I-S Magazine, a Singaporean weekly tabloid, discusses in its current issue about tipping, which has been banned in Singapore since the 1970's. Instead of tipping the restaurants add automatically a 10% of service charge to each bill and the customers do not have to guess about tipping.

I think the current policy works fine and should not be changed. Tipping in other countries always make me feel awkward; how much should I give, did I give too little or too much. For me as a Finn tipping represents something extra that I give for superb service, not for slow and unattentive one, which I should always reward automatically when in certain countries (US, UK, etc).

What do you think, should tipping be re-introduced in Singapore? Would it make the service any better?


At hypermarket

I did my groceries at Carrefour Plaza Singapura today. I try to avoid Carrefour hypermarkets as their cashier system is quite frustrating.

Let me explain. At Carrefour they have different kinds of cashier points which handle only certain customer groups. These groups are based on how many items one is buying and which payment method one is using. If the customer knows how the system works, shopping at Carrefour gets easier. But if one does not, then it might get messy. I followed a middle-aged Ang Mo lady's shopping experience today. Take a look at the chart I made below.

Readers outside Singapore, you can read about POSB Everyday Card here here and about NETS here here.

I know, this lady who had hard time shopping at Carrefour should have paid attention to the signs that guide which cashier to go to. But still I find it very annoying to have this class system. I believe the whole cashier process would be a lot faster if there would be only one kind of cashier points with no hassle with the cards or contents of one's shopping basket.

Little boxes

Filmed from the Bukit Panjang LRT Line cockpit.


Nordic gods go playing cards

I got a deck of Icelandair's new inflight playing cards in my hands. I had seen them in pictures before and they sure look extremely beautiful in real life too. The cards picture twelve Nordic pagan gods from the Viking age. I love the clean and yet traditional illustration style, which reminds me of Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela's Kalevala illustrations.


Marina Bay Sands Casino opens today

Today is the soft opening of the long anticipated Marina Bay Sands Casino. Officially the whole complex will be opening in June this year. The building site looks almost done apart from the theatre on the left side and the floating Louis Vuitton store in the front. So, get your coins in line and head to gamble for your life! I will certainly pay a visit after the first dust has landed.

Here and here are my previous entries of the subject.

Car twitching

I had lunch at Paragon's Sushi Tei's window table last Sunday. While eating I watched the smooth flow of shiny cars driving along Orchard road. Cars in Singapore are almost without an exception in very good shape and always polished. I think people take care of their cars as children because cars here are expensive and hard to get.

During my car twitching I started to pay attention to buses passing by. Or their roofs. Almost every single bus' roof was scratached, stained or otherwise in horrible condition - and the facades of the buses were in perfect shape. Is it the tropical climate, pure ignorance or why are the roofs neglected?



Clear skies

I am finally back in Singapore. There were no signs of the Icelandic ash cloud on the way from Helsinki to Amsterdam and onward to Singapore.


A Single Man

This is the best movie I have seen this year. Nothing really happens in it. The beauty of the movie lies in the way it is directed and filmed, the 1960's period styling and the fantastic actors. A Single Man is Tom Ford's, who is best known for his work in the fashion industry, first movie. I hope there are more to come.


Look at these socks! Aren't they amazing? The reptile style knitted pattern reminds me of Alexander McQueen's style, but these socks are from a far more better designer - my 81 year old grandmother.





Helsinki Airport's terminal 2 departures hall last week.

I was supposed to fly to Singapore today. Thanks to the Icelandic ash cloud I am grounded in Helsinki until further notice. So more pictures from Helsinki to come.





Giuseppe Verdi: Un ballo in maschera

All photos from The Finnish National Opera / Heikki Tuuli

One of my favorite hobbies in Helsinki is going to the opera. This time I went to see a new version of Verdi's Un ballo in maschera. The Finnish National Opera makes often fresh and interesting production of opera classics.

Un ballo in maschera was no exception to this. It was based on the Boston version of the opera, but it was put to happen in our time. Reality shows and ad hoc publicity were important themes. The staging was interesting, especially in the end of the third act where the masquerade takes place. The 1960's pop futuristic setup with the extravagant costumes was pure eye candy. The costumes were designed by a rising Finnish fashion designer duo Rinne Niinikoski. I enjoyed Verdi's music too with the big chorus scenes.

Fashion patterns