Indian rojak sauce, a local Singapore peanut sauce, does not contain any seafood ingredient.

Yet, in 2009, Vibrio Parahaemolyticus - a seafood based bacterium - was linked to a massive food poisoning case in Singapore and even resulted in two fatalities. How did this bacterium cross contaminated with a peanut sauce which had no seafood ingredient?

This was one of the case study highlighted in the Food Hygiene Course I attended as part of the Workforce Skills Qualifications training as part of upgrading.

This course is compulsory for all food handlers in Singapore, even if the food handlers are service staff and are even part time staff. If, during investigation by the National Environment Agency in Singapore, establishments have food handlers who have not attended the course may face six demerit points per handler. Twelve demerit points results in immediate suspension of the establishment for two weeks.

In this course, I learnt that bacteria cross contamination is the major leading cause of massive food poisoning cases in Singapore. Compared to the other causes of food poisoning, bacteria formation is naked to the eye and can neither be tasted or smelt to prevent food poisoning.

For example, if yeast starts to form on the food, you can smell it. If it smells bad, you will throw it away. If molds start to grow on food, you can see the greenish colour alteration on the food and you will throw it away. Viruses can only survive on a living hosts. So that leaves bacteria, naked to the eye, tasteless and produce no smell.

Bacteria strive in humid temperatures between 4 Degrees Celsius and 60 Degrees Celsius. If each bacteria strain takes 30 minutes to multiple, within four hours, you could have a bacteria farm forming on your food be it cooked or uncooked.

Bacteria do not die at low temperatures and they just go to "sleep" at below 4 Degrees Celsius and will only be killed at high temperatures at above 60 Degrees Celsius. As such, cooked food posed to be a more fertile ground for bacteria formation as one is most likely to reheat it at more than 60 Degrees Celsius for next consumption.

Cross contamination of bacteria into food is also one of food poisoning cases in Singapore. This lead us back to the Indian Rojak Peanut Sauce food poisoning case.

Unfortunately, the exact source of the contamination of the April 2009 food poisoning case was not determined as the food remnants were all cleared, a similar incident in 1983 drew parallel with this April 2009 case. In the 1983 case, it was determined that some frozen cuttlefish was placed on the top level of the chiller for defrosting, while the Rojak sauce uncovered and placed at the bottom of the chiller. As such, the juices from the defrosting cuttlefish dripped down the Rojak sauce, causing cross contamination from a seafood to a non seafood dish.

As such, the conclusion for the April 2009 Rojak sauce food poisoning could have been caused by similar circumstances.

From this case study, while it is convenient to just place items in the chiller as one would like it, defrosting raw items should be placed at the bottom of the chiller and cooked food should be placed in covered containers at the top of the chiller to prevent cross contamination.

Prevention of cross contamination was also constant reminder during the course because cases of food poisoning in Singapore has been mainly due to cross contamination. In December 2007, several reported cases of food poisoning when they consumed a chocolate cake from outlets of a popular bakery. It was found that the cake samples had the Salmonella bacteria and the bacteria came from food handlers at the main factory.

Since food handlers provide food to the masses, a single source of contaminated food can spread to many instantly. Depending on the immunity of the affected individual, food poisoning could lead to fatality.

As such, it is important for food handlers to attend this training so as to remind oneself on the importance of reducing food contamination, especially those from cross contamination.

Boys usually learn faster if they are hands on and can visualise the problems. As such, I usually use Legos to explain maths concept to my son so he can visualise the working and the solution.

Last night, we were going through the maths homework and there was this arithmetic problem sum that required the understand of the concept of units. It only dawned upon me in the morning after how I could have used Legos to explain the concept to him, which I will be showing him later today.

The Problem Sum

There are three fishes. Fish A cost three times as much as Fish B. Fish C cost $4 less than Fish B. The total cost of the three fishes is $46. Find the cost of Fish A. 

Step 1: Compare cost of Fish B and Fish A.

Let's take the 1-whole Lego block to represent the cost of Fish B.

Since Fish A cost three times as much as Fish B, the cost of Fish A cost 3 x 1-whole Lego Block.

Step 2: Compare cost of Fish B and Fish C

 As Fish C cost $4 less, let's the 3/4 Lego block to represent the cost of Fish C.

The $4 difference can be presented by the 1/4 Lego Block.

Step 3: Cost of 1-whole Lego Block

To find the cost of a 1-whole Lego Block, I will need to the cost of Fish B to be represented by a 1-whole Lego Block. This will then allow me to take the Total Cost of the Fishes to be presented by 5 x 1-whole Lego Blocks and I can divide this Total Cost by 5 to find out the cost represented by 1-whole Lego Block.

However, the cost of Fish C is short of a 1/4 Lego Block (=$4). As such, I have to add the 1/4 Lego Block to Fish C to make it a full 1-whole Lego Block.

If I add 1/4 Logo Block to Fish C, I would also need to add 1/4 Logo Block to the total cost.

Since the 1/4 Logo Block = $4, I add $4 to the total cost of the Fishes which is now $50.

Step 4: Determine the value of 1-whole Lego Block

The value of 1-whole Lego Block can be determined now by $50/5 = $10.

Since cost of Fish B is represented by 1-whole Lego Block, Fish B cost $10.

Step 5: Calculate the cost of Fish A

As the value of Fish A is represented by 3 x 1-whole Lego Blocks, cost of Fish A is $10 x 3 = $30.

The question could also ask to find of cost of Fish C. To do this, simply take $10 - $4 = $6 as from the block diagrams.

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) may have scored a  viral hit with its 2017 Chinese New Year advertisement but a bad customer service experienced by a popular Malaysia blogging couple is becoming a social wet blanket to the airline's Lunar New Year party. 

Audrey, of, wrote how MAS "ruined" her family Chinese New Year by denying their 11.15am flight to Penang because it was "overbooked", even though they have tickets in hand.

The reason given by the counter staff was they checked-in too late even though Audrey and family was at the counter 90 minutes before the flight.

Wrote Audrey about her husband's conversation with the counter staff,
Staff: I’m sorry, you checked in too late.
Fatty: Huh what do you mean too late? We’re here 1.5 hours before the flight to check in.
Staff: Yea, because check in is open 48 hours before a flight…. Other people already checked in before you so there are no more seats.
Fatty: So? I’m not late to check in what. And I have my tickets!
Fatty happens to be the Timothy Tiah, the founder of Netcentric - parent company of the Nuffnang that rules the blogging advertising space in Asia.

Wrote Timothy,
I used to be a huge supporter of Malaysia Airlines. Like it’s always my first choice of airline even though their planes are getting old and even though there’s a safety stigma to it. I stuck with it through thick and thin.
Not anymore. Here’s why...
You can read more of his side of the story at

The cause of this was found that the 11.15am was overbooked and the counter staff had put passengers on this flight which was earlier cancelled.

Audrey and Timothy was lucky to be bloggers, as Audrey wrote MAS has responded and refunded her MAS Enrich points. The two bloggers shared they overhead other passengers may have been affected by this issue too. These passengers, however, may not be as lucky to get their refund that easily, and may have to tangle through a web of online forms and endless call centers "discussions".

The two blog posts by two very popular bloggers in Malaysia came at the time when MAS was being lauded with its 2017 Chinese New advertisement showing non-Chinese Malaysia speaking in fluent Mandarin and other popular Chinese dialects.

Wrote Yahoo News,

Facebook user, Kenny Teoh, said, “This is the BEST CNY advertisement of the year, and it doesn’t involve any Chinese! Bravo!”
Another user, Hisham Jahudi, said, “Fantastic effort by MAS. Perfectly clear message: cherishing the diversity in our people which is one of our nation’s greatest assets.”

The video may has been viewed 43,000 times with 990 shares as of the time of this writing, yet dismal customer service  experienced by customers can't hide the challenges Malaysian Airlines faces in keeping customers' trust, especially that of two very influential and popular bloggers.

Power to the blog!

One of the interesting things I learned working with a millennial is that they are have the Internet easy for them but this ease forgot how "difficult" life was back then.

Take hosting a video online.

Today, all you need is a smartphone, Internet connection, a Youtube account and viola, you can host a video online for the world to see.

As one who grew up in the dial-up generation, hosting a video back then was quite a challenge. You had to buy expensive video equipment and the video was to be captured on VHS video tape. Once the video was ready for to be shared, you had to convert VHS analogue to digital.That wasn't the end.

You had to consider the storage and bandwidth cost and the biggest challenge was that you have to handle codes to allow the video to be played.

You also had to consider how to disseminate your video.Today, you don't event have to worry about bandwidth or storage cost. Just upload onto Youtube, embed the given codes and you have your video on the web.Post the link on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or any other social media network and you get a channel to disseminate the video.

My 8 year son was impressed that his "Dan The Flying Man" video got like 2,000 views on Youtube.

The reason for writing this is that for those who grown up with dial-ups to Web2.0 to social networks, you tend to appreciate more how technology has made things easier.

For those who grew up with the technology presented to them, there is a tendency to take it for granted as it has become an every day tool.

My #giveit100 Challenges

I was inspired by the girl below to take up my own #giveit100 day challenge with both push-ups and a running routine that focuses on intensity rather than distance.

A 100 day challenge seems last daunting than a new year resolution. I don't know why but just renaming it a 100 day challenge seems something achievable than aiming to do it for a year.

Giveit100 Challenge 1 - 100 Days Of Push-ups

I found that the best time to do push-ups is before bedtime.

You are all ready for bed and your mind is quite relax. So why not do some push-ups before you sleep?

I started the push-ups routine on 2 Jan 2017 and I been doing it nightly for the past 10 days already. It began with 10 reps. On the 9th day, I was able to do 20.

Somehow the push-ups gradually encouraged me to do some sit-ups and leg raises before hitting the hay.

Guess when you completed the push-ups, your mind just tell you "Hey, why not some simple sit-ups and leg raises?" No harm adding another simple routine before bedtime as it will add just a few minutes to the total routine.

Giveit100 Challenge 2 - 100 Days Of Running

In 2016, I made a mistake of aim for distance rather than packing a faster run in less time. After awhile, long distance running to me became monotonous and time consuming. My record was a 10 km run. The run was about 90 mins plus but the time to get back made it a total of 3 hours.

Somehow, I lost interest and my weight and tummy came back in no time. I am one of those unfortunate many who can lose and gain weight very fast.

Now I have decided to do shorter but faster runs. I am currently looking to do 2km runs and gradually increasing it to 2.5km. At the same time, reducing the time taken to complete each round.

I have to admit I haven't been able to do it daily since 2nd January 2017, but I have been telling myself I need to complete 100 days. So it has been 5 days of running so far and I am feeling better than in 2016 already.

Giveit100 Challenge 3 - 100 Articles on Linkedin

I am also aiming to complete 100 articles on this social network and I do need to get my writing groove back.

Push-ups and running are for improving one physical health while writing articles help with the mental stimulation.

With this post, I should be at my fourth article for the year. So that means 96 to go. A countdown like this also makes the giveit100 challenge a gaming component to this mental exercise. One article written means the number goes down by one and it shows I am ever closer to zero.

Recommended Money Makers

  • Chitika eMiniMalls
  • WidgetBucks
  • Text Link Ads
  • AuctionAds
  • Amazon Associates