Gorilla Mobile Launches in Singapore

Gorilla Mobile Launches in Singapore

New telecommunications start-up, Gorilla Mobile, is on a mission to bring a comprehensive set of digital smart solutions to users in Singapore. Targeting primarily professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), Gorilla Mobile will be adopting a service-on-demand model. This model will allow users to only “pay for the service they use” – something that Gorilla Mobile claims is new to the telecommunications industry.

Making its big debut in Singapore on June 17, Gorilla Mobile Founder and CEO Xanne Leo launched its Switch25 Mobile Plan ($25 a month for 100 SMS/ 100 min/ 20GB of data). This mobile plan will allow users to ‘switch back’, or convert their unused mobile data to offset their bills.

“Our SwitchBack feature can be compared to the Singapore Parking app. Users pay only for their parking duration and get refunded for their unused time. Through SwitchBack, unused data never goes to waste. Its value gets reallocated to offset, purchase or exchange for other Gorilla services,” she said.

An exciting service Gorilla Mobile will offer is the ability to offset other services within a company account. This will allow SMEs to easily manage their accounts for the multiple lines they may have with Gorilla Mobile.

Apart from its SwitchBack features, Gorilla Mobile is also looking to launch its Global Roaming Travel Data SIM Card, Digital International Direct Dialing (IDD) and Global Office Telephony Solutions later.

Its IDD service is one of its kind where users will not need a local mobile subscription or a landline subscription with Gorilla Mobile. Instead, users will be able to download the Gorilla Mobile application to use IDD services.

The Global Office Telephony Solution will be launched in Q4. This digital solution will allow users to transfer calls globally, which will be helpful for businesses.

Gorilla Mobile will tap on the M1 network as its host Mobile Network Operator and MyRepublic’s enterprise Operating Support System and Business Support System telecommunications solution and managed services.

From June 18 to August 18, 2021, users can sign up for the carrier’s Switch25 mobile plan through the company’s website. New users will be rewarded with a bill difference of up to S$50 per mobile number based on their port-in mobile line plan and the new plan. The amount will be credited to their PayNow account upon successful port-in.

Changi Experience Studio@Jewel: Be immersed in Singapore’s aviation history

Changi Experience Studio@Jewel: Be immersed in Singapore’s aviation history

Fun fact! Singapore’s first airport was located in Kallang – near our port. As time evolved and Singapore saw the need to increase the passenger airport’s capacity, the government explored other options, including the Seletar and Paya Lebar areas. However, due to residential considerations and the further possibility of expansion in the future, Changi was selected, and that was how Singapore Changi Airport came into existence.

I learnt about the fun fact above when I visited the Changi Experience Studio located at Jewel recently, and I would recommend anyone interested in the aviation industry or if you’re interested in learning about how Singapore Changi Airport came to be.

At the entrance, we were presented with our own personal journey maps with RFID tags on it. With it, we could quickly go to different sections in the studio and opening the map activated content of that section to be projected onto it (something like a Le Petit Chef video experience).

Timeless Exhibit

As we walked through the different exhibits, each exhibit had a story to tell. The first exhibit was a simple introduction to how the journey map worked, and the second exhibit was where things got interesting. We travelled back in time to learn about how the idea of Singapore Changi Airport came to be, view clips of famous people visiting the airport, learn more about Terminals 1, 2, 3, and the budget terminal. It was fascinating to know how far Singapore Changi Airport has evolved from a single terminal in 1981 to the four terminals and Jewel.

The third exhibit had many stations within it, which told short stories about Singapore Changi Airport. From fun facts about the three runways to learning about the extensive baggage system that runs across the airport, and the Singapore Changi Airport’s distinct scent, this exhibit showed behind-the-scenes on how the airport is run, and ultimately how the airport experience is built.

Following, there were many other experiential exhibits that include a race down a runway on stationary bikes, simple games on identifying dangerous objects from bags through x-ray machines, and even a booth that ‘rated’ your smile. A photo booth was also present, and you can take a photo and get it tagged to your journey map. You’ll be able to purchase the picture at the counter when you exit.

The Changi Experience Studio is very impressive –the technology it utilised throughout the museum helped tell the Changi Experience story.

If you’re looking for an attraction in the east, or if you have some SingapoRediscovers vouchers to utilise, hit this place up – you will not regret it.  

Changi Experience Studio
Level 4, Jewel Changi Airport (closest to Lobby C)
Monday-Sunday: 11:00-20:00
Last admission: 19:00

Fancy Ban-mian!

Fancy Ban-mian!

It’s well-known that the Chinatown area has a ton of good food. Today, I managed to try out this particular noodle stall, 麵莊Mian Zhuang, at Hong Lim Food Centre that serves ban-mian (板面 also known as flat noodles) but with a twist. I first chanced upon this stall in an “Our Grandfather Story” video and was intrigued that the stall owners dared to venture out to start this hawker noodle stall despite having stable jobs previously.

A conventional noodle stall usually serves ban-mian with minced pork, an egg, some vegetables, and ikan bilis (anchovies). Occasionally, the stall will also serve it with sliced fish, but not many do.

However, this stall serves ban-mian with minced pork balls, ikan bilis, and something very different – fish maw! I had this combination and have to say that I enjoyed this combination. The soup was light and flavourful, the minced pork balls were fresh and gave more texture (as compared to just minced pork), the ikan bilis added the salty and crispy texture, and the fish maw was a delectable ‘sponge’ that absorbed the soup well.

The chili that was served on the side was spicy and had a slight tangy flavour which paired very well with the bowl of ban-mian. The texture of the noodles was nice and chewy, and it was evident that it wasn’t factory-made – quite rare in recent times.

At S$4.50, I would definitely recommend this modestly fancy bowl of noodles to others.

Other combinations are also available including ban-mian with abalone clams (S$4.50/S$6.50), abalone (S$13.50) and prawns (S$4.50/S$6.50). The homemade chili can also be bought at S$5.50/bottle.

Do check Mian Zhuang out if you’re in the vicinity! It is located at Hong Lim Food Centre #01-51 and opened from 9am to 3pm (Monday-Saturday). Do note that it seems to run out of items later in the day so do head there early!

Verdict

Taste (especially with the chili): 👍👍👍👍👍

Value: 👍👍👍👍👍

Changi Airport: A tourist attraction

Changi Airport: A tourist attraction

Singaporeans normally view Changi Airport as a place to board a plane for exotic tourist destinations. But, with travel curbs in place, the airport has itself become a tourist attraction.

Kudos to the folks running the airport for the immense efforts to draw people to the airport for reasons other than travelling. Well, if you stay at the other end of the island, it may feel like you’re heading to another town, another place.

Opened slightly more than a year ago, Jewel is a delightful mall to spend time a day in. It’s got everything — from food to shops, and hairstyling saloons to hotel. For this season, the gardens around the centrepiece Rain Vortex has been decked in Christmas glory, making for great sight seeing and photo opportunities.

Families who want something a little different can consider spending a night glamping at Cloud9 Piazza at Level 5.

While Terminal 3 may not be as crowded as before, it has also been given a Christmas makeover with dinosaurs, in line with the theme of Jurassic Mile. The fact that there’s less of a crowd is great because you can take your time to delight in the exhibits and take photos without having loads of photo bombers.

For the F1 wannabes, a go kart circuit — with separate tracks for children and adults — has been set up at the taxi rank outside Terminal 4.

A little round the corner is Jurassic Mile, which has also been decorated with lights to make it a sight to behold at night. Whether you’re a cyclist, walker or jogger, this stretch is worth exploring. But do note that you need to book a slot if you’re planning to be there on Fridays to Sundays.

So, if you’re looking for a place to go to during the holiday, consider Changi Airport — and you don’t have to worry about forgetting to bring your passport.

Jurassic Mile rocks!

Jurassic Mile rocks!

With travel almost non-existent, many in Singapore are suffering from a massive withdrawal. While the government is trying to encourage local tourism, it just doesn’t feel like the real thing of hopping on to a plane, landing in another country and taking in the sights and food!

As we struggle with the travel withdrawal symptoms, there was a glimmer of hope when social media broke news of a new attraction in Singapore. Dinosaurs (not the living kind) were spotted near Changi Airport.

As an avid cyclist who enjoys riding along the airport route, this was right up my alley and I started planning for trip to the said part of the airport. However, my plan had to be shelved when the authorities boarded up the location and placed a “Coming soon” sign.

Imagine my delight when a friend messaged me that the new attraction was opening on October 11.

The next day, I packed my bike and headed to the nearest car park in East Coast Park. Even though it was a Monday, that part of the park was surprisingly busier than usual with walkers, joggers and cyclists, including a couple of young ladies who were struggling big time on a tandem bike.

I joined them and headed towards the freshly-minted Jurassic Mile at Changi Airport Connector. The route was fairly straightforward, just cycle towards the Eastern end of East Coast Park and follow the signs.

Jurassic Mile is a one-kilometre stretch with dinosaur exhibits making for lovely Instagrammable opportunities.

The path is wide enough for three bikes to ride astride so both bikers and walkers/joggers need to exercise lots of grace and patience, especially along spots where people stop for photos.

A surprise is that beyond Jurassic Mile, the park connector extends all the way past Changi Airport Terminal 4 to Terminal 2.

The end point is the Terminal 2 arrival hall next to the car park.

Here are my thoughts on Jurassic Mile:

  1. It’s free. I can’t think of many places we can go for free but this is one and one that’s worth a repeat visit. Next time, I may consider putting my bike in one of the lockers and walk to Jewel for a meal.
  2. It’s open 24 hours a day. You can technically go anytime but bookings are needed for visits on Fridays to Sundays. This is understandable as the path is quite narrow and overcrowding may lead to mayhem.
  3. It is easily accessible. Take your pick. Cycle, walk or jog. It’s so convenient to get there. Park at T2 if you want to get some exercise or nearer at T4 if you want to reach the destination faster. A bicycle rental kiosk is located between Terminals 2 and 4.
  4. It offers loads of photo opportunities. The dinosaurs make great backdrops and photo companions.
  5. It’s a good way to spend family time. When I was there, both adults and children were awed by the displays. Besides posing for photos, the attraction is also great for walking and cycling at your own pace.
  6. It has cycling facilities. From renting to parking, everything is taken care of for cyclists, including a self-service bicycle repair station where you can pump your tires or tighten screws. And if you like, you can even take a shower before heading home.
  7. It has a cafe. This is so thoughtful. The Hub and Spoke Cafe is just reward for that exercise from the dinosaur adventure.
  8. It provides an access to airport terminals. I can now cycle to the airport. Before this opened, it’s always a case of so near and yet so far. I have cycled on the outskirts of the airport but could not get to the terminals before.

If there are areas of improvement, my wish is for some form of interactivity with the exhibits instead of them being purely static. Another is for the path to be wider so that it’ll be safer for all.

Overall, this is a place that is worth visiting at least once. I can foresee myself heading there again and again.

Verdict

Quality of exhibits: 👍👍👍👍

Facilities: 👍👍👍👍👍

Experience: 👍👍👍👍

Value for time: 👍👍👍👍

Overall: 👍👍👍👍

Missing Taiwan? Have the next best thing – A Taiwanese breakfast at Fong Sheng Hao

Missing Taiwan? Have the next best thing – A Taiwanese breakfast at Fong Sheng Hao

Joined the party a little late in discovering a (not-a-new-kid-on-the-block) Feng Sheng Hao – a Taiwanese Sandwich (Toast) joint located at Paya Lebar Quarters.

What started off as a sandwich stall in the famous Shihlin Night Market back in 2013 has evolved to a popular joint here in Singapore, where customers can indulge in Taiwanese-styled sandwiches.

Similar to Ah Seng (Hai Nam) Coffee Stall which prides itself in serving charcoal-grilled toasts, Fong Sheng Hao also goes ‘back-to-basics’ in creating the perfect (albeit rather pricey) sandwich which comprises of fillings that go beyond spreads.

Among the four of us, we ordered three types of sandwiches – Taiwan Special Pork Patty Sandwich, Spicy Pork, Egg and Cheese Sandwich as well as the Pork Floss Egg and Cheese Sandwich. Seen below are half the sandwiches of the Spicy Pork, Egg and Cheese Sandwichand the Pork Floss Egg and Cheese Sandwich.

The Taiwan Special Pork Patty Sandwich consists of a pork patty, cheese and egg. Compared to the Spicy Pork, Egg and Cheese Sandwich which boasts similar ingredients, the Taiwan Special Pork Patty Sandwich, the store’s signature item has a sweeter taste that’s a mix between a Chinese sausage and a Taiwanese sausage.

The Spicy Pork, Egg and Cheese Sandwich had a spicy sauce which had a rather good ‘kick’ – ain’t too spicy, yet it made the sandwich more flavourful. The patty was also on the saltier side. I’d say that this suits a typical Singaporean’s palette.

The Pork Floss Egg and Cheese Sandwich was the most memorable of the lot for me as I it brought back memories of when I had my first solid pork-floss with egg sandwich in Taiwan almost 12 years ago! Stuffed with pork floss, this sandwich has both the sweet and savoury elements to it. This sandwich doesn’t give the same bite as the previous two as it is more ‘airy’ and ‘springy’, which makes it exceptionally nice.

In all honesty, the toasted bread was not too much of a highlight for me, but it was pretty good!

Aside to the sandwiches, we also got the milk tea and a regular coffee. Taiwan’s food chains do serve milk tea on their regular breakfast menus. The breakfast milk tea, however, tastes pretty different to what we’re used to – customized bubble tea. Instead, it’s has a stronger creamer taste and tends to be on the sweeter side. The milk tea from Fong Sheng Hao definitely falls into the ‘breakfast chain-type of milk tea. The coffee was a typical Singapore-style coffee – not fancy, but decent!

Conclusion

This is definitely a nice place to hang out and to savour some Taiwanese toasts. With the limitations of air travel during this period, Fong Sheng Hao really gives the holiday vibes as you eat the Taiwanese breakfast! It is a bit on the pricey side, but I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys savoury breakfasts.

I’d give it a solid 4/5 for its sandwich.

Fun fact: Fong Sheng Hao has been listed Top 10 outstanding Singapore Food Masters in the East Zone by SPH.

Safely Enter with SafeEntry!

Safely Enter with SafeEntry!

The use of SafeEntry has been the norm ever since circuit breaker began in Singapore back in March. Here are three reasons on why I think that the developers of SafeEntry deserve a pat on the back!

  • SafeEntry makes contact tracing a lot easier for people, and it serves as a history of places visited. The Ministry of Health constantly releases a list of places that infectious COVID-19 patients have visited before they were diagnosed. When the list is released, many people who have been to these places often worry frantically on whether they were at the same place, at the same time, as these infectious individuals. The history function of SingPass’s SafeEntry thus provides a one-stop history tracker – after all, you’re unable to enter a shop or a mall if you do not show your pass!
Tracking history from SingPass mobile app – Shows the number of pax you’ve checked-in for too!
  • The SafeEntry security restrictions ensure that one must be nearby in order to use the GPS location search function. This allows one to be able to begin searching for the place to check-in, even before you reach the place! After months of using SafeEntry, one can still see groups of individuals outside shops, desperately trying to launch their SingPass applications to scan for entry to enter. If you’re nearby, and are walking to the place, you can simply launch the app and get-ready to check-in by selecting your venue via the location searching function. How’s that for simplicity!
  • The SafeEntry team continually improves on the functions and features of SafeEntry. Previously, every individual had to have their own SingPass to be able to use SafeEntry or use the conventional “IC-scanning” method to enter a location. However, one of the newer functions, the ability to check-in for others (ideally only family members) has proven to be time-saving and effective. When my family of four goes out for a meal, one of us can just help all four check-in, without worrying about whether each member’s SingPass app is working, or whether there’s data connectivity. It just makes things a lot faster.

The features of SafeEntry are getting better, but many, like myself, still find it a slight hassle to check-in at every single shop one enters. It makes window shopping tiring as the check-in and check-out feature, while fast, still takes time to load.

But for the sake of community health, and our health, let’s all continue to go out responsibly and do our part!

SafeEntry made easy

Simple and convenient visitor registration

For those in Singapore who do not have the latest version of the SingPass Mobile app, now’s a good time to do so. It will help greatly in facilitating entry into more than 40,000 malls and buildings using the SafeEntry app.

Developed by Singapore’s Government Technology Agency (GovTech) during the COVID-19 period, SafeEntry has been in use for visitor registration to assist in contact tracing.

The original version required the scanning of a QR code, followed by checking in and filling in personal and contact details. This is already much faster compared to the filling in of paper forms.

An enhanced version has been rolled out that simplifies this process further. With the latest version of the SingPass Mobile app (on both Android and iOS), all it takes is to activate the app and click on SafeEntry check-in in the opening screen. A list of buildings in the proximity will appear. Select the right one and check in.

Those who have enjoyed using the Parking SG app will notice the similarity. It’s easy to use and makes checking in really convenient.

Three online grocery stores to tide over this Circuit Breaker season! (great price, quality and speed!)

Three online grocery stores to tide over this Circuit Breaker season! (great price, quality and speed!)

The Circuit Breaker measures are taking Singapore by storm, with a new law implemented today which prevents any form of social gathering (if the members of the party are not from the same household) in both public and private areas. While these measures still allow individuals to head out to buy groceries and food, many have turned to get their groceries online – but many are facing delivery slots limitation – so why not try other online stores during this period?

Here are three online grocery sites I’d recommend if you’re in search for options:

Amazon.sg + Prime now

If you have an Amazon prime account, delivery is free on the Amazon.sg site as well as through the Prime Now app. Otherwise, delivery is free on purchases that are more than $40.

One can easily find groceries on Amazon.sg (less fresh food and frozen food), and the user interface makes purchasing of items easy! For fresh and frozen food that require refrigeration, you will have to purchase these items via the Prime now app which allows delivery as soon as two hours. However, delivery slots are currently pretty limited and some items may be out of stock so you’ve got to try your luck there.

I’ve got to say that Amazon has pretty amazing service and the delivery guys are very friendly! Amazon.sg is one of my most go-to sites for groceries!

FoodXervices Inc

This company has served the F&B industry for more than 80 years, as a food distributor that serves the likes of large hotels and restaurants. They have just made their wholesale online store for consumers and this allows consumers to buy many items in bulk (think Costco!) – on top of that, they also provide free delivery on purchases >$60. Delivery slots are also ample. Delivery is the next working day for orders made before 4.30pm on weekdays (and before 12 noon on Saturdays), and two working days for orders otherwise. My family made an order (>$60) after 4.30pm on a weekday and our delivery slot was two working days later – pretty impressed with the slots availability!

Most products are sold in bulk, but consumers have the option of selecting smaller quantities for some products. I’d highly recommend this site for those looking to buy bulk items at a lower cost! They carry many brands and have ample stock on paper products and sanitizers too!

OpenTaste

Mainly for fresh fruits and vegetables, OpenTaste has a wide range of options that are good for families. I’ve ordered from the online store in the past and the items were fresh and delivered on time. This online farmer’s market is a platform where consumers like us can purchase a wide range of farm-fresh products with OpenTaste’s partners (more than 200 of them).

It’s also nice to have bulk purchase discounts, especially if you’re feeding a large family! Fruits also make great snacks – you’ll probably need a lot more now that home-based learning and working from home arrangements are in-force.

I’ve got to say, though, that it is harder to qualify for free delivery (minimum purchase of $150) but if you’re looking to buy from this site on a more regular basis, or if you’re looking to buy more items at once, you can try out OpenTaste premium where an order of $49 and above qualifies for free delivery (subject to a monthly membership fee).

Thoughts

There are many online groceries stores at the moment, and the three I’ve mentioned here are those that I’ve tried and I’d recommend to others as well because of their service, quality and price.

Let’s all help flatten the curve during this season and refrain from heading out yeah!

Jewel a gem even during this period!

Jewel a gem even during this period!

COVID-19 is sweeping the globe by storm, and many retailers are reeling from the effects of a drop in consumer spending as a result of a reduction of footfall in malls.

View of Jewel at night

Changi Airport’s Jewel, which was packed during its opening last year, was pretty quiet last night. Considering that it is the school holidays in Singapore, this is definitely not the norm or what its tenants had hoped for. Various travel restrictions imposed on the border have also affected the number of incoming passengers.

Most shops were opened but some had revised hours while others remained close during this period.

The Apple store was closed and will remain so until further notice. Lavender, a Malaysian bakery in Basement 2, also announced that it was closed till April 1, after the lifting of the ban from Malaysia on March 31. The Body Shop was closed when we walked past around 930pm though official hours stated that it closes at 10pm.

Notice of closure of Lavender

These closures aside, Jewel is still an incredibly attractive mall. I encourage locals to visit and support the shops during this period. Some of the attractions worth visiting include Canopy Park, Canopy Bridge, Sky nets (bouncing and walking), Hedge Maze, Mirror Maze, and Changi Experience Studio.

During my visit yesterday, we explored the Canopy Park which links many of the attractions. It has a Topiary Walk which displays animals in the form of floral and fauna, foggy bowls (the mist wasn’t turned on for health safety reasons I think), and Discovery Slide (only one was open). These attractions are free to access from now till March 31. On top of that, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of Jewel from here!

Let’s support our local malls during this period, but please practise social responsibility! It doesn’t hurt that Jewel provides free three-hour parking (with a minimum spend of $10 in a single receipt)!