Posts Tagged ‘Singapore dining’

Great Singapore Sale – “ Discover a truly extravagant shopping fiesta”

The Great Singapore Sale is an event totally dedicated to shopping lovers which attracts people from many parts of the world. It is an annual shopping sale that is organized collaborately by the Singapore Tourism Board and other retail stores and malls in Singapore. It can be called the grand annual shopping festival which offers a range of products such as apparel, jewellery, electronic items, fashion accessories, cosmetics and perfumes, toys, Singapore souvenirs and many more. It will be providing the visitors with product discounts as well as other special offers such as discounted tickets to Singapore Zoo, Singapore Duck tours, to Sentosa and various local attractions.

During the period of the Great Singapore Sale, Singapore’s main shopping malls will be open till midnight and on weekends even past midnight allowing the visitors to indulge in the grand shopping experience of their lives.

There are various privileges that will be offered to the tourists who will be visiting this impressive fiesta such as the special lifestyle promotions that will consist of exclusive dining facilities, coupled with exciting nightlife and numerous entertainment facilities. The Tourist Privilege Cards are on offer especially for tourists who yearn to enjoy unique discounts when shopping. The sale runs for eight weeks and it offers a great value for money for tourists who are interested in purchasing branded, luxury products as well as for tourists looking for bargained items.

The sale will be held from 23rd May to 20th July starting from Singapore’s main shopping districts of Orchard road and Marina Bay and will spread towards the Heartlands of Singapore. Another major deal for the tourists visiting the sale can be considered as the partner promotions offered by MasterCard ,Global refund, and other tax free options which offer a truly amazing shopping experience combined with value for money and special discounts.

The Great Singapore Sale has become a shopping fiesta which is not only limited to shopping but also a venue for various exciting events and grand prizes that will be gifted to lucky visitors.
Comfortable and accommodation is available in luxury Singapore hotels that are located near the Great Singapore Sale area providing tourists a pleasurable experience coupled with elegant facilities.

Staying for a day in Singapore

If you have only a day in Singapore, you could opt for one of the following categories of itineraries:

A. Nature and Nurture:

The first thing that strikes you about Singapore upon landing and walking out of the airport is its clean and green environment. Singapore has inspired many a great country to follow its pursuit of cleanliness and greenness. Take a walk along the massive Corniche in the United Arab Emirates and you will find a striking gigantic resemblance to the Esplanade in Singapore. Despite the congestion of concrete in highly urbanized parts of the Lion City, you will always find some trees with a stone’s throw.

If you are not looking for a concrete jungle which reminds you of work back in your own homeland, head away to the pockets of open space where green is the theme and where flora and fauna are aplenty.

If you like sunshine and sea, head for the East Coast where you would find vast greens for a ball game, a training lake for surfing, skates, kayaks and bicycles for rental and restaurants ranging from fast food to local delights. You will also find a line of seafood restaurants facing the seafront where you can dine in candlelight elegance or Chinese restaurant manner.

Just at the edge of the busy Orchard Road area is the Singapore Botanic Gardens which stretches all the way to the Bukit Timah Road, one of the earliest roads in Singapore. The Gardens houses the world acclaimed National Orchid Garden which boasts of many orchids including the local hybrid the Vanda Miss Joaquim which became Singapore’s National Flower in April 1981.

Bring along your running shoes if you wish to have some leg stretches before your next flight. Jog along the paths and the lakes. Admire the lotus and the lily plants in the pond and the tropical settings in a primary forest. Study the spices found at the Spice Garden which is located nearer the Bukit Timah extension of the Botanic Gardens.

Another free access park is the Labrador Park which boasts of a historical hill, a jogging track along a coast and a jetty where anglers will brief you about the fish and other sea creatures available in the local waters.

Singapore boasts of having three world class parks the Singapore Zoological Gardens, the Night Safari and the Jurong Bird Park. These three places not only offer views of exotic Asian animals and birds but are also landscaped into picnic areas where the Zoo and the Bird Park are concerned and a favorite night haunt where the Night Safari are

Singapore Has Plenty to Offer

If there is one word that best captures Singapore, it is unique. A dynamic city rich in contrast and colour, find a harmonious blend of culture, cuisine, arts and architecture here. Brimming with unbridled energy, this little dynamo in Southeast Asia embodies the finest of both East and West

Singapore may be small, but packs in quite a punch. Only about 655 square kilometres in area, it is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with about 6430 people per square kilometre. Although it is one of the 20 smallest countries in the world, its economy is a world leader, and has the worlds busiest port in terms of tonnage handled.

Driving in Singapore is a breeze. Navigating around the island is easy as there are well marked road signs which are all in English

Ever since Sir Stamford Raffles claimed the island of Singapore for the East India Company in 1819, English has had a place in Singapore. Since Singapore became an independent Republic in 1965, the use of English has increased still further, and since 1987 all Singaporean children have their education through the medium of English. For many Singaporeans, English is the main language. Many families speak English at home and it is one of the first languages learnt by about half of the current pre school children.

Nightlife is great and shopping is great.

Singapore has plenty to offer. An area that consists of one main island and several smaller islands and a population of just over 4 million. Impressive skyscrapers, gleaming malls contract with traditional Chinatown and Little India. A dynamic urban environment with entertainment, dining and energy. Modern well organized museums attractions and shopping provide plenty of action.

Singaporeans blend together in a sea of ethnic diversity, with Malays and Chinese, Tamils and Arabs, Indonesians and Thais, living in relative peace beside each other.

Singapore is warm and humid all year. The temperature rarely drops far below 70F. While Singapore has a wet season Nov to Jan and a dry season May to July, the cities rain is relatively steady and there is not a great difference between the wet and dry times of year. With any trip to the tropics you will want to bring sun screen and insect repellent. There are few major health risks in Singapore itself therefore the city keeps a close watch on mosquitoes and diseases.

Singapore’s hippest party district

The Boat Quay in Singapore was a historic quay that was turned into a busy inland shipping port by the Chinese. It was a busy port handling up to three quarters of all shipping during the 1860’s. Many shop houses and store fronts were built in the area because the south bank of the river resembled the belly of a carp, which according to traditional Chinese belief is an indication of wealth.

Though shipping and trade is not what the Boat Quay is known for now, the shop houses in the area have been carefully preserved and now they house various bars, pubs and restaurants. Since the beginning of the 90’s the Boat Quay has been transformed into a pedestrian mall with restaurants, pubs, cafes and clubs. Thus it is apparent how the Quay’s socio-economic role in Singapore has shifted away from one of commerce to one of recreation. Many consider Boat Quay to be one of the hippest and most happening areas of Singapore with it’s plethora of chic cafes and restaurants and also the plentiful bars and clubs that are frequented by locals and tourists alike.

Today Boat Quay is the centre of Singapore’s entertainment and nightlife district. Between 7 PM and midnight the area swells with people strolling along the pleasant quay. At the end of Boat Quay and named after Lord Elgin, a British governor-general of India is Elgin Bridge that links Chinatown to the old colonial quarter of Singapore. The original rickety wooden structure was replaced in 1863 with an iron bridge imported from Calcutta; the current ferroconcrete bridge was installed in 1926.

The Orchard Hotel Singapore is one out of the few Singapore Hotels that are located in the vicinity of Boat Quay. Travelers are assured of an exciting stay that will enable them to indulge in the rich night life of the area.

Sparkling Singapore & Ancient Vietnam Trip Journal

I have always loved aircrafts and long haul flights. We boarded award winning Singapore Airlines in LAX with about 30 hours of travel time ahead of us. With 8 magazines, 6 movies, 4 meals and a sleeping pill, the time went quickly and I arrived relaxed and ready to explore. American airports are not very people friendly. Singapore’s ultra-modern airport invites you to linger with free internet terminals, a cinema, rooftop swimming pool, aromatherapy spas, oxygen bars, indoor nature garden with waterfalls and koi pond.

I’m part of a group of 28 singles. This was a smaller group than expected, but I understand several people dropped out claiming fear of bird flu. I could sense I was part of a quality entourage of seasoned culture-vultures.

We began with an orientation tour at the top of Mt. Farber and its spectacular views. The group was impressed by this sparkling metropolis located between Malaysia and Indonesia. Singapore is the leader of S.E. Asia, a bustling port that was modernized by the East India Trading Company and the British Empire. It’s called the Lion City and inhabited by 4 million souls. 76% are Chinese and the other minorities all blend harmoniously. Singapore is a city, state, capital and country all in one and draws 8 million visitors per year, yet few Americans have yet discovered it.

We checked into the opulent Regent Hotel of The Four Seasons. I’m given a suite and swear this hotel wins the award for the most gracious staff on the planet. We’ve arrived at a perfect time with the “Great Shopping Festival” on full swing. There’s nothing like “retail therapy” to soothe our jet lag minds. Orchard Road, like a tree lined Fifth Avenue, was only a block away and center of all life. Shopping is the national obsession here and bargain hunting a blood sport.

There are 150 mega-malls with some that never close. I’m a label slave and purchased a used authentic Rolex with documents, for a fraction of its original cost. We had only 4 days here. So I had much to do, it’s like Hong Kong on steroids. The Arts Festival was on with many venues from painting and sculpture to music and dance. At night Clarke Quay on the river became party central with its trendy clubs rocking until dawn.
We had an astute and friendly guide named Farida who showed us all the sights with a wonderful sense of humor.

We visited the lush National Orchard Gardens with its 60,000 orchids, China Town with its markets and temples and Little India with its intense aromas and vibrant colors. Then we went to the ultra-contemporary financial district, Merlion Park with its landmark fountain and the historic colonial area that was established by Sir Stanford Raffles.

We stopped to sip a Singapore Sling at the famous Long Bar of Raffles Hotel where rooms start at $700 per night. Our other tours included Jurong Bird Park and the Night Safari at the zoo, considered the best in the world with its free roaming enclosures for 2500 animals.

In our free time, we rode rickshaws around town and took the cable car over to Sentosa Island.
Some of us opted to head back to the zoo for a Jungle Breakfast with the Orangutans. At night Terry & I dinned on jumbo chili crabs and rice cakes.

This vibrant island-state of Singapore is glistening clean with purple bougainvillea bushes lining the highways. All cars are equipped with alarms to sound if one exceeds the speed limit. No graffiti, no gangs and in this tightly “controlled democracy”, it’s the death penalty for drug traffickers. We all made jokes about getting caned for chewing gum or jay-walking.

It was a nice leisurely visit here. I usually feel like Jack Bauer on the TV series “24″ on my trips with non-stop itineraries. Here I felt well rested as I boarded for our 3 hour flight to Vietnam.

Arriving in Hanoi is like stepping into another world with rice paddies, sampans, lotus blossoms, coconut milk and noodle soups. It’s like a time machine dropped us back to the 15th century in this graceful land steeped in history. It was far poorer than I anticipated. There was however, an alluring charm which was found in the gentility of the people with the sincerest of smiles.

I’ve always been a fan of the Third World. Whereas Singapore was dynamic, Hanoi was culturally stimulating. The city was studded with lakes and shaded by tamarind trees. It was a dichotomy that bustled with Chi-energy and yet was tranquil at the same time.

We checked into the deluxe Sheraton Resort, an oasis of calm amidst the chaos. Our fabulous guide named Hong was with us for 6 glorious days.

His first lesson was to teach us how to cross the streets. The traffic here is horrendously busy with 7 lanes packed with 2.4 million motor scooters. “It’s called the Chicken Game” he explained. “Don’t run, don’t stop, just walk slowly so the drivers can predict your direction. They will miss you!” That afternoon I stood in fear stranded 20 minutes curbside realizing this “lesson” went against every one of my survival instincts. Entire families passed by on a single scooter; I understand this is called the “Vietnamese sandwich.” Everything was transported by these mopeds, 8 piglets, a dozen chickens upside down, a TV, a tree and more. The pollution was thick and heavy. The inner city looked tired and worn. Suddenly there was a monsoon downpour. People draped ponchos and it became raincoat city. The traffic never slowed. I ducked for cover. It dissipated as quickly as it began, life went on and the air was temporarily washed clean. I finally crossed the street by walking slowly at an even pace. Everyone missed me.

The sun shined every day on our tours which included the Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda, the French Quarter and the Ho Chi Mihn memorial. We lined up with hundreds of people and entered the tomb where Ho Chi Mihn’s preserved body is visibly encased just like Lennon in Moscow. Armed communist soldiers commanded us to remain in silent reverence, no cameras, umbrellas, sunglasses allowed and arms at our sides at all times.

Later we visited Hoa Lo Prison, or the Fiery Furnace. Built by the French in 1896, thousands of political prisoners were tortured here until 1954. We viewed the dungeons with leg irons, torture equipment and “head cutting machines.”

In the 1960′s the Vietcong used it as a prisoner of war detention center for American pilots shot down during the Vietnam War. It was our captive pilots that sardonically named this place “The Hanoi Hilton.” We also did a walking tour through the Old Quarter where each narrow lane was named for its ancient craft: Silk St., Coffin St., Grilled Fish St., etc. Hong led us to a food market with turtles, sea slugs, pig heads and other unmentionable creatures for sale. “Thit Chow” is dog stew which is considered peasant food here and “country rat” is ceremoniously served at all birthday parties. They say it’s much healthier than “city rat.”

Most of our meals were included and thankfully rodents were never offered. We enjoyed elaborate American and Japanese breakfast buffets and 10 coarse lunches. Every restaurant was affordable. One evening my dinner menu presented salad of jellyfish, deep fried eel, ginger crickets and sticky rice with tender roasted pigeon. It seems the Vietnamese will eat anything that moves because it all “tastes like chicken.”

We attended the Water Puppet Show, an ancient art form unique to Hanoi. This blend of music and dance on water was has been the source of entertainment of villagers for centuries.

We then scattered to explore the city, Asia’s oldest capital. Some went for massages and pedicures at prices that couldn’t be resisted. Some shopped for souvenirs while others had clothes tailor made for them. I had an embroidered silk dress cut to my body in 4 hours for only $45. We also visited the handicraft villages for bargains in art. Want a “Monet?” No problem, just $25. Be careful, it’s wet. There were also ceramics and beautiful lacquerware. The currency was a great challenge for us as $10,500 Dong equals 65 cents. We felt like millionaires, yet it was disheartening to learn that the annual per capita income is just $320! We tipped generously throughout.

Vietnam’s pulse is found in its cities whereas its decorous grace is found in its villages. We headed out through the countryside for a full day cruise on Halong Bay. The air was fresh as we passed rice paddies, duck and prawn farms. It was rice harvest time and hundreds of rice farmers were laboriously bent over their ponds. Timid children smiled and waved as we drove by.

We arrived at this natural UNESCO World Heritage Site and boarded our private wooden junk boat. Quietly we sailed into a peaceful dreamscape that looked surreal with 3,000 islands of sheer limestone cliffs emerging from the calm emerald sea. There was a timeless, haunting quality to this scenery. Nat. Geo. called it “magic in stone and water.” We enjoyed a fantastic seafood lunch with fresh caught crab and prawns. It was a perfect day in the sun in the land of escapism and serenity.

The highlight of the trip for me was our group’s cyclo-tour through Old Hanoi on the last day. We turned a corner downtown to find 28 bicycle-rickshaws lined up to peddle us individually for an hour through the narrow scooter filled lanes of oncoming traffic. There were some near-misses at the red lights which were always ignored. We all laughed as the locals stared. Terry at 6’4” is considered huge even in America. Here he looked like King Tut seated on a throne as his 90lb. driver peddled him effortlessly in line with our group.

Later we went our separate ways for independent exploration. After several hours, I found myself lost in an area of town with no taxis. I had to get back to join others for dinner. I had no choice but to hire a ride on a scooter. Dressed in a skirt with my arms full of bags, I mounted the tiny seat and off we went. On the highway, I wrapped my arms and legs around my driver like an octopus. He laughed the entire way to the Sheraton.

We flew back to Singapore for a good nights rest at the Le Meridian before our long flight home to Los Angeles via Tokyo. I reflected on journey well done with new insights gained on history and culture. It was like visiting two different planets within one vacation. The contrast of this trip is evident in our photos from the contemporary garden paradise of Singapore, to the new renaissance of traditional Vietnam. This is certainly an Asian affair to be remembered.

Nyonya Restaurant With a 33-year Old Heritage

Nyonya food (or Nonya as it is sometimes known) is probably one of the earliest fusion cuisine uniquely found in Malaysia and Singapore. What’s more interesting is that Nyonya cuisine has had an interesting history. Intermarriage between early Chinese settlers in Malaysia during the Ming Dynasty and the local Malays, gave rise to the Baba Nyonya generation.

While maintaining Chinese customs, the Baba Nyonya adopted Malay culture. This was when Nyonya cuisine was birthed – a unique blend of Chinese dishes with a Malay cooking style. Both Malay spices and Chinese ingredients are deftly combined in the creation of a Nyonya dish. This clever fusion of tastes is a result of the superior cooking talents of the Nyonya cooks.

Today, Nyonya Restaurant serves diners with authentic Nyonya cuisine from the heart of Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. Cooked with diligence that is reminiscent of the traditional Baba and Nyonya, this restaurant’s signature dishes have been popular for 3 generations. First opening its doors in 1974, Nyonya Restaurant’s popularity has stood the test of time for over 30 years.

Over the years, much of Nyonya Restaurant’s line-up has retained its authenticity. Nevertheless, the restaurant has also introduced a host of new Nyonya dishes to its offerings, to keep up with the times and also to increase variety. With this, many customers have been patrons throughout the lifetime of this restaurant, testimony of consistent quality and taste.

Popular favourites include Sayur Paku, a local fern cooked either in coconut milk or belachan, Sambal Udang, delicious prawns in a spicy sauce, and also Ince Kabin, Nyonya-style fried chicken. Other favourites are the Ikan Gulai Tumis, fish in a spicy broth, Beef Rendang and Otak-otak, steamed fish marinated in spices and wrapped in banana leaf.

Desserts are also a delight here. Popular selections include Sago Gula Melaka, Ice Kacang and Bubur Cha Cha, all of which are different combinations of sugar, ice and flour-based ingredients. A myriad of kuih, (a sweet cake-like dessert), with local names such as Onde-onde, Ang ku and Kuih Koci are also part of the menu. Completing a meal with these indulgences is a must for the ultimate dining experience at Nyonya Restaurant!

Prominent tour & travel companies are enlisting entire Singapore hotel list in its business chart

Singapore is a lusty vibrant island. It is known as one of the most controlled democracy. One should not dare to play with authority or try to engage in drug trafficking which may turned into the death penalty. It is the perfect business city. It has been widely recognized for excellent business and social infrastructure centre. It is politically stable and has favorable economic ties with world economies.

Such global reputation has encouraged several tour & travel company to enlist entire Five Star Hotels in Singapore in its business chart. Hotels list Singapore is based upon several factors like locality, hotel rating and so on. This island-state is located in the Southeast Asia region and nicely connected with Malaysia by bridges. It is very much influenced with Indian, Chinese and Malay culture as well as influenced with tropical climate. There are endless things to do while you are on the trip to Singapore.

Shopping is a heavenly experience in Singapore. The well designed and colossally built shopping malls in the centre of Singapore are prominently inducing the shopaholics. Usually, stores are open seven days in a week from 10AM to 10 PM. Shops in Orchard Road and Scotts Road remains open till midnight. One can get verities of food in Singapore special quality verity can be found in Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Japanese, French, Italian, American and other foods. Hawker centers can be marked as the cheapest and most liked places to eat. Hence, if one has dream to explore the dynamic Singapore then it is right time to embody the dream. The list of hotels in Singapore is available in verities of ranges from cheap budget hotels to luxury star hotels.

Strategically located Singapore is a sample of perfect amalgamation of wealth and diverse style of architecture. The brilliance of Singapore lays in the sincerity towards implementation the best of west with the flavor of the orient. It is a perfect recreational area which offers myriad of attractions for all age groups. Such attractions may be named as Butterfly Park, insect kingdom and dolphin lagoon. There are several important spots in Singapore like Sentosa Island, Jurong Bird Park, Chinatown, the Asian Civilization Museum and the various temples and churches which are prime attractions of the city.

Thus, one must visit once to explore the amazing mixture of age old civilization and beliefs and modern, contemporary styles where nature and progressive achievements are setting an example of fine compatibility.

Special foods in Vietnam

Special Vegetables and Sauces in Pho Soup

Vietnamese Noodle Soup, or famously known as Pho, is different in Viet Nam and in other Asian countries. The soup that I used to eat in Pho Hoa, Pho 2000 or Pho 24 in Jakarta or even in Singapore (also in Pho Hoa restaurant, and The Orange Lantern VN Restaurant), is only using bean sprouts and spring onion as the topping. But in Ho Chi Minh City, the toppings are various and you probably cannot recall what kind of vegetable they serve. When I first had my pho the other day, I was totally confused. The waiters served a plate of raw vegetables to be put into the soup, and there wasn’t only bean sprout and spring onion but also fresh basil leaves, slices of red onion, mint leaves, two other types of “leaves” that I had no idea what to call and even freshly cut jalapeno chilies!.

One thing I like most about pho served in Viet Nam is the sauce. In Pho 24 or any other VN restaurants, the sauce always come in two types: Black Bean Sauce and Chili Sauce, so we can mix the sauce into the soup to make our own favorite taste of the soup.

If you happen to come to Viet Nam and haven’t got a chance to taste pho, then you haven’t come to Viet Nam yet!

Singapore – the Heaven for Tourists

Singapore can be considered as one of the wonderful tourist destinations of the world. The small country houses all requirements necessary for any tourist destination. Beautiful tourist places, good hotel in all ranges, best transport facility and most important the world class hospitality by Singapore’s people. Tourism is one of the major industries in Singapore. The society of Singapore reflects color of colonial history to Chinese, Malay, Indian and Arab ethnicities.

Singapore is famous for its shopping destinations and the major and expensive shopping precinct are located in Orchard Road district. The main shopping places are Marina Bay, Bugis Street, Chinatown, Geylang Serai, Kampong Gelam, Arab Street, Little India, North Bridge Road, Orchard Road, Shenton Way and Raffles Place. All these shopping destinations are located in Orchard Road district and most of the good hotels are also located in this locality. Singapore Zoo and Night Safari are other major tourist attractions, which allow people to explore African, Indian and American habitats without any visible barriers between wild animals and guests at night.

The great cuisine of Singapore is one of the few reasons to attract the tourist in this small country. Here tourist can enjoy traditional Indian, African and Arab’s cuisine with all type of continental food. There are many restaurants, food courts, and food centers available in every corner of the Singapore. Singapore is one of the five top countries which is famous for nightlife, dining and shopping. Boat Quay and Clarke Quay are the two historical Quay in Singapore which houses umber of bars, pubs and restaurants and are major points to enjoy nightlife. The Singapore is some of the best tourist nations those provide world class hotel facilities to their guests. All ranges of hotels are available in Singapore from Luxury to Cheap Singapore hotels. Some popular luxury hotels in Singapore are Fullerton Singapore, Goodwood Park Hotel, Hotel Inter-continental, Hilton hotel, Naumi Hotel Orchard Scotts Residences and many more.

The great numbers of cheap hotels are also available and some of them are Hotel 81 Gold, Hotel 81 Orchid, hotel 81 Opera, Broadway Hotel, The Metropolitan Y hotel, Harbour Ville hotel and many others. All and over Singapore is the best place to visit.

Your Low Cost Competitors Want To Eat Your Lunch

Many industry leaders are faced with a sea of changes in the marketplace, particularly the onslaught of many low cost competitors. They are minnows and will grow to become sharks if they are not nipped in the bud. Examples abound on the proliferation of the Chinese products in the world market.

The way to handle these manufacturers is to try to nip them in the bud. It is like war. You must not allow your competitions to establish a beachhead. For once they succeed in doing so, it will be so much harder to dislodge them. You want to knock them out in the waters where they are most vulnerable. When customers try the low cost products and they like them, it will be very difficult and expensive to entice them to switch back to your products. If you cannot beat the low cost competitors in the price game everything else being equal, then better to identify another premium niche.

Johnson and Johnson the health-care multi-national company also faces stiff competition and a long wait for the next drug blockbuster. As part of its strategies to hold off competition, it has gobbled up 34 companies in the past 5 years and will keep acquiring. Johnson and Johnson also put existing drugs to new uses – epilepsy drug Topomax now treats migraine. Workers are made to cross the divisional lines to develop products and drug-delivery systems including treatments for stroke, diabetes and schizophrenia.

Teamwork between pharma and device divisions led to the billion-dollar coronary stent. Cost-cutting on the 200-plus units, merger of the back-office operations and centralized purchasing helped to save $1 billion in two years’ funds that it will use in the development of badly needed new pharmaceuticals.

On the other hand, Hoover, which makes vacuum cleaners since 1907, has shrunk its unionised staff strength from 1,800 just over 1,500 in 1994. The Chinese competitors have been selling cheap vacuum cleaners at $79. Hoovers with price tags of $200 and higher cannot compete and was caught unaware. These Chinese low-end models already have 40% of the market. Hoover tried layoffs, new vacuum-cleaner features etc, but to no avail. On the other hand, the market leader Whirlpool is up 38% in sales revenues and just boosted its 2004 profit outlook. Whirlpool no longer sells vacuum cleaners and diversified into other household appliances.

As mentioned earlier, the Port Authority of Singapore (PSA) also lost its competitiveness when Tanjong Pelepas in Malaysia stole away PSA’s number one and two customers with cheaper pricing. The Singapore government has learnt this lesson and is responding quickly to the threats of low cost budget airlines and regional air hubs. Airlines can also bypass Singapore Changi Airport and fly directly from Australia to Europe or Middle East to US avoiding stop over in Singapore. Singapore Airlines is introducing the budget airline Tiger to compete in this sector as well as to boost its premier airline image through the offers of new planes and non-stop direct flights to the US. Singapore Changi Airport is building a terminal for budget airlines. The Singapore government came down hard on the Singapore airline pilots to ensure that the national airline is not dragged down by labour disputes. The airport terminals are also undergoing renovation and upgrading. The jury is still out as to whether all these proactive measures can effectively maintain the competitiveness of the air transportation and aviation industry in Singapore. However, this is better than waiting for the low cost competitors to gobble your lunch right under your noses.

Another case in point is the ball-point and fountain pen competition. Ball-point pens were much cheaper, easier and less messy to use. The fountain pens were beaten face down and lost almost all the market share to ball-point pens. Then somebody thought of making the fountain pen a luxury item. The fountain pen was sold for US$ 400 and positioned as a prestigious and luxurious item, similar to the jewel wear. The manufacturers of fountain pens such as Parker, Sheaffer and Mont Blanc have then comfortably locked into the high-end segment which the ball-point pens cannot penetrate.

Today, both the fountain and ball-point pens co-exist each has its own market niches. You need to be wary and be prepared to thwart off the moves of these low cost competitors. This is why Howard H Stevenson in his book said: “Do lunch or Be Lunch.”

Your low cost competitors will not just nibble at your low price segment, they want to eat your lunch