August 31, 2009

Getting a More Generic Problem

Today's lunch is layered bean curd, spicy pork and that "Hin Nu Nwe" with rice. That pork (I think it is pork but it can also be beef; the color is pale) was so cool but spicy - with pepper and chili. However, that bean curd has some smell - Singapore food stall are usually bad in handling the smelly items.

My lunch was with my seniors and an intern from China. The intern was working on a sub-problem of RKNN query in document space - in which the distance metric is a weighted function of Euclidean distance of some dimensions and Cosine distance of some other dimensions (for those who are not computer scientists, I am talking about the internals of document retrieving systems like wikipedia and google). Since her problem is so similar to one of the sub-problems in my project, I had frequent chat with her these days. She had the pork noodle from Beijing stall.

I told her that I know the Shan variant of that noodle - namely "Shan Noodle". However, her noodle, talking about the noodle itself, was more into "Mee Shay". However, meat-cooking-wise, it is essentially "Shan Noodle" + cucumber. It also contains some peanut and sesame. It also was not fail to include the fried chili although it was not as much as we'd add.

After lunch, I could think of a more generic problem of the problem I was working on. Not only its feature and behaviors are more interesting and more applicable (and more practical), but also it seems to be easy to implement. My senior suggested me not to throw away my old problem though. No, I won't. :D

Today was a very good day.

August 30, 2009

A Good Plot Device

Today's lunch is fried fish fillet with bread plus water. The fish were in the fridge for a long time, so I fried them all to keep them today using tumeric poweder and salt only. I ate some of them with bread (what a very bad combination; don't try). I was supposed to cook rice but a good plot device for a budget movie consumed my mind the whole afternoon.

It was about sins, death and cute girls. It only needs two characters. I now have the plot device, the twist, the ending but still short of the story elements. At first, I'd make it a short story with poem fillers - not in TAH universe. However, I, somehow, was able to fit that in the TAH timeline with the help of a special kind of narrative. Then, I thought, if Sai Sai found that, he'd make it a video. Then I thought how economical if I make it into a short film. I contacted my film enthusiastic friends and my brother.

I was thinking of producing it myself, let one of my friends produce it, let my brother produce it or let NUS film group produce it. I couldn't make up my mind. Wish me good luck. 

The temporary title that is in my mind is "An Interview with Lord of Death".

August 29, 2009

Are You Kidding, Mr. Burger Staff ?

Today's lunch is two part, a bowl of instant noodle with chicken ham at home, before my shower, and KFC fillet burger meal on my way to my senior's home. My instant noodle is curry flavor and I decided not to buy curry flavor anymore as I choked once eating the noodle.

In Singapore, the hosts asked "Are you kidding ?" after seeing our meal. The ratio of our curry/rice consumption is way too low for them as we have lots of rice with a small amount of curry. We, Burmese, also would like to ask "Are you kidding ?" to those Burger outlets as the standard burger size here is way too small - just four bites and it's gone!

I believe burgers should be large - large enough for at least 6-7 bites - and it should contain cucumber, tomatoes and mayonnaise. Here, burgers are buns with some meat in it. You are way too lucky if you have some sause in it. So ridiculous. I really miss Rangoon Burgers.

Since today's Michael Jackson's birthday, radio DJs played his songs as a tribute. Tonight, we'll have a TV broadcast of his show and a film length performance in cinemas. R.I.P MJ!

August 28, 2009

No Meat Today

My lunch is semi-vegetarian again - no mood for meat. I had fried cabbage, fried vegetables - which I can't name in English (in Burmese it is called "Hin Nu Nwe") - and tofu in sour soy sause. That tofu is so good, so yummy. 

Finishing my lunch, I met Vam* on my way back to my lab. He seems to make a visit to canteen and, since I'd like to talk with him, I asked him to walk along to the canteen and talk. However, it turned up that he also had had his lunch. We ended up with a soft-drink each. Mine was papaya juice mixed with lime (Onee E*'s and Hn*'s favorite).

He has some problem in debugging his current work - some modification of Postgre SQL. We talked about some of the research problems we encountered. I may need to talk with him more in near future, I noted.

A lots of vegetables and papaya juice ended up as a visit to the toilet shortly.

August 27, 2009

Algebra Afternoon

Today's is Thursday - my turn to clean the apartment. After sweeping and mopping the floor, I did the bathroom. I need to warn my roommate to do the bathroom. He's like skipping his turn for two consecutive turns I feel it.

Lunch was Si Chuan Bean Curd that my land lady gave me, the fried fish I made this morning and the pan cakes I bought yesterday - spread across all afternoon. Si Chuan Bean Curd is so wonderful, emerged in the chili oil, no preservative is required.

The whole afternoon, I read the old articles on elementary Algebra I have written and polished that up into three blog posts (in my Burmese blog) I found some hasty conclusions in some proofs in those and surf the web to learn in depth of those things and correct them. Wow ! A long day !

August 26, 2009

Bio-clock Re-shifted

Last night, I was finishing up my write-up on the algorithms I was working with for my supervisor. I burnt the midnight oil and woke up so late this morning. Up to lunch-time, I was feeling dizzy - bio-clock shifted again :( after all those efforts to set it right. I decided to choose a soup-based meal to relieve my dizziness.

I had chive dumpling noodle soup. In clear soup, there is chive dumpling, noodle (big one, bingo !) and some cabbage. It sure is delicious. 

In Burma, we have the same word "Phat Htote" for dumpling and wonton. Burmese called dumpling or chive dumpling as steamed "Phat Htote" as dumpling done in other cooking method is not available widely. For wonton, we call it fried garlic "Phat Htote" (if it is prepared like Fried Garlic Noodle with wonton in the place of noodle) or fried "Phat Htote" (if it is fried of course) or boiled "Phat Htote" (if it is in some clear soup). 

I remember my uncle (my aunt's husband) used to buy satay together with dumplings (at the edge of the satay stick). I liked the taste of that dumpling so much that I asked him what it is (I didn't know the name at that time). He replied "A pack of shit" to tease me. So long my uncle !

August 25, 2009

M.Comp Application Goes Online

Today's lunch is European food (from same old pasta shop) with my Onee E*. She's here to submit M.Comp form and asked some of her health declaration wordings for her insurance. The good news is M.Comp form is now computerized and to be submitted online. That cut the cost on both sides and - I don't know about the SoC side - the application fees is now only S$20.00 instead of usual S$40.00. However, it is not fully computerized as in NTU - the applicant still need to make a visit to pay the fees. When suggested, the staff replied me they were doing it one at a time.

Concerning her insurance documents, I suggested not to lie and give all information as it is. However, the truth is she's only a minor problem with her health in the area they were asking. Filling the form is almost a series of No, Nope and Nil :P to a point it is unbelievable.

Our lunch was honey roasted chicken, pasta, chicken chop, beans and French Fries. We exchanged the plates from time to time :P. It was a good enjoyable lunch. Thanks Onee Chan !!!

August 24, 2009

Maggots at Home

Today's lunch is Hokkien Mee (read Hok Kyant Me). It is a traditional food here in Singapore invented by local street hawkers. It contain both yellow and white noodle. To cater well with Malay muslins, it is made with seafood. It is yummy. 

The only problem with many local restaurants is that they prepare the food in a flat plate and give chop-sticks to eat with. Many chinese seemed ok but for me, I am only comfortable with bowl and chop-sticks. Using chop-sticks for food prepared in flat plate, it is like a hard-time catching the food.

Back to my apartment, my land-lady showed me strange little creatures out of her rice-cooker. They are MAGGOTS !!! Eeesh ! I saw some two-three days ago in the waste bin but now I found the culprit. Eeek ! Please throw that away ma'am.

August 23, 2009

Just Don't Praise It, Son

Lunch was Mont Hin Gar at my aunt's place. Since my uncle (her husband) doesn't like it, he just told me not to praise it or he'll have it again next week. I just shut my mouth.

August 22, 2009

Are You Married, She Asked

Today was a very long day. Getting a nearly normal bio-clock back, I got up at 0915 just to catch the ending of Grossology (one of my favorite TV series.) After eating a plain prata and an egg prata with Milo, I even enjoyed (seemingly) final episode of Power Rangers - Mystic Force: Mystic Fate II. It has a good story-line yet too many rangers. (Yes, I am a fan).
I went to bank to open a disciplined saving account then marched to Funan Digital Mall to hunt cameras for M* and her cousin. Her cousin wanted a Sony Cyber-shot and limited her budget so it was not a difficult choice. I just bought a W-180 at S$275 - a reasonable rate. For M*, I chose Fujifilm FinePix f200EXR.
Fujifilm FinePix f200EXR is highly recommended by for its lower price/performance ratio. In Dynamic Range (DR) and high ISO modes, it is nearly on par with the great Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 in spite of its a lower tag. With a large (1/1.6") sensor arranged in a specialized way, it is superior than many of its direct competitors. Since it is a Fujifilm product, it also have film simulation mode.
Interior Decoration of Loi Nine
After making those purchase, I crossed the road to make my way to Pennisular Plaza where Loi Nine - a Shan restaurantm - is. I was hoping to have vegetarian version of Warm Tohu on Shan Noodle but it was not ready at that time. I was too hungry to wait therefore I ordered Pickled Pork (Wet Ta Chin) and Steamed Pork in a Leaf-pack (Hin Htote).

Steamed Pork in Leaf-pack (Hin Htote)
Hin Htote arrived first and I learnt that they are making it in Eastern Shan style - a big buck of meat with so small portion of onion shoots with no trace of rice floor. I wanted to have Southern Shan style Hin Htote with less meat, more onion shoots and rice floor. Eeek ! But it is tasty thought. Pickled Pork is also in Eastern style, no trace of pig blood and rice that I used to eat. They used mere meat. Eeek (again) !
Pickled Pork (Wet Ta Chin)
After lunch, I made my way to my aunt's shop there. There were some guests - a family of three containing a mom, a dad and a daughter - were already there. During the conversion, the mother suddenly asked if I am married - what an awkward moment. It's wield. Fortunately, my aunt just handled the conversation wisely. Whoo !

August 21, 2009

Noodle, Noodle, Singapore Noodle

Today's lunch was a bit late - partly because I was finishing up a formatting of my algorithms in PDF forms. I had wonton and noodle soup together with char siew. Here in Singapore, noodle are so tiny - smaller than those you usually found in cheap instant noodle pack. A large yellow noodle made from floor is rarely a default in many outlet. However, if you ask for it, you can have it.

Last night, I was talking with my land-lady. I was asking why Hokkien Mee (Hokkien Noodle) has three different kinds of noodles (white rice, flat and yellow) together. She explained (I don't know the reliability of this source though) me that Singaporeans don't like the taste of yellow noodle (that also explain why the small noodle is default) so they had to mix it. It is true that the taste is good even for my taste buds.

When I nearly finished my meal, I saw the guy from Muslin outlet plugged his big big rice-cooker into an outlet in common area. To the best of my knowledge, no stall cooks in common area but in their confined space. I believe each stall has a seperate meter box. The outlets in common area is for students' use (laptop etc) and paid by the university. In this sense, it is some kind of stealing. Geez

August 20, 2009

Lunch with Robotic Guy

Today, Dan* from Engineering joined me on lunch at the Pasta stall I used to have. He's a nice guy - ever smiling. We first met at a workshop ("Motivation" I think.) He sat next to me in that workshop and we were having a good time. It was like several months ago. I had roasted chicken with pasta while he ordered chicken chop with pasta. 

We talked a lot with topics ranging from hobbies to research interests. His research is about robotics (I mistakenly regarded that he's into chemical engineering, what a shame!). When asked if he's a chance to play with many toys, he replied a "Yes". I asked if it is possible to visit his lab and see his toys, he willingly invited me to come someday.

He had told me that he's looking for a new roommate, therefore, I asked him if he found one. Then the conversation steered about my roommate. My roommate is, in fact, my senior back in my undergrad years. But we haven't met each other until we knew each other online. Then we'd become roommates. I told him about that and Dan* seemed amused at this story.

We didn't left out the topic of food and cooking. Dan* can also cook but not now as his new land lord doesn't allow him to do so. In Singapore, the land-lords are really like dictators for the tenants - no nailing, no cooking, no lights after 12 etc. So funny. I feel like the government should set up a law enforcing a standard living condition for all occupants. Afterall, it has prospered from the foreign expatriates.

We also talked about the languages and their structures. I learnt that Malay is not a tonal language but Chinese (4 + 1 tones) is. I was amazed when he revealed that Vietnamese has 9 tones ! (For Burmese guys, tones are like "အ", "အာ" and "အား" which are different sounds of "-ာ") He tried to clarify the difference between the second and the third tone - which, many Burmese have difficulties with. I told him that Burmese has only three tones. 

Dan* also like to take photographs. If we both have a free time, we'd go Sentosa to take sine photos. When we parted, I told him he's gonna featured in my blog. He seemed surprised but replied he's looking forward to it. Now here it is Dan*.

By the way, Dan* also have a blog.

August 19, 2009

It is arts, you know ?

Today, I had my very first formal Chinese Class in my life-time. I found myself being surrounded by many undergrads of FASS (don't read it as Fat ASS, it is Faculty of Arts and Social Science). That's the difference between maths/engineering departments and arts and social science departments. The students - both male and female - are so fashionable and the professor was - I think, compared to her counterpart in SoC - a little bit over-dressed with Shawls, Make-ups etc. Wow ! It is arts, you know ?

I was amazed when I learned that she won't upload her lecture slides on IVLE (it is a web-based facility for teaching/learning needs; for those outside NUS, it is a social networking site plus online office/calender application specialized for educational purposes). She's using her own (copyrighted :P) slides and won't share it with other professors teaching the same modules. Wow ! It is arts, you know ?

In FASS, I feel like they have extensive use of IVLE. In SoC, some professors put up websites they themselve developed for each module they offered. Lack of technical knowledge is, sometimes, good in this case. Since IVLE also serves as one-stop knowledge sharing platform, it is way much more convenient for students. Wow again ! It is arts, again, you know ?

I still haven't had approval for this course. My supervisor green lit but those in Arts are taking so long to reply, Ami* (a friendly office staff from our faculty who deals with such kinds of thing e-mailed me). My professor told me to personally visit their office. I am amazed again since e-mail is the first priority intra-departmental contact in my department. Yet another Wow ! It is arts, yet another, you know ?

My lunch was after class. Rice with sweet-n-sour pork, fried cabbage and some vegetables, whose English name I don't know (It is called "Sukar" fruit in Burmese). After lunch, I may need to visit their department office to make enquiries. Whoo !

August 18, 2009

Shifted Bio-clock

My lunch today was a Chinese meal, rice, green beans with fish paste, cabbage and pork legs stew. That outlet is somewhat distinguished. It has quick fish paste soup (used to eat together with rice, not to drink as it is) just like Burmese restaurants. But the fish paste they use is different from Burmese. My lunch was at 1600 hour. It is not late. It is just lunch-time for my bio-clock now.

My bio-clock is now mis-aligned. I woke up at 1100 instead of 0700 (4 hours late), my lunch is at 1600 (4 hours late again) and my dinner is around 2200. Finally, I used to sleep at 0400 in the morning. It is not a good habit. According to medical researches, you can only fast-forward your bio-clock, not rewind it back. So to correct my four-hours-late bio-clock, I need to make it 8 hours late, 16 hours late and 24 hours late again - in other words, stay one night not sleeping. I can't afford it now.

I need to clean my apartment. I still need to run some more experiments. My supervisor asked me to turn more results in tomorrow. (I also missed my Chinese class today). I'll have a substitute class tomorrow. So long !

August 17, 2009

Criminal or Victim

When I left home for school, a Chinese tapped on my shoulder. He told me that he was calling me but I didn't reply (I was ear-plugged). He told me he went to go back to Serangoon and lost his way. I pointed him the way to MRT. But he insisted to give bus fare as he lost his wallet and have no money. I noticed that he is anxious and speaking very fast (faster than an average Singaporean) partly because he's afraid I'd leave him alone. He also told me he's scared.

I didn't help him. At first, I thought he's mentally disturbed. However, later on, I started to think him as a Chinese low-paid worker who just arrived here like two-weeks ago. He begged me not to get mad at him as the last uncle he approached. His English skills was, however, so remarkable for a Chinese WP - that I doubt him. Moreover, that place is, despite being close to a super-market and a food court, quite empty with no people around. No one can guranteed that he wouldn't grab my wallet and run away. I simply replied that as I am going to school, I have no money with me. He left.

Should there be some way to distinguish people with inferior motive from innocent people, I'd help him - provided he's genuine - right away. But my safety was my first priority. So sorry my fellow friend but I did told him that if he lost his wallet, either the police (I live so close to police station) or the train station staff would help him to get back home. I hope the cops would help him.

My lunch was Burger King's double wooper (it has been quite a few days that I longed for burger and last night I even dreamt having a burger). I was not so hungry that my lunch was two-part episodes. The burger and the drinks at the canteen and the main feature - the wooper - in my lab. So delicious !

August 16, 2009

Exciting Days

Due to my experiment hype, I couldn't sleep almost all night. I felt dizzy and angry. I ended up quarreling with my Onee Chans. What a bad boy. My lunch was at my aunt's place - Burmese Lor Mee. It was good. It would be better if they use pork instead of chicken. In the afternoon, I finished multi-resolution-ready-template for my friend's blog.

August 15, 2009

Experiment Hype

Today's lunch was five small pao - ditched from my land lady - spread across the whole afternoon. She seemed to lose heart on those pao as she nearly burnt down our apartment trying to re-heat those pao using Microwave. Here's some reminder for my readers, microwave is not good for:

  1. Water : Boiling clear water in microwave leads to super-heated water. (ref: Mythbuster episode).
  2. Metal container: unless you wanna see lightening in action (I think it is dangerous to touch those metals afterwards.)
  3. Flourescent tubes, bulbs: they lit up actually but highly dangerours
  4. Candles: unless you wanna see plasma balls (highly dangerous too)
  5. Bread: outside seems delicious, inside burnt badly
  6. Pao: see number 5

Just finished my coding for MOD early this morning (0200 hour), I feel experiment hype as I need to run the code actually in my lab. It turned out ok eventually althought Windows XP warns about seemingly corrupted heap. I hate C/C++ now (but later, I'm sure I'd love her again.)

August 14, 2009

Long Time No See, Dear Prata

My Onee Chan E kept on saying that I am a fatty because of Prata and Prata is not good for health. In my opinion, instant noodle she used to eat is more unhealthy. But I am a good boy, who heeds elderies' voice. So long time no see prata.

Coding project went wrong terribly. I learnt not to be too systematic when coding in C/C++. What I did this time was giving a type name (by either using typedef or using inheritence) to all internally-similar but semantically different entity types. It reduced readibility to a point where even I hate my own code. Anyway, lesson learnt. My MOD project will be finished tongiht (though experiment running and small-scale debugging will follow tomorrow).

Again, long time no see prata ! I didn't have anything to eat at home. So my lunch was two prata wrapping some beef fries, which my old student brought me from Rangoon. Delicious !

August 13, 2009

Gruesome Murder News

I was lucky that I had my lunch before reading the news sites today. Straits Times reported that a new owner of a condo unit in Kuala Lumpur found a human body in the refrigerator in his newly bought unit. Wow ! What a cruel case. The news stated that he bought that condo from a bank auction.

My lunch was rice and egg curry. Egg curry is made from the excess oil and curry paste left after my fish curry, Malay curry powder - borrowed from my land lady, Burmese Masala mix, rice vinegar and grounded chili powder. First I boiled the eggs hard, peal them off and fried them. Later I put all ingredients into the pot, add water and cooked for 15 minutes. An easy meal.

August 12, 2009

How to Make Chili Oil

This morning, I had some difficulty in the toilet. Therefore, today's lunch includes much vegetables (steamed). I also had sausages, an egg and two slices of whole-meal bread. Whole meal bread also help you in your toilet. It is good for health. My egg was a little bit awkward when I break it into the pan so it looks funny. I took a quick photo of my lunch.

Before lunch, I watched Martin Yan's cook show, which featured Si Chuan food. Since one of my senior labmates is from Si Chuan and many of my ethnic groups reside in that province, I am very interested in their culture - including their food. Their food, with the use of Chili pepper and Chili oil, are so much similar to our Shan food (see my previous post for deeper details). Martin Yan used commercialized Chili Oil. Let me share you how you can make some yourselve.
Never ever try to fry the grounded dry chili to get your Chili Oil, or your neighbor will hate you to the hell. Moreover, by frying that dry chili, you will end-up overcooked Chili Oil. How you make it is much similar to how you make fried garlic for fried garlic noodle. Put the grounded dry chili into a bowl (not a plastic or easy-melting ones). Heat the oil up until you can see the smoke (vapor like things) above the pot and pour the hot oil into the bowl. Don't forget to cover the bowl immediately (or your naighbor will still hate you). Done !

August 11, 2009

Point-N-Eat Meals

It is not point-n-shoot cameras, but point-n-eat dining. I think it is kinda ugly for canteens in an international campus hosting a huge portion of foreign students and researchers. The worst cases are Beijing outlet in the Terrace, Si Chuan and Claypot outlets in the Deck.

While many foreign students are taking basic Chinese courses to adapt in new environment, why can't Estate and Development Office mandates culpulsory basic English courses for canteen workers ? Those poor canteen operators don't even know their food items' names in English nor say the price in English properly. In one instance, the operator asked me like $5.25 but, when I gave a $5 and $2 notes, she gave me $4.50 back.

Many exchange students (many of them are caucasians) came here for at most two semesters, yet they are going to basic Chinese courses. Those canteen workers work here forever, dealing with many Vietnameses, Burmeses, French, English and you-name-the-race students. Taking two-three hours of their time every week won't harm so much, I think.

I really didn't know the name of meal I took today. I just pointed the plate, which is for the one before me. Remember the term "point-n-eat dining". It contains some vegetables, pork legs and rice. 

Enjoying the meal, I wondered why many Si Chuan (Szechuan) food are similar to that of Shan food. Modified Dan Dan Noodle, for example, contains peanuts, sesame, pickled vegetables, cooked meat and, most notably, fried chili (oil). It is closely resemble to the hybrid of Shan noodle and Mee Shay (not Law Shay's Mee, its name is really Mee Shay).

I wikied for an answer and found out that a lot of Tai resides in southern Si Chuan (I also noted that there are Li Su tribe in that province). In fact, Tai are ethnic superset of those Siam (in Thailand), Shan (in Myanmar), Assam (in India), Isan (in Lao) and many tribes in southern China. An interesting fact is that many Tai ethnics resides in Hainan, too. Since Hainan is famous for their Chicken Rice, I suspect many Tai involved in the Chicken-rice (almost like Singapore's national food) behind the curtain.

August 10, 2009

Mont Hin Gar again

Since today's the substitute holiday for the National day - which was unfortunately on Sunday - Onee Yone and her significant other asked us (me and my roommate) to have Mont Hin Gar at their place. It was only a 5 minutes walk from our apartment. They are very nice and friendly people, I had to admit.

Mont Hin Gar was exceptional and we had to say good things about it. It turned out that she made it from the instant-Mont-Hin-Gar pack (yes, like instant noodle). However, making Mont Hin Gar out of instant pack is not as easy as you make noodle out of instant noodle pack. Her skills were more than just "good". They told me I am getting fatter. I didn't believe. With BMI of 22, I am just normal :P

Although Mont Hin Gar was good, MSG make me dizzy the whole evening. :(

For those who has no idea what "Mont Hin Gar" is, you can read in my previous post about it.

August 09, 2009

National Day 2009

Today is Singapore's National Day 2009 and Sunday. That means tomorrow will also be a holiday. I've got nothing to do but to code. I just ate the remnant of fish curry I cooked yesterday and fried rice. So boring. But this evening, I may visit my senior's place and see his son. He's so cute. I am thinking of borrowing some books to read from him. Really coding and nothing-else to do.

August 08, 2009

Burmese Fish Curry

Happy birthday, mom !!! Today's my mother's 54th birthday. I rang her early morning and she told me that they were having porridge - our family's favorite. For me, lunch was Burmese Fish Curry and rice. I cooked it also for my senior, whom I am to visit tomorrow as tomorrow is Singapore's birthday, a holiday. I'll share how I cooked my version - derived from Rangoon (aka Yangon) version - of Burmese Fish Curry.
To know and master Burmese Fish Curry, one must understand how Burmese perceive fish. In their eyes, fish is a healthy and delicious but smelly food. Therefore, their cooking style reflects that belief and choice of ingredients aim either to preserve the nutrition value and taste of food or to kill the nasty smell (or both). Here's the list of ingredients (for a meal for 3-4 person) :
  • Fish - 400 - 500 g (any fish is ok, however, I prefer boneless fillet sold for sushi as it is safe for my throat.)
  • Garlic - 4 - 5 cloves
  • Ginger - a medium-sized piece
  • Onion - 2 -3 (depending on the size)
  • Tumeric powder (Haldi) - 1 - 2 tea spoon
  • Salt - 2 tea spoon
  • Chili powder - 3/4tea spoon (if you don't like, leave it)
  • Green chili - 2 -3 (if you don't like, leave it)
  • Chinese Parsley - some
As you may notice, the function of the onion is to enhance the taste and that of Chinese Parsley is to kill the smell whereas ginger serves both. All other ingredients serve the similar functions. Talking about Chinese Parsley, I noticed a strange thing. In Burmese, Chinese Parsley is called "Nan Nan". However, Parsley is, in turn, called "Chinese Nan Nan". Funny, is it ?

First of all, wash your fish and chop it up into 1 inch squares (not cubes, fish are thin :P). If you are thawing a freezed fish, you should try to chop it before you thaw it since it is easier to chop that way. After that, marinade the fish with a tea-spoon of salt and half-a-tea-spoon tumeric powder (if you like its smell, you can put a full tea-spoon of tumeric powder). Tumeric powder will reduce the smell of the fish - especially after frying in next step. It doesn't add much taste.

Then, peal the garlic cloves and onions off. Slice the onion into thin slices. If you are fancy with your knife-skills, you can chop them into small pieces. Or if you have right equipments, you can pound them up. Peal and cut the ginger into small pieces and hammer it down (using your knife handle or similar equipment.) Doing so help the juice in ginger to come out when you finally cook it. That ginger juice, again, is to reduce the smell of the fish. Smash your green chili, too. Those green chili will bring a lovely smell to your curry. Remember, Burmese don't like the smell of fish and all tumeric powder, ginger and green chili are to make the curry smell nice. Then heat your oil up using a deep frying pan.

When the oil starts to boil, place your fish into the pan. The main purpose of this frying nonsense is - yes, you are right - to reduce the smell of the fish. Therefore, you don't need to fry them until they are well-done. One minute is just more than enough and remove the fish (into some temporary bowl). Now pour the heated oil into a larger pot, where you might do actual cooking (for a healthy meal, pour only half the oil).
Put the garlic and, after 10 seconds, the onions. Stir them until the onion become soft. Put a tea-spoon full of chili powder (for visual appearance and, if you don't like chili, you can leave it). In Mandalay style of cooking, they also use tomatoes in this step. However, many Rangoon-style advocates - including me - feel that tomatoes would add an awkward smell to the curry. Moreover, you can't left the curry overnight if you use tomatoes. So leave them. After a short while, your curry paste will be something like this:

Now, it is time to put your half-fried fish in. Don't forget to put the fish slowly into the pot. Put your hammered-down ginger, green chili and some water, too. Stir up from time to time. Be careful as the fish are soft and tends to break apart as you stir hard - making your curry ugly. However, if you don't stir, your curry paste (made up of onion) will be over-cooked. Don't worry. By setting aside the curry-paste (onions and garlic etc) before you put your fish in, you can stir the curry paste one side leaving the fish in the other side intact. You have to cook for 15 - 30 minutes (fill more water if you need) depending on the kind of fish you use. For the sushi fillets I used, 12 - 15 minutes is enough.
Note: for those who love their microwave ovens (like me), you can switch to microwave after the first round of water is gone. Just don't forget to put a quarter cup of water into the container before you cook it in microwave. And also don't forget to use only Microwave Safe Container for safety reasons.

When the fish is done (the curry paste will also formed at that time), you need to continue cooking until the water is gone and the oil will re-emerge out of nowhere. Although Burmese people like it with a layer of oil - as thick as about half a centimeter - above their fish, you don't need to follow it closely for the sake of your health. If you don't like oil, you can use less oil (simply don't pour all the oil you used to fry the fish into your cooking pot as I mentioned before).
Shut your stove (microwave) off and, while it is still hot, cut (and wash) your Chinese Parsley and spread it above your fish. Now, it is ready to serve ! Yummy, isn't it ?

August 07, 2009

Healthy Instant Noodle

Today's lunch was Maggi Mee with sausage and mixed vegetables. Here's how you'd prepare a nutritious meal from instant food - instant noodle, sausages and mixed vegetables. Boil some water first, then put the noodle and sausage. After two-three minutes, pour the water out - there goes unhealthy chemical in instant noodle and some fat in sausage. Put some hot water back into the pot and mixed vegetables with half of that MSG pack used to come with the noodle. Put some salt for taste. After another two-three minutes ready to serve!

August 06, 2009

Trying the New Japanese Restaurant

I realized that the bus I used to take to school would take another 15 minutes to arrive, I decided to have lunch first by taking another bus to Clementi Central, where KFC is. However, the thought of the kid who suffered brain damage (see my post about it), I decided to try the Japanese restaurant nearby. I kind of see that restaurant whenever I visit KFC for my meals but this is the first time I tried it out.

The waitress placed me near the window - I can't even see my monitor due to the light entering that window. I ordered fried Japanese dumpling, Chicken teriyaki, egg and rice. I am amazed that many Singapore restaurants practice pay-before-dine scheme. It is so strange and awkward, for someone accustomed to British style restaurants in Yangon which practices dine-first-bill-and-payment-later schemes. The drinks also is self-service. So awkward!

The meal came with complementary Japanese soup - which I don't like - and desert. They said they even give free flow of green tea, which is completely ridiculous for me because many tea-houses in Myanmar gave free flow of green tea even if you don't order a single drink. Here in Singapore, these are top advertisements the restaurants use to attract the crowd.

The meal was not exceptional even though I was quite hungry (as my breakfast was the last slice of bread and some water). The most notable down-side of the meal was that the rice was not Japanese rice, not even Chinese sticky rice. It was just normal rice. (I was glad it is not the one that Indian restaurants used to use.) But the Sunkist they gave for dessert was great.

Overall, today's lunch was just 4 points out of 10. Time to go to school !

August 05, 2009

There Ain't No Option C

Having a lot of Onee Chans (elder sisters) means a lot of chit-chat with them and a lot of exposure to how they approach their daily life problems as well as how they set up their long-term decisions. Many of a time, their way of doing things is totally illogical to their opposite-sex. Hence, there is a book for this known as "Men Are from Mars and Women Are from Venus." (Buy this book from Shop @ Law Shay . COM now !!!)

My lunch was Beijien dumpling from Si Chuan outlet :P . Don't be amazed. In this kind of economy, you can eat all kinds of food in all kinds of food outlets. Most notably, MOS burger is offering Wasabi Burger (Wasabi is a japanese food). Sushi houses are offering Thai foods. McDornald is offering curry sauce and Wasabi spreads for their french fries !

My Onee Chan rang me just before my lunch. She asked me how to get "Fortune Center". She was confused as when she took the same bus to and from the city area, she saw the center not on her way to city but on her way back. I had to explained the concept of one-way roads (one directional only roads). All my Onee Chans are bright and smart educated ladies but they have difficulties whenever they are to go to a new place - and forced to rely on maps and directories. That's strange. My mom is also not an exception but she made up with her strong memorizing skills. :D

Another problem they have is not speaking the language that men used to speak. The used to speak out of context. For example, after that I-don't-know-how-to-get-Fortune-Center Onee Chan hang up, another one rang in asking why the table in the banner page never appears. But what is banner page ? She's been working on that web pages for hours - may be even days - but I am the one just introduced. How can I know what she's talking about when she's saying 'banner page'? Later that banner page sorted out to be an include page featuring a banner and log-in form that she called from another page. (For those who are not an IT geeks, I was talking about web site development things.) Even include page is an ambigious term - there are two kinds of include pages, client-side and server side includes with lots of variants.

The worse nightmare is the differences in how men and women solve particular problems - especially problems with no win-win situations. Men used to solve the problems in more mathematical/logical point-of-view while Women do in something-men-never-understand-way. For men, every problems is a set of constraints and a set of rules. For example, you see a high-tech gadget - say a computer - tagged as $1,000 and your budget is $300. You also know if you overrun your budget, your dinner would be instant noodle for 15 days. The constraint is your budget and the rule is if what will happen if you violate your constraint - in this case, unhealthy diet.

Thinking critically, men sort out possible solutions - with consequences. The whole problem is often reduced to choosing the way that leadsi to the least painful consequence. In other words, the problem become a mere comparison. In the above problem, men sorts out two ways: buy it and eat unhealthy food for 2 weeks or not buy it but have good dinner. There is no third way (unless something unusual like winning the lottery happens). They only need to answer the acid question: "What is worse: instant noodle for 15 days or not using a high-end computer ?".

However, women solve the problem differently - and they don't even solve similar problems in similar ways. Sometimes, they rely on the gut feeling - leading to be shocked with consequences. Sometimes, they tell the problem to others - denying all solutions and quarreling when asked the acid question. Most of the time, they hope "Neo saves Trinity".

In Matrix Reloaded (aka Matrix II in some countries), Neo is offered two choice: save Trinity but both being destroyed together with the Matrix - not a prophesied one - or let Trinity die but help in rebuild the Matrix - the prophesied one. Neo chose to save Trinity and escaped together from being destroyed. The movie was good to watch - but women should understand Neo is the chosen one in the movie and nobody in reality is the chosen one. 

The reality is "Beck's giving you two options: option a - a bad thing - and option b - a worse thing" from The Run Down. There ain't no option c. It's a wrong answer.

August 04, 2009

ICE - a Good Idea

Today, I went to clinic for the follow-up consultation (I was coughing earlier, for those who just started to read now). My cough is almost gone but the doctor gave me more syrup with Promethazine, Bingo ! Therefore, lunch was from the canteen near that clinic. But not that Muslin food again (there was a very very long queue and I was so hungry). I had Wonton Soup and Noodle with Char Siew.

Char Siew is basically bbq pork. However, it is not just smoked out. They apply some kind of sauce - including some soy sauce - before heating the meat up. That's one of my grandpa's favorites, my father's favorites and my own favorites. It is delicious - a little sweet but tender. That stall, like the Muslin stall, is also good. That guy sell all Hong Kong style noodles.

In today's Straight Times, I read about the movement of storing ICE-blarblarblar in the handphones. ICE stands for In Case of Emergency. In Singapore, public services can send emergency cases to hospital in time (in very short time). However, after getting to the hospital and after initial investigation, if operations is necessary to save the life of patient, getting permission takes a long time since it is difficult to sort out the Next of Kin's contact, thus, losing precious time. The idea is to store your next of kin's, for example your wife's, phone number in your phone with the name ICE-wife. The medical practitioners will search in the patient's phone if there is some entry with ICE tagged, a very nice idea !

Another news is that a family is about to sue KFC for their daughter fell sick after eating some unclean meals (wrap the paper said) at one outlet. They blamed the food franchise outlet and claimed there may be cases if the food is dropped, they may be put back by careless staffs. That news really shocked me as I am a huge fan of KFC. When I returned home from Philippines in 2000, I bought the whole bucket of Chicken Fries when I had to spent some time at the old Bangkok International Airport, which my family enjoyed. Now, I must think twice before I step into KFC.

Talking about KFC, it reminds me that each of the fast-food franchise, KFC, McDornald, Burger King, Pizza Hut etc have their own network of delivery teams. My idea is "Wouldn't it be cheaper if they just outsource that business to some third party?". I understand they have propietary technology in handling food from the kitchen to destined consumer - like Pizza Hut's way to make their Pizza hot on delivery. I also understand some outlet offer time-critical delivery - like if your meal arrives 30 minutes after your order, you don't have to pay. However, a third party delivery network - like those delivering utilities like electricity and water supply - involving automated conveyor belts would be profitable both for the service provider and the fast food chains. The networks would utilize some IT tools - like RFID, SCM etc.

If that is successful, the service can readily be extend to household consumers since the network is already there. Later, a small city like Singapore won't need services like post offices and DHL for intra-city-deliveries. 

August 03, 2009

Map + Bus Guide = Independent Roaming

Being the first Monday in August, today's the start of new semester. When I hopped onto the bus, I was amazed as the a large crowd was on the bus - which used to be like an Empty Set. I saw two caucasian ladies reading the map and bus-guide. I thought they were exchange students, however, when I inquired them, it turned out that it is mother sending her daughter to school :P .

Back in 2007, I was also like them, relying only on the Street Directory - the map - and the Bus Guide from Mighty Mind. Singapore's map and bus system is very easy to use. Every bus stop is uniquely identified by a composite primary key - Street Name and Bus Stop Number - in the Bus Guide. The Street Directory (Map Book) features the bus stops with their respective numbers along with street name (which is usual). Results ? I never lost my way in Singapore. There had been no one free enough - except for my senior who showed me around one day - to get me here and there, I totally relied on those two books of treasure.

Today's lunch was Chinese meal with pork in some kind of sour sause, tohu, vegetables and rice. Browsing the net, I noticed that a new C++ standard is on its way. Named C++09, it will be out before end of this year, 2009. I am looking forward to see which new features it will bring.

Reading the articles about C/C++ style, I found out that eof (end of file) character can be typed - via keyboard - in Unix by pressing Ctrl + D. I haven't tested yet.

Dinner will be from Fresher Orientation ! Free Food !!!

August 02, 2009

Hangover Science and Mont Hin Gar

Last night, I started to implement a small-scale Moving Object Database (MOD) for my research purposes. But procrastination was so strong that I ended up browsing some blogs. I found out that, given all things equal, the darker your beverage is, the more chance you have for hangover. The original article sorted, from most chance to least chance, as Brandy, red wine, rum, whisky, beer, white wine, gin and vodka. I promptly noted that the list is also from the darkest color to the lightest color. Compare Red Wine and Vodka yourselve. (see original article in

I burnt my midnight oil - and my dawn oil also - that I got up really really late today at 11:30. I set out to my Onee Chan's place to give her a mini-USB cable as her new Nokia E63 didn't come with one. That's so far Nokia went, I think. After that, I went off to my Aunt's (actually friends of my father) place. A very good bowl of Mont Hin Gar, Burmese rice noodle with special fish soup, greeted me. So delicious. It has been months that I never had it, since commercial versions use a lot of MSG.

Mont Hin Gar is a very famous food in Myanmar. There are many variants of soup for this rice noodle. As far as I know, Myaung Mya Mont Hin Gar, Pathein Mont Hin Gar and Hin Ta Da Mont Hin Gar are variants that named after towns in Ayeyarwady Delta Region. Since that delta is blessed with abundant amount of fish. Their themes are similar, think and focus more on fish and fish sauce. Rakhine Mont Hin Gar is from a sea-side State and, too, focus on fish. However, their emphasis is on Chili in clearer soup. Another sea-side region, Maw La Myaing, has a variant which is more like a mixture (or salad) of rice noodle. Their soup is not from fish but from chicken !

Going to northern parts of Myanmar means further away from the sea and no fresh fish available. Therefore, the Mont Hin Gar variants there do not put their focus in fish. Anyar Mont Hin Gar (middle Burma Mont Hin Gar) is made with beans! It is so thick that, in the first time I had, my stomach couldn't digest it well. One of my favorite variant is Innlay Mont Hin Gar. Inn Lay is the second largest lake in Myanmar (see photos I took in Inn Lay in my photo blog) It uses a very bony fish. However, the main focus of it is spring onion shoot! So wonderful.

If you happen to be in Burma (aka Myanmar), you must try those many kind of Mont Hin Gar. It's a must food.

August 01, 2009

Coup in Heavenly Realm

I got up late this morning (almost noon :P). Since my little sister kept on insisting on her Pizza I promised her, I brought her to Mega Bites (a cafe within school compound) to feed her and have myself a brunch. I had BBQ Chicken Pizza and vegetable salad with black coffee (without sugar).

That's the problem with Singapore. Many coffee shop workers don't know black coffee. They think it is just the coffee (without milk nor sugar). They name coffee with sugar as Coffee O - which the chinese in Myanmar pronounce as Coffee Aww. Complication even persist as I did say coffee O after uttering out black coffee as I used to. Whee !

During the brunch, she asked me to help her get a part-time job. I explained her that foreign students (from private school) here are not permitted to work part-time. It's violation of law - which can lead to humiliating punishment followed by life-time visa-ban. She didn't head my words. I need to settle with her guardians here. I hate to do that again.

Getting back home, since I was way too sleepy after the food, I thought about how to code a Moving Object Database (for my research works). However, when I got home, Channel 8 shows a TV series. In this episode, I saw a coup in the Heavenly Realm (the Chinese one which is quite similar to that of Greek). The former heavenly emperor let the human - mortal - enjoy freedom, even when they choose not to respect the gods. However, the empress - the one who did the coup to rule the Heavenly and Mortal Realms for 30,000 years - thought, since Heaven created them, the mortal should pay respect - and worship - the god. It make me think many similar thing in the reality. I like this series now.

Guess Count

Since August 1st, 2009, Law Shay had enjoyed his lunch together with friends.