Categories
Books

1984 by George Orwell – A Fictional Dystopian Novel

I have seen 1984 by George Orwell be described as an example of English literature and classic many times but the title does not sound interesting at all, so I kept putting it off. One fine day, I told myself “you bought the book, you might as well read it”. I started reading it and I couldn’t put it down until I have finished the book.

1984 is a dystopia (a community or society that is frightening or undesirable, an antonym to utopia) novel set in 1984 when most of the world population falls into one of the three superstates – Eurasia, Oceania and Eastasia – totalitarian states with the mottos: 

War is Peace

Freedom is Slavery

Ignorance is Strength 

The ideology of the totalitarian states as described by the book “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism by Emmanuel Goldstein” is every bit the opposite of what I have been taught at school and in society, but many of the traits described reminds me of what I have read about communist countries, especially in Russia (which was known as Soviet Union back then), but this book takes it many steps further. Perhaps this was what communism was really about, except that no country has yet been able to manifest it fully before it was defeated, or perhaps George Orwell wrote this novel on the basis of communism. 

If you are looking for a novel that contradicts every belief you have ever believed in and make you grateful for the freedom to think, to speak, to act according to your own wishes, this is the book for you.

Get 1984 by George Orwell.

Categories
Review

Warehouse Club – Save More By Buying in Bulk

After my colleague got us each a packet of barkTHINS Snacking Chocolate on her recent trip to the US, I got so addicted to it. I went looking for it all around Singapore and someone wrote online that it is available at this Warehouse Club in Joo Koon. I went to this Warehouse Club and although I didn’t find barkTHINS Snacking Chocolate (I did find an alternative snacking chocolate there, read my last post to find out), I found Warehouse Club to be such a great place that I wanted to share with everyone. 

Store Front

Warehouse Club is a members-only wholesale centre operated by FairPrice. The two-storey store at FairPrice Hub in Joo Koon offers more than 4000 products including groceries, fresh and frozen food, electronics, household goods and beauty products. Members can buy items in bulk at discounts up to 20 percent. 

Wine & Spirits

Wines

You can get red and white wines at the Wine & Spirits corner where a bottle of wine averages $14.95 – $34 per bottle. 

Snacks 2

Snacks 1

Potato Chips

Snacks and chips can be bought by the cartons to maximize your savings. Popchips Gluten Free Variety Pack costs $31.95 per carton, Austin Zoo Animal Cracker is $21.95 per carton and extra-large packets of Lays potato chips at $17.50 for 2 packets. 

Cereals

Alpen Light Jaffa Cake is a great grab-and-go option for those who don’t have the time to have to have a proper breakfast in the morning, retailing at $13 per pack (5 bars). If you are more of a cereal person, you can get Cheerios for $14.95-$15.95 per box and Kellogg’s Rice Krispies at $9.95 per box. 

Starbucks Coffee

You can even bottled Starbucks coffee either individually or in sets of 15 bottles. 

Jams & Spreads

There is an assortment of jams and peanut butter spreads, priced between $5.80 – $11.95 per bottle.  

Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise lovers will love these huge-ass 1.9 litter jars of Kirkland Signature Mayonnaise going at just $9.95 each. 

Juices

You can get fruit juice and fruit concentrates at $3.60 – $29.95 per bottle or per pack. 

Nescafe Dolce Gusto

You can even get Nescafe Dolce Gusto (Esspresso Intenso/Cappuccino/Mocha/Lungo) at just $21.50 each. 

Cooking Oil and Rice

This is where you can get cooking oils and rice. 

Fruits & Vegetables

The fresh fruits and vegetables section is pretty limited but they are slightly cheaper than those found in NTUC FairPrice and Cold Storage.

Ice-Cream

You can stock up on your favorite ice-creams from Haagen Dazs Mini to Potong Durian Ice-Cream. 

Cakes

Right next to the chillers that holds the ice-cream are chillers   filled with cakes – fruit cakes, cheesecakes, strawberry gateau, chocolate mousse. 

Adult Milk Formula

Supplement Drinks

Adult milk formulas such as Enercal Plus, Regilail and Anlene are available in cartons. Supplementary drinks such as Dr Oatcare, Spirulina and Ensure can also be found here.

Shampoo & Body Wash

Body Wash

 

You can find all the common shampoo and body wash brands here – Head & Shoulders, Clear, Panteen, Sunsilk, Olive Essence, Dettol, Doce, Lifebuoy, Lux, Neutrogena Rainbath and Goat’s Milk Foaming Bath, all at a discounted price. 

Toiletries 2

Here are more toiletries, from face mask sheets to facial cleaner to sanitary pads.

Facial Masks

Fashionistas and beauty queens will love the face mask sheets that come in packs of 10, which only costs $7.90 – $16.90 per pack.

Laundry Detergent

You can also get liquid laundry detergents such as Breeze, Top and Walch. 

Kitchen Towel & Tissue

This row stocks toilet paper, boxed tissues and kitchen towel.

Washing Detergent

There are many brands of dishwashing detergent, the cheapest is only $2.90 per bottle. 

Baby Diapers 1

Baby Diapers 2

Baby diaper brands such as Merries and Dryers can be bought at just $20.95 and $37.35 for 3 packs respectively.

Adult Diapers

There is a section for adult diapers as well, look out for brands such as Tena and Dr. P. 

Cutlery & Tableware

There is even a small section of cutleries where you can get spoon, fork, bowls, plates cups and many more.

Promotions

Warehouse Club regularly holds special discounts, sometimes as much as 30 percent off.

Poster

One Year Membership Promotion

Warehouse Club is currently running a One Year Membership Promotion where NTUC and FairPrice members and shareholders pay only $10 for 1 year while the public pay $20 for 1 year. This membership allows you to enjoy these benefits:

1. Great deals with multi-packs and value-packs

2. Earn LinkPoints with minimum purchase of $20 for Plus! Members

3. Unique brands such as Kirkland Signature 

Free delivery with minimum spending of $500 

Opening Hours

Warehouse Club

Address: 1 Joo Koon Circle, FairPrice Hub Level 3, Singapore 629117

Opening Hours: Daily 9am – 10pm

Website: www.warehouseclub.com.sg 

Categories
Product

barkTHINS – Where to Buy barkTHINS in Singapore

BarkTHINS

My boss bought us each a packet of this barkTHINS Snacking Chocolate on her latest trip to the US and I have fallen in love with this ever since. 

I have never been really a fan of chocolate because I find them too sweet, but this barkTHINS Snacking Chocolate is made from dark chocolate so there is no problem with sweetness. The pretzel and sea salt makes it salty, this is my first time having savoury chocolate.

In fact, I liked it so much that I wanted to buy it in Singapore. That’s when I realised that barkTHINS Snacking Chocolate is only available in the US.

You can buy it online at Qoo10, Shopee, Carousell and Airfov, but since they are all shipping directly from the US, be prepared to wait for a few weeks to months before you can get your snacking chocolates. 

Someone posted on Facebook that you can get barkTHINS Snacking Chocolate at Little Farms in River Valley and Warehouse Club in Joo Koon so I personally went to these two places. Both of them do not have the actual BarkTHINS, they have something similar. 

Choc Pita Thins

Little Farms have Choc Pita Thins [$11.98] in Dark Choc Wafers and Milk Choc Wafers flavours.

Thindulgent

Warehouse Club has Sheila G’s Thindulgent [$3.95] in Caramel Pretzel and Almond Sea Salt flavours.

Categories
Books

The Four – The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google by Scott Galloway

I have always wondered why the most successful four companies of the twenty-first century – Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google – have that the other billions or millions of start-ups don’t. What gives them the competitive edge over other businesses? 

The Four by Scott Galloway has taught me that the reason these (he calls them) The Four Horsemen are able to penetrate and dominate the retail, smartphone, social and search sectors respectively, is because these four companies acts on our human instincts to acquire more stuff, acquire knowledge, be more god-like and have higher sex appeal and to connect with others. 

The Four has these common traits, which distinguishes them from the rest of the other companies: 

  1. Product differentiation 
  2. Visionary capital 
  3. Global reach
  4. Likability 
  5. Vertical integration
  6. Artificial intelligence 
  7. Accelerant 
  8. Geography 

Scott Galloway goes through The Four one by one, dissecting each company so that businesses from around the world can perhaps learn a thing or two and better their businesses.

Get The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google by Scott Galloway.  

Categories
Books

Rhett Butler’s People by Donald McCaig – Sequel to Gone with the Wind


I don’t like sad endings and after reading Gone with The Wind where the story ended with Rhett Butler leaving Scarlett, it left an unsatisfactory feeling in me. I decided to see if there is a sequel to Gone with The Wind and I found Rhett Butler’s People. This is the authorised sequel to Gone with The Wind. 

As the name implies, Rhett Butlet’s people tells the story from Rhett Butler’s perspective. I have always been rather curious about how Rhett Butler thinks so this book is perfect for me.

After reading the book, I adore Rhett Butler even more. He is a shrewd businessman who sees opportunity that others can’t, he can charm the pants off anyone he sets his mind to. Yet he is such a tender-hearted man who disguises his pain with cold harsh words. 

Rhett Butler’s People has given me the happy ending that I want where Scarlett finally realises that she loved Rhett and they finally start loving one another. 

Rhett Butler will, and always be, my prince charming. 

Get Rhett Butler’s People by Donald McCaig

Categories
Books

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Gone with The Wind has been voted to be one of the best movies ever produced for as long as I remember, but the ignorant me didn’t know that the movie was based on Magaret Mitchell’s book of the same name. It was only when I learned that Bill Gates reads 200 books a year that I decided to pick up my reading, and I found out that “Gone with The Wind” is one of the classics. 

Margaret Mitchell is a talented writer whose detailed description of the lush countryside drew such a pretty picture that I longed to go there and the description of the bleakness of the Civil War and Reconstruction so bleak that I have never felt more thankful for all the comforts of my life. 

I have come to both love and hate Scarlette O’Hara for as much as I admire her strength and determination, I hate her selfishness and her indifference to her children, for this lack of motherly love will cause the children to have insecurity throughout their lives. The thing that infuriates the most about her is her “love” for Ashley Wilkes which is really just her imagination, even though he is already married to her best friend, Melanie Hamilton Wilkes. Oh, there are times when I wish I could strangle and wring her neck. 

I love Rhett Butler. I love his devotion to Scarlette O’Hara even though she hurts him again and again. I love that he is a doting father to Bonnie, Ella and Wade. There are many times when my heart arched for him and how I wish I were Scarlette O’Hara so that I may hold him and sooth his pain away. 

I am so happy that Scarlette O’Hara finally came to her senses at the end of the book when she realized that her love for Ashley is only an illusion and that she has come to love Rhett Butler as much as he has loved her. Although Rhett Butler says that his love for her has already died out, but now that Scarlette O’Hara has set her eyes on him, I am sure they will have a happy ending. If only there were a sequel to Gone with the Wind so that I may see them happily together. 

I am going to watch the movie and see how it compares with the original book. 

Get Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.

 

Categories
Review

Miniso Anti-Slouching Foot Cover – My Favourite Foot Cover

Miniso Anti-Slouching Foot Cover

As you probably already know, I am a total Daiso fan. Everything for just $2 and with the huge catelogue of cute yet useful items, what’s not to like about Daiso? Thanks to the huge number of Daiso fans like me in Singapore, Daiso outlets have been popping up like mushrooms all around this tiny island, which gives rise to more Daiso followers, 

When I was faced with the problem of finding foot covers, the first place I went to was naturally Daiso. However, after trying out all the different foot covers at Daiso, I had to admit that Daiso foot covers have totally failed me. 

Daiso foot covers are designed with three strips of silicon gel at the back to prevent the socks from slipping, but they don’t seem to be very effective. The silicon gels lose their effectiveness after the first wear and they become basically useless after the first wash. I was pulling up the heel-end of the foot covers almost every hour and that really irritated me. 

I stumbled upon Miniso’s Anti-Slouch Foot Cover by accident one day when I was shopping in Westgate shopping mall in Jurong East. Miniso has just entered the Singapore market and the outlet in Westgate was one of their first outlets. I thought Miniso was similar to Daiso and I went to look around. That’s when I saw their Anti-Slouch Foot Cover and decided to get a pair to try. 

I have been in love with their Anti-Slouch Foot Cover ever since. Their foot cover are made using a thinner material than Daiso’s which makes it easier for my feet to breath. The best part are the double layer of thin silicon film that runs around the entire inner side of the foot covers. They are still as good even after multiple washings. 

However, there is one little flaw. As the material is thinner, the front end of the foot covers tend to get “holely” pretty quickly when it rubs against your shoes too much. But at $3.90 a pair, I think it is still very worth it. 

I am going to try the foot covers from H&M and Uniqlo (if they carry foot covers) and I will let you know my findings. 

Please comment if you know of any good foot covers that you think is worth a try! 

Categories
Skincare

8-Step Skincare Regime That Costs Only $16

 

Current Skincare Regime

I am so envious of Korean people’s dewy poreless skin. I am not talking about Korean celebrities who look picture-perfect with makeup or fashion blogger who get free stuff from sponsors. I am talking about average Koreans I see on the streets and during work. Granted, most of these Koreans are in their mid-20s, they are at the sweet spot of finished puberty and not at the age where hormones start wrecking havoc in their bodies, but I think their 10-step skincare routine probably plays a part too.

In an effort to achieve the perfect skin, I tried samples of the full SK-II range – SK-II Facial Treatment Gentle Cleanser + SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion + SK-II Facial Treatment Essence (read my review here) but I was not convinced that it is going to give me the glowing skin of the SK-II ambassadors and I am not willing to spend hundreds of dollars a month  to find out.  

I decided to see if I can replicate Korean’s 10-step skincare routine without having to spend a few hundred a month. I went to my favorite store – DAISO! For those of you who do not know me yet, I am a fan of Daiso, a Japanese lifestyle store with around 2570 outlets in Japan and 550 outlets in 24 countries worldwide. I can find almost everything I need in Daiso and the best part is everything is S$2.

Let me show you how you can do your own 8-step skincare regime for just $16 in Daiso. 

Cleansing Sheets

Step 1 – Oil Cleanser

The first step actually calls for oil cleanser but I can’t find any in Daiso, so I decided to use these facial sheets instead. There are no fragrance added, so people with sensitive skin should be able to use them too. You may need to wipe a little harder and longer to get all your makeup off. 

Facial Wash

Step 2 – Water-Based Cleanser

The second step actually calls for water-based cleanser but the only cleanser I could find are cleansing foam wash. These should be fine for normal to oily skin and the charcoal in the Charcoal Face Wash will help to clean out impurities in your skin. 

Peeling Gel

Step 3 – Exfoliation

I am absolutely in love with these Almond/Strawberry/Peach Peeling Gel. My favorite is the Peach Peel Gel, it really smells like I am putting sweet juicy peach on my skin. Apply an even layer on your whole face and massage it in circular motion until white balls appear (these are your dead skin cells).

Toner

Step 4 – Toner

Toner helps to reset the PH of your skin and hydrate it at the same time. I especially like this Aloe Toner which contains the hydrating and healing effects of aloe vera. 

Lotion

Whitening Lotion

Step 5 – Lotion

Lotions help to nourish and renew your skin. You can find Aloe Lotion, Medicated Lotion and Sake Lotion in Daiso.

Serum

Step 6 – Serum

I was pleasantly surprised to find moisturizing serum in Daiso. The pink bottle is Collagen, dark blue bottle is Horse Placenta Protein, brown bottle is Royal Jelly, green bottle is Pearl Barley and light blue bottles are Hyaluronic Acid. 

Sheet Masks

Step 7 – Sheet Mask

You can find many types of sheet mask in Daiso, such as Camellia Oil Face Mask and Coenzyme Q10 Face Mask. There are around 2-3 pieces in each pack. 

Moisturizer

Step 8 – Moisturiser

This Deep H Moisture Gel is pretty good for something that costs only $2 a bottle. 

The last 2 steps are Eye Cream and Sunblock, which I can’t find in Daiso. You would think that sunscreen are so common that Daiso should have it. Oh well, you can’t have everything. 

There you have it, my 8-step skincare regime that only costs $16. You probably won’t find any of the top-notch ingredients in Daiso products, but they are good enough for a simple skincare routine. 

Do drop me a comment to let me know what you think of these Daiso’s skincare products.

Categories
Books

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi


“When Breath Becomes Air” is one of the bestsellers on New York Times and it was highly recommended by Bill Gates on his website, Gates Notes, and that roused my curiosity so I decided that this is going to be my next read.

This book was written by Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon who died at the tender age of 36 years old to lung cancer. I was expecting a heavy and dull book because this book is an autobiography as much as a memorial, but I actually felt very calm reading this book.

Paul was interesting in understanding the meaning of life and what makes life meaningful. Paul studied English literature in college because he thought literature “provided a rich account of human meaning” but he decided to switch to become a surgeon after he realized that “It was only in practicing medicine that I could pursue a serious biological philosophy.” 

This book is not about dying because we will all die one day, but rather about how to die and how to live a life of meaning. 

Get When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi.

 

Categories
Books

In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Park Yeonmi


I was on Facebook one day when I watched a video of Park Yeonmi’s speech at One Young World 2014 Summit where she told her story of her life in North Korea and how she and her mother escaped from North Korea to China, and finally settled down in South Korea. 

Park Yeonmi has written a book called “In Order to Live: A North Korean’s Journey to Freedom” detailing her life in North Korea and her escape to China and finally to South Korea. I was intrigued and since I have made it my new year’s resolution to read 100 hundred books this year, I thought this book would make a great addition to my reading list. 

North Korea is one of the last few communist countries where everything is state-controlled. I have watched a documentary on YouTube sometime last year where an American traveler who was granted permission to travel in North Korea secretly filmed his entire trip. Sure, everything about North Korea is about propaganda and they only show you what they want you to see, but that is how communism works. Although the people of North Korea does not have access to the outside world, at least they look decently dressed and well-nourished. 

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I was reading “In Order to Live: A North Korean’s Journey to Freedom”. North Korea is the exact duplicate of China during the Cultural Revolution. I was born in China, and although I was brought to Singapore since young, I have heard stories of the horror of the Cultural Revolution that killed millions of Chinese people. I can’t believe that these kind of things is still happening. North Korea has even taken it a step further by having their own calendar called Juche calendar that is based on Kim II-Sung’s birthday on 1912 and their own time zone known as Pyongyang Time!  

This book is not only about the horrors of living in a communist country, it is also about the human spirit, courage and thirst for freedom. Yeonmi tells us about her escape from North Korea to China by crossing the frozen Yalu river, struggle to survive in China and nearly died while crossing the frigid Gobi desert to South Korea. 

This is a wonderful book that makes me feel thankful for having as much food as I want, being able to live wherever I want, not having to live in fear everyday and many other things that I have taken granted.

Get In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Park Yeonmi.