Rants and raves about stuff happening in and around my life in Singapore

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Sunset Dinner Cruise

So as we enter yet another lock down (of sorts) thanks to the rising cases here in Singapore I have to consider myself fortunate. I was supposed to go on a cruise to nowhere in July which got postponed to August which got post-phoned again so I cancelled the whole thing. I can only handle so much disappointment it seems.

Friends asked me to join them for a cruise in October which I seriously thought about but in the end also declined because I didn't want to get excited about it only to have it dashed on the rocky shores of covid lockdowns (been there, done that twice already), which as it happens would have been the case, it seemed as though cruises and I were never meant to be.

That all changed last night when I was giving a surprise birthday sunset dinner cruise onboard the Royal Albatross.

The food was amazing, totally surpassing my expectations, the staff were warm, friendly and attentive. Each dish was cooked to perfection and beautifully presented and the whole meal beginning to end was well paced. It really was a unique dinning experience with exceptionally good food. The ship itself is well maintained, with a beautiful air conditioned lounge below deck just adding to the experience. And you get to see the amazing city skyline from a distance (which is a view I have always loved) and as the sunset it cast a beautiful orange glow across the water that just adding to the magic of the moment.

I left feeling full and content, and lighter in mind and spirit.  It was the first time I have set foot off my island home in almost 2 years, and even if it was only for a few hours it certainly helped to recharge my internal batteries as we enter another lockdown (of sorts) here in Singapore.

A really memorable and enjoyable experience that I highly recommend.

For those intereseted you can make a booking HERE

Monday, September 13, 2021

Museum of Ice Cream

The Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC) is the latest immersive experience to hit the shore of Singapore and if people's Instagram accounts are anything to go by is certainly worth a visit, or is it?

I mean who doesn't love ice cream, the plethora of flavours, the many many ways to eat it, not to mention that it just about goes with every desert there possibly is. So the thought of "all you eat" at the MOIC was indeed very tempting. 

Myself and couple of friends visited on Saturday 11th of September and a fun time was had by all, although I need to be up-front and honest that had nothing to do with the ice cream on offer. You basically move from room to room, each room tells you a little bit more history or fun facts about everyone's favourite dessert. Each room has a specific theme and walls and ceiling are done in shades of pink. There are plenty of photo opportunities throughout and we absolutely made use of those.

The staff made the whole experience even more fun. They were bubbly, energetic, enthusiastic and fun to interact with. Clearly they wanted everyone to have a great experience (and side note, whoever was in charge of the bouncy castle on the above date .... Marry me!).

Despite the above, which was great, the whole experience was let down by the ice cream itself. 

Station one has two flavours of Häagan Dazs, and I wish I had stayed at that station and filled up but the anticipation of even more to come after such a great start was too strong. Two flavours here, good old chocolate, and our favourite Pina Colada (with alcohol) which was delicious!.

Station two was a soft serve station serving watery soft-serve that tasted more of ice and less of cream. It was a gluten free vanilla (insipid) and a apple pie, which was unusual, tasted like apple pie for sure, but the texture was just so completely wrong in both cases that it was totally unenjoyable. 

Station three was glutenous black rice brick. It's a very local flavour and although some friends thought it wasn't bad, none of us went for seconds. 

Station four was Yam, and the only reason I knew that was because of the colour as it totally lacked any flavour at all. 

And that was it, a total of 6 flavours, 4 of which I could happily never have again. So if you are going for the ice cream you are going to be very very disappointed. If however you are going for the experience, the Instagram moments and the staff (who really make the experience) then you will absolutely enjoy yourself. 

But, take my advice visit an ice cream desert bar afterwards (there are quite a few to select from in Singapore) to enjoy some really delicious ice cream because the MOIC is, unfortunately, sadly lacking in this department. 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Mobile Gaming is Busted!

I am sure that many people will remember the advent of the smartphone with the iPhones launch in 2007, and with it shortly afterwards it came the introduction of mobile gaming. Cute simple games that you could play on your mobile phone, many of them free, some costing a few dollars to purchase.

14 years later and how much things have changed. Mobile gaming has become a HUGE industry with reported revenues of $81 billion in 2020 (LINK) alone. And of course as smartphones evolved and became more powerful, so too have the games. And as games become more complex, rich in graphics and sound and gameplay, the cost of mobile games have spiraled out of control.

Even worse, many games have simply become advert black holes, with game play totally and utterly destroyed by so many of them. And while it's true there are games that allow you to pay to remove adverts, many rely on in-app purchases for you to progress beyond a certain point, or rely on the addictive nature of their games to get you to spend more and more. Indeed in-app purchases range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars at a time. And #google and #apple are doing nothing about it. There are no limitation on adverts, there are no limitations on in-app purchases. When the cost of a single in-app purchase costs more than a full game for playstation or xbox, people should be asking questions.

Of course people can argue you don't have to buy the in-app purchases, it's a choice and no-one is forcing you. And yes, that's true to a point but doesn't address the fundamental issue of how the pricing for those in-app purchases are costed and "who" controls the cost of such purchases to ensure they are reasonable and even justified? The answer of course is no-one, not even #google or #apple especially since they have skin in the game themselves. And did I mention the "addictive" nature of mobile gaming? Indeed many games rely on this human condition to fuel purchases.

So where is it going to end? Are people going to end up taking out a second mortgage in 14 years because they are playing a mobile game? When are we going to get an industry watchdog around mobile gaming so that controls can be put in place to protect people from themselves? Indeed the question should be asked if in-app purchases have destroyed the mobile gaming industry (LINK)

When are we going to get back to buying a game outright on a mobile platform? Probably never is the answer because as long as the likes of #google and #apple don't care then no-one else is going to care either.

Of course the simply answer is to delete them all from your phone. And that works for some. But as successive younger generations grow up in a more technology capable society, advances in technology and peer pressure will continue to fuel the add-filled, in-app purchase quagmire of an industry that mobile gaming has become while #google and #apple simply sit back and do ..... nothing.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Three Laws of Politics

Time and time again we have seen situations across the globe in countries that follow a democratic process where decisions that are made often surprise the casual observer who may very well have had a different expectation with respect to the outcome.

Or, conversely those expectations are meet because those observers had already assumed the outcome correctly, basing that assumption on the track record of similar decisions by members of the same ruling party.

But what if you had a way to assess each and every political decision faced by the ruling party and predict the outcome of that decision more accurately based on three simple laws?

Taking the robotic laws, a set of three laws devised by science fiction author Isaac Asimov that govern how robots would interact with humans and each other in a futuristic society, and tweaking them into a political context I give you "The Three Laws of Politics".

The Three Laws of Politics
First Law: A politician may not injury the reputation of their party or though inaction allow the reputation of their party to come to harm

Second Law: A politician must put the benefit to the country above the will of the people unless such action would conflict with the first law

Third Law: A politician must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the first or second law

The simple application of these three laws will provide you with a better way to assess the potential outcome of any political decision faced by the ruling party.

Of course there will always be those that don't follow these laws, so what then? Well simply put, politicians that don't follow these laws are putting their party at risk and you will find them side-benched by that same party in short order, something we have seen time and time again.

There are many examples to draw from in the last year of where these laws have been seen in action. The impeachment of Donald Trump for example, violation of the first law so it was never going to happen. And more recently we have seen support for Donald Trump within his own party wavier because he himself is in violation of the third law.

Time and time again we have see politicians who have become embroiled in one scandal or another resign rather than risk violating the third law.

Of course thats something that politicians from those parties not in power often use to advance their own parties agenda. Indeed, if the reputation of the ruling party is damaged enough, directly or indirectly, it will often lead to a change in power as a result. Again, something we have seen play out globally time and time again.

So, there you have it, my take on The Three Laws of Politics and a tool to help you navigate and assess the outcome of political decisions. Enjoy!