Friday, October 30, 2009

Win A Copy of 'Travel Safe - A Survival Guide to Medical Safety'

If you've booked your flight for your year-end holiday, you will find this title most beneficial to pack along. Best if you read it ahead of time to take all the necessary precautions to ensure a holiday where you're able to keep in the pink of health and enjoy every moment of it!

To win a copy of Culture Shock! Travel Safe,
leave a comment & your email address in the Comment box.
Tell us how this book will benefit YOU!

The book's written by our guest in The Living Room today,
Dr Paul Zakowich and is published by Marshall Cavendish
(retailing at $27.50, before GST).

Three copies to be given away!!!

Leave us a comment and your email address. Winners will be contacted by email.

Congratulations to Mona and Ruth for being the first two entries in!
One more copy to be given away...could it be YOU???

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Authentic Italian Flavours at Sapore Italiano!

Tucking into authentic Italian food needn't cost you an arm and a leg. If that's what you're forking out, you're looking at all the wrong places. There's no need to jet off to Italy, nor make a reservation at a fine dining Italian restaurant. If truth be told, all it will and should cost you is a soda, a Campari or a glass of wine.

We say 'Ciao!' to Singapore's first ever Italian lifestyle caffe bar - Sapore Italiano!

Pop in between 6pm and 8pm and with the purchase of a drink, that's your passport to an amazing spread of aperitivo! This is authentic Italian bar culture where you get to tuck in to Italian street food lavishly laid on the bar counter - all 11 metres of it. Apertitivo is the fare served before dinner and intended to whet your appetite. Sapore Italiano's introduction of this 2-hour special is the Italian bar's version of what we know as 'Happy Hour'. For a change, those 1-for-1 deals in our bars don't seem as enticing now.

Pam and I settled into our conversation with directors Sebastiano Galantucci and Andrea Mazza, over bottled Abbondio sodas. Pretty bottles adorned by images of voluptuous women in seductive poses. I was seduced by the Chinotto. Think sarsaparilla with a tingly bitter after-taste. Pam gave the thumbs up for the Pompelmo Fragola (grapefruit & strawberry).

Sapore Italiano
#01-15, Raffles City Shopping Centre
(Office Tower facing CHIJMES)
Opening hours: 8am - midnight on weekdays, 10am - midnight on weekends.

After you've tried their pastas and pizzas and indulged in their gelato and all 12 flavours of Cioccoliamo (cups of creamy melted chcocolate!), you'd want to sign up as a fan of SI on Facebook, like I have.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blogging About Bloggers

This is a pretty neat entry because the tables are turned on the professional bloggers. Can you imagine putting words together to form sentences, making a point, an observation or a remark, uploading photos and videos and being paid to do all that?! This is reality for our guests in The Living Room today.

So the question is - why aren't Pam and I being paid to blog? Would it help to draw suitors in the form of advertisers if I reveal we're both trained and schooled in journalism? Or should we join to see some money rolling in? Hmm....

Nuffnang loosely translated from street talk refers to having 'enough cool-ness'. They're Asia Pacific's first and leading blog advertising community and they enable advertisers to place graphic and video-based advertisements.

'nuf about them, now about the star bloggers who sat in front of me from left to right. There was 'blondie' Wendy Cheng (more popularly known as Xia Xue) who openly admits to being an attention seeker. Her bleached hair was most striking - something she didn't lay claim to the first time I'd interviewed her on the same show back in 2003 when she was just starting off. But her eyes remained steely just like the first time, so too her fiery determination to be heard, seen and read. Xia Xue's achieved that! She's the lass behind Singapore's hottest blog, boasting more than 20,000 unique visitors daily!

The real angmoh seated beside Nuffnang's co-founder and executive director Cheo Ming Shen is Pheobe Montague. Phoebe is a fashion blogger from Australia who manages Outside of weekends, says she blogs daily. Looks like bloggers work five-day weeks too! The 'sandwich pattie' (complete with melted cheese) slapped between the gals is popular Malaysian blogger Rin Tan who goes by the moniker, Cheesie. Her blog, began with her obsession for, you guessed it, cheese. And though she claims to have come off fermented milk products, she said she wouldn't be changing her blog name anytime soon. So if you're obsessed with say, cabbage, you better secure that URL before Rin beats you to it. But then again, she made it clear on air that cabbages aren't her current obsession. I wonder is. Butter?

Coming back to why they blog, some are in it to make a statement or to be an opinion leader, but almost always, there's money to be made. As for Pam and I, we're simply passionate about the purposeful and positive power of words and the responses great heartfelt writing can generate in you, the reader.

And if you are so moved, there are two ways to show it:
(i) leave us a Comment so we know what you love about The Living Room Blog
(ii) sign up as a Follower today!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A (Cocoa) Class of Its Own

A Frenchman and a class of twenty five apprentices who included a few mother-daughter pairings, friends, colleagues and classmates. All had gathered at the Fine Palate Cooking Studio at Newton for a delectable chocolate feast of mind and mouth. Playing teacher and cocoa maestro at the Chocolate Discovery Experience was Chocolatier Laurent Bernard, owner of the Laurent Bernard Cafe & Chocolate Bars.

Did you know that chocolates never quite expire even though you've had them in the fridge for half a year to twelve months. The quality will change, but Laurent says you won't get sick consuming it. More facts ahead...
Most of the participants gasped when told that white chocolate contains only cocoa butter (read: fats!) without cocoa! The gasps grew louder when Laurent lifted a bottle of cooking oil when telling the secrets of the chocolate fountain - a regular feature at buffet spreads. Real chocolate, he said, wouldn't be flowing so easily, its texture would be too viscous. That's right, a lot of oil is mixed into lower grade moulten chocolate to enable it to flow. The next time you see a chocolate fountain, don't blame us if you're less excited about plunging that strawberry or mushmallow on a stick into the brown cascade.

Everyone had a go at squirting the plastic tubes of ganache into empty chocolate shells. Once filled and left to settle, you get truffles. Hands got dirtier when the truffle balls were dunked and rolled into cocoa powder to give it the come-hither 'dusted' look. Next thing you know, participants were helping to pack the beauties for takeaway - the fruits of their labour!

Thirsts were quenched about a third through the workshop with a steaming cup of hot chocolate, prepared right before our eyes by Laurent. We learnt that the method of mixing (with a whisk), the order of which they're introduced to be mixed, the portions of milk and cocoa, and the temperature have to be precise in order to produce a rich beverage that sweeps you off your feet.

I believe this is what they call 'Heavenly'!

(above: Pam with some cocoa-high participants!)
(below: Laurent and the chocolate robbers!)

Laurent Bernard Cafe & Chocolate Bars are located at:
- 80, Mohammad Sultan Road, #01-11
- 5B, Portsdown Road

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

MobJet to dethrone Twitter?

If you're a Twitter user and find the 140 character limit a bit too restricting, you'll be excited to hear about MobJet. Not only is there no limit to the amount of text you can "jet", you can also post photos, videos, audio, documents etc ~ basically anything you can attach to an email, you can post on MobJet!

All you need to do is to send an email to, and voila! it's up on the website for all to see. You don't even need to pre-register or be a member. And it's 100% free.

I took this picture with Founder of MobJet, James Skinner and just posted it on MobJet. Go look for it at! *wink*

Creator of MobJet, James Skinner, in The Living Room!

What a passionate man! I love the guy! He has set up 30 companies operating in 35 countries, lived 22 years in Japan prior to coming to Singapore four years ago, and recently published a book on love. And he is an inventor at heart. The last we heard, MobJet already has 184 patents to its name... and counting!

Well, if you're keen to check out MobJet, there's a launch party tomorrow night, 22 Oct @ The Arena (Clark Quay), 7pm to 10pm. Get details here. You'll catch 98.7FM DJs Shan & Rozz, as well as Singapore's most famous blogger, Wendy "XiaXue" Cheng there...

And James wasn't the only good-looking dude in The Living Room today. We had 4 others ~ what a field day for yours truly! *chuckle*

With all the recent hype about a certain beauty pageant contestant who was slammed for her poor command of English and a credit card fraud, Stan felt we should bring back some dignity to the whole beauty pageant thing.

And so my buddy arranged to have some beauty pageant contestants of a different kind come in today: Mister Singapore 2009 Nelson Lee, as well as 1st Runner-Up, Tang Jin Wei and finalist Sid Hamid.

These are young men with promise and lofty dreams. Nelson is a qualified scientist, currently working part time as a swimming instructor and model. The biomedical science undergrad has an ambition to develop a drug or cure for a disease. Jin Wei or "Tank" is a fitness instructor with dreams to be an actor, and Sid (my personal favourite!) is a paediatric occupational therapist. Let's hope these guys do us proud & bring some credibility back to Singapore pageants!

Alan Sim (founder of Mister Singapore Organisation) with 1st Runner-Up Tang Jin Wei, Mister Singapore 2009 Nelson Lee, and Sid Hamid.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Jive Talkin' Unplugged!

Rockin' with Jive Talkin' : Zuk, Raffy, Jazz (Jefri) & Eddie.

I've been a fan of Jive Talkin' since the 90s when they were resident band at Hard Rock Cafe Singapore. I can never, ever sit still when they start jammin'. I swear each time they do, I'll leap to my feet and start groovin' to the beat!

Jive Talkin' now plays at The Pump Room @ Clark Quay. And after 19 years together, they're still as hot! We had band members Raffy, Jazz, Zuk & Eddie in The Living Room today, and of course we had to make them sing for us ~ unplugged.

Here's Eddie on acoustic guitar...

With a repertoire of over 1,000 songs, how do they even remember the lyrics? And how do they communicate with each other on stage what the next song is?

"We use hand signs," explains band leader, Raffy. Check this out:

If you'd like to catch Jive Talkin' live in action, head down to The Pump Room. These guys play Tuesday through Sunday, from 10.30pm. And don't forget your dancin' shoes!

And courtesy of The Pump Room, we have $50 F&B vouchers to give away! All you need to do is to answer one simple question:

"Which year was Jive Talkin' formed?"

Leave a "Comment" on our blog with your answer + contact details (name, NRIC, mobile number, email address), and the first 3 listeners with the correct answer will get a $50 voucher each, to enjoy the great food (and beer!) at The Pump Room. Good luck!!!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


I never expected to say this, but last night,
noise was music to my ears!
Not just any kind of noise, but organised, choreographed and polished noise like what STOMP produces. Not a single decibel was wasted on me; the raw energy was invigorating after a day at work.

I first watched them bang, hammer, shake and rattle live on stage in Brisbane's South Bank in 1997. I remember leaving the Performing Arts Centre wanting to bounce off walls and tap my hands
and feet on anything just to produce some noise.
It was in a very strange way infectious.

Twelve years later at the Esplanade here, I left the theatre feeling just as pumped. It's a bit of Happy Feet-meets-Wicked Aura-meets-Street Fighter-meets-Mr Bean. People always say you shouldn't get your hopes too high the second time you watch any performance. So I was guarded and kept my expectations conservative, but they stomped
onto stage and blew me away (again)!

The opening number was memorable. From a lone broom to eight brooms brushing and knocking the floor boards at carefully scripted intervals. I'd never felt so inspired to want to sweep the house till every speck of dust is panned and put away. The energy of the performers was evident, with at least four broomstick heads snapping off in the act or broken in two.

The show demonstrated that every conceivable object, be it a pencil in your mouth or a single finger clap can produce a sound. When you have a sequence going and a rhythm as the bed, you've got music without the notes. Though there were scenes where you could always pick out distinct notes floating through. These largely resonated from the rubber tubings and empty plastic bottles that usually belong bottoms-up on a water dispenser.

Despite all the noise, a rotund performer rose above the pandemonium, adding a light touch of comic relief throughout the show. Just fifteen minutes shy of two hours, I was never in want of an intermission during the show nor found myself reaching for my mobile phone to check if I'd any missed calls or text messages.

The show was sometimes deafening, especially when all the performers whacked steel and iron (pots, pans, hub caps, sign boards, drums, tins and bins), but silence those moments out and you'd appreciate an orchestra of noise makers who've perfected the art of making percussive music and musical percussions.

STOMP is now on till 11th October at the Esplanade Theatre.
Tickets from $40 - $120 available through

Monday, October 05, 2009

STOMPers Perform with Tic Tac Boxes!!!

Stan & I have been looking forward to STOMP since we heard about it months ago. Such a amazingly talented group of people who can use the clutter & junk of everyday life to create pulsating rhythms. We're talking about bins, tractor tyres, even a kitchen sink!

But WHAT IF we brought the STOMPers into the 938LIVE studio, and challenged them to create something from nothing? Using just what's in the studio, or on themselves?

That's what we did today, when we invited 4 of the 8 STOMPers in for a chat. Meet brother & sister team Nigel Clarke & Simone Clarke, Keith "Wild Child" Middleton and Fraser Morrison...

Half of STOMP: [L to R] Nigel, Fraser, Keith & Simone.

Seriously. Check out what these guys did with some Tic Tac boxes on them. It will totally blow your mind!!!

STOMP '09:
Fresher Faster Funnier
8 - 11 Oct
Esplanade Theatre
Tickets thru' SISTIC

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Stanley does Pole Dancing?!

We found out about pole fitness for men from fellow DJ at Lush 99.5, Lavinia Tan. She challenged Stan to try it out, and being the 1st class journalist that he is, he couldn't turn down an opportunity for a story ~ no matter how embarrassing.

So we went down to Jitterbugs Swingapore one Friday evening. I must tell you Stan was nervous and distracted all day... *chuckle* I, on the other hand, was in high spirits. I didn't know what to expect, but I was going down to video my buddy & be in a class where a group of sweaty men were doing pole dancing. What's there not to be happy about? *grin*

The class begins. I must admit Stan surprised & impressed me. He did very well actually! *gasp* One of the important skills of pole dancing is wrapping one's legs around the pole - in an upside-down position - and to keep oneself up there... then to release both arms.

But to practise this move first - since it's dangerous upside-down - instructor Linna Tan told the guys to lie on the floor first, wrap their legs around the pole, and to hoist themselves up. Whoa, watch Stan go!!!

Sorry, my bad. I was filming Stan in "portrait" mode on my camera. Little did I know that when I upload the vid, it appears like this. But tilt your head lah! It's worth the crick in your neck...

Finally, he's upside down! *applauds* Now release your arms, buddy...

I'm so proud of Stan! He did a great job, don't you agree? *applauds* I would've totally chickened out if I had to say try the *ahem* lap dance, especially in front of Stan with a camera. So kudos to my buddy! He sucked it up & did it ~ all in the name of Journalism!

As the guys were cooling down, instructors-in-training Gordon Lai & Jon Fong demonstrated how it's supposed to be done...

Is that impressive or what? *winks* It really requires a load of skill, technique & core muscle strength. It's almost like gymnastics!

Well, Linna, Jon & Gordon were on our turf today as guests in The Living Room, and we had such fun recounting our experience at Jitterbugs!

Pole Fitness for Men @ Jitterbugs Swingapore: [from top] Jon Fong, Gordon Lai & Linna Tan.

If you're interested to try out pole fitness for men, or Jitterbugs' other classes, click here. I hear they're starting a sizzlin' hot class for women in lap dancing! *raises eyebrow*

But lest you get any ideas, I may not be as 1st class a journalist as Stan!