Rest Is The New Black

No more feeling like The Walking Dead when waking up for work!

No more feeling like The Walking Dead when waking up for work!

Sleep finally came to me. In deep, large, fat doses. And what sweet relief it is.

In case you missed my earlier post on battling insomnia (I’d like to think it’s the result of a hungry, overactive mind), I’ve found comfort and meaningful rest with some simple lifestyle tweaks.

First, I hydrate with lots of water during the day. Then I avoid alcohol and coffee (after the mornings) as much as possible. Any coffee after 4pm means kissing any intention of meaningful rest goodbye. Even if I’m entertaining, I’m entertaining with juice or a heavily diluted cocktail in hand (nope, peer pressure doesn’t bother me anymore). And finally, there’s the power boosting Stress & Energy supplement that keeps me going in the day and REM sleep supplement that lulls me to dreamland from Clinicians.

Clinicians REM Sleep Testimonial

After taking its formula for close to three weeks, I am proud to say that on most nights, I’m getting between six to seven hours of deep, rejuvenating shut-eye. I’m also waking up less often to use the bathroom (but yes, I’m waking up with raging urges to relieve a full bladder).

Overall, it is now easier for me to fall asleep at night and I am also getting better quality rest that leaves me waking up feeling more refreshed than I used to.

I still have late-nights working on upcoming presentations, or dealing with editorial deadlines, but with a mix of discipline and Clinicians’ 5-HTP compound that converts to Serotonin & Melatonin (hormones essential for sleep), I’m clocking more hours in dreamland. Thanks to the Magnesium, Vitamins B3 and B6 present, my muscles relax naturally, while the Passion Flower and Skull Cap calm my nervous system like a balm at the end of a long day.

I can’t emphasize enough how much a couple more hours of deep sleep per night can improve the quality of your daily life.

It Really Works

Check out a few of these screenshots taken from a sleep app I’m using called, er, Sleep Time.

Jan 21 – 76% of deep, REM sleep

Jan 21

Jan 23 – 69% of deep, REM sleep

Jan 23

Jan 26 – 77% of deep, REM sleep

Jan 26

Jan 29 – 84% of deep, REM sleep

Jan 29

Feb 03 – 84% of deep, REM sleep

Feb 3

It’s working quite like a charm. It’s not rocket science, but I’m getting into bed no later than midnight, and letting Clinicians REM Sleep do the rest.

I’m waking up easier in the morning (read: I don’t feel like dying), my mood is lighter, and the morning rush hour doesn’t get under my skin like it used to. Singaporeans are not the best drivers, you know.

And since I consume Clinicians’ Stress & Energy in the day, I’m feeling sprightlier, with more energy to accomplish the daily tasks at hand. I have also not experienced any side effects while consuming these 2 products.

Without coming across as lame, I’d like to say that life feels easier. They say that chronic fatigue syndrome is a very real thing for sufferers, and I’m glad that, thanks to Clinicians, I’d never get to find out.

Clinicians REM Sleep and Energy & Stress

Win It, Try It

If you want to know how to win the Clinicians ‘Sleep’ hamper worth $80, and give yourself a better chance of managing your stress and sleeping well, here’s what you have to do.

Share what you want to do more of if you have better quality rest at night.

Leave a comment and I will pick 5 lucky winners to walk away with the Clinicians ‘Sleep’ hamper!

You can find out more information on Clinicians from

Clinicians Stress & Energy ($28.90) and REM Sleep ($36.90) can be found in selected Guardian, Unity, Watsons pharmacy stores and Metro departmental stores.


Let Me Sleep On It

Not sleeping well on weekdays meant that I tried to play "sleep catch up" on weekends, which is the opposite of healthy sleep cycles.

Not sleeping well on weekdays meant that I tried to play “sleep catch up” on weekends, which is the opposite of healthy sleep cycles.

Few things make me happier than getting eight hours of sleep a day.

And another eight hours at night.

I’m joking of course, but I really think I can do 16 hours straight in bed, no problem. This is because I’m hardly getting any! (Sleep, I mean.)

These days, the number of hours of sleep I get is dwindling, and I’m not thrilled. The odd-hours working aren’t helping, as my mind is like an impossible child that jumps awake the moment it’s time for bed.

Insomnia is exhausting. Insomnia is cruel. Insomnia is great for math because you stay up calculating how many minutes of sleep you’re going to get if you fall asleep “right now”. Repeat every 20 minutes.

And even if I do fall asleep when I want to, it may not be the deep, restful sleep I want. When deadlines loom and pressure builds at work, it’s common to be waking up several times at night from low-quality sleep. The body is demanding that you crash, but your mind somehow fights the fatigue.

I have a bad habit of reading on the iPad before bed, something that apparently encourages insomnia, with reports pointing to the glare of personal gadgets disrupting biological sleep patterns.

I have a bad habit of reading on the iPad before bed, something that apparently encourages insomnia, with reports pointing to the glare of personal gadgets disrupting biological sleep patterns.

Prolonged insomnia, unfortunately, not only gives you serious eye bags and dark eye rings, but it can also lead to hypertension, heart-disease, obesity and a frail immune system. Think about that. It’s enough to give you insomnia, huh?

I don’t think I’m alone among the sheep-counters, because, thanks to our culture of long working hours and pent-up stress, Singaporeans recently came up third (out of residents in 43 cities) in a poll of “most sleep-deprived” people. #FirstWorldProblems

You may want to refer to the full article from the link below:

When I first heard about Clinicians REM Sleep supplements, I thought it was another supplement similar to Melatonin, which is often prescribed to aid with sleeping problems and insomnia.


But I was wrong. It offered deep, quality sleep and a very clean consciousness when I woke. Here’s a bit of an introduction to Clinicians.

Clinicians REM Sleep and Clinicians Stress & Energy Support, the yin and yang of healthy sleep patterns. The former lets you fall into restful and deep sleep cycles, the latter gives you the energy to power through the day.

Clinicians REM Sleep and Clinicians Stress & Energy Support, the yin and yang of healthy sleep patterns. The former lets you fall into restful and deep sleep cycles, the latter gives you the energy to power through the day.

Clinicians: An Introduction

Clinicians was founded in 1997 by two pharmacists in New Zealand who recognised that their patients fared better on medication when they consumed vitamins and minerals at the same time. They then developed a range of nutritional supplements under the brand Clinicians.

Clinicians has a strong focus on the right formulations, where they target therapeutic dosing, having more of the right ingredients that make a positive difference to people’s health.

Now a leading player in New Zealand’s health industry, Clinicians is the most trusted brand by New Zealand pharmacists and is backed by the leading pharmaceutical manufacturing company – Douglas Pharmaceuticals.

Clinicians REM Sleep (Night)

Unlike Melatonin, which may cause intense dreaming, short spurts of sleep and difficulty waking up, REM Sleep’s natural and plant-based formula does more than just Melatonin.

It contains 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan, extracted from the Griffonia simplicifolia plant) that converts to Serotonin and Melatonin and vitamin B6, an essential vitamin for the production of these sleep hormones, for a deeper, more natural sleep.

I used to feel like I’m hyperventilating when I take Melatonin-based products. But it doesn’t happen with Clinicians REM Sleep.

It also contains Passion Flower and Skull Cap to calm your mind and Magnesium and Vitamin B3 to relax your body muscles so your mind and body are relaxed for a restful sleep.

What’s best is Clinicians REM Sleep is a more holistic approach to promote good quality sleep compared to Melatonin and is non-habit forming with no known side effects.

Verdict: I took this for a week and I’m falling asleep faster into higher quality sleep, I’m waking up less often in the middle of the night, and I do not moan (as much) when I wake in the morning. I’m even finding more energy to hit the gym for some invigorating workouts.

Clinicians Stress & Energy (DAY) Support

Clinicians Stress & Energy Day support also acts as a companion supplement to REM Sleep. Research has shown that stress and poor sleep are inter-related.If you have to deal with low energy levels, dicey concentration spans, high levels of stress and fatigue during the day, the Stress & Energy Support supplements boost your functionality and stamina in a brilliant way (no matter how dry your sales meeting gets).

It nourishes your adrenal glands – that helps you combat stress and fatigue – with two forms of Ginseng (Siberian and Indian ginseng) and other herbs (Licorice and Rehmannia) to keep your energy levels up during the day. Which means you can say goodbye to overtime!

Verdict: I took this every morning after breakfast for a week and I’m drinking less coffee, I engage better in back-to-back meetings, and my To-Do list gets chopped off faster. No side effects detected.

I used to pick sleep over gym hours, but the Clinicians REM Sleep and Stress & Energy Support getting rid of my excuses to avoid the sweat. Feeling the burn!

I used to pick sleep over gym hours, but the Clinicians REM Sleep and Stress & Energy Support supplements are getting rid of my excuses to avoid the sweat. Yeap, totally feeling the burn!

Watch this space as I keep tabs on the results. I will be announcing a giveaway on Instagram soon too!

In the meantime, you can find out more information on Clinicians from

Clinicians Stress & Energy ($28.90) and REM Sleep ($36.90) can be found in selected Guardian, Unity, Watsons pharmacy stores and Metro departmental

Skinny Jeans Are Dead. Long Live Skinny Jeans.


If you’re able to appreciate the relaxed state of denim wrapped around Hong Kong actor Shawn Yue in the Levi’s campaign, the answer should as clear as an inappropriate camel toe. Yes, skinny jeans seem to be going the way of twerking. Are people finally tired of struggling to pull off their jeans when they get home? Are they bored with looking like they’re wearing scuba pants everywhere?

Either way, this bodes well for men who struggle daily with overly large calves and can no longer pretend to be a Dior Homme runway model or that guitarist from The Strokes. Not only are sales of skinny jeans at major retailers grinding to a halt, but it is increasingly evident that men have many options to go beyond the slim-fit jeans, the skinny jeans, and ultra-skinny jeans.

Levi's_CNY KV&PR Shots Hi-res Final_14_2642

Did you hear that? That is the creepy sound of your man-sacs high-fiving each other in celebration. Yes, they can finally swing free instead of being smothered to your crotch!

What can a laid-back, self-respecting man do to avoid the slippery slope of dressing half his age, or half his gender?  There are relaxed chinos, jogger pants, dressy sweats, stylish pyjamas, swim shorts… it’s a well of ideas that is not running dry anytime soon. Just look at what Shawn Yue is doing, layering denim on denim for that rugged, devil-may-care attitude.

Levi's_CNY KV&PR Shots Hi-res Final_08_1495

Wear your denim clean, high-waisted, embellished, low-rise or stone-washed, just wear it roomy. It is high time you and your crown jewels breathe again. Just don’t smile coyly while tilting your head for a selfie. That will ruin everything.

The Token 2015 Birthday Post: What I’ve Learnt

Homemade popcorn is unbeatable. You decide the amount of butter you use.

Homemade popcorn is unbeatable. You decide the amount of butter you use.

So my wife made popcorn, a bunch of mouth-watering dishes, and invited the gang over for a dizzyingly good time. But the day isn’t complete if I don’t get things off my non-hairy chest. So here you go, the cursory birthday list of What I’ve Learnt.

  1. Don’t insult others’ intelligence, because they will feel like you’re insulting their intelligence.
  1. If you’ve ever queued happily for 45 minutes for soft-serve ice-cream, you must be a very relaxed person.
  1. Be kind to your hosts, because they have the WiFi passwords.
  1. When you’re waiting for the lift, and someone else comes along and impatiently presses the lift button again, it means they think people hang around lift lobbies for fun.
  2. Self-declared style bloggers are rarely stylish.
  1. When dealing with drivers who honk as soon as the light turns green, you should take some time to check your rear-view mirror to see who they are.
  1. If you’re not a morning person, you should avoid morning people.
  1. Small children exist to test your kindness, patience and love. Because you once tested someone else’s too.
  1. It’s okay if you’re uncomfortable with selfies. There’s no need to slag off those who are.
  1. When a woman says, “It’s fine. Don’t worry”, it’s not fine, and you should quit your job, change your name, and migrate.
  1. You can’t please everyone. Not everyone is worth pleasing anyway.
  1. Sometimes you go to the supermarket because you “just need some milk”. But rest assured you will never leave the supermarket with just milk.
  1. In any argument, logic trumps temper or tears.
  1. Whatever the annoying hipster health trend, whether it’s the Paleo diet or cold-pressed juices, if you ignore it long enough, it will go away. (Related: Why do people refer to their other halves as “THE boy” or ‘THE girl”? What’s wrong with the determiner, ‘MY’?)
  1. Travel bloggers may be having a lousy time. You’d never know.
  1. Before taking professional-standard photos in crowded tourist attractions, remember to remove the lens cover first.
  1. If they’re still not interesting after two drinks, they’re probably boring.
  1. Real friends spare the formalities. They swear.
  1. If you’re in the middle of an argument and you realise you’re wrong, shake your head slowly, say, “I don’t expect you to understand.” Then run away.
  1. No matter how you say it, someone will take offence at the word, “Fat”.


Hello, Is This Rude?


I’m not sure when it happened exactly, but at some point in the last few years, it became rude to call someone.

I’m saying this because I’m getting lots of calls from phone numbers I don’t recognise, and it’s invasive.

Why are they calling me when it’s 2014, and there are at least a dozen ways to reach me without me speaking a word? What happened to texting me on WhatsApp, direct messaging me on Twitter, or Facebook or WeChat or Line, or the half-dozen other texting apps that are out there? Wait, how did they get my number?

The sound of my phone ringing makes me tentative, uncomfortable. Are you calling me to tell me you’re lying semi-conscious in a ditch, and you can’t text?

Ironically, the polite ones are those who text you to say, “Hi, can I call you in 10 minutes for a chat?” What a considerate person!

I remember when cellphones became a thing. Friends would jab me in the rib when someone with a cellphone walked by. People COULDN’T WAIT to pick up phone calls. It was a grand gesture, picking up phone calls.

You had to let it ring for a while so that everyone within a 30-metre radius knew you had a cellphone, and then pick up with a agitated expression to suggest you’re constantly buggered by calls, but that you can’t help it. Because YOU picking up calls saves lives.

It sounds lame now, but dudes with cell phones were players. Hustlers. Bosses. It’s hard to imagine now, but they would talk to a telemarketer for a FULL minute just to look important.

Then hang up when the free minute was up.

Cell phones told everyone, “Everyone needs to contact me ‘cos I’m the man.”

Making a phone call used to be a big deal. Now, everybody has a phone in their pocket or handbag. And it’s an annoying thing that goes off in restaurants, cinemas, airports, spas and any other place that is better off quiet. So before you use what the phone was made for – to make calls – think about whose peace you’re shattering.

The Alpha Renovation Journal PART 2) Five Questions To Ask When Buying Sanitary Wares

True story: You will look at dozens of bowls and you will not be able to tell the difference between any of them.

True story: You will look at dozens of bowls and you will not be able to tell the difference between any of them.

If you come to my house and you ask me, “Tommy, I need to use the toilet. Where is it?” and I don’t say, “It’s in the heartland mall two bus stops away,” it means we have a pretty decent friendship, and you’re allowed to step into my private space.

By “private space” I mean a safe, quiet haven where I pretend to be an opera singer and belt off-key Taylor Swift songs at the top of my lungs while the hot water is running. It is a very private side of me that only my neighbours in the entire block know about.

ANYWAY, I was out shopping for faucets, sinks and various shiny essentials you need in the bath areas, and it struck me, “Hey, any self-respecting shower and washroom area needs an elegant toilet bowl.”

I took this photo. If you like it, it's yours.

I took this photo. If you like it, it’s yours.

It is the feature piece in the room, the most useful thing in an ensemble cast, like Lebron James and any basketball team he plays for.

I know you’re sniggering and thinking, “I don’t need a toilet bowl. This is the most boring blog post in the world ever! Post some OOTDs already!”

Oh you scorn, but one day, when you’re putting together your own home, you WILL NEED A TOILET BOWL, and you will desperately try to recall the indispensable, toilet-bowl shopping tips I wrote about on this blog, and you’ll be Googling it… and find it immediately. So, yeah, just keep Google handy.

Shopping for a proper toilet bowl can get complicated. There’re single-piece bowls, two pieces ones, wall-mounted ones, those that come with bidets… it’s mind-boggling. I’ve never examined so many toilet bowls in my life. It’s like arranging a marriage for my bum.

“Dear Derrière, you are to commit to this bowl for better or worse, through spicy meals and high-pressure constipation. Till sale of house do you part.”

Fancy faucets come from Europe and Japan. They have silky movements and super shiny surfaces you can check your teeth in.

Fancy faucets come from Europe and Japan. They have silky movements and super shiny surfaces you can check your teeth in. They also cost your pinky fingers.

Why didn’t anyone name their sanitary wares shop The Game Of Thrones? A throne is where you release stress, and do some deep thinking, pondering over things like, “How BIG is Kim Kardashian’s toilet bowl?”

There are a few instances in a man’s life when he DOES NOT LOOK ANOTHER PERSON IN THE EYE. These are:

1) When he’s eating a banana

2) When he’s doing kegel exercises at the gym, and

3) When he’s sitting on a toilet bowl in a toilet bowl showroom. Stay classy.

The sales person will try her best (but fail spectacularly) to make you feel comfortable, asking you things like, “Does the bowl feel good? Supports your bum? Can you sit for long like this?”

“Feel the bowl. You must feel it to like it!” Alrightey then.

Bear in mind that there are dozens of strangers around you who are also seriously shopping for something to excrete bodily waste into. Everyone’s mind is picturing the same thing – “Do I see myself off loading into this thing every day?”

Toilet bowl shopping is like speed dating: You don't have all day, because you need to like each other - fast.

Toilet bowl shopping is like speed dating: You don’t have all day, because you need to like each other – fast.

Buying a toilet bowl seems like a simple task. What can be so complicated, right? Well, besides the price points (between $150 to $1500), there is a lot of science involved. You need to consider a few things, such as:

  • “How strong is the flush power?”

Don’t worry, they won’t judge you and think you’re a baby hippo. The flush power of a toilet bowl dictates how effective it is at removing bulk. This prevents clogging in the last thing in the house you want to clog.

Ask for the model’s Veritec rating, which is a scale between one to 10. The higher the rating, the less likely the water will come UP when you flush.

  • “Should I get a round bowl, or an egg-shaped bowl?”

I don’t know anyone with a perfectly round backside, or an egg-shaped one for that matter, but round bowls save you space, while elongated ones (egg-shaped) are more comfortable for prolonged sits, for days when you feel like reading a few chapters of “The Fault In Our Stars” and crying alone in the toilet.

  • “What is the water usage for this toilet bowl?”

Ironically, toilet bowls require water to flush unwanted water out of your house. Water-saving models now come in half/full flush designs, where the half-flushes use about 1.5 litres of water, and full flushes, twice that.

  • “Should I get a one-piece bowl, a two-piece bowl, or a wall-mounted one?”

There are a few factors involved: Costs, design of your toilet, and how much space you want between your knees and the toilet door. It’s largely aesthetics and personal preference. But wall-mounted ones tend to be the costliest as they require special plumbing but are the most discreet, one piece sets are easiest to clean, while two-piece bowls are like LEGO sets, simple and practical (but a bitch to clean). Ask your toilet bowl vendor for details as there are loads of pros and cons to consider.

5) “Should I get a bidet?”

A bidet is great for personal hygiene. You can sit there and basically know how a car feels going through the car wash. There is that mechanised, geeky element to it, but it does not come cheap. Be prepared to pay double (up to $2,000) the amount for something with a great bidet system.

And that’s it from me for this episode of The Alpha Renovation Journal. More tips and tricks from me next week. J

12 Photos From The Affordable Art Fair Singapore That Even Non-Art Lovers Can Appreciate


Full disclosure: While it may come as a bit of a shock, I’m no art expert.

I am extremely fond of art though. Art tells me that there are people who spend significant amounts of time by themselves, holed up in a studio, to paint, sculpt, or simply to chat for hours with their friends on WhatsApp. That is what I call productive.

There is no right or wrong with art, but there are a lot of interesting characters in art spaces, and some of them can be so wrong they’re right. It’s a beautifully grey world we live in.


So I checked out the fifth installation of the Affordable Art Fair Singapore, held at the F1 Pit Building from November 21 – 23, and my, what a spectacle. There were wooden bow-ties, oversized floral shirts with pink shorts, flower crowns, army boots with baby-doll dresses, and dip-dyed hair that looks like ice-kachang. And those were just the art fans.

If you enjoy scratching your chin while gazing deeply into black space, you’d love art fairs like this one. True story: I saw a guy staring into the corner of a wall but when I asked him why, he said he was appreciating a painting with his “peripheral vision”.

Which meant that he preferred to look at the painting while not looking at it. Which was so weird deep on so many levels. That was also the moment I backed slowly away and asked for more champagne, because I couldn’t expose my cultural ignorance by exchanging another word with him.




How could I fake it? I had no artistic language or vocabulary to speak of, much less a compulsion to examine for more than three minutes paintings that looked like Jackson Pollock raging against the canvas (ie, messy strings of paint over messier strings of paint over even messier strings of paint… you get it).

I could not tell the nuanced difference between some of the surrealistic and metaphysical paintings from those saucer-eyed Precious Memories dolls in gift card shops at heartland malls.

Oh but maybe I do.

Saucer-eyed Precious Memories dolls, $19.90 each.

Saucer-eyed Affordable Art Fair Doll, $1999.99 each.




But here’s How You Can Have An Intelligent Sounding Conversation With The Art Lover Standing Next To You:

(Imagine you’re both looking at a painting of a grizzly bear catching salmon in the river. Imagine OKAY?!)

DON’T SAY: “That is an awesome picture of a grizzly bear catching salmon.”

Art lovers around you will sniff you out as an imposter. They will hiss at you, push their black-framed spectacles up their noses, and curse your family for generations. Some might even say, “Excuse me, good sir, but were you raised by wolves?”

Instead, YOU SAY: “The tension between the omnivore and the simplistic linearity of nature highlights the surrealistic life-cycle of contrast in the lines, causing a disruptive viewing experience that can only be perceived through the struggle of control.”


But seriously, gone are the days when fine art meant paintings after paintings of Rubenesque, women dangling ripe fruits into their gaping mouths. These gloriously naked and doughy women made me want to back up, do a short run-up, and hop into their folds of flesh. I imagine them to feel like a bouncy castle at a kid’s birthday party.

That was art to me, at least before I discovered bubble tea and the World Wrestling Federation.



But back to the Affordable Art Fair. The fair may be called Affordable Art Fair, but they may be stretching the term “affordable”.

The fair showcased 108 galleries from all over the world featuring 950 artists, and perhaps I didn’t scrutinize the labels enough, but I didn’t see a single piece that was price-tagged $100 (their supposed starting point), but they’re quick to highlight in the news release that “75% of the works displayed cost under $7,500!”

That is it. I’m gonna start swiping my credit card till the magnetic strip smoked!

What is that? A painting of a sweating mule? Only $5,555? I’ll take it.

Look at this lovely limited A4 print of a dead tree! It’s in black and white, which means I need it. What a steal for $750!

Is that a 40cm-tall sculpture of an upright toad? $6,188? Can you say, bargain? Wrap it up please. It’s less than $7,500!

What about that chaotic assemblage of a half-eaten sandwich? No? It’s your lunch? How about I pay you $2,088 for it? I have no idea what buyer’s remorse is, because everything is so affordable at the art fair.

The Affordable Art Fair is happening from Nov 20 – 23 at the F1 Pit Building, at 1 Republic Boulevard, Singapore 038975. Open daily from noon till 6pm (Friday), 11am till 8pm (Saturday) and 11am till 6pm (Sunday). Admission at the door from $15.


The Alpha Renovation Journal, PART 1) Owning Your Dream Home Can Be Mildly Depressing

mosaic titles.jpg

Mosaic tiles. The options are dazzling and the shopping experience beats having a good meal of fried chicken any day! (No, it doesn’t)

I’ve been out shopping for tiles. Can you tell?

Sooner or later, you will need to buy a house. A house protects you from the harsh elements of living in Singapore, like the scorching sun, the annual PSI 180 haze, and of course, COE prices.

Buying a house is also a rite of passage into adulthood, because we all need a mortgage to motivate us to work till our deaths. By “everyone” I mean those who aren’t trust fund babies. When you are legally bound to the bank for the rest of your life, you will somehow sober up and think, “I need to drink less”.

But all jokes aside, you will also need to buy a house because you can no longer negotiate with tyrannical landlords who increase their rent every year just because they “feel like it”, or someone is not giving them enough attention, or they couldn’t find their latest Birkin bag in camel python. Remember, as a tenant, you have the rights of a single-cell organism.

As a tenant, your living conditions are thus subject to economic forces, evil condominium security, and your landlord’s hot flushes.

These unscrupulous humans raise their rents indiscriminately despite not maintaining their leaky air-conditioner units, weedy gardens, and swimming pools, which is another term for “recycled rain water filled with children’s urine”.

As much as you want to be a kind person, you will grow to resent the landlord, and nobody will blame you. But you will invariably ask yourself, “Why don’t I become a landlord instead?”

More interesting photos of titles, so you can see how exciting tile shopping is.

More interesting photos of tiles, so you can see how EXCITING tile shopping is.

To morph into this shrewd capitalist, and in the process cause a tiny part of your soul to shrivel and die, you will need to devise a way to afford, and own a house. Firstly, you need to arrive at a budget for your home.

Determine Your Budget, Determine Your Misery

It’s quite simple. Take your entire family’s income for the last three generations, and what potential buyers would pay for your internal organs, and your grandmother, then – get ready for this – understand that it’s not enough.

If you’re aged 35 and below, of average talent and skill set, you might need to plan the number of kids you’d want to have.

The scale looks something like this:

If you’re getting a BTO, you might be able to afford one child.

If you’re getting a 5-room flat, you should be able to afford a schnauzer.

If you’re getting a condominium, you will be sensible to get a goldfish. They can go for two weeks without food.

Anything more expensive, you should consider terrariums. They take care of themselves.

Even if you find all the leftover foreign currency from your travels from under your sofa cushions, and organise flea markets every weekend for the next decade, you will come up short. If you want to sell cupcakes to save up, it’s going to take roughly 7,845 years.

So the best way to afford a house is to spend less, then ask yourself, “How much do I want to owe the bank when I finally retire?”

At this point I should advise you to sign a mortgage with a banker with a pleasant face. This is because he or she will be servicing your loan, answering your myriad of questions concerning your fast vaporising bank account, and having a pleasant mug lessens the possibility of you yelling profanities at them.

That would be a starting point.

(Next post: How To Decide What Kind Of House You’ll Want to Buy. And, My New Neighbourhood)

Have you seen enough photos of titles? Look out for photos of my run down, pre-war apartment in the next post!

Have you seen enough photos of tiles? Look out for photos of my run down, pre-war apartment in the next post!


Hey Baby, Do You Swing?


Swinging Hard And Loving It

I’ve never done it before, but I’ll definitely do it again.

Click here to see what I’m talking about.

Don’t think anyone can call me a promiscuous driver, but there’s something about getting behind the wheel of a MINI Cooper S that makes one tether on the edge of common sense.


The deal is irresistible. Inherited from Britain’s sexy and swingin’ ’60s, the call was that you drove your car to the MINI showroom, leave it that for 24 hours, while taking a titillating MINI specimen out for a day. A full day.

A test drive usually takes 20 to 30 minutes. It’s like very unsatisfactory speed-dating. That’s barely foreplay for understanding the playful, mischievous and lively personality of the MINI. But you can do a lot more with 24 hours, and this is exactly what makes the MINI Swingers Campaign so tempting.


You get a full day to do (almost) whatever you want with any of the five key MINI models for selection – the MINI COOPER, MINI COOPER S, MINI ONE, MINI CABRIO and MINI COOPER PACEMAN. (Check out for details, and register your interest as it’s for a limited period only!)

How Do You Get On Board The MINI Swingers Experience?

Well, you drive your car to the showroom at Leng Kee Road. It will be a drive filled with grand anticipation, as you list the many reasons why the MINI is so drivable. It’s the car that makes passers-by smile. It’s not an aggressive ride, but its sporty British heritage makes it a pocket rocket that zips around faster than it ought to. It’s made for navigating expertly around giant metropolitans.


You can squeeze this car in between the tightest of spots. It’s like the lovable prankster in class, the roads would be so colourless without it. The design is filled with promises of playful nights and inspired mornings. So it’s not a serious sedan and we get it.

Handling and taking over of the car is easy. There is minimal paperwork that requires that you own a valid driving licence, and you can be in and out of the showroom in 15 minutes. Of course, the showroom is worth lingering in. It’s upbeat like a hipster’s lounge, with bold colours and comfortable corners. It’s like stepping into the living space of an unapologetic hedonist, a hedonist with taste.


A Premium Go-Karting Experience

The car itself is a real treat. There is a sense of brimming excitement as you slink into the driver’s seat. The driving position is perfect for appreciating the interactive, fun-filled design, with its LED centre instrument and disco-lit foot well area. There’s an outrageously huge speedometer which I love, and a funky design vibe which is equal parts retro and futuristic at the same time. Different colour schemes pop with different driving modes. My favourite has to be the fun Engine On/Off toggle switch. It’s a tiny detail that makes a big difference to the driving eexperience.

For a compact car, there is generous head and leg room. Driving dynamics are very impressive, comparable to some higher-end sports sedans. The new turbocharged four-cylinder engine has the personality of something more powerful. It’s steering is precise, the clutch and brakes are super responsive, and everything you hear about the go-kart references is true: It hugs those corners like koalas hug tree-tops in winter.


The Feel Good Factor

Whether you crave the attention or not, your MINI Cooper S is going to get stares and illicit smiles. I’ve seen tourists taking photos of the car at stop lights, and while cruising through Haji Lane, diners and restaurant owners were visibly enthralled by its bright mustard presence. It’s a handsome care and no one can deny that.

A full day spent with the MINI Cooper S is an intimate affair. At the end of it, you’re intuitively gelled with the car and the experience behind the wheel. You reach for the Engine On/Off toggle button easily. You’re in tune with how it sounds on the road. You’ve bonded.


Something about the MINI Cooper S perks up your zest for life. It’s a shame to let a car like this sit in the driveway or the lot, inactive. Maybe it’s the colour, its fun-filled interiors, or the way the engine throttles when you command it to. It just warrants a good day out. I love the drive and how it feels when the steering wheel is in my grip. It’s a car I can easily cruise with to every lifestyle corner of Singapore and feel proud getting out of. Drivers don’t usually admit that, but sometimes it’s all that matters.

You Can Put My Face Through This Mud


Contrary to popular opinion, when it comes to keeping a clean face, I’m not one who wastes time examining pores and skin blemishes in the mirror. The less time it takes me, the BETTER.

So when the sample bottle of Nivea Men’s Mud Serum Foam came along, I was skeptical because it had a rather elaborate name for a cleanser. I foolishly thought there were three steps involved in the cleaning process. MUD-SERUM-FOAM. What kind of science project was this? Is this a fancy name for facial soap?

But I was wrong. It couldn’t be simpler.


There’s an easy-to-use hand pump that gives you a small dollop, perfect for a normal-sized face (phew, I have a normal-sized face). Then the science part breaks own the process very clearly.

You lather the mud gently into your face for a minute, making sure it gets into the skin while getting all foamy, then wash it off with warm water (so your pores open) before drying gently with a face towel.

The MUD unclogs and removes all the impurities from your skin, while the FOAM removes excess oil from your pores. Finally, the SERUM keeps your face hydrated so your skin doesn’t go thirsty. I’ve been using it every morning and evening and I must say the verdict is in. I approve!

And the best surprise of all, it smells like a stroll on the beach at the crack of dawn, all fresh and invigorating. At $12.90 a bottle, it’s easy AND affordable. That the truth serum talking.

Face so clean it makes reading that much more relaxing. Random, I know.

Face so clean it makes reading that much more relaxing. Random, I know.

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