shopping

The cuttlefish… attacks!

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I’ve turned into Maria last Sunday, helping Mum to lug bags of CNY goodies around. We were on a CNY Shopping Spree organised by the RC and a coach has been catered to bring us shopping round the island!

First stop, we were at the Fragrance Bak Kwa Factory Sale at Woodlands Terrace. We reached there around 9am but the place was already swarming with customers. It was pretty scary to squeeze with all that people in there thus, I stayed near the entrance so that in case of a stampede, I could jump out of harm’s way.

cny1

Seeing how the aunties jostle fearlessly in the crowd reminds me of how ancient warriors fought in the war. I really applaud them for their bravery and patience to queue up at the cashier which was snaking around the factory.

What caught my attention while waiting for the aunties to finish their shopping was the Boon Tong Kee sales (not included in the itinerary) four doors away. For a hungry man who haven’t had his breakfast yet, what could be more alluring than food samplings? Hence, I followed my nose and drifted there instead.

If you’re interested in either the Fragrance Bak Kwa or Boon Tong Kee Factory Sales, do leave me a comment.

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The Trip

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It was a chilly Sunday morning.
 
Most people are still warmly curled-up in their beds at 5.45am but unknown to them, a small congregation had already gathered at a dark, secluded corner of the neighborhood. 

This particular group of people had come together because they shared one common goal, and nothing in the world – not even their comfy beds, could waver their loyalty to their beliefs. This group were fully prepared on this day, to invade the stores of Malaysia, and they vowed not to leave any shelves unraided during their shopping spree!

Thus, this very odd group of people set off on an incredible journey, on board a big, luxurious coach heading towards for the Tuas Checkpoint.

It was still dark outside the windows but after clearing the customs, the rising sun soon lit up the skies with a splendid shade of gold.  


What a magnificent sight to behold!

Our first stop was breakfast at Taman Perling, a popular haunt with many Singaporeans. This place serves a steady stream of hungry Singaporeans who arrives by the bus-loads every weekend. It’s a one-bus-leaves-another-bus-arrives kind of situation so you can guess how much business Singapore is bringing to this coffeeshop?

Actually, there’s really nothing out-of-this-world about the food here thus, it leaves me baffled, why are we brought here for breakfast time after time, whenever we came to Malaysia? Why can’t we have breakfast somewhere else? Why tour coaches like to bring their passengers here for breakfast right after leaving the customs?

Was this the nearest coffeeshop? Was this the only coffeeshop serving breakfast in Taman Perling? Was this Restoran Queen Park highly recommended by the Malaysian Tourism Board?

This is one big mystery I would like to unravel.


There wasn’t much of a crowd this particular Sunday. Were we there too early?
Or were
Singaporeans staying away because they can’t buy cooking oil anymore?

Back to breakfast, I can’t recall if this was the same legendary Amy Yip dai pau we used to relish on during our last visit. If it is, then it has shrunk from a impressive ‘D‘ to a ‘C‘ but still, it’s enough to share among three persons per pau.

Do not attempt to finish one Amy Yip dai pau all by yourself. By the time you struggled to push that last morsel down your throat, everything will be regurgitated out again…


Nope, I don’t really like dai paus… I find the smell of the marinade nauseating.

The Roti Canai was a little tough to tear (my fork bend 90°) but it wasn’t too bad. The sauce tastes somewhat different from what we have in Singapore though it’s also mutton curry. I’ve been here for so many times, but it was still my first time trying out Roti Canai.


Perhaps it’s the novelty that’s blinding my judgment but
I find this quite a refreshing change from our usual
Roti Prata.

After breakfast, we set off merrily for Yong Ping to this shop selling local products.

When we reached there, what greeted us from inside the shop stopped me in my tracks! The shop was already swarming with other customers and it was like a riot scene I thought I would only get to see on CNN news!

Undaunted in the face of danger, the Ah Mas from my group who needed help to descend from the coach earlier have miraculously transformed into rugby players as they elbowed their way in without any help needed at all!

I took a step inside but couldn’t help but noticed the photographs of Christopher Lee and Bernard Tan gracing the wall near the cashiers. The shop space was actually quite spacious yet it wasn’t quite adequate to accommodate all these people.

The customers were practically sweeping the shelves clean as if they are stocking up for an imminent war!

From Wifes’ Biscuits to Pong Piah, this shop have practically all Made-in-Malaysia foodstuffs right here under one roof. Even the variety of 3-in-1 coffee available will have you spoilt for choice!

From the usual Less-sugar Coffee, the shelves were piled high with Green Tea Coffee, Ginseng Coffee and even Tongkat Ali Coffee which I believe does more than just keeping you awake at night!


‘Genuining’ recipe?

The promoters were really friendly and eager to introduce their products to us. Food samplings were also readily available for us to try out. After putting up a very good fight with the other group of customers (whom we later found out were also Singaporeans), we emerged victoriously with bagfuls of titbits and piahs. *pats ourselves on the shoulder*

Exhausted, we continued our itinerary which was lunch at Muar.

During the journey, we were treated to low-crass entertainment of the Mao Mao Song and hum sup jokes on the VCD. I couldn’t bear to further corrupt my mind which was pure-as-ice and white-as-snow hence, I took pictures of the scenery outside the windows instead…


Trees
Sound from the VCD: (。。。下面是什么毛?)


Clouds
Sound from the VCD: (。。。男的叫鸟毛。。。)


Mountains
Sound from the VCD: (。。。女的叫鸟窝毛。。。)

After a tremulous journey, we finally reached the sleepy town of Muar, which was approximately 179 kilometres from Johor Bahru. Despite it being a Sunday, there wasn’t much people in the streets.


Not many people in sight…


No one…


Where have everyone gone to?

Anyway, this is where we had our lunch to replenish the energy lost from the shopping earlier. Lunch was delicious and there was even herbal soup!


Lunch at Restoran Sin Kee Ting.

After lunch, we went to this temple called 善才庙 (or something like that) which was behind 善才学校. I wasn’t feeling too excited about visiting this seclusive temple but the triple scoop ice-cream sold outside the temple is hard to resist.

Despite having a very filling lunch earlier, there is always room for ice-cream! At RM1.50, this is a must-have whenever I visited Muar. After I had finished my ice-cream, I realized that my change of RM3 has dropped out through the hole in my pocket. I thought that was my due punishment for not remembering the temple’s name (despite having been here for Nth times) and I wasn’t expecting to find it back when I retraced my steps but behold, lying there in a crumpled mess half buried in sand was my RM3 – dirty and unwanted!
I picked up the money with trembling hands and as I dusted the sand away, I glanced towards the direction of the temple gates with nothing but gratitude in my eyes. baa60776

Did the 善才God just 显灵 by letting me reunite with my RM3??



My ice-cream didn’t melt as fast as the previous time when I was here.
Is this an indication that the earth is getting warmer?

After leaving Muar, we set off for a little more shopping at the new Batu Pahat Mall. Throughout the day, we’ve been traveling on the roads and I see nothing but plantations or small sleepy towns with not many people in the streets yet, the moment I walked through the sliding doors, I see people, and lots of them too!

This place is a striking contrast to what I’ve encountered all day! You know? Sleepy town and yawning shopkeepers versus the mall with young people. It’s almost like I’m back in civilization!

With only an hour to shop before dinner, there wasn’t much we could buy. We boarded the coach and headed to Kulai for our last meal of the day.


Dinner at Restoran Guo Tai 88

As night time beckons, the weary shoppers boarded the coach for our final trip home. Fortunately, traffic was smooth on the highway and there wasn’t any jams at the customs. We got cleared pretty fast too and were soon back in home ground feeling very tired but satisfied and proud of our buys
 
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Korean dinner

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On this fateful day, I decided to satisfy my craving for Korean food at a small Korean eatery located inside one of Singapore‘s oldest shopping centre.


It’s a simple eatery with no elaborate furnishings but it exudes a very homely feel just like those family-runned eateries you see everywhere in Korea where a Ajuma was busy taking orders and attending to the customers.


bt3
Can you guess where this shopping centre is?


bt1
Here’s a clue…


As I was taking this picture, a naughty thought came to mind. I was thinking, what if, I started flashing my camera on the overhead bridge? Will I scare the living daylights out of the drivers, thinking that they have been caught on camera by the traffic police?


But it’s only a thought, lah! 


bt2
Here’s another clue


I was full of anticipation to taste some authentic Korean cuisine since my trip to Seoul years ago but alas, the food was a BIG disappointment so, I might as well not reveal the location. 


bbb1
Bi Bim Bap


When my Bi Bim Bap was bought to the table, my anticipation instantly dropped to rock-bottom. Just take a look and you’ll get what I mean. The portion was so pathetic!


I’ve tried Bi Bim Bap from many places and all those I’ve tried, the ingredients are fully filled up side by side. In other words, the rice beneath should be totally covered up by the ingredients but look at mine, there are ‘potholes’ everywhere!


I can only console myself that what it lacks in quantity, it might as well make up for it in quality (taste). As long the taste is good, then I could still close one eye for the bad presentation but unfortunately, the taste is even worst than those found in the food court.  


But, here is my main complaint: This lousy standard Bi Bim Bap is priced at a unbelievable $7+ yet it doesn’t even comes with Fried Anchovies and Seaweed Soup!


YES! A bowl of rice with some limpy and yellowed vegetables for $7+!


Chao turtle!


Compare it with the Bi Bim Bap from Wikipedia below.


bbb
Which one looks more appealing to you? (Compare the level of the food to the brim of the bowl?)


By now, I could only pin all my hopes on the Samgyetang which I’ve been craving for ever since I last had it in Seoul but that hope, too was dashed…


ginseng chicken
Samgyetang


The soup was a total disaster! It’s so tasteless I’m practically drinking the water that’s used to wash the chicken. I can’t finish a small bowl of it even after adding salt and pepper. The whole bowl was pratically left untouched though it’s shared among three persons…


sui_gang
Every table had one of this huge Kimchi jar which was like only 1/4 filled


kimchi


The Kimchi inside was as pale as, well, a cabbage. It looked this red only because I saturated the picture.


Achar tastes much better than this.


This is really a horrible Korean eatery which I won’t be stepping foot into ever again. 


I guess I’ll just have to stick to the Korean stall at United Square foodcourt for now.


grievances nowhere to pour!

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I have a stomachful of grievances to pour today and it has got something to do with that BITCH!


The moment I stepped into the store this morning, I saw the Monami pens scattered all over the table.  When the BITCH saw me, she started mumbling that I had left my work unfinished and she had to ‘kio sai’ for me.


I had already started tagging the Monami pens when I received them two days ago but halfway through, my department head instructed me to leave the pens one side first and attend to the customers outside as we are shorthanded. 


With Christmas round the corner, there are still alot of customers doing last minute shopping.  Furthermore, the primary schools are starting school soon, so there’s an influx of parents buying school books for their children.  As a result, the cashiers are shorthanded to handle the crowd and I may even have to help out with cashiering these few days as the queues are really long.   


My department head asks that BITCH whether I could continue with the pens during the weekends as it was non-urgent and that BITCH had said YES!


So, I reminded her that it was with her permission that I left the pens aside.


Then she started grumbling again why I had printed labels for some of the pens and I explained to her that the barcodes on some of the pens are different from the Purchase Order. She didn’t trust me at all and wanted to see the Purchase Order so I just gave her what she wanted to see.  After she has seen it with her bloody own eyes then only did she kept quiet.


That BITCH has been keeping me under surveillance all day.  I have caught her peeping at me out of the corner of my eyes for quite a few times already.  Her bloody gaze keeps following me wherever I go just like how a hawk observes its’ prey.


Why must she make my life so miserable?  Am I so irksome?  Or was it because I am slow?  But hello, I’ve been here for only two weeks!  How fast and efficient does she want me to be? Though I may not have lived up to her expectations, but I have already put in my best!  What more does she want from me??


What I observed at the store the past two weeks, is totally different from what the HQ has told us during the briefing.  One of the points that we are reminded to do is to put a SMILE on our faces but what I see at the store was smelly faces especially that BITCH!


Soon Ho is also not very happy working at the Majestic branch either.  I keep telling him that its only two weeks more and just bear with it for the sake of the money yet, I have thought about quitting myself.


I think this has got to be my most depressing and disheartening holidays ever! 


I really wished the school holidays would end soon.