Have a Mint – Toy Story #2

September 28, 2010 at 10:28 am | Posted in itchy mouth | Leave a comment
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Do you know that we have museums dedicated to toys in Singapore? We used to have three, but with one based on Shanghai toys closed a few months ago, we are now left with two.

I am sure if you are a regular visitor to the Bras Basah Complex or the
National Central Library, you would definitely not miss this signage at
Seah Street

But how many of you have actually walk into the building to check out the
exhibits inside?

Besides a privately-owned museum, the five-storey award-winning building
also houses a cafe, restaurant and winebar

MINT”, which means “Moment of Imagination and Nostalgia with Toys”, showcases more than 50,000 pieces of vintage toys and childhood memorabilia that originate from over 25 countries such as Germany, Japan, United States and even Bulgaria. Many of these are still in ‘mint’ condition – new and unused in its original packaging.

Enter the museum and you would be greeted by this floor to ceiling mural
leading you to the basement cafe


Each of the four levels has a different theme – level two features collectables; level three features childhood favourites; level four features characters; level five features outerspace; while level one is the shop (selling what else but toys!) and ticketing.

Old chinese advertisements mostly featuring chinese beauties

Chinese dolls in traditional costumes

Sexy Betty Boop
in her earlier days…

The owner must be a Beatles

Can you recognise them?


Movie poster

This book was published in 1954, more than a decade before man’s
successful landing on moon! I have never read a single Tin Tin’s
must really get my itchyfingers on them one of these days!

Nice birdies wind-up tin toys…

And a huge peacock wind-up tin toy…I think this could be remote-controlled

Felix the Cat
in the good old days… :p

He looked so comical

Everybody loves Mickey!

Nice tin cases from the 60s

Batman and Bat Mobile

Popeye the Sailorman

Wow! Popeye pops out in 3D!

Talking about popping out in 3D, if you write Popeye’s name separately, it would read “pop eye”….

And look what Itchyfingers found…Pop Eye Pete – “the cute kid with the
comical eyes and a wig wag walk” tin toy with his girlfriend! Hahaha!
Actually looked scary and reminded me of that scary toy
Chucky in the movie!

Itchyfingers first visited MINT few years ago when my Hong Kong friend came for a visit. Recently I went in to check if there is any new exhibits and the lady said there is a section based on cars in conjunction with the Formula One Racing…so I guess the majority of the exhibits should be almost the same…, maybe…hmmm, maybe I shall save the visit until another friend visit from overseas? Hahaha….the admission is a bit steep at $15 for adults lor…:p But definitely worth a visit if you have not done so!

These must be among those under the racing cars exhibits now… :p

Also see related post:
> Game Over – Toy Story #1


Basket of Abundance

September 22, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Posted in itchy mouth | Leave a comment
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Today is the Mooncake Festival. I am sure many of you had already bought boxes of the sweet pastries to enjoy under the fullest moon of the year. Many people love those with egg yolks, and mooncakes with double egg yolks normally cost the most. But for Itchyfingers, personally I like those without yolk…just plain red bean paste or with lotus seeds would be good enough. I prefer those with traditional skin to the snow skins. In fact, I like the skin cos of its sweetness. :p

I am also sure many people know about the little piglet mooncakes 猪仔饼 that are also available during the mooncake festival. These are either sold separately or if you were to buy enough mooncakes, you might even be given these little piggy mooncakes free.

A piggy mooncake with fanciful eyes made of uncooked red beans and a
ribbon for decoration. These cost $1.20 and come packed in ugly and
environmental unfriendly plastic boxes, sealed for hygiene purposes

I was surprised that the piggy contained red bean paste…

But do you know why do they sell piglet mooncake?

I remembered reading somewhere online (which I couldn’t find it now) that in the older days, in order not to waste food, people used the leftover dough from making mooncakes to make into little piggies mooncake without fillings inside. As to why they used the roasted piglet shape, it could be because pigs represent ‘abundance’ in chinese culture, and roasted piglets are a norm during festive seasons…

So, a more traditional piggy mooncake looks like this…

The more traditional piggy used to be placed directly inside a red plastic
basket and hung with a nylon string for display at shops. Nowaday for
hygiene purposes, they are sealed in a plastic bag with expiry date before
putting into the different colourful baskets

This mooncake, with an outline of a roasted pig, is put into a plastic cage reminiscent of traditional bamboo cages that were used for transportation of pigs. Hence it is also called 猪笼饼, or ‘pig cage biscuit’. This is the only type of mooncake biscuit that comes with its very own packaging. Very cute indeed, and thus popular among kids!

The old fashioned piggy mooncake has no filling insides. This costs only
50 cents! Taste not so bad too!

Now we know why people made these piggy-shaped mooncakes. But Itchyfingers has another burning question – piggies in cages are called 猪笼. If you watch chinese dramas on tv, you would often see those who committed adultery being punished by putting them into these cages meant for pigs and thrown into the water – to be slowly drown to death, a practice known as 浸猪笼 (literally, “soak in pig cage”) :O

So the burning question is – what has 浸猪笼 to do with Mooncake Festival 中秋节? :O

Looked online for answer and got nothing. Then casually asked this question to Tisu Boy and finally got an “answer” – Mooncake Festival needs to 浸猪笼 cos Miss Chang-e 嫦娥 had committed adultery with Mr Wu Gang 吴刚 on the moon! Wahahahah…! 😀

Happy Mooncake Festival to all! 😀

Also see related post:
> The Full Monty

An Uphill Task

September 20, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Posted in itchy backside | 2 Comments
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Itchyfingers experienced feelings of anxiety prior to the day. For Tisu Boy, it was his first 21km half marathon run. For me, it would be my third 10km run but I would be running alone. Being a blur sotong with bad sense of direction, I was worried that I would not get to the start point in time. The starting time for the two runs was three hours apart, so it would not make sense for me to follow Tisu Boy and wait till the start of my run at 8am though I would like to be there to support.

But I still ended up jumping out of bed at 5.55am. Too excited and needed time for brekky to be digested before running. :p

Went out at 6.45am and it was already getting a bit humid. Wondered if Tisu Boy was feeling the heat too…hahah…he should be almost done with his run by now? Missed the damn train and had to wait for seven minutes. Saw a few people in the official running tees. Good, can just follow them liao…hahah…

The back of the official tee

Alight at Raffles Place instead of City Hall as I felt it should be nearer. But wasted so much time looking for the toilet. It was already past 7.15am, and Tisu Boy hadn’t call yet, which meant that either he had started late or he did not manage to finish his run within his desired time. 😦 As there were a few ways to get to the starting point along Fullerton Hotel, many people were walking around from different directions. Some were runners who had finished the 21km early…so I was a bit confused. By the time I reached the Cavenagh Bridge, Tisu Boy called, still panting from his dash towards the finishing point…He had finished in 2 hour 10 minutes, a vast improvement from his projected time of 2:30 hour when he just started training, although he had secretly aimed to finish in two hours. :p But it was still not bad, as it was his first 21km with a short three months training and the run was so crowded. Well done! Too bad, I din manage to make it in time to try to take some photos. 😦

Went to the padang area near the end point instead and had to walk back after asking a runner the nearest way to the starting point. So embarrassing. Wow, I was sweating like a pig even before running.

Walking towards the starting point in front of Fullerton Hotel

It was so hot and glaring that I couldn’t see where my camera was aiming
at. This could be a better picture without the road sign blocking the new
integrated resort…

Then Tisu Boy joined me at the starting point. Should have asked him to bring me a drink…so hot! Instead, he brought some ‘scary’ news – there would be slopes welcoming us along the bridge…ooops! Looking at the weather, I think I better give up the thoughts of running and shooting at the same time…too tiring! 😮

The route. I dun really like this map cos more landmarks could had been marked and
the 10 and 21km route looked so out of proportion..

So camera back to Tisu Boy to take photos for me instead! :p

Warming up…Oh, the lady behind had the same running tee as me! :p

Flagged off at 8am! These were people at the back of the queue. I noticed
many guy 10km runners among us…their starting time was supposed to be
7.15am…maybe they wanted to run with their girlfriends or wives? Er…
then why can’t the ladies start at 7.15am with the guys? Would be a much
cooler time to run…

I started running at a slower pace than usual as there were so many people. The weather was so hot at 8am, it felt like over 30 degrees already. This time we didn’t recce the 10km route, so I was not sure exactly where we were running – the map without more landmarks was not very clear to direction dummies like me…I vaguely remembered somehow running into the Shenton Way financial district, passing that ugly red scuplture along Finlayson Green, grabbed a drink at about 2km mark, missed another drink station at about 3km cos too many people blocking me, and then ended up at the first slope of our run…the Benjamin Sheares Bridge…Oh, and welcome to the Marina Bay Sands….

This was when I really wished I had my camera with me. Thanks to Angie
from Kinigu.blogspot for allowing me to use her photo. I could have whipped
out my phone to take some record shots but I was so tired struggling up the
slope…It felt like a number 5 to 7 incline on the treadmill, but I was thirsty
and the heat was a killer..Tried not to stop but slowly jogged up and yeah,
a bit depressing to see briskwalkers overtaking you. Some who were initially
walking up decided to sprint up the slope and end the misery quicker…
I wanted to do that but my legs seemed to have grown roots…

At halfway ground marker, my watch showed slightly over 33minutes. I was surprised that I was doing better than usual despite the heat, only to realise that it was few metres short of 5km. So at 5km, I was about 35minutes, which was my usual training pace. I thought I was running slower to conserve energy for dunu-how-many-more slopes to come…It was encouraging, and I thought I could hit my secret target timing…

Besides growing roots on my legs, I also suffered memory lost from overexposure under the scorching sun… :p cos I seriously dunnu how we ended up running past some part of suntec area where the Esplanade Mall sign at the distance was where I was staring at to motivate myself…did we also run past part of the F1 track? :p But I certainly remembered the second killer slope of the run on the bridge again. This time, it seemed to be even longer, maybe about 150meters? I couldn’t be sure, but with the sun burning constantly on the right side of my body, I wanted to end it soon…The scenery with the flyer at the left was beautiful…wished I could just stop and take photos..and then take a bus back home…hahahah….But, gotta push on Tisu Girl!

It was always mind over body for me between the 7-8 km mark, where I knew I gonna finish the run soon and if I were to push a bit harder I would have finished in a better time. During my training runs at East Coast, the best timing I ever achieved was 1hour 5minutes, which I could hardly believe and told myself maybe I ran short of a few meters here and there and the weather was cooling. At 8km and my watch had already passed one hour. Damn, that means I would not make it even for 1 hour 10 minutes, a time I was aiming for. 😦

Then finally back at the Fullerton Building…then 9km mark, picked up the last drink…nearly went to the wrong lane for 5 km runners…Then the prettiest sign of the day said 500 meters more – It is perfectly legal to speed! Time to pick up speed!

At the ending point, Tisu Boy was back after fetching his SLR camera, waiting patiently for me…

Tisu Girl at the last 50 metres or so, still struggling to pose for camera…haha.
Did we look like running in a prison compound with all the fencing for the
coming F1 Race?

Reaching soon!

Tisu Girl finishing off the run at 1hr 15min…Almost 3 minutes improvement from
Shape Run
despite running up slopes and under unfavourable hot weather

While waiting for me, Tisu Boy took these interesting pictures…many did not follow the rules of the game…heee…

Bib pinned upside down…

Bib pinned wrong side up with no personal details and emergency contact

Bib held in the hand, still intact in the plastic bag

Running with bib in the wrong category…or maybe the person couldn’t make it?
But she was fast, finished under one hour…

Running with no bib, no shirt…But a lot of the army guys did not have
any bibs…think that’s cos they ran as a group…

The army boys…

Marching on, smiles on faces!

Lady from the army engineering unit…

There were many runners who had done other previous runs wearing the official tees…

From Shape Run!

From Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon!

From Adidas Sundown! This tee is nice!

From this year’s Adidas Sundown! The tee not as nice…

From Great Eastern Run! She had the Sony wireless mp3 on…good for
running cos no wires and is waterproof…hmmm…tempting…

From New Balance Real Run!

Know why people din wear the official tee for the SAFRA Singapore Bay Run and Army Half Marathon?

Cos it was not nice and came with sleeves…so hot! No wonder gotta fold up…
This lady was among the top finishers!

Whatever tee you worn, it gotta be Above the Best! haha

This lady had compressor socks to help relief and delay muscle pain

Great move to have own water supply! Better if it was chilled!

But running with a bag…a bit cumbersome…where’s the bib? :p

A young girl shadowed by those older and taller than her…Seems like she
just did the Yellow Ribbon Run the week before! 😀


Fun run! Don’t think I could run 5km at this age…hahah

As it was still the Muslim fasting Ramadan month, it was a tougher run for the malay runners…

Keeping the faith in religion and believing he could finish the race..Well done!

Thumbs up! Not easy to run in hot weather without hydration!

Take cover…

Fun goggles! :p

Reaching finishing line liao still talking on the phone? hahah


Finished the run with a great buddy!

Collected the medal!

Tisu Boy commented that the 21km and 10km medals should at least have
different coloured lanyard…

Itchyfingers against the skyscrappers

And one last shot at the finishing line! :p

Although I didn’t manage to finish within my desired timing, was still quite satisfied that at least I had some improvement. Couldn’t help but feel a bit sense of achievement when we passed by the area by car now…hahah…

My second running medal

The Integrated Resort was added in for this year’s medal

Also see related posts:
> Getting into Shape
Stepping Up @ NLB
Tortoise and Hare

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