This is where I usually meet clients for Ba Zi appointments. It is located at a cafe in the central city fringe area. It is a public place but at the same time quiet and peaceful, perfect for having birth chart readings.
For a limited time only, I am running a Ba Zi appointment promotion until 31 September 2016 - at a special discounted rate of $120 for weekday (from the usual $150). I only accept one appointment a day. To shorten the booking process, remember to include your date of birth and time (and city of birth) when submitting your email enquiry. Payment is by cash only.
Photos: Chua Chee Hiang
Camera: iPhone 6s Plus
Location: Hong Kong
I returned to Singapore on a Monday from New York City in early July and before I recovered from the jet lag, I was invited to go to Hong Kong by a client. It was a quick fly in - fly out trip paid for by the client. I have worked with the same client before a few years ago for home Feng shui and now the couple is venturing into their own retail business.
After the 3 hour flight with no check-in baggage it was straight out of the airport to the airport express train that was conveniently located near to the arrival hall.
The client had arranged for me stay a night at the Royal Pacific Hotel in Kowloon that was conveniently located next to Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui area. Due to her busy schedule my client could not meet me up for lunch so that gave me time to walk around the Tsim Sha Tsui area to take some quick shots on the iPhone 6 while hunting for a vegetarian restaurant in that area. I speak a little bit of broken Cantonese so there was no problem finding my way around or ordering food at the restaurant.
And so this is what I do for my Feng Shui work, going to work sites to make measurements. It involves physical work to walk around the site, and in this case, involves a lot of sweating in the hot summer weather of Hong Kong. It involves more than just giving advice in air-conditioned offices! Well, at least that is how I do my Feng Shui work, on site and hands-on. By the end of the day, after dinner with the client I was absolutely tired out from the early morning flight and the Feng Shui work. I spent a night at the hotel and after another on site visit with the client, I was on the flight back to Singapore in the evening.
Photos : Chua Chee Hiang
Camera : iPhone 6s Plus
Location: New York, USA
The American Diner
We ordered the breakfast specials that came with a free flow of coffee. For those not familiar with the American restaurant system, it is fairly similar to the Chinese restaurant style, where you have servers (waiters and waitresses) who take orders and serve dishes, and then there are bus boys who assist the waitress, waiter or servers to clear the tables. As you already know I am a vegetarian, my order was the 3 eggs special that came with a side of fried potatoes. The food was ok, but it was the experience of eating at an American diner in NYC that made it fun. It was just like what I used to watch in the 1990's movies. Oh, and the American system of tipping - I was advised by my New Yorker friend that the New Yorker way is to double the tax amount. So when the bill comes, look at what the tax amount is, then double it. This is an easier method than applying a varying percentage on the final total amount. So do take note that when eating out in New York, you have to consider that the cost of your meals includes the amount on the menu, plus tax plus service tips.
Before the trip, I read that this pizzeria was considered outstanding for its pizza slices in New York City. It was easy to find, just diagonally across the road junction from Madison Square Garden and on the same side of the road as the General Post Office building.
When you walk into the restaurant you are first confronted by a tall glass display case of the pizzas available for order, and then comes the shout from behind the glass case of "next order please"! It was a really hot summer's day in New York city that day and we were just glad to be in the air conditioning. Took us a minute to realise that we have to shout our orders back so that the guy behind the counter can pop the slice into the oven behind them to warm up the slice. They were pretty big slices and greedy me ordered 2. Verdict, very good, just like the freshly made pizzas we tasted in Italy. You can click on the link to find out the prices of the slices.
Tex-Mex / Mexican Food
One of the fun thing we like to do when visiting a city is to do a lot of walking, and more often than not we always chance upon interesting places completely unplanned. One of these places was this restaurant at the South Street area. There was a quirky atmosphere to this eating place as the outside sitting included a 1960's renovated Airstream, besides the pictures of Mexican masked wrestlers.
Chinese Food NYC style
The ubiquitous fortune cookie with the little messages and lucky numbers inside is a feature of Chinese restaurants in NYC. At the end of the meal, the waitress will include the fortune cookies together with the bill. The other unique invention of American Chinese food is General Tso's chicken. I ordered the tofu version. The sauce reminded me of sweet and sour sauce, but more on the sweet side with hints of soya sauce and garlic. Travel tip for Asians when ordering, the portions are huge! The price of each dish is about US$11-13, but the portion is equivalent to two or three times of what is served in Singapore. I have included a fork in the photo below to let you see how big the plate was!
New York burgers
If you do a search on Google for "New York burgers", you will see search results that lists the best burgers places in New York according to a few different publications. The 2 burger chains that are very popular with New Yorkers are Shake Shack and Five Guys Burgers and Fries. There is always a queue at Shake Shack during meal times, and the outlet at Times Square area was packed with people anytime of the day.
Five Guys Burgers and Fries
This is the other burger joint to try when you are in New York City. I like the fries a lot and you can see from the photo they are served with unpeeled potatoe skins. The vegetarian option is pretty much just the burger without the beef patty but the fillings were amazing - with caramelised onion, grilled mushrooms, etc and it tasted awesome.
From Wikipedia: The bakery is sometimes credited with helping to start a 1990s "cupcake craze". Co-owners Jennifer Appel and Allysa Torey published a book in 1999 entitled The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook: Old-Fashioned Recipes from New York's Sweetest Bakery. The exterior of the original bakery, as well as its cupcakes, were featured in Lazy Sunday, a Saturday Night Live digital short broadcast in December 2005. The bakery was also featured on Sex and the City, in the film Prime, in which one of the characters throws Magnolia pies at his ex-girlfriends, and in The Devil Wears Prada, in which the character Andy says at one point that she needs to get to the bakery to pick something up for her boyfriend. The sitcom Spin City also has Charlie Sheen's character bringing Magnolia Cupcakes to Heather Locklear's character. On October 16, 2008, Conan O'Brien bought a cupcake for each member of his audience during a taping of Late Night.
I had the Parmesan Eggplant while my partner had the risotto. The meal was served with fresh bread that came nicely wrapped in brown paper. Food was good, service was good and the Prosecco helped! We asked for more bread and it was served to us with a smile, busy as the restaurant was. The table next to us had a theatre play to catch and their order was late. They only had to tell the server once, and they were attended to by the manager immediately. This is one reason why we prefer to spend our dining-out money on our travels. Although Singapore has developed international fame for gourmet food over the past few years, I guess I have been "traumatised" by the poor service standards of the past two decades - too many sulky-faced waitering staff experiences, that it is the exception when we are surprised by well-trained staff! We seldom dine out when home in Singapore. If you like Italian food and designer kitchen stuff, head down to Eataly.
The Theatre Experience
The Museum Experience
The museums in New York City are huge. But it was summer and the Museum of Natural History was packed with people. We have visited it on the previous trip and decided to just do the Metropolitan Museum of Art this time. You can easily spend a whole day at either museum, so much to see and learn. When we were at the MET, the Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology special exhibition was on. We had seen the other exhibits before and so we spent a longer time at the special exhibition. Travel Tip: The museum is basically free, visitors are encouraged to pay a "suggested amount" but you can pay any amount you want as the entry fees.
At the MET is a very good collection of Asian art objects. It is a good opportunity to see the collection of Asian statues from many different countries in one place, and also learn about Asian history.
Street Art Experience
Street Art has always been a controversial subject, in that some think it is vandalism. I did not go on the many paid street art tours but just took random snap shots of interesting pieces that I came across in Brooklyn and Manhattan. It is everywhere on the streets of New York. Art is your own personal interpretation of expression so there is no need to follow the "big name" street artists.
The High Line Experience
I've always enjoyed taking a walk on The High Line of New York city. You can read more about it on their web site. It is a great example of how we don't need to tear down history to make way for new developments. I visited it the previous time during Spring, and this time during Summer when the flowers were in full bloom. It was hot, so bring along your water bottle to fill up at water fountains .
Photos by: Chua Chee Hiang
Camera: iPhone 6s plus
Location: New York, USA
Beautiful buildings and landmarks of New York City
When we visit a city, our favourite activity is to just walk the city. Manhattan is a walkable city, with an easy grid-like layout for the streets, with the avenues going from north to south along the length of the land, and the streets going east-west. There were many interesting photographic objects in the city, all you have to do is look up at the tall buildings. All the photos were shot on my iPhone 6sPlus, I don't use a professional camera. Things have changed a lot in this city. In the late 1990s and early 2000's when I first visited NYC, there were areas that "you don't want to go into" or feel "dangerous". I felt the difference in 2012, and the same in 2016 with gentrification, property investments and all that. We were out all day, and into the late evening, walking just about everywhere. You still do have to have your common sense and not invite trouble, especially at the Times Square area, like be aware of pick-pockets, and street con-men.
Staten Island and Statue of Liberty
Travel tip: The Staten Island ferry is a free service that operates between the South Ferry Terminal and Staten Island. The subway station to get off at is South Ferry Station, line 1. The ferry departs every 30 minutes or so and there is no need to rush even though there seem to be a lot of people at the ferry terminal. Each ferry can take up to 4000 people. To take photos of the Stature of Liberty, make sure you go to the right side (departing from Manhattan), while the left side gets Ellis island. Stay at the back of the ferry to take the Manhattan skyline of the financial district.
Grand Central Station, Rockefeller Centre
Travel Tip: There is a food court at the Grand Central Station, but take note that unlike our local food courts in Singapore, the price of food at food courts is comparable to cafe and restaurant prices. For example, a meal at Shake Shack consisting of a hamburger, French fries and a drink can easily cost you US$11. By the way, Shake Shack serves a very delicious vegetarian burger!
Fabulous tall buildings of New York City
Crossing the East river to Brooklyn via Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge
It was the 4th of July that we decided to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to the borough of Brooklyn which is also part of the state of New York. The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge that has separate levels for pedestrian and traffic. The pedestrian entry on the Manhattan island side is located at the end of Centre Street. If taking the subway, the station to alight at is Brooklyn Bridge - City Hall / Chambers Street on lines 4, 6 and J. Travel Tip: The pedestrian path is divided into 2 halves, one half for human traffic and other half for bicycles. So watch out while taking your selfies and photos.
4th of July Fireworks from the Manhattan Bridge
I am usually away for my travels in the summer months of July or August, and for the winter months of December and January. And short trips in between!
The last time I visited New York City was four years ago in 2012, a few months after my late father passed away in November 2011. It was the Spring month of April, and I remember the weather was a bit chilly still. This time around in end June, beginning July, New York City was scorching hot! I actually got sun burn from wearing a tank top.
My partner and I stayed at the W Hotel (midtown) and the Empire Hotel (uptown) for the 3 weeks in NYC, taking away the 2 24-hours flights to and back via Frankfurt on the Atlantic route. We had a really good stay in NYC. We left Singapore on 22 June, just a day after the summer solstice of 2016 that was on 21 June 2016.
The summer solstice was on 21 June according to the Chinese almanac calendar, and it is the longest day of the year. As the city of New York is laid out in a grid that corresponds to the sun rise and sun set positions, they called it "Manhattanhenge" when you could experience the sight of the setting sun at almost horizontal on the horizon. I had to stand in the middle of a road to capture the photo below. A quick snap before the light turned red!
In the next post, you can see photos of my visit to Brooklyn, another borough in the New York state.
I have a string of successes with my Feng Shui clients, which is good news, but at the same time bad news for me because they become successful also at bargaining with me! To avoid this awkward situation I have come up with this new charging system to solve the problem.
If a client is calling me back to do more projects, then that means I have proven my value to them. Singaporeans love bargaining, but I am one who don't enjoy that at all! Subsequent projects will be subjected to the published per sq foot rates subject to minimum sum.
The good news is that for first time new clients wishing to use my services, the first time fee is a flat $3499 for both homes or business premises (new premises before you move in). I grant lower fees for HDB flat owners but only if you satisfy my criteria and conditions. I only want to work with willing clients.
I prefer to work on new premises, and so for those living in existing premises, my fees are $9999 up.
Ba Zi Profile © - by Mr. Chua
"Even though it was supposed to be an hour, Mr Chua willingly and patiently spent close to 2 hours answering my questions and explaining what each and every part of my chart means. He tells you your strengths, weaknesses and what to look out for. As someone who is more well versed in English, I am happy that Mr Chua explained everything to me in English without losing the actual meaning of what bazi actually entails. Best of all, he instilled in me the belief that bazi is not actually set in stone and one still has to work hard to achieve his goals. I come out of the consultation with a better understanding of myself that will equip me for life. Thank you Mr Chua!"
(Age group 20 - 30)
NYC - June 23rd to July 13th
In this day and age of the internet, it is not a good idea to make public your personal smartphone mobile number. And so my advance apology that you have to go through the screening process via email first. I will respond to your email, provided that you have submitted a genuine email address! (Or check your spam folder).
I will be away from next Wednesday night onwards on a 3 weeks summer vacation to New York City. The best way to reach me is via email.
Thank you very much Mr. Yap.