Tag Archive | chair yoga

Chair yoga’s makan yoga

When I first joined the chair yoga sessions at Kampung Glam Community Club back in early 2010, at the urging of KY, an ex-colleague, little did I expect that there would be food involved as well.

As it has turned out, there’s certainly food involved so much so that I shall call it makan yoga!

There had been a BBQ at PC and KC’s condo in Burlington Square; a hot pot dinner at Tan Quee Lan Street and a lo hei right in the heart of the Kg Glam CC.

The latest makan yoga session was conducted in PT’s home, somewhere near Mandai. PT, as stated in a previous post on my chair yoga kakis, is our regular provider of cakes and cookies. Not shop bought but all lovingly made by her own hands, in her own kitchen. Cup cakes, tarts, whole cakes — you name it, PT’s made it :-D!

Last Friday, she made popiah using a special recipe for the filling that comprised cabbage, bamboo, bangkwang and French beans all cooked in essence of prawn shell and heads. Again, not shop bought, but painstakingly extracted by hers truly!

The garnishing was simple but “cheng”: steamed prawns sliced in half; lettuce and Chinese parsley. Fresh pounded chilli and garlic. 

The requisite egg wasn’t hard-boiled or made into an omelette roll. Instead, it was made into a thin crepe that served as the lining support for the popiah skin — which was itself a novelty.

Most popiah parties I’d been to used skin from the famous Havelock Road or Joo Chiat Road hawkers. Not PT’s. She opted for Tee Yih Jiah popiah skin because they remained fresh even at room temperature unlike the hawker variety which needed a constant damp cloth covering them or they would dry up or be stuck together.

PT’s recipe delivered popiah that’s tasty, light and refreshing, so that one could pig out without feeling bloated! And yes, the TYJ skins were soft and pliable throughout, without need of a damp cloth!

Besides popiah, we were served satay and the most unexpected dish: a nasi ulam, made flavorful by fresh herbs from PT’s garden. The feast was rounded off by a sinfully rich pumpkin custard pudding and every kind of delicious tarts — again all home-made yet of a quality that could give tough competition to any of the better known cake shops in town. PC’s mixed fruit box contrasted nicely with the rich ending and made us believe that we didn’t really pig out 🙄

Below is a selection of the food pix to commemorate the gathering. For those who want to find out more about the makan yoga sessions should follow the links, especially the good People’s Association (under whose auspices our chair yoga classes are held). Hopefully the info provided would make it unnecessary for PA to send poll takers to our group anyway, to find out if we are “bonding” well 😆





my popiah in the making

Fruits n pumpkin pudding

more tarts!

a handful of tarts with different fillings

nasi ulam to die for!


Lohei coming out of my ears

Sumiko Tan might have had sharksfin coming out of her ears. I’ve never been that fortunate, pre or current anti-sharksfin days. That’s another story.

But I could claim that my celebrations this Chinese New Year saw lo-hei or yusheng or yee sang coming out of my ears — contrary to my original expectations.

I had expected not to be able to indulge as much as in past years, given the fact that my mother isn’t supposed to drink any more due to falls and other health reasons. As I never ordered yusheng or bought takeaway myself if I’m not allowed to add a generous dose of brandy or vodka to the raw fish, it had seemed likely that little or no yusheng would pass my lips this year.

While I abstained from putting out money for yusheng, others who ate with me weren’t as abstemious, starting from the second day of CNY at my sister’s where we always eat our kai-nian fan. A nephew got a rough and ready portion from a hawker in Commonwealth Avenue to complement the home cooked meal. It was good, even if at $18 it was really cheap — for yusheng!

This was followed a few days later — the 7th day of CNY and Ren day — when a brother bought vegetarian yusheng from a temple in Punggol to add to the home cooked dishes at mum’s. Her Picky cooked for the visiting families who are related in one way or another to Tan Yeow Joo, my late grandfather.

Alas, because these relatives all arrived at different times and fell upon the main meal immediately, we had to postpone the lo-hei to dessert time, by when I had forgotten to take a picture! 🙄

Still, I made up for it with subsequent lo-heis I took part in, starting with the grand affair of the Association of Banks in Singapore where for almost 3 hours on Feb 2, the Marina Mandarin’s ballroom saw more bankers per metre than at Raffles Place, Shenton Way and Marina Bay Financial Centre put together.

The same night at chair yoga at Kampung Glam Community Club, the two sifus threw a mini lohei for the class apres yoga and, because some students are vegetarians, the yusheng –made from a recipe by one of the sifu’s mum — was also luxuriously vegetarian, with vegetarian abalone contributed by moi. I got them from Esther boss of my fav vegetarian restauant, Create Healthy Lifestyle at Fortune Centre.

The next day happened to be the monthly lunch group’s pig-out and this time we did it at Jumbo at Dempsey. It was good but I wasn’t done yet.

On Saturday, I returned to the old mansion (now newly restored) for my first invite for an Open House there. It’s been 10 years since I celebrated Chinese New Year with that family at the Old Mansion. How things have changed!

And last but not least, last night I enjoyed a smashing 8-course vegetarian dinner, complete with yusheng and cold appetisers at New Fut Kai at 282 Jalan Besar hosted by brother SY. The restaurant had relocated from Kitchener Road and tho the new place was smaller, the food was just as good. And needless to say, the place was packed!

1st lo-hei of year at sister's home

food at my home prior to dessert lo-hei

el grand one at Marina Mandarin

tossing equally grand 😀


made with love by the sifus of Kg Glam

the yoga toss for luck


one of my fake abalones



Jumbo's yusheng


the Grand Mansion's version of tossing


New Fut Kai's vegetarian yusheng


the extended family tossing together


...after which dinner began with these sumptuous cold appetisers

2 stupid car parks & 1 good discovery

In recent weeks, I came across two carparks that have poorly programmed parking monitoring systems.

First is that carpark that’s bound by the Golden Mile Food Centre, the Kampung Glam Community Club and several blocks of HDB flats.

I’m a regular tho not frequent user of that carpark, as I go to Kampung Glam for my weekly chair yoga sessions. About a monthy ago, the carpark was converted from coupon parking to ERP parking.

My heart sank three Thursdays ago when I saw the long line of cars waiting to go thru the hourly parking gantry. The angry looking “FULL” sign lit up in red prompted me not to waste  time waiting, so I headed for a nearby coupon parking carpark in North Bridge Road.

Imagine my surprise when after I parked, I made my way on foot towards the CC and saw that beyond the new gantry there were at least 10 empty lots for hourly parking!

I felt like kicking myself for my impatience. I should have waited since obviously the turnaround time in the new ERP carpark was fast and furious.

Hence the Thursday after that, I wasn’t put off by the long queue that once again was outside the FULL sign. And I wasn’t disappointed as after 5 minutes I was inside the carpark.

What surprised me however was that once again there were far more parking lots available than the number of cars waiting at the gantry. What the XXXX, I thought, especially since our government has become so environmentally conscious as to want to go green all over the place. 🙄

Having a badly programmed system that doesn’t tell the truth about the number of vacant lots available and so cause line upon line of cars to idle their engines and emitting carbon monoxide in needless waiting isn’t very green friendly — at least in my books.

Last Thursday when i went for my yoga, it was the same story: long queue of cars waiting to enter and several empty car park lots within the carpark. Clearly no one has complained so I shared my observation with the girl manning the CC counter. She looked blankly at me. I gave up.

Guess it will be the same on my next visit. But if the LTA, URA, HDB, NEA, PA and other users don’t make a fuss, why should I?

Today I encountered a problem at the Clementi Mall carpark that was the right opposite of the Kampung Glam carpark!

It was raining cats and dogs and there was a short queue into the carpark. I waited and within a few minutes i was in. Then to my horror, I discovered that the two vacant lots indicated turned out to be only one lot, as there was already a car under one of the green guide lights which didn’t turn red.

That wasn’t all. There were at least 8 to 10 other cars eyeing the just vacated lot. Which meant that Clementi Mall’s gantry let in more cars than there was vacancy, FCOL!

Worse, there was no way to ensure that those who entered first would get the first vacant lot, as there are two entry points and no one to ensure fair play. Even if there was, it wasn’t possible that the first lot to be vacated would be near the car that had been waiting the longest!

Even my parking lot prayer didn’t seem to work for once. And I would have left the car park immediately if not for the fact that I had dropped off my mother and her maid earlier to get a table at the Thai cafe, Sticky Rice.

Thus I found myself circulating the carpark for no less than 20 minutes without any success and paid $1.40 to exit to look for parking elsewhere with visions of myself being soaked to my skin when I finally turned up at the cafe for lunch.

I needn’t have despaired. The HDB carpark right next door had many vacant lots and what was even better, I found that it was connected with Clementi Mall by lifts that led right to Sticky Rice. And i had no need for an umbrella at all.

Now why in tarnation didn’t the Clementi Mall management display signs inside and outside its tiny carpark to suggest parking next door?

Guess they won’t have the initiative to do anything so complicated if they can’t work out that it isn’t a good idea to let in more cars than there are vacant lots!  😆

I must also report that thanks to the over-full Clementi Mall car park I have discovered a new way to access the mall’s facilities without going into its terrible basement carpark. Even better is the fact that the HDB carpark next door offers far more friendly wheel-chair access. Which is a plus for mum who now needs a wheel-chair to go around malls.

 So perhaps the parking lot prayer I was uttering so furiously did work after all!

Community bash at Kg Glam CC

This evening I went back to my chair yoga sessions at Kampung Glam Community Club after two weeks’ absence, and was delighted that our usual post yoga feeder, PT, had also returned from sick leave (like moi).

Well, to be truthful, altho I like PT well enough, I like her cakes even more and tonight she didn’t disappoint: beautifully freshly baked cranberry fruit cake that money can’t buy as she doesn’t take orders. She just bakes for free for her yoga mates 😀

However, to-night’s yoga exercise was less than previous peaceful sessions because there’s a huge community bash at the community club’s main hall downstairs with elderly folks from the Moulmein and Kallang divisions being feted and fed for a pre-Mother’s Day celebration and community singing!

Though the food must have been simple (what else could it be coming in plastic tubs wrapped in red plastic bags!!), the some 200 or so senior citizens seemed to have enjoyed themselves judging from the raucous sounds of community singing that rose lustily to hit us doing our yoga poses in the mini theatre above.  

More disturbing was that several of the CC’s staff kept coming into our class room to get bottled water stored in the wall cabinets!

Still, the disturbance was small change for the happy faces of the elderly heartlanders I saw as I walked past the singing elders on my way to the carpark: happy too with my own exercise, even though it’s less peaceful than it usually was!





sing your way home!

Parking lot prayer miracle

Visitors to this blog will know that since I was taught the Parking Space prayer in March 2010, I’ve been using this prayer successfully, more times than I’ve recorded in my posts.

In the past, I tried to invoke divine help only if i needed a parking lot for a serious reason. Now, I’ve become less stringent after hearing a friend’s take on such invocations.

She reasoned that if we ask for divine help for good things, it shouldn’t be any problem. So in the case of the parking lot prayer, we simply ask for a lot for ourselves, not ask that anyone else be denied one to satisfy us.

In the realm of good prayers answered, our gain shouldn’t and wouldn’t be any one else’s loss!

I buy that interpretation whole-heartedly and so have been less abstemious about praying for a lot whenever the situation seems tight.

That’s why I found myself praying for a lot last Thursday when i went for my regular chair yoga session at Kampung Glam Community Club.

I usually try to be early so that there was no need to pray for a parking lot. Unfortunately last Thursday afternoon was all thunder and rain and I didn’t get to leave for my session till quite late.

What with the heavy traffic between my home and Kampung Glam, I didn’t arrive till close to 7pm when the skies were clearing, the heavy rain had petered off to mere intermittent light drops and the whole of Singapore and more were descending in the open air carpark around the community club.

There wasn’t a single empty lot, with many cars double parking, with or without drivers within, suggesting that every time a lot emptied, someone would be ahead of me.

I circled the carpark twice  and was resigned to having to park at the nearby multi-storey carpark at Blk 13, which i loathe to do, having an irrational “thing” against parking in HDB multi-storey carparks!

Then I began to pray automatically even tho I was secretly afraid that I might have left things  a little late, because I wasn’t the only car circling the packed carpark.

And heck, a car was coming out of a lot, just as I had passed it and the car which was ahead of me was now behind me (that’s what happens when one is circling) and he was in pole position to grab that lot!

Still I didn’t abandon my prayer even tho I really and truly thought it would take a real miracle for it to be answered.

Then lo and behold, the car in the next lot also started to ease out and as the tail of my car was in the way, I inched forward to allow it room to to exit.

Oh good, I thought, now I would have a lot when lo and behold, the car which was behind me and which I expected to take the earlier lot vacated was actually aiming for this second lot!

Shucks! My car manoeuvring skills weren’t up to “chiong” with him.

Then, a real miracle happened. The lady next to the driver of the 2nd car exiting, got out of the car and came to me with a car parking coupon. All smiles. As I wound down my window, she explained that there were 25 minutes left. She took her time about it.

The driver of the car that was gunning for their parking lot lost patience. He filtered out and drove off.

The lady returned to her car and the driver (her hubby? boyfriend?) vacated their parking lot in such a way that allowed me to reverse into it with no problem at all. And if there were any competing cars eyeing the same lot, they kept their distance.

After I parked and got out of my car, I realised why the other driver didn’t want the lot that was vacated be4 the lot that finally became mine.

It turned out to be a handicapped person’s reserved lot!

This account of how I got my parking lot shows that the parking lot prayer works even when the situation suggests otherwise. Otherwise why would the lady give me her car parking coupon and foiled the other driver from snatching the lot from me?

So, drivers united, let’s say together whenever your chance of a parking lot looks slim:

Hail Mary, full of grace, help me find a parking space!

Wacky survey

As readers of this blog would know, I’ve been attending chair yoga sessions at the Kampung Glam Community Club since early March. At $50 more or less per two months, I’ve invested $250 plus 100 hours of my time (including travelling time to and fro) to date.

Natch, i think the sessions are worth it right? Considering that generally I’m quite tight fisted about money and my time.

Thus when someone called me on the phone, first just be4 X’mas, and then again after X’mas, claiming to be doing a survey on behalf of the People’s Association — the organiser of the chair yoga classes — I thought all the questions would be on the quality of the lessons and the instructors.

Sure, there were one or two on what I thought of the instructors — 1 for lousy and 5 for excellent sort of format — and whether they explained the course at the start of each cycle.

More unexpectedly, I was asked a series of questions on subjects that I thought were wholly immaterial and irrelevant.

Did I make any friends at chair yoga? (A friend attending the class brought me in; she in turn is an old university mate of one of the instructors; she’s also an ex-colleague of the sister of the other instructor; that sister is a participant in the class and we were employed by the same organisation once, altho we never worked together; furthermore my friend has an ex-school mate and ex-university mate in the same yoga session: would any of these count as friends? Actually what the XXXX does the questioner mean by “friends”?)

How many friends did I make at chair yoga? (Again, it depends on what is meant by the word “friends”. At any one time, there are between 10 and 20 people attending the classes. Those who come regularly — but outside of the group I described above — have become nodding acquaintances, but not friends in the conventional sense. We’ve not exchanged cell numbers or addresses!)

I don’t know how the “friends” answers fitted into the 1 for lousy and 5 for excellent format and but that’s not my worry.

Lousier questions were to come.

Did the class have social get-togethers? I racked my brain and said yeah, there was a gathering.

Where? Who paid?

Actually, at one of the girls’ place. Oh yes, another participant had a business on the groundfloor of that condo. We used used the poolside BBQ and I’m not sure which of them signed the facility for us to use.

I’m also not sure who paid for the bulk of the food, I said, probably the two instructors. The rest of us contributed  snacks and tidbits.

Did I interact with fellow chair yoga particpants after class? Was i satisfied with the number of friends I made?

Good grief! The penny dropped. It wasn’t so much about the usefulness of the yoga course as about whether it’s a good conduit to socialise!

Whoever designed that survey should have his/her head examined, assuming of cos whoever called me is the genuine article and not some fishing expedition.

Frankly, who would go to a yoga course to make friends? It’s as ridiculous as asking whether I go to Marina Bay Sands to make friends! Of course not! I go there to play the jackpot or slot machines, just as I go to a yoga class to exercise. In any case, I already have a friend and acquaintances at the class even be4 I began.

This latest “survey” episode merely reinforces my low opinion 😦 of surveys that aren’t fact and statistics based!

Road to vegetarianism

Although there are many species of meats and seafood I don’t eat — duck, goose, beef, lamb, veal, deer, turtle, to name but a few — I’m not a natural vegetarian.

I do like meat and seafood, most times.

Despite this, I’m all ears when a conversation turns to vegetarians and vegans, as it did last night.

Some friends and I were having a hearty meat and fish dinner at Pieterasanta, that delightful Italian restaurant in the heart of Portsdown Road. More about that dinner in a future post.

For this post, it’s about the train of thought triggered by HTK, one of my dining companions, who in turn turned to the topic because I started talking about one of his ex-colleagues I had run into recently.

That started him talking about another ex-colleague who had turned vegetarian in preparation to become a Buddhist monk. But that wasn’t the thrust of his spiel. Instead it was about the good value and service of the $25+++ set lunch served by Seven on Club.

He extolled Seven on Club for being so service oriented that it was prepared to cobble together a vegetarian set lunch for his ex-colleague, even though it wasn’t part of the daily deal — and charged nothing extra for it.

Besides making me want to visit Seven on Club sooner rather than later, HTK’s story also caused me to think about the vegetarians and semi-vegetarians I’ve known, who took their meatless route for different reasons.

There was my dad. He became a vegetarian when he was 19 and according to family folk lore for no reason than that he fell sick every time he ate meat. And so he continued his meatless regime till he passed away at 87.

Then there is this friend from Kuala Lumpur who made a vow to go vegetarian for life if her desperately sick older sister could survive her heart operation. Her sister did and my friend has been a staunch vegetarian for over a decade now.

A new young friend who came into my circle recently — via the chair yoga class — is also a vegetarian.

She’s a jet-setting professional who just returned from a 3-month working stint in a Namibia manufacturing operation. She’s healthy and full of life and when asked whether vegetarian food was available in South Africa (I’m quite suaku), declared it wasn’t a problem at all.

And of course there is my old school mate, the indefatigible Betty Khoo — mother of motivation guru Adam Khoo and also best selling author of the Cancer Cured and Prevented Naturally book.

She has in recent years gone vegetarian, for the environment and health, though I don’t think she’s as strict about it being a wholly non-meat meal at all times.

A close relative of mine who after a family tragedy a couple of years ago has gone vegetarian too but, like Betty, not in a fussy way. Eat vegetarian whenever he has control over his meal.

A long-time Indian friend is vegetarian for a few days every week. He reminds me of the time when my mum ran a hair-dressing business. She and her staff used to go vegetarian for 10 days every month, and in certain months — the 3rd, 6th and 9th month according to the Lunar calendar, if I remember correctly.

In those days, staff were given board and lodging as part of their employment package. So some workers who weren’t into vegetarianism used to complain that that was a cunning way for the boss to save on her workers’ food bills.

Of course that was decades ago when veggies were cheap and meat expensive. Now both run neck and neck!