Sunday 20 July 2014

Polygram forever .. 19th July Concert in Singapore...

All thanks to my friend Tang Yu Xuan (唐玉璇), managed to get a ticket to go watch Polygram Forever 2014 at Singapore Indoor Stadium. 

Is an one night only concert in Singapore... another word, if you miss it... you missed it.

Reach around 8 pm just before the concert starts...

And managed to catch Yu Xuan inside the hall. Those who grew up listening to XinYao (新谣) will have noticed Yu Xuan's beautiful and smooth vocals in many of the Xin Yao era songs such as 《细水长流》. Currently Yu Xuan runs her own vocal school ETC Music, with a group of passionate and professionals vocal instructors cum performing singers. If you want to build your singing on the right note and start your hobby with a firm foundation, you should check out I.C.E., which is ETC Music's unique teaching methodology...

Waiting eagerly for the concert to start like a little kid, going around taking photos with familiar faces. Also a night for catching up with old friends who otherwise would't have a chance to meet them with all our busy schedules.
The Hall wasn't fully filled. But the spirit was high. Just too much nice singers we longing to watch on stage...

For people who grew up in the 80s (like me), can't deny how much Polygram's music affected our life and inspires our teenage-hood with those touching lyrics and familiar canto pop songs of that era. I still remember having a few Polygram compilation CDs purchased at some fast food chain (Was it McDonald or was it Burger King?) with a weekly release of a different compilation you can purchase with any meals. And in these compilation, you can "sample" nice songs from all different Polygram's Queens and Kings of that time.

The first to come on stage for the night was Shirley Kwan (關淑怡)

She still looks very amazing after all these years and she maintained her figure very well (much better than me maintaining mine...ermm....). She did matured a little bit than before but her charisma never reduces. She still giving out that diva aura when she sings on the stage. And if you think that looks is all she maintained, wait till she open her voice and sing.

 She opened the night with big bang and did proud to the whole Polygram's team that follows. She indeed secured her position as one of the influencial vocal of Polygram during her era.
Something new to me being revealed by her tonight... Shirley mentioned that this is her first time performing in Singapore!!! Makes me wonder, will i regret if i didn't come tonight... i could have missed this moment watching her singing live in Singapore. And her coming tonight is also fulfilling a long awaited dreams for a lot of her Singapore's fans. Tonight, among the singers, Shirley Kwan still toppled everyone, having the best"feel" in handling her songs.

As Shirely was the first to start off the night, never expected her to stop just after a few songs. And seems like the audience just started warming up, she is leaving the stage, passing the baton to Daniel Chan (陈晓东)...

Sincerely, he still looks charming as ever, in fact age didn't really leave much traces on his appearance. Indeed he again proven himself as the idol singer (偶像歌手) of our era.... And yes, he maintained to be just an idol singer without much improvement in his vocal too. But again, comparing to the idol-style singers of this generation, he is doing very well, at least he can sing live. At least I enjoyed through his whole segment without feeling bored.... (unlike some other singer's concert i went awhile ago, i could not even finished 30 minutes and i have to walk out of the indoor stadium regretted spending my MRT tickets for going!!! oh... don't ask me who, k?)

What happened next can also be mentioned as a major highlight of the whole evening... he walked down the stage, try to interact with his fans after he got a bouquet of flowers from his fans... 

His coming down the stage did created a little bit hoo-haa with all the young and old ladies all rushing to the front (ermmm... and a few uncles too), and caught the security off guard... and look... I managed to take a photo with him....
errr... too far right? hehehe....

I think his act of coming close to his fans is really a good move. Nowadays, the Chinese always uses a term "接地气" to describe someone being down to earth. And he live up to that description.

After Daniel Chan, the handsome lad of the 90s, next comes the demure lady (玉女派) of the 90s... Linda Wong (王馨平)

Gained a little bit of weight which I do understand, but she still looks as demure as she was in the 90s. This is the first time hearing her singing live... she did surprised me with her vocal, never expected she can sing so well since she never being singing for a long while ever since her marriage. But what surprises me more, is that she is such a sweet talker. Can talk so well to keep the audience captivated. Did tease around with words at a few uncles and she keep testing water, asking if we will be supporting her if she comes again.

And also to helping her to relay some messages... she was telling us that she is happily married. Nothing wrong with her marriage too. She is asking us not to speculate why she making a comes back, returning to the music scene. She also says after a long break, she realised she really loves singing.
And it is also a nice feeling to listen to her singing "别问我是谁" live since that is her signature piece. She did some new improvisation to the song towards the end part, making the song more relevant to the current music taste. And she is the only singer tonight that sing until herself in tears, showing us the emotional part of this "old demure lady" (老玉女). Overall can really see she is a sincere lady with a very sweet tongue. Will I buy her new release? Given her sincerity displayed on the stage tonight... maybe I will.

After Linda, here comes.... the highly anticipated Tat Ming Pair (达明一派). OMG... they are so cool...

"Tat Ming Pair is a Hong Kong singing group, which consists of Anthony Wong Yiu Ming, lead singer, and Tats Lau, guitarist and composer. The group was formed in 1985 and enjoyed success until 1990 when the group decided to disband." 

Occasionally we still do see them sing together but never expect to see the two real persons live in Singapore. 

They started their segment with very "high" electro music (电子音乐), together with very beautiful syncronised lightings as well as Anthony's funky stage charisma is really overwhelming. The style and mood are upbeat and really very "黄耀明" style... bringing up the whole mood of the night to a new height. 

Couldn't stop laughing when seeing Tats Lau (刘以达) on stage. If you wondering who is Tats Lau (刘以达)....

You couldn't imagine behind this funny man that appears in so many comedy is really a very talented guitarist and composers who wrote almost all the songs of the early years of Tat Ming Pair. Even thou nowadays the lime light is alway on Anthony Wong (黄耀明) due to his active promoting of Gays rights, Tats Lau still proven to be charismatic in his own way on the stage (with his tummy, his guitar, and his funny mono-tone when he talks). I still laughing when i writing this blog thinking back his funny moments.

Anthony Wong basically owns the whole stage and got the whole stadium into his retro electron music. 
For a 52 year old man, I must salute him for really well maintained and yet having a strong stage presence and super attractive showmanship. He still have that charm after all these years... or maybe the charm comes as he aged?

The finale of the night was the segment by Priscilla Chan (陈慧娴). 

She came out with a brand new image... her 6-inch heels (which she having difficulty balancing and walking) with a very sexy dress and a golden hair. 
Completely different from the Priscilla Chan fans used to know her during the 80s/90s. She didn't really catch me by surprise because I did watched her interview on TVBS entertainment news recently. She is also at the same time planning her world tour after her HK concert (who she invite Sally Yap [叶倩文] as her guest star). After a sudden disappearance after her marriage, she currently signed back under Polygram and announced her comeback during the concert. 

Excited about her coming back while admire her courage to do so after such a long break. Some says she should stop during her peak, but again, if being in the music industry for almost 30 years makes her still wanting to continue her passion, why not? She claim she is going to sing till she is 70 year old, and i hope i be still around to witness to that.

And only tonight i realised... her birthday is same as mine! And she is turning 49 this coming birthday.

Tonight she continuously bringing us a few of her signature songs and of course, my favourite "Silly Girl" (傻女). 

Really nice experience hearing her singing this song live given the fact that I never had a chance to hear her singing this song live... but if one expecting the same "feel" as what you saw on the karaoke mtv, you might be disappointed. As Priscilla matures, her interpretation of the song matures as well. And with her recent new image, it gives the song "Silly Girl" another new meaning.

While Priscilla Chan (陈慧娴) did managed to end the night with a high note, the only regret for most of us who went to the concert would have being the fact that the Polygram's singers didn't do a group singing at the end which we highly anticipating. It would be really nice to see the ex-Polygrams singers hand holding hand to sing some classics like "Friends"(朋友). 

Nevertheless, is really a night of wonderful experience given the fact that its Shirley Kwan's first time doing a show in Singapore, witnessing Daniel Chan getting up close with his fans (and have my photos taken with him from a distance..hehhee....), hearing Linda Wong humorous sharing and emotional singing in tears, watching Tat Mings Pair jumping all over on the stage reminding us that we can still be charming at 52 and last but not least... listening to Pricilla Chan singing live <<傻女>> in Singapore (and realising we both shared the same same birthday). It could also be the only chance... as mentioned at the start of this blog ... This is a concert that if you miss it, you missed it.

What Event?: Polygram Forever, Live Concert in Singapore
When it happened?: 19th July 2014
Where it happened?: Singapore Indoor Stadium
Shirley Kwan (关淑怡)
Daniel Chan(陈晓东)
Linda Wong (黄馨平)
Tat Ming Pair (达明一派;刘以达+黄耀明)
Priscilla Chan (陈慧娴)

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Newly opened "LAO GUAY BU KOPI TIAM" in my little neighbourhood...

Recent years, there are a lot of new developments around my little neighborhood. I am blessed to stay at a place surrounded by lots of good food & famous eateries in Singapore (no... not Geylang, but not too far from Geylang too). It will takes me few months to cover all these nice eateries in my little neighbourhood if I were to post a blog a day on one place each day... what makes it even more interesting is the number of new interesting eateries, cafe, restaurants all sprouting out one after another during these years... just to make my little neighbourhood even more colourful and happening!

By now, you must be very curious where is my little neighbourhood?

I stay around Rangoon Road, and the infamous Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh (who last time refused to serve the Hong Kong Governor that wanted to dine during non-operating hours) is just walking distance from my place. At one end of Rangoon Road, we have Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh (bought over by Jambo recent years)...  and right on the other end of Rangoon is what I blogging today.

Along Rangoon Road and around my little neighbourhood, we have many interesting eateries and cafe too which I will try to blog my discoveries in days ahead on my little neighbourhood and things I feel worth to look out for. You might not even aware, around my little neighbourhood, we a have many award winning housing estates gardens too (National Parks' Community in Bloom 2014 Awards; Gold, Silver, Platinum, Diamand awards winners all come from my little neighbourhood!)

Last Sunday, I happened to chance upon a newly opened cafe at 88 Rangoon Road.
Known as "OLD HEN COFFEE BAR" and was just the 2nd day of its opening the day i visited. Was passing by the cafe before I head down to my little lolly shop....

Being a very kapo man... erm... i mean being a very responsible grassroots leader of my little neighbourhood, I decided to go into this newly opened cafe to take a look and check it out...
The whole place is brightly led by natural sunlight beaming thru the glass panel frontage. (Which also explains why I couldn't get a nice photo from the front view of the cafe with the reflections of the  glass panels). The walls are pretty much unfurnished with high ceilings, and the wooden surfaces of the bar counter and table tops gives the whole place a warm feel in contrast with the otherwise cold and minimalistic ambience. Without much distractions from the no frills deco, the moment you stepped in, very fast the focus falls on... the people...
You can see the barista takes his job very seriously with his coffee...
Weighing every single brew. The precision shown not just on the weighting, but also on the little details these guys put in when operating their coffee machines and also the effort put into the choosing of their beans. 
They have quite a good selection of beans here available to buy back to brew yourself.
And this is what they chosen for me after knowing I want a kopi-O and one kopi....
I was given the Brazilian arabic beans. Although not completely to my liking for the Long Black due to the overwhelming acidity of the Brazilian beans....
 but it goes pretty well for the latte, having the milk does reduce some of its acidity.
The barista did put in some effort to do up the coffee art too.
Not the best coffee art i have seen but I can sense the sincerity in getting this done....

 The nutty fragrance of the beans did gives the whole coffee a nice finishing and the aroma just  makes me longing for a cake to go along with the coffee...
Have chosen an Earl Grey cake. Honestly, not much choices since the boss mentioned most of the food was almost completely wiped off since yesterday's opening. 
(Photos taken from their Facebook page

The cake wasn't that bad but not the best I have tried. The bosses didn't bake these cakes, was sourced from some bakery which maybe explains the mediocrity to the standard of the cake. Just to make you envy me a little bit more... These cakes and coffee are given free of charged! Served on the house since it is the 2nd day of opening. But of course, being in F&B myself, I have done my part in tipping their services.

Given the fact that this is just the second day of the opening, somehow I can feel that the standard of the food and drinks will improves very fast. Why i think so? All because of... the people...
Old Hen Coffee Bar was started by these three brothers. If you think they look alike... that is because...they are real brothers and.... Two of them are twins. Together with their youngest brother, they started Old Hen Coffee Bar. The youngest boy currently still serving NS while helping out over the weekends. The twins in their mid-twentis, studied Tourism in Brisbane and back to Singapore after a few jobs before starting Old Hen Coffee Bar (Yes, studied in Queensland... the place where i spend the most beautiful months of my life learning the art of making candy too)! 
At such a young age, I am not sure if they will be able preserves on, stay in this trade and running their cafe for long, but for sure, youngsters at their age when determined to do something, they will achieve great results in short time span... Which is why I quite safely feel that overall standard of their cafe will improves very fast.

From the chat with these three brothers, you can hear how much aspirations and dreams these young ones have in running their cafe. You can see the passion in their eyes when they tell you how they planned to bring good food and good coffee to their customisers in day ahead!

Being grinding my own beans, brewing my own coffee ever since I got myself a coffee machine. Wondering when will the next time I be visiting them just because of the coffee... but nevertheless, with them opened in my neighbourhood, i am sure there are times where i need to find a place to sit and get a quick fix for my kopi-o with some guay guay & cakes, this will sure be one of the place I visit again. And of course,  hope to see how far this "Old Hen" will grows in days ahead, from the first day I saw it hatched. To see young ones with dreams and aspiration while witnessing their passion in growing their cafe is more precious and important than that cup of kopi and the cakes they serving.

Address: 88 Rangoon Road, #01-03

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Lollypops can never be more natural than this...

For those that being following my blog SWEET MAN TALKING would have already read my previous post on Ding Ding Candy (叮叮糖)... on how i started making the traditional all natural Ding Ding Candy. And all thanks to people who appreciate the effort put in, it was selling really well since its launched. Due to the fact that fresh natural ingredients are being used, I didn't really dare to put it on the shelf as a regular product at first, worry I can't finish selling them after each batch of the making... but surprisingly, looking at the good public responses to the traditional candy, its being moving off the rack pretty fast, hence we decided to keep it as a regular product. We even managed to confirmed a few road show cum demonstration for corporate in coming months!

Based on the good response of the Ding Ding Candy and some "crazy" suggestions of customers, (and also because of playful hearts of all the candy chef at my little lolly shop), we all decided to make an attempt on the traditional Bing-Tang-Hu-Lu (冰糖葫芦) a few days ago.  And so we launched the "Sugar-Coated Strawberry"...

I used to travel overseas for my work few years ago before I exposed to the art of making candy and set up my little lolly shop back in Singapore in a neighbourhood known as Orchard Road (Yes, the one and only handmade candy shop that have a Orchard Road address, don't go to wrong ones in small lanes). I remember I used to visit this little Bing-Tang-Hu-Lu shop in a small town in China, next to the town where I stayed. I would take a 45 minutes walk, crossing a river via a bridge to enter the other town just to get to this shop to buy Bing-Tang-Hu-Lu from this old uncle. This old uncle sell this yummy delicacy only during certain season of the year...

(Photos taken by me in 2007 in a small town in China)

He offers a wide variety of fruits for his Bing-Tang-Hu-Lu... even banana! I still can remember the delicious taste of all the fruits he used to coat with the sugar....
And among the variety of fruits he offered, I enjoyed strawberry the most...
(photos taken 2007 in China)

Which explains why when i first decided to do the Bing-Tang-Hu-Lu (Sugar-coated fruits), I chosen strawberry.
Why strawberry? Simple... Because I like the taste of it.  I still remember getting down to the strawberry field in China plucking my own strawberries during the strawberry season...

I always managed to pluck all the big and juicy ones...

And after awhile, the boss of the strawberry field gets so worried whenever she sees me... worrying that I might clear all the big and juicy ones, hence she increased my fees slightly!

Honestly, it is not easy to get sweet strawberry all the times, but when it comes to the Bing-Tang-Hu-Lu, the sweetness of the sugar coating easily balanced the sourish citrus flavour of the fruit itself. I can still recall how the juices of the strawberry burst out the crispy layer of sugar coating when I bite into the Bing Tang Hu Lu of that old uncle.... which is precisely how i determined to make my Bing-Tang-Hu-Lu too...

Every piece of it is a nicely balanced for its taste between sweet and sour. Its a well balanced of its texture between the crispy outer coating and the soft inner fruits. The sweetness of the sugar easily compliment the sourish strawberry. The process of doing the coating of sugar makes a difference too since the thinner the coating, the more crispy the sugar coating will be. But if it is too thin, it will not be able to hold the juices inside the strawberry. The "shiok-ness" (fun) of it comes when you break the crust and let the juices burst inside your mouth.

Fresh strawberries are being used in my little lolly shop's (LollyTalk's) Bing-Tang-Hu-Lu (Sugar coated strawberry) hence it contains all the natural goodness of the fruits, including vitamin C as well as the fibre.

Here are some natural goodness of strawberry that I extract from internet...
10 Health Benefits of Strawberries
1. Helps burn stored fat 
The red coloring contains anthocyanins, which stimulate the burning of stored fat. When a group of animals was fed a high-fat diet along with anthocyanins, they gained 24 percent less weight than the animals eating the high-fat diet without added anthocyanins. (The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry)

2. Boost short term memory - The anthocyanins boost short term memory by 100 percent in eight weeks. (The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry)

3. Low in Calories – High in FiberOne cup contains only 54 calories.

4. Ease Inflammation - Strawberries lower blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a signal of inflammation in the body. In a study, women who ate 16 or more strawberries per week were 14 percent less likely to have elevated levels of CRP. (Harvard School of Public Health.)

5. Lower cardiovascular disease Flavonoids — which are responsible for the colour and flavour of strawberries — lower the risk for heart disease. (Care2 Healthy Living Portal)

6. Promote bone health - Strawberries contain potassium, vitamin K and magnesium which are important for bone health.  (Care2 Healthy Living Portal)

7. Prevent oesophageal cancer - Studies show freeze-dried strawberry powder may help prevent human oesophageal cancer.  (Care2 Healthy Living Portal)

8. Anti-ageing properties - Strawberries are filled with biotin, which helps build strong hair and nails. They also contain the antioxidant ellagic acid, which protects the elastic fibers in our skin to prevent sagging.  (Care2 Healthy Living Portal)

9. Good for weight loss - The compound nitrate found promotes blood flow and oxygen in our body, which is great for weight loss.  (Care2 Healthy Living Portal)

10. Promote eye health - Eating three or more servings of fruit like strawberries may lower the risk of macular degeneration, a condition resulting in vision loss. (Archives of Ophthalmology)

And the Bing Tang Hu Lu at my little lolly shop does not contains any additional colourings and no citrus acid being used too. It is truly all natural and fresh!

After stating all the good things of the Bing Tang Hu Lu of my little lolly shop... one down side of making Bing Tang Hu Lu... Due to the fact that fresh fruits are being used, I couldn't make Bing Tang Hu Lu in big quantity unless I can sell it all on the day itself. I cannot make it a readily available product on the shelf too since it got a very short shelf life and storage is also an issue.
With this in mind, I would have to allocated certain days where I can make limited sticks of it with a first come first serve basis selling them fresh. If getting the Bing Tang Hu Lu is important for you when making a trip down call first before you come?

Where to find the Bing Tang Hu Lu (Sugar coated Strawberry)...
LollyTalk Handmade Candy
68 Orchard Road, Plaza Singapura B2-20
Singapore 238839
Instagram: @LollyTalk