Skipping Over February

Finally have the time, space and energy to sit down to do a blog entry proper!

Now where did February go? Definitely the 1st time in a long while that I didn’t blog (or rather didn’t manage to blog anything) in 1 entire month and the time just went by¬†like that ……

January ended with the CNY festive season. After which, it is straight back to work and daily life.

And yes, one significant thing that happened right before CNY was the breakdown/’death’ of my Lenovo laptop. As documented on this blog, after the initial replacement issues (when 1st bought), and an earlier breakdown of the hard disk just back in September, the Lenovo decided to hang by itself when in office one fine Monday afternoon. To cut the story short, after calling the technical support line, dropping everything down to head to the service centre at McPherson for 2nd diagnosis, and another opinion from a repair shop at Jurong Point – the final conclusion was motherboard failure. The replacement would have cost $500+ …… and thus it would be a more feasible solution to just get a new laptop instead – which is needed as I had work to finish right before CNY beckons.

And so, I bought a new Acer Swift 3 that is gold in colour for a ‘golden’ new beginning.

The laptop has been working great for the past 2 months that I have been using it – and this is my 1st blog on this laptop ūüėõ

In a figurative way, the Lenovo represents frustration and pain through the 2 years and 4 months that I have used it. And I will be better served with a fresh start with a newer and better machine going forward. Sounds like how my life has been going for the past 1 odd years ūüôā

February is also another month where I experienced numerous body wiggles post-yoga (right achilles tendon pull, tight hips, on and off wrist strains on my right). Also came down with sore throat / flu for a good part of the month which recovered, then came back again after Hot Yoga 101 (believe I caught a chill as the room as stuffier than usual which even the instructor felt so as well), which is reduced to chest cough on and off still as the virus has yet to go away 100% Рwhich sucks!

Partly as a result of some of the ‘muscle imbalances’ that I was experiencing post-yoga, took the plunge to try Yin Yoga as I have read on some of the benefit of Yin Yoga include increased circulation, fascial release and greater joint mobility (through holding poses for 3 to 5 min long) ….. which was something I needed to ‘repair’ my body and feel good again.

After my very 1st Yin class (on Sunday morning) where the final pose before savasana was a reclining head to toe stretch (with a bolster placed right across the tight) Рmy hamstrings loosened immensely.  After which, I attended my semi-regular Tuesday evening Hot Yoga 101 class. Even after some pretty intense work in the class, my thighs/quads no longer have the intense post work achne (the technical term for it will be DOMS Рdelayed onset muscle soreness) that will take me the entire evening and the good part of the following day to recover from. I have always had tight hamstrings and quads which I finally realised was a result of inadequate post workout stretching from my running and spinning days. The increased flexibility from holding stretches 3 to 5 mins is real indeed. Not to mention feeling much lighter and more relaxed for the rest of the day, and enjoying improved sleep.

I have decided to incorporate Yin to be part of my regular yoga ‘programming’ as I target to do it once every 2 to 3 weeks. Plus waking up early and going for the early 1015 Hrs Sunday morning class at Gulliemard is a great way to re-adjust¬†my bio-clock and sleep patterns – as well as to re-connect with my body and wind down the weekend.

Before March comes to an end, I also hope to try another new type of class (most likely Hot 26) -which is part of my personal goal/resolution to try 1 new class every month.

Yoga Journal: Which Of Your Chakras Is Out Of Balance?

Decided to check out this quiz as it popped up on my twitter feed. Co-incidentally I was also googling on chakra readings last night, and that piqued my curiousity right on!

http://www.yogajournal.com/article/chakras-yoga-for-beginners/quiz-chakras-out-of-balance/

My Results:

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Result: Your Sixth Chakra is Imbalanced

Physical Signs of Blocked Ajna Energy

Misalignment of the third eye chakra can result in problems with vision, headaches, migraines, and dizziness.

Mental Signs of Blocked Ajna Energy

When the sixth chakra out of alignment, you may also feel mental confusion.

More information about the Third Eye Chakra

The yoga pose that relates to Third Eye Chakra – Sukhasana (Easy Pose). This is actually my default pose for my daily meditation.

Also found another link on yoga journal – Third Eye Chakra Tune Up Practice. Will probably be a good idea to combine this together with my daily meditatoin.

This is pretty mind-blowing indeed. Have been feeling some complex emotions lately, and this feeling kind of surfaced up when I did my usual meditation earlier after lunch (P/S: It was afternoon rather than morning as I slept in).

As the practice tip says – Use this practice to open and build awareness in your ajna chakra to begin to see everything in your life more clearly.

Yes, definitely need to see some clarity and ‘light’ at the end of the tunnel with all the going-ons right now.

 

Friday The 13th

Welcoming the weekend on a slightly sombre note (and unable to sleep) after a pretty shitty day (Thursday) as the following unfolded:

Missed my morning alarm again – set it for 0815 hrs, snoozed it until I finally woke up at 0855 hrs. (At this point, not so s**t yet)

By the time I had my quickie breakfast (black coffee + bread with peanut butter), packed, changed and left my house, it was already 0935 hrs. Product kickoff that I signed up for starts at 0930 hrs!!!! Already running late but still thought I could reach at 1000 hrs if I managed to get a taxi/Grabcar. So skipped my usual morning mediation and left the house.

Decided that it wasn’t worth it to spend $20 on a ra-ra kind of waste time launch/kickoff event …… and so MRT-ed in to Tanjong Pagar. Reached Tanjong Pagar around 1020-ish. Decided to pop by Duxton to pick up a premium cheque (+ forms) so that I need not walk out from office again post lunch. On my way back, popped by lululemon to look at yoga mats again (still agnonizing over lululemon vs Manuka Prolite).

Got to office around 11, and started to get ready client paperwork (that was prepared yesterday) to submit.

1st major disturbance came about when U**le A called and started complaining about why the insurer was so slow to settle his claims (mis-matched expectation as said person interprets 14 working days as 14 calendar days despite the fact that there were 2 public holidays in lieu, and not forgetting weekends). Rather than listening to my instruction proper on getting the ‘correct full settlement’ receipt that insurer insists they need (but somehow they did not have the courtesy to inform the client), said person started rambling/complaining about forking out $$ for follow up consultations/tests/scans for post cancer follow-up treatment. This is despite me already laying down the marker that these post follow-up costs are NOT CLAIMABLE if there was no stated major outpatient procedure/related hospitalisation involved – as per Integrated Shield Plan T&C. I’m neither a doctor nor a claims officer who can make decision on this matter, but as far as I’m concerned, this T&C has been highlighted to him loud and clear (and in the presence of spouse and children too). In the end I ended off the conversation abruptly by saying I’m not a doctor who can advise on what treatment he needs, and I need to clear some documents before my 1215 lunch appointment. Hate it when people try their luck to manipulate situations to their advantage (Between D thinks said person just needs help and I shouldn’t be so sensitive).

Then around 12, client called and asked me to hold on to the paperwork and not submit it because he/she is concerned about market volatility now in view of some Trump remarks again (and this is after insisting that analysts have said US Market will rally in Q1). If you do not know how to market time, do not be a smart-aleck. And if you cannot take risk, just don’t invest. Don’t be so selfish, fickle-minded and inconsiderate to others – especially after spending 2 hours of my life on Wed doing unproductive paperwork for your fund switching (not 100% client’s fault, 50% is because my company makes the processes more tedious and cumbersome).

And finally, the next bomb! Over lunch with S, S asked me about clients who talk crudely (esp. over whatsapp) and I mentioned this fella who has a tendency to behave like this over whatsapp. And true enough after lunch, said person claimed that why insurer did not mail out the documents direct (Note: The documents will reach me 1st, I will scan and e-file before mailing/delivering them to client). And gave me an angry emoticon¬†when I said I have yet to receive it on my end. What’s up with this crude passive-aggressive behaviour? 1st I never said the documents will be mailed to you direct, I just said will inform and advice on payment details on my end once I receive the documents. I haven’t receive anything – what’s there to advice. However its true that insurer has already send them out since last Friday¬†6 Jan 2016, and I should have received them already. Of course my company insists they did not receive (although the mailroom has a record of losing mails etc.) ¬†– and because of the carry-over effect from client, I really took it out on the mailroom peeps!

Despite starting my day early, it turned up to be more infuriating rather than productive.And having very tight calves and tense shoulders – which sort of undid the tension release after Wed evening’s Hatha Yoga. And so I ended up ranting on my blog!

Realised a pattern Рwhen I skipped my morning meditation on Tuesday, the day turned out quite horrid. Took Wed out of office, and did an early evening yoga class instead that lifted up my mood tremendously. Today I decided to prioritize early start over essential meditation and once again the day turned out pretty shitty. So immediate action is to resume my usual morning meditation and get my yoga practice back on track on Friday the 13th, clear my mind and start serious work on my major Q2 goals! And before all of that, some quality sleep (was very bothered by the heatwave this entire week)!!

Food Mission 2016: nahm

Using the 1st day of the new year (year 2017) to play blog catch-up.

While I had quite a few foodie adventures in year 2016 itself, one of the highlights was definitely dining at Nahm while I was in Bangkok in April 2016. Incidentally, this is also my one and only overseas trip/holiday for year 2016.

More specifically, the reason why we ended up at nahm was because it was meant to be a birthday treat for Z – who really really wanted to check out nahm!

Apart from the many awards and accoldales nahm has received, notably being ranked in Asia’s 50 Best¬†Restaurants (No. 7 in Year 2015 and No. 8 in Year 2016), ¬†nahm is also notable as a set-up by David Thompson – an Australian chef specialized in Thai cuisine. Also noted from Z that Nahm is the ‘parent’ of Long Chim @ Marina Bay Sands that also serves similar styled thai cuisine.

Location-wise, Nahm is not difficult to find as it is situated right at the ground level of the COMO Metropolitian Bangkok Hotel in the Sathorn district. Which in turn was just 10 to 15 min away by cab from Pratunam (where we were staying).

No pictures of the restaurant though as we were busy getting ourselves settled down and relaxed at our corner table, and was a bit tired to be snapping away at the restaurant interior after our early morning flight into Bangkok.

We went for the 1,600 baht (before taxes) set lunch that works out to be around SGD 75 to 76. Rather than ala-carte, I decided the set lunch would be better for the complete dining experience + it was intended also to be brithday treat for Z.

And so, how does Thai cuisine cooked by an Australian fare in a smart casual setting?

The set lunch consists of 8 courses – which I combined into a collage and posted it on my personal instagram.

In the order from left to right to downwards (and sideways and downwards again) – our meal kicked off with a complementary¬†Amuse Bouche ‘Ma Hor’. This is essentially minced chicken, pork and prawn (which lumped together felt like ba kwa) covered with palm sugar topped with fried shallots on a pineapple. At 1st bite, it was refreshing, and the combination of sweet (i.e. the pineapple) and savoury (i.e. the pork) was perfect!

Next up, a canape (or rather appetizer) РThai satay + egg nets with prawns, wild almonds and kaffir line, which made for another sweet and savoury combination as well.

Followed by the mains – Scallop¬†salad with coconut & lemongrass …. Steamed coral trout fish with Bang rak yellow beans & prickled garlic (understand this was a signature David Thomson creation where the recipe can be found here) …. Beef rendang curry …. Hot and Sour Shop with chicken, prawns and wild mushrooms.

From the pictures, food wise and presentation wise, it looks like home cooked thai fare. The beef rendang curry was really fragrant, and while the hot and sour soup (aka tom yum soup David Thompson style) was not really that hot (in temperature), but was definitely spicy (although it looked otherwise). I personally liked the steam fish as there was a light lemongrass and garlic aftertaste that went well with the sweet soy sauce.

Thank god for the dessert – which was tropical fruits in scented syrup that took some of the spiciness from the soup off. And we were given a complimentary fruit as well.

Not a cheap meal by all means (as many Singaporeans travel to Bangkok with the expectation that food/dinning in Bangkok is cheap), but good experience to check out thai-style fine dining (as versus to thai-style street food) for a change. What I liked was that the food felt clean (as versus to street-like greasy), while retaining the basic thai sensibility of sweet and savoury flavours by using spices and condiments such as lemongrass.

Apart from the set lunch, Nahm also serves set dinner priced at 2,500 baht per pax Рwhich is a full tasting menu which consists of a canapes, 1 dish from every individual main course section and desserts. We almost went for that, but it was impossible to get reservations for dinner as it was booked out 2-3 weeks in advance. Will love to go back for that next time!

Details:

nahm

COMO Metropolitian Bangkok                                                                                                                         27 South Sathorn Road                                                                                                                       Tungmahamek Sathorn,
Bangkok 10120, Thailand

Tel:  +66 2 625 3388
Email:  nahm.met.bkk@comohotels.com                                                                                                         Website:  http://www.comohotels.com/metropolitanbangkok/dining/nahm

Opening Hours:

Lunch – Monday to Friday
12pm to 2pm

Dinner – Daily
7pm to 10.30pm (last order)

 

Ending 2016 ……

Its only now – with 1 more day to go before 2016 comes to an official close that I finally have the time to wipe some dust off this blog as I’m working from home today.

December has been a busy and relatively productive month. I hesitated to say ‘productive’ or ‘very productive’ as I felt I could have managed my focus and energy levels much better …… before I can confidently say I’ve been productive. More important is the self-awareness to realize that …… and this¬†will be something I have to keep working on in year 2017.

Sometimes plans, how well laid-out it can be, will not always go swimmingly / within our expectation.

One thing I have set out to do is to do more yoga over the festive season (christmas eve right till the new year) – as versus to just 1 class per week. My original plan today was to take the day off, go for lunchtime Stretch @ Yoga Lab …… followed by a relaxing lunch and some shopping in town. However a last minute quotation request from client came in last night. And so in the end, I sacrificed my home practice last night and sleep (eyes were already closing at 11+) to send out the quotation requests so that I could get some indicative responses by noon (as some insurers may be on half-day).

In the end, no indicative quote was forthcoming (as this is a specialized risk). Thankfully, I managed to seek client’s understanding that the time frame is too rushed, and we can only see some outcome in the new year.

And so I’ll do home practice today instead and go for a Stretch Class tomorrow morning. Interestingly, my original intention/workout plan for this week is to do a Stretch Class either on Friday or Saturday after attending a Hot Yoga 101 Class earlier on Tuesday evening. Flip-flopped a bit last night by putting myself on the wait-list for Yoga 101 at 1745 Hrs later, only to eventually cancel it (after getting a mat) and reverting back to my original plan of doing Stretch Class.

Which brings me to another point – setting and managing expectations.

When dealing with clients, clients will always want their needs to be attended first and on asap basis (even though it may neither be urgent nor important). Looking back now, although I wasn’t able to get an indicative quote today (which was the ideal scenario I had in my mind) – most important thing is that I got my client’s understanding that it may be difficult to firm things right now since its festive season. And he/she was pretty cool with it. So after some rough hiccups in the business relationship along the way, it is a sign of progress that I’m able to handle fickle natures a lot better now – by managing expectations accordingly.

And that brings me to the next point(s) – patience and intention.

Ideally, if the quote could come in today, I will be able to close off my work and have the afternoon off. Or from another perspective, simply tell the client that its not possible and let’s wait till the new year – and have the entire day off to do what I want to do. It was good that I kept going at it – despite the less than positive outcome for now …… and eventually we should be able to come to a more reasonable timeline to firm up something soon once everyone is back in normal working mode (and also when client manages to firm their equipment leasing details on their end too).

When this deal (and the deals/cases that I have been working on pre and post Christmas) eventually comes through – the rewards/fruits of labour will be that much sweeter and more precious. And so a little waiting here for now after having put in my best efforts!

And having the above clarity meant that I was able to go back to my original intention of closing year 2016 with a yoga class …… after starting my Christmas holidays with Hatha Yoga Class on Christmas Eve (where I completely blocked out work) and to end 2016 with another yoga class (with no distractions). As I have learnt in mediation and from yoga – setting your intention is important, as that will serve as our original purpose to why we set out to do that particular activity.

What was meant to be a random musings entry turned out to be a longer reflection piece (unplanned). It definitely feels good to be able to crystallize my thoughts and blog/write once again.

Food Mission 2016: Kohaku Tempura

Getting more up to speed with my foodie adventures before year 2016 comes to an end in a little more than a months time ……

Authentically tasty Tendon – in short for Tempura Donburi (exactly, or close to what I had eaten before in Japan) is not so easily to come by in Singapore. Until the Keisuke Group opened up Tendon Ginza Itsuki at a Tanjong Pagar shophouse corner. Never had the opportunity to eat at Tendon Ginza Itsuki proper due to its snaking quenes (both at lunchtime and at dinnertime).

Until Kohaku Tempura¬†came along (as part of Suntec City’s Eat At Seven Dining Belt that houses various Japanese dining concepts under one roof) …… only then I finally get to have a proper Japanese style Tendon!

Kohaku is another tendon eatery that has been getting rave reviews online. Walked passed the place once when I happened to be in Suntec and saw the snaking quenes for dinner service (there’s about 15 people in the quene and that will probably take a good 1/2 hour to 45 min to clear). And so decided that if I were ever to try it, I have to do it slightly off-peak i.e. before the main dinner crowd streams in from 630pm onwards. Managed to schedule it a evening to do so – that was around end September when I was back again in Suntec to collect my Note7 replacement.

Eat At Seven is a new Japanese dining belt (in the revamped Suntec City Mall) that houses 7 different Japanese dining establishments under one roof. Kohaku is located right after the tonkatsu restaurant (which I have also read good reviews on), with a huge cloth banner right beside the entrance.

Didn’t manage to take pictures of the interior as my phone (was still using my old Note 4) was low on battery. Fortunately, there was a power point beside my seat ūüôā …… thus still able to take pictures of the tendon that I have been anticipating ……

Ordered their signature Kohaku Tendon ($15) that comes with fried vegetables, prawn, seafood (crab stick, squid) and chicken on top of hokkaido rice drizzed in a special sauce. As per my picture above, the portion looked really big until I had to segregate out some of the ingredients in order to eat and enjoy my meal properly (see below picture).

Despite all the items being FRIED (major diet killer) …… I must say it is worth killing your diet for ūüėõ

The individual items were well fried, without being overly oily/greasy. From the pictures, it does not look as crispy …… but in my opinion, this is subjective. As with all fried food, ¬†what is more important (for myself at least) is that I can still get to taste the freshness of the ingredients (particularly the tempura prawn, chicken breast, baby corn and pumpkin) …… and at the end of meal, feeling satisfied and not hot/dry at the throat. And the rice was fluffy and easy to the taste, and went well with the ingredients and sauce.

For $15 (before GST) – considering the huge amount of ingredients (the tempura I had at Teppei for lunch didn’t even have this much stuff, Kohaku is definitely a value eat and worth the queue!

Details:

Tempura Kohaku¬†Ś§©šłľÁź•ÁŹÄ

3 Temasek Boulevard
#03-311 Eat At Seven, Suntec City
Singapore 038983

Tel: +65 6333 4386
Opening hours: 1100 Hrs to 2200 Hrs

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kohaku.tempura/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Chaos

1st Photo Challenge in a long long while.

Finally managed to find some photos that fit into¬†this week’s theme – Chaos.

As documented on this blog, around this time last year (1st half of November 2015), I had my 11 day vacation to Japan. Had intended to do a summary/round-up of day trip to Karuizawa (from Tokyo) but it came to nil as I’m blogging a lot lesser these days. ¬†And so, this will serve in part as part walk down memory lane / reminiscence of my trip last year ūüôā

This was on the early part of our walk/hike around the Kyu-Karuizawa Area.

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Withered trees and a-almost deserted road ……

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Deserted houses covered up by overgrown trees/autumn leaves ……

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Another ‘deserted’ house we came across later along the hike to the pond.

I would term this as peace amongst chaos. While the walking/hiking trail looked messy due to the overgrown trees …… however it felt very peaceful walking through while enjoying the crisp clean air (as Karuizawa is a mountain resort in Nagano Prefecture).

The original challenge entry here