Monday, August 31, 2015

The superpower of teachers

I've always believed that few people impact on others as much as teachers. Good or bad, they can leave a deep impression that influences attitudes and behaviour, even years later.

Lesley-Anne and I have dedicated quite a few Danger Dan books to teachers - it's our way of publicly showing our gratitude. Since it's Teachers' Day this Friday, I thought it would be fitting to pay tribute to teachers in this post, specifically, two of Lesley-Anne's teachers who have been inspiring mentors in her writing journey.

The first is Ms Heng, Lesley-Anne's JC1 Lit teacher. This teacher basically grew Lesley-Anne's appreciation of Lit ten-fold with her intellectually stimulating lectures and tutorials. Apart from that, she intuitively understood Lesley-Anne's reflective temperament and encouraged her to express herself. When I first met her at the parent-teacher conference last year, I was struck by how she seemed to "get" Lesley-Anne, despite having taught her only for a few months.

Titbit: we dedicated Secrets of Singapore to her!

Here she is at her own book launch which she invited us to. She's a poet and writer herself and had published a book co-authored with three other writers.

The second teacher is Lesley-Anne's p6 English teacher, Ms Lee. There's a heart-warming backstory to this one. Before p6, Lesley-Anne actually found writing dreary, thanks no less to all those "model compositions" and the "good phrases" she was told to emulate. Bleaaah. Instant formula for killing the love of writing.

Thankfully in p6, Ms Lee advised her to put aside the model compositions and to find her own voice. Even though Lesley-Anne's language use was much simpler than the generally preferred bombastic language at p6, Ms Lee recognised her potential and continued to encourage her efforts. From there, Lesley-Anne's love of writing bloomed and she developed her personal writing style, which till today, leans towards simplicity and clarity.

Lesley-Anne credits Ms Lee in her school talk when she speaks about her writing journey. However, we had long lost touch with Ms Lee as she had left Lesley-Anne's primary school and we didn't know where she had gone.

Then in July, we conducted a talk at North Vista Primary School. After the talk, a teacher excitedly bounded onto the stage. It was Ms Lee! What serendipity! It was a very special moment for both of them.

These are just two teachers who made a difference in Lesley-Anne's life. We have the opportunity to thank them publicly through our books and our talks, but there are many, many more students whom I'm sure are privately thanking teachers for their own lives and successes. The teachers who disregarded their own safety to protect their students during the Sabah earthquake earlier this year come to mind.

For this, I would like to wish all teachers a very heartfelt and happy Teachers' Day. May your work continue to inspire and bless those who cross your path.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Look beyond the numbers when talking about the decline in Literature

Today in the Straits Times is an article on the decline of Literature students. It's not the first time they've reported on this and it always annoys me to read about this topic on MSM because they tend to skim the surface without digging deeper. There's no analysis to speak of and they focus superficially on the numbers as if that gives legitimacy to the story.

No doubt, Lit has become less popular but WHY? Fewer kids taking Lit means kids are not interested? More schools offering Lit suddenly means the situation is improving? They interviewed one student who said she didn't take Lit because Lit was hard and they thought that explained everything? Many kids, even in my generation, found Lit hard. That hasn't changed.

1) The more basic flaw when looking at numbers: You can't look at the decline in the absolute number of students taking Lit at 'O' levels over the years and simply conclude that Lit is less popular because the NUMBER OF 'O' LEVEL STUDENTS HAS DECLINED OVER THE YEARS. Duh.

In 2012, 37,267 students sat for the 'O' levels. In 2014 just two years later, the number had dropped to 30,964. All numbers found on the MOE website. In other words, the "worrying drop" in Lit students reported in the Strait Times article over the same period from 6,000 to 5,500 Lit students was just a corresponding drop in cohort size.

Even I, who's hopeless in Maths, can tell you that if you insist on harping on figures, looking at the percentage of Lit students over the total number of kids sitting for 'O' levels would at least be a more accurate reflection of reality.

Do you know why the 'O' level cohort has been systematically falling? Apart from the corresponding fall in birth rates, it's also because from 2004 when the IP programme was introduced, the PSLE top scorers have been siphoned off to IP schools, where kids skip the 'O' levels. The number of students going into IP schools increases every year, hence the 'O' level cohort continues to shrink. And because Lit is typically considered a hard subject, ie only top students would take it, these students are likely in your IP schools, so the potential target audience has already been reduced.

2) The more complex issue: The way the education system is structured locally for 'O' levels is not conducive to kids taking up Lit and this is something I suspect many in the literary world who are trying to promote Lit in schools may not be aware of.

Let me share how 'O' level schools typically work. When you choose your subjects at sec 3, schools often offer only a few combinations. There are no more "Science" or "Arts" streams as in the past because in current day 'O' levels, you have to take at least one Science, one Maths and one Humanities subject. Quite commonly, a school would offer a Triple Science combination, a Double Science combination and a Combined Science combination. To fulfil the humanities criterion, most schools make students take Combined Humanities, which is half Social Studies and half an elective (Lit, Geography or History). In other words, when MSM reports that students prefer Combined Humanities over full Lit, it's not true. For most schools, Combined Humanities is COMPULSORY. The students don't have a choice. (I dare say many students absolutely abhor Social Studies).

So let's do a count of subjects: These would be your mandatory subjects: 1) English 2) Mother Tongue 3) E. Maths 4) Combined Humanities 5) one Science. That's 5 subjects. Many kids are told that if they want to increase their options at JC level, they should take another Science and A. Maths, so that makes 7 subjects. Many students take a total of 8 subjects so they may either choose yet another Science subject (hence Triple Science) or a less common subject (eg. Music, Design & Tech, Principles of Accounts) or another full humanities (Lit, History or Geog). This is where a student can choose to take full Lit as a subject if the school offers it.

However, many kids take only 7 subjects to lighten their workload, especially if they're looking to enter the Poly route (which requires only the calculation of 5 subjects for entry). Some schools even offer a 6-subject combination to help their weaker kids cope. Taking Lit as a subject is not an option for these kids, even if they're interested.

In other words, where would be the opportunity to take Lit? It's all very well to glibly say more kids should take Lit without understanding the constraints of the education system. In my generation, more kids took Lit but it wasn't so much that more kids were interested in it. We just didn't have a choice and we took all subjects imposed on us depending on the stream we were put in.

Whereas nowadays, Lit is usually an option and a small one offered only to students in the better classes. While more schools offering the subject is a good thing, it doesn't necessarily translate into significantly more students taking it up. And with 'O' level grades more critical than ever for entry into competitive JCs and Polys, coupled with the perception that Lit is terribly difficult to score well in, you have your answer as to why Lit is unpopular.

To me, trying to force Lit down the 'O' level track is an uphill task because of the limitations of the education structure. Where I think we can make a bigger impact promoting Lit is among the IP schools. Lit requires analysis and higher order thinking, and on paper, the IP students have the ability. IP schools also have the advantage of not having to put their students through the 'O' levels, so they can focus on subjects that develop the mind instead of teaching to the test. Yet many IP schools don't practise this.

Lesley-Anne was from the IP track. I was constantly frustrated at how her secondary school was narrowly exam-focused, despite IP touting freedom of academic and intellectual pursuit. At sec 3, the students were only offered two tracks: Triple Science or Double Science. In Triple Science (which formed majority of the classes), you had ZERO opportunity to take Lit (or any other full humanities subject). The combination was fixed as: English, Higher MT, 2 Maths, 3 Sciences, Social Studies. If you chose the Double Science combination, you could take one Humanities subject in place of the third science. This was the only option where you could choose Lit.

Lesley-Anne is clearly humanities-bound and she loves both Lit and Geography. But as you can see, her secondary school is so Science-biased (reinforcing the ancient fallacy that Science is superior) that there was no option for her to study both Lit and Geog. The best she could do was take up Double Science and she chose Lit. Oh, there was a very selective Humanities Programme where she could have studied a variety of arts subject but in order to get in, you had to score top marks in all your exam subjects at sec 2 (a large portion of which comprised Maths and Science subjects). Nothing about identifying those with special talent or interest in the humanities at all. What a farce.

The reason Lesley-Anne is enjoying JC so much more than secondary school is that at the JC level, you're allowed to study the subjects you enjoy. I'm not dissing the importance of Maths and Science, by the way. I'm rejecting the notion that they're considered so important that every kid has to study these at an advanced level whereas the Humanities are dubbed the inferior "can't do Science then I bopian do Arts" option.

I don't know if it's the same for all IP schools. I'm saying that there's a lot more potential for Lit to be taken up by students in these schools and if the obstacle is the schools' attitude towards the Humanities, then this is the area we should be looking at. If those looking to promote Lit in schools can engage IP school Principals and teachers, and change their mindset towards the Humanities, we might actually get somewhere in the long term.

And it's not just attitudes towards the Humanities, it's attitudes towards learning in general. As mentioned, IP schools should be focusing on learning more than scoring because that's what eliminating the 'O' levels was meant to do. Yet the legacy of this obsession over scoring dies hard. When Lesley-Anne decided to choose Lit in sec 3, her friends thought she was crazy. They felt she should have chosen Geog because she had topped her class in Geog in sec 2 - go with the "easier to score" option. But Lesley-Anne chose Lit because she decided that she loves Lit more and she enjoyed the lessons tremendously. I guess she had the last laugh because at the end of sec 4, she topped the level in Lit in her school.

It's a nice end to that chapter in her life but my point is that in our education system, there are more obstacles to taking Lit than just interest. The kids have to be very sure, they have to have support at home to go against the grain, because sometimes, the school doesn't encourage it. If kids, parents and teachers continue to view education as a numbers game obsessing over scores, Lit is fighting a losing battle.

Lit opens up our worldview and perspectives, and helps us see how language is used as an artform to influence emotion and shape opinions. Appreciating Lit takes time and that's part of the process of learning. If we are to promote Lit in schools, we need to jolt educators out of their misconception that there's more value to teaching a tangible concept like how molecules work than teaching about the depths of a human soul. We really have to move out of this rut of equating education with training, something I've written about before.

Back to the ST article, when journalists look at the numbers and think they tell the whole story of the state of Lit, they're ironically no different from the Maths/Science proponents. Delve deeper and ask the question why, beyond the numbers and without jumping to conclusion. Lit will teach you that.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Everyday slap the copywriter

In an embarrassing piece of news, MAS gets the name of first president Mr Yusof Ishak wrong on the folder and booklet of a $50 commemorative banknote. It even attracted the attention of BBC News.
Photo: Channel News Asia
Some people have wondered how the copywriter could have missed this. I have a couple of theories:

1) MAS didn't engage a copywriter. They might have engaged a design agency or printing agency to design and produce the folders and booklets, and included copywriting in the contract. The agency then got someone in-house, who's likely not a professional copywriter, to write the text. This is a common practice done to save costs. But how the error could also have been missed by MAS, who presumably would have to proof-read the text and give the final go-ahead, boggles the mind.

2) The more horrifying possibility is that both the copywriter and the person in charge of this project DIDN'T KNOW the name of our first president. One website did some sleuthing and actually found a list of instances where "Yusok Ishak" was erroneously published in mainstream media and government publications, including *horror of horrors* MOE and MINDEF! So did the MAS incident happen because someone conveniently cut-and-paste the info from another source and didn't know it was wrong? I really hope not because that would be too sad for words.

Anyway, in my line of work, I come across loads of writing errors all the time. While some of them are simply grammatical or typographical errors, my writers and I constantly lament that there's a lot more blatant usage of words without thought these days. Remember earlier this year when SingTel came under fire for using the tagline "Let's make everyday better"? The error: "everyday" as one word refers to the routine things we do each day but if that's the meaning SingTel had intended, the tagline should have read "Let's make the everyday better".

But fine - I can accept that not everyone is able to distinguish between "every day" and "everyday" (although an ad agency most certainly should). However, when I visited a SingTel shop a couple of weeks ago, I saw this emblazoned on the wall:

What a massive line of gobbledegook. Apart from the very strange sentence structure, what are they promoting? The fertility rate? Toothpaste? It's like someone ran a random slogan through Google Translate. Incidentally, the sentence below is wrong as well. It should be "family's" (singular) not "families'" (plural). Otherwise, I should be able to bundle my family's mobile plan with 10 other families and maybe get 100% discount.

One of my writers retorted, "Everyday better slap the copywriter." When I shared the photo on Facebook, a friend posted this pic:

Oh look - the same copywriter! Groan.

Actually, I don't know if it's just the copywriter who's inept (it baffles me how many people think just because they can string a grammatical sentence together, they are qualified to offer copywriting services) or the client who insisted on going with something unintelligible. But there are just too many ads that dress up gibberish with mood photography or fancy videography. I still remember a Capitaland tv commercial a few years ago that made me cringe. One of its lines was: "A good building is like a good person - you can't have one without the other." Whaaaaaat? Newsflash: Just because you use a manly, authoritative voice-over doesn't mean what he says makes any sense.

In the past, few organisations outsourced writing - most of the writing was done in-house by their own PR departments. However, from what clients and friends tell me, the art of writing has today become an elusive skill that eludes even communications staff. Hence, most writing is now outsourced. Yet we are still surrounded by bad English (I previously wrote about bad English being used in official channels in this post). Haiz.

In the quest to be original and capture attention, organisations and copywriters sometimes embark on English gymnastics. The trouble is if you're not an expert at it, you might end up in a tangled heap. Often, simplicity is best. No need to try so hard to be clever. Just be correct.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Elitism vs meritocracy

Last week, the RI Principal gave a speech exhorting Rafflesians to guard against elitism. Which was welcomed by the community at large but all goodwill was undone when ex-RI boy, Russell Tan wrote a forum letter yesterday in response, claiming that elitism had its place in society.

I wonder if Russell realises that he unwittingly proved the RI Principal's point about some RI kids being insular.

Meritocracy is about rewarding the most outstanding and people like Russell believe that because the measurement for "outstanding" is standardised for all, it's only fair to reward purely based on who can complete the checklist. In Singapore, this checklist would include someone who does well in national exams, shows leadership, brings in medals for their CCA, etc.

In the past when the educational landscape wasn't so competitive, it worked to a certain extent. You had kids who could climb their way out of an underprivileged background just by working extra hard. Education was truly the social leveller then. But today, when competition is super keen and standards have been raised to differentiate the best from the best, working hard is no longer enough.

If you have tutors in every subject to clarify your every doubt and help you learn beyond what teachers teach you in school, you're most certainly likely to do better in your exams. If your parents can engage a tennis coach for you from age 5, you would clearly be a better tennis player able to lead your school team by the time you hit secondary school. If you have well-educated, English speaking parents who can bring you overseas on holiday to expose you to different cultures, read to you from when you were an infant and have connections to help you land internships, you would undoubtedly have a better looking portfolio and participate more confidently in interviews than a kid who doesn't even have internet at home.

And so on. In other words, just ensuring that the finish line is the same for all is no longer enough to attain meritocracy because the start line is so unequal. The unlevel playing field greatly affects the outcome and the problem arises when people don't realise that and believe that they are where they are purely on their own merit. And everyone else who didn't achieve what they did was somehow either incapable or didn't work hard enough. That's elitism.

The thing is, I find that many students who feel like Russell may not be deliberately elitist, just ignorant, and the education system contributes to this culture. In my time, parents too wanted their kids to go to "good" schools but in general, a "good" school was defined as one which had an ok academic reputation and was relatively near your home. Hence, there was a more diverse student population in each school.

Today, everyone clamours to go to the very top ranked school based on their cut-off points, failing which they would go to the next ranked school, etc. As a result, students are streamed very narrowly into schools based on their PSLE scores and you have pretty much a tiered system with all the best PSLE scorers congregating at RI/RGS/HCI/NYGH/ACSI and so on.

What happened then was that schools became much less diverse, especially among the top rung schools. If you're in a school which takes in the top 2% of a PSLE cohort, everywhere you turn, you find people similar in ability and background to you. (That's why these kids also tend to have a warped sense of who's good and who's not academically). Unless you run around with kids in your neighbourhood who are of different abilities, or you do a lot of community work with the underprivileged, you will simply not be aware of what other people are like. At that tender age, you take your cues from people around you and if all those you meet are the top 2% at RI, the same privileged kids at high end enrichment centres, and your neighbours in Bukit Timah, then you would inevitably think that's what typical society is like that.

And that's the danger I find not just with kids but adults. We can be lulled into oblivion because we tend to mingle only with people like us and can start thinking that we're the norm. Some time back, I had lunch with a group of friends, all mums. Quite typically when mums meet, we talk about our kids and some of the mums complained about how unmotivated their kids were and how they were doing badly for certain subjects.

Later, I commented to a close friend who had also attended the lunch, that this particular social circle was so skewed. Among the 6 of us, we have 13 kids, of which 8 were from GEP. That's a whopping 61%, compared to the national average of 1% GEP over the general student population. I have to qualify that these mums are super nice and easy going, and I like hanging out with them because they're not your kiasu *simi sai also send to Learning Lab* parents. But we probably have no clue what "doing badly" really meant to the general population. For that circle, it meant not getting an 'A' grade at ACSI or RI whereas I have another friend who told me her son was doing really well, ie he got into the Express stream in sec 1.

Maybe I'm just more conscious about it because I have one child (Lesley-Anne) in a branded school and another (Andre) in a neighbourhood school. Here's the contradiction: despite being in the "better" school, more of Lesley-Anne's friends have tuition than Andre's friends; and the attitude towards academic achievement couldn't be more different.

That's where I feel people are coming from when they express their concern about "ivory tower" civil servants or that those in government may not understand how people on the ground feel. It's a valid concern if all those in decision-making positions come only from a small and homogeneous pool. I'm not discounting their ability or their intentions. Both may be fantastic. But sometimes, ability and intentions are not enough. We need different perspectives.

So if we say we stand for meritocracy, we need to either diversify the student population in our schools or consciously widen the pool from which we scout talent. Does that mean we are creating unequal yardsticks for "outstanding"? Yes. But in today's context, perhaps that's what it takes to achieve true meritocracy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

This is home, truly

I hope everyone had a relaxing Jubilee weekend! Well, except for the upcoming PSLE kids whose parents must have thought, "aha! Four extra days to study!" My condolences.

I thought this year's NDP was especially well done. The orchids on LKY's seat were an understated and poignant touch. I'm sure many Singaporeans wished he could have lived to see the SG50 celebration.

So many wishes have already been published for SG50, I don't want to be cheong hei about it. I just have one thought - a lot has been said about unity and how as we come of age, we need to be united as one people. I notice though that some people have a superficial definition of unity, ie we have to share the same views. To me, unity goes much deeper than that. It is knowing that even though we may look different, like different things and hold different views (even argue heatedly about them), we firmly believe that each one of us has a place in Singapore. Even as we celebrate our common love of food, bond over our use of Singlish and laugh at each other's kiasu-ism, may we also come to see our differences as something not just to tolerate but to embrace. Unity is made beautiful in diversity.

Back to the NDP, watching the show segment reminded me how many historical facts we covered in Secrets of Singapore. Am glad Lesley-Anne and I took the time to write that book. So I recently found out that there's a Danger Dan fan club in Temasek Primary school (which thrilled me to bits)! Their wonderfully supportive parents sent me photos of their kids reading Secrets of Singapore, which is such apt reading for National Day:

We received a glowing review of the book from Sassy Mama Singapore, who describes the book as: "Informative on all aspects of Singapore history and society, it has an eye for the telling anecdote, does not shy away from a pun and a chummy reading voice that never patronises."

Yay! Early responses to the book from kids are promising and we're really excited about that. Popular Bookstore has invited Lesley-Anne and me to an author meet-and-greet this coming Saturday, 15 August 2pm at their main store at Bras Basah.

If you would like to meet us and get your book autographed or have any burning questions for us about Secrets of Singapore, do come down! The wonderful Epigram Books has printed new Danger Dan stickers and all kids will get one.

See you on Saturday and Happy National Day, Singapore ♥

Monday, August 3, 2015

Just what the Doc ordered

A couple of weeks ago, I received an unexpected email. Chan Tat Hon, the chef of the Snack Culture Company, invited me to his restaurant for dinner. In case you're not aware, the Snack Culture Company serves by reservation-only omakase degustation dinners.

I was pleasantly surprised but also a little perplexed. I'm not a food blogger and I don't have thousands of followers. I don't, as a general rule, get dining invitations, let alone one from a chef. And for a fancy meal some more. The cynical me replied that I would love to accept his invitation but quickly qualified that I can't tell one spice from another and won't be able to write a brilliant review. Must set expectations up front mah.

Tat Hon explained that he liked my blog and he wanted to meet me, and not to worry, he wasn't looking for a food review (though he did want me to try his food). Phew! Ok then. But a 9-course degustation meal is not exactly conducive for chatting with the chef, so he invited me to lunch as well.

Background: The Snack Culture Company operates only for dinner Thurs-Sat nights. For lunch, the restaurant operates as The Bento People. It serves healthy food in a novel way, bento style. You pick three dishes out of a list that you like, ideally one protein, one veg and one grain.

The price depends on what dishes you pick.

Turns out, Tat Hon used to be a medical doctor and made several career switches before becoming a chef. He wants The Bento People to inspire people to eat healthier and show them that healthy food can taste good.

So here's the thing - healthy eating and I don't exactly have the best relationship. Steamed food in large doses is bland. I like chicken thighs, not chunky chicken breasts. And green is my least favourite colour on a plate. If a vegetarian restaurant had to depend on my patronage, it would have a slimmer chance of survival than someone coming face to face with a grizzly bear armed only with a can opener.

The restaurant looked interesting's a healthy eating place leh. What if I don't like the food? I know! I decided I would stick to the safest items. I studied the menu online and decided I would go with 1) Salmon - I quite like salmon. 2) Potato - I like carbs! 3) Ok lah, must choose one veg or he will surely scold me. I was curious about quinoa and the quinoa salad comes with grapes, beans and nuts, all of which I don't mind. Set!

So last Wednesday, I made my way to The Bento People at CT Hub in Kallang. The restaurant is bright and airy with a fresh ambience. I had told Tat Hon that I wouldn't disturb him if he was busy working, so when I arrived, I parked myself at a corner table as inconspicuously as possible and surreptitiously ticked my orders on the form. Salmon, potato and quinoa salad. Check, check and check.

But plans foiled. The Doc (as he's commonly called) was at the dining area (apparently he mingles with guests when he isn't too busy) and spotted me immediately. He came over, commandeered my pre-meditated order list and said authoritatively, "no, no, I order for you."


"Don't take the potato lah. You try this instead..." Tick.

Splutters..."But carb..."

"Do you eat spicy food?"

"No, not really..."

"You didn't order whole grain? I let you try two types." Tick.

Slight panic. "Don't order too much! I'm a small eater! Cannot finish!"

"Tasting portions only! Don't worry."

At this point, I blurted out, "Are you going to watch me eat?" See ah, sometimes I get confused between what's in my head and what comes out of my mouth.

He was very gracious. "No, no! I let you eat in peace." But I didn't go there to eat by myself so I invited him to join me if he hadn't had lunch. He hadn't.

So this was my bento:

Left to right: Quinoa salad, Tunisian shakshuka and salmon with Greek tzatziki. And he also brought me an extra bowl to try two types of rice - red rice and brown rice.

So pretty, right? What a riot of colours! And completely different from what I would normally order.

And here's the Doc. Sorry, can't remember what's in his bento. One of them was a tom yum minestrone, I think.

So I ate. To be honest, I was afraid I wouldn't like the food. Then I'd be faced with that awful dilemma of having to tell this nice man that healthy food and I really buay ngam, doctor's orders or not.

But...I LOVED the food. Really. I'm not just saying it. I quickly realised that it's not just the flavours of each individual dish - it's also the combination you choose and how the dishes complement each other. The salad is light and tangy, the shakshuka spicy and hearty, the salmon refreshing against the creaminess of the yoghurt. Together, they're a wonderful blend. I ate the dishes in turn to taste the flavours together, like some OCD nut. I was very surprised by the red and brown rice. The red rice is cooked Chinese olive style and the brown rice with butter. Both are extremely tasty - I could eat them on their own.

Of the three dishes, the one I would probably not order again is the shakshuka, not because I didn't like it but because it's very rich (there's a poached egg in the middle of the veggie stew) and one portion is too much to finish. The quinoa salad is very, very, very good. The complexity of textures - crunchy nuts and beans against fluffy quinoa and sweet grapes...really very nice lor (told you I'm not a food blogger).

But the star of the show for me was the salmon.

I prefer my salmon raw, ie sashimi style. I don't mind cooked salmon but it's usually not my first choice of protein. This salmon was seriously out of this world. It was flaky, sweet and delicate and the inside was almost like eating sashimi. HEAVEN. Later, the Doc told me he only buys sashimi-grade salmon. Wow. My only complaint? Too small, haha. 

Having passed the test, we chatted after lunch over coffee (yes, he serves coffee too and yes, he has sugar! I asked!) We talked for quite a long time about all kinds of stuff, from food to blogging to career moves. We also chatted about our faith (we're both Christians) and how we have a phobia of OTT declarations. The Doc has recently started a blog sharing his journey and here's a particularly inspiring post I like. If you've ever felt discouraged and wondered if God is still working in your life, go read it.

Anyway, I had an enjoyable afternoon and it was only after I left that I realised we'd forgotten to take a wefie. Doh!

I'll probably bring Lesley-Anne back to The Bento People at some point. She's the lone advocate of healthy eating in our family (sometimes I wonder if the stork dropped her off at the wrong address) and am sure she'll love the food.

If I ever do make it to the degustation dinner at the Snack Culture, will blog about it. Meanwhile, if you're in the mood for some tasty, wholesome lunch, drop by The Bento People and say hi to the Doc for me!

The Bento People
#02-17, CT Hub, 2 Kallang Avenue (339407)

Tel: 6443 2006

Opening Hours:
Make Your Own Healthy Bento
Lunch : Monday - Saturday: 11.30am - 3pm 
Dinner : Monday - Friday: 5.45pm - 8.45pm

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