Saturday, December 22, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Slow service.

Just a reminder why will NOT use Vpost for online purchase and shipping, by Singapore Post.
1) more expensive compare apple to apple.
2) website is slow.
3) Email that i recieved from them are not user friendly, no link to click to check on my orders.
4) Details are just summary, not details.

I tried others and it is the opposite.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Singapore's Identity: Roti Prata

Today we went to a prata outlet at Clementi. It is located below the public housing estate. It occupies 2 shops space and one of it is allocated as the sitting area for customer and has air-condition.
When we enter the shop, a guy actually greeted us with a big smile. It was not common for a prata shop to do this.

We sat down and the menu was served. It is in a thick folder.
I ordered: 1 egg prata, 1 plain prata and a coke light.
Samantha ordered: 1 Nasi Goreng and 1 Teh Halia.
The bill came out to be about $10.

I think it is a good business selling prata. They could modify the prata by adding some other ingredients and 1 prata could cost up to $4. Such prata shop would be quite profitable. I noticed that there is a trend of upmarket prata shop to hire PRC to help out.

Singaporedream team would rate this outlet as an expensive and yet normal standard prata shop.
The prata shop trend is not about food. It is about hanging out.

The prata shop is always a place to go after clubbing. It also served as a meeting point for bikers to hang out. Although some prata shop are very pricy but the owner allow us to stay and chit-chat as long as we want… if our cup is not empty. Usually they will not chase us away even we do not order any big meal from them. Also, many prata shop is located at places where we could park our vehicle within our sight and so convenient for vehicle owners.

Importantly, what we notice is that prata is something very Singapore. All races would come to the prata shop to eat and hangout. The 3 main races: Malay, Chinese and Indian. This is one of the very few places that we, Singaporean, has an identity.

The PRC would eat at the Sze Chuan food outlet.

The Pinoys would eat at the San Jose Papa restaurant.

The new India immigrant would eat out… hmm, never see them eat out before… they are always in a pair and have a stroller. We witness many at Clementi Mall and Jurong Point. Their baby/child would ridiculously do something, like sitting down on the floor crying and shouting for something, doing things as if he/she owe the whole shopping mall. Their parent would quickly attend to he/she and pamper them. these new baby/child are our new immigrant. What can you see in 15-25 years when they are older which they carry such family and social values? I can see.

Point here, I am not talking bad things about our new immigrant friends. I would want to welcome them and help them to adopt to Singapore life, but this is not my first priority. What come very first is our own citizens, like my dad. He came from China and served his National Services for 6 years in the police force in the 1960s – 1970s. He contributed to nation building when Singapore back then was much simpler. So as your parents, when the nation needs you, we would step forward and help.
Going back to the prata topic, it is one of our very own identity where all our races share…

Don’t you agree?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

what am i doing?

What am i doing? im not sure. im looking for something.

it seems that a part of me has left. what is that? biking. what continues me to biking? that is Sam Leong.

Biking is not just biking to some destination. it also involves companionship. the success of a person does not determine by what he does but by a group of people that agrees on what you have done. If Samantha and I did the first round the world trip on a motorcycle trip for Singapore, without the nodding of head by my close biking friends, we are just another begger going around to look for home.

Sam Leong always organize outing amoung our friends. many would turn up because of him, not because of the number bikes gathered.

Sam Leong is just a taxi driver. he treat his career seriously. He once told us: our job is very simple, that is to bring our customer to his required destination fast, cheap and safe. He also complained about some other friends in the same industry that did not do this 3 simple task.

being an ex-navy cook, he got to know many people along the same boat. he told us stories about the life in the ship. he needs to feed people but he NEVER use his authority to press on anyone.

riding to thailand on a motorcycle in the 1990s sounds like a hero? he did it using the trunk road, first time, leading another fleet of newbies to thailand. so don't boost around when u have ridden to thailand on your bike on the north south highway.

the community of friends he made were very wide. i had never felt shy introducing him to new friends, telling my new friends that he is a cabbie because i felt proud of him.

on the later days of our friendship, he often drive our older friends, like mr lim of about 70 years old, to our coffee session. friends like mr lim does ride with us but due to his old age, he deteriorates on his judgement and riding skills. Mr Lim just live 2 blocks away from us. Sam would use his cabby time to ferry Mr Lim, me and samantha to the coffee session. Sam would offer to go back early because Mr Lim need to rest. the kind of respect he had for the elderly is a great learning lesson that we must learn.

I had a Singapore - Dallas friend. He came back to Singapore to stay. I intro him to Sam Leong and they clicked well in just a few days. We gathered a few times together. In a moment, Sam Leong was gone and i could see the blood in his eyes, as if he has lost an arm. Aaron, i am sorry. my friend his ahead of you. i am sorry.

When we just came back to singapore in 2010 August, he helped me by giving me a space to work in his small home. he intro me to his family and that is the very first time i see him with his family, so caring, so warm, so true and having fun with the presence of his family members. that was 2010 aug 09, Teban.

Now, he has gone, i feel something is missing in my life. friends go after their work and living expenses. when sam was around, we would throw away what ever we had and gather for biking. Mr Lim ask me to take over this role of Sam, which i will never never be a substitute of such a great person.

i am hiding. hiding somewhere to hope he will appear in some dark corner. i am hoping some miracle to happen. i was hoping i had a deep dream and all this is just a dream. my life just couldnt carry on.

Sam Leong has great biking dreams. He told many that i sparked his life. sorry, it was him that allow us to continue our biking life. he once told: one that has no dream is similar than an salted egg. meaning: dream is important.

there was once i envied his horn. i told him i want to get a set verbally. one night he called me but i couldnt answer the call. few hours later, i called him back. he said:
" i bought the horn for you. i called u just to check if u r at home but u did not answer. i just left it at your doorstep."
i wanted to pay him but it seems like he wanted to give me as a gift.

Friends, although we had lost him, please chose to stay around. i have been hiding. i know it was hard to lose him. everytime we hear the song we would tear and think of him. there are many biking groups out there but we choose to be 'color ball' because we love the companionship of each other, not restricting ourself to some society but to be friends with friends, truely, true hearted and no hidden agenda.

Sam Leong Chee Wah, please come back...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

NDP National Day Parade 2012

Where to get free National Day Parade 2012 tickets? As a true blue Singaporean, I have never attended the live NDP, other than participating in the 1994 NDP parade.

National Day is a time where we get together, remember that the soil, the road, the chair, the roof and shelter we have now is not given, but being fought. Fighting? not the physical way but persistence.

New Singaporeans must adopt to the way we live. The true blue Singaporean may influence them. Slowly, they will forget about their country and when you ask them: where are you from, they will not say the country where they are born but Singapore.

There have been words spreading, in Social Media, Facebook and other unreliable sources about our Ex prime minister, one of our nation's founding father, now our minister mentor, Mr Lee Kuan Yew has passed away few days before the National Day 2012. Some asked: Lee Kuan Yew died? Is Lee Kuan Yew attending NDP national day parade 2012? Upon hearing this, it is quite of a mix feeling. Yes, we have lost someone that has contributed much to the nation for the past century.
No, because we do not know each other personally and has no feelings.

True or not, even Mr Lee Kuan Yew has passed away, we must hold hands, be strong and united, tell off foreign policy that wants to use monetary benefit to buy our heart.

Yes, with money, they can buy a heart but they cannot buy love.

If integrity, love and value can be exchanged for other benefit, it will be a beheaded offense.

Few weeks ago, I was driving my truck along Kranji Road. It was an area where many heavy vehicles passed by for work around this industry area. There was a road block on both ways. The purpose of the operation was to stop Singapore lorry drivers that do not put on the seat belt. I was being stopped. Gladly gave the policeman my details.

I found the company that does professional house moving job!

I asked if why did they decide to do this operation and he said that he is just the person executing instructions from his boss, back in the office.

I asked: then why your boss decide to execute this operation?

Policeman: I think they receive information that there are many truck drivers along this road that do not put on seat belt.

so, so.... Singapore law is: To let you learn, you have to be punished first before educating.

I did not appeal against it. I accept it because it was a rule.

Ask yourself this question: why do we have to put on a seat belt?

a) because it is a law and the fine is $120 and will have 3 demerit points deducted.
b) because it will save our life.

I feel that the answer will be 'b'. We should be educated this way.

There were many truck and lorry drivers out there, doing hard work, rushing to earn the hard money, skipping their meal to earn extra $10 for the family they have to feed. Most truck drivers out there have heavy burden and family to feed.

If, the operation would be to educate all truck drivers, the intelligence team of the traffic police should have:

1) public awareness. Putting up posters around and through radio broadcast to remind because there was a myth that lorry or truck drivers do not need to put on seat belt.

2) send out letter to individual lorry/truck drivers that putting seat belt is mandatory.

3) after a few months, then it will be more justifiable to set up road block and punish the offenders.

I drove off, parked aside. I walked 100 meters before the road block, standing by the side of the road, waving to all drivers that did not put on their seat belt to do it immediately. For my half hour effort, the traffic police had maybe lost $1200 of revenue from the fine that they are suppose to generate from this operation.

As I was walking back to my lorry, a policeman stopped me and asked why did I take pictures.

I asked, why can't I do it?

He replied: only with valid reasons.

and he requested to have my identity card to take down my details.

So? I pity these officers. Standing under the sun, got all the curse from the drivers.

Look at the tree, it has good trunk and root flare. Unless abnormal wind conditions or soil disturbance, it will be good.

Anyway, I was very impressed by their work efficiency because the offense letter came to my mailbox 3 days after.

Happy National Day Singapore 2012!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ride to the 'unrest' area of South Thailand

Extracted from Wikitravel:

WARNING: Travelling to Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla and Yala provinces can be dangerous and is strongly discouraged by most embassies due to an insurgency between Malay separatists and the Thai armed/paramilitary forces and police. Since the start of the conflict in 2004, there have been more than 4,000 fatalities. Tourists have been killed during car bomb attacks in Hat Yai (Songkhla Province) in 2006 and in Sungai Kolok (Narathiwat Province) in 2011. However, it should be said that most attacks are aimed at the armed forces, police, government officials and people seen as collaborators with the Thai state. If it is necessary to visit, inform your embassy, remain cautious at all times and follow the advice of locals.

What is life in a big city, a big ‘state’ of Singapore?
Hope, version 2.0 on the way. Bring us back to memories of how a virgin would feels like. We got the bike, with Leong and Cheryl, we headed toward the ‘unrest’ area of South Thailand.

Going for this short trip was not easy. We planned it too tight for me. I have to settle my company’s ‘unrest’ issue, making sure I have no phone calls while away. The next day after touch down to Singapore, I have to attend to my annual military in camp training on the next morning.
We loaded all weights on Hope 2.0 and relized that there were clicking sound when it moved. The first destination was to head 80 meters to the petrol station, remove the sticky new panniers, insert the key to open the seat, took out the tools to re-adjust the chain tension. Sweating at 11pm with our full gear.
Our intension was to pass through motion via North South highway in the night, reaching Kuala Kangsar exit when day breaks. Breakfast at a local nasi lemak stall where the owner was so nice to us and the cats around. No funky usual food but nice local folks.

Morning view of Northsouth Highway Malaysia near Ipoh.

Staff of petrol kiosk at Griek needed to be educated that Singapore registered motorcycle can top up fuel, regardless of RON 95 or 97. The first hurdle was to temporary import the number FQ3515B into Kingdom of Thailand. In 2008 January, during our RTW, we exported Hope Too via airfreight from Bangkok. We hand over all documents to Mr Thanit of TAC. He had our temporary import permit and suppose to hand over to the custom. Now, at the Betong border, the authorities did not receive information that we had returned the document when we freight out in 2008. We did show them the airway bill, convincing them that we DID export out the bike and the authority at Bangkok gave us the greeeeeeen light. Friends, how can we prove that we did hand over the documents to them? No way right? We had to pay 2000 Baht for someone else’s error.

By the time we entered Thailand, Betong, it was noon of the next day. 4 of us were sleepy and tired, especially Leong, staying awake for the past 30 hours. The border town of Betong was flimsy. We went around to search for a comfortable place with safe parking and nice bed but was IMMPOSSIBLE! Rounds and rounds, we gambled. Leong and Cheryl had a taste of how we lived during our RTW.

The original biggest post box.

Clock tower of Betong.

The dinner we enjoyed at Betong. Show this to the locals.

So, this is the famous 'ko-lok-mee'.

And the biggest post box in the world...

If you don’t compare Betong with Hatyai, you will be a very happy person.
Our only catch in Betong was the nice BBQ dinner. Ask me about the location!
The bike trip starts from Betong. Windy roads and countless of military check post, the 2 new bikes were too shy to test the limit. Rolling on to the tar road that I used to ride, was dirt and dust. The scenery maintained.

nice and quiet curvy road towards Yala.

We got our pee stop in the first ‘unrest’ town of Yala. The Thai lady was putting in air to her tires when we parked beside her. She wanted to offer us the pump after she finished the job. The mechnics at the workshop gladly gave us good directions to Pattani.

Our objective: to explore the unexplored. The beach town of Panare had more stray goat than cats in Singapore. Little drops on the road ain’t road tars but fertile goat poo. The beach was unpolluted. We witness fishing nets being knitted, long benches to dry fish products and curious kids wanted to know why we are here and showing off their English that they have learned from school.

we went outskirt, out of the usual highway.

Back to Pattanii, it rained. We lost our way. Samantha went to the convinent store to buy drinks and asked for the direction to the lodging. I went over to listen to the manager explaining 10 minutes, in detail, the direction. She was very patient and I tried my best to take out my thai-english dictionary figuring out left was not right.

Getting out of Thailand, we took the new Buketa Immigration post. Built in 2009.

At the Thailand side, there are only 4 container offices. On the Malaysian side, it is a massive huge building!

I was clear of the drawing she drew and went back to the gang to discuss. She came out, telling us that she wants to drive us to the destination. She was much polite and insisting.

The lodging we had was worth 10 times what we paid for at the border town. The boss and the general manager were of Chinese descendent, could speak the same frequency as we did, really treating us as a guest. Even our KFC dinner, we felt being as a guest when we asked about the Pattani currency policy. The cleaning staff would try all ways to get our Singaporean questions answered.

What is money? Some would think that the neighbouring country is poorer. We went to an Internet café and I owe them 10% of the bill. The cashier has no issue with it.

We went to a touristic temple. The other local visitors were glad to make friends with us. This was the very first time where I parked the bike, leaving my helmet and GPS on it and walked away. I felt not at threat at all. Being such a defensive person, I could let down all and leave them there.

The biggest mosque in Thailand

Thinking back, we didn’t see any people being touts, any feel of threat, any thought of bombs.

the cosy lodging we stayed at Patanii. So affordable!

But it was the very first experience that I had body massage served by a man. Ohhh.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Best Massage in Hatyai, Thailand. 2012.

It was in 2008 January, where we rode our Hope Too into Thailand using the Betong border.

2012 June, that’s 4 and half years later, we are back. All seems so familiar but so far. Seems like everything was in our dream.

Even Oliver massage, has changed. The smell is not the same, the staircase, room, friendliness and the massage standard has been amended to the tourist standard. bye bye Oliver.

Thro Joe Chan’s recommendation, we found

Only One Massage.

Quiet, no gimmicks, no joking, no loud music, no shouting. Truly, if you are a person that has experienced with thai massage, from the first stance where the masseur will first stretch your feet and you know how serious is she.

Best Massage in Hatyai. Highly recommended for serious massage lover. For party group, do not come here.


It is a little expensive but worth! At point of visit, we paid 350Baht for 2 hours standard thai massage, excluding tips. If you take a tuk tuk, they may bring you in and get commission, in the end, you still pay 350Baht but the massage parlor earn lesser. What we did was pay the tuk tuk 20Baht each, get down and walk into Hakka Association, wait for the tuk tuk to leave, then we walk into ONLY ONE.

Located infront of the Hatyai Hakka Association.

The Hakka association in Hatyai is worth a quick walk. We found this in the hall, which means all Hakka people belongs to one family.




N07° 0.2238', E100° 28.3614'

Another place we found out to have cheap, fresh local seafood is at the clock tower market.
We always have misconception that fresh seafood should be at the beach, where they will do the fresh catch and we eat the fresh catch.

Just like last year, we went to Tioman Island and stayed for a week, ordered some seafood which is not really affordable. Some of the seafood we wanted was not available and the owner said: there is no shipment from mainland today. When we leave Tioman, we saw they really shipped the seafood from mainland into Tioman.


This roadside seafood hawker stall is just located 1 street away from the local wholesale night market where tonnes of fresh seafood, vegetable, meat and spices were distributed from here to other restaurant.


BBQ Prawn was 400gm for 210Baht.
Fresh Oyster at 40Baht per piece.
Flower crab at 160Baht per big piece (BBQ).
Squid for 2 person BBQ at 100 Baht.
Beer and whisky available.
Park your bike just 1 meter of yourself.
May need to bring your own umbrella if it rain.
Toilet, ermmm.... ask the local.

Located at Thanon Montri 1, west of clock tower.



N07° 0.6768', E100° 28.1259'

Hatyai is well known for the oldies bar and restaurant. One of the retro and oldies restaurant we can find is at Sakura hotel, where the ladies will just sing while you eat. 


We have not tried the food of this restaurant but, we love to sit outside this restaurant, having a beer, looking at the street and wait for the best ‘som-tum’  (papaya salad) motorcycle to arrive.

Where else can we eat KFC with a plate, fork and knife, and drink the Pepsi with a glass?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A departed man's living dream part 3

Meeting time was 630am at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Objective is to reach Kuala Kedah before 3pm with the whole convoy to catch the ferry into Langkawi Island.

Our mission:

1) bring late Sam Leong’s helmet, as a significant of his soul, to Langkawi as he had signed up for this trip 2 months before he passed away.
2) donate out cash to the needy family. Cash was received from Sam Leong’s family.
3) make a stone bench with Sam Leong’s name at the Guan-Yim temple at Hatyai, Thailand.

We need to set off on 7th June, 2am from Clementi. Knowing that we are using a small bike with heavy equipment, we expect to go slow on it. Working backwards, 630am to reach KL, 2am set off from Singapore, to have 6 hours of sleep we must go to bed at 8pm. After loads and packing, it was about 930pm when we go to bed. I only did 1 hour of deep sleep and the rest was rolling around the bed trying out a more comfortable position, also trying to tell lie to myself that this is the most comfortable position.

After clearing the Singapore custom, our hand pump comes in handy. A fellow biker on his Yamaha FJR had a flat tyre. We had this pump with us during our round the world trip and was a gift from Yang but we have never used it before.

The Yamaha Tenere 660XTZ has 1 piston and it was fitted with the Leo-Vince exhaust. The bike owner, Siong, made the passenger seat higher and pilot seat wider. 21” front and 17” rear, chain drive. Compared to my KTM 640 adventure, the Tenere has very much less vibrations. I could feel the petrol being sucked out when the RPM goes above 5000.


It was an official set off at 8am by the sponsors. Media were also involved and I believe it is an event that involves many VIP. Official traffic police also escorted the whole convoy of 100 bikes. They need to stop the traffic that is coming onto our way and regulate the speed of the whole convoy, making sure that everyone could catch up together and reach the destination on time. I see that it is a smooth ride for us. The eyes of the other road user were searching for the most important person that the police are escorting. I could hear noise, curse and shout from the other road user that were being stopped:

Road user #1: WTF, I’m late for work and I still have to give way to these ass holes…
Road user #2: Wasting tax payer’s money!
Road user #3: Everybody owns the road, why do I have to stop for you?

Unknowingly, I was the first few bikes of the convoy. When the convoy reaches the highway, they were going at about 130-140km/hr. The tenere has a hard time catching up, very hard. I have to catch up the guy in front of me making sure there is no big gap, also to make sure the one behind me is not too close, also, because 2 bikes are sharing one lane, I have to take care of the neighbour’s bike. At times, the marshall and traffic police that speed pass from our left. All these happening at the top stress speed of the tenere, with 2 big aluminium panniers, with a passenger.
After the first petrol stop, I told Samantha that we need to be the last bike.

The event director, Mr Azaha, came to us to borrow Sam Leong’s helmet. Because one of the camera crew has only a half cap and is filming on a fast moving bike, it would be much safer for him to wear a proper helmet. We are sorry that there isn’t any cushion inside Sam Leong’s helmet but at least, it is safer that the half cap.

Sam Leong’s first contribution was to protect the film crew’s safety.

The organizer booked a whole barge for us. We have to wait for the tide to be at the correct level so we could roll the bike onto it. Under normal operations, if one has to send the bike into Langkawi, he has to put the bike at the loading bay and wait for 3 working days to transport over. We are lucky enough to have this opportunity.

When we reached the ferry terminal, we need to make a U-turn. but the tide has flooded the road. and a GSA with Singapore registered number went through the flooded at high speed to make water splashing, creating an 'adventure effect' for the whole convoy to see.

See the picture below, right side of  the GSA, there is a scooter. I could witness the water from the GSA splashing onto his face, wetting his whole body and i could hear him shouting and see his angry facial expression. If I was that guy, i could have confronted the GSA. Lucky he was cool enough.


After a long day without any sleep, we reached the hotel and after the dinner, everyone gathered at the ballroom for briefing. The organizing committee observed one minute of silence with the entire participant for Sam Leong.

Thank you.


2nd day was a free and easy day for everyone.


We went to do the tourist stuff. The cable car ride is a must.

Locals pay RM$15.
Tourist pay RM$30.

I wonder if the Garden by the Bay, in Singapore, has the same system, encouraging locals to visit our own pride.

Don't be mistaken by the above picture. you CANT ride there.

Samantha and I went around the island to explore. Right to 161, end of Datai Beach, was a dead end with a private residence. We went into the Andaman resort. We parked the bike, walked into the high class lobby and was greeted by a staff. We told him that we would like to walk through and look at the beach. Guess what, we are more than welcome to do that! He gladly showed us the direction to the beach.

It was really a classy place. The beach, so so…

When we are done, we walked out and get ready to move. One of the shy hotel staff wanted to take a picture of the Tenere. Both of them were pushing each other to start the conversation with me. In the end, I asked them:

You want to take a picture of the bike?
You want to sit on it?


What I read on the travel guide about being a foreigner in Langkawi is to smile at the locals, and it really works! The smile break the ice. We could feel the warmness from the local.




And we also went to Galeria Perdana, a museum displaying gifts and awards presented to former Malaysia Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahatir ahd his wife. The gifts displayed were from world leaders, states man and fellow Malaysians during his term as the Prime Minister.




3rd day was the event ride event.


Ride to the main Eagle Square to take group photo.


Go plant a tree.

Ride back to Pantai Chenang where they invite the needy family and some disabled children for lunch and to receive cash, laptop and daily necessities from the organizer.


They need a helmet to go around all the participants to collect cash donation. Sam Leong’s helmet was gladly invited to do the job.


Picture extracted from official event's facebook.

It was a touching moment that they want to use the helmet for cash collection.

Picture extracted from official event's facebook.

Sam Leong’s 2nd contribution was to help collect more cash for the needy.

Also, we did what we suppose to do: to put the cash, given by Sam Leong’s family, to the needy.

Our #1 and #2 mission was completed.

Thro out the whole ride with the convoy, the tenere 660XTZ was feeling not so welcomed. It is slower then the rest of them riding 1400cc, noisy and blasting with the Leo-Vince exhaust. We are so sorry for the other riders that were around us. This is our very first trip with this bike and it belongs to Siong.

Most importantly, we have fulfill a departed man's living dream.

Rest In Peace, Sam Leong Chee Wah.