Tag Archive | Singapore Management University

Fishy analysis

A Singapore Management University academic has written an essay on Sg’s recent political development. Strangely, it was hi-lited to me by my dear cousin Peter who is living in London!

After reading the article (click on the pdf link to get the full blast!), I felt impelled (note, not compelled 😛 ) to write the author a short note reproduced below:

Hi Dr Welsh,

I read your analysis titled


I might have been persuaded by your arguments if not for the fact that I found your extrapolation from an old woman’s purchase of fish bones for soup somewhat difficult to swallow.

“Many a moment I have witnessed the conditions of the elderly in particular, as I often recall an elderly woman only able to afford the bones of a fish to make a soup at a local supermarket.The elite rule has multiplied in almost cloning fashion in which the PAP only appoint the elites they can relate to,and systematically a corporatist system of divided rule has evolved.”

Dr Welsh, any decent cook would tell you that bones whether from fish, chik, pork etc make good stock for soup, sauce etc.. 😆

Lucy Tan

No dream that I was at SSO 31st anniversary concert

One of my favourite ads is that which appeared everywhere in London in days when the Brits were held by ex-colonials to be the Kings of Wit.

The ad together with a suitably underclad woman declared “I dreamt I went to Buckingham Palace in my Maidenform bra” (or anywhere where such sartorial penury would be considered the height of gauche or chutzpah — depending on which side of the fence you are on).

I was reminded of the ad last Friday (Jan 15) when I found myself at the Singapore Symphony Orchestra’s concert at the Espalanade to mark the SSO’s 31st anniversary.

I wasn’t inappropriately dressed tho nowhere as elegant as my three companions. I was however inapropriately present in so far as I’m not your regular classical music buff and was there more out of friendship with the person who invited me than anything else. (After all, how can I turn down the 10th invitation of this type in as many months and still remain friends?)

So, I spent more time looking around me to see who were there, than listening to the lilt or the tilt of the First Violin, the Double Bass, Bassoon or wotever etc

And there were plenty of famous faces and names to make me think I had died and gone to Tatler heaven.

First, there was Dr Cham Tao Soon in his elegant best who I last ran into at the food court at Great World City. Not surprisingly he was there that night, since he was listed in that evening’s program as the SSO’s chairman.

Then there was Dr Tony Tan, chairman of SPH and the National Research Foundation. He was the guest of honour and I learnt from the next day’s newspapers that he was also supposed to have been at the Singapore Management University’s 10th anniversary celebrations but was unable  to attend because of a “previous engagement”.

Not far from them at the pre-concert reception was Mrs Jennifer Yeo and her youngest son. I didn’t know he was her youngest but she said so and the boy nodded in agreement. Mrs Yeo is the wife of George Yeo, our Foreign Minister.

Never absent from any high profile cultural occasion is Mrs Gretchen Liu, the author of several coffee table books. So, I wasn’t disappointed that night either, as she was there with her daughter in tow. 

There was also the CEO of OCBC Bank, David Connor and two male companions. Present too was Ms Annie Chiam, a council member of the Singapore Human Resources Institute.

As was another in the same field, Eliza Quek-Bittleston — who with her husband offers mentoring and career advice under the Terrific Mentors brand name . As that’s the 3rd time we’d run into each other in various places in recent weeks, we said drolly one to the other: “We can’t keep on meeting like this..” 8) 

Then inside the concert hall, two rows ahead of me was the well-known spill-it-all Straits Times scribe, Cheong Suk-wai, with her Nepalese husband.

I can see that she is as smittened by him as ever and she wrote not one exaggerated word about her feelings for him. She took pix of him repeatedly while in the concert hall and snuggled up to him unself-consciously even as the orchestra played, making the rest of us whose eyes strayed in their direction captive voyeurs!

Still, my eyes were equally distracted by SSO music director Lan Shui who kept bowing in my direction every time he and his orchestra took curtain calls. Not my imagination but poor man, he probably couldn’t help that as my seat 19, Row H exactly faced the centre of the stage!

cake n concert program

So what was my takeaway from the event? Apart from the concert program and a piece of the birthday cake (left), I got confirmation that Richard Strauss ain’t my preferred Strauss, and neither is Benjamin Lees, tho thankfully his composition was rendered by the T’ang Quartet, one or two of whom provided some eye-candy.

But more thankfully than that was that the second half of the evening — all 43 minutes — was taken up by Sibelius whose music for some inexplicable reason I’ve always liked, even tho it isn’t pop, folk or Hokein kuah!

Unabashed self promotion

If I don’t promote my own blog, I don’t know who would! So, about a month or so ago, I’ve been emailing hapless friends and acquaintances individually and in groups to let them know of the blog’s existence.

I billed it as “the one and only foodblog (at least in Singapore) which uses food to discuss social issues”

Then, to sustain interest, I began sending weekly themed alerts, starting with a topic close to my heart: food prices and the poor and nowhere do they come together so poignantly than when it is food sold at government-funded hospitals such as Tan Tock Seng Hospital, to which the less-wealthy sick would invariably head.

For contrast, I wrote about the food prices at Singapore Management University, which were a fair bit lower, at least from my experience.

Since both TTSH and SMU receive Govt funding, the question is why better control isn’t exerted by the state on prices of food sold at a public hospital? After all, “no patient would last three or four years in a hospital, unlike students who at minimum remain for three years at university”.

For more, go to https://singaporegirl.wordpress.com/2008/08/23/two-pictures-say-so-much/

On reflection that I might unintentionally be creating the impression that Singapore is all about unleavened poverty, I was quick to follow up with a platter of links to my posts showing what the better crust in S’pore feeds on…




The food binge posts led to pleas from non-meat eaters to provide something less heavy on the stomach. Also, B, an old school mate and cause celebre champion in Singapore and some say also in Australia, keeps reminding me about karma and eating vegetarian.

So I succumbed and made a “blast” of links to the following posts that would gladden many a non-meat eater’s heart:






Strangely, my most popular post, measured by the number of visitors happens to be a post about eating avant garde vegetarian food in a sanctuary in the heart of Bishan park which reminds me very much of the tranquil food hot spots in Bali.

This pretend-Bali is of course just a poor cousin to the real McCoy, just like oyster mushroom is to the real fin de claire.

For the real thing, go to https://singaporegirl.wordpress.com/2008/08/28/bali-good/ and https://singaporegirl.wordpress.com/2008/08/31/bali-better/

These posts detail the good, no geat, times my travelling companions had whenever we made our pilgrimages to the isle of gods.

With the Ubud festival just around the corner, Bali will no doubt be once again higher up on the world’s radar. And once again, people will talk about Kuta, Sanur, Legian and Ubud as if these are all the places there is in Bali.

My favourite remains East Bali (Candidasa — about 90 minutes drive on a traffic free road from Denpasar) and North Bali (far further away) where far from the madding crowds, there is so much to do just contemplating the beauty whether natural or man-made.



Two pictures say it all


3 veggies fm TTSH Kopitiam
3 veggies fm TTSH Kopitiam

 On Weds, Aug 21, I found myself back at Tan Sock Seng Hospital again, as the geriatrician named Dr Angel, wanted to check on mum after her op.

Since it was a 2pm appointment, we wanted to avoid the stress of eating at home and cleaning up thereafter and being late as a result; a restaurant was also out too, as we have no real control over how fast or slow we would be served and that could lead to heart burn, besides wallet burn.

And so it was we headed back to what had become our eating haunt for more times that I would have liked in recent months: the Kopitiam foodcourt at TTSH.

It was an uneventful meal and we were right on time for the geriatrician. But two facts stuck out: prices at the foodcourt seemed to have risen and the quantity shrank or the quality was poorer.

Look at the above picture: three scoops of vegetables (long beans, sayur lodeh and bittergourd) from the vegetarian stall cost $3. I had paid the same price not too many days ago also for three vegetables but the plate was a lot fuller.

Not in the pix was a box of five ondeh ondeh. Again, not many days ago, they cost $2. I was charged $2.20 on Thursday. And the texture of the ondeh was hard rather than chewy, suggesting that they aren’t that fresh.

I know TTSH staff get a discount at the foodcourt (and so their pockets aren’t as affected as non-staff). Still, should spare a thought for the visitors and the out-patients who have little choice but to eat there. The prices don’t break my bank but I feel for the bottom 20/30% in Singapore’s income hierarchy who have no choice but eat something there.

Full meal @ Koufu SMU

Full meal @ Koufu SMU

By co-incidence, the day after the visit to TTSH, I found myself on a tour of Singapore Management University as a tag-along when an overseas friend sought and got an appointment for herself, her husband and her forward planning daughter to check out the university’s facilities.

We stopped for a short lunch break at one of SMU’s eateries called Pick & Bite, run by by Koufu. This cafe’s ambience is no superior than a foodcourt’s but being small, it’s cosier and the staff actually do deliver the drinks and make pleasant conversation.

But what impressed me most was the prices. One dish meals are priced at $3 (!!) and there was plenty to choose from. Drinks are at max $1.50. The mui-choi with streaky soy sauce pork and soft fragrant white rice (picture above) was a lip-smacking steal-meal at $3.

I would have eaten every last grain of rice (left abt a dozen grains) if not for the fact that we had to go see the rest of the university.

My burning question: if SMU can serve decent meals at $3 that are open to the public besides students, why can’t TTSH?

Both have government funding and I daresay person-for-person those who find themselves having food at TTSH are unlikely to tap subsidies in the food prices (if any) for as long as students at SMU.

After all, no patient wld last three or four years in a hospital, unlike students who at minimum remain for three years at university.

I remember reading a letter to the newspapers (not sure whether it was the Straits Times or Today) in which the writer alerted to the fact that one of the shops at TTSH was closing down because of a sharp hike in rent.

I don’t know what shop that is but the principle remains the same: tax-payers funded facilities shouldn’t be priced to the extent that those (who have no choice but to use them, like when one or one’s loved ones fall sick) feel the pinch, especially when their or their loved ones’ illness is compounded by poverty and the strain of galloping inflation.

Hopefully, one of our good Members of Parliament or their grassroots cheer-leaders in reading this will think of bringing it to the Minister of Health’s attention.