Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Are you really in Singapore?

This post is long overdue since the actual event took place in April itself and you may have already read about a related post on this. But it's all good since Mr. Robotic get to reminisce the moment. :)

Ever since Mr. Robotic heard that Universal Studios is going to bring their act to Singapore, Mr. Robotic has been enthusiastically awaiting their arrival. While Mr. Robotic is thankful for Singapore for many things (e.g. stability, infrastructure), the small island can definitely do no wrong in adding familiar characters from Shrek and Madagascar to its population and make things more interesting.

Universal Studios really did lived up to its expectations. There are lots to see and Mr. Robotic felt that he was at the set for the different movie scenes (at "Lights, Camera, Action!" Mr. Robotic did get to witness the setting for a major hurricane). It is amazing how this part of Sentosa is transformed, so much so that one questions whether he or she is still in Singapore. The best part of course is that Mr. Robotic get to spend a memorable day out with his family (the previous one being the now dysfunctional Haw Par Villa?! Gosh, that's ancient!)!
Universal Studios Singapore (USS) are divided into Hollywood, New York City, Sci-Fi City, Egypt, Madagascar, Far Far Away and Lost World. Lest for Sci-Fi City which Mr. Robotic thinks is a tad dull (maybe cause the main attraction Battlestar Galactica is down for repairs), the rest of the USS has much to do and Mr. Robotic couldn't complete them in a day (e.g. "Pantages Hollywood Theater").

It could have been the long queue times for the attractions (some rides actually need 50 minutes waiting time! Or it could be the weekend) that slowed Mr. Robotic's progress or the glaring sun that made Mr. Robotic hid in the air-conditioned places. Whatever the case, it is worth a second or third visit!

Not convinced? Take a look at some of Mr. Robotic's photographs of USS!!!

In the WaterWorld stage, watch as the actors and actresses perform defying stunts before your very eyes. An explosive performance! Those sitting in the front seats, be prepared to get soaked! Keep a lookout for the schedule as there are limited times for this performance.

Mr. Robotic donning his Ogre ears and pretending that Shrek's place is his. Mr. Robotic looks endearing as Shrek right? Maybe Mr. Robotic can consider a part time job as the Shrek mascot. Haha.

There are mascots (e.g. Puss in boots and Kungfu Panda) going around to take photos and the mascots sure have a number of cheeky poses. A pity Mr. Robotic missed out the opportunities to take photos with them as they appeared only for short intervals. Well, it's not easy to be in those thick suits in Singapore's hot climate. So the mascots definitely deserve their cool down breaks. Kudos to these people whom braved the weather and made it possible! Mr. Robotic hopes to be able to take pictures with them in his next visit to USS.

While Fairy Godmother is a villain in Shrek 2, Mr. Robotic like the two-faced character for she sang one of his favorite song "Holding out for a Hero" in the movie. Also, like Pinocchio, Mr. Robotic wishes that the Fairy Godmother can turn him into a real boy instead of a working machine! Happily Ever After potion anyone?

Pity there are not many villains stuff in USS. Mr. Robotic thinks they have a niche audience that should not be missed.

The guardians to the indoor roller coaster, "The Revenge of the Mummy". Mr. Robotic had never took any indoor roller coasters prior to this and so Mr. Robotic is giving two thumbs up for this cool and thrilling ride! Many of Mr. Robotic's friends also give rave reviews about the ride. The long walk in to the ride is complete with flickering lights which adds to the spook factor. Hey, its dark on the ride itself, so scream all you want (not that Mr. Robotic screamed... :P).

No theme park is complete without the kiddie rides. Let the kids or adults have a go at the above "King Julien's Beach Party-Go-Round". Mr. Robotic likes to Move it Move it and he chose Nana, the crazy and aggressive old lady. She deserves punishment for trying to bully Mr. Robotic's favorites, the Penguins. Opps... Anyway, Nana does not move much... like moving an inch up and down?

So there you go, Mr. Robotic's take on some of the attractions at USS. It's cool to feel as though you are a tourist visiting Singapore even though you are a local. Be there to experience it!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Make someone happy today!

While watching a video on "Johnny the bagger" at the service excellence workshop, a particular quote by Mark Twain in the video resonated with Mr. Robotic.

"The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up."

It is easy to point out other people's mistake but as Asians, one is not so forthcoming in giving or accepting compliments. One should learn to give others compliments when it is due. Your words may just uplift another person's day and in doing that creates a positive energy that may bounce right back at ya. It is nice to see someone smile right?

Also, by praising someone, you are helping to reinforce the strength or attribute that the person is good at for he or she may not realise to explore that area.

So... make it a point to compliment someone each day!

Funny side note:
Mr. Robotic remarked that Mr. Trust Me was dashing on a random day. But instead of gracefully accepting the compliment, Mr. Trust Me grabbed a stapler (not the small kind but the large kind) and threatened to throw at Mr. Robotic for his nonsense.

Moral of story? The compliment must be sincere and genuine or it may just backfire. Opps....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Service Excellence Workshop

Mr. Robotic is always in a dilemma over quality versus quantity in his course of work. As quantity is easily measured, Mr. Robotic finds himself constantly evaluated based on the volume of work that he can complete and whether the work is completed on a prompt basis.

However, Mr. Robotic's developers have also been emphasizing that quality is of equal importance in his work. But due to lack of time, increasingly higher quantity targets or simply losing sight of the objectives, Mr. Robotic finds he does sacrifice quality over quantity from time to time.

It was therefore good timing that Mr. Robotic received valuable training in a form of a two day workshop on "service excellence" to help him reconnect to his job purpose. That is, he is there at his job to help people.

What is Mr. Robotic's main takeaway from the workshop conducted by Mr. Trainer?

Generalisation, is one's in-built mechanism to helps one do their work faster (aka handling the quantity aspect) and it is especially important in today's world given the clutter of information that one is required to process each day. It is a double-edged sword though. Sometimes one needs to be mindful not to jump too quickly to conclusions and that not one solution fits all problems, for one's generalisation could be incorrect.

Mr. Robotic is gulity of generalisation too as he may be too quick to judge things and reject an idea instead of letting the events play out and see how it eventually goes.

Similarly, Mr. Robotic experiences how he is discriminated due to generalisation as he recalls how the sales people in a particular shop only greeted and attended to the ang moh customers (predicted to be tourists who are willing to spend money in the shop) and totally ignored Mr. Robotic's presence because he is in a T-shirt and bermudaes (predicted to be a Singaporean who is merely doing window shopping and not worth their effort) that day.

True enough, due to the double standards experienced, Mr. Robotic left the shop quickly. Self-fulfilling prophecy? One should be wary not to fall in that loop.

While the workshop may be touching on topics which Mr. Robotic already know, it is a good workshop because it keeps Mr. Robotic grounded and not lose focus of his job purpose. Importantly, the ideas are presented in a fun manner and a nice break from work!

Thanks Mr. Trainer! Much Appreciated!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Life of a "retiree"...

Well... Mr. Robotic ain't exactly a machine that is due for retirement soon. However, that ain't stopping him from experiencing the kind of lifestyle if he is indeed a retiree. What would one of the "retirement" days entail? It would be sipping away afternoon tea and enjoying little snacks while flipping the business times and magazines at the cafe.

Mr. Robotic has been eyeing the coffee connoisseur (TCC)'s tea set promotion ever since he learned about the promotion a week ago. The promotion is from 2 to 6pm where one gets to enjoy snacks and a drink (choice between coffee and tea) for $12.90. Citibank card holders get to enjoy a further 15% discount on the bill.

The strawberry tart is missing as it is already in Mdm. Agaration's tummy before Mr. Robotic can take up his camera.
Salmon sandwich.

The peppermint tea pot.

Little cookies to go with the tea itself.

Mr. Robotic always like visiting the different branches of TCC because while the colors used for the decoration is yellow, brown, white and black, each branch has somehow a unique decor to it due to the choice of furniture and even the chandeliers. Besides the design, the alternative drinks such as "Peach Me Up" and "Green Apple Twist" are quite nice (Mr. Robotic can't take coffee as it is like a laxative to him) and the highlight of course would be the "Seafood Aglio Olio". The scallops are a little bit chewy or as the Taiwanese would call it the QQ texture.

Do let Mr. Robotic know if you come across any other good promotions ya...?!?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pizza for the Dummies...

Hawaiian Pita Pizza
Learned of this recipe from Noob Cook.

Mr. Robotic has always been a fan of Noob Cook cause she really simplifies recipes for the likes of Mr. Robotic to follow. She can so like write a book on cooking for dummies. Haha... Mr. Robotic also like her food photography skills and her nice and cute utensils that match the food. Do visit her site for more recipes.

This Pita Pizza recipe is gonna be a favorite for Mr. Robotic mainly because it is completed in so few steps and in like 15 minutes. The bonus is that there ain't much follow up like washing and cleaning the plates... :)

Ingredients (From the top in clockwise direction):
Pineapples slices
Tomato Paste (or tomato paste sauce or pizza sauces)
Pita Bread
Mozzarella Cheese

1. Place a piece of pita bread on an oven tray (Mr. Robotic had put a little bit of butter in case the pita bread stick to the tray).
2. Spread the tomato paste evenly over the pita bread using the back of a spoon.
3. Add the toppings of pineapples and ham, followed by a layer of mozzarella cheese, followed by more toppings over the cheese.
4. Bake in preheated oven of 200C (392F) for roughly 10 minutes.

It's amazing watching the ingredients transform before one's very eyes...

Fresh and piping hot from the oven! Pizza Hut can't deliver faster than this...

Serve on a nice plate...

Did you notice that Mr. Robotic had many more pictures for this dish compared to all his other recipes? It was possible because this dish is really really easy so Mr. Robotic had free time to play around with his camera while waiting for the pizza to cook in the oven. It ain't an authentic Italian pizza but hey it is good for a hungry day where one is lazy to cook something too complicated.

Mr. Robotic can't wait to try out new ingredients to come up with variations for this...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chicken with Pineapple

Teriyaki Chicken with Pineapple Slices
Learned of this recipe from 女人我最大 episode 20100308 超幸福爱心便当

Ingredients (Mr. Robotic based it on agaration):
Chicken Fillets Teriyaki Sauce (enough to cover the chicken fillets)
Dash of sugar
Half a garlic flatten
Stub of ginger finely grated
1 teaspoon of oil
Slices of pineapple


1. Add sugar to the teriyaki sauce, followed by the garlic and ginger.
2. Cut away the fatty parts of the chicken fillets and marinate the chicken fillets using the teriyaki sauce.
3. Cover in cling wrap and leave in fridge overnight.

1. Lightly oil the pan.
2. Cook the side of the chicken fillets with the skin first.
3. Add the pineapple slice on top of the chicken.
4. Turn the fillets to the other side. Once fully cooked, remove the chicken fillets and serve.
For the photo of the finished dish, click here.

Mdm. Agaration who is a fan of ginger liked the dish. Mr. Robotic in order not to waste the stub of ginger, used more than he should for the dish. The taste of the pineapple was also overpowered by the other ingredients. Not fantastic results but at least there is one fan. Furthermore, Mr. Little Terror did not give much negative comments so that is definitely a plus. A simple east meets west dish.

Tomato Egg...

Tomatoes stirred fried with Eggs
Learned of this recipe from 女人我最大 episode 20100308 超幸福爱心便当

Ingredients (Serves 2 to 3):
3 eggs mixed
2 tomatoes
A few stalks of spring onions
1 table spoon of tomato sauce
Dash of salt and sugar
1 tea spoon of oil

1. Heat the oil in pan and start cooking the eggs over low fire till the eggs are half cooked. Take out the eggs.
2. Put in the tomatoes and spring onions in pan and stir fried.
3. Next add in the tomato sauce and some water.
4. Add back the eggs and the salt and sugar.

Wonder whats besides the tomatoes and eggs? Click here.

A very simple dish. Good for those who likes tomatoes. Anyway, Mr. Robotic did made some mistakes on this dish too. He couldn't find salt so he skipped the step of adding salt. And he didn't realise that he is supposed to add sugar. Mr. Robotic added white pepper instead. So overall his take on this is a bit bland. Anyway, one can't go too wrong with this dish.
Also, it's ideal for vegans who can take egg products too. :)

Mango Yogurt Cake Recipe

Mango Yogurt Recipe
Learned of this recipe from Nami-Nami.

Mr. Robotic tried to halve the amount of ingredients and used a small tin because of the disastrous encounter with the previous cake.

Ingredients (Serves 5 to 6):

100 g digestive biscuits, crushed
40g butter, melted

Mango filling:
250g good-quality mango pulp
100g plain yogurt
100ml whipping cream
1 Table spoon sugar
Juice of a half a lemon
1 Table spoon gelatine powder

1. Mix the finely crushed biscuits with melted butter.
2. Line the small tin with a parchment paper and press the mixture onto the base.

1. Soak the gelatine in 1 table spoon of water for about 5-10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, mix the mango pulp and yogurt.
3. Heat the lemon juice in a small bowl, adding 2 to 3 table spoon of hot water.
4. Add gelatine and stir into the hot lemon juice/water mixture. Stir couple of times, until melted.
5. Pour into the mango-yogurt mixture, stirring vigorously.
6. Whip the cream and sugar until soft peaks form, then fold into the mango mixture.

1. Spoon the mango filling onto cookie base, smooth the top.
2. Place into the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

So Mr. Robotic didn't follow the instructions for the recipe and what was the outcome? Just Mango Yogurt... the disaster was still edible though. Lol. The filling did not firm up as a cake. What might have went wrong?

Mr. Robotic thinks it was the amount of water used that stopped the cake from firming up. He used too much lemon juice (whole lemon) and water. Also, he reduced the gelatin powder used to 1 teaspoon instead of a table spoon as Mr. Songwriter Wannabe told him that his previous cake were too hard in texture. It could also be that instead of mango pulp, he had used fresh mangoes and blended them. Or it could be he used the blender to mix the ingredients instead of stirring them. Haha... so many variables to isolate... cakes are really no easy feat... Kudos to the chefs!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

OTD mentality...

OTD stands for On the Dot. Apply it to work context, it literally means to leave the office on time but there is more to it. To Mr. Robotic, it means to be able to complete all the work due for the day and leave the office at ease and ensuring that his personal time are by no means compromised by work. Mr. Robotic always admired his colleagues who are able to achieve the OTD spirit and hopefully pick up a few tips from them to improve his own pace of work.

Click on Mr. Robotic's profile and his earlier posts and take a look at his aspiration on how he wishes to become a real boy who gets to explore the fun things in life instead of a remaining as a working machine. To put things in perspective, do take a look at the equation below...

Work Life Balance Equation for a "normal" person:

8 hours of Work + 8 hours of Personal Time + 8 hours of sleep = 1 day

By normal person, Mr. Robotic is referring to one that has a office job and is expected to clock the standard office hours per day. Also do note that in the above equation, 1 day = 24 hours = 1,440 minutes = 86,400 seconds which is impossible to increase. The only variables are work, personal time and sleep. However, sleep cannot be reduced too drastically or it would lead to dire or undesirable effects.

On the same issue
, Mr. Robotic read a book recently by the author, Robert Shemin, in which he said that the true measure of wealth is not in the monetary measures (i.e. how much money one have) but rather time itself. This is because one can make more money but one cannot make more time. Mr. Robotic's take from the book is wealth should not be created at the expense of one's personal time. Instead one should work towards generating wealth through methods that can reduce the number of work hours and further translate that to more personal time. And this is Mr. Robotic's goal for 2010.

Looking back at the past few weeks stretching from February to April, Mr. Robotic's work life balance equation
was in a total mess. Mr. Robotic landed up sacrificing his personal time and sleep due to increase in additional hours put in for work. And the worst part of all, the additional hours does not necessarily translate in to more wealth for Mr. Robotic. On the contrary, if Mr. Robotic did not perform to the expectations of his job level, it could mean less wealth.

Lucky for Mr. Robotic, May is finally becoming a better month for him.
He has been repeating to himself throughout each day that he has to clear the various objectives of the day by 6pm each day and he would cut away all distractions that obstructs his path. By practicing the OTD spirit, Mr. Robotic finally get to achieve much more things in his after work times like:
- Running
- Update blog
- Finish reading a book
- Gym exercises
- Experience the evening sun
- Small talk with family members

Being able to get his personal time back on track, Mr. Robotic felt "richer" already.
OTD all the way!!

China Bistro...

When one has free vouchers, there is that tendency to over spend. That is exactly what happened with Mr. Robotic and gang when Mr. Robotic received free food vouchers of over $50 for spending at Universal Studios.

As Mdm. Agaration likes Chinese Food, the gang settled on Holly China Bistro among all the eateries in Universal Studios.

The dishes are (from top to bottom) Yang Zhou fried rice (without prawns), Spinach with garlic (vegetable
of the day), Glutinous Rice wrapped in leave, Spring roll, Meat Platter, Guo Tie and Longjing Tea.

Total damage for the whole lot of the food is $120+ for a group of 4. Pity all the dishes above came across as standfare and none was really outstanding except for the roasted pork from the meat platter. The skin of the roasted pork was really crispy and there was a few sauces to dip on. It was one of the rare occasions that Mr. Robotic was not turn off by the fatty meat. Another point worth mentioning was that the service was prompt which was especially important then for the extremely hungry group.

Worth another
try for Mr. Robotic? Perhaps with another selection of dishes.