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Poor service marred an otherwise positive experience with Home Favourites.

This mooncake festival, instead of supporting the usual big companies, I decided to give a small home grown brand Home Favourites a chance. I tried their sample at a roadshow at Takashimaya and ordered a box from them.

They offered me the option to collect the mooncakes at Nex Mall on 1st September 2011.

On 1st September, I went down at 9pm to collect my mooncake but they told me that flavour had not arrived. First, they made me go on a wasted trip.

They asked me to leave my number behind and they would call me as soon as the flavour arrived.

They never called. 1 week plus later, still no call. Second, they forgot to call me to collect the mooncake.

Having been kept busy the entire period, this collection slipped my mind. Only today, the second last day of the festival did it occur to me. At 945pm, I called the number on the invoice to collect my mooncakes and rushed down to Junction 8 to collect it.

While I was there, the lady serving me did not even seem a least bit apologetic. I know, she is a worker and not part of any management, but isn’t courtesy the key, or perhaps a small token as apology? None was offered. I know the workers have no connection with the mistakes made by a person at another branch but the lack of empathy is saddening.

This is bad service at its worst – nonchalant workforce without any responsibility. 

On a related side note, my girlfriend who collected her mooncakes from Home Favourites recently was given the wrong order, but she was in a rush and did not manage to check till she reached home. Another case of bad, and perhaps overstretched, service.

Regardless of how good your mooncakes taste, Home Favourites have already left a sour taste in my mouth.

I will never support them ever again. Good job on one customer gained, and lost in the same season.

Edit: Home Favourites offered me a $50 voucher to apologize for their oversight. I accepted their apology but buyers do beware. It is important to be careful especially since during the festive season they are swamped with orders and use mainly part time workers for help.

Wrote this on 28th May 2011 while working for KettlebellHIT, reposted here.

Truth to be told, I have never been athletic as a child. Up till the age of twelve, I have never participated in any sports. No thanks to my mum’s belief that all ECAs should be on Fridays so as not to disrupt the precise scheduling of afternoon naps followed by homework at night. As such, I have always been restricted to geek clubs like Math, Science or Gardening clubs.

From thirteen to sixteen, I picked up basketball, but I was never good enough to be in the official CCA. Looking back, I had not much talent in it given the amount of hard work and time I spent.

It was only when I entered Singapore Polytechnic that I picked up rock climbing, influenced by my older brother. The sport is definitely more intense, requiring upper body strength right down to the finger tips, balance and a whole load of mental willpower to hang on.

After more than 5 years of climbing till date, I have been pretty confident in my upper body strength compared to most civilians.

Like many others in the sport, I had a blind spot. I was neglecting my lower body. Read more…

It’s common to hear from friends who have given up exercising or dieting that because it is so hard to adhere to.

Do you give up after scoring a B in an assignment? Do you give up after failing to pass your driving test? Do you stop doing anything because you did badly the first time?

No. You keep trying to get better.

It is the same for exercising and dieting. It is a result of constant deliberate practice which allows for failures every now and then. Don’t give up after one failed attempt.

Failure is an opportunity for learning, and improving. Read more…

After talking to many people of all backgrounds, I have come to this conclusion. Regardless of all the campaigning, in the end, it comes down to this.

  1. Those who want stability for the next 5 years will vote for Dr Tony Tan.

    This includes white collared professionals, people nearing retirement and affluent people. We also need to take into account hardcore PAP loyalists.

  2. Those who want change will vote for the other 3 candidates.

    This includes people who have been sidelined despite economic growth, people who didn’t get their HDB flats or enter local universities etc. We also can include pro-opposition voters in this group.

Understanding this perspective, Dr Tony Tan will win 30% of the votes, Mr Tan Jee Say, the next popular candidate will win 25% of the vote and the remaining 45% of votes split evenly among Dr Tan Cheng Bock and Mr Tan Kin Lian.

Whether this is the deliberate intention of the Elections Department, the fact is Dr Tony Tan will win unless all the opposition voters unite behind one candidate.

As most of us propose. Mr Tan Jee Say seems to be the popular. Come Sunday morning, I hope to be proven wrong.

Seriously, NOTHING is better than water.

I’m fine with any brand of soda, really. However, being “fine” does not mean I drink it, it simply means I believe in freedom of choice.

However, recently I’ve been irked by 100 Plus marketing campaign which includes the lines “100Plus is better than water“, or “100Plus hydrates better than water“. The advertisements on radio also advocates office workers working in air-conditioned environments to drink 100Plus because their bodies may be dehydrated before they feel thirsty.

The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was attending a youth concert sponsored partially by 100Plus. Part of the multimedia experience in the dance video showed a group of teenagers coming together to enjoy a can of 100Plus, and flyers from 100Plus explaining why it is better than water.

Seriously? Screw you 100Plus and your parent brand F&N. For contributing to our national obesity rate, for increasing the cases of hyperinsulinemia, for everything you are doing, I hope your executives suffer karma. Read more…

Could not find an image that represents CrossFit – settled on the logo

I have not always been an athlete. I grew up as a nerd and from a nerd’s perspective, I am always looking at efficiency – achieving something in the least amount of time.

When I was in Secondary school, I played basketball, a few hours a day. Basketball helped increase my cardio-endurance, stamina, speed, coordination, agility and accuracy. However, it lacked aspects of strength, flexibility and power. At such an early age, I had also started following a diet, which actually brought changes in me. At that time, it was difficult to get hold of a good dietary plan, unlike now, where you can easily get from the internet from places like http://fooyoh.com/.  Tales of good basketball players being unable to pull more than 8 pull-ups are common. Time was needed to constantly practice the skills hence ranking it low on time-efficiency.

When I was at Singapore Polytechnic, I joined the rock climbing club under the soft influence of my older brother. Climbing greatly increased my upper body strength. It the main reason why I can do a muscle-up on the gym rings on the first try. I also loved it because it is an intellectual sport as one route may have many options to complete.

Rock climbing promotes good joint mobility without any unnatural movements compared to some other sports (such as fencing, muay thai, golf or tennis).

Like many other sports, a session could easily take 2 – 3 hours. It is fine as a student but when you become a working professional or a parent, you can hardly afford to spare the time! It was also lacking in terms of training lower body strength. Running is also a weakness when you spend all effort purely on climbing.

Simply put, I was looking for an all encompassing sport which would save time. Sounds impossible? CrossFit met my requirements in all aspects. The workouts are functional and accommodates 3 major sports – olympic weightlifting, gymnastics and athletics. I generally visit Healthy Body Healthy Mind to get my testrx and additional health supplements supply as till today I have checked their review for any supplement I have bought and its always been accurate to the word.

Moreover, the workouts are usually completed within 30mins and you can be done within an hour including warmups and cooldowns! The time may be short, but the strength is real.

That is why I am looking towards getting a Level 1 certification by the end of August 2011 and trying to open a non-profit CrossFit CCA in NTU. For the CCA, everything is still tentative but I hope NTU students who are interested could join the group and add their names in. I have not even contacted CrossFit HQ about the option of opening a non-profit affiliate.

To join a CrossFit affiliate is usually more expensive than those health clubs like California Fitness or Fitness First. Although it is money well spent, to many, it is an inhibitor especially to students. . Hence, it is my wish to open it in school so students at least have the experience of what it feels like to possess all encompassing fitness without sacrificing much time.

Make no mistake, CrossFit training is hard and though it can be scaled down, it will not be watered down. The biggest obstacle will be your own motivation and taking the first step to becoming in your best physical state.

I still enjoy rock-climbing as a sport and do it once a week but most of the other days are spent on CrossFit-like workouts. That’s my reasons for picking CrossFit as my main sport – efficiency and all-encompassing fitness.

Yet, how do you know what I am saying is the truth and not motivated by some self-serving notion that I have? You can’t. Everyone must gain the truth in an active way. If you want to know something, you must look at all the premises yourself, listen to all the premises and then decide for yourself the most likely answer. Drop by, try it and decide for yourself.


Photo Credit: Newsweek

Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to constantly lay down new pathways for neural communication and to rearrange existing ones throughout life.

Neuroplasticity work in 2 ways.

  1. It deletes old connections frequently to enable creation of new ones. This allows connections that are inefficient (traveling a longer neural route) or infrequently used (a skill no longer used, such as colouring as adults) to fade away
  2. Neurons that are high used will be preserved and strengthened (accountants and numbers) and made even denser.

With this “pruning” process, it affects our ability to learn and remember. Learning new skills require large amount of neurons to be active simultaneously, therefore, the more neurons activated, the better we learn.

Where does exercise fit in all these?

Every time your muscle contracts and relaxes, it sends our a protein called IGF-1 that travels to the brain. There, it causes the body to increase production of several chemicals. One of which, the BDNF (brain-derived neutrophic factor) fuels all the activity that lead to higher thought.

Regular exercise builds up the levels of BDNF and the brain’s nerve cells start to create new neural pathways. Every time there is new learning, it is BDNF that makes this easier because your brain now has a bigger capacity for knowledge. On the other hand, brains that are low on BDNF shuts itself to new information.

UCLA neuroscientist Fernando  Gómez-Pinilla left half of the animals alone; in the other half, he blocked the chemical’s effects with a drug. Then he subjected both groups of athletic rats to a test of wits, encouraging them to find an object that was hidden underwater. The first group easily pinpointed its location, but the second, BDNF-deprived group wasn’t nearly as quick or sharp. Nature has conducted a similar experiment on humans. In unlucky people with a faulty variant of the gene that makes BDNF, the brain has trouble both creating new memories and calling up old ones.

The Other Components of Neuroplasticity

This does not discount the need for

  • Nutrition
  • Sleep
  • Stress Management
  • Novel Learning Experience (in the form of new exercises or activities such as attending a musical or gardening session)

Other than doing lots of good for the body and being a stress reliever, exercise also makes you smarter. Yet a voluminous brain is not the requirement for intelligence, hard work in the library putting in your hours will also be necessary. Exercise does not make you an immediate genius, but it certainly makes things easier.

Interested to hear your views on this, comment below.

 

All set for running: GymBoss with Sennheiser-Adidas 680i Earphones and iPod Shuffle

 I do not need to expound the benefits of interval training whether with sprinting, kettlebells or other forms of training.

If there is ONE tool I absolutely must have with me, it will be my GymBoss. Here are the reasons why.

The trouble with planning a good interval workout is that in the midst of end of the work cycle, you are barely able to maintain good form, much less check the time and progress (in terms of distance, repetitions, sets). Read more…

Home Cooked Food. Lean Beef Chuck Tender and Cucumbers with Olive Oil and Spices

This is a common question I get when I share about eating healthily.

The short answer is no, but it is more troublesome but only slightly so. Read more…

I am perpetually irritated by the lack of boot space in my small Mitsubishi i. Hence, it is always messy and hard to find stuff quickly. I resolved to look for something to solve this problem but Ikea (my first thought) did not provide any solutions.

Today, at Carrefour I found a cabinet that fits so nice, it seems like it’s built for the Mitsubishi i. Details on where to find it slightly further down.

 

Now, all my sporting equipment is kept neatly without worries. I almost feel like Alex Honnold.

 

For those interested in where to find it, it is at Carrefour Suntec City, Level 2.

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