Tag Archive | Bishan Park

What makes a post popular?

Is there a sure-fire formula for creating content that will draw visitors like the proverbial bees to flowers?

I know that many Singapore bloggers think they have found the key: they run down any and everything to do with the government and in that way assure themselves of a following.

Even if no one sensible is interested in their trash, they can always count on those tasked to track reactions to government policy or thru such means gather public feedback.

But for those like me who want to build a following without deliberately and cynically stirring up controversy, how can we do it?

I have no template and I’m often surprised by my most popular post which found readers without any “marketing” effort on my part. I had written that there might have been “over-reaction to melamine in China milk“. Despite the many months since it first appeared, it continues to find readers. To date it had been read, or at least seen, 1,432 times or  almost 13% of the number of times this site has been viewed.

most popular post

most popular post

The next most popular post is “Bali in the heart of Bishan Park” with  373 views. It’s another “sleeper” — and unlike the melamine post wasn’t controversial or even topical. It was simply about a little oasis in Bishan serving nouveau vegetarian food. And it hit the spot!

Other “sleeper” posts include “12 X 12″ (about a cafe at Suntec City selling organic food as an adjunct to a salon for brow-trimming) with 223 views and “QQ-rice is nice…but…” (about a Taiwanese rice concoction that’s lip smacking good) which garnered 155 views.

By contrast, posts that I tried “selling” to friends and acquaintances via mass emails, while having better viewership than the lower ranked “sleepers”, are only marginally ahead.

The reply from Cold Storage concerning the complaints I had posted in this blog about a number of price discrepancies I found while shopping at its supermarket in Great World City drew 228 views or just 16% of what the melamine post attracted — and just a few views ahead of my third best sleeper!

The next two posts in which I had invested similar “marketing” effort were “NUSS membership has its privileges..” (170 views)  and “Why cook this man’s goose?” (160 views) about the ill-fated account of a permanent secretary’s Cordon Bleu misadventure.

Conisdering that Mr Tan Yong Soon attracted a rebuke in Parliament from Teo Chee Hean the Minister in charge of the civil service and a separate dressing down from Peter Ho, the head of civil service, I would have thought that my take that the man is more sinned against than sinning would have got a larger audience.

Yet the post did not get overwhelming number of readers! And this was despite my asking people to read it. And despite MSM TODAY putting a para about my post and a link to my blog on its front page!

Guess I’ll never be another mrbrown! And there’s no accounting for taste, both the reading and the eating kind.

Yet visitor numbers alone may not be the ultimate arbiter. Interaction is another useful gauge. If I go by this, then my several posts about a little eatery called Tea Shake Hut selling dry mee siam in Bugi Junction wins hands down.

Ever since its closure and my discovering its new location in this post I’ve received intermittent estatic response from like-minded fans of T-Shake.

The ability to experience and then share the joy of the experience with total strangers and thus increase one another’s happiness makes blogging on the Internet something that purely MSM journalists will seldom, perhaps never, enjoy. Because my archives are free to browse forever. Not so those of the Straits Times or TODAY.

Bali in the heart of Bishan Park

I went for lunch earlier this month at the Green Room Cafe in the heart of Bishan Park. At first, the place didn’t look too promising. As we entered what appeared to be a complex of sorts, boasting the name Aramsa Spa, there were few people around even though it was almost 12.30pm. There were two cafes on the left as one entered  and another on a slope on the right.

We asked the “maitre d” hovering around the first cafe on the left and he said his served non-vegetarian food and the one beyond, The Green Room, vegetarian. Both were operated by Aramsa. My companion remarked that his son loved vegetarian food, and even tho said son wasn’t around, I gathered he also preferred vegetarian food.

So vegetarian it was. Again, I was expecting a so-so to lousy meal, being a firm believer that a packed place was equivalent to great stuff. The Green Room boasted just one guest and she had a coffee, a laptop and sheaves of paper, suggesting she was there more for the peace and quiet than for the grub.

The menu wasn’t extensive. The prices weren’t exactly cheap. My companion ordered a hot mint tea which at $5.50 could easily have got us a whole box from the supermarket. So, I opted for hot water. Safe and even if there were charges, cheap enough.

When the mint tea came, it was so pale as to be colorless. After several minutes, the color didn’t change. As my companion is one of those pacifist types who don’t like making a fuss, I took it upon myself to tell the wait person abt it and she took it away, only to return with an equally pale version, claiming that was exactly what mint tea shld look like.

So, I wasn’t looking forward to my food order. When my soba came, it looked a bit mushy and grayish green. My friend’s portobello mushroom looked like a burger. Resigned to a lousy n expensive lunch, we tucked in.

Then bliss! The soba tho not al dente was very tasty. The sauce was sweet and clean tasting, thanks to stalks of expensive shimeji mushroom. I ate to the very last strand, even scraping bits of remnant sauce from the plate with my fork. (Perhaps I was very hungry, as the portion was a tad small.)

My companion’s lunch was served with aged balsamic vinegar and homemade potato relish on a warm baked bun. There were also nachos with a fresh salad, but he left most of the nachos. Wise man. Never understand why healthy eating places such as even Kampung Senang sell these and other unhealthy crisps.

The best part of the lunch was the dessert I ordered: cinnamon apple strudel.  The serving was quite small but delicious. A perfect end to the meal, by which time the cafe was filling up substantially, with the girl earlier dawdling over her coffee actually ordering her lunch.

Meanwhile, as we were savouring our food, there was a sudden heavy down pour with thunder and lightning to boot. But the rain didn’t last and as we emerged, I suddenly realised there was something quite Balinese like about the place. The plentiful use of wood, the abundance of greenery and yes, the peace because we were far away enough from busy roads, high-rise and chattering crowds.

My friend took a picture of me as I looked back in wonder at  an oasis in high buzz Singapore.