Category Archives: AntiAlvin

Word clouds: PAP manifesto vs WP manifesto

I learnt how to use Wordle.net to create word clouds today and thought to compare the PAP Manifesto 2011 with the Workers’ Party Manifesto 2011. Can you spot the differences?

PAP Manifesto 2011:

Wordle: PAP Manifesto 2011Workers’ Party Manifesto 2011:

Wordle: Workers' Party Manifesto 2011I generated a word cloud from the PAP Manifesto 2006 too:

Wordle: PAP Manifesto 2006Just for the sake of comparison. 🙂 It is interesting that certain words in the WP manifesto have not appeared at all on the PAP manifestos.

Strange, tasty fruit (黄晶果) from a Bukit Timah garden

Pouteria Caimito, abiu, or 黄晶果
Pouteria Caimito, abiu, or 黄晶果

*I am correcting this blog post following feedback from my father-in-law’s friend. Thanks for sharing, uncle!

My father-in-law brought home a few of these bright yellow specimens a couple of days ago. They were gifts from a friend – he had lovingly cultivated an abiu tree for a many years and it was harvest time.

I didn’t manage to see the tree or take pictures of the fruit (that’s more Alvin’s thing) but I could not get the unique taste, smell and texture of the fruit out of my mind. The pictures here have been taken from other websites and I hope I have done them justice by linking them to their owner sites.

I would describe this golden fruit as a pudding pod. You halve it and scoop out the jelly-like, milky flesh with a spoon. There are only one to four long, black seeds in each fruit, each covered in a slimy membrane.

Instant pudding
Instant pudding

My mum-in-law believes that this fruit is not available for sale anywhere because it is highly perishable. It has to be consumed within a few short days after harvesting and turns brown within seconds of cutting it open.

Finally, with accurate information, I managed to find this elusive fruit on Wikipedia. Check it out. It is widely grown in parts of South America, southern parts of China and Taiwan, it seems, and belongs to the Sapotaceae family.

Yesterday, I tried looking up information about it on Google but came up with nothing until I tried its alternative Chinese name: 黄金果。

Another similar-looking fruit is grown mainly for ornamental purposes and does not seem to be fit for eating. The Solanum mammosum is of a different species altogether it seems!

Tittyfruit or 五指茄
Titty fruit or 五指茄

Solanum mammosum is also known as Nipplefruit, Titty Fruit, Cow’s Udder, or “Apple of Sodom”. The Chinese name is 五指茄。

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张震岳 [Unplugged] LIVE in Concert @ Esplanade

zhang zhen yue

Last Saturday, I paid $90 per tix to watch a show that was less enjoyable than his (FOC) school concert. WTH. Sat at the third circle, first row, 10 minutes late and didn’t feel like I missed anything at all. In fact, didn’t feel the energy of a live performance at all throughout the 2-hour concert.

A-Yue performed an exhaustive list of songs, old and new, popular and unpopular – the irregular pacing of the song sequence did nothing to liven a concert that could have been more satisfying if he had just bothered to pick up the guitar placed on stage, in front of him the whole time. Famous for being reticent – or rather, a euphemistic way of saying that he’s not a savvy performer – A-Yue truly tested the devotion of his fans and their love for his music.

The saving grace, however, was MC Hotdog‘s brief performance. I had fallen back into my cosy seat, yawning and dozing off, when this madman (in a good way) swaggered onstage, cracked lame jokes and sang rude songs. Even A-Yue seemed to warm up a bit more after MC Hotdog came on.

The problem is, I guess, that A-Yue is a tad too lonely when he’s singing by himself. Give the man some company, and he’ll be fine.

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Lydia Sum (沈殿霞) passes away at 60

Lydia Sum, well-respected Hong Kong comedienne, passed away at around 8am on 19 Feb 2008. She lived 60 good years, spending the last two battling liver cancer.

Lydia Sum

The veteran actress had part of her liver removed in 2006 and was hospitalised in 2002 to treat a bile duct inflammation. 36 gallstones were extracted. She had been suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure as well.

According to Hong Kong media reports, Lydia was undergoing kidney dialysis and consuming expensive traditional Chinese medicine, which set her back by tens of thousands. She was in and out of St. Mary’s Hospital the past six months, with each hospitalisation period a media fest for the local paparazzi.

She was also criticised by the media for wolfing down food inappropriate for her consumption during her illness. Early last November, she ate a number of 大闸蟹 (fresh water crabs), subsequently fell into a coma and rushed to hospital. Most recently, she was warded in the intensive treatment ward at St. Mary’s.

Lydia Sum was wheeled onstage to receive the TVB Grand Award at the 40th TVB Anniversary Awards in November 2007. She had appeared to be in high spirits, dressed in a pink suit, her signature wig and plastic black-framed glasses. She gave a rousing speech when she was handed her award, saying that she would fight her sickness to the finish.

She first joined the entertainment industry at the age of 12, and proved to be a natural with the camera at her very first audition. That successful audition sealed her fate with the entertainment industry for the rest of her life.

Lydia Sum, Nov 2007
Lydia Sum at the 40th TVB Anniversary Awards in Nov 2007

Locally, audiences would not be unfamiliar with her starring role in the sitcom Living With Lydia. Her co-stars remember her as a jovial person who always put friendship even before a working relationship. Her professionalism as an actress is also beyond par. However, she was a notorious chain-smoker and voracious eater.

Lydia Sum is considered one of the most influential icons in the Hong Kong entertainment industry. She had acted in more than a hundred TV serials and hosted the popular variety show 欢乐今宵 for three seasons.

You can read more about this on omy and watch the vodcast here.

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Heng Hwa Bun

Have you ever heard this joke: Majority of the world population is made up of Indians and Chinese, so eventually everyone will marry someone of Indian and/or Chinese blood, and then our general skin colour will just be brown?

Well, in Singapore, majority of the Chinese are Hokkien, and my theory is that everyone will eventually end up marrying a Hokkien person. Alvin is Hokkien, but there is a slight distinction, as illustrated by this bun.

heng hwa bun
The Heng Hwa 生煎包 from Food Republic, VivoCity

It may look just like any other white-skinned bun, but if you look closely, you’ll notice that it’s fried on one side (hence the “生煎”), and there’s a saucer of dipping sauce. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a Heng Hwa (兴华)bun.

It contains a surprise in every bite. It’s neither a veggie bun nor a meat bun – there’s a bit of everything inside it, even vermicelli and mushrooms. Dip the bun into the concoction of chopped garlic, vinegar and green onion before savouring it – the skin will melt in your mouth.

Alvin’s paternal grandpapa is Pu Tien Heng Hwa (莆田兴华), a minority Hokkien dialect group. The part of China where they live, people are poor and can’t afford to eat meat all the time. They are an agrarian society that lives near a river and make do with whatever they can glean from their land. Resulting in a clever cuisine that uses a combination of simple ingredients to produce complex tastes. Very different from Singaporean Hokkien fare.

Apparently I don’t know very much about the geography, history of Alvin’s people, so I shall stop here now to avoid embarrassing myself. Maybe I will do some more research when we next eat more Pu Tien fare. If you are familiar with the Channel 8 news anchor 黄秀玲,you may be interested to know that she shares Alvin’s dialect. You can read about her cooking Pu Tien bee hoon, a Chinese New Year staple, here.

So now you know Alvin’s not just any Hokkien. 🙂

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