My cycling circuit during Circuit Breaker

We are now into the 4th week of Circuit Breaker (CB) partial lockdown. It’s supposed to end on 4 May 2020. But it’s extended to 1 June. We are like prisoners incarcerated in our own homes when nearly everything comes to a standstill. “Stay Home” is the order of the day. Many are getting used to the partial lockdown and adjusted their own routine going about their own business. Life goes on. Those not used to it exhibit abnormal symptoms such as stress, mild depression and other bizarre behavior. Some have gone haywire so to speak.

Never in my life and I presume all of you out there ever had to face such a difficult period with severe restrictions imposed on our daily activities. Anyway, I have learnt to cope with it quite well. Since the CB started, I’ve taken to long hours of cycling to keep myself fit & healthy and to remain sane in these crazy times.

Every morning rain or shine, I leave home at about 5.30 am to start cycling heading to the east. I’ve given up on the nearby Pasir Ris beach park where I used to cycle before. It’s getting over crowded since the start of CB with family members especially young children going there in groups playing and having fun on the main cycling lane without any consideration for other park users treating it as their own private playground. Couldn’t blame them since the beach and playground are closed and they have nowhere to go.

From my place at Elias Rd I’ll cycle all the way to Changi Village via Pasir Ris Dr 3 and cutting through Loyang Industrial Estate to Loyang Ave, Telok Paku Rd, Nicoll Dr and taking a 10 min break at Changi Coast Rd PCN just after SAF Ferry Jetty. That’s about 10 km from home. It takes me about 35 to 40 mins. I listen to music or radio on my JBL speaker attached to my bike. Once I reach here, I take out my phone to listen to audiobook via the speaker. Drink some water and prepare for the next leg of my journey – destination Changi Coast Walk SAFRA Resort. It’s a long way there but very smooth riding with few cyclists at such early hours and completely no casual pedestrians crowding the expansive PCN and dedicated cycling path along Coastal Road.

It takes about 40 mins to reach Changi Coast Walk from SAF Ferry Jetty covering Changi Coast Road, Aviation Park Road, Tanah Merah Coast Road with a distance of about 14 km. In short, it is about 24 km from Elias Rd to Changi Coast Walk with almost 1.5 hours of hard riding including that 10 min break. I usually reach Changi Coast Walk about 5 or 10 mins before 7am. Here, I take another 10 mins break admiring the sea view and fresh air. Other than few cyclists and joggers, the place is very quiet and peaceful.

From Changi Coast Walk, I would cycle back with a stop at Changi Village Hawker Centre. I usually reach there around 8.05 am. 10 mins later, I start cycling again towards Elias Rd. I normally drop by at the Pasir Ris beach park for another loop. By the time I reach home it’s around 9 am. That is my morning routine ride over the past few weeks since the start of CB.

As I cycle my bike, either my Brompton or Onipax S2 on that circuit route, it gets easier and less of a challenge. I remember when I first started on that cycling circuit, it seemed a momentous task. Now, I’m used to it. I know which side of the road pavements to take, when to cross over at the correct traffic lights and what to expect as I make my way to the destination. I really enjoy riding this route and it’s become a daily morning routine which I can’t afford to miss. Every night I’ll be in bed before 10 pm praying that it won’t rain the next morning. If it drizzles – as it happened over the past few days, I’d still go ahead with my cycling.

On that 50 over km cycling circuit which I’ve been riding over the past few weeks, I’ve finished listening to an audiobook and I’m on to the next audiobook. I only listen to audiobook when I’m cycling. If I’m at home, I’ll read instead. The 3 hours of daily routine cycling is not wasted as I also listen to audiobook. I kill 2 birds with a stone so to speak. Not only that, I get to enjoy the nice scenery and fresh morning air. It also keeps me fit and healthy. So many benefits indeed. As such, every morning I look forward to my cycling routine and also to continue the story on my audiobook via the JBL speaker.

The only thing that irks me is that on some stretches of the PCN and Coastal Rd, there are no lights at all – complete blackout whilst on some stretches the lights only go off at 7.15 am when it’s already daybreak before 7am. It’s a waste of electricity with all the street lightings on when it’s quite bright. Also there are fallen trees on some parts of the PCN.

I hate most is the disgusting sight of rubbish strewn alongside of the PCN especially on that stretch between Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Changi Lodge dormitory. All kinds of rubbish such as discarded food styrofoam packages, bottles and tons of empty beer cans all over the sides of the PCN cycling path. It’s a pity that so much money invested on the PCN and dedicated cycling lane yet it pains one to see so much unsightly trash along the way. It seems that no one bothers at all. No one cares to look into all these issues. When I look at other countries’ cycling tracks especially Canada’s Calgary on YouTube it’s so beautiful and envious. I wish our cycling tracks could be like them – clean and free of litter.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep on cycling as long as I could. I has become part of my daily routine as far as this CB period is concerned. I’ve got nothing else to do and no place to go except cycling. Hopefully when the CB is over, I would not be distracted by some other activities and not neglect my cycling routine.

Posted in Langgar | 8 Comments

Five types of Flat or Sole fish

☝️Generally known as Flat or Sole fish (唯一的鱼)

In Singapore, there are 5 main species – Turbot, Halibut, Flounder, Tongue and Dover. The last is the above picture.

During the colonial era in the 50s and 60s, the Dover sole is the most costly. Why? It is known as an English (Ang Moh) fish. The English posted here probably recognized it and was much sought after by them.

Normal fishes including most of the flat fish species has a tail that is Y or scissor in shape. Just like the eel, the Dover sole and Tongue sole do not have this. The dorsal fin and anal fin meet at the end to form part of a short oval tail. When it’s still a fry, the flat fish looks like a normal fish with its belly which is usually white where the sexual organ and anus are located. The darker and colourful top is facing skyward. It then metamorphoses to become flat. The eyes, jaws, stomach, anus and sexual organ metamorphose to one side of the body. Let’s say there is a left and right side. It is a surprise the shift can be either L or R. So, when we place two fishes side by side, you may find that the other has organs that are laterally inverted.

Let’s have this Dover sole for dinner tonight. I am also bringing some other types of fish. Total weight for both is around 1.6kg. It should be good enough for 6 dinners.

Written by Freddie Tan

Posted in Langgar

The king of fish aka Chinese grey pomfret

☝️The king of fish aka Chinese grey pomfret 斗鲳鱼

This is the king of fish – Chinese grey promfret 斗鲳鱼 aka known as Dou Chang. It has been for centuries. It is 5 stars just like the Shangri-La(SGP), The Oriental(Bangkok), Waldorf Astoria(NY Manhattan), The Peninsula(HK) etcetera.

Today they refer to Empurau or Ritz-Carlton as 6 stars ostentation. Has the king lost its luminary?

Nevertheless, two weeks before Chinese New Year, prices of locally caught fresh pomfrets will rise to $100 or more especially if the catch is limited.

You cannot compare this king of fish to those served at wedding dinner.

Why?

All of them served in local restaurants are imported and preserved with formaldehyde. The king of fish will lose its texture, aroma and sweetness. Even house fly will distance away from it.

There is a place that has comparable quality. It is in Pontain Kechil, Johore.
The CNY seasonal price was RM300 or more.

The $100 bench mark started circa 1986. In those days, the normal price ranged from $30 per kg for table size of 1 kg or smaller to $25 for more than 1 kg. Today it is $45 irrespective of sizes. Link

Two weeks before CNY, most fishermen will try their luck on this king of fish. Just like the Pek Tor (Rabbit fish), this fish is in abundance during CNY period. Fishermen catching 50 pieces a night is not uncommon. Sadly, over the last two years, I haven’t got a chance to buy this locally caught fish.

Is it because of over fishing? I beg to differ.

There is very little area left for fishing due to extensive reclamation works and designated prohibited areas. Pomfrets’ natural habitat is anchored along the fairways (where all the ocean going vessels are moored or sailing) from the eastern anchorage in Changi waters to the western anchorage in Tuas waters. The latter and including other areas, these are OB (Out of Bounds).

☝️ The difference between fresh and frozen fish

Ten years ago, a fisherman friend specially reserved one such fish for me. He was very disappointed when I didn’t accept his offer. He casually remarked that I was frugal. I then opened up my car trunk to show him revealing a carton of twenty four cans of Calmex Mexican abalone. It was coded 10 and cost me $160 per can (Total cost of $3840!). They later found out that I would rather spend thousands of dollars buying the lucky CNY Pek Tor (Rabbit fish).

I got to enjoy eating Pomfrets all year round. It is good to have it for CNY but not a must have. It is not wise and I don’t pay 3 times the price just because demand is high on CNY. Rabbit fish is different, it is the only time of the year where male and female are both pregnant with milt and roe. To most Teochew, it is a must have for CNY.

Besides taste, grey pomfret aka Chinese pomfret has the best value for money. It is probably the easiest to slaughter and scale. The head and innards, weigh less than 5% of the entire fish. As for grouper, it is no less than 40%. Hence, at one kg, the pomfret meat is equivalent to having a two kg grouper.

We shall have it cooked Hong Kong style. It is definitely ample for 6 dinners. Let’s enjoy ourselves this evening.

____________________________

Every Tues we golf in our club. After golfing, usually they had dinner at restaurants within district 16 or 15. Since I drink, I seldom joined them cuz it’s either too far and also the food is not exciting. It’s quite boring. Some how, it started some 6 months ago when I invited them to Kopi Soh’s “Everyday Come” coffee shop in Tampines with fresh seafood supplied by yours truly. Link

It was an unforgetable experience. Today some of the wives will free themselves and made their way by taxi to meet their husbands for this seafood dinner organized by yours truly. Wives are charged at $10 which includes dark beer. I always do a little write-up answering their expected questions.

Written by Freddie Tan

Posted in Langgar

WTI Crude Oil traded at minus -$37

Why WTI Crude Oil traded at minus -$37 simply explained.

Imagine the following.

You pay $500 today and commit to receiving an escort at your house in 15 days cuz your wife is traveling. This is called a futures contract.

Unfortunately, lockdown came and your wife will be home for the next 60 days.

You do not want this woman to show up at your house at all and try to pass this futures contract to someone else.

Only you cannot sell this commitment because nobody can receive the escort at home anymore. Everyone is in full storage (their balls) with wife.

To make matters worse, not even the pimp (Chicago Mercantile Exchange) has more room to receive girls because his house is crowded with girls.

So you will pay anyone just to take the girl off your hands.

Do you now understand why oil has a negative price when the contract is delivered?

PS:Forwarded by Ronnie Wong

Posted in Langgar

Eight types of grouper fish

Singapore is so blessed.

We have many natural deep waters sea ports due to the surrounding waters around Singapore are naturally deep. The Johore Straits situated North of Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong are not passable to ships. As such, Johore is most unfortunate and miserable. It’s a huge financial burden to dredge and maintain the water ways deep enough for ship passage.

All ships sailing towards Pasir Gudang must use Singapore sea lanes between Pulau Tekong / Pulau Ubin and Changi/Sembawang. Just imagine how much money can be collected if Singapore were to install the infamous ERP or rather ESLP!

Singapore is also blessed with many varieties of marine fishes. There are easily more than 8 species of grouper family.

The grouper family are namely…

1 ) Giant grouper龙旦 (Lóng dàn), locally referred to as Tun grouper

2 ) Mouse (Lo She ban) or Humpback grouper

3 ) Coral Trout 七星斑 (Qī xīng bān)

4 ) Leopard Coral Grouper, 星斑 (Star grouper) also known locally as Red grouper

5 ) Brown Marble grouper or Tiger grouper虎班

6 ) Dragon Tiger Grouper 龙虎班

7 ) Orange Spots grouper 红点石斑 also referred to locally as Green Eye grouper

8 ) Blueline grouper蓝线石斑 (Lán xiàn shí bān) The Blueline grouper is relatively unknown, rare and elusive but never expensive. It is easily 50% cheaper than the normal grouper or a fraction of the highly priced Giant grouper. Due to its size and shape, most don’t even realize that it belongs to the grouper family.

How many types of grouper have you eaten?

I shall not say the same with the Long Dan grouper.

I’ll declare unabashedly that I’ve eaten them all; i.e. the 8 grouper species.

BTW, the Coral Trout and Leopard groupers can cost as much as the King of Fish (Pomfret) which we had eaten in early Feb 2020.

An interesting fact about groupers is that they are hermaphrodite. They can change from female to male as they grow older or when there is shortage of male groupers.

I bought seven groupers at Changi Village from my fisherman friend, Encik Karim. Five of which are the Orange Spots.

This evening, we shall have three of the five Orange Spots grouper (Top photo). It is by far the most common species found in Singapore waters. Common doesn’t mean it’s not a quality fish. It’s as good and fresh as it should be.

I always love table size or smaller groupers. Total weight of the 3 groupers is about 1.8 kg.

I have not seen the Lo Shee Ban grouper for a long while.

Other than Low Shee Ban grouper, we will have the opportunity to try the other 6 species. I am not exaggerating if I say it also includes the highly priced Long Dan grouper. As with the name Giant grouper, I probably got to savour only a fillet. But that’s not very complete to satisfy my palate.

Nay, I promise to bring a whole fish. It has to be an infant most probably.

We don’t need gluttons. Nevertheless, even though it is an infant we still need a crowd of gourmands with jaded palates to feast.

Is there anything else to be written about groupers?

This is the Dragon Tiger. It is very much sought after by the Chinese mainlanders. They even rank it higher than the Coral Trout 七星斑 (Qī xīng bān). Local fishermen will offer the Coral Trout for not less than $35 per kg. However, locals don’t rank the Dragon Tiger as high. That is most fortunate for us.

I butchered that fish all by myself. A true aficionado will get full satisfaction from the way I managed to extract the maximum from this fish.

This evening PL must pamper and indulge himself with beer and this delicious fresh catch. PL is my regular Tuesday golf buddy. He was unavailable for golf that day due to family commitment. Nevertheless, he came for dinner and always accompanied by his learned wife, a degree holder in English literature. PL a relatively young man at 48 years seems to be quite frugal even though he’s wealthy. So, I teased him. We trust, he wouldn’t miss this opportunity.

The second dinner, an 80 year old retired HDB executive engineer who lives comfortably in a landed house in Dunearn Rd.

Lastly, one 69 year old finance professional who retired at an early age at 45 years. He lives in a semi-detached house, owns 2 Porche 911 series and an A8L long wheel base Audi.

I’m already looking forward tothe dinner at our usual Tze Char stall at Tampiness St 44. I hope all of us would enjoy the dinner.

Written by Freddie Tan

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grouper

Posted in Langgar