Tag Archive for Entertainment

Paradise Dynasty at ION Orchard

To enjoy a cheapish (sorry I mean ‘cost effective’) pre-Christmas meal with my mum and girlfriend, I decided to take them to ION Orchard and to the Paradise Dynasty restaurant there. We intended to enjoy the fusion xiao long bao that they serve specifically at this restaurant. Paradise’s xiao long bao are quite different – as they serve a mixed plate of 8 xiao long bao of different types: original, szechuan, ginseng, crab roe, cheese, garlic, and the kings-among-kings – foie gras and black truffle. Delicious and very tasty!

We ordered a few dishes and enjoyed the fine and relaxing company – and it was a great meal and experience overall. It wasn’t too expensive and we were able to enjoy it with a nice discount – as I had some vouchers to use up. I think I managed to use $40 of the $50 I had, and provided the difference in cash – something like S$7 – not bad, hey?

Paradise Dynasty at ION Orchard
2 Orchard Turn
#04-12A ION Orchard
Singapore 238801

Dad’s Marina Bay Tour (25th Oct)

It was great that my dad was able to enjoy his Singapore holiday so far whilst I was away, but now that I was back, I decided to take him for a tour of Marina Bay and the area where I work.

I met them at my place, and then we took the MRT from Novena to Marina Bay, we then visited the Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC) complex and visited Tower 2 – where I work. We rested for a few minutes, before venturing into the Marina Bay Link Mall, and then across the road to the Marina Bay walkway. We took a few photos, and then we continued walking around to the Marina Bay Gallery, which gave an insight of what the vision is for the Marina Bay and new Financial Business District area – it implies that every bit of grassland in the area will be a skyscraper within the next 5-10 years. It is amazing how much the area has changed, and how much it will continue to change, and I am glad we were able to enjoy the vision as it stands today.

We continued the tour and then headed to the Lau Pa Sat market, and we rested with a drink. After some time we decided to go to Satay Street alongside the market, and enjoy a nice Satay dinner – with nice vegetables and sting-ray fish – what a delight to enjoy it with both of my parents.

PQs and RQs Wedding (13th Sept)

Rong Quan (RQ) and Pearly had already had a long life-time together and we all knew it was only a matter of when, rather then if they will marry. After 10+ years of having a relation, it was great that the lovely couple decided to make the plunge and agree to marry.

The wedding ceremony was held at Capella in Sentosa – a delightful location away from the hustle and bustle of the Singapore life. It was calm and relaxed, and it was great to see so many people come to celebrate this delightful occasion. There were 3 Amex tables that were created – and it was also great to see some faces of ol’ (old Amex days, and old GNS days) appear…everyone looked so well, and I am glad that the post-Amex life are treating these folks very well indeed (yup, there is life after Amex!).

The ceremony was very scripted, and you can tell these types of ceremony are like a well-oiled machine…a bit too process drive to my liking – but the event was fun and enjoyable. It was a 6 course banquet, with various events held between the courses, the classic cutting of the traditional Chinese “yum seng” (drink to success), cutting of the [fake] wedding cake, the champagne flute fountain, the first dance, the toast from the best man and brides maid. It’s still quite interesting to observe having now attended 3 Chinese-style weddings and receptions. What was weird is that after the wedding most people made their own way home, there was no party/dancing or similar, there was no post-dinner celebrations / drinks etc – but that’s seems to be the custom here.  It was more of a lunch/dinner banquet and that was it.  Still find it strange that there was no wedding ceremony as such, but I guess that’s a private event for the family and close friends only.

Now the big question was around the Ang Pow – and to determine how much is appropriate for a wedding function here in Singapore. After asking around, most thought that $150-200 would be appropriate, so I did a bit of research and noticed that there was even a website dedicated to Wedding Ang Pow’s – it seemed to different between on the year and the location of the wedding function – so I located Capella’s rates, and that prescribed what was appropriate. It looked like a wedding table would cost around S$1588 here at Capella (about £800) and the weekend dinner Ang Pow was outlined to be $187 (about $90), so I gave precisely $188 (as 8 is an auspicious (lucky) number in Chinese).

Post-Function Drinks

Post-Function Drinks

After the drinks, I managed to find a location for some post-wedding drinks.  I went with a fun colleague to Boat Quay, and we decided to go for a few more drinks and chatted about the day.

The only challenge was that we were both still wearing our suits from the wedding – and it unbelievably hot and humid – totally uncomfortable, but luckily we had some beers to keep us cool 🙂

It was also good to chill post-wedding, and decide what to do for the rest of the day…ergh eat and drink more … that is!

Overall, it was a great occasion and I am glad to have been fortunate to spend it with the great couple and some great friends and colleagues, and toast to their success and many years of happiness together.

Capella Singapore
1 The Knolls
Sentosa Island
Singapore 098297
Tel: +65 6377 8888
URL: http://www.capellahotels.com

Drumming at Raffles Town Club

We had our annual team meeting, which involving joining our Marketing team at a seasonal off-site team build, this time located at the prestigious Raffles Town Club – a members only club near Tanglin and juts down from the Botantic Gardens.

It was a nice venue, very intimate, and looked very relaxing indeed. It was also good to mingle with the team from the various locations in Singapore again…always a pleasure!

Anyway, we performed some nice drumming – from Drum Cafe, an events company based in Singapore. It was a great idea, to bring the harmony of everyone together. We did a similar thing in the Las Vegas global town hall where we had all of division playing instruments together – and that was fun indeed…it certainly did come together!

We played 4 type of drums (or originally from Africa) – each one with a set melody to play, which seemed pretty boring on its own…you then bring the other groups together and it sounded like a fantastic sound coming out of the room. As they say, the sound of an orchestral playing in harmony is truly inspirational and beautiful!

I definitely would recommend something similar, if you are looking for team build ideas…a great experience, and a great laugh – definitely a great way to get to know your colleagues better.

In fact, the Drum Cafe website, the benefits of drumming has the following 4 benefits:

  • Break down barriers to create a more open organization.
  • Align to a common goal, mission or vision.
  • Improve Communications through accurate feedback.
  • Accelerate Productivity by motivating staff and getting them to listen to each other.

I certainly do agree on all four-fronts!  Great fun indeed!

We finished with a team dinner at Sentosa – Jumbo Seafood Restaurant – for Black Bean and Chili Crab – and a steamed fish. What a yummy way to end the busy afternoon!

Drum Cafe
05-01 Kingly Building
46 South Bridge Road
Singapore 058679
Tel: +65 6438 8949
Email: info@drumcafe.sg
URL: http://www.drumcafe.sg 

Go Green Segway Fun!

What do you get when you get a group of adults-turn-children in Sentosa and a Segway? Well definitely fun and entertainment – and plenty of laughs!

We went to Siloso beach in Sentosa for the initial training (yes all of that health and safety melarkey), but also an introduction on how to use a Segway – which was a first for me. It was actually pretty easy to get the controls, or linked to your centre of balance, you lean forward to lean forward, lean back to brake/stop, and then move your weight to your left or right leg to steer – pretty easy after you get use to it!

We then did a few puzzles: ranging from Segway scrabble, a memory game on the Segway, egg and spoon race (segway style) and then spot the mystery pieces…followed by a luge event, which was absolute speed funness, and then ended with beers and food – well all that hard work must end in some style.

It was a great session, definitely recommend the Segway and Luge, although both did seem quite a short event, but definitely good to ride both and enjoy the afternoon in the Singapore sunshine and humid heat!

Gogreen Segway Eco Adventure
Sentosa Leisure Management Pte Ltd
39 Artillery Avenue
Singapore 099958
Tel: 1800-SENTOSA (736 8672) / +65-6736 8672
E-mail: guest_services@sentosa.com.sg

An Evening with John Cleese in Singapore

A few months back, it was announced that the legendary Mr John Cleese was going to visit Singapore and do a talk at the National University of Singapore (NUS). I was actually really excited to hear about this, as I always wanted to hear about his history, his upbringing, and more importantly share the laughs of the great guy that I grew up with.

The days of Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, A Fish Called Wanda and even James Bond (well not as James Bond, but in a couple of the more recent films), made feel honoured to be in a place with such a legend.

The show itself was scheduled for Sunday 4th May and Monday 5th May – and I brought 4 tickets – to share the fun and laughter with a few friends. The show tickets that we brought were $151, whilst slightly on the expensive side, I felt it was worth it (after all – it is not every day that someone like John Cleese visits Singapore!).

The show started at 8pm, and it went on for about 3 hours – it certainly was full of laughter, and it brought back the fond memories of by-gone days. One thing I didn’t know is that his family name was originally ‘Cheese‘, but he grandfather changed it to ‘Cleese’ when he went to joined the army to avoid him being picked on. That was quite amusing, and I can see why it was changed 🙂 It was such a fascinating upbringing and life story – and he certainly brought it to life. The comedy aspect all started at Cambridge University at an Amateur Theatrical club called “Footlights” – where the likes of John Cleese, Clive James, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Hugh Laurie, Peter Firth etc all were members.  Wow – what a list of stars! From there Cambridge Circus was originated, after which the Frost Report, and slowly all of this moved onto the Monty Python show. It is amazing to think that this all happened in the 1960’s and 70’s and it continued in the 1980’s. This really emphasises the good ol’ Brit humour of the days and it was fun to watch a montage of video clips throughout the night – really got the audience in stitches.

What a life this legend had – I certainly found the whole night humurous and intriguing – all in all – a sensational experience.

Mar Jongg Game – Fun!

Well I wanted to take a stab at playing Mar Jongg again, and fortunately found a group from work that all played (for “fun” of course – ahem!).  Luckily, one of them had the set with the English Characters on the tiles, which helped me tremendously, but I still would call them the ‘green one’, the ‘red one’, ‘sticks’, ‘circles’, and the ‘blue square one’ – haha!

Mar Jongg Game

Mar Jongg Game

It was fun – and luckily, we didn’t do any gambling (as such), and just enjoyed the enjoyment of the game…and the practice! 🙂

Shangri La Reunion Dinner

The Reunion Night is a big feast for Chinese New Year – as a way to celebrate the new year and have a big feast with the family. We had been invited to attend one at the Shangri-La Hotel – a very nice hotel indeed.

It was quite a grand event – inside one of the ball-rooms, and there was plenty of entertainment both on and away from the table. We started with the infamous Yu Sheng.

Yu Sheng is a dish to celebrate Chinese New Years, and wishing years of joy, good luck and abundance.  

The rest of the courses followed, with the Shangri-La also putting on some other entertainment within the room. It was full of acrobats, trapeze artists and live music – although the music and sound was a bit too loud.

The meal cost $138++ – but it was certainly quite enjoyable, and we certainly ate a lot of food and drink.

I think I just need a couple of days to recover now 🙂

Shangri-La Hotel
22 Orange Grove Road
Singapore 258350
Tel: +65 6737 3644
URL: http://www.shangri-la.com/singapore/shangrila/

Aaron acts as a tour guide

Well what an interesting start of the year, an ex-colleague from the UK office was in town, as she was now working on a project that related to Singapore. It was great that she was able to come out and meet her team, whilst at the same time, we managed to enjoy the sights and sounds of Singapore over the weekend – Aaron became the tour guide for the weekend 🙂

She was in town for about a week, and it was good to see an familiar face and catch-up on the latest happenings from the UK and my old team – it sounded like a lot of change since I left over a year ago. I do kinda miss the UK and Brighton teams, but actually I don’t really miss the work.

So on Saturday, I commenced the tour from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on the north side of Marina Bay, we then walked along the promenade towards Boat Quay and the Fullerton hotel, we headed across towards China Town, and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the Year of the Horse – as we headed into the Chinese New Year festive period. After that, we took the MRT and went across to Marina Bay Sands, taking the sights and sounds of this landmark. We had a bite to eat at the MBS food court – like any tourist does these days. I then noticed that there was this Ice exhibition on, called 2 Degree Ice Art – in an area just outside of the main MBS facilities. So we went in here, the tickets were a bit pricey at S$32 a ticket, but at least my mum (who was joining us for the tour) was able to register with a Senior ticket (at S$26). The exhibition centre then had the audacity to ask whether we wanted coat and gloves…we asked what temperature was inside, and they said -15oC. I don’t think we had much choice as we were wearing summer-ware!! Anyway, they charged us another S$5 each…making the whole session a total of S$105. Ouch! It was fun inside, and a nice way to see the various monuments of the world calved into Ice Sculptures. We then headed back into MBS, and we decided to do a bit of retail therapy. I got a nice pair of Hush Puppies shoes – very comfortable and reasonable, and a nice selection.

We then had a couple of options, head towards the original Botanic Gardens, or visit the Gardens By the Bay. I decided that we should do this, so we headed there, which is a short walk from the MBS complex. There was a nice Dragon dance within the gardens which was very entertaining (I do wonder what these guys do for the rest of the year!!). We then continued our walk around the gardens until we arrived at the 2 domes, we went to the ticket line. I had my ‘free’ pass, and I then tried to see if there was any ‘senior’ tickets, they said only for local residents, which was a shame. Anyway, I then had this brainwave, and as local / EP-visa holders was slightly cheaper, I pretended to buy one for myself (even though I already had an annual pass entitling me free access), so I got one expensive (S$28), one cheap (S20) and I had my own annual pass …haha! a bit crafty – but that’s me 🙂 If no one tells, I won’t!!

We went into the two domes, I do feel that the flower one is better, as they change the displays to the current themes etc. The first time I went, they had a tulips display, previously it was the horse display, similar to this time. But still nice all the same. The Cloud dome was a bit boring, but was refreshing inside at least.

After this, we headed back towards the hotel across the Helix bridge, just as they were doing some sort of art projection on the ArtsScience museum monument. Very nice indeed, it was like they were throwing paint across it in time with the music. A great show! We then went to the hotel, and relaxed at the bar, and then said our farewells.

On the Sunday, it was more of an Orchard Road tour, so we met up for Brunch at the Wild Honey at Scotts Square location – very nice and tasty indeed. We did a relaxing walk down Orchard Road, being part of the hustle and bustle of the Sunday afternoon. A bit of window shopping and retail therapy throughout the sprawling malls and shops along the road, before we ended up at an interesting wine bar just off Orchard Road – the House of Robert Timms – an interesting spot, as you can watch the world go by and enjoy coffee (or wine, in our case) and chill and relax. We then made on our way, a nice way to end the Singapore tour and the busy weekend 🙂

Birthday Drinks – Five Izakaya Bar

After a whole day on the road and visiting Amex merchant customers, what better way to celebrate my birthday, by adding the birthday drinks after the event.

It started with a few ‘free’ drinks at the end of the ROWAS event at the Fullerton, after the barrels (tab) ran dry, we moved onto Five Izakaya which was pretty nearby, and we continued drinking away.

It was a funny session, as there was a see of Amex tops throughout the venue – we usually had about 7 tables, and the best thing is that I knew the large majority of the people here.  So I ended up going around, drinking, toasting the night, celebrating my birthday and chatting away…

A fabulous night – and it was good to have some many friendly faces out from work!

Five Izakaya Bar
16 Collyer Quay
Singapore 049318
Tel: +65 6536 8955
URL: http://www.fivebar.sg

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