Monday, September 28, 2009

New Brisk Walking Initiative

After a week of race-induced traffic delays (how's that for an oxymoron?) I was glad to read in the newspaper today that the government has just announced a new brisk walking campaign. I must confess that I have often been frustrated by slow moving mobs in malls, MRT stations, and other public places, and have been stumped as to how to make the pace less glacial. Great news, the government is on it.

However, I'm not sure how they are going to do it. It seems that they are encouraging the spread of brisk walking clubs whereby hundreds of people would walk briskly in groups as a form of exercise. The campaign kick-off allegedly attracted 10,000 people. I'm wondering just how briskly a mob of walkers can move--rather slowly, I suspect. Which will only make the problem worse, as I will now have mobs of brisk walkers in my path wherever I go!

This is not what I had in mind at all. I was hoping they would distribute cattle prods (low voltage, of course) so we fast walkers could encourage the slower ones to get a move on. As they say in exercise circles, "No pain, no gain!"

Sunday, September 27, 2009

F1 Bottlenecks

The Singapore Formula One race is on. For the last several days, traffic jams and detours have plagued us regular drivers as roads are closed and reconfigured to accommodate the race drivers. It has been a huge inconvenience and waste of time for me and many others. Last year's race is said to have generated nearly $170 million in revenue. Divide that by the five million souls in Singapore, and it works out to about $35 per head. We have three heads in our family. I'm looking forward to receiving my check for $105, although it won't adequately compensate me for my trouble. Now that I think about it, I'm still waiting for last year's check.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mooncake Madness

We took a short hike along the new nature trail off Dairy Farm Road the other day. As we were starting out, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was heading back. After we passed, Cherisse shouted "Was that really the Prime Minister?" PM Lee heard it, turned around and waved to her. The squeaky wheel always gets the grease.

The ashes from the seventh month hungry ghost celebrations have been swept away, which portends the coming of the mooncake festival. So we went to Takashimaya Shopping Center for our annual mooncake walk. The main atrium is crammed full of booths representing the various mooncake purveyors, who ply the masses with samples. These samples are barely big enough to be run through with a toothpick, but after you stop at several dozen booths you get quite full. By that time I am no longer in the mood to buy any, but tradition dictates that I buy a box for my mother-in-law, plus we need some at home in case any visitors drop by, so we leave with a few boxes.

When I first tried mooncakes 12 years ago there were basically two kinds: red bean and lotus paste. Over the years hundreds of new varieties have come along. The high point in the evolution of these treats occurred several years ago, when Haagen Dazs introduced mooncakes made from ice cream. Very good, but not really mooncakes. This year's batch features many exotic combinations, such as champagne and truffles. My favorite so far this year: The Fullerton Hotel's Chocolate and Bailey's Irish Cream Snowskin mooncake.

The price of mooncakes has risen steadily over the years. For my money, I'd rather buy some rich chocolate cake and top it with Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Not very traditional, but that is what I call dessert.