Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ode to coffee (Part 2), and a lead-up to Can't Buy Me Love...

I'm not done with my ode to coffee. I found this clipping in my collection:

Oh yes, I remember the bygone days, when the takeaway coffee or tea was poured into an empty condensed milk tin (gong) with a raffia string attached at the top. But, hey, are there still drinks-stalls that keep this practice?

And here's another "kopi code" link:

Check out the last two items in the link, "tiao he" (fishing in Hokkien) and "tak giu" (kicking a ball).

Thanks to Lee Huang, here's another interesting code-breaker:

And here's a happy "barista" of the kopi-tarik kind:

This notice about a study on coffee drinkers had me all excited, until...

...I'm not overweight. Ah well, who needs free coffee. And that bit about "infusion procedure (clamp)". They're gonna inject coffee into those human guinea pigs?


There's a certain court case that everyone -- and I mean every Singaporean plus probably most other residents -- follows with a sense of fascination, as certain details unfold. Certain phrases used during the court proceedings have titillating connotations:

Gag order

I am reminded of this infamous ad:

I suppose a key witness was giving "oral evidence". And I now know that "SP" is not just the initials for Singapore Polytechnic and that "DIY" has become part of the text messaging vocabulary, as in "Do you DIY?"

And what do sub-editors (subs) here -- when not writing punny headlines (heads) -- talk about these days around the water cooler?

A: Hey, what makes a great sub?
B: Must give good heads, lor.
C: Yeah, there are gifted subs... and there are those that suck!

I hope this useful "Singlism" catches on... "How, how, how?"

Why so late? How, how, how?
Didn't do your homework? How, how, how?

Finally, I remember that, somewhere along the way, this Beatles hit, Can't Buy Me Love, was mangled in part-Cantonese into "Come, fai-ti ler (Oy)!". Anyway, enjoy the unmangled version:

Saturday, September 29, 2012

An ode to coffee...

International Coffee Day (ICD)

Coffee smells like freshly ground heaven.
~Jessi Lane Adams

I just learnt that today (Sept 29) is ICD. People who know me are aware that coffee is my poison of choice. At home, I have a Nespresso machine, a Nescafe Dolce Gusto machine, and a Phillips coffee-brewer.

Somewhere in the bowels of the kitchen is a plunger. And I have had a Krupps coffee bean grinder cum machine, followed by a Saeco model. Both were used to destruction, ie, at some point each went kaput and I found out that it was not worth repairing them, so they were junked.

I have also posted some time ago that I have tried kopi luwak (it uses coffee beans swallowed by civet cats and excreted with their poo). Heavenly!...

But I am no coffee snob. I drink instant coffee, local coffee, gourmet coffee and anything that has coffee beans.

My favourite coffee joke is one I heard as a schoolboy. This is a shortened version..

Two angmohs walk into a kopi tiam. The ah pek assistant approaches them.

"Two black coffees, please," one of the angmohs says.

"Kopi-o, noh," the ah pek shouts out.

"Come on, let's get out. What kind of coffee-shop is this? It doesn't sell coffee!" the first angmoh tells his fellow angmoh.


So, if you are an angmoh here in Singapore, here's a guide (see also link below, "Coffee shops Kopi codes"):

Kopi: coffee with condensed milk
Kopi-o: coffee without milk
Kopi-c: coffee with evaporated milk
Kopi Peng: coffee with ice
Kopi Po: weak coffee, mixed with more water and less coffee
Kopi Gao: strong coffee, made with more coffee and less water
Kopi Di lo: all coffee no water
Kopi Ga dai: coffee with more sugar
Kopi Siu dai: coffee with less sugar
Kopi Kosong: coffee without sugar
Kopi Sua: two cups of coffee


Are there great/funny coffee quotes? You bet! Take this one below with a pinch of levity:

Caffeine is my shepherd; I shall not doze.
It maketh me to wake in green pastures:
It leadeth me beyond the sleeping masses.
It restoreth my buzz:
It leadeth me in the paths of consciousness for its name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of addiction,
I will fear no Equal:
For thou art with me; thy cream and thy sugar they comfort me.
Thou preparest a carafe before me in the presence of The Starbucks:
Thou anointest my day with pep; my mug runneth over.
Surely richness and taste shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I will dwell in the House of Mochas forever.
~Author Unknown
There's a very, very long listing in this link:

Enjoy your cuppa!

Friday, September 28, 2012

The classy, the creative and the crass...

British national anthem a la Mini-uet!

CC sent me this. It's a really classy ad, done as only the Brits can dream up, so click on the link...

ST's Punchlines on that "What S'porean workers want" story (yesterday):

Meanwhile, another creative (funny, actually) mattress ad:

Get rid of it... it's graffiti!
This shophouse (Blu Jaz Cafe) in Haji Lane was in the news. Its creative artwork would have been lauded elsewhere but someone labelled it "graffiti", and that's a no-no in Singapore. The Urban Redevelopment Authority was not happy about it...

But the URA had a change of heart; it's now seen as "graffiti artwork"...

Sole inspiration... a great name for a shoe shop!

Sometimes depicting an idea literally works, as in this ad...

Now for the crass examples... this is a silly job ad (what's "most awarded"?):

And this sports headline (new swim boss' name is Turner) just doesn't work...

Finally, you know Halloween is round the corner when such gross ads appear:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sleeping on the job, amazing mooncake logic, and Mr Moon River passes on...

NOD = Napping On Demand!

You are not alone if you feel like nodding off on the job, a survey says (ST, Sept 27, below). At least among Singaporeans. If only you could get a power nap before you even start work, if only, if only...


One mattress company, perhaps sensing that there's a legion of "instant turn-on" Singaporean nappers out there -- and they all carry DBS credit cards! -- is running a "Take a Nap" campaign...


Over the moon with your weight loss? Here, have some mooncakes!...

And don't forget to come back for more slimming sessions after you have stuffed yourself silly with all those calorie-laden mooncakes.

Meanwhile, there was a time when mooncakes were mooncakes, ie, you had a choice of leng yong or tau sar filling, with or without salted egg yolk (single or double). Prices did not go over the moon either. No longer.

These days, the varieties are mind-boggling and so are the prices, like these "hand crafted" ones below (and they are not the most expensive, mind you):

It's mooncake madness all right...


Thank you for your music, Mr Moon River...

Here's his signature song, on YouTube...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Animal acts... from horsing around gone viral to 'can sheep feel sheepish?'

Gangnam Style

If you have not yet heard of a South Korean rapper named Psy and his dance rap, Gangnam Style, you are in another world. Here's the man doing his thing, which seems to be about horsing around:

His video on YouTube (even though the lyrics are in Korean) has gone viral worldwide:

One site has even helpfully provided an English translation of the lyrics:

Wikipedia has an entry on this phenomenon:

And even the North Koreans have been swept up by the Gangnam Style fever:


Zoom with a view: From mysterious specks on this dam in Italy to...

Amazingly sure-footed, huh? They are Alpine Ibex, which are wild mountain goats found in parts of Europe. The ones here are having a dam good time!


Can a bunch of lost sheep feel sheepish?

Well, a flock of sheep did take a wrong turn on their way down from their summer mountain pastures. They ended up in an Austrian sports shop. From the pic below, I'd say they do look sheepish:

The AFP story is available on the xin.msn site:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hey, that's not quite right (Part 2)!

Is this why Singapore's birth-rate has been going down since the '60s?

There was this exhibition at the National Museum of our tumultuous recent history, including the time (1963-1965) when we were a component part of Malaysia...

Among the displays was this strange legend, "Singapore Goes Gay For Malaysia Day"!...

Going to the dogs

This movie is currently being screened:

I get the fuzzy and warm part; a play on the expression "warm-fuzzy", I guess. But furry? Watching this movie makes one more hirsute or, worse, canine-like? (Sorry, Brady and Killer, if I've hurt your feelings.) And why can't we take along a tissue pack? Is this a one-tissue paper tear-jerker? (Alternative phrasing; drop the "the": ie, "...take along tissue paper".)

So, what's my point? I will concede that people make slip-ups in producing material that goes into the public domain. It happens to me often... that's why I recheck my blog entries some time after I have posted them, and correct errors I had not previously spotted. My point then is that checkers need to give any material due for release a careful "once-over" first. This bus-stop poster, below, has a glaring grammatical error:

Which of these five words is out of place?

 I don't need to provide the answer if you know the parts of speech (in this case, the difference between nouns and adjectives).

Why is this bus stopping along slip roads and not at bus-stops?

The story clears up the mystery, but the headline is slipshod. Also, a hyphen will certainly aid in ensuring clarity, ie, "bus-stops".

New news anchor or 'old' (ie, regular) news anchor who's wearing the hijab for the first time?

So, student has a beer mug. Why hit him?

So, that's where they are... the dirty toilets are all in the feedback portal!

The (bite at the) end... now we know, crocodiles do take toilet breaks!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hey, that's not quite right!

How did this get into print... "sex farms"?

An angry man is a confused man?
This Japanese protester can't seem to decide if he's protesting against China or against his own government!

Apple's iPhone5 wades into the Diaoyu/Senkaku dispute!
Finally, if the two countries in dispute can't hammer out a diplomatic solution, just use Apple Maps to create two sets of islands... one set for China, one set for Japan. King Soloman (the chap who said to two women -- both had gone to him claiming that a newborn was theirs -- that he would issue an order for "the baby to be cut up into two") would have been proud of Apple! See this xin.msn story:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The S'pore Grand Prix: past, present and future.

Wow, this year's Singapore Grand Prix (a night race, and shown "live" on national TV) was full of spills and thrills! It went all the way to the full two hours too.

And a new deal has just been concluded -- no doubt timed for publicity effect -- which will see the SGP run till 2017 under the new contract terms.

Here's's story:

S'pore extends Formula One contract for another 5 years

Bernie Ecclestone: The "Johnny Walker" of F1

The story of this British billionaire, Formula One's supremo, is amazing (you can check the Internet for his bio). Aged 81, he's still going strong. A large part of the success in clinching a new contract for the Singapore GP was due to the efforts of Ecclestone and Singapore's Second Minister for Home Affairs & Trade and Industry S Iswaran.

Here's a quick-on-the-draw quote from Ecclestone when asked about details of the contract terms: "A gentleman should never speak about money and last night!"

Here's The Sunday Time's pic of the two gentlemen (Ecclestone and Iswaran) at their post-whatever press conference:

Here's a brief history of the Singapore Grand Prix, from its beginning in 1961 till its final staging in 1973, and its resumption as a night race in 2008:

Growing up as a teen in the 1960s, I keenly followed the annual GP races at the Old Thomson Road circuit. I went to at least a few of the races and remember names like Chris Conn (Norton Manx works motorcycle) and Fumio Ito (Yamaha works motorcycle) and their famous duel in the 1963 GP; and Albert Poon (motorcars).

The events were not like today's and had a carnival air about them: we chose our vantage spots behind the fences; and drink- and snack-sellers were a-plenty as we endured the (I think) afternoon heat. Vintage and classic cars were trotted out and one popular event was the race among unmodified saloon and sports cars, with marques like Jaguar Es, Ford Cortinas, BMC Minis, and Alfa Romeos competing.

But the thriller events were the premier motorcycle and motorcar events. While the former saw works teams competing, the latter was a strange assemblage of single-seat racers like the Brabham -Fords, twin-seaters like the Jaguar Ds and the saloons and sports cars which had taken part in the earlier event mentioned above.

Best of all, I found on the Net a (albeit grainy) YouTube clip of the 1966 SGP. Enjoy!...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The case of the 'erectile dysfunction' and other examples of 'language malfunction'...

I'm sure many people will know this old joke:

Teacher (to class): You must never start a sentence with the conjunction "because".
Johnny: Why?
Teacher: Because...

(This is actually a silly rule; the important thing is to make sure such a beginning is part of a clause that is subordinate to an independent clause.)


Anyway, my good friend Nick offered me this gem below after reading my dangling-participle tirade (Sept 20 blog entry). He claims it's all about the grammar thing but I suspect he also knows I'll hit 65 in a few years' time.

Why you shouldn't end your sentences with a prepositio​n

On his 65th birthday, a man got a gift certificate from his wife. The certificate paid for a visit to a native medicine man living on a nearby reservation who was rumoured to have a wonderful cure for erectile dysfunction.

After being persuaded, he drove to the reservation, handed his ticket to the medicine man, and wondered what he was in for.

The old man handed a potion to him, and with a grip on his shoulder, warned, "This is a powerful medicine. You take only a teaspoonful, and then say ’1-2-3.’ When you do, you will become more manly than you have ever been in your life, and you can perform as long as you want.”

The man was encouraged. As he walked away, he realised he needed to ask a very important follow-up question. So, he turned and asked, “How do I stop the medicine from working?”

“Your partner must say '1-2-3-4,’ ” the old man responded, “but note also that when she does, the medicine will not work again until the next full moon.”

The man was very eager to see if the medicine worked. He went home, showered, shaved, took a spoonful of the medicine, and then invited his wife to join him in the bedroom.

When she came in, he took off his clothes and said, “1-2-3!” Immediately, he was the manliest of men.

His wife was very excited and began throwing off her clothes... and then she had to ask him, “What was the 1-2-3 for?”

Moral of this story: We should never end our sentences with a preposition, because we could end up with a dangling participle!


Speaking of dangling participles, I found one more in my collection (opening sentence below):

But the writer above redeemed himself later with the correct phrasing: "As an American, I am proud of my country and fly my flag..."


Here are some other "language malfunction" examples that could have been better crafted, that is, with grammatical correctness and/or clarity in mind:

I've blogged on this example above before. You "double up" in laughter; or in pain, say, from a stomach ache.

Different to the rest of us? Different from! Word Anti-Doping Agency? Truly, a Freudian slip.

 Staying on sports news, what is a straight jacket? The correct term is "straitjacket". (Isn't it ironic that the header above says "Watch the words"!

I suspect many people will not be able to spot the error above. A strategically-placed comma is needed to make sense of the sentence "... by 2030, Indonesia will surpass Germany and Britain to be the world's seventh-largest economy after China, the United States...". ie:

"... by 2030, Indonesia will surpass Germany and Britain to be the world's seventh-largest economy, after China, the United States...".

Otherwise, the sentence should be recast -- correctly if apparently oddly -- as:

"... by 2030, Indonesia will surpass Germany and Britain to be the world's largest economy after China, the United States...".


Remember the Oxford comma? It's really useful. In the text below, PM Lee is quoted as listing out four things that Singapore needs to do. But without the missing Oxford comma (as is the case here), I found it hard to figure out all the four items he listed:


I think many people will, by now, be wondering why English is such a minefield. But, really, one can have fun with wordplay. So, I'll end here with this mischievous headline below:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Awesome pics of an active volcano's lava lake!

In June 2010, a team of scientists and intrepid explorers stepped onto the shore of the lava lake boiling in the depths of Nyiragongo Crater, in the heart of the Great Lakes region of Africa.

Click on this link to see the amazing photos they took:

Here's one of the pics!