New Year's Eve 2022

What Does 'Auld Lang Syne' Really Mean?

The grand finale to the holiday season, New Year's Eve, comes with watching the ball drop live and mixing up New Year's drinks, but of course there's also plenty of emotional reflection on the past year and the year ahead (we've got New Year's quotes for that!). While things may look very different this year, the traditional New Year's Eve song "Auld Lang Syne" will likely still find its way to your ears sometime during the holiday season as the world rings in 2021.

Chances are, you've been part of a festive, heartfelt "Auld Lang Syne" singalong when someone breaks out New Year's songs, but do you know the real meaning behind the song? Here, a quick refresher on the traditional tune you'll hear on December 31:

What does "Auld Lang Syne" mean? Originally written in a language called Scots, which is an ancient twist on English barely recognizable to modern-day English speakers, the phrase literally translates to "old long since," but has adopted a more fluid definition along the lines of "for old time's sake" or "the olden days."

Where does "Auld Lang Syne" come from? The phrase technically dates from the 16th century (think 1580s—truly vintage), but was solely an oral tradition for the first few hundred years. It was not formally written down until around 1788, when the poet Robert Burns incorporated the phrase into one of his works. (Burns is the most commonly credited poet, though other names have appeared in various histories of the phrase.) He was so enamored with the phrase and its esteemed place in Scottish traditions that he submitted his poem to the Scots Musical Museum to preserve it forever.


Top 10 best-selling Chinese products in overseas markets in 2022

#Solar home systems

Alibaba.com, a global leading cross-border business-to-business (B2B) platform owned by China's e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, unveiled this year's top 10 best-selling Chinese products in overseas markets on Dec. 5.

The commodities were ranked according to industry trends and the growth rates of popular products in Alibaba's cross-border wholesale business. The products cover multiple sectors, including new energy, home appliances, construction and building materials, agricultural machinery, and vehicle and auto parts.

According to Alibaba.com, these products demonstrate the close economic ties between China and the rest of the world, reflect the emerging consumption trends overseas, and showcase the capacity of China's industrial chains to respond quickly to the global market's needs. China.org.cn examines this year's top 10 most popular Chinese products in overseas markets in 2022.

My 2022 in China

As year-end approaches, we hit the streets of several Chinese cities to ask expats what career opportunities China has provided for them, and why they would choose to stay in the country.


Pelé Passes Away At Age 82

'He turned football into art': World pays tribute to sporting great Pele

Brazilian football great Pele died on Thursday (Dec 29), aged 82, after a long battle with cancer.

The only man to have won the World Cup three times as a player, Pele rose from poverty to become one of the greatest and best-known athletes in modern history.

Tributes poured in from prominent figures all over the world to mourn his death.


One of the greatest footballers of all time
Legendary Brazilian Footballer Won 3 World Cups

Pelé Passes Away At Age 82. He Won First World Cup At Age 17. Even to non-football fans across the world, he requires no introduction. Pelé is one of the greatest footballers of all time. Among the many achievements the Brazilian is known for, arguably the greatest is his record of three World Cup trophies.

Pelé’s passing was announced on his official Facebook page in a post on Friday (30 Dec) morning, Singapore time. It’s still 29 Dec in Brazil, where he has been hospitalised since November. The “King” had enchanted the world with his sporting skills and even stopped a war, the tribute said, adding, "His message today becomes a legacy for future generations". His daughter Kely Nascimento confirmed her father’s death in a heartbreaking post on Instagram, saying “everything we are is because of you”. She also shared a photo of the family holding the legend’s hand as he lay in his bed at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Pelé had been confined to hospital since 29 Nov for doctors to re-evaluate the treatment he was getting for colon cancer. He had been suffering from the disease since September 2021, according to ESPN. That meant that he’d missed attending the just-concluded World Cup in Qatar from 21 Nov to 18 Dec. Despite being warded, he still found time to console fellow Brazilian Neymar when Brazil crashed out of the competition to Croatia. However, Pelé remained in hospital through Christmas, as his family were ominously called to his bedside across the festive season. Sadly, he has left us just four days after Christmas.

Pele dies aged 82
Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi lead tributes to Brazil legend

Tributes for Pele poured in from around the world in after his death at the age of 82; Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi among football stars to honour the Brazil legend; Christ the Redeemer and the Wembley arch were both lit up in the colours of Brazil.

Less than two weeks ago Pele congratulated Messi on winning the World Cup with Argentina in a heartfelt post on Instagram, while offering his consolation to France forward Mbappe after he fell short despite scoring a hat-trick.

"Today, football continues to tell its story, as always, in an enthralling way," Pele wrote. "Messi winning his first World Cup, as his trajectory deserved. My dear friend, Mbappé, scoring four goals in a final. What a gift it was to watch this spectacle to the future of our sport."

Tributes pour in across the globe for World Cup great ‘King’ Pele

Tributes have poured in from across the globe to Brazil great Pele following his death at the age of 82.

The three-time World Cup winner died on Thursday having been in hospital in Sao Paulo since late November. Pele, widely regarded as the best footballer to have graced the game, was a prodigious scorer of goals, and is credited with 1,281 of them across the length of his career by the official Fifa website.

A tweet from the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) read simply “King Pele”, accompanied by three crown emojis. Brazil forward Neymar – who moved level with Pele’s record of 77 international goals during the 2022 World Cup – posted his own emotional tribute on Instagram.

Biography of Pelé
A member of three Brazilian World Cup-champion teams, Pelé is considered by many to be the greatest soccer player of all time

Soccer legend Pelé became a superstar with his performance in the 1958 World Cup. Pelé played professionally in Brazil for two decades, winning three World Cups along the way, before joining the New York Cosmos late in his career. Named FIFA co-Player of the Century in 1999, he was a global ambassador for soccer and other humanitarian causes.

Pelé was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento on October 23, 1940 in Três Corações, Brazil, the first child of João Ramos and Dona Celeste. Named after Thomas Edison and nicknamed "Dico," Pelé moved with his family to the city of Bauru as a young boy. João Ramos, better known as "Dondinho," struggled to earn a living as a soccer player, and Pelé grew up in poverty. Still, he developed a rudimentary talent for soccer by kicking a rolled-up sock stuffed with rags around the streets of Bauru. The origin of the "Pelé" nickname is unclear, though he recalled despising it when his friends first referred to him that way. As an adolescent, Pelé joined a youth squad coached by Waldemar de Brito, a former member of the Brazilian national soccer team. De Brito eventually convinced Pelé's family to let the budding phenom leave home and try out for the Santos professional soccer club when he was 15.

Pelé signed with Santos and immediately started practicing with the team's regulars. He scored the first professional goal of his career before he turned 16, led the league in goals in his first full season and was recruited to play for the Brazilian national team. The world was officially introduced to Pelé in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. Displaying remarkable speed, athleticism and field vision, the 17-year-old erupted to score three goals in a 5-2 semifinal win over France, then netted two more in the finals, a 5-2 win over the host country. The young superstar received hefty offers to play for European clubs, and Brazilian President Jânio Quadros eventually had Pelé declared a national treasure, making it legally difficult for him to play in another country. Regardless, Santos club ownership ensured its star attraction was well paid by scheduling lucrative exhibition matches with teams around the world.

Portrait of Pelé taken in Baltimore, Maryland 1995

Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Brazilian Portuguese: [ˈɛdsõ(w) aˈɾɐ̃tʃiz du nasiˈmẽtu]; 23 October 1940 – 29 December 2022), known mononymously as Pelé (Portuguese pronunciation: [peˈlɛ]), was a Brazilian professional footballer who played as a forward. Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and labelled "the greatest" by FIFA, he was among the most successful and popular sports figures of the 20th century. In 1999, he was named Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee and was included in the Time list of the 100 most important people of the 20th century. In 2000, Pelé was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) and was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century. His 1,279 goals in 1,363 games, which includes friendlies, is recognised as a Guinness World Record.

Pelé began playing for Santos at age 15 and the Brazil national team at 16. During his international career, he won three FIFA World Cups: 1958, 1962 and 1970, the only player to do so. He was nicknamed O Rei (The King) following the 1958 tournament. Pelé is the joint-top goalscorer for Brazil with 77 goals in 92 games. At the club level, he was Santos' all-time top goalscorer with 643 goals in 659 games. In a golden era for Santos, he led the club to the 1962 and 1963 Copa Libertadores, and to the 1962 and 1963 Intercontinental Cup. Credited with connecting the phrase "The Beautiful Game" with football, Pelé's "electrifying play and penchant for spectacular goals" made him a star around the world, and his teams toured internationally to take full advantage of his popularity. During his playing days, Pelé was for a period the best-paid athlete in the world. After retiring in 1977, Pelé was a worldwide ambassador for football and made many acting and commercial ventures. In 2010, he was named the honorary president of the New York Cosmos.

Averaging almost a goal per game throughout his career, Pelé was adept at striking the ball with either foot in addition to anticipating his opponents' movements on the field. While predominantly a striker, he could also drop deep and take on a playmaking role, providing assists with his vision and passing ability, and he would also use his dribbling skills to go past opponents. In Brazil, he was hailed as a national hero for his accomplishments in football and for his outspoken support of policies that improve the social conditions of the poor. His emergence at the 1958 World Cup, where he became the first black global sporting star, was a source of inspiration. Throughout his career and in his retirement, Pelé received numerous individual and team awards for his performance in the field, his record-breaking achievements, and his legacy in the sport.


Beef Noodle (Kway Teow) since 1948

Hwa Heng (Odeon) Beef Noodle
Famous Scotts Square Beef Noodle Stall Now At Jalan Besar

Hwa Heng Beef Noodle is something of a foodie legend. The stall has been operating since 1948, and with its origins as a street hawker stall selling Hainanese beef noodles next to the old Odeon Theatre. Three generations of the founding family have taken over the reins at Hwa Heng, but their signature recipes still remain the same.

Beef noodle fans will surely know of Hwa Heng Beef Noodle, a stall that spent over 30 years on Orchard Road, including a longstanding stall at Scotts Square’s Picnic Food Court, and ION Orchard’s Food Opera. They’ve since quietly made a comeback at Jalan Besar‘s Earnest Restaurant, a 24/7 kopitiam located next to the Jalan Besar Sports Centre.

At the Jalan Besar outlet, you can get your beef noodles either dry or with soup. A bowl starts at $6 for sliced beef, or with just beef balls. If you’d like both beef balls and slices, a bowl will set you back $9. If you’re ideal bowl comes with tendon, then be prepared to fork out $12. Beef stomach is also available as an add-on.

Hwa Heng (Odeon) Beef Noodles – famous stall with over 70 years of legacy moves to Jalan Besar

Hwa Heng Beef Noodles, previously known as Odeon Beef Noodles, definitely stole the hearts of many Singaporeans. Their legacy dates back to 1948 and continues to live on, at Jalan Besar, Earnest Coffeeshop, serving up comforting bowls of beef noodles, just like in the 70s.

The iconic Hainanese Odeon Beef Noodles was previously located opposite the defunct Odeon Theatre, which closed down in 1984. After the closure, the sticky beef noodles was found at Scott’s Far East food court. Afterwards, that food court closed down as well, and the quest to find these hearty bowls of noodles began. In more recent years, those who are familiar with Hwa Heng Beef Noodles would probably have chanced upon it at ION Orchard’s Food Opera, or at Bendemeer Food Centre. The 2nd generation owners of the stall had separated to open their own stores in vastly different environments— one located in a mall while the other in a hawker centre.

Now, the Jalan Besar outlet is passed down to the 3rd generation owners, allowing the legacy of their family recipe to live on. The new outlet is open till 2am, so you’ll be able to get a delicious bowl even for supper! The quest of finding Hwa Heng Beef Noodles has been a long one. And I’m so in awe that the family decided to carry on their legacy and affect the lives of Singaporeans with the food they create. This is a bowl that wins the hearts of many!

Odeon Beef Noodles – famous stall with over 70 years of legacy

Hwa Heng Beef Noodles, previously known as Odeon Beef Noodles, definitely stole the hearts of many Singaporeans. Their legacy dates back to 1948 and continues to live on, at Jalan Besar, Earnest Coffeeshop, serving up comforting bowls of beef noodles, just like in the 70s.

The iconic Hainanese Odeon Beef Noodles was previously located opposite the defunct Odeon Theatre, which closed down in 1984. After the closure, the sticky beef noodles was found at Scott’s Far East food court. Afterwards, that food court closed down as well, and the quest to find these hearty bowls of noodles began.

In more recent years, those who are familiar with Hwa Heng Beef Noodles would probably have chanced upon it at ION Orchard’s Food Opera, or at Bendemeer Food Centre. The 2nd generation owners of the stall had separated to open their own stores in vastly different environments— one located in a mall while the other in a hawker centre. Now, the Jalan Besar outlet is passed down to the 3rd generation owners, allowing the legacy of their family recipe to live on.

Taste Of The Good-Old Odeon Beef Kway Teow

Not sure if you are in the generation that would remember the good-old Odeon Beef Kway Teow opposite the old Odeon Theatre at North Bridge Road. The first time I tried this brand of Beef Noodles was at the now-defunct Scotts Picnic Food Court. In fact, it probably one of those Hainanese Beef Noodles I fondly remember till now. My mum would bring me that after shopping at CK Tang, and we would share a bowl of that gooey goodness. Wonderful memories.

While the original name with “Odeon Beef Kway Teow” cannot be used anymore, you can still find that nostalgic taste at Bendemeer Market & Food Centre near Boon Keng (not in Toa Payoh just in case.) However, the opening hours of “Toa Payoh · Hwa Heng Beef Noodles” is only from 10am to 2:30pm from Wednesdays to Saturdays. And I have been there a couple of Saturdays to try my luck, but the stall was never opened.

I must have been there about 6 to 7 times, and got fortunate one random weekday (like, finally). Even though I went slightly off-peak lunch hours, there was a long line that took about close to an hour to clear. On the menu are Beef Noodles ($5.00) in soup or dry versions; while you can pick combinations with beef balls, mixed beef with or without tendon, or tendon noodles. That bolt of nostalgia just hit me when I had my first mouthful of that smooth and sticky gravy over the strands of thick vermicelli.

ODEON BEEF NOODLES – Hwa Heng Beef Noodles

Some of you may be old enough to remember Odeon, which was the most iconic movie theatre in Singapore in the 70s and 80s, alongside Capitol theatre, which still exists today. So what you would do then in those days when I was a wee school boy is that you spritz yourself liberally with Jovan Musk, and then you hang out at Bras Basah road area, hoping to meet the blue pinafore brigade school girls from CHIJ (Covent of the Holy Infant Jesus).

While waiting for dusk to fall to catch a movie at iconic Odeon, one needs to eat a late lunch and there is nothing more compelling than burying your face into a bowl of black sticky beef noodles at a stall opposite to Odeon theatre. Welcome to Hwa Heng Beef Noodles. This stall was run by two brothers at a stall opposite the theatre. Later on in life, it was relocated and the two brothers set up a stall at the basement of Scott’s Far East food court where it continued to attract a loyal flock of die hard customers determined to savour it’s goodness, and relive their teenage dating nostalgia.

I lost track of this stall for the next 20 years after it relocated from its Scott’s location. I am given to understand that the older brother now runs a stall at the foodcourt in Food Republic Ion Orchard known as Scott’s Hwa Heng Beef Noodles. The younger brother, however, went the hawker centre route and had a stall know as Toa Payoh Hwa Heng Beef Noodles.

Blanco Court Traditional Beef Noodles has been open since 1979

Many Asian cultures have their own rendition of beef noodles. In Singapore, we’re lucky to have exposure to a little bit of everything, from Taiwanese beef la mian to Vietnamese pho, but Hainanese beef noodles have always been the one closest to heart and home. There are many hawker stalls and restaurants around the city serving this delicacy, though few have withstood the test of time like Blanco Court Beef Noodles.

The eatery has been around since 1979, and no, it isn’t related to the equally famous Blanco Court Prawn Mee except for the fact that they were both once located in the now-defunct Blanco Court hawker centre way back when. They began as a humble stall, but have since expanded to open multiple branches islandwide, from Aperia Mall to Westgate. The brand is currently still run by the third generation of the founding family.

As with most joints, you get to choose between having your order served dry or with soup when dining at Blanco Court Beef Noodles. The former features a starchy gravy that’s the result of boiling down beef bones, spruced up with spices and soya sauces, both dark and light. The gooey sauce here coats each strand of thick bee hoon just right, so every bite is as slurpable as it gets. The latter is a beef broth enriched with aromatics, including ginger, cinnamon, star anise, and clove. This is definitely lighter than the gravy, but comforting—a great pick for rainy days.

Hai Nan Xing Zhou Beef Noodle
Hai Nan Xing Zhou Beef Noodle - dry beef noodles

With close to 70 years of history, Hai Nan Xing Zhou Beef Noodle certainly deserves its newly minted spot in the Michelin Bib Gourmand. This humble yet well-loved hawker stall can be found in Kim Keat Palm Market & Food Centre in Toa Payoh, dishing out bowls of old-school Hainanese beef noodles from just S$5!

Hai Nan Xing Zhou Beef Noodle first started out in Cuppage Centre and moved to Toa Payoh in the late 1990s. It specialises in one thing: beef noodles. You can get it in both dry and soup variations, and the price will depend on which combination of toppings (beef balls, sliced beef, beef stomach, beef tendon) you’d like to go for.

In a bid to beat the lunchtime queue, I visited Hai Nan Xing Zhou Beef Noodle on a sunny weekday morning, with the intention of having a bowl of its famed beef noodles for breakfast. Yet, despite reaching at 10am, there was already a short queue in front of me! Regardless, I waited patiently in line. The queue moved slowly as there was only one elderly uncle manning the stove, while there were several stall attendants assisting with taking orders.

Slurp up the best beef noodles in Singapore at these places

Much like satay bee hoon, beef noodles are one of those ugly, messy yet delicious dishes.

Available in dry or soup versions, beef noodles come from many parts of Chinese cuisine, ranging from the dark, slurpy Hainanese style to spiced Lanzhou and Northwestern Chinese styles.

Keep scrolling to find out where to get the best beef noodles in Singapore:
  • LeNu
  • Blanco Court Beef Noodles
  • Yi Zun Noodle
  • Tongue Tip Lanzhou Beef Noodles
  • Hong Kee Beef Noodle
  • Hock Lam street popular beef kway teow
  • Zheng Yi Hainanese beef noodles
  • Toa Payoh Hwa Heng beef noodles
  • Hai Nan Xing Zhou beef noodle
  • J & J Special Beef Noodle

7 best Hainanese beef noodles in Singapore

What comes to mind when the words “beef noodles” are mentioned? While our Vietnamese friends might conjure up a bowl of pho in their heads, and others might think of some sort of stir-fry, Singaporeans will beg to differ.

For us, beef noodles refer to thick rice vermicelli (bee hoon) that’s been blanketed in a dark, unappealing bowl of gravy, before being topped with coriander and peanuts, and served with a bowl of cloudy soup on the side. Give it a good mix and you’ll find beef slices and beef balls, or even tendon and tripe for the adventurous diner within. 

Not up for a heavy meal with noodles and thick gravy? Don’t fret. All of our favourite locales in Singapore also have a soup version of these hearty beef noodles that come doused in a savoury-sweet broth that’ll hit the spot every time. Where to find the best Hainanese beef noodles in Singapore:
  • Hwa Heng Beef Noodles
  • Hai Nan Xing Zhou Beef Noodle
  • Hong Kee Beef Noodle
  • Kheng Fatt Hainanese Beef Noodles
  • Blanco Court Beef Noodles
  • Zheng Yi Hainanese Beef Noodles
  • Authentic Hock Lam Street Popular Beef Kway Teow‎

8 Best Beef Noodles In Singapore Worth Queuing Up For

While there are many kinds of beef noodles out there, Singapore beef noodles has earned a special place in our hearts with their tasty rice noodles, tender beef slices, and fresh veggies on the side. From the plethora of options to choose from, we’ve listed the top eight beef noodles in Singapore that are worth visiting on your precious lunch hour:
  • Hai Nan Xing Zhou Beef Noodle
  • Authentic Hock Lam Street Popular Beef Kway Teow
  • Kim Huat Teochew Beef Noodles
  • Restaurant Aisyah
  • Hongkong Beef King
  • Thaksin Beef Noodle
  • Blanco Court Beef Noodles
  • China Square Hainan Famous Beef Bee Hoon

10 Best Beef Noodles In Singapore Including Both Dry & Soup Versions

Whether it’s with soup or served dry, a bowl of beef noodles is always comforting with tender slices of beef and fresh veggies on the side. While many flock to Taiwan for this hearty dish, Singapore is home to pretty decent and delicious versions that will satisfy any of your cravings.

Here are 10 best beef noodle dishes in Singapore and where to find them, and you’ll be happy to know that we’ve included both dry and soup variations in this list:
  • Joo Chiat Beef King
  • Hong Heng Beef Noodle
  • Blanco Court Hainanese Beef Noodles
  • Yi Zun Noodles
  • Kheng Fatt Hainanese Beef Noodles
  • Hwa Heng Beef Noodles
  • Hai Nan Xing Zhou Beef Noodles
  • J & J Special Beef Noodle
  • Zheng Yi Hainanese Beef Noodles
  • The Beef Station

Hock Lam Street & Odeon Beef Kway Teow
Hock Lam Street Beef Kway Teow: Traditional Teochew Recipe since 1911

My Beef Kway Teow list would be incomplete without the inclusion of this famous stall which has been around for almost a century. Hock Lam Street is famous not only for its traditional Teochew Beef Kway Teow recipe, lately it has also become well known for having the most agreeable looking Beef Kway Teow Stall vendor in Singapore (As far as I know).

When you venture into the stall, you are greeted by a young lady whom you think could be wearing a Sarong Kabaya. When starts speaking, you’d probably wonder why she’s not wearing a Citibank uniform instead. The fact of the matter is this fourth generation Beef Kway Teow vendor just happens to be an Australian Degree Holder to gave up her $10K bank job to take over the family business! So you can actually buy a bowl of Beef Kway Teow and talk about the BULL market at the same time!

Tina is adament that the receipe be preserved in its original Teochew form, so it comes with salted vegetables and plenty of ground nuts and WITHOUT the familiar Chinchaluk (shrimp sauce). The sliced beef was nice and very tender. Tina tells us that all the beef is still sliced by hand and no tenderizer is used. The stewed beef and tripe were both very good. The beef balls were nice but they no longer make it themselves. I felt the sauce could be more Shiok, but Teochew food tends to emphasize more on the freshness of the ingredients, so Teochew sauces tend to be a little more bland when compared to the other dialect groups, Definitely one of Singapore’s heritage hawkers and one cannot discuss Beef Kway Teow without including this famous Zhao Pai (Signboard). I am glad that Tina is ensuring that future generations will still get to savor their age-old recipe.


Elvis Presley's Blue Christmas 2022

Elvis Presley died in 1977 when his daughter Lisa Marie was 11 years old.

With new technology.  Father and daughter can sing this song together!

Unbelievable editing, seeing people's reactions ...  Like real !!

Elvis sang the original song in 1968 and Lisa sang it in 2008 ...

This video is made to celebrate Christmas 2022.

Blessed Christmas guys!


Boxing Day 2022

Why is it called Boxing Day?

Boxing Day got its name when Queen Victoria was on the throne in the 1800s and has nothing to do with the sport of boxing. The name comes from a time when the rich used to box up gifts to give to the poor.

Boxing Day was traditionally a day off for servants - a day when they received a special Christmas box from their masters. The servants would also go home on Boxing Day to give Christmas boxes to their families. The day also has religious connections and is celebrated as Saint Stephen's Day in Ireland and the Catalonia region of Spain. In some European countries - such as Hungary, Germany, Poland, and the Netherlands - Boxing Day is celebrated as a second Christmas Day.

Churches also played a part in the creation of Boxing Day. Through the year they would take money from churchgoers in the form of a collection and hand it out at Christmas. Many of them stored the collection money in a box, which they opened on Christmas Day. The money was then handed out to the poor the next day - on Boxing Day. Today, those boxes aren't as popular. However some people leave out extra money for people like paper boys and girls in the weeks before Christmas, and call it a Christmas box.


Christmas Eve 2022

Christmas Eve takes place on December 24 and is probably one of the best nights of the year! Christmas has the power to reunite families and friends, to warm up our hearts, and remind us that we have so many things to be thankful for. So put on your cozy PJs, light up your fireplace, call your loved ones, and top off your hot cocoa with some fluffy marshmallows!

Christmas Eve marks the culmination of the Advent period before Christmas that started on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Eve. Many churches will mark the end of Advent with midnight church services. During modern times, it is popularly celebrated on the night before Christmas Day.

The tradition of celebrating Christmas Eve derives partly from Christan liturgical starting at sunset, inherited from Jewish tradition, and based on the Book of Genesis’s Story of Creation, saying the first day starts at the evening and ends during the morning. It is also believed that Jesus, or Jesus of Nazareth, was born during midnight in the region of Palestine. Many historical conceptions on many ancient traditions contributed to the development of Eve celebrations which persisted in the early Christian calendar.


The Ice-Cream Uncles

Update 29 Feb 2024: 11 ice cream street hawking licences still active as of Jan. 2024

A quintessential part of many Singaporeans' childhood is buying ice cream from the ice cream uncle and the ice cream cart attached to his motorcycle. As of January 2024, only 11 street hawking licences issued for the sale of ice cream remain active, said Senior Minister of State Koh Poh Koon.

This was in response to a parliamentary question raised by Workers' Party (WP) Member of Parliament (MP) Gerald Giam, who asked how many street hawking licences have been issued for streetside ice-cream vendors in the last 10 years and how many are still active. He also asked whether the licences from the inactive vendors can be transferred to new applicants and "how much longer will streetside ice-cream vendors be allowed to exist". Koh explained that the Street Hawking Scheme was intended to assist unemployed individuals temporarily.

These individuals are assessed to be best supported through a street hawking licence instead of other financial assistance or employment matching schemes offered by a Social Service Office. As such, such hawking licences are personal to the holder and non-transferable. "In the past decade, 21 licences were issued under the Street Hawking Scheme for the sale of ice cream. Of these, 11 remain active as of January this year," said Koh.

Sim Lim Ice-Cream Uncle Is Back

Hi Foodies, according to a Facebook post by Happy People Helping People community, our beloved Sim Lim Ice-Cream Uncle is back selling ice cream at the same spot! We are so happy that he is finally able to operate his business after being closed due to the circuit breaker.

87-year-old ice cream seller, Ng Teak Boon, had recently caught the attention of netizens after CNA insider released videos exposing poverty in Singapore. For more than 10 years, Mr Ng had been selling $1.50 ice-cream from a bicycle cart beside the Sim Lim Tower. As selling ice-cream is his only source of income, the videos prompted overwhelming support from citizens throughout Singapore.

Ever since the touching story of Mr Ng went viral, many viewers offered to help Mr Ng live a better life. One of them was Andre Chiang, owner of recently closed-down Michelin Starred restaurant, Restaurant Andre. He created an ice-cream sandwich dessert as a tribute to Mr Ng. For every ice-cream he sold at his restaurant, he would donate $5 to Mr Ng.

Life of an ice-cream uncle
“Working under the sun and rain is not easy, but I take it one day at a time”

74-year-old ice-cream hawker sells ice cream in the heartlands as he says it's impossible to change jobs at his age. Learn how he lives one day at a time.

Slice. Chop. Unwrap. Then, slide the ice cream in between two wafer-thin biscuits. His steady, wrinkled hands worked swiftly as he prepared the frozen treat and handed it in a plastic wrapper to a schoolgirl in uniform. His reward? A handful of coins – $1.50 in total. He goes through the motion with ease. After all, he has been doing this for more than 45 years, he says.

74-year-old Uncle Chan is one of Singapore’s few remaining licensed traditional ice-cream hawkers. He rides a bike with a bright yellow Magnolia sidecar used to carry blocks of ice cream for sale. “Look,” he said, showing me his license proudly. “There are only a few of these licenses in Singapore (to sell ice cream on the streets). They are not issuing it anymore. I cannot even transfer it to my son,” Uncle Chan told The Pride in Mandarin.

According to the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), the licenses held by street hawkers like Uncle Chan are non-transferable, even to family members who might be interested to take over. These licenses are also not being issued anymore. And the number of these ice-cream hawkers has been dwindling over the years. Where there were once numerous ice-cream carts lining the streets of Orchard Road, only a handful now remain. In 2019, CNA reported that there are only about 200 of these ice-cream hawkers left in Singapore, highlighting the worry that this slice of Singaporean life may possibly vanish with its purveyors.

'Once they are gone, it will really be a pity': Orchard Rd ice-cream carts could end with their owners
Out of the 200 street hawkers who have chosen to sell ice-cream, just 7 operate along Orchard Road

Attending to his customers, Mr Chieng Puay Chui and his ice-cream cart have been a familiar sight along Orchard Road for about three decades. The 71-year-old, more commonly known as Uncle Chieng to his customers, has been an ice-cream street hawker since 1965. About 30 years ago, he decided to start selling ice-cream along Orchard Road outside the old Tangs building, and moved to his current spot in front of Ngee Ann City when it opened 26 years ago.

But his ice-cream cart and six others along the stretch of shopping street could become a memory when their licence holders pass on. Street hawkers like Mr Chieng hold licences that are personal to the holder and non-transferable, said the Singapore Food Agency (SFA). They cannot transfer their licence to family members or friends who might want to take over.

“It’ll be a pity if there are no more ice-cream uncles, especially because this is Singapore’s traditional ice-cream,” said Mr Chieng in Mandarin. “I don’t know if anything will be done to make sure Orchard Road will still have ice-cream uncles in the future.” Mr Chieng is among 13 street hawkers allowed to sell ice-cream on any "public land”, according to SFA, with seven choosing to operate along Orchard Road. Tourists from Indonesia, China, Thailand and the Philippines have heard of his ice-cream cart, and many of them visit Orchard Road to meet him, he told CNA.

The Ice Cream Uncle

There are days when the weather gets so hot we could feel our scalps melting. And then, “Ling-ling-ling!” The saviour arrives, on an ice cream cart mounted on a motorcycle under a large parasol. Instantly, our minds conjure up ice cream cones, and sandwiches – rectangular blocks of ice cream clamped between sliced pink and green bread, or crispy yellow wafer biscuits. “One ice cream sandwich, uncle. Sweet corn flavour.” The lady first in line called him uncle and so did the little boy behind.

Uncle Jimmy, 68, is one of these ice cream uncles. Before starting to sell ice cream in 2003, he was a char kway teow hawker at Sungei Road, sold vinyl records, and zipped people around Singapore in a taxi. Nowadays, he parks his trusty ice cream cart near the entrance to Lavender MRT station and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) Building. On a typical afternoon, a constant stream of people is making a beeline for ice creams.

His customers, from all walks of life, pop by to get an instant milky sugar rush from this basic ice cream sandwich. It costs just S$1 – a little piece of haven in this ‘world’s most expensive city’. He offers a range of flavours, from durian, red bean, jagung (corn), mango etc… besides the usual chocolate, vanilla, mocha etc. The attap chee (palm fruit) flavour is on the menu but he doesn’t offer it anymore – as cost has gone unreasonably north lately. He hardly smiles… unless someone cracks a joke or strikes a conversation with him. So go let a funny one on him and share a laugh.

We spoke to 3 ice cream uncles. Here are their stories

The ice cream sandwich has become one of the many icons of Singapore. In fact, it's so important to us that we all got very angry when BuzzFeed said it tasted terrible.

But a big part of the Singaporean-ness that is associated with ice cream sandwiches, is the uncle behind the cart. Sadly, though, despite their importance in Singapore culture, the number of ice cream uncles has been dwindling over the years. Where there were once countless ice cream carts along Orchard Road now remain just about four or five on a fair-weathered day. But what does being an ice cream uncle actually involve? Where did the traditional ice cream sandwich even come from? Do we actually understand the intricacies of the ice cream uncle industry?

We got kaypoh (okay, actually our editor did and arrowed us as one of our final assignments on our internships here), so we headed out to disturb talk to a few of them to find out more about what they do. And all three uncles we met definitely had strong characters, and seemed to love what they do:
  • Uncle Chieng - Uncle Chieng is 70 years old. He tells us he started selling ice-cream because he was not very educated.
  • Uncle Soh - Uncle Soh is another veteran in the business. He began selling ice cream in Boon Lay in 1970 before moving his cart to Bugis more than 20 years ago.
  • Uncle Chen - For Uncle Chen, who only joined the industry 17 years ago, the license he has allows him to sell ice cream in Ang Mo Kio only.

5 Ice Cream Uncles In Singapore For Your Fix Of Traditional Ice Cream Potong

If you grew up in Singapore, you’d be familiar with the concept of Ice Cream Uncles who sell ice cream potong (the type of ice cream available in blocks that you have to cut). They move from one area to the next and the distinctive ringing of the bell is one you’ll notice immediately! 😄 But it might be hard to find these ice cream uncles if you don’t know where to look. Here are some who are stationed in more busy streets:
  • Uncle Jimmy Traditional Ice Cream On Wheels @ Lavender
  • Uncle Chieng Traditional Ice Cream @ Ngee Ann City
  • Sim Lim Ice Cream Uncle @ Sim Lim Square
  • Helix Bridge Ice Cream Uncle @  Helix Bridge
  • Takashimaya Ice Cream Uncle @ Takashimaya

The Kachang Puteh Man

Parked at the entrance of Peace Centre in Selegie Road is the last bastion of Singapore’s yesteryear snack culture. Over the past two decades, a humble pushcart peddling an eclectic assortment of kachang puteh (“kachang” refers to nuts and “puteh” or “putih” means white in Malay) has remained a fixture along the bustling street.

Simply known as “Kachang Puteh”, the metallic pushcart is crammed with 20 types of nuts, legumes and crackers that are housed in bright red-capped bottles. Popular nibbles include cashew nuts, tapioca fritters, sugar-coated peanuts, prawn sticks and murukku. For those who prefer to pop something warm into their mouths, there are also lightly-salted boiled peanuts and chickpeas that are served warm from an electric steamer. Customers can pick and choose which munchies to fill up their folded paper cones (from $1 for two types of snacks).

Mending the stall is Amirthaalangaram Moorthy, a third-generation kachang puteh seller, who arrived here in 2004 from his native Tamil Nadu to continue his family business. The Singapore permanent resident hails from a family that has a long-standing history with kachang puteh. The 51-year-old says that many kachang puteh sellers live in his ancestral village in southern India due to the abundance of nuts grown in the area.

Guess who's back: Well-loved kacang puteh stall from Peace Centre spotted in Toa Payoh

Decades ago, old-school snacks like kacang puteh could easily be purchased from hawkers outside cinemas and along the streets. But sadly, it is now a dying trade.

Running one of the last few kacang puteh stalls in Singapore is Amirthaalangaram Moorthy, a third-generation owner of his family business. His humble pushcart stall used to be located at the entrance of Peace Centre, but it was shuttered earlier this year with the building undergoing a makeover.

However, it seems like the business is back with a bang because some sharp-eyed netizens spotted Amirthaalangaram manning a kacang puteh booth at Toa Payoh Bus Interchange. On the menu, cashew nuts are going for $2 while the rest of the tidbits like peanuts and chickpeas are going for $1.50.