I don’t think I’m particularly finicky about service in general. If service in a mid-range restaurant is average, I don’t bat an eyelid and I just go on with my meal. I don’t expect exemplary service unless an establishment has made grand declarations of the stellar service they apparently provide. Yes, I do think service in the service industry is important and that service providers should go above and beyond to provide good service (cos it’s their damn jobs innit), but I personally don’t make it my business to be a service vigilante.

Also… living in Singapore, my expectations of service are unfortunately at a consistent low. I hate to generalise about my own home country like this, but I’ve noticed that service providers can be very selective about who they provide good service to – and I rarely ever make the cut. That is, until I bust out my legal chops (well hey, guess law school was good for something!)

Now what I absolutely cannot stand is poor service. The we-are-purposely-making-your-life-hard-cos-“companypolicybro” poor service, or the I’m-a-master-of-my-craft-so-don’t-you-bloody-question-me poor service.

I experienced poor service in overdrive at The Tipsy Cow on Tanjong Katong Road.


The Tipsy Cow tried to serve me mouldy parmesan for my pasta, then tried to fool me into believing the the mouldy parmesan was actually blue cheese (amazing!), then proceeded to rain verbal abuse on me for wanting to swap the mould-infested pasta for another dish.


I visited this place with a girlfriend of mine. When the manager came by to take our order, I asked him about the Primavera Pasta and then placed an order for 1 x Primavera Pasta. When it was served to me, I noticed that it was different from what was described to me, but I chose not to make an issue of it and instead asked the waiter for some parmesan for my pasta.

The parmesan was brought to my table in a self-grating device, so I proceeded to grate the cheese into my pasta. All of a sudden I noticed that there were blue specks all over the cheese shavings. I opened the grater to inspect the cheese and lo and behold, there were mouldy chunks of cheese. I brought this to the attention of the waitress who removed the cheese and my pasta dish from my table. Then I sat in wait for a server so that I could place another order for a fresh dish (since the mouldy cheese was all over my pasta). At this point, there was no question in my mind – I was sure that they would apologise and ask for another order from me and, at the very least, offer to cancel the order from our bill.

To my surprise, the manager came by, placed the plate of mouldy-cheese-pasta back onto my table and said “sorry, we can’t take this back”. I was obviously shocked but I gave him the benefit of doubt and explained what had happened.

His response? “The cheese isn’t spoilt. This is actually blue cheese.”

I was astounded that I was essentially being forced to eat a dish I didn’t want, but more than that, I was utterly aghast that this establishment was attempting to pass off mouldy food as good, edible food.

Firstly, I had clearly asked for “parmesan”, which is a common request by customers who order italian dishes, namely pizza and pasta.

Secondly, even if you think it fit to serve a different type of cheese to your customers, blue cheese is not at all the appropriate substitute for parmesan. Blue cheese has a distinctly different taste and texture from parmesan and you would be hard pressed to find any reputable establishment that does not know this.


Of course I refused to take the dish back. I told the manager that I would be happy to order another dish, but there is no way I would eat the mouldy-cheese-pasta, so why don’t you just take my order for another dish and we’ll both be on our way. After some more back and forth, the manager reluctantly made another trip to the kitchen, presumably to ask the chef if this was okay, and came back to tell me once again “yea, nope, we won’t be taking this back, so here”. At this point, as you can imagine, I had had quite enough of their abysmal service, so I told our dear manager to just cancel the order from our bill because there is no way that I am eating that dish.

(By the way, this brings it to a total of THREE ATTEMPTS TO FORCE ME TO EAT THEIR MOULDY FOOD)

But wait. It gets worse.

Then the chef comes by our table, guns blazing, towering over us, extremely aggressive, yelling at us, with his spit flying all over the table (and my friend’s food) – ALL BECAUSE HE WAS OFFENDED THAT I HAD SENT THE FOOD BACK. For a moment there, I was scared because of how aggressive he was. My friend and I were sitting in a corner, with no chance of escape, because the manager and chef were blocking our only route out. But once I remembered that there were enough people around to witness any assault if it were to occur, I told them once again to cancel the order because I would not be paying for it. They eventually (reluctantly) agreed, because short of grabbing my wallet and stealing my money, there was nothing else they could really do.

I am painfully aware of how long this review is, so I won’t delve into what exactly the chef yelled at us, but… it wasn’t pretty.

This is astonishing behaviour, not to mention probably illegal.

This restaurant truly believes that it can get away with fooling customers into believing that the mouldy or rotten food they serve is actually fresh and that customers are ignorant about food. It was unfortunate for them that I discovered that they were serving mouldy cheese, but I got lucky, and realistically the average customer will never ever know if rotten food has been cooked into their dishes.

As you can imagine, I was upset! So I wrote a review, simples.

A couple of days later, the owner contacted me via messenger after seeing my review, to find out who the perpetrators were. Here is a screenshot of the conversation:


This is the last I heard of this incident. Because I very nearly forgot about this, the abusive chef probably got away scot-free. The owner never got back to me. Heck, she never even apologised! She just said that she was “upset… if what [I] said was true”.

Am I really the first and only one to have been treated this way at Tipsy Cow? Or do people just stay silent about horrific service?

Whatever it is, it’s unfathomable to me that this restaurant is still in operation. If you are thinking of patronising this establishment, I cannot stress this enough – DO. NOT. GO. THERE.

The food was second-rate anyway.

My Huge Career Switcheroo


I recently made the momentous decision to leave my job as a lawyer to pursue a career in writing. As you can well imagine, this decision has been met with derision by baby boomers far and wide (shout out to my parents!).

Frankly, I don’t blame them; I spent five years and tens of thousands of dollars to become a fully-fledged qualified shark – only to “throw it all away” shortly thereafter.

But here’s the catch: in all of my twenty five years, I have never made a decision I am more sure of than this one.

More often than not (for us average folk at least…), youth is but a struggle against the pains of indecision. I spent most of my life wading in a pool of mediocrity. I would eventually go on to settle on some uninspired choices along the way – just the usual meh, off-the-shelf choices that seemed like the obvious next step. Because lord knows I had no clue what I wanted for myself.

Then one day, it hit me like a ton of bricks – I JUST WANT TO WRITE. I craved so much more than this mind-numbing tedium I was thrown into.

You see, at the age of 25, it has taken me a quarter of a century to come to the first lucid realisation about myself. It would be a crying shame to let that go to waste by plodding along for another 10 years in the legal industry, shrouded in a cloud of apathy, only to discover at the age of 35 that I absolutely have to leave before the misery debilitates me. But, oh wait, what’s that you say? I am 35 but I have to start again at the bottom? I am 35 and I am unteachable?!

Yeaaaa no. I needed to get out while I could.

I found myself growing increasingly sure that this is the path I wished to take, so much so that it scared me; the uncertainty of this future scared me, but oddly enough, so did my new-found conviction.

It took nearly 12 months of to-ing and fro-ing, and a helluva lot more courage than I am generally accustomed to expending, to walk into my boss’s room and tell her I’m leaving. Side note: she took it like a star, and for that, I am ever grateful.

I had a good run in the legal industry. I daresay I will miss some aspects of being a lawyer. I have had the honour of interacting with a number of lawyers whom I have come to admire deeply and from whom I will continue to draw inspiration. Their ability to craft legal arguments out of obscurity is creativity in and of itself.

I simply thirst for a different kind of creativity.



The Insatiable Terry Richardson

Photo courtesy of Dailymail.

Seems a good a time as any to air my views on the Harvey Weinstein / Kevin Spacey / Louis C.K. / [insert applicable Hollywood scumbag] scandal – and let’s not forget dear Mr. Terry Richardson, famed sexual assault fashion photographer star. Heck, while we’re at it, why not move straight into a conversation about Terry Richardson? Because at the moment, the worldwide web-ness of news is inundated with stories about Weinstein and Spacey, and rightfully so. My views will be all but cast aside to join the sea of opinion pieces on how outrageous Mr. Weinstein’s. behavior has been for the past thirty-odd years. So I think this calls for a momentary shift of focus to Weinstein’s next-in-line, Terry Richardson, whom I shall be referring to as T-Rix or T-Dick in the course of this piece (solely for the purposes of brevity, so hold your horses).

I first heard of Terry Richardson at the age of about 16 or 17 when I was introduced to an aspiring model named Jane*. I had popped over to visit my friend, Sam (also dabbles in modeling), at her place. It was there that I met Jane for the first and last time in my life. It’s been 10 years and here I am telling you this story, so Jane clearly left her mark on me – not least because of what I’m about to tell you.

Jane was, like me, a bright-eyed 16-year-old but, unlike me, an ambitious 16-year-old. She knew from the outset what she wanted from her life and her career.  I soon discovered that Jane had aspirations to become a supermodel. She had the looks but she was, by normal supermodel standards, petite. So she decided to run with that as best she could – she wanted to make it big as “the shortest supermodel in the world”. Laugh all you want, but she said this in all seriousness, so it was easy to pick up on her fiery ambition almost immediately.

She told us how she was beginning to get her name out there, she had been networking diligently and her efforts were getting her somewhere.

That is, until she met T-Dick.

Now, being a 16-year-old in a time well before social media really took off, the name “Terry Richardson” didn’t ring any bells. So Jane pulled out a google search to show me some of his work. I was also just beginning to discover Tumblr at the time (I abandoned it soon after, thank the lord…), where, as some of you may know, specific styles of photos would typically make their rounds. It was from this fleeting brush with Tumblr that I instantly recognized T-Dick’s signature Instax-esque portraiture of beautiful topless women – always beautiful, almost always topless or in sexually compromising positions. So these photos were his! I gasped, and congratulated her on getting this far with a Tumblr-famous photographer all the way from friggin’ U S of A!

But you see, Jane wasn’t bringing this up to brag about how her pretty face and dogged determination led her all the way to the doorstep of a renowned international fashion photographer. Jane was going somewhere else with this. Her eyebrows furrowed and she stopped me mid-congratulations, “waiiiit a sec. Let me show you something else”.

With one click, out popped screenshots and screenshots of a conversation between herself and T-Rix on an instant messaging platform. I wish I had a photographic memory that would allow me to quote the conversation word for word. But alas, I do not. Anyway, it started off rather ordinarily, with Jane introducing herself, telling him her goals, and asking if she could perhaps get involved in one of his gigs. In doing so, she embraced the ostensible disadvantage of her petite stature, repackaged it, and tried selling it to him as a novel approach to modeling.

Then the conversation took an odd turn. He started focusing the conversation on…. her HANDS. It was a strange line of inquiry and every time Jane attempted to bring the conversation back to the possibility of collaboration, T-Rix would rather blatantly steer it right back to the size of her hands. At first, his questions would be vague and something along the lines of “so you say you’re small… are your hands at least big enough?” Of course, Jane didn’t see what relevance the size of her hands had to the conversation. “Does he want you to be a hand model maybe?” I asked her. Oh how cute. 16-year-old me thought he was looking for a hand model.

The conversation got stranger, and before long, it was evident where he was going with this. It was, however, also evident that Jane was attempting to deflect his strange advances by constantly re-focusing the conversation back to her main purpose. After several rounds of clear frustration at this girl’s apparent naïveté, T-Dick finally asked her point-blank: “Look here, Girlie. Obviously what I mean is that you will need to give me a handjob at the very least if you want to get anywhere in this industry.”

Good lord was I horrified.

It wasn’t even some opportunistic, nuanced segue into a conversation about her body type, for instance, which could pass off as a necessary line of questioning in the modeling industry. It was pure, undisguised sexual predation.

Jane was a feisty one, though. I wouldn’t say she was hardened by the industry because she was literally just starting out. She was merely a girl who had her head firmly on her shoulders and refused to let some creep get his way with her. She called him out for it and told him to piss off. Needless to say, he was unfazed. She took screenshots of the incriminating portions of the conversation and posted it on her little-known blog. As far as I know, this is where the story ended for her, save for a couple of comments she received on the blog post in the aftermath of the incident.

I don’t know what has become of Jane and I do hope she has achieved all she set out to achieve. But as you can tell, this story isn’t so much about Jane as it is about T-Rix and his continent-crossing, untamable predatory peen– I mean this guy goes by the name of “Uncle Terry” for chrissake! –is.

Indeed, Jane had been given a choice – touch my genitals young’un and I could try to do something for your modeling career, or refuse and kaput goes your modeling career – and she made hers. Technically speaking, yes, one can choose between the two. But let us examine the choices presented to young Jane (and many before her): a solid chance at career progression on the one hand, or preserving your modesty on the other – as if to say, you may have one or the other, but god forbid, not both, for they are mutually exclusive in the world of showbiz, honey. That Jane was compelled to choose between the two is, quite simply put, thinly veiled manipulation. I think we all know that much by now.

If I am willing to pose in skimpy clothes for the sake of fashion and art, does this mean that I will have to shatter all modesty and dignity I hold so dear? Is it taken for granted that my body is currency in the world of showbiz?

Mind you, this was close to 10 years ago, back when I was a measly high-school kid in Singapore with scraggly hair, playing abysmal guitar in my room (I think it is highly defensible that I was trying to emulate Michelle Branch, so lay off), and my  biggest worries revolved mainly around the pains of teenagehood. I was far-removed from the fashion industry and even further removed from the American fashion industry. Even then I had been made fully aware of snaky little T-Dick making his rounds, preying on unsuspecting school girls with stars in their eyes.

Over the years I would hear of allegations made against T-Dick. I remember reading Sinead O’Connor’s open letter to Miley Cyrus when the latter’s Wrecking Ball music video was released, advising her to exercise some discernment when faced with the proposition that she get naked to sell her music. I knew by then that the video was directed by T-Rix and I couldn’t help but wonder if Sinead too knew that T-Rix was a pervert. Just how many people in the industry knew? How widespread was the knowledge of T-Dick’s reputation of being a pervert?

Richardson and Miley Cyrus. Photo courtesy of Newsweek.

The allegations began as early as 2001. Vogue US, H&M and Target cut ties with him in 2014. Last month, Condé Nast International made the announcement that none of their subsidiary magazines, such as GQ and Harper’s Bazaar, will be working with him. Fashion powerhouses Valentino and Bulgari took their cue and made a similar announcement shortly thereafter.

So why did it take reputable fashion houses and magazines years to cut ties with the notorious T-Rix?

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, industry players are beginning to realise that the internet is no longer going to allow industry heavyweights enjoy such impunity in their manipulative, predatory behaviour towards girls and boys. Given the violent backlash Weinstein and Spacey have received, coupled with the massive influence identity politics has had on the current political climate, the reputational damage threatened has proven to be vast and far-reaching. So to turn a blind eye towards known predators would, in this climate, be business suicide.

Yes, I roll my eyes at the hypocrisy, I complain that this should have been nipped in the bud all those years ago. But more than anything I’m relieved. I’m relieved that this revolution is finally taking place. We’ve all heard insider stories about the drug-fuelled “glamour” of showbiz and it’s now become clear that Hollywood’s problems run much deeper than drugs. In the past few weeks, the world has discovered that sexual predation has been a well-established facet of life in Hollywood, and was, until now, a systemic problem almost immune to resolution.  

Nevertheless, a reminder lest we all forget: Despite the industry’s’ long-held knowledge of their acts, Weinstein managed to escape unscathed for over 30 years, and Richardson for nearly 16 years. So for now, it seems safe to assume that there remain high-profile figures in show business pushing their weight (and di*ks into kids’ faces) and getting the hell away with it.

And to the T-Dicks of the world, just a reminder lest you forget: Your young model may be willing to go so far as to get her tits out in the name of art, but that doesn’t mean you whip your di*k out behind the camera lens you absolute, blithering creeps!


*Names have been changed to protect the identities of said models, and to minimize any risk of further career damage at the hands of sexual predators in show business.

**An alternative title I had in mind was “T-Dickin’ His Way Round Town”, but this was violently vetoed by my 16-year-old sister, who is beginning to display signs of maturity well beyond my years… 


So first public blog post. Wow. This is monumental. Technically, it isn’t my first ever, but since Xanga is now defunct, this may as well be my first. And boy am I glad that no one has access to my 15-year-old musings…

So why has this taken me so long?

When someone suggested that I write on a more public platform, my immediate thought was, “nahhh, ain’t nobody wanna read what I gotta say”.

But more importantly – why would I want to put myself out there for all to see? Like every next person, my life is multi-faceted – I have family, friends, career, and all the little aspects of my life in between – and each of these aspects has required me to take on different facades.

Thus far, I have had to portray different aspects of my personality in the different aspects of my life. And so for some time now, I have struggled with the concept of having my musings up on the world wide web for all to see – family with whom I maintain conservative relationships, friends who are not apprised of the full array of my vulnerabilities, acquaintances who don’t know me and who will judge me, employers and co-workers to whom I have had to present a composed, emotionless facade. I’m sure many of you can relate – I wouldn’t have the sort of flippant banter with my parents the way I would with my friends and I would be fired immediately for answering back to my bosses in the way I do with my family.

So you see, the thought of having different persons from different facets of my life be privy to my life and thoughts was, to say the least, daunting.

With a little nudge from people who have held only the strongest of beliefs in me and my abilities, I have finally come to understand that that is no attitude to have. At the age of 25, it has taken me long enough, but hey – I’m just thankful to have come to this realisation sooner rather than later.

Wish me godspeed, good people of the internet, as I foray into the world blogging, vlogging*, and social media hogging.

Ps: If you’re reading this before my visuals have gone up, bear with me while I take some time to figure out the best way to present myself to you. In the meantime, word-spinning is about all I can offer, but design work, rest assured, I WILL CONQUER YOU.

If I’m being honest, this is unlikely… But it made for a decent rhyme scheme, so I couldn’t resist.