Tag Archives: lifestyle

Handy Guide for Singapore

Singapore is the food capital of Asia and it has many good restaurants.

I have been asked many times by travellers to Singapore which restaurants/bars I recommend, so I thought it would be nice to post this week’s article on this subject.

There are, of course, many good restaurants in Singapore and these are only my TOP restaurants.

I hope this article will be your small handy guide for restaurants/bars in Singapore.

1- Akashi

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Akashi is a Japanese restaurant located under Orchard Parade Hotel.

If you are a sushi lover, I think they are one of the world’s best.

In contrast to the restaurant’s simple design, the food is sophisticated and delicious.

I would order ikura sushi, tako sushi, spider maki, reserve California roll, sliced beef and gyoza.

Akashi’s wine menu is rich. Wine lovers will like the variety of the choice.

Your bill will show value for money, unless you order a bottle of Dom Perignon or Petrus.

2- Jim Thompson

Jim Thompson is a Thai restaurant located near Dempsey Hill.

Dempsey Hill used to be military barracks: after soldiers left the area, they were converted into a restaurant neighbourhood.

Jim Thompson restaurant is located in an exotic traditional building.

Jim Thompson also has an interesting story. He was an American businessman who help to revitalise the Thai silk industry in the 1950s and 1960s. He disappeared during a trip to the Cameroon Highlands in Malaysia, and has been never found.

Initially, Thompson was in Thailand due to his duty as a CIA agent in the region. I would highly recommend that you visit his house in Bangkok, Thailand.

Coming back to food, I would order pattaya set for starter, pomelo or green mango salad, beef green curry, Thai style rib-eye steak and stir-fried morning glory.

I am not a big dessert fan, but you should try Thai coconut ice cream here.

Singha beer or one of their nice cocktails can complement your delicious food at Jim Thompson.

3- Blu Kouzina

This is a great, real Greek restaurant on Bukit Timah Road.

It is run by Greeks and the food is authentically very Greek, and delicious.

You can order anything that you would order in a Greek restaurant and enjoy it.

It is a bit pricey, but given that you do not have much choice in Greek food in Singapore, it is fortunate to have such a great restaurant.

4- Pasta Brava

Past Brava is an Italian restaurant established by an Italian gentleman in 1993.

It may sound absurd to go to an Italian restaurant when you travel all the way down to Singapore, but you won’t be disappointed.

The great variety of pastas, along with the rich wine menu, make it one of my top five restaurants in Singapore.

5- Chang Korean BBQ

Chang Korean BBQ is located at the heart of Dempsey Hill.

If you like meat and if you like to cook your own meal, it is a great place.

Every table has its own BBQ and you can sizzle your chosen dish your own way.

Indoor BBQs are fuelled by coal, while outdoors they run on gas. It is up to you which you choose.

Wagyu rib-eye and Wagyu galbi are a must to try!

Drinks:

The Lantern Bar, a rooftop bar at the Fullerton Bay Hotel, is a good choice if you like posh places. It has a perfect view of the Singapore marina and a great range of drinks.

Club Street is a street dedicated to bars and restaurants in Singapore. While there are a great many bars and restaurants on it, I would recommend La Terrazza Rooftop bar. It is a cosy, small, local rooftop bar.

It is important to mention that Singapore is all about Hawker Centres and you should try one of the Hawker Centres, according to its proximity to where you stay.

This week, I am travelling and I am sharing this post from my beloved London!

All the best from London.

Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

 

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Are you passionate enough?

The Oxford dictionary defines the word passion as ‘strong and barely controllable emotion’ and passionate as ‘having, showing or caused by strong feelings or beliefs‘ .

What great definitions!

To succeed, be meaningful and happy, you need to be passionate about something.

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If you want to stay an average person, you may not bother at all, but then you will have a dull life.

I strongly believe that we are all living on this planet to change things.

Changing things is easier said than done.

You can be passionate about anything: a football team, your family, friends, food, business, travelling and so on.

But there has to be something in your life that you are really passionate about.

What are you passionate about? 

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Going back to the Oxford dictionary definition of passion, it is a strong and barely controllable emotion.

It is really important that you can control it, but only barely. It should be such a strong feeling.

If it is not controllable, it is not your friend any more.

Making things worse, it is actually your enemy.

There is a very fine line between being passionate and obsessive.

The Oxford dictionary defines obsession as ‘an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind’ and obsessive as ‘of the nature of an obsession’ .

When you are obsessed with something, you cannot control your emotion. In other words, you are not your own boss any more.

That feeling/emotion starts controlling you and can potentially destroy you.

From my experience, educated and self-confident people are more likely to control their emotions.

Emotions help them to succeed and be happy in their lives.

Someone with a high ego very likely means someone with less knowledge and less self-confidence who tries to overcome these problems by increasing their own self-importance.

When you hear ‘I am important’ type of statements from someone, just walk away…

I am personally very passionate about Besiktas (a Turkish football team), reading, travelling, technology and meeting new people.

I am passionate about Besiktas, not because Besiktas is a good sports club, but more importantly because it has a unique type of supporter who is quite sensitive to domestic and global issues. Besiktas is a very good platform for good companionship, to channel your knowledge and, if necessary, help those who need them.

I am passionate about reading; as I read more, I develop my thinking, how I see the world, what has shaped the world and the people. More importantly, each book makes me so curious that I want to jump into any different book.

To give you an example, last year I read The World Order by Henry Kissinger, which made me read Hillary Clinton’s recent book, Hard Choices. After reading Hillary Clinton’s book, I wanted to learn more about the Saudis and it made me read Inside the Kingdom by Robert Lacey.

I am passionate about travelling because the more I travel, the more I understand people with different backgrounds. So far, I have been to only 51 countries and knowing there are many more to go keeps me very motivated. In addition, I know that even if I visit every single country one day, I will need to go to those countries again.

Why? Nothing stands still and I have to be updated!

I am passionate about people because everybody has a unique life story. I am quite privileged to work in the banking profession as it is part of my job to meet new people, understand them and bring unique solutions to each of them.

Am I obsessed with something?

I hope I am not. People who know me should answer this rather than me.

If you cannot find something that you are passionate about in your life, you should start searching for it.

If you can connect your passion with your job, success is inevitable, then! Instead of looking for a living or an extra earning, do not sell your passion for temporary means!

It should wake you up early, always have that in mind and get excited and think positively about the future.

More importantly, it should help you to be meaningful and happy in our limited time on this planet!

All the best from Singapore.

Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

 

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A Decade Away from Istanbul

The date of 15 September 2015 marks the completion of a decade away from Istanbul in my native land, Turkey.

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It is always good to look back and analyse your challenges, mistakes and successes to improve yourself.

I am still young but a completely different person from who I used to be.

What has been my experience in the last 10 years?

I would definitely rate my experience as 10 out of 10.

Here are the reasons why.

Once I was out of my comfort zone, I realized what a spoiled upbringing I had had.

Your parents want to give you everything and that’s not really good.

I was living in central London and I had some of my old friends from Turkey and new friends from my courses.

Initially, it was too much fun!

But then I realized that I had to wash my clothes, change my bed linen and even sometimes cook!

I truly wasn’t aware of all these tasks being done by somebody else all those years!

Lesson #1: The first few weeks in London taught me that I had good intellectual capacity, but I was not at all prepared for everyday life.

Even paying the bills on time and keeping track of what I spent was a totally new concept for me.

Once I started to get going with the basics, I was fine but I was not aware that life was about to get tough.

Without being immodest, I can say that my graduate course on international business economics was going very well. I was very confident that I would be one of the very few students who would get a distinction at the year’s end and I did!

In the meantime, I started liking the challenges and most importantly London! And I made the decision to stay there.

So I needed to find a proper job.

Istanbul was my playground and I could reach anybody through my network but London was something new. I did not know anybody except a few friends who were also students.

Lesson #2: I learned that I had to rely on myself to get things done. Nobody would give me a job here as I have no contacts in London.

So I started networking and applying !

This was a great challenge.

And I did it!

Now I had a job and I stayed in London.

New challenges lay ahead.

I enrolled on a graduate programme for new employees from all over the world: Brazil, Greece, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, the UK, Germany, Iran…

While I was a student, I chose whom to spend time with.  A new episode in my life was about to start…

Lesson #3: I understood how important it is to interact with everybody, not only with loved ones!

More importantly, I learned that I have to build relationships with those I don’t like as well!

Having been in London for some years, I had friends now from all over the globe.

Time was ticking by and I was exposed to many different cultures, which fostered my curiosity and confused me as well, sometimes.

Lesson #4: This encouraged me to travel to different countries to understand my friends’ cultures and I also read a lot about them.

I should know the history of people with whom I am dealing and more importantly I should understand their background and what influences their decisions.

And then I discovered that I don’t even know my own background properly. Unfortunately, history lessons in Turkish high schools are not wide-ranging.

I am still learning…

Lesson #5: As Richard Branson famously says, “The more you travel, the more you read and the more you read, the more you travel”. I am in a learning circle right now which I doubt I will ever want to leave.

A Danish gentleman, Peter Klein, was my first CEO and I remember what he told me during my first days of employment.

“University does not teach you much but it does teach one main thing and that is the ability to update yourself continuously”.

Maybe university did not do that but living abroad in the last decade definitely did !

To sum up, I had a really fantastic decade living outside my comfort zone. It became so addictive that I am not sure I want to step into my comfort zone again.

I encourage you all, especially new graduates, to get out of your comfort zone and work abroad.

Unfortunately, the world is not so rosy and the best way to learn is to get out of your comfort zone and mix with different types of people.

All the best from Singapore

Sukru Haskan
Twitter: @sukru_haskan

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