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- 03/05/18--17:49: _Australian rock mel...
- 03/05/18--19:14: _Unemployed man dies...
- 03/05/18--22:24: _Call for MOE to rem...
- 03/06/18--00:11: _Rock melons linked ...
- 03/06/18--17:38: _Company director ra...
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- 03/03/18--17:29: Singapore Airlines eases rules to woo former cabin crew
- 03/04/18--20:59: Jetstar sees changes to flights as Singapore airport fees rise
- 03/05/18--22:24: Call for MOE to remove 'sacred cow' of PSLE
- 03/06/18--17:38: Company director raped son's 11-year-old ex-girlfriend in hotel
- 03/06/18--17:47: Insurers want all patients to pay part of hospital bills
Back in 1987, Fong Chi Chung left his hometown of Putian - a small agricultural village in China - to move to Singapore and set up a factory selling electronic parts with his brother.
The factory in Paya Lebar was successfully established in four months, but living and working in an unfamiliar country was not easy.
He started to miss home-cooked Fujian cuisine, and was disappointed that he couldn't find any authentic ones here in Singapore.
This very frustration of not being able to satisfy his cravings was what prompted the Arts graduate to establish the now-famous PUTIEN restaurant, which serves Heng Hwa cuisine from China's Fujian province.
First Outlet Sustained Losses For 3 Years
Paying homage to his hometown, Chi Chung started up PUTIEN in 2000.
He pooled together his savings, along with some money borrowed from his family, to chalk up "approximately $60,000" to kickstart the business.
It was a humble coffee shop-style eatery on Kitchener Road, with only seven staff operating it.
But Chi Chung was unfazed by the small scale of his business - all he wanted was to introduce authentic dishes from his native homeland to others.
In fact, some of his favourite childhood dishes are included in the restaurant's menu, including Lor Mee, braised bean curd with white cabbage soup, fried Heng Hwa bee hoon, stir-fried yams, Putian-style oyster omelette and Ah Yuan fragrant herbal chicken.
Despite his intentions, the outlet unfortunately operated at a loss for the first three years.
It was a very tough period for PUTIEN, but Chi Chung never gave up.
"Through these challenges, I clung firm to my vision and chose to introduce the cuisine of Putian to the world. I believe delicious and unpretentious dishes will remind people of their mum's cooking," he said.
"Putian cuisine is very much like home-cooked food. It's characterised by uncomplicated and wholesome dishes made with the freshest of ingredients. With heartfelt culinary offerings, I believe Putian cuisine will be well-accepted and complimented by the market."
Chi Chung admits that he is very particular about what goes in his dishes, and insists on only the freshest ingredients.
He does not compromise on preparation methods as well - "even if it's more laborious, that it what makes PUTIEN unique."
We strongly believe that the most fundamental factor in a good dish is its freshness. Sometimes it does not make a profit for us, but we believe it helps us to build our brand.
Moving Beyond Singapore
Plunging into the F&B industry without any prior knowledge or experience is indeed a very risky move.
But adhering to its principle of freshness and authenticity has helped PUTIEN tide through the tough times, said Chi Chung.
True enough, business started to improve within a few years and it finally broke even in its third year.
Satisfied customers kept returning, and the restaurant's reputation also strengthened.
Spurred by steady business growth, Chi Chung opened PUTIEN's second outlet at VivoCity mall in 2016.
I was approached by Food Republic to open an outlet at VivoCity. There, sales surpassed that of all the other outlets within the food court over the past fifteen months or so. The figures demonstrated evidently that the concept could be propagated.
That same year, PUTIEN was also voted as one of Singapore's Top 50 Restaurants by The Sunday Times.
As PUTIEN secures a stronger foothold in Singapore, Chi Chung was motivated to move beyond Singapore's shores to open its first overseas outlet in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Elaborating on the expansion move, Chi Chung recounted a time when he was once approached by an Indonesian-Chinese who visited his Kitchener Road outlet.
The man had expressed great interest in bringing PUTIEN to his home country, which prompted Chi Chung to realise that there is a market for PUTIEN in Indonesia.
Now A Boss Of 49 Outlets Globally
Following its regional expansion, PUTIEN continues to flourish over the years.
To date, PUTIEN has a total of 49 outlets globally across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
In Singapore alone, it has 12 outlets islandwide.
Their staff headcount now totals to about 1,700; and its revenue has also grown more than 50 per cent.
2016 in particular was a very momentous year for PUTIEN as it earned plenty of prestigious achievements.
Its Causeway Bay outlet in Hong Kong was recommended by Michelin Guide Hong Kong and Macau, and its Kitchener Road outlet in Singapore was awarded one Michelin star.
"When I first started PUTIEN, my expectations were simple. I just wanted to open a vibrant and lively restaurant where people could come with their families and friends to enjoy our food."
"It never occured to me that it would become a global chain."
Surviving Almost 2 Decades
When asked about the secrets to his success, the humble entrepreneur simply said that there is no magic formula.
Everything boils down to "a love for the job, persistence, integrity, and an unwavering commitment to the nurturing of a positive work culture for all employees."
Chi Chung firmly believes that all employees, regardless of their position, is crucial in helping to build the business success.
As such, he makes it a point to handsomely reward them for their hard work. Whenever a staff member completes a year of employment, they will be treated to a free overseas tour.
In addition, he devotes a third of PUTIEN's profits every quarter to dividends for his employees. Some of his employees even own company shares now.
"Ultimately, I have many, many customers and I cannot take care of all of them. I can only take care of my employees who in turn will take care of my customers," he said.
To me, sharing your successes and your achievements is very important.
Consistently good food, and an effective branding and PR campaign is also imperative, he added.
Looking forward, Chi Chung said that he hopes to eventually set up PUTIEN outlets in other major Chinese cities, as well as in Japan, Korea, the Middle East and Europe.
Ultimately, his vision is to continue leading this illustrious brand, spearhead large-scale overseas expansion plans, and eventually achieve the ambitious goal of publicly listing the company.
This article was first published on Vulcan Post
More aboutRestaurants / Eateries
SINGAPORE Qantas Airways' budget arm Jetstar said Singapore's move to raise passenger fees at its Changi Airport will compel the carrier to "shift flights around" to cope with changes in demand and may impact the city-state's aviation hub status.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said earlier this week it would introduce a new airport development levy effective July 1 of $10.80 for passengers who begin their trips from Changi and $3.00 for those transiting.
Changi Airport is also raising a passenger service and security fee, currently at S$27.90, by S$2.50 from July 2018. The fees will also be increased by $2.50 annually over the next six years from April 2019. The measures are to help fund the city-state's airport expansion plans, which include a fifth terminal that is to be completed around 2030.
Jetstar's CEO Gareth Evans said on Friday the additional fees would lead to an average increase of 15-20 per cent on the fares the company sells in this market.
"We are going to have to shift flights around because demand will change," Evans told Reuters on the sidelines of the CAPA Global LCC Summit in Singapore.
"Singapore is competing with Hong Kong, China and Middle Eastern hubs. People will change hubs to fly to Europe, for a few dollars," he said.
Last month, the head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that growing cost of airport infrastructure posed risks to the global airline industry's profitability and growth.
Changi, which is the world's sixth busiest airport for international traffic, saw a record 62.2 million passengers in 2017.
Qantas, which reported a record half-year profit in February, is due to move its hub to Singapore from Dubai at the end of this month.
Jetstar has three Asian joint venture units, Jetstar Asia (Singapore), Jetstar Japan and Jetstar Pacific (Vietnam). Evans said he hoped for continued profitability at the Asian ventures, after all three had a profitable half, which happened for the first time.
Jetstar is scheduled to take delivery of 18 Airbus A321neo LR from 2020, which have a longer range than the older A320s they would be replacing. It has an order stream of 99 A320neo family jets.
Evans said the company would probably ultimately need a fleet that was equally balanced between A321neo and A320neo aircraft, but the Airbus order remained flexible.
An unemployed man died from a burst vessel inside the toilet of his home, leaving behind four children and a wife.
Mr Wang Qing Chi, 60, and his family had just become eligible for many family schemes announced under the Singapore Budget in February 2018, but his sudden death came less than three weeks later.
The family lives in Block 245, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3.
Mr Wang's widow, Ms Weng Meirong, works as a stall assistant at a hawker stall and fetches about $500 monthly.
After news of Mr Wang's demise was carried by Lianhe Wanbao, many readers left Facebook messages, saying that they empathised with the family's tragic circumstances.
At least six readers have contacted the paper, hoping to donate money to Mr Wang's family.
One of them, who contacted Lianhe Wanbao via email, said that he was willing to contribute $500 monthly to the family.
Another reader, Ms Zhuang Suqiang, 44, told reporters that she and her husband decided to donate after seeing the report.
"We are all people with family. Seeing the family like that was just heartbreaking. I hope to do my part to help."
Mr Chen, 57, also shared that he and some friends wish to donate some rice, dry grains, and canned food to the family.
In addition, according to philanthropic undertaker Mr Roland Tay, a rich businessman has reached out to him with intentions to donate to the family.
In response to the outpouring of aid, Ms Weng said she was very touched and will do her best to look after her four children in the absence of her husband.
"I am very touched by the concern from these kind people. No matter how difficult life will be, I will bring up my children."
Wondering whether that rock melon in your fridge is safe to eat?
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said on Monday (March 5) that two consignments of rock melons linked with the recent listeria outbreak in Australia have been pulled off the shelves in Singapore.
Imported from a New South Wales grower, the fruits were sold in Sheng Siong supermarket outlets and wet markets from Feb 12 to March 2.
The authority said that all rock melons currently available for sale are not implicated by the recall. To ensure food safety, however, AVA is conducting tests on rock melons from other sources.
If you suspect that you've purchased affected rock melons, do not consume them, AVA advises. Those who feel unwell after eating the fruits should seek medical attention.
The recall follows news of a listeria outbreak in Australia last week, where three people died and 12 others fell ill after consuming contaminated rock melons. All 15 victims are elderly, said NSW Health.
According to AVA, it may take from three to 70 days for symptoms of the bacterial infection to show.
A person with mild listeriosis usually suffers from diarrhoea or other gastrointestinal symptoms before developing fever and muscle aches.
But the bacteria may cause the pregnant, elderly, and those with a weakened immune system, to suffer from serious diseases such as brain and heart infections or pregnancy complications.
When diagnosed early, listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics.
Raw and ready-to-eat foods such as unpasteurised milk, raw meat, seafood and fresh fruits and vegetables could be contaminated by listeria. The best way to reduce the risk of listeriosis is the safe handling, cooking, and consumption of food.
So, don't forget to give your rock melon a thorough wash before taking a bite.
You've heard of co-working spaces, but how would you like to share your sleeping space with other entrepreneurs?
That's the idea behind Tribe Theory, a new "venture hotel" that specifically targets entrepreneurs and start-ups.
Made up of capsule beds in shared dorm rooms, Tribe Theory carves out a new category of budget business accommodation by combining the communal atmosphere of a hostel with the standards of a hotel and the entrepreneurial environment of a co-working space.
Beds in Tribe Theory's flagship Singapore hotel, which officially launched this month, are available from 35 Singapore dollars (around $26) per night. Guests are also welcome to pay in Bitcoin and Ethereum.
"We have a lot of entrepreneurs who are broke but have cryptocurrency, so we're happy to accept that," Tribe Theory founder Vikram Bharati told CNBC Make It.
The hotel features a co-working space on the top floor, alongside basic amenities such as free wifi, complimentary breakfast and newspapers, and a laundry service. It is also scattered with inspirational quotes to get your creative juices flowing.
Bharati said he hoped the concept would appeal to the next generation of entrepreneurs, who travel to some of the world's largest business centres but typically don't have the money to stay in a hotel.
That is especially relevant for entrepreneurs accessing less developed markets in Southeast Asia, who tap on cities like Singapore to access networks and capital. Hotels in Singapore cost an average of around $180 per night last year.
"What we're trying to do is create a community. So, not just provide an affordable capsule, but also create a place where people can engage with other entrepreneurs from around the world," said Vikram.
"The value is that someone from Kazakhstan can meet someone from London and collaborate on business together, which really is very hard to do in co-living spaces or hotels."
Bharati said the team is testing strategies and he believes they will naturally reach their target market as brand awareness grows.
Tribe Theory is itself steeped in entrepreneurship. The brainchild of ex-JP Morgan banker Bharati, the idea was born out of his experience travelling across 50 countries and his work in early stage investments at venture capitalist firm REAPRA.
With the help of his wife and backing from REAPRA, Bharati took the hotel from concept to launch in three months and spent just S$60,000 renovating the shophouse hostel.
The venue was once owned by one of Singapore's earliest entrepreneurs harking back to colonial times - Chow Ah Chey - and sits around the corner from the city's former millionaire's club.
"We built everything by hand," said Bharati. "We wanted to do that in the spirit of entrepreneurship."
Bharati is aiming to launch four more Tribe Theory locations in major business centres over the coming year: Hong Kong, Tokyo, Berlin and Estonia. Estonia is currently trying to position itself as a hub for entrepreneurship and plans to introduce a digital nomad visa next year.
By the end of 2019, Bharati is targeting 10 cities across 10 countries.
"Let's see how this goes, but we would like to build this in most major cities around the world," he said.
This article was first published on CNBC
Considering how fast things can go viral online, it is always a good idea to check and then double check everything you post.
Stomp contributors Evo 9 and AT alerted Stomp to a property listing that was posted on 99.co yesterday (Mar 7).
"I saw this photo while looking for a property," said Evo 9.
"Don't property agents vet their photos before posting them online?"
The Stomp contributor was referring to one image that was attached to the listing that showed the reflection of a man who was taking the photo of one of the rooms in the house.
What's shocking? That he was completely naked and his private parts could be seen in the mirror.
According to The Straits Times, the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) is looking into the matter.
Mr Benson Han, the property agent who is marketing the Choa Chu Kang maisonette flat, said the image was one of a few that the owner had sent him over WhatsApp during the Chinese New Year Period.
He told The Straits Times that the owner had just done some spring cleaning and must have taken the photo while cooling off. He also added that he did not see the offending image as the photo was "too small".
The ad for the flat was posted on PropertyGuru and 99.co. The photo was removed immediately on Tuesday night.