Monday, 7 August 2017

Changi Airport Terminal 4

Before Changi Airport Terminal 4 opens later this year, it is having an open house from today to 20 Aug. Located where the Budget Terminal used to be, T4 is half the size of T3 but can handle two-thirds its capacity. This will be made possible with innovative use of technology in its operations  4 out of 7 check-in rows are designated for Fast and Seamless Travel (FAST) with 65 automated check-in kiosks and 50 automatic bag-drop machines. Facial recognition technology is integrated into the process to authenticate passengers' identities.

Dropping off at doors 3 to 5 of the passenger terminal brings you directly to the FAST check-in zone, which is also nearer to the multi-storey carparks (I liked that there are designated lots for pick-up and drop-off) than the traditional manned check-in counters. Passengers using the self-service check-in and bag-drop walk the least distance, as it is just beside the centralised immigration and security screening zone. If this is your first time using FAST, what should you do?

  1. Check in at an automated check-in kiosk  see steps a) to e)
  2. Collect boarding pass (if you have not printed it) and bag tag if you have check-in luggage
  3. Loop bag tag through the side handle of your check-in luggage (top handle will do if your luggage does not have a side handle)
  4. Peel the end marked "1) Peel and keep receipt" and stick it to the red end marked "2) Stick here"
  5. Scan boarding pass at an automatic bag-drop machine and place check-in luggage on conveyor belt

Singaporeans, Permanent Residents and Registered Travellers (passengers who have registered their fingerprint with Immigration & Checkpoints Authority) above 6 years old can proceed to clear departure immigration via automated immigration gate. Scan your passport and boarding pass, followed by your fingerprint. If you are still holding on to liquids, aerosols or gels in containers more than 100ml (even if partially filled), now is the time to throw them away. I liked how the bin is designed with a self-explanatory picture so whether or not you can read English no longer matters.

Automated systems at security screening allows two passengers to simultaneously place items in their respective trays at the start of the screening belt, and returns trays to start of the line after passengers have collected their items. With the use of CT technology, laptops and tablets can stay in your bag. These will increase screening efficiency and reduce waiting time for passengers. So what should you take note of when going through security screening at T4?
  1. Present boarding pass, retrieve a tray and place hand-carried luggage or bag in it
  2. Separately present transparent re-sealable and completely closed plastic bag with liquids, aerosols or gels in containers not exceeding 100ml each and 1-litre in total
  3. Remove all items (including coins and tissue paper) from pockets, place them in bag and push tray forward onto conveyor belt
  4. Proceed for screening  align feet to markings on floor and hold the same pose as the white silhouette for 3 seconds while the scan is performed
  5. Collect items and return tray

You may board the aircraft using the automated boarding gate if you have cleared Automated Immigration. But before that, shop at the integrated duty-free zone or rest at one of the seats available. You may chance upon an autonomous cleaning equipment that can not only scrub the floor faster and cover a wider surface area, but also intelligently re-route when there are obstacles in front.

Alternatively, watch Peranakan Love Story at Heritage Zone. The 6-minute video, produced in collaboration with Dick Lee, includes Adrian Pang and Benjamin Kheng in its cast. Step closer and spot which of these colourful shophouses are LED screens. On the 1st floor of these Baroque (1880-1900), Rococo (1910-1920), Peranakan (1920-1936) and Modern Décor (1936-1950) shophouses are local businesses Bee Cheng Hiang, Bengawan Solo, Curry Times, Eu Yan Sang, Heavenly Wang and Old Chang Kee.

Move over, Kinetic Rain sculpture in T1. The Petalclouds installation at T4's Central Galleria, made up of a symmetrical shape inspired by orchid petals, is designed to create the feel of clouds moving slowly in the sky. There are also other art installations such as Les Oiseaux (The Birds) at Arrival Hall and at Departure Hall, Hey, Ah Chek in the Public Area and The Travelling Family in the Transit Area. To fly through T4, book a Cathay Pacific flight to Bangkok or Hong Kong, fly to Seoul via Korean Air or travel on Air Asia, Cebu Pacific, Spring Airlines or Vietnam Airlines.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Drips Bakery Café

While I have been to Drips Bakery Café before, it was my dining companion's 1st visit. Located within the Tiong Bahru estate enclave, the café along Tiong Poh Road was inspired by Paul. Co-owner Alfred Chan used to be a pastry chef at Shangri-La Hotel and opened a bakery at Commonwealth before this. Its glass frontage allows natural light to flood the place in the day and frames of pictures stood out against white walls. Simple furniture, including sofa seats with coffee tables at the back, and tall ceiling combines to exude a cosy yet spacious charm. Other than soup and sandwiches, pies and quiches, it also offers main courses such as rice with butter chicken and all-day breakfast. Stick to its specialty  tarts as the portion of butter chicken was miserable and the dish tasted like a heated-up frozen item. All-day breakfast was more palatable. As I was not impressed with my previous order of coffee, we decided to go with chilled drink this time round which was perfect in the hot and humid weather.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Afternoon Teas around the World

Afternoon tea is not what you drink in the afternoon. Neither is it the opposite of English breakfast tea. Also known as high tea or afternoon high-tea, the quintessential British tradition is not all about tea. But sipping tea (or coffee if you prefer), and nibbling pretty savouries and sweets. Catching up with friends over high tea at Grand Hyatt's 10 Scotts was such a lovely experience that I have since tried other high teas, both in Singapore and overseas. Lunch and high tea were the more affordable opportunity to try Chef Justin Quek's signature fresh mushroom cappuccino at Sky on 57 atop Marina Bay Sands. Now that it has closed, where else can we chillax?

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Baba Wins

My dining companions and I were finding a place for late lunch at Tiong Bahru Plaza over the weekend when we chanced upon Baba Wins on the 2nd floor. It used to be at The Star Vista, and offers items that we have not seen in other Peranakan menus. Other than the familiar Bakwan Kepiting Soup and Nonya Chap Chye that I could not fault, we also ordered the highly recommended Assam China and Chinchalok Omelette. The meatballs of minced pork and crab meat, in light Bakwan Kepiting Soup was well-marinated and neither too tough nor mushy. Homely, just like Assam China where tender pork slices and tau pok were cooked in flavourful gravy made of taucheo and ikan sepat. Chinchalok means fermented shrimps, and that is what the fragrant Chinchalok Omelette was pan-fried with. I preferred this, with chopped long beans for the crunch to balance the a-tad-oily dish, to the Nonya Chap Chye. A pleasant meal  would be back to try other items on its menu.

Friday, 30 June 2017


Happened to be in Tanjong Pagar area over the weekend when we were hungry. As most places are only opened on weekdays and it was still early for dinner, our choices were limited. Found sbcd tucked away in a corner at B1 of Tanjong Pagar Centre, and decided on the Korean Tofu House. Other than tofu stews that contain pork (except for the vegetarian option) and vegetables, it also offers mains such as bibimbap, bulgolgi and teriyaki chicken. Appetisers include mandu or fried dumpling, japchae and jeon  prawn tofu or seafood pancake. Sundubu, or soontofu as it is spelt here, means soft tofu in Korean and is handmade daily for adding into the stew served with an egg.