cook without taking orders cos the satays just fly off their tray! 

The carrot cake that Cheryl bought was so yummy! :)

We also "Lou Hei"! I bought this Yusheng from the basement supermarket at Raffles City Shopping Mall before we head home.

After I set up all the food on the table, Papa & Mama Chew came back from their concert! So lucky cos it was already 9pm and they wanted to come back and eat bread cos lazy to go out and have a late dinner.. but luckily we had food to share! Papa Chew was happy cos he don't have to eat bread! Hahahahhaa!
After dinner, 3 of us (Cheryl, Le bf and me) played Just Dance and Mario Party on Le bf's Wii. I am super competitive when it comes to game so I was super happy when I won all the Mario Party games! Well, as for Just Dance, I am the worst player cos my hand-eye-leg coordination is just damn lousy. :(

My outfit for playing the games..! LOL!

 I didn't bring any extra clothes so I wore Le bf's army tee and his sleeping shorts cos it's so difficult and uncomfortable to dance in a dress. Heh! :D

My pretty dress before I changed out of it..
I was wearing the dress I bought in Vegas! :) 
New dress for a New Year!
Picture of my Chio hair!

So happy with my hair colour! ^_^ It's been ages since I last put makeup. So effing lazy. Le bf prefers me without it anyway. LOL!

Hope you had a great rest like me! :)
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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Brownie's Raincoat

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Mama Chew likes to dress Brownie up in dresses. Thing is, Brownie is a boy! But he has all these cute frilly pink dresses! Cracks me up everytime I see him in a dress.. He actually enjoys wearing clothes! Le bf says it's sad because Brownie doesn't know that the clothes he's wearing is actually girl-clothes, he just likes having clothing on him.

Well, ignorance is bliss, I say! :)

Yesterday it was drizzling but Mama Chew wanted to bring Brownie out for a walk.. so she fashioned him the "Mama Chew Raincoat for Dogs" out of plastic bags. We were having dinner at the dining table when she went to the kitchen and brought two plastic bags out to tie over Brownie.

The amazing thing was, he actually knows it's a raincoat and sat very still for her to put it on!!!

It's actually very sturdy and comfortable! Omg! The ingenious things that Mama Chew can think of.. Hahahahahha!

Happy Brownie going for a walk with Mama Chew! :)

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Chloe's CNY Dress

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It's gonna be Chinese New Year soon and I am doing spring cleaning at home. 

Instead of the yearly spring cleaning, usually I will pack every few months when I am "in the mood" cos I can't stand things being too messy, especially in my room. 

I was digging through my stuff in the storeroom and managed to throw away 3 garbage bags of stuff and give away 1 big bag of stuff.. I wonder why these items made it through during the move from Boon Keng to my current home. Strange. 

I found a dress which I bought for Chloe a long time ago in Taiwan during one of my tourleading trips. I actually forgot about it and thought it'll be too small for her cos i bought it when she was a puppy.. but thank God it fits perfectly!

She has 2 other dresses which she outgrown and God knows where those are. There's one I bought in Tokyo which is crazy expensive but it's too small for her.. stupid me bought the baby size instead of the normal size.


I love it that the dress fits the CNY theme so perfectly! And it's unintentional.. not sure why I bought this design too, but I remember buying it cos I felt sorry for the shopkeepers.. Their shop is in some secluded corner of Feng Jia Night Market and there's no customers so I felt I have to buy something to support them a bit. Glad it came in useful! It also comes with 2 clips for her hair.. but since her hair is so short now, there's no use for them at the moment.

Since this is never worn before, Chloe has a new dress for CNY!

As for me, I have some clothes which I bought in US that have not been worn yet.. So I'm not going to buy any new clothes. Clothes in Singapore are either overpriced or not very appealing to me.

Have you done your spring cleaning already?
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