January 1, 2018

11 years of shutting between KL and Singapore

Looking back to October 2017 it marked the 11th year work anniversary in Singapore which naturally means Ive been shutting back and forth between KL and Singapore for 11 years.

In 2006 I was unable to find a suitable role in KL so started looking across the causeway for something to tide me over until a role become available in KL. At the time, other than visiting some good friends there I had no desire to stay in Singapore for any extended period. I guess like most expats the ease of living and safe environment make it a place you can easy call home and it grows on you.

Since the inception of my weekly commute the travel has changed and not necessarily for the better. Back in 2006 the joint Singapore/Malayisia airlines KL-Singapore Shuttle was in operation and no budget airlines were plying their trade on the route.

I look back fondly on the shuttle service because it was gloriously simple in that you bought an open ticket with no name from a special counter, took a number, queued up and when you were called to the check-in desk you wrote you name on the ticket and boarding pass was issued.  A percentage of seats were reserved for the shuttle and once the flight was about to close any remaining seats were filled by shuttle ticket holders. The fares were fixed, schedules shared between Singapore and Malaysia Airlines and if the flight was full you could usually run around to the main ticket desk and get a confirmed ticket on the next flight.

The advent of budget airlines means that most people believe that the cost of flying has become cheaper between the 2 cities.

What we have now is a myriad of airlines and fares with one common trait, at peak period they are a lot more expensive. For us commuters this generally translates in into the need to plan far ahead, commit to a flight and usually pay more.

Many years ago, I worked shifts and at the time I used the luxury buses that ply the route. I generally think that they are best way to travel if you don’t mind the slightly longer journey and that you don’t encounter any delays at immigration or on the highway.

Fast forward to 2017, owing to my work schedule bus travel isn’t really an option these days owing to congestion and travel time on a Friday/Sunday.

These days I fly and for the last few years I’m increasingly frustrated the flights have now become very tardy with many delays (especially Malindo and Malaysia Airlines).

To compound matters KLIA immigration seems to have become a real bottleneck in the past few years with queues of up to 2-3 hours at peak times and to compound matters some of its staff are rude and not proactive. It’s not uncommon to see certain queues empty and the staff playing with their phone whilst the foreigners queue is understaffed and in painfully slow.

Like most frequent travellers I have a few travel hacks to lessen the pain and more about those later in another post.

As 2018 draws closer I do wonder how the game of cat and mouse to get the better fare and options will pan out.

Malindo Air who are the relative new comer have increased their fares with the flexi business fare increasing by 50-60% almost overnight. This has made the flexi option very expensive and in many cases uneconomic. My perception is that peak period (Fri-Mon) fares seem to be forever creeping up with the budget carriers increasing the ancillary fares at every opportunity.

That's it for now and lastly I would like to wish all readers a Happy New Year.

March 20, 2016

Suzi’s Corner – Ampang Point

On the Saturday after Chinese New Year we stopped by at Suzi’s Corner. It's little changed over the years with a new signboard, new plastic table cloths and few new stalls about the only visible changes.
Unfortunately the Steak Hut was closed but there were plenty of other nice things to try.

I had read an article in The Star which recommended the the mutton biryani so i thought that i'd give it a try. This biryani is served in a claypot and I added cheese nann and my wife had Ikan Bakar Tiga Rasa with some white rice.


The food was very tasty and just as were were finishing the heavens opened and tropical downpour started. What better excuse is there to stay put for a while and get and relax over a few more bottles of beer.


When the bill came they charged me RM187 which was rather a shock and from memory the prices were:

Mutton Birayani RM25
Cheese Nann RM15
Ikan Bakar RM60
Nasi Puetih (RM??)
Beer RM75 (RM25 ea)
Soft drink (RM??)

The food was very good and I’ll return soon for some steak and double checking the prices at the same time.

February 26, 2016

Sunday Roast - Healy Macs at Publika

Sometimes I find I can go years without visiting a local place, Publika Mall being one of them and recently lightning struck twice during a weekend when I had to visit on both a Saturday and Sunday.

Publika is an upscale neighbourhood shopping mall located in Solaris Dutamas, Sri Hartamas, a sprawling up-and-coming residential development. The basic layout consists of a mall and some shop lots on each side of it but at different levels due to the hilly nature of the adjoining land.

I was due to meet some friends for lunch at a cafe and other than the name and that its in block D I had no idea where exactly the cafe was so I tried checking the website only to find that it was down. Upon arrival at the mall I found that the information screens were also down and when I approached a security/info counter their outlet list is only for units inside the main mall and not in the adjoining shop units.

The next day I had to return for something and decided to stop for late lunch. After looking for somewhere to eat, deciding to try Red Bean Bag, then being perplexed that it shuts its kitchen from 4-6, we then found an outlet of Healy Mac’s and to our delight they were serving Sunday roast.

After taking our seats and being given a menu the issues began. A common problem I find in KL is that when a restaurant isn’t particularly busy the staff become oblivious to what is happening around them and that day we seemed to just become invisible. The staff seemed to be a mix of different nationalities (usual places) who didn’t really gel together and communicate well which compounded the problems.

Eventually we managed to call somebody over and asked him where there menu for the Sunday Roast however he had no idea what a Sunday roast actually was. After getting some help he finally took the order and a while later the chef came out to see us and check what we actually wanted due to the clueless waiter getting it all wrong.

I’m certainly no connoisseur of Sunday roasts however what was served up wasn’t impressive. The 2 slices of beer were cut so think they were like gristly steaks accompanied by 2 mini potatoes, 2 mini mash scoops and some other veg.


It tasted average I have to say I wasn’t impressed and will be in no hurry to order another one from here. The service didn’t improve after the meal and the staff were happy walking around ignoring people and forgetting orders.

On the positive side live Irish music was provided a group of people who seemed to just turn up, sit at a table and jam which was pleasent and the Guinness wasn’t bad either.

February 19, 2016

More Malaysia Airlines Website Issues

With a dose of sarcasm the wonderful user friendly and robust website of Malaysia Airlines has done it again.

When trying to book a KUL-SIN return ticket and selecting some of the promo fares its not allowing me to book due the following error:


Seriously how hard can it be to hire some IT staff who know how to develop and maintain a website?

Is it any wonder that they are losing money!