Bentos, burgers and 'bad' dads: The best Singapore blogs this year

Fresh. Creative. Engaging. These are the characteristics of the blogs that came out on top at the Singapore Blog Awards.

Organised by omy.sg, Singapore's first bilingual (English and Mandarin) web portal, it honours the top blogs in Singapore as well as favourite influencers.

This year's edition of the Singapore Blog Awards, held at F. Club Singapore on Thursday (July 23), saw bloggers vie for 27 coveted awards including Best Cooking Blog and Best Family Blog.

Here are five unique ones that caught our attention.


The Domestic Goddess Wannabe


PHOTO: THE DOMESTIC GODDESS WANNABE

Type: Food

Owner: Diana Gale

Food lover Diana Gale deservedly took home the awards for Best Cooking Blog and Most Popular Cooking Blog. 

With a plethora of recipes, ranging from breakfast food to cakes and dessert, The Domestic Goddess Wannabe is unrivalled in terms of variety.

It features Ms Gale's own spins on bold dishes such as Guinness Beef Stew (yes, with actual stout), common desserts like cheesecake, as well as timeless local favourites such as Otah Bread.

Her goal is to "demystify some of the myths that people have about cooking and baking" and to do so, she makes her recipes as easy to follow as possible.

Visit her here if you'd like to whip up something new in your kitchen.

 


Little Miss Bento


PHOTO: LITTLE MISS BENTO

Type: Topical

Owner: Shirley Wong

This is quite possibly one of the most adorable — or as the Japanese say, "kawaii"— blogs on the Internet right now.

Little Miss Bento, the winner of Best Topical Blog, is your one-stop destination for just about anything Japanese.

As a huge fan of Japanese culture, blogger Shirley Wong writes passionately about her adventures in the Land of The Rising Sun and shares creative Japanese snack recipes with readers.

Ms Wong, who also happens to be an award-winning bento artist, has filled her blog with photos of her stunning creations and posted step-by-step guides to help fellow bento lovers create their own bento sets.

Want to learn how to make a Baymax bento set? Visit her here.

 


McDonald's Around The World


PHOTO: MCDONALD'S AROUND THE WORLD

Type: Food/Travel

Owner: TravellingMcDs

Since its inception, McDonald's has expanded into more than 100 countries around the world, meaning there are likely hundreds of variations to its menu.

The exclusivity of each country's McDonald's menu means that items such as the Super Spicy Red Hot Chicken with Rice and Red Tea Sundae can only be found in Thailand and Taiwan respectively.

So if you ever find yourself in a dilemma over what to eat while on holiday or have the urge to go McDonald's hopping, then TravellingMcDs is the blogger you should turn to.

The McDonald's guru has spent years tasting and reviewing items from McDonald's outlets and is always on the lookout for new burgers, fries or sundaes to try. 

Visit him here.

 


Pohtecktoes - Traveling In The Moment


PHOTO: POHTECKTOES - TRAVELING IN THE MOMENT

Type: Travel

Owner: Hendric Tay

"Life is too short not to live in the now and travel in the moment," says travel blogger Hendric Tay, who took home Best Travel Blog. 

With a GoPro and a craving for adventure, the travel enthusiast left his job to pursue his dream of travelling the world two years ago. 

His experiences in countries such as Brazil, Turkey, Mongolia and Australia are chronicled in Pohtecktoes.

At this point, you may be asking: "How does he fund his trips?" 

Although his priority is seeing the world, Mr Tay still does freelance media work. He also looks for ways to save money without having to compromise on the quality of his trips.

He spent a total of 76 days in four South American countries for just S$6,700. Visit him here to find out how he did it.

 


Rascal Dads


PHOTO: RASCAL DADS

Type: Family

Owners: Victor Lai and Darren How

Follow the escapades of two father and son pairs in a blog that's hilarious but at the same time very relatable.

Bloggers and dads Victor Lai and Darren How aren't ashamed to admit that they "completely suck" at giving their children the best childhood possible, and their unique collection of stories bagged them the award for Best Family Blog. 

They blog in both English and Mandarin. 

In one of Mr How's stories, his son Pangzi deals with a couple of IKEA Smaland bullies, though not quite in the way he had in mind.

It's like reading an Asian version of hit TV show Modern Family. 

Visit them here.

Drug bust: $101,000 of Ice seized in Marine Parade

The Central Narcotics Bureau seized 560g of Ice during an operation on Wednesday.

The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) arrested two men and seized drugs worth more than $101,000 during an operation on Wednesday (July 22).

CNB officers arrested a 25-year-old man in a unit at Marine Terrace, off Marine Parade Road.

The suspected drug trafficker was led to his motorcycle, which was parked nearby.

Officers searched the vehicle and found 560g of Ice (methamphetamine) in two bundles in a hidden compartment under the seat.

CNB officers later arrested the suspect's accomplice, a 28-year-old man, around Kallang Avenue.

Investigations into the drug trafficking activities of both men are ongoing. 

The Misuse of Drugs Act provides for the death penalty if the amount of methamphetamine trafficked exceeds 250g. 

That amount can feed the addiction of about 185 abusers for a week.

Foolish robber asks victim: 'Do you know who I am?'

A foolish criminal in the UK revealed his name and former address to his victim while robbing him.

The man proclaimed, "Do you know who I am. I’m Carl Harrison," to the shop keeper before making off with legal intoxicants worth about £1,000 (S$2,100).

Harrison, 30, was jailed for three years and four months after admitting to two charges of robbery, having a knife and possessing drugs, Birmingham Mail reported on Tuesday (July 22).

No smoking

The Birmingham Crown Court heard that Harrison entered the store shortly after 3pm on Feb 10.

Shop keeper William Lee told Harrison to leave the store because he was smoking.

This angered Harrison, who became aggressive.

Harrison threw his cigarette outside before demanding that Mr Lee hand over some drugs, reported Mirror.

The intimidated shop keeper did as he was told, but Harrison was not satisfied.

He left the store, only to return 10 minutes later with a knife to force Mr Lee to give him more.

Hard to find

Despite disclosing his personal details, he was arrested only four months later after getting embroiled in an incident at a bar, Birmingham Mail reported.

Police said Harrison often moved around, making it difficult for authorities to find him.

Harrison's lawyer told the court that Harrison was clearly not "thinking properly" when he robbed Mr Lee.

"There are some bizarre features, perhaps the highlight was to say who he was and, unless there be any doubt, where he used to live, that show that he can not have been thinking properly when the offences were committed."

Sources: Birmingham Mail, Mirror

Michael Learns To Rock: Our songs rock because they are in simple English

Michael Learns To Rock meeting the media in Singapore at their press conference today (July 23). (L-R) Mikkel Lentz, Jascha Richter, host Jean Danker and Kare Wanscher.

Thankful would be the word to describe Danish pop band Michael Learns To Rock (MLTR).

In the 90s, they became a worldwide phenomenon with their catchy songs like Sleeping Child, 25 Minutes and Out Of The Blue.

Almost three decades later, they are still as popular in Singapore.

Mikkel Lentz, 47, Jascha Richter, 52, and Kare Wanscher, 46, are here once again since their last trip here last year.

Tickets to their concert tomorrow (July 24) at The Star Performing Arts Centre sold out fast, just like their previous one that was held at the Max Pavilion.

Wanscher said that they were very happy to hear that the tickets to their concerts have been snapped up and were thankful that they had such supportive fans.

But what do they think is the secret to their success?

Simplicity.

Lentz said that the lyrics to their songs are in simple English which makes them easier for people to comprehend.

"We don't speak English back home so when we compose the songs, our lyrics are very simple.

"Not only can people understand them, our songs are good for karaoke too.

"This is the reason why we are still here."

From the heart

Richter, on the other hand, felt that the band's success is due to the fact that MLTR's songs "come from the heart and not the brains".

"We draw inspiration from many things.

"Travelling in Asia, we see all these beautiful people.

"But to be honest, my capacity for writing love songs is reaching its limit."

What's in a name? Michael Learns To Rock explains. 

WHO'S 'MICHAEL'?

Lyrics aside, the spotlight was next turned to their rather unique band name.

Lentz admitted that their moniker was confusing on a few levels.

Firstly, they sang pop songs.

Secondly, who's Michael?

He explained that back in the 80s when they first formed their band, they were in a hurry to submit a cassette of their songs for a music competition.

Michael Learns To Rock was a line that was inspired by a sentence that he had read from a book.

And this Michael in question refers to the King Of Pop, Michael Jackson.

He said: "Everyone thought we were a rock band so they got even more confused.

"But since we became successful with this name, it was too late to change it."

On the topic of "confusing" band names, the guys were asked to give examples of their own.

Lentz said that he thought The Beatles was strange especially if they had named themselves after a bug.

Wanscher shared that in Denmark, he once met a band from Myanmar called The Idiots.

"They are good singers but I just didn't understand why.

"Why would they call themselves idiots?"

AIR-CON?

And the jokes kept coming, as the laid back pop stars showed why they continue to thrill fans.

MLTR doesn't get why we have air-conditioning.

Richter appeared bemused when he talked about the cold winters in Denmark and how having the chance to travel to Asia was a wonderful experience for them.

He said: "It's always so nice to get some sunshine.

"I cannot understand air-conditioning and why everyone here just likes to stay in air-conditioned rooms.

"When we come to Asia, all we want is to stay outside in the sun all the time."

Here are the 10 richest people in Singapore

Mr Philip Ng and his brother Robert top the Forbes' Singapore Rich List again.

Guess who has amassed almost S$12 billion?

Property siblings Robert and Philip Ng are the richest here, said the latest Forbes' Singapore Rich List 2015.

Their combined net worth? US$8.7 billion (S$11.87 billion).

The top 50 richest tycoons saw their net worth fall, no thanks to the lacklustre economy and softening Singapore dollar.

Their collective wealth is $92.3 billion*, down from $96.9 billion a year ago.

 But Facebook co-founder and Singapore resident Eduardo Saverin bucked the trend, adding more than $1 billion to his wealth.

 The top 10 richest tycoons in Singapore are:

 

1) Mr Robert and Philip Ng

Mr Robert Ng and his brother Philip retain their spot on top of the Forbes' Singapore Rich List for the sixth year. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
 

Worth: $8.7 Billion

Source Of Wealth: Real Estate

Residence: Singapore

Citizenship: Singapore

Mr Robert and Philip Ng retained their top spot for the sixth year — despite seeing their wealth slump amid the property slowdown in Singapore.

The Ng family controls Far East Organization and Hong Kong's Sino Group.

Revenues from their real estate empire are down by a fourth to $4.1 billion since 2012.

For the past two years, the brothers have been expanding in Australia, snatching trophy assets, like the Westin Sydney Hotel.



2) Kwek Leng Beng & family

 

Mr Kwek was trained as a lawyer. PHOTO: BT

​​

Worth: $7.2 Billion

Age: 74

Source Of Wealth: Real estate

Residence: Singapore

Citizenship: Singapore

Despite a sluggish property market, Mr Kwek Leng Beng's City Developments posted its highest-ever annual revenues of $2.8 billion last year.

Contributions from overseas hotels aided the international property and hotel conglomerate's strong showing.

Mr Kwek was trained as a lawyer.

His father arrived in Singapore as a teenager and founded Hong Leong Group Singapore.

Mr Kwek joined the family business in the 1960s and is the executive chairman of Hong Leong Group.



3) Mr Goh Cheng Liang

Mr Goh made Nippon Paint a household name in Asia. PHOTO: BT

$6.9 Billion

Age: 88

Source Of Wealth: Paints, self made

Residence: Singapore

Citizenship: Singapore

The media-shy paint tycoon is this year's biggest gainer, moving up four spots on the list.

Mr Goh's net worth last year was $3.7 billion.

His value zoomed after he boosted his stake in Japan's Nippon Paint Holdings.

His son Hup Jin is Nippon's executive director and also runs privately held JV Nipsea, a paints and coatings manufacturer.

The outfit has more than 50 factories and a 16,000-strong work force in 15 countries.



4) Khoo family

(L to R): Ms Elizabeth Khoo and Mrs Mavis Khoo-Oei in 2005. PHOTO: ST

Worth: $6.4 Billion

Source Of Wealth: Banking

Residence: Singapore

Citizenship: Singapore

The Khoo clan comprise 14 heirs of late banker Khoo Teck Puat, the founder of Maybank.

They were once the biggest shareholder in Standard Chartered Bank. 

After selling their stake in StanChart for $4 billion to Temasek Holdings close to a decade ago, they have been focusing on philanthropy and the Goodwood Group of Hotels.

The flagship Goodwood Park Hotel, built in 1900, is looked after by daughter Mavis Khoo-Oei.

Mr Khoo died in 2004.



5) Mr Wee Cho Yaw

Mr Wee led UOB as chairman and chief executive for 38 years. PHOTO: ERNST & YOUNG

Worth: $5.5 Billion

Age: 86

Source Of Wealth: Banking

Residence: Singapore

Citizenship: Singapore

Chairman Emeritus of United Overseas Bank, Mr Wee Cho Yaw's ranking slipped as the bank's shares fell 5 per cent in the past year.

He and his family hold an 11 per cent stake in Singapore's third largest bank.

A weak property market and slower growth in China are expected to pose challenges ahead.

Mr Wee led the bank for 38 years as chairman and chief executive before stepping down in 2013.



6) Mr Eduardo Saverin

Mr Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook, at a dinner event organised by the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2013. PHOTO: NUS

Worth: $5.4 Billion

Age: 33

Source Of Wealth: Facebook, Self Made

Residence: Singapore

Citizenship: Brazil

Brazil-born Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin became a Singapore resident after renouncing his US citizenship in 2012.

His wealth grew by more than $1 billion this year (from $4.2 billion last year)  on rising shares of the social media giant. 

The investor in tech startups married Singapore-based Indonesian-Chinese Elaine Andriejanss.

His investments include online news site Tech in Asia, airport car rental service Silvercar, online property search portal 99.co and local e-grocer RedMart.



7) Kwee brothers

 Mr Kwee Liong Tek and his brothers head property and hospitality group, Pontiac Land. PHOTO: BT

Worth: $5.2 Billion

Age: 70

Source Of Wealth: Real estate

Residence: Singapore

Citizenship: Singapore

The four Kwee brothers (Kwee Liong Keng, Kwee Liong Tek, Kwee Liong Seen and Kwee Liong Phing) are the sons of Indonesian textile trader and real estate developer Henry Kwee.

Their father emigrated to Singapore in the 1950s.

The brothers control privately-held property and hospitality group, Pontiac Land — which own luxe hotels like the Ritz-Carlton, the Regent, Conrad Centennial and the Capella in Singapore.

They are avid art collectors.​



8) Mr Richard Chandler

Mr Chandler is based in Singapore. PHOTO: YOUTUBE SCREENGRAB/ ABC NEWS

Worth: $2.6 Billion

Age: 56

Source Of Wealth: Investments

Residence: Singapore

Citizenship: New Zealand

New Zealand citizen Richard Chandler relocated to Singapore in 2006.

He runs Chandler Corp, a personal investment fund that focuses on energy, financial services and healthcare.

He reportedly got into business in 1986 when he and his brother Christopher sold their parents’ retailing business in Hong Kong to set up Sovereign Global, which invested in emerging markets, The Business Times said.

Mr Chandler started out here on his own when the brothers split in 2006.

He recently co-founded oil and gas exploration outfit Orion Energy, which plans to focus on Latin America.



9) Mr Kuok Khoon Hong

Mr Kuok oversees the "world's largest palm oil firm" Wilmar International. PHOTO: ST

Worth: $2.6 Billion

Age: 65

Source Of Wealth: Palm oil

Residence: Singapore

Citizenship: Singapore

He's the boss of agribusiness giant Wilmar International, cited as the "world's largest palm oil firm".

He is also the nephew of Malaysian businessman Robert Kuok, one of Asia's best-known billionaires.

Mr Kuok created a stir in a rocky year for commodities with his firm's bulk purchases of raw sugar valued at $670 million.

The company has taken the joint venture route to expand into new markets such as Myanmar, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe.



10) Mr Raj Kumar and Kishin RK

Mr Kishin RK and his father Raj Kumar have a number of real estate projects in Singapore. PHOTO: RK, Kishin

Worth: $2.4 Billion

Source Of Wealth: Real estate

Residence: Singapore

Citizenship: Singapore

The father-son pair is merging their respective property firms Royal Holdings and RB Capital to meet their target of amassing gross assets of $8 billion by 2020.

Their latest project is a new 60-story office tower that will be among the tallest in Singapore.

It will be built on the site of Royal's old corporate headquarters in the Raffles Place business district. 

New projects due to open next year include a 300-room Park Hotel and the Farrer Square Medical Suites, both in Little India.

There's also the five-star Intercontinental Hotel in Robertson Quay with a 100,000 square-foot retail space coming soon.

Sources: Forbes Asia, The Straits Times, The Business Times

* Figures are in US$ unless otherwise stated.

Three youths charged with cannabis consumption, possession

Three youths were today charged with possession and consumption of cannabis.

Foo Shou Han, Dexter, 23, Soh Li Wen, Trevor, 24, and Wong Zixiong, 24, were charged separately.

Foo and Soh were slapped with four charges each while Wong had three charges levelled against him.

Foo's charges include consuming cannabis on or before May 29, and possessing an improvised glass smoking apparatus and one metal grinder.

Soh is accused of consuming cannabis outside Singapore on or before May 26, having cannabis and an improvised glass smoking apparatus and a plastic grinder.

Wong is accused of consuming cannabis in Singapore on or before May 29, possessing cannabis and having a packet of rolling paper.

The New Paper understands that two of the men are undergraduates at a local university while one of them is waiting to enter university. They are believed to be friends. 

They will next appear before the court on Aug 18.

Read the full report in our print edition on July 24.

Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.

Bedok slasher charged in court

Police at the area in Bedok North hawker centre which they cordoned off, after a parang attack on July 21.

The man allegedly involved in Tuesday (July 21) morning's slashing in Bedok was charged in court on Thursday (July 23). 

Sari Gujang, 27, was slapped with one count of voluntarily causing grievous hurt. 

He is accused of attacking Mr Muhammad Rizuwan Zakaria at about 5am near Block 538 Bedok North Street 3. 

Sari allegedly slashed Mr Muhammad Rizuwan's left palm, leaving a 10cm slash wound. 

Dressed in a white polo shirt with tinted hair, Sari did not have a lawyer. 

He has been offered bail of $20,000 but told the court he was unsure if his parents could afford bail. 

Sari will next appear before the court on July 30. 

Read the full report in our print edition on July 24.

Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.

Cycling's Angs involved in ugly spat

SEA Games bronze-winner Ang admits slapping national teammate

"I cannot brush off the fact that I did that, but frustration has been building up in me for a very long time." - Vincent Ang (above), on slapping Ang Kee Meng.
"I cannot brush off the fact that I did that, but frustration has been building up in me for a very long time." - Vincent Ang, on slapping Ang Kee Meng (above).

It all had the makings of a feel-good story: the bad boy given a chance for redemption.

He stumbled a little initially, then dug deep to come good and win a medal in front of a home crowd at the SEA Games here last month. 

Cycling owned the heart-warming story of Vincent Ang, who shrugged off controversy to win a bronze in the men's criterium in his SEA Games debut. 

But, less than a month later, Ang has made headlines for the wrong reasons again, with the controversy possibly pointing at cracks within the fraternity . 

National cyclist Ang Kee Meng, 27, confirmed with The New Paper yesterday that he has made a police report against his unrelated namesake, after two incidents that occurred on Sunday in which he was allegedly assaulted.  

Speaking to TNP, the older Ang, 38, admitted to slapping the back of his fellow national cyclist, and pushing his helmet while both men were cycling. He also admitted to slapping Kee Meng later that day at Adam Road Food Centre. 

DISAGREEMENT

This occurred after Ang had reprimanded another cyclist after a disagreement on the road. 

"I'm wrong. I shouldn't have slapped him and I regret doing that," said the bronze medallist. 

"I cannot brush off the fact that I did that, but frustration has been building up in me for a very long time." 

Ang alleged that his younger counterpart had previously made disparaging comments about him and his wife, which led to a confrontation. 

While Kee Meng admitted to making comments about Vincent and his wife, he claimed it was "a joke" between him and his friends.

He said he had apologised, but the two men had differing views over whether it was accepted. 

Others in the fraternity told TNP of the existence of factions which often led to spats. 

"There is a lot of unhappiness in the community, with one group backing its own cyclists, and actually going against the cyclists of other groups, and this division is also evident within the national team," said a source, who declined to be named. 

"It really is a matter of a lack of trust and respect within the fraternity."

Veteran Ang is no stranger to controversy.

In February, pictures of him cycling with his two-year-old son in one hand and mobile phone in the other - all this while wearing the national jersey - were posted online.

A month later, he was involved in an incident with a car driver who allegedly ran over Ang's bicycle.

The Singapore Cycling Federation (SCF) acknowledged the latest incident and is looking into the matter. 

"We don't condone this behaviour, and we will be investigating the matter, including meeting with Vincent," said SCF general manager Mahipal Singh. 

"The police report won't affect our investigations. The report was made by Kee Meng, and he has also shared with us his version of what happened.

"Upon the conclusion of our investigations - we will also consult Sport Singapore on the matter - we will table our recommendations."

The broader implications of the incident are not lost on the SCF. 

Said Mahipal: "This doesn't bode well for the sport - whether on the field of play or off it, we should not be fighting."

Halep works hard to get back her tennis shine

Young Romanian star was flying high last year, but she is now looking eminently beatable

JUST AS HANDY WITH A BAKING STONE: Tennis star Simona Halep preparing a classic pizza — Prosciutto di Parma with Rucola — at Marina Bay Sands’ Pizzeria Mozza.

Just a few months ago, Simona Halep looked like the one who could push Serena Williams hard in women’s tennis.

The 23-year-old won six WTA titles in 2013 to rocket into the top 10.

Halep’s ranking rose to No. 2 last August after she reached the 2014 French Open final and the last four at Wimbledon.

Then, on Oct 22, she produced a result which reverberated around the world when she thrashed mighty Williams 6-0, 6-2 in the round-robin stage of the inaugural WTA Finals here — a performance the Romanian cited as the best of her career.

Almost a year on, things are very different. She had early exits at both the French and Wimbledon Grand Slams and was upset in the quarter-finals at the Birmingham Championships, where she was the No. 1 seed.

Suddenly, she is struggling with her game, a fact she acknowledged when she met The New Paper yesterday.

And her meteoric rise, with all that come with it, has something to do with the current state of her game.

"Everything just gets big so fast and your life changes," she explained.

Read the full report in our print edition on July 23.

Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.

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