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Turkish President Erdogan Just Called For An Apple Boycott, Here’s Why

By | August 15th, 2018

The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has instructed citizens of his country to stop buying American electronics, telling them to switch from Apple devices to those offered by Samsung. Apparently keen to push his people away from the iPhone, Erdogan also suggested that the Venus phone by Vestel might be a good option, especially considering it is a local smartphone maker.

Apple’s iPhone currently makes up around 15% of the smartphone market in Turkey and with Erdogan claiming that his country is the target of an economic war, has asked Turks to go so far as to sell all foreign currency while purchasing local items in an attempt to make the country more economically independent.

Speaking on Tuesday, the Turkish president vowed that the nation of 81m would no longer buy from Apple or other American technology producers. “If they have the iPhone, there is Samsung on the other side,” he told ruling party members. “In our own country there is the Venus.”

All of this comes with the local currency, the Lira, crashing thanks to economic uncertainty and with some wondering whether Erdogan will impose tariffs or outright bans on American products These are particularly trying times in the country, with the U.S. administration also increasing tariffs on Turkish metal exports while also sanctioning two Turkish ministers in relation to the handling of a U.S. pastor’s terrorism trial.

Apple has predictably not commented on the recent outburst by the Turkish president, nor do we expect it too. This isn’t the first time Apple has come under fire by a head of state, with U.S. President Donald Trump also calling for an Apple ban during his campaign for office.

(Source: Financial Times)

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Expedia’s Online Travel Fair Has Package Deals Starting From $163 To Destinations Like Bangkok, Tokyo, & Sydney

Expedia – Online Travel Fair

Expedia Online Travel Fair - Phuket travel package

Grand Sunset Hotel in Phuket. Image adapted from: @anna.bosssss

Even if you’ve just gotten back from a month-long holiday, it wouldn’t be long before the travel bug hits again. The trick to saving enough money to go on an around-the-world trip? Keep a lookout for upcoming travel sales, like Expedia’s Online Travel Fair.

From now to 9 September 2018, Expedia is having a sale on their flights, hotels, and packages from nearby Southeast Asian towns like Phuket and Penang to far-flung destinations like Seoul, Sydney, and San Francisco. Here are some travel deals we’ll be saving our leave for:

Flight + Hotel Deals

For those who can’t bear spending hours deliberating over the perfect holiday, then Expedia’s Flight + Hotel Deals are what you need. It includes cities like Seoul, Sydney, and Tokyo – all cities that usually rack up some serious credit card splurges just on the roundtrip flights alone.

Expedia's Online Travel Fair - Flight and hotel packages to Tokyo

The view from 4-star hotel, The Royal Park Hotel Tokyo Shiodome. Image credit: @happyasav

Many often stay away from bustling cities like Tokyo, since we can’t quite justify spending that much of our hard-earned money on a cosy room that fits a bed and not much else. But the Online Travel Fair offers up bundled hotel deals at reasonable rates – Flight + Hotel Packages to Tokyo can be found from around $ 1k/person.

Expedia Online Travel Fair - Phuket travel deals

For nearer trips to make the most of a long weekend, try holiday towns like Phuket – 3 full days are all you need to soak up some sunshine, with a fresh coconut in hand. For 2 travellers, a short vacay to Phuket booked through Expedia’s Flight + Hotel options will set you back just around $ 300/couple.

Other Flight + Hotel Deals include cities like Batu Ferringhi, George Town, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Kowloon, Phuket, Seoul, Sydney, and Tokyo.

Airline Deals

Expedia's Online Travel Fair - airline deals

Image credit: @cathaypacific

If you would rather decide on your hotel and flight separately, then Expedia lets you do just that. For instance, you can plan your own travel itinerary with a trip to Hong Kong – they’ve got return flights for less than $ 300 and hotels around $ 100/night.

Other Airline Deals include cities like Bangkok, Beijing, Dubai, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Kaohsiung, Kuala Lumpur, London, Melbourne, New York, Osaka, Penang, Perth, Phuket, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Taipei, and Tokyo.

Hotel Deals

Expedia Online Travel Fair - hotel deals

Image credit: @thepottingerhongkong

Of course, once you’ve booked your flight to Hong Kong, there are also hotels to suit every budget – from $ 102/night with Cosmo Hotel Hong Kong to $ 405/night with luxury hotel The Pottinger Hong Kong.

Other Hotel Deals include countries like Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Vietnam.

Travel deals and promos from Expedia

Expedia Online Travel Fair - travel deals & promos

Which hotel to choose when going to Phuket?

Whether it’s an end-of-year holiday or short weekend getaway, book your next holiday with Expedia’s Online Travel Fair – they’ve got hotel, flight and package deals* for every type of traveller out there. Everyone’s got that dream destination they’ve been stalking with Instagram’s geotag function, so book by 9 September 2018, for a chance to get it cheap.

Expedia Online Travel Fair

Image credit: Expedia

*Travel period is from 30 July 2018 to 31 January 2019.
**All prices accurate as of 13 August 2018.

Find out more about Expedia’s Online Travel Fair here!

This post was brought to you by Expedia.

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Group FaceTime Won’t Be Available Until Future Version Of iOS 12.x

By | August 14th, 2018

Apple today released iOS 12 beta 7 to developers continuing what now appears to be a weekly release schedule as time slips away ahead of an official release that is expected to arrive towards the end of September. There is plenty to get the teeth into with this particular iOS update, which was a pleasant surprise when it was announced during WWDC 2018 after rumors had Apple preferring to launch with a focus on stability and performance rather than new features.

Despite that, there was still a raft of new features announced, one of which was support for FaceTime video calls with up to 32 people involved. Apple even demonstrated this particular feature during the big opening keynote, suggesting it would most certainly make its way into iOS 12 proper this fall. However, that’s not how things appear to be panning out.

Developers have started to note that the iOS 12 beta 7 release notes make mention of the fact that the new FaceTime feature will not be part of the final iOS 12 release and has actually been removed from this beta release. That’s bad news for anyone who was looking forward to being able to make FaceTime calls with an extended number of people but is also a worrying sign of yet more feature slippage from the folks working on Apple’s software.

We’re still reeling from he debacle that saw AirPlay 2 slip and slip before finally arriving as part of a later iOS 11 update and now, after sharing the feature in front of thousands at WWDC, FaceTime support for 32 people is now set to suffer the same fate.

Apple says that the feature will arrive in a subsequent update to iOS 12, but with no indication when that will be, it’s possible it could be months before we see the feature again. Apple does not appear to be the well oiled machine it once was – hopefully, this gets sorted out sooner rather than later.

(Source: Guilherme Rambo [Twitter])

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One Pot (一锅) – Professional Skater Opens Steamboat in Ulu Coffee Shop.

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The coffee shop at Jalan Benaan Kapal is not the most accessible but many of us still visit the place in the morning for the cheapest kopi in Singapore. Even taxi drivers and parking attendants would come here to have lunch. But from mid-July, this ulu coffeeshop got busier at night because of the opening of One Pot 一锅.

The stall is opened by Mr Brent Tay, is a professional inline skater and DJ. He spent a lot of time ice skating at Kallang Leisure Park when he was younger, and he would always drop by Jalan Benaan Kapal to have a meal after his skating sessions. This coffee shop was where Brent frequented while he was growing up, so you can safely say that it’s a huge part of his life. Hence, Brent had that little dream of opening a stall here when he grows up. Fast forward to 20 years later, he decided to set up One Pot 一锅 with his friends.

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Come to think of it, I haven’t really had steamboat in a food centre. The only two places that come to my mind is Tian Wai Tian Fish Head Steamboat and Ah Pang Steamboat Seafood at Mei Ling Food Centre. However, I do visit hotpot restaurants very often such as Beauty In The Pot, Da Miao Hotpot and Hai Di Lao.

I think what sets them apart is definitely the quality of the ingredients. And here at One Pot 一锅, I am surprised to find the hawker stall buying their own meat slicer to cut their Australian ribeye fresh every day. That’s amazing. Brent shared with us,”I used to get the meat slices directly from supplier, but those meats do not have the beautiful reddish tinge, so I decided to slice it fresh in the stall.”

Of course, don’t expect melt-in-your-mouth wagyu in a coffee shop. So, this is good enough for me. I appreciate that they try to use better quality meats. And in future, they may also bring in kurobuta pork as well.

Besides good quality meats, One Pot 一锅 also serves handmade fishballs and fish dumplings. Brent does the shopping every morning to ensure that the ingredients are fresh. Diners can choose from a pork, chicken or beef set, and prices start from $ 15 for 1 pax to $ 60 for 5 pax. Nicely presented in a wooden box, each set comes with cabbage, mushrooms, fish balls, crabstick, tung hoon, quail eggs, tao kee, minced pork, fresh fish slices, prawns, luncheon meat and eggs.

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One Pot iPiccy-collage

Now, let’s talk about the broth. Brent only serves premium Japanese pork bone broth. Nope, he doesn’t cook it in the stall, and the broth is purchased from a supplier. But the broth is very tasty, and we don’t get thirsty after our dinner. Hopefully, there will be a spicy broth in the future.

There are two sauces available – one is spicy while the other is a sweeter version of it. I wish they can come up with a spicy and tangy chilli sauce. That would definitely whet our appetite more. But that’s just us.

Overall, it is quite a nice and quiet location for a steamboat. Brent even allows guests to bring their own alcohol. Oh yes, two things to note. Parking is free here and please call Brent to make reservations to avoid disappointment. made an anonymous visit and paid its own meal at the stall featured here.

For more food videos, check out our official YouTube channel! You may also wish to check out our article on Sin Chew Satay Bee Hoon which serves absolutely delicious satay bee hoon!

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Born into a family of enthusiastic foodies, Maureen has always loved all things culinary, especially the local cuisine here in Singapore. With a life-long fascination with the rapidly evolving food scene in Singapore, she started this website in 2007 to explore and celebrate all types of local Singapore dishes and to share her love of travel and food with the world. With 4 years of experience as a journalist and producer, she has a wealth of experience in food writing, photography and styling.

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Add Qi Wireless Charging To AirPods Case Today With This Accessory Without Having To Wait For Apple To Do It

By | August 12th, 2018

We’re still waiting for Apple to get around to launching AirPower, the wireless charging pad that it promised last year but is still yet to be released. Apple also said that it would be launching AirPods with a special wireless charging case as well, perfectly suited to AirPower.

Unfortunately, almost a year after announcement neither are here yet, and if rumors are to be believed, wireless charging will now come as part of second-gen AirPods which will likely leave first-gen AirPods owners out in the cold. Worry not though as a complete third-party solution has finally arrived which adds Qi wireless charging to existing AirPods case, like this Qi Wireless Charging Case For Apple AirPods:

The charging case works in exactly the way you might expect it to. Slide your existing AirPods charging case into this wireless charging case, connect it via Lightning and that’s about all there is to it.

The wireless charging case itself will be charged by any Qi-compatible wireless charger, sending power to the AirPods charging case via a built-in Lightning connector that is positioned just so, inside.

It’s pretty minimal so it wouldn’t add any bulk to the case either. In fact, the case will actually help protect existing AirPods charging case from getting scratched as most of you AirPods owners might already know how prone it is to scratches in day-to-day use!

Right now, there are a couple of deals running on this thing that we think you’re going to love. Depending on your needs you can choose either of them from here by entering the corresponding coupon code at check out (links below).

Get the Qi AirPods Wireless Charging Case for $ 39.95 with code CHRGNGCASE15OFF.

Buy Qi AirPods Wireless Charging Case and get 1 FREE wireless charging pad using this code at check out: GETWIREFREEAIR.

If you don’t already own a wireless charging pad then the second of these two offers is probably the way to go, otherwise we’d opt for the discount outright. No matter which you do plump for though, you’re getting quite the deal.

Buy: Qi Wireless Charging Case For Apple AirPods: $ 39.95 using promo code CHRGNGCASE15OFF | Original price: $ 70
Buy: Qi Wireless Charging Case For Apple AirPods + Free Standard Wireless Charging Pad: $ 49.95 using promo code GETWIREFREEAIR | Original price: $ 85

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7 Old School Phones Every Singaporean Used Behind Their Textbooks In Class

Handphones of the 2000s

Old Phones - Cover Image

Image adapted from: @marekunda, @mytriumvirate, @abdul_harris

Before the days of Apple vs Android, there were more factions in the Handphone War like Sony Ericsson, Motorola and my personal favourite, Nokia. The days when you could dramatically end a convo by closing the clamshell or get new ringtones by SMS-ing a number in the newspaper.

For all the times they’ve distracted us during silent reading or looped The Black Parade as we emo-ed in the library, here are 7 old school phones that will always have a special place in our hearts.

1. Nokia N-Gage

Old Phones - N-Gage

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Sigh. I didn’t own one myself but for many other Singaporeans, the Nokia N-Gage was an unforgettable experience. In introducing them to the concept of buyer’s remorse.

Back when the Game Boy Advance was all the rage, Nokia decided to get in on the fun by introducing this phone/game system hybrid. 

Though it had its fair share of good games like Splinter Cell, FIFA, and Call of Duty, the hard controls and subpar screen ultimately disengaged users. That and the fact you had to hold the phone like a taco to make calls.

2. Motorola Razr V3

Old Phones - Motorola Razr V3

Image credit: @oldgadgetz

Nothing captures the zeitgeist of the 00’s better than clamshell phones ‘cause they were everywhere – from kids who wanted to mimic Masked Rider 555’s transformation sequence to teens who had to get Dan Humphrey’s phone.

So the fact that the Motorola Razr V3 sold 130 million units and remained the best selling clamshell phone ever is no small feat. Having owned a hot pink one, I loved how svelte it was and the glossy finish was just beauts

And. That. Keyboard. It set a standard for dumb-phones to come with its gorgeous flat surface and luminescence. Techies who wanted to tap on that had affordable alternatives like the small-but-cute Motorola Pebl.  

3. Nokia 5700 XpressMusic

Old Phones - Nokia 5700 XpressMusic

Image credit: @pafosphon

Thanks to The Click Five’s Jenny music video, loads of fangirls were clamouring for the Nokia 5700 XpressMusic as it had a fun twist – literally.

You could fully rotate the bottom portion of the phone to reveal its music player controls. And since its camera was at the bottom side, you could easily face it towards you to take a selfie – before it was cool. 

4. Nokia L’Amour Collection – 7380, 7370, 7360

Old Phones - Nokia L'Amour

Front row: Nokia 7380
Back row (from left to right): Nokia 7370, Nokia 7360
Image adapted from: Toyci Aparece

For many, it was love at first sight with the Nokia L’Amour Collection. The initial phones in this line all sported a stunning floral motif against a chic rose gold finish – so atas

Old Phones - Nokia 7360

Pink Nokia 7360
Image credit: Rare Shop

Users who weren’t fans of earthy tones simply had to wait a year – later additions took things up a notch with their feminine strawberries-and-cream colour scheme.

Old Phones - Nokia 7380

Nokia 7380
Image credit: Sakdichote Totiam

In the collection, all that glittered was gold as for the very first time, you could find premium components in a phone like leather and metal. Consumers loved the Nokia 7380, in particular, as its screen was a mirror on power-saving mode and there was no keypad! So you used it like how you would with an iPod – with a navigation wheel.

5. LG Lollipop

Old Phones - Lollipop

Image credit: Bukalapak

Just as the very first iPhone entered the market, LG released what would be one of the last few non-smartphones: the GD580 Lollipop. And boy, did they bring in major star power.

Yeap. The song that brought 2NE1 into public consciousness was actually commissioned by LG to promote the phone.

Old Phones - Lollipop LED

Image credit: The Nat Story

The phone itself has respectable features like a cool LED screen on the front cover that allowed you to create your own patterns for notifications, and a front-facing camera for selfies.

6. Sony Ericsson W810i

Old Phones - Sony Ericsson W810i

Image adapted from: @abdul_harris

If you were a teen who couldn’t part with your earphones in the mid-00s, then you’ll know that Sony Ericsson’s Walkman phones were exalted for their superior sound quality. And sitting atop the throne was the W810i.

Packed inside the device were features that, at that time, were unheard of like a fully functional internet browser, a camera with autofocus and flash and the pièce de résistance – a Memory Stick PRO Duo slot for cards up for 4GB.

For an angsty teen, this meant having a whole lotta space for songs by Arctic Monkeys and Fall Out Boy. But of course, my go-to track was “jordin_sparks_chris_brown_no_air.mp3”.

7. Nokia 3310

Old Phones - Nokia 3310

Image adapted from: @marekunda

Of course, no retro phone list is complete without mentioning the legend himself: the Nokia 3310

Thanks to its sturdy construction, you could drop the phone from a great height and it’d remain undented – unlike certain fruit-branded phones which crack from merely falling off your seat. Its durability is so well-known that it’s even transcended to meme status.

You can also thank the Nokia 3310 for introducing now-classic games like Pairs II, Space Impact, and Snake II.

Iconic old-school phones used by Singaporeans in the past

Though we’ve long traded numeric keypads for touchscreens, you can’t deny the huge impact these non-smartphones had on our past selves. 

From not dying on us as we crafted a 3-page SMS to our crushes, to taking grainy pics of peace signs with our SiSt@Hz, the phones may be outdated but the memories remain eternal.

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8 Extinct Sights That Will Only Make Sense To Singaporeans In Their 20s And 30s Now

Singapore then and now 

At 53 years, Singapore’s just a young hatchling in the grand scheme of things. But since our grandparents’ time, there have been plenty of changes in how we live our day-to-day lives. From public transport to movie tickets, here are 8 pictures that show how drastically Singapore has transformed in the past few decades: 

1. Paying your bus fare

bus fare singapore

Image adapted from: Hida Didi and Icons of SG 

Before EZ-Link Cards came about, you’d need either a stash of coins or loaded-up TransitLink Card to take the bus. We’d fiddle away with the buttons of the ticketing machine and patiently wait for our bus tickets – most of us clung onto these slips of of paper not to show the bus inspector, but to fold them into origami hearts to give to our crushes. 

2. Watching TV shows

video tape rental singapore netflix

Image adapted from: On The Upcycle

The greatest highlight of our week was when we’d head down to video tape rental stores. Our parents will be engrossed in their shows – most probably Hong Kong triad dramas or Hollywood blockbusters – and we’ll be making a beeline for cartoons like Aladdin and The Lion King. And of course, it was basic courtesy to rewind all tapes before returning them.

Today, we’re more likely to have a Netflix subscription than a fave video rental store. And it takes minimal effort to watch shows online anywhere, anytime, anyplace – just switch on your laptop and press play. 

3. Borrowing library books

library books singapore

Image adapted from: Remember Singapore

For those of you who still borrow books from the library – good on you. Although most only step foot in a library now for exam mugging or cold aircon relief, libraries were the highlight of our good ol’ school days. It was probably the lack of a speedy Internet connection, but checking out the grand total of 4 books made our day. 

4. Watching a movie

watching movies singapore past

Image adapted from: Mica Monkey and Pinterest

For us ‘90s kids, we’re often watching Netflix shows and YouTube videos but there’s still something special about a dinner + movie date. These days, we wouldn’t need to bring anything but our phone: we can do the entire booking online and enter the cinema by flashing a QR code. 

But back in the day, watching a movie meant searching the newspapers for showtimes and entering with a paper ticket – with your seat number scrawled on by pen. And yes, movies were only $ 3.50 but that took a huge hit on our savings since our allowance reached $ 1/day at best. 

5. Making phone calls

Image adapted from: Wikimedia

It wasn’t possible to go a few steps anywhere without seeing these public payphones – that’s how common they once were. A 10-cent coin was all we needed to make a quick call, usually to tell our parents that we’ll be studying – cough, playing – after school. 

But we don’t even call people with our mobiles these days: we’re so used to WhatsApp-ing or Facebook Messenger that a call from an unknown number has us staring at our mobile screens in mild surprise. 

6. Paying road tolls

road tolls singapore

Image adapted from: Times of My Life and Land Transport Authority

No one likes seeing an ERP, but imagine how much worse it was when the Area Licensing Scheme (ALS) was around. It was a lot like the toll gantries in Malaysia – every time you wanted to drive to the CBD, you’d have to painstakingly queue up at a post office to buy an area licence first. 

Never thought it would come to this, but we actually like having an IU machine. 

7. Keeping photographs

photo albums singapore

Image adapted from: Scan Photo Singapore and @oliphanofficial

Raise your hand if you’ve got a stash of yellowing family photos – yep, we’ve all got that naked baby photo tucked away somewhere. But these days, you’re more likely to be scrolling through the 1048319084 pics loaded in your Camera Roll instead.

Sure, nostalgia’s great, but we prefer the ease of our photo-editing apps and the freedom to delete whatever we like, thank you very much. 

8. Visiting McDonald’s

old new singapore macdonalds

Image adapted from: National Archives of Singapore and CapitaLand

Since the very first McDonald’s outlet in Singapore, plenty has changed: we have digital menu boards instead of printed menus and no longer have to join in queues. Instead, we use self-ordering kiosks to customise our orders. Couple that with free WiFi and wew, we’d say the establishment has stepped firmly into our digital-savvy times.

Bonus: We also have a ready choice of 24-hour McDonald’s outlets and McDelivery whenever we need – we’ve got every meal sorted, from late-night suppers to early breakfasts. 

Who knows how previous generations survived without a steady supply of our favourite McDonald’s food?

McDonald’s Rendang Sedap Angus Beef Burger

mcdonalds rendang sedap angus burger

The past is filled with fond memories, and to relieve the good old days, McDonald’s has introduced its Rendang Sedap Angus Beef Burger ($ 6.95) this National Day to celebrate the local flavours we love, and remind us of traditional tastes with a modern twist. 

rendang burger mcdonalds

McDonald’s rendition of Rendang Beef Burger comes with an upgraded beef patty, made with 100% Angus beef. The meat is tender, and dipped in a flavourful rendang sauce that’ll get the thumbs up from any nenek – especially when it’s made with a complex blend of coconut milk, ginger, kaffir lime, and lemongrass. 

Throw in other spices like onion and garlic, and you’ve got yourself a delish burger that hits all Beef Rendang cravings. It also comes topped with sliced red onions, grilled caramelised onions, and a tasty fried egg.

rendang burger set mcdonalds

Like other memorable McDonald’s renditions of Singapore’s local flavours like their Ha Ha Cheong Gai, this Rendang Sedap Angus Beef Burger brings us back to the good ol’ days of last time. This National Day, celebrate Singapore’s local flavours with McDonald’s Rendang Sedap Feast ($ 10.90), it comes complete with Golden Criss Cut Fries, Coke, and D24 Durian McFlurry. 

The McDonald’s Rendang Sedap Angus Beef Burger is available now in all McDonald’s restaurants, along with McDelivery and Grab Food – only while stocks last. 

Find out more about McDonald’s Rendang Sedap Angus Burger here! 

This post was brought to you by McDonald’s. 

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2019 Emoji List Adds Service Dog, Mixed-Race Couples, Deaf People, Sloth, More

By | August 11th, 2018

The Unicode Consortium is once again working on a list of potential new emoji characters to include in Unicode 12. Emoji have become a staple part of modern digital communication, which means that the Consortium is paying a lot more attention to new emoji before putting them forward for consideration.

One of the wonderful things about the work being handled by the Unicode Consortium is that it is trying to be more inclusive and diverse when it comes to the characters and new emoji that are put forward and that ultimately make it into a new version of Unicode. This time around, candidates include mixed-race couples, beautiful representations of a service dog designed to help the visually impaired, deaf people, and even same-sex mixed-race couples. This is definitely the next step that the Consortium needed to take.

What typically happens is that a whole heap of new emoji characters are put forward for consideration and a decision is made on whether or not they get moved into the final version of Unicode. If they do actually make the cut, then they would be released in 2019 as part of Unicode 12 and then would eventually be supported by various manufacturers, such as Apple, Google, and Samsung, on their devices through new firmware updates. Users would then be able to take advantage of all of the new characters to spice up their digital correspondence through messaging apps.

In addition to the aforementioned emoji, which promote diversity and inclusion, other characters are also being considered. There is a rather brutal looking axe tool, a snorkel and face mask, an ice cube, a flamingo, and a sloth. For those who are into performance art, there will be a new dancer up for consideration, and even some new shoes, cloves of garlic, and a spectacular otter for those who are animal lovers.

Currently, we are still waiting for companies like Apple to actually integrate Unicode 11 into iOS, which should come later this year when iOS 12 is rolled out to the general public. Once that happens, it’s then time to think about the future and see what Unicode 12 actually offers when this list is finalized. For a full list of the candidates, you can check out Unicode 12 over at Emojipedia.

(Source: Emojipedia)

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Merci Marcel, Club Street: The Same Same But Different Second Outlet of the Casual, Simple French Bistro Dining

From the owners who brought you O Batignolles (now defunct), Merci Marcel on Club Street is an updated, chic-kified version of the rustic French joint. This is the second outlet; the first Merci Marcel at Tiong Bahru. While the Tiong Bahru is casual and breezy like a garden, the Club Street is a voguish haunt, playing ambient music, where beautiful, model-like CBD-ers hang out. There is little to dislike about its modern and relaxed atmosphere which sets you right in the mood for a casual, ok flight of French cuisine.

For starters, we had three kinds of cheese – the Bleu d’Auvergne, Brillat Savarin and Tete de Moine. The Bleu d’Auvergne is a blue cheese that is less pungent than Stilton or even Gorgonzola, and it’s smoother too. Its saltiness goes really well with the quince that comes with the cheese platter. Brillat Savarin is a soft, triple cream cow’s milk cheese and Merci Marcel’s has a faint layer of black truffle in the middle. Given the lovely creaminess of the cheese, I wish the earthy aroma of the truffle were more pronounced to round the flavor. Our last selection is a Swiss cheese that drollishly translates to Monk’s Head in English. This semi-hard cheese is served in shaved florets and has a rich milky flavor. The cheeses at Merci Marcel change daily and are flown in 3 times a week from France to ensure their freshness and variety. A three cheese platter goes for $ 24++.

Our mains were the Whole Catalonia Octopus Leg ($ 46++) and the Duck Parmentier ($ 26++). The octopus leg is tender; there’s little resistance when one bites into it. I can imagine there is a bit of loving tenderizing/massaging that goes into the cooking process to ease out the harder kinks in an octopus leg. The potato rouille that comes with the leg is aromatic and its umami from the combination of garlic, red pepper and crème fraiche spreads immediately on your tongue. All of that eaten with the crispy fried kale on the side, you have an amazing amalgamation of textures in your mouth. However, I do think the leg itself can do with more seasoning. On its own, it is tad bland.

The Duck Parmentier is a pulled duck confit on top of mashed potatoes but at Merci Marcel they’ve transformed the mashed potatoes into a Pomme Macaire. This is a way of twice cooking the potatoes first by roasting them in their skins then removing the flesh and storing them overnight in the fridge before baking and then frying them. On the whole, this tastes like gym food for babies – full of protein, very mushy. The duck confit is simple, straightforwardly ducky and a little bland. The Pomme Macaire, though pan-fried, doesn’t have a nice crust.

Now, imagine the crispy skin of the duck confit carefully removed and served on top of the meat, instead of the pointless, clearly-just-to-have-colour-contrast greens with a luxurious, slightly smoky and crusty Pomme Macaire. Too.damn.shiok is what it is. I will pay an extra five dollars for this. But too bad, this is just a fantasy. I didn’t finish the actual dish.

The Tarte Tatin ($ 12++) is somewhat of a letdown too. But the good thing first. I get what they are doing with the generous serving of simmered sweet apple flesh. The cooked apple is moist without being soft. Look at it, it’s a cute mountain of delicious apple. Unfortunately, it is too much. For every mouthful of sweet, sweet (ohsosweet) apple, there is a pinch of pastry. And because the apple sits, like Jabba the Hutt, overwhelmingly on what should be a dainty, buttery puff pastry (you can’t see it can you), that fragile deliciousness is crushed and made soggy. There just isn’t balance. I also didn’t finish this dish.

All that said, if you aren’t too fussy about how your goddamn food tastes and you aren’t writing a food review, this place is all in all not too bad for a Frenchified brunch or dinner. Will I return? Yeah sure. I like the feel of the place and I’m optimistic they’ll continue to improve their cuisine. If not, at least they have non-cheffy things like their cheese and cold cut platters (hard to go wrong here) if ever I feel like a day out at a French bistro.


Merci Marcel
7-9 Club St, Singapore 069403
Tue-Sat 9am-12am, Sun 9am-10.30pm

Food: 6.25/10
Decor: 7.5/10
Value/price: 6.5/10

You may be interested in…
Lerouy, Stanley Street: Modern French Cuisine is the New Black and White
Atout, Dempsey: New French Restaurant Serving Les Bistrot Du Sommelier 2.0
Summer Hill, Sunset Way: Rustic French Bistro by Former Chefs of Cocotte and Bird Bird
Audace Bar and Restaurant, Wanderlust Hotel: French Food by Michelin-starred Chef from the French Alps

Written by Paul Ng. Deathrow meal: steamed uonuma koshihikari rice, sunny side up eggs drizzled with slow-rendered pork lard, kicap cair dark soya sauce with a side of gribenes. And a bowl of uni. Aspiring taitai. Also co-owner of Provisions Food – local maker of baked goods, snacks, condiments and sauces inspired by the flavours of Asia.


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