Kindle in Singapore

I got my Kindle in December 2010 and it has been my reading companion for the last few months. Kindle is a product by Amazon.com, an American company.  Amazon does not deliver Kindle to Singapore direct, hence the only way to get it is through concierge service like comgateway or vpost.  I got mine through a dude who ships in Kindle first hand to sell. It was more expensive to get it through a dealer, about $30 more than I would have paid if I get it myself.

My Kindle

In total, I paid about $240 for the Kindle, and $40 for the 3rd party cover. If I had gotten the Kindle by concierge service, it would have cost about $211. The cover would have cost about $28-30 with shipping.  So in all, dude earned a cool $40-$50 from me but for the sake of instancy and convenience, I went through the dealer route. He sent me a print screen of the purchase for warranty sake. Amazon offers a 1 year limited warranty.

So let’s say I paid about $280 for the Kindle. Each book in Borders/Kinokuniya/Harris/MPH (which is closing down) costs about $20. I would need to read 14 books to recover the cost – which I definitely have!

The home page showing the number of books I have in my Kindle currently. That’s 74 items.  A Kindle can store up to 3.5k books at one go.

It’s also cheaper if you like to read books in a series. I hate reading like the 1st 2 books and having to wait around for the 3rd and 4th book.

In Singapore, you can’t purchase books direct from Amazon.com but there are ways to get around it. I did a lot of research and the Kindle owners in Singapore posted a lot of information and research on it as well. My mantra to Kindle was via this blog. There are also several f*rums that you can d*wnl*ad books from.

There are several versions of ebooks out there. Here’s a comparison. This article from Straits Times pretty much summed it all up.  Contrary to the article, I have read latest titles, sometimes even before it is released in Singapore. You just need to be smart to work your way round it.

I like using my Kindle to read as opposed to an Ipad because of its ink technology. It looks like a book so its not glaring as opposed to that of an Ipad. There’s also a keyboard for you to take notes for the book that you are reading. You can use the keyboard to type words to search as well.  I used to put my readings in my Kindle for easy reading as well.

How words look like on a Kindle. It is possible to adjust the light, the size of the font and to zoom in. 

Each charge on a Kindle last pretty long. I think I have gone on weeks without charging and I do read for long hours each day.  There are wireless and web browsing functions but I do not require them. I turn them off to save battery. I heard that Facebook in Kindle is black and white.

Sometimes, books have images such as book cover and it comes out in black and white.

Book cover of the book i’m reading.

In hibernation mode, the kindle shows screen savers. I think its possible to change the screen savers but it’s a lot of trouble so I didn’t bother.

Famous author screensaver

I enjoy my Kindle because of its portability and also, it’s cost savings as well as it enabling me to save book space in my room. I used to think that “hmmm, maybe an ebook reader is not for me because I do like the feeling of turning the page of a book and seeing the pages accumulate”. I’m glad that I am a convert now.

A short summary…

The good:

1. It saves space in my room. My room is too cluttered already.

2. It saves money which could be spent on other things: dance lessons, gym lessons, clothes, food…

3. I get to read serials which I previously might not be willing to spend that much money on buying a 4 books collection.

4. I still get to read latest titles and good books with a little more resourcefulness and adaptivity from myself.

5. It is a perfect travel companion – provided you can read on  public transport.

The bad:

1. It is irritating to spend time on the web trying to find a good and “clean” copy of the book you want. Sometimes the ebook could come in an entire text without proper paragraphing (this is usually the problem).

2. Some titles might not exist virtually. Probably there is a copy, you just have to spend a bit more time finding.

3. The initial cost might be high, especially for those earning their own keep.

Cat 1: Goon Goon

I have 2 cats at home, one boy and one girl, both neutered so no babies. The girl is called Kim Kim which means shiny or gold. The boy naturally has to be called Goon Goon which means silver. Goon Goon came into our house 2 years ago at Christmas. He was abandoned in a box at my estate’s playground. We took pity on him and brought him home. Apparently, he had a sibling whom was bitten to death by red ants. So so cruel.

He was so young at that point of time we had to bottle feed him.

Meet Goon Goon

We had to feed him about 3-4 times a day with special kitty formula purchased from pet shops. His milk bottle came from there as well.  The milk bottle’s teat had to be replaced frequently because he used to chew through them while sucking the milk out.

He used to have baby blue eyes when he was days old but the eye colour started to change as he grew older. His ears were dumpy and small too. He had fuzzy baby fur.

fuzzy fur that was hard to groom

eyes that hanged colour

His head was huge for his small body and sometimes, he looked awkward. It was as though he was photo shopped onto his body. My point in case:

sleeping peacefully on my duvet

But he started to grow into his looks and get more comfortable with his body. He is more attached to my mum and follows her around the whole house. Because he was reared by humans since young, he is very attached to us and had some sort of separation anxiety. He mews very loudly whenever he is left alone.

Asleep on my duvet

Also, because he grew up on cat food and formula milk,  he doesn’t eat any human food at all, not even fish. He never had a taste and at most, he will give it a patronising sniff before turning away. My mum says it was because there was no need for him to scavenge for food, hence, he doesn’t have to turn to human food.

at a year old

He has natural eyeliner around his eyes that we dubbed “guyliner”.  He has a hobby and that’s mischief. He has a natural talent for climbing.

The french windows in my room is his monkey bars

And a natural affinity with water, but only small streams of water from taps.

He loves playing with tap water

It saddens me that we were too late and could not save his sibling from such a grisly and painful death. He was brought a lot of joy to our family and is a favourite topic amongst our friends and relatives. He has a gentle and peaceful nature and does not bite people. Although he’s playful, he doesn’t extend his claws out so he bats you with a soft paw.

He’s also a perfect model who stays still for snaps.

He’s my perfect cat model.

He’s barely 2 years old now and he will still grow into his looks. My mum likes to call him her little prince. I’ll keep updating this page about his growth progress.

Irvin’s Cze Char

Update, 27 June 2012:

Irvin’s has moved to Thomson, the new address is:

No. 4 Jalan Leban, Upper Thompson Road
Singapore, 577548

Tel: 6836-5020

Do check out their new buffet/lunch menu which is pretty affordable!  Also, the same establishment has opened a new restaurant, Leban HK Cafe featuring Hong Kong fusion dishes.

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Since it has been a not so good day and my readership has been +1 from the previous day, I shall blog about one of my favourite eating places called Irvin’s Cze Char. It’s good for its salted egg yolk crabs.

I chanced upon this place after reading about it on a few blogs and the pictures look superb. I read a feature article about it on 8 days as well. The tag line of the restaurant was ” the most handsome famous Cze Char”. I think it was referring to its boss whom I can’t really put a ring to it.

Its located at 397 River Valley Road, opposite Great World City. The location is pretty inaccessible, you need to have a clear head fixated on crabs or you will lose the drive for the travelling. Either that or drive. By public transport, you’ll have to alight at Tiong Bahru MRT and take a short bus ride in.

I don’t usually have seafood outside with friends because it is expensive since most seafood places go by weight, e.g. $30/100g. The good thing about Irvin’s is that they charge based on per crab, therefore you have a choice of big crabs at $28 or smaller ones at $22.  One crab can be shared between 2 persons which makes it affordable enough to have it outside without your parents (since they usually pay when I eat out). Honestly, I don’t think there is much difference between the $28 and $22 crabs.  Maybe you get like 2 more bites.

Crab 1: Jazreel’s Birthday

I like the crabs because of the tasty gravy that sits well with man tou (buns) or rice. It is cooked with fragrant curry leaves that adds a zesty tinge to it. There are bits of egg yolk in the gravy too.  The crabs are not the freshest that I had.  But go to the Irvin’s for the gravy, that’s the thing worthy of an hour’s trip.

Crab 2: After exams food escapade

More food logs to come!

Cat pictures of the week

This poor kitty had her fur all shaved off. The initial length was that of her tail’s.  She looks… vaguely like a poodle now. No idea why the groomer’s left her face and tail’s fur on. Perhaps, that is the kitty fashion of the month.

Poor kitty

She was checking out my sister's paints

Vampire cat's blood coma: she concussed after sucking too much blood

Lao Ban tau huay and Aloy Thai

2 new places to introduce:

Lao Ban tau huay is at old airport food centre, the second lane from the car park. This bean curd is really special in the sense that it doesn’t have the usual tau huay syrup. Its form is more of a pudding. When you take a bite, the tau huay melts in your mouth into tau huay jui (soya milk). It’s my favourite tau huay after I have found out about it and now, I can’t eat other types of tau huay. The owner of the stall hand makes the tau huay on site. The tau huay tastes really different. And it’s not just the tau huay but the soyabean milk tastes different as well. I don’t know how to describe it but it’s just… different.

However, getting hold of this tau huay is a bitch. Firstly, its an hour away from me but pretty near the place I temp at so sometimes, I like to drop by the place after work. However, there’s usually a queue of 20 mins at least. The office people nearby like to snap up like 20 packs at once. Other aunties buy like 20 packs too. It’s like… nobody buys one or two packs of tau huay. Also, it sells out really fast. By 3pm it usually sells out and the next batch will be available at 6.30pm only.

It’s either a you like it or you don’t like it thing. My mum came back once with 5 packs and nobody in my house touched it except for me.  All that tau huay were mine for the next two days.

The tau huay without syrup

Had Aloy Thai at Shaw Towers the other day with a couple of friends. Good, filling Thai food at a reasonable price in Bugis area. I managed to snap a few pictures only before my phone started to run low on battery. We had 3 mains and 3 sides for 4 of us. We managed to finish almost everything.

Thai style fried chicken I think. Sweet and a lil spicy but nothing I can’t handle. That’s pretty mild considering I don’t even do Zinger burger

Butter Calamari. This was my favourite!

fried seafood glass noodles. I like this too

Eats of Malacca

We were lucky because River View Guest House’s owner, Raymond and the house keeping auntie were kind and informative to us. We had a map that guided us to all of Melaka’s good eats. These are some of the places that we went.

I’m not very sure of the exact address of the eating places but they are mostly around china town area of Melaka. If you do need the exact address, google it or ask the hotel/hostel people of where you are staying!

On the first day for lunch, we had the famed chicken rice balls that were unique to Melaka.  The legend was that the rice were shaped into balls for portability sake as well as apparently, they were kept warmer for a longer period of time. It’s probably a novelty and tradition passed on for generations. The rice is oilier than that of Singapore’s because of the need to hold its shape.

Chung Wah was a nondescript stall with no sign boards outside, opp San Shu Gong (they sell a lot of snacks and tidbits, good for bringing home/office). You just follow your nose and sniff like a dog.

The outside is a metal grille door and people queue up outside to wait for available table. Its right beside this place they call “san shu gong”

Where we had chicken rice balls

The chicken served here was flavorful. It was steeped in its own “chickenly” juices.

The chilli was good apparently.

At night, we were recommended to go to Capitol Satay for satay steamboat which is like a normal steamboat but the base of the soup is satay sauce.  The place.. looked like it was out of a vintage magazine shoot. While in the queue, we were gawking at the two men in the bottom left hand corner of the picture. The amount they ate… was amazing.

Check out the crowd!

Super super crowded, be prepared to wait for an hour at least

Each stick was abbout 0.8RM. The three of us (girls with ferocious appetites usually) ate a combined 28 sticks which was 22.4RM plus 3 drinks + pot of satay sauce, it was 37.4RM.  The exchange rate was at 2.24 so our meal costs about 16.69 which was $5+ each.

This is damn cheap considering the chicken sticks, lettuce, cuttle fish, small prawns, big prawns, weird seafood were all charged at the same price. I saw a family chiong for the seafood sticks. Us… we were just too overwhelmed by the pot of bubbly satay sauce. The workers came with ladles of spices, peanuts and sugar which they added and stirred into the pot in front of you. They kept topping up our pot and we were like “that’s enough”. The sauce was rather spicy and I was too numbed to taste anything after a while. The hot gas was between our knees and we were indeed… hot between our laps.

Would I want to do it again? Probably no, it was too overwhelming for my palate. But I think its a worthwhile experience enough – maybe when I visit malacca again.

Jonker 88

The next day with the sun beaming down on us, we began our search for Jonker 88, the famed chendol stall in Melaka. It was situated along the streets of Jonker Walk.

Gula Melaka (L) and Baba Chendol (R)

I like the Sago Gula Melaka which is sago drenched in a  combination of coconut sauce(?) and gula melaka which is palm sugar. I think its what we call black sugar? Not too sure about this. I think the key to this is having good sago and not too sweet gula melaka which made this dish good for me.

We had dim sum at this place called Man Ting Siang  Restoran which is quite famous in the district. They had the usual offerings of har kau (which was not good because the non-existent prawn) and siew mai. The carrot cake was good because of the different texture, it was more chewy than the singapore’s version. I liked the pork ribs too although my friend didn’t because it had a more sweet than salty taste.  There were some weird stuff as well like fish cake wrapped in chilli skins. The porridge was choked full of ingredients. The tea was freshly brewed, hot, steaming and fragrant.

The best thing was the price again, each plate was RM2. I think we paid 30+RM.

Cheap and good dim sum

That pretty much sums up our food adventures in Malacca. It was a pity we didn’t get to eat Nyonya food while we were there. We missed out on Nancy’s Kitchen which was supposedly good. The food places  all close very early and it was difficult for us to find a late dinner unless we were willing to pay restaurant prices which we all weren’t. Also, i didnt get to eat superb char siew like the ones that I had in Kuala Lumpur.

River View Guest House Melaka

I’m just back from my short stay in Malacca! It was a hot getaway with my fellow Blast graduates (Jacklyn & Veekay). We came back tanner, fatter and satisfied. During our stay there, we stayed at a quaint shop house converted into a hostel. The owners stay in the hostel themselves (I think). The hostel was pretty homely, comfortable and the prices come at a steal.

Our  coach dropped us off at Renaissance Hotel Melaka so we had to take a walk to our hostel. Thank goodness Jack could read maps because Veeks and I are pretty useless.

The front of the hostel looks like this:

the front of River View Guest House

The front door is locked by some condo/hotel system where you need a proximity card to tap to enter the hostel. Outsiders are not allowed in at all times and the hostel does not provide “viewings”. This made me feel safe.

This is the long corridor of the hostel.

This is what you see when you first step into the Guest House. The check in table is on the right.

We stayed in a 3 bed mixed dorm which had a fan, air conditioning, towels and lockers for safekeeping of passports/money etc. The room was clean and comfortable.  It was pretty cold at night with the air-conditioning on. We all had sniffles in the morning which was promptly cured by the blazing sun.

Please pardon our mess

There were various areas you could chill out/hang out at

the dining area with all the maps

The kitchen

There was also a balcony area that overlooked the river. We thought it was quite cool to sit there drink coffee/tea and read our books at night. However, we escaped after 5 mins after being bitten by mosquitoes. I think it shouldn’t be that bad in the day. The windy atmosphere was nice… and almost romantic save for the pesky mosquitoes.

the balcony area

There was a  back door that leads to the river board walk which is a short cut to a lot of places. I enjoyed the stroll along the boardwalk, enjoying the river breeze and being out of the busy traffic.

The back door that leads to the board walk

The board walk

The guest house was located in the heart of china town where the traffic just keeps coming at you. It was central to all the tourist look sees such as the old churches, museums and old  war time battle grounds.  It’s about a 20-30 minutes walk to the shopping district but you could breathe in the heady food scents, get a few unwanted stares from old men and peep into mamak stores all for free.

The owner (Raymond) and the house keeper auntie were nice and informative people. Raymond made us a cold drink upon our arrival after the walk in the scorching sun. He gave us a run-down of the area and provided us with a map of must eats and must sees in malacca. This became the mantra for our trip there.  Jack spoke to the house keeper more than any of us since she woke up earlier than any of us. The auntie told us about the food around the hostel too.

Raymond’s wife also bakes cakes for the guests which is laid on the table for guests to help themselves. There were free flow of tea, coffee and clean drinking water. Every morning, there is a bunch of bananas too.

However, the wifi tends to be a bit wonky and I couldn’t connect. Jack and Veekay could access BBM only on their Blackberries. And I abhor the mosquitoes.

It was a good stay and I definitely recommend River View Guest House for anyone who’s heading to Malacca. The shop house is full of character and it’s situated in the central district of Malacca, near to everywhere you should go. It is a tad run-down/wonky but for the price and the nice ambience, I think it is okay. I would like to go back there again if I have the chance.

shaking leg

The move home was pretty okay because I threw away a lot of stuff and gave away plenty more stuff. I brought back mostly my clothes and accessories.

I have been chilling at home for the past half a week, doing nothing except for reading on my good old Kindle. It was good, disconnecting myself for a while. My mind is still a mess, my future still seems a bit too unsure for my good.

On a happier note, I feel as free as a lark with no prior commitments to whatever rehearsals, school and work. It’s almost disturbing to be so free. It’s an disenchanting state.

Some pictures to share:

My last fish bee hoon from Uncle Vincent (the hall’s supper stall). Uncle Vincent has daily specials which he rotates and this is available only on Tuesdays and sell out fast!

The ever adorable kitty who loves the sink