Tag Archive | SMU

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

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.