Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Malaysia, Truly Asia...

A lot of people find it amazing and at the same time amusing that in his close to 30 years of existence, that Mr. Robotic has NEVER EVER step into Malaysia till just recently. To set things straight, Mr. Robotic did venture out to other places like Hong Kong and Bangkok but rather the opportunity to travel to Malaysia did not present itself to Mr. Robotic.

How is that possible, you ask? Well, Mr. Worry Too Much holds this perception that the whole family should not be travelling together, in fact, even individual family members should not be travelling if possible, cause the world beyond Singapore is a scary place with all the politics, riots etc. Hence, if you ever find that Mr. Robotic is pessimistic, he must have inherited it from Mr. Worry Too Much.

That aside, how did Mr. Robotic find his "virgin" trip (as his friends would like to tease him) to Johor Bahru (just across the Causeway from Singapore) with Ms. Hysterical and Mr. Trust Me?

Misfit trying to fit in:
"Thanks" to his seasoned traveller "friends" who keep warning him to dress as un-glamorous as possible so that Mr. Robotic does not come across as a viable target for robbers and thieves in the foreign country, Mr. Robotic turned up for the trip in an over sized T-shirt, seasoned bermudas, a pair of flip flops and a backpack. Ms. Hysterical was of course (you guessed it right) hysterical about Mr. Robotic's whole outfit and break into laughter every now and then when reminded about the outfit. To make things worse, the locals are not shabbily dressed at all in the malls. In fact, their dress sense is what is typical of youngsters would wear in Orchard Road and Mr. Robotic felt like an eyesore to the locals.

So is this pair of slippers amusing to you?

3 and a half meals in half a day?

Food prices in Johor Bahru is seemingly cheap compared to those in Singapore. Well, Mr. Robotic and gang had all their meals at City Square so maybe it could even be cheaper?

For instance, a lunch meal at Kenny Rogers costs about S$11 in Malaysia which one would not be able to find in the Kenny Rogers in Singapore even for set lunch specials. To compensate though, the portions served in Malaysia are smaller but Mr. Robotic thinks that the portions are just right. There is even a choice between chocolate and vanilla muffins. Sweet!

Tea break comes in the form of Mary Browns. For the clueless, Mary Browns serves deep fried chicken, except (at least to Mr. Robotic and Mr. Trust Me) the fried chicken skin taste far superior to the other more available fried chicken fast food joints (the nuggets are so so though) as it does not use excessive flour. The downside is, the chicken is dripping with oil. Sinful!

The decoration of Mary Browns is also very interesting with ceiling swings replacing some of the the conventional seats. Rock it out!

Japanese food! Mr. Robotic was delighted that Mr. Trust Me choice for dinner was the Sushi King located at the basement of City Square mall. It serves almost authentic Japanese Food and boy was Mr. Robotic famished from the long day of walking (read further to understand why). Mr. Robotic ordered a bento set which includes chawamushi, salmon slices, fried tempura, a yakult drink, miso soup and white rice. And the best part... the bento set cost less than S$10! Paradise!

To top things off, Mr. Robotic and Mr. Trust Me bought ice cream from a shop located at level 1 (don't recall the name of the shop). Mr. Robotic chose something that is called Royal Chocolate Mousse something. The chocolate is deliciously rich. Yummy!

Opps... it was such an enjoyable eating experience that Mr. Robotic had forgotten to take photos of the food.

Walking the road less travelled:

As Mr. Trust Me has been to Johor Bahru several times, he tempted Mr. Robotic and Ms. Hysterical to explore beyond the City Square Mall and constantly re-assured the two that he knows his way around. So, Mr. Robotic and Ms. Hysterical eventually placed their faith in Mr. Trust Me and ventured out of the comforts of the mall. The group got on a bus towards Danga Bay where Mr. Trust Me then communicated his main objective of the Johor trip, that was to eat seafood (this is even though Mr. Trust Me is allergic to prawns and shell related seafood items)!

The group dropped off at the wrong stop (a place that was even out of the Johor Bahru's tourist map) and had to walk back 1km to Danga Bay. Mr. Robotic cannot believe that was the nth time he misplaced his faith in Mr. Trust me. The group wandered across muddy tracks and construction areas. Somehow Mr. Trust Me has the most far-out way of humor and got his kicks from seeing Mr. Robotic spent his first trip in the un-touristy part of Malaysia.

To add salt to the wound, a rubbish collection truck past by the trio with the overpowering "aroma" expected no less from a rubbish collection truck. Mr. Trust Me could not contained it anymore and burst into giggles and laughter imagining the turn off expression that Mr. Robotic was making and how Mr. Robotic would be rolling his eyes... This was when Mr. Robotic's back was facing him and before Mr. Robotic uttered any complains. Somehow, Mr. Robotic also found his plight somewhat funny. Ms. Hysterical was clueless with what's going on.
There was nothing much to do at Danga Bay. There may be efforts to develop the place and it could be fantastic when completed. Hence, at the point of visit, the place was rather quiet for a Saturday afternoon.

The street malls at Danga Bay that sells handicrafts and stuff.

A Malay wedding by Danga Bay. Mr. Trust Me even wanted to gatecrash for free food.

Without much to do at Danga Bay, the trio decided to return back to City Square. As there were no traffic lights to cross over to the other side of the road to take the bus, the trio decided to push forward till they see some safe way to cross. That again was a bad decision as there were no traffic lights or sorts in sight. And there were no proper pavement, the trio had to walk on the side of the road, facing in coming traffic. To make things worst, dust were flying around due to the construction for new roads. The trio walked a good 3km before succumbing to taking a cab back.


Shopping-wise, Mr. Robotic liked the shop Padini & SEED which was recommended by Mr. Congeniality. Quite a nice selection of t-shirts which costs about $10 each but it was a pity that the ones that caught Mr. Robotic's eye only had the XL sizes left. Oh well... till next time!

If you know Mr. Robotic well enough, you know he has a weakness for jackets! So Mr. Robotic could not resist this white jacket from SEED.

A new pair of slippers to "erase" the joke on Mr. Robotic's causal flip flops. Mr. Robotic got them from Men's (no kidding, that's the title of the shop). Good selection of slippers for decent prices.

The verdict:

Mr. Robotic likes how accessible and spontaneous it is to go to a different country just using an ez-link card and without much prior planning. Even with the walking, it was a pretty fun trip. Look forward to another trip to Malaysia in the latter part of the year. And Mr. Robotic hoped Mr. Trust Me enjoyed his birthday trip!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Living the fast life...

Indeed... Mr. Robotic is living the fast life lately with the numerous deadlines at work. However, the fast paced work life is nothing compared to that of riding on the motorbike. Mr. Robotic was offered a ride home by Mr. Abang and as it is the very first time that Mr. Robotic get to ride a bike, gosh was it exciting! The adrenaline rush dashing in and out of traffic and the wind coming so strongly at one's face (Mr. Robotic almost felt that his face is flapping of sorts... that ain't good). Seriously when one is used to sitting inside cars, one has no idea how fast the vehicles are travelling. Mr. Robotic thought he was almost at some adventure ride.

Mr. Robotic is ashamed to admit that his legs were wobbly and all his muscles were tensed up (especially the hand muscles for clinging tightly to the sides of the bike) at the end of the ride. Nonetheless, it was really cool to get on the bike and live the fast life...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dian Xiao Er

Mr. Robotic is not a huge fan of duck meat. But on occasions where he has a strange craving for duck meat, he likes to go to the restaurant called Dian Xiao Er. The restaurant has a nice concept and theme for it tries to create a restaurant that is in the time of the the pugilistic world of Chinese Martial Arts, best represented by Jin Yong novels. Some of the waiters and waitresses are even dress up in the costumes of a Dian Xiao Er.

Gimmicky? Yes. But that is what help it to stand out among all the restaurants out there in Singapore.
Roasted Duck with 10 Wonder Herbs. A tad disappointed for the taste is not as gratifying as Mr. Robotic remembered it. The "supposedly" herbs are not in sight.
Plain Pea Sprouts. Simple but one of Mr. Robotic's favorite vegetables.

Some Fried Doufu thingy. Do not choose this item. Besides the slightly appealing presentation of the dish, there is nothing good to say about this dish.

While Mr. Robotic acknowledges the strong branding concept behind this restaurant, Mr. Robotic hopes that the standards of the food is still given priority as that is what customers are after.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Amusing Part of Law

Notice anything outstanding about the above signage found in a SBS bus? Mr. Robotic did and his funny bone is tickled cause he saw the part, "No assault on bus captain".

Make no mistake about it, Mr. Robotic do not support any form of physical assaults on others and understand the rationale for a legislation to be in place to protect individuals. However, it is just bizarre to Mr. Robotic that such an uncommon occurrence would actually warrant public communication. Or has passengers turned barbaric and turned a bus captain position into a high risk job? Whatever is the management "thinking" when they put up the signage?

PS: Apologies for the poorly taken picture. Mr. Robotic is trying to balance himself while taking this picture at night with a so-so phone camera.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Uniquely Singapore is now Your Singapore....

The controversial "Uniquely Singapore" branding that first sparked off debate on whether Singapore truly offers unique things or experiences which are not available in the rest of the world has been adapted recently to the new marketing direction "Your Singapore". The new branding's focus is to appeal to the increasingly new group of travellers whom no longer rely on tour agencies to explore a country but rather travellers who wants to be able to personalise their very own experience.

"Your Singapore" is a bit too simple for Mr. Robotic's liking. Only time will tell...

The website is as what the branding says, allowing travellers to plan their itineraries. Not only is it useful for tourists but locals like Mr. Robotic can consider the recommended places as a refreshing change to going to familiar places like the malls etc.

So, where did Mr. Robotic explored this 2010?
The place where travellers first arrive (usually), the Singapore Changi Airport of course!

Mr. Robotic had his lunch
slash dinner at the Seoul Garden Hotpot. The hotpot is more like a side for Mr. Robotic as his was busy enjoying his rib eye beef bibimbap. Alas, Mr. Robotic attacked the bibimbap before getting a picture of it. So enjoy the rest of the pictures of the hotpot instead...
The Miso soup pot prior to the cooking and the appetizers and sauces that comes with the set...
Clams, mussels and prawns...

Cabbage, carrots, fried yams and the chicken meat dumplings...

The restaurant is awfully quiet on a Saturday afternoon. This seems to the same trend with most of the other restaurants at the airport. Hence, while it is a bit out of the way for Mr. Robotic now, Mr. Robotic is tempted to try out the other restaurants once the Circle Line Mrt Station at Paya Lebar is open. Should be a good place to chill...

So what is the after meal activities? Mr. Robotic had heard how Terminal 3 of the airport has been branded to be a greener airport but Mr. Robotic has never even been to Terminal 3 before (yes it is sad that Mr. Robotic
rarely has the opportunity to go overseas on a vacation), so it is the best time to explore!

Nicely designed recycling bins...

Interesting water structure in the transit area... Mr. Robotic wished he had a transit pass to explore it further...

Relaxing transit area...

Mr. Robotic can't help but admires the travellers sipping tea at the cosy cafes and wonders when he is able to be at that stage where he can have such a relaxing lifestyle... Ganbatte!!

Joining the dark side...

Mission objective to the terrorists....
1. Destroy the control switch.
2. Proceed to detonate the C4 and destroy the helicopter.
3. Kill any counter-terrorists in sight.

So has Mr. Robotic turned to the dark side like the killer robots in Terminators?

That is what the game moderators at Red Dynasty would want you to believe when you join their paintball session. You would immerse yourself in a outdoor arena that has items like a wooden helicopter and a bridge to simulate the battlefield and a weapon that is loaded with 50 rounds of paintballs. If that is not enough, how about donning a Darth Vader alike mask? (breathes heavily....)

So how did Mr. Robotic fared in the dark side. Not very good apparently. He was shot in the mouth area. Lucky for Mr. Robotic, there was his trusty Darth Vader mask that blocked most of the impact from that head shot, failing which, Mr. Robotic may need to go for some face realignment of sorts. However, the mask can only protect Mr. Robotic that much. As there are little ventilation openings in the mask, parts of the paintball actually went past the mask and into Mr. Robotic's mouth. Mr. Robotic's advice to anyone who wishes to know how paintball taste like... don't ever try, unless you are into eating grease or something :(

For all the time spent to go to the rather isolated place and listening to the briefing and gearing up for the game, the game itself ended rather quickly. But it is still a rather fun experience although a little pain is to be expected. If you have a little grudge that you have with your friends, it is time to organise a painball... opps... paintball session.