Saturday, November 29, 2008

A letter to Mcdonalds Singapore

Update: As of Monday night, Mcdonalds has not gotten back to me. Not an email, not a call. Wanted to send an email to the authorities to look into the matter but I honestly don't know which jurisdiction food safety is under - Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority, National Environmental Agency or Health Sciences Authority? I'd be glad if you could help me get this message to the masses.

i.e. if you have a weak stomach, AVOID MEGA MCSPICY AT ALL COSTS.

Forumers in Hardwarezone have been experiencing the same problem with their Mega Mcspicys.


Hi, I had a Mega Mcspicy for lunch on 28 November 2008 at around 1.30pm, from your Junction 8 branch.

The service was excellent - I have nothing but praises for it. However the food gave me diarrhoea.

There's something in your spice mixture that not only stings the tongue, but also the stomach, then the intestines. I felt horrible the whole day after lunch, with this burning feeling in my tummy gnawing at me. It was as though the chewed and digested Mega Mcspicy burned whatever part of my body it was in contact with.

This cumulated into several bad episodes of very painful diarrhoea at midnight. Being medically trained, I knew that it wasn't harmful yet so I did not see a doctor.

A quick search on Google shows that I'm not the only one.

Google search of 'mcspicy diarrhoea'


Some quotes:
"I’m suffering from diarrhoea now. I should thank the McSpicy I had yesterday in school’s Mcdonalds. I don’t know why, but everytime after I finished the McSpicy, I have this tinkling hot feeling in my stomach. "

"Weak stomach my love!!
Mcspicy also will kena food poisoning =X
Stupid mcspicy chicken! Spoil my saturday night!"

"The first night I had McSpicy burger at 4am. By which I had diarrhoea shortly after."

"stupidly had a mcspicy for lunch (when the last time i had it, i had diarrhoea ), and my stomach felt alll weird. like the insides were burning."


Your company should really take a look at this. Whatever it is that you have in the Mcspicy spice mix is causing quite a few people the same symptoms of burning discomfort and diarrhoea.

Not to mention, the spicy burn really does detract from the enjoyment of the otherwise-tasty chicken pieces in the Mega Mcspicy.

It would be nice if you could look into this seriously - issues regarding food safety and health should not be overlooked - and take appropriate action.

If there are any updates regarding this problem, please keep me informed!

Also, is there a way to order a non-spicy version of a Mega Mcspicy? I have never liked spicy food in the first place, and neither do some people I know.

Thank you.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Say Hello to White Beauty!

I don't have a penchant of giving names to the inanimate objects I own. Hell, I never had names for any of the pets I've ever owned. But sometimes, certain items are just asking to be named, you know?

If it's big and has jet engines, it's hard not to call it a Jumbo Jet.

If it's green and hideous, it's hard not to call it a Green Goblin.

If it's white and beautiful, it's hard not to call it a White Beauty. Say hello to White Beauty. She's my new ride.

I've always wanted a road bike, simply because everyone else who rides in my area uses one. I don't make full use of the offroad capabilities of my old Unnamed Blue GT. The last time I had offroaded was in October 2006.

And watching the cross country mountain biking event in the Olympics on TV only galvanised my decision to stop offroading for good. Even professional racers fall and get themselves hurt badly - just look at the Swiss riders. What hope is there of me enjoying the sport whilst escaping from its scrapes, bruises and broken bones?

Unnamed Blue GT grew old. It needed a new chain, a new headset, possibly a new crankset and bottom bracket too. With the numerous parts that had been going south lately, it stopped being cost effective to keep it alive.

I needed a new steed.

I needed a road bike with componetry good enough for me to not want to swap them out. A road bike that I would be able to race should I decide to.

Something kitted out in Shimano 105, preferably.

That would be the Giant TCR Alliance Team, boasting a frame made of both aluminium and carbon fibre and fitted with 10-speed Shimano 105 components.

The Giant TCR's frame geometry has been race tested by the professional elite level cyclists of Team T-Mobile/Team Highroad/Team Columbia/whatever they decide to call themselves today.

Not to mention, it's made by the biggest bicycle frame manufacturer in the world. They don't call themselves Giant for nothing.

This particular bike uses the same livery as the T-Mobile team bikes for the year 2008. Sweet. It's only too bad that Team T-Mobile was struck with doping scandals bad enough for them to regroup as Team Highroad, followed by Team Columbia. The 2009 Giant TCR Alliance Team however would eschew the beautiful white and pink of 2008 and replace it with a dull black/silver.

I had to get that bike. I'm not getting any younger, and I have to spend my youth doing the things I want to do, and not wait until a mid-life crisis to get a bike I truly like, only to ride it with arthritic knees.

I ordered it, on Thursday, they had it in the shop on Friday, but I could only make it on Saturday. The guys at Chapter 2 Cycle rock. Ben the Bike Shop Guy said that there were people asking about my bike on Friday, and he had to tell them its not for sale as it's the last piece of that size the distributor had.

It's a pleasant surprise when I noticed that the wheelset was the newer RS10 rather than the R550 which had some pretty bad reviews online. And the tyres were a more durable (but probably slower) Michelin Dynamic.

Enough talk. How's the ride?

The riding position is extremely stretched out and aggressive, even for a medium sized frame. After all, it does share the same geometry as the elite level TCR, so you're expected to stretch and bend over like a pro. To ride on the drops, you need crazy flexibility.

Thank goodness I'm still young. Ultimately, after 45km with lots of climbs this morning, my back ain't aching. Good enough.

The carbon fibre fork and half-carbon frame soaks up all the small bumps and road chatter perfectly - even more so than my mountain bike did. The steering behaved really well over larger bumps.

I'm still trying to get used to steering on a road bike. Due to the narrow handlebars, you don;t get much leverage and have to steer almost entirely by leaning into turns. But taking bends at high speed is remarkably stable on a road bike, due to the smooth rounded tyres.

As for climbing ability, I don't know if it's because my old GT already climbs like a billy goat on steroids, or that climbing ability is more about the rider than the bike, but it didn't seem much faster on my road bike.

The TCR Alliance Team uses a compact crankset, which means its 50/34T rather than 53/39T. Not such a good idea for Singapore's terrain, considering we don't get any really steep hills here. As a masher rather than a spinner, I find myself in the large chainring too often.

This mean machine flies on the straights, cutting through the air and winds in a way my old GT could never do. Unfortunately, wrong day to ride - I got overtaken by 2 roadies. And that's in my usual route where I hardly get overtaken, even on my old GT, at a lower speed. It's especially demoralising on my maiden ride as a roadie......

I'm in love with my new bike.

More photos:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I made new friends. Yay.

Makes me think twice about getting the road bike. I won't be able to join them, or any slack pavement/offroad ride when I get the road bike.

But the current bike gotta go soon, the old and rusty components are costing too much to replace. I can't get myself to love my bike any more. Its blue is fading, the gears are cranky and I'm not even a bona fide mountain biker. I ride almost exclusively on the roads these days.

If there are durable tyres I can fit on my future road bike that are good enough for the occasional few yards of gravel between pavements, I'm all for them.


Been thinking about it. If we eventually die, if the very neurones that store our memories are bound to go someday, why do we bother living?

The only answer I have so far is so that we can live for the moment. Screw the greater good/precious someone/world peace, I want satisfaction now.

Because I won't know if I'll be around the next day. You can reduce your chances of dying. You can delay death. But you can't avoid death. Even in this modern world, there is no way to 100% assure that we won't die tonight. I might be killed in my sleep. I might go into cardiac arrest - who knows?

It freaks me out all the time, the idea that our very lives are so transient. Death is an eventuality, and I have no idea what death would feel like.


I might die tomorrow. I might die next week. So I might as well just buy the road bike eh?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Being an alien in my own country

I grew up in Bishan. Bishan, being a relatively new estate, is populated mainly by the younger, higher-educated people.

Perhaps it was for that reason, that people are polite here. We say hi to our neighbours, we press the lift buttons for our neighbours, and occasionally make small talk along the corridor. People are really polite in Bishan. You're more likely to hear the chirp of birds (yes, there are lots of birds in my estate) than the blaring stereo of your neighbor.

People here move to the back of the bus without prompting - it's often quite amusing how we instinctively move to the back of the bus, only to find that the empty seats are at the front (because everyone else moves to the back of the bus too).

People here speak English, occasionally Mandarin, and hardly dialects. Everyone understands what each other is speaking.

People here hardly litter - everything goes into the rubbish bins. Otherwise, they go into the recently-ubiquitous recycling points. The seats in the bus-stop are all clean and devoid of sticky, dried-up cola.

People here hardly smoke.

People on the streets walk fast. But paradoxically they are unhurried and don't brush rudely past you.

Bishan's an anomaly of Singaporean heartland living.

I grew up in Bishan. I studied in Bishan in my secondary school years. I was Bishan and Bishan was me.


So it was an extreme culture shock for me when I got into university and had various hospital attachments. I had to go to various places in Singapore and interact with the people who come from other parts of Singapore. Sure, I've been to these places, but I have not had to interact with and speak to the people there.

Every time I go to Yishun or Pasir Ris or Geylang or Woodlands or Jurong I feel like a tourist, soaking in all the unfamiliar sights and sounds.

I never saw so much un-obscured sky when i looked up. the buildings are way shorter than where I come from.

I never knew that it was so difficult to get to the city centre by public transport from the ends of Singapore. The roads are really narrow and convoluted, the landscape bereft of high-speed arterial roads.

I never knew that they are people who bought a car despite barely being able to afford it simply because public transport can be impractical at the edges of Singapore.

I never knew that most people communicated in Mandarin and dialects, rather than English. It makes me feel ostracised, since I don't speak much Mandarin and cannot understand the dialects. It makes me feel like they're hiding something from me.

I never got weird stares for trying to order food from the hawker stalls in English.

I never knew that littering is a problem in Singapore. Sure, people do litter, but I never imagined that there would be so many people who would gladly desecrate the clean streets at a whim.

I never knew there were so many smokers in Singapore. Smokers who do not consider it rude to smoke in public parks where health-conscious runners exercise.

I never knew that Singaporeans were this brash and abrasive when speaking to each other.

I never had people brushing rudely past me and scratching them with their bag buckles while rushing to the train station. It really hurts.

I never had to look carefully where ever I sit for the seats at bus stops, in hawker centres and in shopping malls. Every other seat has some gross-looking dirt or sticky dried cola on them.

I never saw so many shops blaring Chinese and Hokkien music rather than English language contemporary hits.

I never considered that most dads don't have the same Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones albums I occasionally blast on the living room hi-fi. What they have is Cantonese operas and Hokkien ballads that sound nothing like the music I like.

I never saw bicycles used for short distance (less than 4 bus-stop) errands so often, and so few bicycles used for long haul rides exercise rides.

I never knew loud karaoke in housing estates was so popular.

I never knew literacy in Singapore could be so bad, that so many queue up at the bus interchange ez-link teller to top their cards, simply because they don't understand how the machine works.

I never knew that as many people read the Zaobao and Wanbao as the Straits Times.

I never saw so many types of Chinese condiments and tonics being sold, and so few types of yoghurt and cheese in the supermarket.

I never saw jamu (Malay traditional medicine) stores before.

I never imagined that a sizeable proportion of the population consider their traditional Chinese medical practitioner as a primary care provider.

I never knew that there are places in Singapore where being alone at night can be dangerous.

I never knew that the Singapore I had grown up in isn't really Singapore.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

2008's Beautiful Songs

Use Somebody isn't even officially released as a single, but has already been considered one of Kings of Leon's best songs, having peaked at 29 on the UK charts and 12 on the Aussie charts.

Glasvegas, an up and coming Scottish band, performing Daddy's Gone. It's surreal, how they pack in so much anger and sadness in that lovely tune.

Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa, an ultra-folksy track from indie rockers Vampire Weekend hailing from New York. And here's another one by them, Oxford Comma:


I'll blog more about life when I figure it out.