Ribena’s Friendly Blackcurrants, Only More Intimate This Time

February 22, 2010

How many ways can you say

I love you.

Or Happy Valentine’s Day!

Is it with flowers?

With chocolates?

Or with sweet yet lingering kisses?

Or are you ready to do something new for a change?

Say it with Ribena Romanticons.

Visit Ribena.com.sg

What has Ribena Romanticons have to do with love or Valentine’s Day?

Well.. a few things, actually.

Just buy Ribena packs with a Ribena Romanticons promotion sticker and you can unlock unique Ribena emotions on www.Ribena.com.sg and match them to the weekly Romanticon love story to win great weekly draw prizes!

With your unlocked Romanticons, you can also write creative love stories with just the Romanticons. You can then submit your own love stories as submissions to the website’s “Greatest Love Story Never Told” story writing competition for a chance to win a romantic trip for 2!

Guess that’s Ribena’s way of showing love : >

The Most Ridiculous Person

January 12, 2010
Behold, the titular Ridiculous Person, in all his resplendent glory

Behold, the titular Ridiculous Person, in all his resplendent glory. Click for hilarity

I refer to entry #26 at the Ultimate Start Up Space webpage from a certain Mr. Freddy Ng. Poised against the backdrop of a cheap looking curtain, Mr Freddy tells of his business venture, a haven for studying students. He does this in a manner and tone utterly devoid of panache. His idea as well is asinine and inane.

It’s almost as if Mr Freddy and his group of  equally vacuous friends one day lamented the sad fact that cafe proprietors do not appreciate their sniveling presence, their tacky sandals and cheap shirts which scream “I’M PART OF THIS INGROUP”, and most importantly, their contrived schemes to not actually purchase anything from the establishment. Now, Mr Freddy and Friends probably feel like the Golden Sons of Singapore, and concomitantly a sense of entitlement to deprive any hardworking shop owner from an honest days earnings by refusing to acknowledge the entire concept of capitalism, plopping their lardy asses down on a seat, and ordering the token glass of water which lasts them the entire duration of their self serving pursuit.

Now, perhaps Mr Freddy still does not realize he’s depriving honest people of profit, or he’s simply a spiteful, pestilent boil on the collective bottom of good, industrious folk. So what comes next completely takes me off guard. Mr Freddy then proceeds to dream up a scheme so insipid that a ten year old would call him out on it. His plan involves a safe haven for students to study, without incurring the righteous wrath of shop owners everywhere. What Mr Freddy doesn’t realize is, there are plenty of students in Singapore who are just like him : socially challenged, vapid, self serving study zombies who think nothing of disrupting someone’s meal with their pedantic discussion on the physics of fluids. Calculator toting, stub nosed, weevil faced Mr Freddy is in for a surprise. There will be nary a student who will visit his establishment and repay his hospitality by purchasing his “premium coffee”, which will incidentally taste like DOG CRAP. The nasal toned Mr Freddy whose manner of speaking has entirely been gleaned from primary school oral examinations does not have a clue as to how to tackle anything outside the locus of mechanical engineering, physics, mathematics, or whatever subject it is he pedantically rote learns. I do not expect that it is an oversight on my part to assume that he possesses none of the skill and finesse of a barista.

Mr Freddy, prepare to fail in a manner that can only be described as epic. Maybe you’ll make Failblog. The entry, titled “The Coffee Service” can be voted down at http://www.ultimatestartupspace.com.sg/#/rate-entry/26

p.s The act of mugging refers to robbing someone. Not studying.

The Abridged History of the Singapore Sling

January 6, 2010

The Honourable House vs The Esteemed Opposition

The Honourable House vs The Esteemed Opposition

A Pointless Rant/Open Letter to the Evil Proprietors of Raffles Hotel

Dear Whoever,

Let the wide open world take heed of the ghastly shame you have brought upon the toupeed heads of your stodgy old clientele! In their turgid bellies lie the traces of your vile pre-mixed concoction. Reprehensible! How will they fashion themselves after the likes of Somerset Maugham and Joseph Conrad when the noisome taint of premixed cocktails has tarnished their artistic proclivities? No longer will they be able to pat their turgid bellies, placated by an authentic cocktail, feet raised upon the back of a sweaty Chinaman and claim to be real gentlemen made of the honour wrought by enduring their White Man’s Burden?

How shall they write epic tomes of less than heroic knavery and/or societal disillusionment when they become cognizant of the bastard-brew in their bellies? How will their corpulent wrists blunt the nibs of their pens with tales of splendorous sword fights? How will they thumb at their oval spectacles and comment on the tepid air while savouring the finest hand-rolled cigars exquisitely crafted from tobacco painstakingly nourished with the sweat of the natives?

You have failed them, and how you have failed them!

Signed,

An Angry Gentleman

The “Real” Singapore Sling

The original “Singapore Sling” wasn’t even called the “Singapore Sling”, it was known as the Gin Sling or the Straits Sling. Cocktail aficionados attribute the creation of the enticingly pink cocktail (originally created for the purposes of females who were too mannish to drink an Old-Fashioned and too coquettish to drink  Whiskey on the rocks) to a certain Ngiam Tong Boon.

The earliest versions of the Singapore Sling did not have their manliness further subverted by doses of citrus juices, while the contemporary incarnation served up at the Long Bar is served up with generous amounts of pineapple and lime juice. Ironically, the current Singapore Sling is enjoyed by a much larger audience and isn’t reserved for effeminate men. But irony be damned I say, and cheers to everyone who imbibes the pallid pink drink that puts Singapore on the map.

In all honesty, the aversion to pre-mixed cocktails I get, but what of the difference in ingredients?

Here is the version served at Raffles Hotel circa 2010

30ml Gin

15ml Cherry Brandy

120ml Pineapple Juice

15ml Lime Juice

7.5ml Cointreau

7.5ml Benedictine

10ml Grenadine

A Dash of Angostura Bitters

Garnish with a slice of Pineapple and Cherry

Here is a version from Robert Vermiere’s Cocktails and How to Mix Them, circa 1922

Straits Sling

2 dashes of Orange Bitters

2 dashes of Angostura Bitters

1/8 gill of Benedictine

1/8 gill of Cherry Brandy

1/2 gill of Gin

Pour into tumbler and fill up with cold soda water.

In conclusion, don’t recoil in abject horror at piddling details, don’t pretend to be worthy of the charm of Raffles Hotel in its heyday, don’t thumb your nose at the offending citrus juices. Simply refer to the second recipe presented above and do it yourself.  Don’t make the proprietor of Raffles Hotel any richer if you don’t like his Singapore Sling, and most importantly, don’t throw your arms up in exasperation when your concoction doesn’t taste half as good as the pre-mixed one at the Long Bar.

There are waaay too many conflicting reports by stoic defenders of the original Singapore Sling and exhortations of change by witless people who claim that the citrus juices add a “floral bouquet” to the cocktail. There, its settled :  We’ll Just Never Know, Will We?

Also, take note that this is a blog and not an encyclopedia, not even one of the internet policed variety.

Spay Me?

January 4, 2010

This is not a difficult equation.

The following is an example of  “Columbus’ Egg”.  Columbus’ Egg refers to an idea that seems simple, or easy once it has been discovered. Columbus, upon being challenged that the discovery of America was a simple feat, posed the following conundrum to his critics : Make an egg stand on its tip. After confounding his critics for several days, Columbus stridently but gently tapped an egg’s tip, cracking it slightly and flattening it. It stood.

Not only a Crowning Moment of Awesome, the EGGVENTURE discombobulated his critics who ended up with EGG ON THEIR FACES.

Ahem.

I chanced upon another annoyingly in-your-face-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that entry at http://www.ultimatestartupspace.com.sg, which involves the sale of perfume by the spray. Analysis by very bored or very observant people indicates that a typical 50ml bottle of perfume allows for approximately 375 sprays. If this guy and his grandma want to sell his service for 50cents a pop, they can swim in a lake of silver coins. Or, if they decide to double it to a very reasonable dollar a pop, they can swim in a sea of gold coins. Either way, it probably will work. Why? Because people are short sighted.

Why would you pay a hundred for a bottle of perfume when you can go down to the shop when you need to, to have someone who occupies The Easiest Job In The World spray you and have you cross his palm with a coin? It’s just like buying cigarettes by the stick in Thailand. You don’t notice because you can pay for your stick with the bounty gotten from the uncharted recesses of your couch, but you die..eventually. Maybe that was a bad analogy, but you get my drift.

I hope, if the idea does succeed, that they never introduce a “credit” system. People would see the Machiavellian scheme for all that it is, and never, ever return to have their odoriferous bodies made morally admissible by the cleansing fire of Chanel No.5.

Besides, do you see the felicitous existence led by Duck McScrooge in the title picture? Do you? He is diving into a pile of coins. A pile of gold coins. His fowl-ish features embody joy incarnate, the abundance of which radiates outwards in a halo of  neurons firing unadulterated dopamine, contorting his face into an enraptured display of avaricious glee. The flowers sown in the grey matter that is fowl brain bloom in all their resplendent colours, the birds which nestle in his headspace tweet their enthralling sonnets in a timbre befitting the aural equivalent of saccharine sweet milk and honey, and the vestal farmer’s daughter proclaims her love for assisting the big veiny woodcutter in all his wood-felling gallantry with a lilting haiku. The Duck is happy.

As long as you aren’t TV’s Monk, you would want to dive into a pile of gold coins. Diving into coins makes anybody happy. What better way to amass  a vault of coins  than to sell perfume spritzes for shillings?

p.s “Spay me baby” isn’t an embarrassing typo which I first concluded upon initial viewing, it’s because of a grandmother who is the corporeal form of adorable. Go look at the video. That, or the entrant is oblivious to the ignominy of being spayed.

Here’s the video : http://www.ultimatestartupspace.com.sg/#/rate-entry/13

The Ultimate Shaman Space

December 29, 2009
RAAAAAGE, courtesy of the Intellectual Gamer

Option A) Send girlfriend for anger management therapy. Option B) Stop living in your C Grade anime comic book

I refer to an interesting Martell VSOP Ultimate Start Up Space entry from a certain Ms. Elize Kawauchi, whose idea very blatantly invokes the trope “Misery loves company”.. with extreme prejudice. Not only does Ms. Kawauchi egregiously pepper her summary with hackneyed clichés (see also : All Crying Girls Eat Dairy Products By The Tubful), she also conjures up shamanistic imagery with her promise of delivering voodoo curses and the like. She calls her shop a “healing sanctuary” for God’s sake! So..is she some kind of wiccan who delivers bovine dairy goodness imbued with psychopathological healing powers or is she a shaven shaman replete with skull adorned belt and twisty walking stick who surreptitiously offers up a crude voodoo doll with button on eyes while generously applying “Kali-Ma! Kali-Ma!” in boisterous doses? I mean, why do these people act like they’re trading Cataclysmic Armageddon Devices under the table when they start hollering at the top of their voices not one minute later anyway? Youssa tayk dis voodoo an stik de pin an yer boyfren he feel da payn.

But seriously, Singapore loves clichés. I too loved it when I saw it. I mean, low cal frozen yoghurt? Dartboard with face of offending ex-boyfriend? Mock voodoo doll? Tissue strewn floor? I know of many a girl who will happily bite the bait and weep balefully while doling out wad after wad of cash, judgment clouded by their salty, salty tears. Ms. Kawauchi can expect her shop to be inundated with intransigent females wailing gratingly and generally being nuisances because the world clearly revolves around them when they’re sad. Who cares if the mournful women come out feeling a little lighter only in the vicinity of their waist pockets? Ms Kawauchi is going to make money, and probably spawn plenty of similar ventures. I’ve heard of a company which provides angry men the chance to vent on defenseless old cars, by arming them with blunt weapons and a devil may care attitude towards property damage.

It might sound incredibly gimmicky, but Ms Elize Kawauchi probably could market it as a self aware concept store which gives an ironic nod towards the phenomenon of crying females. Or, because I don’t know the extent of her earnestness, she could go for a full fledged cry-your-heart-out-and-don’t-worry-the-tissues-cost-five-dollars-a-pop store.

Whatever. I like it because its new. Ooh..Shiny. Oh, and you can rate her idea at The Ultimate Start Up Space : http://www.ultimatestartupspace.com.sg



Thrift Store + Drinks = Lady GaGa

December 17, 2009

Drunk dialing leaves you mortified after some semblance of sobriety has been restored to you. Drunk e-mailing gets you fired. Drink driving..let’s not go there. Drunk shopping? Dean’s Credit Clothing, a concept bar in Houston, Texas makes it possible for people to foray into the panoptic of thrift fashion while blitzed! You won’t cause any moral panic, but your soul will be irrevocably tainted by the memory of purchasing fluorescent green pants in a drunken haze because you thought they would “bring out your rambunctious personality”.

In all honesty though, Dean’s Credit Clothing seems a rather novel idea, for those looking for a hoot. I won’t make any excuses for seeming so contradictory (you know I hate “designer” bars) because for once, it actually is an interesting idea. Eski bars..done. Art house bars..check. Irish bars..been there. Sports bars..probably all over Texas. Biker bars..too loud to be overlooked. Karaoke bars..eugh. A bar with actual clothes for perusal and purchase (you can actually put your purchases on your bar tab), that I haven’t seen.

Drunk enough to consider taking that gaudy top home. That's their scheme people, it's a conspiracy!

What used to be a thrift clothing shop from the 40’s to 70’s has been transformed into a bar by partners Ziggy Morrow, Steven Scalice and Toby Lister. The fashion range is far more eclectic now and probably isn’t limited to the ubiquitous drawstring pants of old. Say what? It is a thrift store after all. (Disclaimer : I draw all my conclusions about that era from cultural references like “Stand By Me” and “The Beverly Hillbillies”, where everyone seemed to wear drawstring pants)

I hear the proprietors have taken great care to preserve the space’s historical aesthetics, while tacking on a sense of intimacy with their own conception of “confessionals”, cozy spaces behind what used to be the original cash register where you can ignore the obligatory thicko yammering away in a more private setting.

It’s a brash move because the two concepts don’t necessarily mesh easily. I mean, thrift fashion and drinks? The only comparison I can draw from the two is the classic scene where a drunk guy hurls all over his friend’s resplendent clothes. Maybe I just don’t read enough fashion rags. But seriously, it’s interesting, conceptually at least. Whether this unique thrift shop-bar melange eventually consigns itself to the rubbish bin of history remains to be seen. At least now you and your partner can deride the clothes hanging off the mannequins instead taking the piss out of regrettably misguided party-goers.

At least now you know where Lady Ga Ga gets her clothes from. And you can probably find out from the resident bartender which drink unravels her mental faculties before she shops. Did the penny-pinchers of the 50’s  really look so strange?


Ultimate Ultimate Start Up Space Redux

December 17, 2009

1) Originality

The idea needs originality. Martell isn’t giving away a 760 sq ft space in the middle of arguably one of the trendiest locations in Singapore for you to peddle your pedestrian teddy bears. The cutting edge digital installation is proof enough that Martell won’t endorse banal clichés.

2) Individuality

The idea shouldn’t be what you think Martell wants to see. The Ultimate Start Up Space is all in the spirit of entrepreneurship, evidenced by its open ended conception of innovation and ingenuity. The etymology of “entrepreneur” is elicited from the idea of risk-taking. While “individuality” might seem to be an amalgamation of originality and self interest, it isn’t quite so simple; it’s the quest to distinguish oneself from the masses.

3) Feasibility

Sure, you can be original and individualistic, but I believe there’s a limit on how far your idea can deviate from the norm. No one wants to buy your toenail flavoured salsa dip, or indulge in your one-of-a-kind service that offers to ascertain the level of Satanism present in your vinyl collection.

4) The Long Run

Everyone rushes to buy your revolutionary, superlative inducing product, but what happens when the hype fizzles out? Will you reinvent your ideas or put on your blinders? Even revolutions have cycles. Sustainability is one of the many keys to a successful start up, and if you don’t have a pertinent, rational road map, things will get ugly in no time. I’ll spare you the hackneyed quote regarding planning to fail.

5) Substance

Generic pubs are my antipathy. You would’ve known that if you’d read the previous posts chronicling my disinclination towards said pubs.  What’s inside matters more than what’s on the outside. I’m sure this oft repeated maxim is something even your dear old mother has conveyed to you. While I’m not knocking the Nipponese tendency to package products in the notoriously extravagant fashion unique to them, nobody wants the whole royal treatment shebang at a foot massage centre, only to realize that the advertised service is carried out by a dog trained to lick your feet.

6) Profitability

Ah, the heady mix of concept art and idealism. Anyone can imagine up a FIRE BREATHING ROOFTOP DRAGON WITH LASER BEAM EYES, and even create a miniature scale model, but how much money will said fire breathing dragon make you? Please don’t squander the 6 month rent free period. (See also: The Tortoise and The Hare) It’s all well and good that you stay true to your ideals, but the inevitable truth of consumerist societies is this: Money begets money!

7) Commitment/Determination

Didn’t your mother teach you any better? I know mine did (try). It’s so fundamental I refuse to provide more than two lines.

8 ) Passion

Being committed to keeping a floundering project afloat is going to achieve exactly that: keeping it afloat. Flounder or Flourish, you decide. Martell seems to capitalize very well on the whole idea of passionate people. But remember, passion without control and direction is ineffectual, so don’t waste this one inimitable quality.

9) Remember your roots

Thumb your nose at the crass hoi polloi and sneer at the plebeians, oh You, champion of business coups, oh You of whence splendiferous business ideas are begotten, but never forget that the bourgeoisie pays for your 7-Series Beemer.

10) Bring your morals

Now that you can skirt the issue of climbing the corporate ladder, you’ve got no excuse. People are tired of power hungry suits and soulless corporations which plunder and pillage. There are enough of those out there, and there’s enough reason for your start up to break the mould. Go for it.

What makes the Ultimate Ultimate Start Up Space?

December 16, 2009

1) Originality

Martell isn’t giving away a 760 sq ft space in the middle of arguably one of the trendiest locations in Singapore for you to peddle your pedestrian teddy bears.

2) Individuality

The idea shouldn’t be what you think Martell wants to see.

3) Feasibility

Will it work? Are you going for mass appeal or a niche market?

4) The Long Run

Everyone rushes to buy your revolutionary, superlative inducing product, but what happens when the hype fizzles out?

5) Substance

What’s inside matters more than what’s on the outside. Fancy marketing won’t save you all the time.

6) Profitability

You need to make money in order to make more money.

7) Commitment/Determination

Didn’t your mother teach you any better? I know mine did (try).

8.) Passion

Being committed to keeping a floundering project afloat is going to achieve exactly that : keeping it afloat. Flounder or Flourish, you decide.

9) Remember your roots

Don’t forget who got you where you are now.

10) Don’t forget your morals

Now that you can skirt the issue of climbing the corporate ladder, you’ve got no excuse.

Come back for an expanded version tomorrow, right now I’m just interested in being a lazy git.

ultimatestartupspace.com.sg or O Bacchus! Hear my cries!

December 14, 2009

While I’m not predisposed to shamelessly plugging events and products, this one deserves particular mention for almost telepathically reviving my floundering hopes for the Singaporean pub scene. And while cognac isn’t my poison of choice, I must say that Martell VSOP certainly is being very kind to my entrepreneurial instincts.

Close friends and family of mine who are privy to my shamelessly opinionated stance against large corporations will question my decision to participate in this event. “You’re a sellout!”, the ineluctable cawing and baying echoes around my online social circles, but not within my conscience. Sorry fellas, I’m a sellout and I’m proud of it, if the good people over at Martell deign my idea worthy of Bacchus and Dionysus they can fill the fairy cup with Martell VSOP cognac for all I care.

The floorplan for the proposed space.

That boxed in X in the middle of the space? Thats where the fairy cup goes.

I’m no architect, and I have no idea what that little box in the middle represents, but with sufficient arm twisting the rendition of the floor space will resemble my conception of a warm, intimate setting. No, I don’t care if it’s a vent that’s necessary for ventilation at the expense of possible safety hazards, imbibing tepid cider alongside a gaudily disguised air vent is an even greater evil than involuntary asphyxiation.

By now many of you will be hemming and hawing over my absolutely appalling disregard for one of the laws of nature (self-preservation), but I assure you, the incommensurable delight one derives from sipping their intoxicant of choice far removed from any jarring design influences takes precedence over an individual’s health and safety.

Bacchus, God of Wine

A man does not die of love or his liver or even of old age; he dies of being a man. ~Percival Arland Ussher. I may have misconstrued this quote, but I'm self-seeking like that.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of things. Why is this T-shaped space so pertinent to my idea? I came home on a Saturday night, sinus cavities and bloodstream free from the insidious influence of cigarette smoke and alcohol, to find this rather interesting post on YoungUpstarts detailing (the promo video is available here too) the Ultimate Start Up Space contest. It’s interesting to say the least. The floor space is 760 sq ft, and funding to the tune of $20,000 is provided. If the website is anything to go by, I’ll be provided with an executive education program from INSEAD. If a framed degree from “Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires” doesn’t lend credence to my self proclaimed European sensibilities, I don’t know what does. What it doesn’t lend credence to, however, is my horribly unrefined photoshopping skills.

Floorplan

Photoshoppery at its finest.

I’ve painstakingly mapped out the areas of the proposed bar counters, yes painstakingly, it took me a grand total of fifteen minutes to figure out how to re-size the image in order to draw lines. The only notable deviation from my original plan is the booth in the bottom left of the floor plan. It’s for raucous yuppies to gather, removed from the fine, upstanding patrons savouring their drinks. An area of shame. I expect it to be uninhabited.Perhaps even a new job opening for “annoying, menu-providing waiter constantly hovering around table making uninformed choices for exceedingly uncultured patrons”.

Behind the bar counters will be the well-stocked displays, for patrons who aren’t predisposed to amiable conversations to peruse. Remember the no menus policy? It’s still in effect. The three bartenders will make recommendations based on trivialities such as The Weather, Your Mood, Your Bosses’ Mood, Your Wife’s Credit Card Tab, If Your Dog Had a Poo in Your Shoes, and How Unbearable The Commute To Work Was. Perhaps the apprentice bartender will handle the purchase of bottles to take away. The glaring lack of tables situated on the floor space is intended. Eden Hall wants patrons to lean over bar counters and forestall the ill results of a menu-less bar by engaging the bartender in  informative conversations. Who knows, they may even find out they prefer French Connections to Manhattans.

I’ve got until the 12th of February to tweak my idea to acceptable standards of normalcy. Check back soon for updates. What do the less deviant minds of public consciousness think?

Here's hoping. Brownie points please? Martell VSOP's Ultimate Start Up Space brick and mortar storefront.

Of Fairies and Menus

December 10, 2009
The proverbial Eden Hall fairy cup

The proverbial Eden Hall fairy cup

In my time spent as a rambling man navigating the stretch of prime real estate that is Clarke Quay, I’ve managed to avoid obstreperous rowdies, gaudy bars and the discordant crowds gyrating to tacky music, but I’ve never managed to escape the looming spectre of The Menu. The Menu? THE MENU!! Okay, can the exaggerated gasps and let me explain.

Pubs in Clarke Quay all provide standard services, a cocktail, wine and food menu. The measure of a pub seems to lie in how thematically sound you can get your pub to be, or worse, how avant garde your chairs look. It’s all style and no substance. I don’t want to spend my time staring at the bust of an unimportant figure lost in the annals of history, nor do I think contending with keeping my drink intact while literally slipping off sleek looking chairs for lack of proper design is very fun at all. I desire substance. A personal touch. A bartender who knows the difference between Cabernet sauvignon and Riesling, and why I do not want to have tannins mess with my fish dish. ( I am not partial to the taste of metal )

I’m calling my brainchild Eden Hall Counter Bar. It’s an old school bar where there are no sullen, churlish servers who thrust menus in your face, instead, savvy, perceptive bartenders chat you up and provide erudite recommendations based on your needs. There are no seats or tables save for the bar stools which encircle the bar, which also spans the entire width of the counter. Two veteran bartenders  man the bar, for added intimacy. Only two? Okay fine, I’ll make concessions..for one bartender understudy or a paying apprentice. Of course, an extensive selection of spirits, cocktails, wines and alcohol is imperative. Locals and foreigners must have their taste buds tickled and their interests piqued. It covers all one’s needs. Need a bottle for a party? Pop by and purchase it.

Oh, and if the name Eden Hall rings a bell, it’s got to do with fairies. And a special multi-coloured glass cup. Please don’t doubt my gender orientation, it might be a tad whimsical but I certainly don’t plan to paste fairy stickers on all the mugs. The contemporary Eden Hall will sport a specially crafted glass in the middle of the counter as a talking point and ice breaker for new visitors.

What say you?


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