Friday, 29 April 2016

Pompompurin Cafe for a Birthday Celebration

It was nearing Coco's birthday. I am not a Sanrio or any character fan usually but I thought it could be fun for the teenager to have her birthday at a themed cafe, so I suggested going to Pompompurin Cafe for her birthday celebration. For a second, I'd thought she might dismiss it as being 'childish' but she said yes readily.

For the uninitiated, like me, Pompompurin is a Sanrio character in the form of a golden retriever wearing a brown beret.
When I reached Level 4 of Orchard Central with William and Baby at 5pm on its opening day, I was quite surprised to see a snake of people making a beeline for the entrance even before dinner's time.

It was a one-hour wait before we reached the threshold of the cafe.

A peep into the cafe

When we settled down, one of the staff brought us a Pompompurin plush toy 'to take photo with'.
We cam-whored with the toy for at least 15 minutes just for fun of it!
And I must commend the patience of the staff. 
Not once did they interrupt to ask if we were ready to place our order.

Baby's order: Puru Puru Pudding Shake at $12.99
It was a glass of broken-up pudding with some sweet drink.
Baby and I did not take to it at all. It was left two-third un-drunk.

Coco's Love Love Hot Marshmallow Latte at $12.99
I did not ask her but she seemed to love it.

My Cookies & Cream Caramel Latte at $11.99
It tasted like ... passable, iced cappuccino?

Before we could place our order for our main course, the serving crew informed us that their signature Taco Rice in a Cup of Friendship was finished for the day:
I had wanted to try this. A major disappointment there but could not be helped.

Baby and William shared Mushroom & Bacon Carbonara ($26.99). 
It comes with a free Pompompurin mug when you make payment later.
A little funny episode ensued when William requested the staff to wash up the mug on the plate to bring home and the staff assured him a clean one would be given to him later.

Both Coco and her cousin had Pompompurin's Beef Stroganoff ($18.99).
Coco liked it but could not elaborate on the taste except telling me that "It was nice."
And mine's Pompompurin Coconut Milk Chicken Curry ($17.99).
It looked cute but the taste was at most passable.

I told the kids and William that we were not there to pay for the food but rather the ambiance and novelty.

Coco and her cousin had a pudding that went by 'I am Purin. Pompompurin' ($9.99).
They enjoyed it.
I tried it too and I have to say that was the only item that was the closest resemblance to some nice pudding.
We had to take a picture of our food and ourselves since I am not sure if we would ever be back!

I had called and checked that I could bring a cake in and the crew sang "Happy Birthday" song to Coco as the manager placed the cake on the table.'
We were pleasantly surprised!
And we had the must-have picture of every patron before leaving the cafe!


The presentation of the food was cute and novel but the tastes were nothing out of the ordinary. We did not expect spectacular food at cafes like this though so we were not disappointed. However, we enjoyed our dinner very much as the service was great. Being the first night of their business, the crew were quick on their feet and rather attentive and patience. 

Will we be back? Not likely to be in a big group anymore since an ordinary meal for 4 adults and 1 child cost a whopping $165.85. But if you haven't been there, it will be fun to have a cosy meal there with a friend or someone close for novelty's sake.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

What kind of siblings do you have?

Wonder how my poor aged father would feel if he knew that out of his six children, only one thought he was worthy of sending to a hospital for treatment when he was ill  ...

And yes, it's about the money.

One said,"I knew I couldn't afford it, that's why I suggested sending him to a government hospital." even when the doctor at the government hospital was unsure if he could do it.

Another said,"I am not the one who wanted to send him in and out of the hospital! Not my problem."

Yet another said,"Why need to go A&E again? Anyway, the doctor at the government hospital don't know how to treat him (so no need to send him anywhere)."

The rest ask for the amount $3288 to be split among 6 people, knowing that at least one of them will not pay. And no one wants to be the one who sends out the cheque.

Yes, they are waiting for me to do it.

Because I was the one who wanted to send my father to the hospital.

Because I am the richest, even though I am not working, and can afford a few branded bags, travelling and a Pandora bracelet for my daughter's birthday gift.

Doesn't matter the rest have full-scale reno for their flats (which I don't) and cars (which I don't) and travel without our parents.

I earn the most, so I should pay the most - that seems to be the suggested motivation for me to be the one paying the bulk.

I find my siblings pathetic, to say the least.

Their arguments reek of jealousy and inferiority complex.

What has what I have, or what I can afford, or what I earn got to do with my father's hospitalisation bill?

Is he not OUR father?

Was he not a responsible father who tried to give us everything he could?

I am simply disappointed with my siblings.

When I watched those cheesy local drama serials about siblings pushing their parents' hospitalisation or medical bills to one another, I thought that was an exaggeration.

I thought: that will never happen to us.

What a joke.

It happened. And so badly at that. It's even worse than what the TV had portrayed.

It's not as if I am not paying more than I should. I did not ask for a single cent when I spent a thousand dollars to rectify my father's cataract surgery.

Neither did I ask for reimbursements when I spent more than a thousand dollars on a private specialist for my father's Lupus.

I did not, because we are siblings. And I did not want to burden them further with additional medical expenses.

But this is SGH.

This is the hospital that they claim we should send him to as it is affordable. And it is affordable if everybody does his or her part and chip in.

But everybody keeps quiet when it comes to the bill, even when I asked to split among 5 people, since my elder sister is not able to pay without an income.

I am very disappointed.

I really am.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

A Two-Decade-Old Apology

I was 13 and was a fervent church-goer.

He was a Roman Catholic who had a lot of philosophies in his head.

As typically foolish, obstinate young teenagers, we often insisted on our own beliefs and had debates about Christianity to no end.

He didn't attend any church so I invited him to mine.

He was convinced immediately by the charismatic pastor and converted to being a Protestant.

He became a zealous Christian who went to church a few times a week attending prayer meetings, cell group meeting, Sunday service and other ad hoc meetings.

The parents were unhappy that he was spending so much time in church. They demanded that he made a choice between going to church and going to school.

He chose church-going.

His parents withdrew him from school at a young age of 14.

I felt that I had to bear part of the responsibility since I was the one who introduced him to the church.

But I did not have the chance, nor did I have the courage, to speak to him.

Ten years ago, I met him near my parents' place. I was too surprised for words. Besides calling him by his name, which he acknowledged by nodding his head, I did not know what else to say. We walked past each other. I confided in William who was then with me, about what had happened and told him about the guilt I felt. He comforted me that the guy's life might not have turned out as bad as I had imagined and I had received my retribution for the rough times in my life.

But meeting him that day had always been something that hovered in my mind.

Today, I met him on a bus.

I asked if he was him and he nodded, as usual.

I took my seat beside him and asked if he lived around the area. He replied me that he had been living there since 2004. He also mentioned that he was working in an electronic factory near the area.

I asked if he did continue to pursue his studies after he was withdrawn from school. He said he did complete his secondary school education 'from outside'.

I continued to ask if he was married and he said yes, and he was on his way to pick his children, 7 and 12, up.

We were quiet for a while.

Then I spoke,"I have always wanted to apologise to you ..."

And a tear appeared out of nowhere and landed on the side of my nose. I had not meant to be dramatic or had predicted that tears would stream down. It was something that had passed and I did not think it would still strike a sensitive vein in me.

He looked surprised and quickly said,"No, no. You think too much. It had nothing to do with you."

I continued with tears welling up in my eyes,"If I had not taken you to church ..."

He interrupted,"No. They were family problems and personal problems. My family members took things to the extreme. It was a personal problem. You think too much."

Then he had to alight. Before he did, he continued to assure me that it had nothing to do with me.

It was a guilt that did not go away for close to three decades. After what happened to him, I did not try to invite any friend to church again. I had felt responsible for ruining a peer's future. Most of the time, I was able to forget about the matter but occasionally, the guilt would creep up to remind me of the crime I had committed and it would leave me wondering the whereabouts of the guy and of course, the usual cliff hanger 'if only I had not taken him to church ...'

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to say my sorry to someone I felt I had done wrong to. A burden that had weighed on my heart for so long. Today, I finally lay it down.