25 August 2012

Niche Dating

Singapore's Chinese newspaper Lianhe Zaobao 联合早报 had approached me for an interviewed on the Dating Industry in Singapore. The article was published on 24 Aug 2012, ZB Now section, Page 1 and 3.

This comprehensive article mentioned that Dating Agencies are offering niche services to create unique selling proposition, add value to the singles and increase sustainability in the market. Besides interest-based activities, my company Clique Wise is offering age, income, religion and profession specific events.

Clique Wise's Paintball Gokart social event is catered for sporty, outdoorsy and fun singles.

Since I started online information portal Wow-her.com in 2004, I have been talking to singles during courses, events and coaching sessions. I hear their thoughts, feelings and feedback. Everyone is different and after most singles expressed the wish to meet people of similar background, values or lifestyle, I reckoned the need for facilitated group events. These social events gathers people of same interest together so that they could build lasting relationships from there. Hence I started Clique Wise in 2006.

"Dating agencies offer more personalised services, eg: during the dating events, Lydia would facilitate men to get to know other ladies appropriately. In addition, I've known Lydia for years, she has become a good friend; she will offer suggestions, encouragement and identify suitable ladies to me." Ben, a successful business owner who has tried online dating before switching to dating events. He met his current girl friend in Clique Wise's social event.

During the face to face interview, the humble, fair and wise reporter also asked me on the challenges that singles (who wish to settle down) face, I replied, "Singapore's society focus on meritocracy and materialism. Thus, we focus our energy on building our career to earn money, in hope of achieving success. If we have not attained the perceived success, we will not have the confidence and mood to consider dating, marriage or have offspring."

Relationships are a free and evolving thing and not a forced matter.  The one that wows and woo their partner to marriage is the individual. The one who pays the bills and taxes during the courtship and after the marriage are ultimately the individual couples. Thus having a healthy mindset towards commitment and a conducive environment to explore relationship is essential. Especially in today's fast paced world, these have been and are the challenges of courtship, marriage and child bearing in a free and open society. It is good that government recognizes the marriage and kids issues, but ultimately, it is a matter between singles tying the knot, not the government.

Clique Wise's seminar on social networking skills.

Besides running courses on self-improvement, dating and relationship, Clique Wise, also try to provide as conducive an environment that people need to build relationships and hopefully ending up in a marriage, within our limited means. We try to cater to diversity by trying to provide interactions between common interests as much as possible. It is unlikely people of conflicting interests, lifestyle and values on every level can find a compatible relationship.

Mr & Mrs Ong met through Clique Wise's Christian Singles social event.

We try to provide the avenue for people with some areas of commonhood to share, hopefully in depth and constructivity. In fact, our multiple genre approach (Religion, age, professional, income and interest groups) allows for greater interaction between ethnicity due to arranging common areas of interest. Over the years, people of same age group, hobbies and faith had met their spouse through our enriching events and tied the knot.

Clique Wise will continue to organise variety of interactive, original and fun lifestyle events to provide a platform for people to meet like-minded new friends and foster great relationships!

20 August 2012

Travel Light Essentials

For once, I had a clear vivid dream that I can recall. I wish God showed me a hunk, 4 digits or bluechips but it turned out to be this way...

A friend, who was travelling with us to Holland, sent me a text message that she was already on the way to the airport. She added that the weather is going to be cold, do bring something warm. It reminded me there was no thick clothing in my haversack. I went on a frantic search for my slim fit winter jacket. I spent 15minutes looking for it in my over flowing wardrobe but was a futile attempt. I reckoned my domestic helper could have mistaken it to be my brother's, I hunted for it in his room and… after another 20 minutes of searching, it was hidden at the darkest corner of his wardrobe! Whew...

The sign of relief was but a short one. It burst as soon as I realised the need to have the matching pants to go with this jacket. I went on for another panic search for the matching pants... Sweat broke as time tickle away. I struggle between the search for image and a flight to catch. By the time I decide on the pants to bring, it's10 min to boarding time of the flight. Argggh!!! So frustrated that I woke up. What a "fashion" nightmare!

In reality, I usually pack my luggage 3 days in advance to prevent such panicdrama. However, part of the dream on finding matching outfits is true.

Society expects us to dress appropriately for the occasion with matching outfits to reflect good grooming. I love to travel light, I had successfully sardine squeezed my travel essentials into a small haversack for a Hong Kong trip.

The trick to maximise the luggage space is to bring items that can be recycled. I’ll make an effort to bring clothing that could inter-match with one another and serves dual or triple purpose. The lightest wrinkle-free tops coordinated with my pretty sandals which is supposed to double up as slippers in the beach too. And the tees to go with my jeans, skirt, shorts and Capri leggings.

Such is the complexity of compact travel baggage planning. To avoid last minutes night mares like what I had last night, I would need to pack my luggage few days in advance. Plan things slowly as I recall the travel needs. Over the years, I developed this list to make the packing more efficient.

Here is my list of multi-purpose "must-brings" when I travel overseas:

1. Shorts for the gym or the beach.

2. Bikini for swimming which could double up as lingerie.

3. Wind-breaker to keep warm and dry from the rain.

4. Sandals cum beach slipper. Fashionable to lounge in clubs and comfortable for a stroll by the beach.

5. 1 dress that goes well with pretty sandals for formal dining/clubbing setting.

6. Pair of dressy sports shoes for trekking, gym exercing and marathon shopping! Keep our feet well-cushioned, blister free and happy. I chose neutral colours for easy wardrobe matching.

7. Wrinkle free tops and 2 tees.

8. Add a jacket and a matching skirt for work related travel.

9. 1 set of earrings that adds bling to the dress and the jacket.

10. Vaseline – moisturizer and lip balm.

11. Dettol as laundry detergent and disinfectant for cuts or wound.

Now you know the secret to haversack travel. Hope you find this list useful. Do contact me if you have other travel tips to share.
Happy Holidays!

16 August 2012

Chicken Rice

Lunch & Diner Place
Ipoh Lou Yau Bean Sprouts Chicken is super star famous in Malaysia, I am excited that they made their way to Singapore!

Joy to the world, Lou Yao is here!

After the fulfilling meal, the manager gave me tissues promptly. I felt it was thoughtful of him and chatted him up. From here, I discovered the beginning of this 2 months old eatery. Got impressed. What he said really WOWed me!

In order to retain the original taste of the food, they go the extra mile to:
1) engage a head chef who has decades of experience in the Ipoh restaurant,
2) prepare the key dishes from central kitchen for consistency and
3) import ingredients like bean sprouts and Hor Fun from Ipoh. The bean sprouts and Hor Fun are made from well water, which give them an extra burst of flavour!

Meticulous is the key to success!!! Another amazing thing that won my respect for them...
to maintain the service standard, they only employ Singaporeans! Wowee! Now, who dare to say Singaporeans are not desirable employees?!

Ipoh Lou Yau Bean Sprouts Chicken
Address: IMM #01-K09 Singapore 609601 (near Jurong East MRT)

1. Steamed Kampong Chicken - Tender flavourful love! Remember to pair it with the ginger spring onion sauce. Their chilli sauce is not hot, suitable for kids or folks with low threshold for spiciness.
2. Bean sprouts – Short, fat and crunchy without the "raw" taste.
3. Hor Fun soup – Slippery silky smooth!
4. Sour plum drink – Aperitive, elegant and savoury. Thirst quenching goodness!

Ambience: 7 out of 10

Cleanliness: 9 out of 10

GST charges applicable. Paid about S$10 for my share of staple, chicken, bean sprouts and a drink.

8 August 2012


Lunch & Dinner Place

National Day eve, I drove my parents to this place for dinner. It used to operate in Bedok. For the last 2 years, they have relocated 4 times before settling down at Changi Road. It is run by a local husband and wife team. They are famous for their unique self-made Yong Tao Foo. Customers could order a set of Yong Tau Foo with noodles or rice at S$4.

1 month old at Changi Road

SimPang Yong Tau Foo Cuisine
Address: 301 Changi Road Singapore 419779 (near Kembangan MRT)
Opening hours: 10.30am – 8.30am (closed on Tuesday)

Unlike most stalls which order the stuffs from wholesalers,
SimPang made the Yong Tau Foo themselves.

1. Dried Chilli Sauce Yong Tau Foo – Exciting handmade variety of fried Yong Tau Foo served with boiled Kang Kong. Topped with dried chilli dark sauce. Ooooo... Mamameeyah!
2. Assam fish head – Appetizing!
3. Crispy Pork Knuckles– Marinated with depth. Grilled to remove the lard. Ultra crunchy! The sweet tangy sauce makes it more heavenly! S$18 (for large portion) only!

A guy dropped by and ordered 4 packets of these for his home beer party.
He was grinning from ear to ear when he received the Pork Knuckles.

Ambience: 7 out of 10

Cleanliness: 9 out of 10

Ideal for simple family gatherings. Incredibly affordable restaurant without GST or service charge! Like most of the restaurants along Changi road, there are some parking spaces outside the restaurant. Indoor (air-conditioned) and outdoor sitting available. As we sat indoor, the food turned cold fast. Those who prefers their food warm, you might want to sit outdoor.