Friday 28 June 2013

Food & Dining: Hong Kong All-Day Breakfast Set @ Man Wah Restaurant

All-Day Breakfast Set
Image from Locky's English Playground
Having worked in Mongkok area for many years, I still struggle to find some decent places for a comforting meal. Since Tai Hing had upped its dinner set price by a good 20%, I have switched to Man Wah Restaurant, which is right across the road.

Previously, I recommended its brilliant Hong Kong-style French toast, now comes the review of yet another signature dish -- Man Wah's All-day Hong Kong-style breakfast.

Bird's eye view
Image from Locky's English Playground
Like most local cafes which offer the same breakfast set, a Hong Kong-style breakfast set includes scrambled eggs, ham, toast, macaroni and milk tea, very very standard. Then what makes this set deserves a recommendation from the English Playground?

close-up of scrambled egg, ham and toast
Image from Locky's English Playground
Speed is everything in a breakfast like this. Everything on that plate must come out from the kitchen and delivered to the diner's table while the food is still hot -- very hot, Man Wah managed to do this thanks to the highly attentive and efficient waitresses.

The scrambled egg comes with an attractive yellow and a buttery aroma, its richness and freshness in taste and its mellow smoothness leave you wanting more. I enjoy placing a little piece of egg and ham on the thick crispy toast before taking a huge bite out of the instant sandwich. It's simple food, yet brings immense joy and occasionally a wave of nostalgia for mum's handmade breakfast.

close-up of beef macaroni in rich tomato soup
Image from Locky's English Playground
A sip of the icy milk tea clears the taste buds, and a scoop of the spoon into the deliciously fresh tomato goodness. The beef I must say, is not the best by any standard, but it's already much much higher than those frosty soda powder-tenderised meat served in oh-so-many Cha Chaan Teng. The temperature is always right after I have finished the sandwich, meaning that the chef has prepared it hotter than expected. Is this a touch of thoughtful consideration or just a perfect coincidence?

At $35 a set and an extra $2 for iced drink, reasonably comfortable seats and no one chasing you to leave after your meal is done, how much more can one ask for from a local cafe these days?

Overall, I must say I haven't quite seen any Hong Kong-style breakfast as lovely as this one, this is extremely high quality stuff!


Look:            ★★★★★ 5/5
Taste:            ★★★★★ 5/5
Smell:            ★★★★★ 5/5
Textures:       ★★★★☆ 4/5
Temperature: ★★★★★ 5/5
Overall:         ★★★★★ 24/25


attentive -- (adj) If someone is attentive, they are very helpful and take care of you:
nostalgia -- (n) feeling of pleasure and also slight sadness when you think about things that happened in the past:
sip -- (n)  drink, taking only a very small amount at a time:
scoop -- (n)  the amount held by a scoop: 
frosty -- (adj) very cold, with a thin layer of white ice covering everything:
tenderise -- (vb) to make meat easy to cut or chew (= crush with the teeth) by beating it or preparing it in a particular way

Food: The Search For Great Hong Kong-style French Toast -- Part 1 @ Locky's English Playground

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Cooking: How To Cook Roasted Spring Chicken the Hong Kong Way?

Roasted Spring Chicken
Image from Locky's English Playground
Looks yummy? My wife's favourite! I cooked it. Wanna learn how to cook roasted spring chicken the Hong Kong way? Let's get started.
Star Anise in the sauce
Image from Locky's English Playground
The sauce is the essence of the entire dish. If your sauce is right, your chicken will not go too wrong. First, you need to prepare ingredients needed,

  1. lots of star anise,
  2. a bottle of soy sauce
  3. 3 teaspoons of (Chinese Shaoxing) wine
  4. sugar
  5. 1 to 2 cups of water
  6. rosemary (optional)

Second, dump everything and the chicken into a pot and bring it to boil,
Spring chicken being marinated
Image from Locky's English Playground
Third, once the sauce is boiled, turn off the stove and allow the sauce to cool. Turn the chicken around occasionally to ensure all parts are being marinated.
Spring chicken almost ready to be roasted
Image from Locky's English Playground
Fourth, repeat the boiling and cooling steps once more to ensure the entire chicken is cooked. Up to this step, your soy sauce chicken is made and ready to serve, but if you want to have it done crispy skin, then you should read on.

Image from Locky's English Playground
Fifth, at 250°C, roast the chicken for 20 minutes in an oven, spread honey or syrup onto the skin at 18th minute.

Just out of the oven
Image from Locky's English Playground
Sixth, I used the chicken sauce and oil at the bottom of the plate to fry the vegetables but you can use it for whatever you like.

Can you see the crispy skin?
Image from Locky's English Playground
What are you waiting for? Tuck in!

A few more entries like this and I am on my way to publishing my first cook book.

PS: I'm learning how to write an Android app for the English Playground recently, I had a design for it but I decided that it wasn't good enough so I'm redesigning it. The learning of Android isn't as easy as I thought and weeks of effort is guaranteed. I hope that I can get it done before September but hey, I haven't done programming for a long long time.

tuck in -- UK informal — phrasal verb [T usually + adv/prepto start eating something eagerly:

Medical & Healthy and Fitness: Star Anise As A Cure For Flu @ Locky's English Playground

Thursday 20 June 2013

Learning Method: Help Yourself With Pronunciation of Medicine Names

Two days ago, I got a really nice question from a student, it goes like

"I work in the hospital and I always have to deal with different names of medicines but they are so hard to pronounce! Are there any ways I can find out the pronunciation of the medicine names?"

Yes! You are asking the right person about medicine!

Normally, people will immediately grab their copies of Oxford or Cambridge dictionaries, but in this case, you will get nothing out of them!

Image from Google Play

If you know IPA, then the fastest way of getting your answer is to use a smartphone app.

The Free Dictionary by Farlex runs the and now it has an app simply called Dictionary which is available in Google Play and App Store (click links to download app).

This app provides exactly the same information as the website does, so you could get the US phonetic transcription representation, IPA, computer-generated sounds in UK and US accents, the meaning as well as the source of the definition depending on the sources. It's a free app and it's pretty convenient.

Take for example, I'm recently doing a lot of reseaches on tuberculosis. One of the key medications is this drug called isoniazid.

Image from Locky's English Playground

Image from Locky's English Playground

However, if you don't like computer-generated sounds because they are not accurate or realistic enough, the slower way and also the way I prefer, is to use YouTube.

Image from Locky's English Playground
Type the medicine name and search for videos with people who will actually read the word to you. I prefer those videos made and read by proper experts in the field as they are more convincing to me, but a few videos from the common netizens are just as good.

I prefer this method over the earlier simply because hearing actual pronunciations from real people gives me a better proof of the reality.

This method will also work with famous brand names which are often in French and Italian, give it a go if you have the need and leave for me a comment below if you have any suggestions.

The Free Online Medical Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.

The Medical dictionary - by the Free Online Medical Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.

Dictionary by Farlex @ Google Play

Dictionary by Farlex @ App Store

Monday 17 June 2013

Movie: After Earth Review -- Top 10 Complaints!!!

Image from IMDb
Maybe I was wrong in the last entry about staying in as the only possible thing I could do. I did go to cinema to watch movies. I watched two movies the week before:  After Earth by Will Smith and his son Jaden, and The Hangover Part III. Today, I want to talk about After Earth.

Honestly speaking, I'm quite a fan of Will Smith, from his action movies such as Independence Day, MIB series as well as I am Legend to a less popular romantic comedy Hitch, I have watched them all. Then came his son in The Pursuit of Happyness, and I began to realise, hey, daddy's eager to make his little boy famous. Then, as we all know, came the 2010 Karate Kid with the no-longer-pride-of-Hongkongers Jacky Chan (due to the statements he made about his political stands), and now, After Earth.

Seeing the father-and-son pair on the poster I was already like, "Not Again!" But yes, again! I was going to watch it anyway because of Will Smith, and I was sold by the following video on Discovery News about the scientific aspects of this movie,

so I thought, alright, just give it a go. As a result, I really didn't get to see the magic of Will Smith, but in return, got to see almost a full solo of Jaden.

Here are my complaints:

Complaint 1: A 1000 years later, a new "Hello" in English
Faia Raige, the wife
Image from afterearthmovieofficial.wikia
No offence to the actress but I think everyone in the cinema heard the character Faia Raige welcoming Will Smith home with a "HaH?" instead of a "hi" or a "hello". Considering that after 1000 years they still speak the same English as we do today, I suppose that "huh?" is more of a mistake from the actress than a line from the script. Pronunciation-wise, sounds perfect as a "what?" in Cantonese, causing the eruption of laughs.

Complaint 2: A broken-leg Will Smith
Will Smith scanned his broken leg
Image from eonline
I am perfectly fine that Will Smith doesn't feel scared in front of human's biggest nemesis, the Ursa, a giant spider-like alien which detects human existence through the pheromones secreted from the human body. I like the idea that Will is the ultimate hero in the story who can "ghost".

But how on earth did they come up with such a continuation of a brilliant storyline? The know-it-all Will Smith got a broken leg from a spaceship crash and then he ended up sitting in a chair in agony for the rest of the movie. He needed not fight, just act like JARVIS (from Iron Man) on a very low battery, easily giving away all those film time to his son. Come on! I came to watch you! Not your son!

Complaint 3: A pain-killer that still makes you sleepy
Injecting pain-killers would make Will Smith sleepy and he wouldn't be able to monitor his son, I get it. But 1000 years later the pain-killer meds still have sleepiness as side-effect? Talk about improvement in medicine!

Complaint 4: A container that seals pheromones
Young Jaden hid himself from Ursas' invasion
Image from cmgdigital

Young Jaden's sister was killed because she couldn't ghost, fair enough. But young Jaden saved his life by hiding in a box because "the Ursas couldn't smell his pheromone, then why didn't everybody just make more boxes? How about making a huge one to cover the entire home, or the entire colony? After 1000 years, all they had was enough materials to make ONE! Come on! Give me a break!

Complaint 5: Excellent human-animal communications
Image from intomobile

"Leave me alone!" shouted Jaden to the Might Eagle from Angry Birds.
"Leave them alone!" shouted Jaden to the lions who climbed trees to eat baby eagles.
"Get away!" shouted Jaden to the enlarged baboons.

What??? Seriously?

Complaint 6: Extreme weather changes yield tropical rainforest
If the temperature fluctuates from tropical rainforest hot in the day to Iceland cold at night, how on earth do you get green leaves everywhere?

Complaint 7: Sensor-embedded suit and breathing fluid
Image from enjoymusics
Okay, your sensor-embedded suit doesn't have temperature regulating ability to keep you warm but can change colours when in danger. What a suit! Breathing fluid to help breathing? Why not just include an oxygen regulator in the suit as well? Also, there are so many people on the spaceship, just 5 breathing fluids at the front part of the spaceship?

Complaint 8: An Ursa that just wanted to kill Jaden
Jaden battles Ursa
Image from diariodonordeste
The Ursa did kill all baboons, but why didn't the Ursa start killing every other living thing in the forest? Why kept running around for Jaden? Weren't there anything else that releases pheromones in the forest other than baboons and Jaden?

Complaint 9: a 1000-year of human evolution, the ultimate weapon is...
Image from futurewarstories
Body combat? Seriously? No guns? A 1000 years later, humans must have gone dumber.

Complaint 10: Overly-Predictable Storylines
When the plane crashed, you knew the father-and-son pair would be fine. When Will Smith broke his leg, you knew that he would rely on Jaden. When Will asked his son to find the tail of the spaceship, you knew he couldn't handle the environment. When some breathing fluids were broken, you knew Jaden would lie to Will. When Jaden was at the cliff, you knew he would jump. When he was caught by the eagle, you knew he would be fine. When he fought the lions, you knew he would get away. When all the baby eagles died, you knew the eagle mum would follow Jaden and protect him on the way. When night fell, you knew Jaden would be frozen and be almost dead. When Jaden was frozen, you knew the eagle mum would save Jaden by sacrificing herself. When the Ursa found Jaden, you knew they would fight, Jaden would be able to ghost and he would kill the Ursa and Will Smith wouldn't die. At the end, you knew this was how the story ends.

Image from IMDb

Overall, with 4.9 /10 as rating on IMDb, After Earth is some greatly ridiculous movie and it will be a strong contender for the upcoming major "worst movie awards". I've also learnt, once again, not to watch any movie from Jaden Smith ever again.

pheromone -- (n) [C] a secreted or excreted chemical factor that triggers a social response in members of the same species.
combat -- (n) [C or U] fightespecially during a war:
dumb -- (adj) mainly US informal stupid and annoying:
sacrifice -- (vb)[T] to give up something that is valuable to you in order to help another person:
contender -- (n)[C] someone who competes with other people to try to win something:


After Earth @ IMDb

Is 'After Earth' Our Future? @ YouTube

AFTER EARTH Film Clip - "Monkey Discovery" - HD @ YouTube

Thursday 13 June 2013

Technology & Opinions: Why iOS7 & Samsung Ads Suck?

If everyone is busy making everything how can anyone perfect anything?  We start to confuse convenience with joy, abundance with choice.  Designing something requires focus.  The first thing we ask is what do we want people to feel?  Delight. Surprise. Love. Connection.  Then we begin to craft around our intention.  It takes time.  There are a thousand no's for every yes.  We simplify. We perfect. We start over.  Until everything we touch enhances each life it touches.  Only then do we sign our work Designed by Apple in California. -- Quoted from Forward Thinking.

Honestly, I have been refraining myself from making any unfair comments about Apple and Samsung (surprised?) until the latest "stuff" is out and settles, until I saw the latest iOS7's UI design, some ads and some news headlines, I can't bear not to make myself heard any more and here's my eruption!


Complaint 1:
Image from igeeksblog
Okay, nice ad above Apple, you obviously go against Samsung's "More is More" philosophy which is fine for me, have it your way, but don't try to confuse us that "convenience" isn't related to "joy" and "abundance" isn't related to "choice"!!! If convenience has nothing to do with joy, then why did you create that annoying virtual home button in iOS6? That is not to make your customers more "joyful" because of your incredibly non-durable home button? I don't think seeing my wife clicking multiple buttons just to switch on and off the 3G data a joy to behold. I think it's irritatingly inconvenient to even look at it!

If abundance has nothing to do with choice, then why are you adding features that Android already has? Why not just keep it "minimalistic"?

Complaint 2:
iOS 7 lock screen (left), home screen (centre), pull-up menu (right)
Image from Gigaom
The first thing we ask is what do we want people to feel?  Delight. Surprise. Love. Connection. 

Delight, love, connection? Maybe, because it's new. Surprise, definitely!! I'm seeing a whole lot of colour changes of the Android system now running on iPhone.

Jellybean 4.1 lock screen (left), Samsung Galaxy Mega home screen (centre),
Samsung Galaxy Note II dropdown menu (right)
Don't say that other companies copy you until you can prove that you never copy others!

Complaint 3:
iOS7 Weather
Image from Gigaom

The first thing we ask is what do we want people to feel?  Delight. Surprise. Love. Connection.  Then we begin to craft around our intention.  It takes time.  There are a thousand no's for every yes.  We simplify. We perfect. We start over.  Until everything we touch enhances each life it touches.  Only then do we sign our work

So all that you come up with is a replica of Google Now weather?
Google Now
Image from onelickroot
Does that mean Apple also thinks Android is the perfect design?
Accuweather Widget on Samsung Galaxy phone
Image from iwritealot
iOS7 weather
Image from Gigaom
Or do you mean the best you can do is copy from Android?

Image from The Telegraph
"iOS7: Apple stands on the shoulders of giants"? Give me a break. Don't make me puke.

Complaint 4:
iOS6 to iOS 7 icons comparions
Image from idownloadblog
From 3D icons to 2D icons, Apple, where's your persistence of NOT becoming Android? Your Safari icon sickens me the most, the meaning of the map / the world is completely lost! The Reminders, the Game Center and the Notes icons, which part of the icon design looks like what they are supposed to do?

I used to make my wife really upset by criticising Apple's products and she had always defended Apple for whatever they make to be the best in the world simply because this is what love is all about, you don't need a reason to defend the person you love, so neither does she need one to defend Apple's products. When I showed her the icons in iOS 7 yesterday, her first reaction was,

"What are they doing to the icons? Where're all those 3D effects? I don't like this!"

When asked if she would upgrade her iPhone 4S to iOS7,

"I will never upgrade it! It looks so ugly!! Looks like your Android (phone)!"

"I thought you are a Apple fangirl." I asked
"I'm a big fan of Steve Jobs and his work, not Apple (any more)." She replied.

Sure enough, those Apple fans who loves Apple as a company will continue to stay loyal, and any small changes will be seen as "innovations" despite already having same old stuff flooding the mobile world for years.

Then again, fervent disciples of Steve Jobs are out there in millions. With this iOS 7 update, Apple will risk losing them, fast!
Click to Enlarge
Image from gizmodo

That said, it's time to criticise Samsung's approach!

Complaint 1:

Okay, your Galaaxy S4 looks great in close-up despite the polycarbonate case, but the music in the ad, please! It doesn't fit the warm and joyful mum taking a photo of his son with colour balloons (0:29-0:33)! The music is way too serious! It might work well for a cool car ad maybe, but won't in the world's sake relate to the concept of family, precious moments, joy, leisure, relaxation and most importantly, a "Life companion"!!! Every time I hear that music from the ad, I feel like I'm watching a horrifying drama play, and my "life companion" is something scary!

Samsung!!! Why can't you just do another version using the same Galaxy S3 warm, touching theme? Every time I see this ad I just have to complain once.

Complaint 2:

Slimmer? Not that much, stronger? Where's the proof? Unimaginable clarity? Tell that to HTC One. Water and Ice? You are not water-proof or ice-proof yet! Innovation continues? You mean the Dual Shot? I can't even tell the Dual Camera was there before the mum wasn't even moving much! AirView with finger, alright, you got this one correct, but what about the best of the best Smart Scroll, Smart Pause, Air Gestures, Drama Shots, Eraser features? Come one! I'm seeing none of these? Do you expect noobs to buy your phone just because of how it looks?

You are not advertising the best features of your S4 in this ad, Samsung!

Complaint 3:

I can almost guarantee you that you won't hear the Group Play music any more the moment you step away from the bench in that changing room. And I doubt that anyone wants to buy an S4 for this multi-4 dependent feature, it's just not practical!

Sell your other features, Samsung!!! Like this is an ad well done!

Why can't you give me more of this? If your S4 doesn't sell as good as S3, you know why, because your TV ads suck!

abundance -- (n)[S or U] the situation in which there is more than enough of something:
behold -- (vb)[T] old use or literary  to see or look at someone or something:
sicken -- (vb) [I]  to become ill:
fangirl -- (n)[C] A rabid breed of human female who is obesessed with either a fictional character or an actor. Similar to the breed of fanboy.
fervent -- (adj) (also fervid) formal describes beliefs that are strongly and sincerely felt or people who have strong and sincere beliefs:
disciple -- (n) [C] person who believes in the ideas and principles of someone famous and tries to live the way they do or did:
vivid -- (adj) very brightly coloured:
horrifying -- (adj)  very shocking:
noob -- (n) [C] informal someone who has just started doing something, especially playing a computergame or using a type of software, and so does not know much about it
suck -- (vb)[I] slang If someone or something sucks, they are bad or unpleasant:


Has Apple Been Feeling a Bit Insecure Lately? @ Forward Thinking

iOS7: Apple stands on the shoulders of giants @ The Telegraph

Apple - Designed By Apple - Intention @ YouTube

GALAXY S4 Official TVC @ YouTube

Apple Inc. iPhones, iPads banned by US, Samsung Group triumphs @ Mumbai Mirror

Technology: Welcome! Samsung Galaxy S4!! @ Locky's English Playground

GALAXY S4 Official TVC - Group Play (Share Music) @ YouTube

GALAXY S4 Official TVC - Sound & Shot @ YouTube

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Technology & News: Free Apps To Recommend Part 7

Image from Samsung Galaxy Note II

It's not easy to break away from the food recipes and restaurant recommendation sharing these days because there isn't much out there that interests me. It's either scorching hot or pouring wet outside. This got me to stay indoor all the time. I miss my football and I can only play that on my PC nowadays.

Then again, if you are always staying indoor and your best friend is still your smartphone, then you might want to have a few new apps to play around with. Recently, I have found a few practical ones for the Android devices, sorry iPhone fanboys.

The first one is PicsArt, one of the best apps on the Galaxy Note and Note II because it is a camera . photo-editing app designed specifically for the S Pen.

The lady does look like a lot like a Korean,doesn't she? She speaks like an American-born Chinese though.

Anyway, I really like the function that you can use the pen to apply or remove effect partially from the photo. I've used it once and I have decided that I can remove a bunch of other photo-editing apps now.

Intelligent Ringer
Image from XDA-developers
The next one is called Intelligent Ringer, developed by XDA member soulreaver1. Quoting from the XDA Forum,

Intelligent Ringer aims to adjust the ringtone volume based on the amount of noise level of the environment the phone is in. It does this by analyzing the amount of sounds with the phone’s camera microphone and adjusting the ringtone volume down for when all’s quiet (such as a library), or higher during situations when it’ll be hard to hear the ringtone (i.e. a party). Users can adjust the sensitivity and accuracy of the microphone, the minimum and maximum volume, among other settings available. Intelligent Ringer also changes the volume when it detects the phone in your pocket thanks to the proximity sensor.

This is an extremely useful app if it works. I haven't tried it yet because I like to manually change volume myself, but I can imagine how immensely useful this app is who truly like to have a "Smart" phone.

Hi App Lock
Image from XDA-developers
The next one is Hi App Lock, developed by XDA member hiapp. Quoting from XDA forum,

Hi App Lock allows you to lock any app on your phone with a four to eight digit PIN. A more efficient way of protecting information from intruders than apps that require you to navigate to a specific location to view protected files, Hi App Locks simply prompts for a PIN input every time you want to open up an app. This method also allows for the flexibility to protect any sort of data and information that may be on your phone such as emails, bank details, photos, text messages, and so forth.

So if you don't want your wife to find out who(m) you have called, lock it! You don't want to disclose your contact, lock it! You want to restrict your kid from playing games, lock the games! You don't want them to install other apps so they can phone chat, lock Google Play!

Hey, you know what's even cooler? Remote lock and unlock the apps, then you can make sure your kid never get out of your control!!! (Locky's snickering!) Maybe I should tell hiapp about this great suggestion!

Image from XDA-developers
For those who doesn't own a Samsung Galaxy device but envy their multitasking ability, you can try SidePanel, developed by XDA sukso96100. I know very little about this app because I don't need it, because I have a Galaxy Note II, but if you are using other Android devices, you can give it a go.

Battery Style
Image from XDA-developers
Battery Style, developed by XDA member OsamaGhareeb, you need to root your phone and follow a series of instructions to install this app. Whether this is worth the chore is for you to decide.

fanboy -- (n)[C] a person considered to belong to one or more fandoms to a point of obsession
bunch -- (n)[C] a number of things of the same type fastened together or in a close group
immensely -- (adv) extremely
snicker -- (vb)[I] (also snigger) to laugh at someone or something in a silly and often unkind way:
chore -- (n) a job or piece of work that is often boring or unpleasant but needs to be done regularly:


GALAXY Note II - Photo Editing with PicsArt @ YouTube

No More Ringtone Surprises with Intelligent Ringer @ XDA-developers

Keep Your Phone Safe from Prying Eyes  @  XDA-developers

The Open Source SidePanel @  XDA-developers

Swap Battery Icons Easily with OG Battery Mod @  XDA-developers