Mar 31, 2010

Medan: Batak food

Odd enough that it was a Korean who ran this Batak restaurant. What’s he doing in Medan selling Batak food? I don’t know, didn’t ask and didn’t care.

I’m there for Saksang – a dish of stewed pig mixed with porcine blood and loads of chilli. It’s sweat-inducing burn-your-tongue-off brilliance. A tad salty but that’s what white rice is for.

Saksang…pig+blood+chilli+herbs (sweat glands not included)

Other dishes:

Bits of fried chicken?

Some fish head in curry? 

Where: ???

Lift it!

Type: Weight training
8.30am, Delta Sports Complex; 2pm, home

I hate running but working on weights are my thang. It’s just as hard-going but the results are amazing… if you do it right.

I might hate running but working on weights are my thang. It’s just as hard-going but the results are amazing… if you do it right. Like running, weight training is all about form. Most novices strut into the weight room, then they huff and puff and strain against massive dumbbells. They lift but with arched backs or hunched shoulders. So much so that they resemble cockroaches under a heel.

Not good. And here’s why:

Form is more important than how much you can lift. So if you're struggling with 10-pound weights when doing your bicep curls, you'll end up hunching your back and pressing your hips forward, which could result in a pulled muscle or other injury.

Right now, I’m going for strength. So most of my exercise routines revolve around compound exercises with some functional elements (single-leg presses, crossover push ups) and progressive weight increments. Although I’m not sure if four sets of 12++ reps each is overdoing it.

Ahh well, I’ll stop when my body bitches.

Exercises for the day

Morning set:

  1. Run (5 min at 12 speed)
  2. 4 sets X Squats (12 X 27.5kg per side)
  3. 4 sets X Deadlifts  (12 X 21.5kg per side)
  4. Run (3 min at 10 speed)
  5. 4 sets X Flat Benches (11 X 16.5kg per side)
  6. 4 sets X Crossover push ups (10X)
  7. 4 sets X Single leg presses (12 X 85lbs)
  8. 4 sets X Roman Chair (12 X)
  9. 4 sets X Shrugs (15 X 22.5kg per arm)
  10. 4 sets X Lateral raises (12 X 7.5kg)
  11. 4 sets X Seated Rows (12 X 110lbs)

Afternoon set:

  1. 3 sets X Single leg back bridge (20 sec per leg)
  2. 3 sets X Crunches on exercise ball (30 X)
  3. 3 sets X Curls to Arnold Presses (11-12 X 12.5kg)

My Name is Bolo Santosi: Just Cause 2

YouTubers are going gaga over “Bolo Santosi” – a character in a game Just Cause 2. It’s not because she’s Tomb Raider busty, rather it’s her weird accent that gamers on the other side of the world can’t place.

My Name is Bolo Santosi: Just Cause 2

I can tell you where the accent’s from: Singapore.

But I don’t know if they’re using Singaporeans as voice talents in the game. Although It sounds a lot like comedienne Irene Ang, but I doubt that she’s involved in the game. While it’s cringe-worthy at times, I love the Masters of the Sea flashbacks that they invoke whenever I listen to it.

So repeat after me": “My name is Bolo Santosi”.“My name is Bolo Santosi”.

“My name is…”


Bolo Santosi (src: MistaBrown)

PS: Anyone know who’s the voice talent? We gotta give her props for Singlish-ing a game! :D

Mar 30, 2010

Medan: Corn? Anyone?

I never knew that corn could taste so good.

Smokey with a hint of butter, soaked in coconut cream and grilled over smouldering coals. Best eaten hot off the satay pengkang contraption and slathered in chilli sauce. Wrap it with a brown paper bag lest it napalms the skin off your fingers.

Corn on coals 
Ears of well-grilled corn

Kind of funky how this photo turned out with the purplish coal fire.

Corn seller
And this is the dude who soaked, cooked and sold them cobs. 

Where: On the roadside next to some night market in Medan

Striding (in)bounds

Type: Cardio & light full-body workouts
When: 1.30pm, overcast

“Dude, you’ve got to learn how to stride, man. ‘Cause it’s like weight-lifting; you got to do it with correct form. Otherwise it’ll mess you up. In fact good form helps you.” Sound advice after I’ve confided that I ran 2km at 18 minutes – an eternity to him.

Hodges 50K striding along1This lady’s got a good stride

According to the article Hitting your running stride over at, good form is when you:

“…land lightly on the heel, with the lead leg just slightly bent at the knee (the best method to absorb shock), immediately roll up to the forefoot or toes, and push off powerfully into the next stride.” 

And why are running strides so important? Apparently it helps to “improve leg speed, flexibility and coordination, and running economy” ( and doing it right prevents your legs from absorbing too much shock which might injure them.

Since that conversation, I’ve learnt to stride by running on the threadmill (5 min at 12 speed). Just pick a speed that’s comfortable and practise your running stride. And I’ve seen gains in my running time.

Exercises for the day

  1. 4 sets X Sumo squats to shoulder presses (12 X 12.5kg ea)
  2. 4 sets X Russian twists (15 X on exercise ball)
  3. 4 sets X Shoulder shrugs (15 X 12.5kg ea)
  4. 1 set X Jumping jacks (40 X)
  5. Run (2.5km X 12.18 min) [up by 18 sec!]

Mar 29, 2010

Medan: Snakes, Lizards & Turtles

Zedy: “Let’s eat Monitor Lizard!”

Me: O.o

We went to a night street market where it’s got Singapore in 1970s emblazoned all over it. No, it’s not like China where they pull out the lizard from a cage and chop it up before you.

Instead we got it from a lanky Indonesian who hid behind his little food cart, reached into an unknown crevice and dropped a few bite-sized pieces into bubbling hot oil. When it reached our table, we couldn’t tell whether it was snake or lizard or chicken (well, you know how everything unusual tastes like chicken).

Photos below:

Chunks of Monitor Lizard
Chunks of Monitor Lizard

Snake food
Pieces of snake

The guy must have taken his cue from an American diner where everything is deep-fried. But there are meaty differences. Lizard is sweet; snake a little stringy. Regardless they all go well with Bintang beer.  

Turtle soup 
Turtle soup

For something more exotic, try the Turtle Soup. It’s not for animal lovers or anyone who calls fish “sea kittens”. A little on the salty side but definitely worth a gulp or more.

* Sorry for the lousy photos. I took it with my phone’s measly camera.

Where: Some night market in Medan

Mar 27, 2010

Cardio Routine

Type: Cardio
When: 3pm, under the sun and white cloud chariots

God I hate running. It’s so mindless to put one foot infront of the other, and it’s hard too! A short jog around my estate wipes me out.

But it’s hard to deny the benefits of running: losing weight; improved cardiovascular health; slowing down the aging process; and being happier and feeling less stressed. Although you won’t know it from looking at Homer’s mug below.

Cardio routine: Homer running?

There’s truth in the benefits list. I do feel a lot “lighter" (not just literally) and I focus better...after a short nap.

Because I’m a sucker for pain, I find that running isn’t enough. So I’ve added two full-body and core exercises to supplement this cardio workout. Has anyone out there tried something like this?

Exercise Plan

  1. 1 set X Jumping jacks (40 X)
  2. 4 sets X Deadlifts to shoulder presses (12 X 12.5kg)
  3. 4 sets X Crunches with legs tucked in (15 X)
  4. Run (2.5km X 12.36 min)


Was clearing out my hard disk when I found a whole bunch of photos of Medan. These were taken when I was there for Zedy’s wedding (Dec 2008).

It’s a rundown, Malaysian-ish town with grey streets, old shops, and interesting food such as Batak curries, turtles, snakes and lizards.

Yup, you heard me right -- Batak curries, turtles, snakes and lizards.  For the next few days, I’ll be posting my food tour of Medan. Stay tuned… :D Medan Roadside

Medan Shop

Mar 26, 2010

Exercise and me

Full-time work isn’t conducive to a healthy body. It’s just hard taking time off to exercise especially when I’m working almost all the time. Also it was a toss up between alcohol or exercise, and I’d choose the former. After all, a whiskey [bottle] a day, makes life simple and gay (the older meaning; not man-on-man action).

Full-time work isn’t conducive to a healthy body. It’s just hard taking time off to exercise especially when I’m working almost all the time. Also it was a toss up between alcohol or exercise, and I’d choose the former. After all, a whiskey [bottle] a day, makes life simple and gay. Full-time work isn’t conducive to a healthy body. It’s just hard taking time off to exercise especially when I’m working almost all the time. Also it was a toss up between alcohol or exercise, and I’d choose the former. After all, a whiskey [bottle] a day, makes life simple and gay.

Excuses, excuses.

A year++ of living like that takes a toll on my body and general fitness. I wheeze up stairs, groan when power-lifting my netbook, and doing it doggy-style ain’t that fun when my gut’s in the way.

Obviously the cons of not exercising outweigh my laziness, whether I’ve got full-time work or not. That’s why I’m going on an exercise routine to get it all back…again.

My Exercise Goals:

  1. Increase aerobic capacity

    Feeling breathless at the top of a staircase climb is just sad. On a more serious note, it helps me last longer in all sports (inc. horizontal dancing).

  2. Increase strength 

    To push people around in basketball and Muay Thai (I’m taking a break to condition myself now), and reduce injury-proneness.

  3. Develop musculature

    Because I’m vain.

To keep myself on track, I’ll blog about my exercise routines and throw in a couple of exercise ideas from time to time.  Although I won’t know who’ll be interested in reading it. :P

On a side note, check out Mirza Malik’s (Men’s Health) suggestion to tweet training updates on Facebook. His reasoning behind it is quite simple: “to beat my own laziness.” So if you’re thinking of embarking on an exercise plan, get cracking & blog/tweet/facebook it!


Mar 24, 2010

A Thosai Brunch

I prefer Thosai (or "Dosa" as India Indians write) to Prata. It's less oily, more filling and tastier.

For those who don't know, Thosai is a crepe made from lightly-fermented rice and lentil batter. Sometimes it is filled with stuff like egg, or Masala (curried potatoes and vegetables) or whatever catches your fancy. It is usually accompanied with condiments such as Sambar, coconut chutney, and some chilli thingie. It is normally eaten in the mornings but it can be eaten any time of the day.

Masala Thosai from Wikipedia
Masala Thosai (src: Wikipedia Commons)

I'm going on and on about Thosai as Nesh and I had a Thosai brunch during the week at Chettinadu Restaurant (Add: 41 Chandar Road; Tel: [65] 6291 7161). It was a nondescript restaurant in Little India that we randomly veered into whilst looking for food.

The restaurant was one of those old-school "share-everything” types where banana leaves were used as plates; grabbing and mashing food with fingers (always the right hand!) was encouraged; the condiments came in three massive tin cans shared amongst the diners (ask for it nicely); and waiters waggled their heads politely in approval or looked sheepish when it came to screw-ups.

Chettinadu Restaurant

Before this brunch, I had tried Thosai plain, with egg fillings, and Masala . According to Wikipedia, there's more variations such as "chilli, butter, ghee, wheat, appam, cheese, adai, paper" Thosai. Nesh was deeply into the Rava Onion Thosai which used semolina batter for the crepe and julienned onions for filling.

It’s a simple dish really. Sweet, crunchy and crispy; courtesy of the julienned onions and just-right frying technique. But what really made it good were the condiments that gave it richness, spice and bite only when mixed together. Thus, heap on the chilli thingie, go easy on the coconut chutney, and let the Sambar soak into that Thosai's pores. Adjust according to taste.

We were craving for it much later during a 7-11 beer session. Unfortunately as Nesh pointed out, "Dude. There aren't any 24-hour Thosai shops." Not at 2am in Little India, Serangoon Road. 

Nesh pointed out, "Dude. There aren't any 24-hour Thosai shops." Not at 2am in Little India, Serangoon Road.

Cook it!

Basics: Thosai Batter

Thosais: Basic Thosai | Masala Thosai | Rava Onion Thosai | Paper Thosai

Condiments: Coconut Chutney | Sambar

Mar 23, 2010

Red-light districts get out of line, sure or not?

As Chow Yun Fatt said in Pirates of the Caribbean, “Welcome to Singapore!” Only that it’s a Singapore of whores, scummy pirates, and tattooed overweight monsters.

Chow Yun Fatt in Pirates of the CaribbeanI’m quoting Sao Feng because I read an article by the Star Online. It was about  foreign workers creating pockets of organised crime in Geylang.

Cool excerpt below:

In a scene reminiscent of the days of secret societies, the unruly crowd shouted obscenities and threw bottles, stones and chairs at the four detectives.


It occurred when the policemen were carrying out raids in the red-light area of Geylang.


One detective was kicked in the mouth and another in the head and back.


The violence, which lasted 15 minutes, prompted a policeman to draw his pistol and fire a warning shot.


Several rioters were detained, and two of them brought to trial recently. One got 15 months in jail, and the other is out on bail pending appeal.

source: The Online Citizen

Oooo… I won’t want to be in their situation. And it is shocking in Singapore where everything is nice and clean and perfect for living. It’s just a little dot on this little red dot that’s gotten black marks. But what can you expect from a legalised redlight district area where sex sells? 

Reading on I was struck by a random, unverified quote by a school teacher (dunno if Malaysian or Singaporean; sounds Singaporean):

“Singapore is fast becoming known as a sin city,” said a school teacher, who fears casinos and vice would one day lead to its downfall.

It’s interesting to see what a few fights would do to our perception of things. It’s really not that bad, people. Really.

Mar 20, 2010

On Cooking: It ain’t like what you visualised dude….

Went for the “Bing”. Not bling.

The Bing is a Chinese flatbread with meat fillings. The kind that fills the air with wonderful aromas when broken apart. It’s perfect for a cold day – like this rainy Saturday.

Sadly it’s been likened to a hamburger; ya’know, them of the Golden Arches. It’s same same but really different. iChina describes the Bing as:

… made of similar ingredients [to a hamburger], but in different ways. When you add the ingredients of innovation and localization, you end up with hundreds of derivatives.


Xian Bing (stuffed hamburger dumplings) – Northern and Northeastern China


Xian Bing is like round-shaped, oversized dumplings (in the way it is made), stuffed with seasoned ground meat and vegetables (e.g., pork and cabbages, or scrambled egg and chives), hermetically sealed in a toothsome wrapper, then baked or pan fried until crispy. As the meat cooks inside, it gets basted in its own juices, intensifying the flavor of the filling.

Source: iChina Magazine

So I pulled up my singlet, kneaded the dough, stuffed meat into the bugger and left it to rise in a toaster oven.

Results shown below….

My Meat My Meat "Bing" (Pancake)

It’s not as appetizing as I thought it’ll be, and it’s the cook’s fault: A pinch more salt, a heap of spring onions and scallions and mo’ meat, a mite less dough, and I’ll have a winner on my hands.

Or more likely in my belly.

Mar 5, 2010

Global Times - Underground security

Written by a Chinese friend whom i met on my travels many moons ago. It’s about Beijing’s subways where the exits and entrances are manned by surly officers and overshadowed by x-ray machines.

A while later, another friend was stopped for having “dangerous” deodorant in his bag. The machine roared and he was forced to show it to the angry faces of the officers on duty. He told me that on his return journey, he simply carried it in his coat while the guards chatted with each other.

While it made sense during the Olympics when nutcases (drunk, simply insane, or merely fundamentalist) had to identified and stopped, now it has lost its meaning – like bureaucracy.

As I write this, there’s a niggling at the back of my head that asks “one-and-done like the Bird’s Nest?”

At least Beijing’s National Stadium is making money from the “daily intake of 20,000 to 30,000 people who pay RMB 50” to wander around the immense empty stadium that’s supposed to hold 80,000 people.

But what are they going to do with 260 x-ray machines? Send it to hospitals?

Source: Global Times - Underground security

Mar 3, 2010

Air sex???

This would really explain why Japan’s birth rates are dropping like a rock from a high place.

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