Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread!

Looks like Lin is not going to have his chemotherapy for another week and the dosage will be reduced again.

In the meantime feeding up continues.

However, not all is gloom and doom because I managed to find Biotex in Singapore. It's the best thing since sliced bread!

I have used Biotex off and on for laundry for donkeys' years and find it really works well on stains. But then it disappeared off the shelves.

I have looked high and low for it in Hong Kong and the USA, and even here in Singapore. 

This time, I tried every supermarket I came across and surfed the web. And even went as far as having a friend in England send me a 'care' package of Biotex.

From my web searches, it seems that Sara Lee (an American company) owns the brand and makes it in Europe. Enquiries to Sara Lee elicited this reply:


Unfortunately, we only sell BIOTEX product in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Thank you for your interest in Sara Lee Corporation.


Jeannie Williams
Sara Lee Corporation
Investor Relations Department
3500 Lacey Road
Downers Grove, IL 60515
Phone: 630-598-6000

One would have thought that a major corporation would say something like they would take it up with their local company (Sara Lee is in Singapore) or their International Marketing Division. No such luck!

Then yesterday, serendipity took me to Cold Storage at 6th Avenue (not a location I'd visit in the normal course of things) and, lo and behold, Biotex! But they only had two packets on their shelves and so I bought both. 

I figured that seasoned shoppers stock up when they see them (lest like Biotex, they vanish from the shelves).

Upon reaching home I emailed Cold Storage's customer service department about Biotex and discovered that they import this product themselves! I hope Wellcome in Hong Kong (a sister company) will do the same in Hong Kong.

Nowadays many detergents incorporate some enzymes to help with dissolving dirt or brightening clothes, but not all of them are formulated like Biotex (and I am NOT being paid to say all this)!

"The most important reasons to use enzymes in detergents are i) that a very small quantity of these inexhaustible bio-catalysts can replace very large quantity of man made chemicals and ii) enzymes can work at very low temperature at which traditional chemistry quite often is no longer effective iii) they are fully biodegradable. All these characteristics make enzymes - on top of their high efficiency - environmentally friendly ingredients. 

Several enzymes can be used in products; each one having its own very well defined target. Some enzymes are specialised to attack fat stains, others to attack food stains. "

However, finding Biotex in Singapore is little consolation for the noise pollution in this growing city. 

Thank goodness they finished building next to us, but when they were piling and then pouring the foundations life was sheer hell. 

But the NEA (National Environment Agency) assured us that the contractors were conforming with the laws. (I was most tempted to say that our words fell on deaf ears but you'd groan!)

Reading about the laws/guidelines on the NEA website, I realised whose side the law is on:

Recognising that Singapore’s continued rapid development—from new residential and commercial structures to improved and expanded transport infrastructure—brings with it some inevitable inconveniences, NEA works together with industry and the public to establish acceptable levels of noise. 

Industry and commerce trump the public, which is why we rate so highly as a great place to do business!

I just wish that our government ministers would forsake their Gurkha-guarded mansions and try living in homes that are cheek by jowl with construction sites. ONLY for a few crucial months.

Hong Kong could be deafening if it had the same construction noise guidelines as Singapore. Just before we returned to Singapore, I was in an office building in Central.

At 12:30pm sharp piling started up. I was told that this would probably last through the lunch  hour and then there would be a respite until about 5:00pm. In the mornings there would be a noisy period before 9:00am.

This seemed very considerate as sites in Central are often surrounded by fully tenanted high rise office and shopping complexes.

I did not look further into the matter but there seems to be far more consideration and respect for neighbours than down here.

As far as renovations are concerned, each condominium estate in HK has it's rules but by and large work does not commence before 9:00 and stops at 5:30pm. No work takes place on Sundays.

Now that construction next to us has been completed, I am alarmed to see a metal 'wall' enclose the perimeter of the Thai Embassy across the road. Is our peace going to be assaulted again?

Living in a high rise just off Orchard Road is wonderfully convenient - we don't have to fight the traffic, pay the government for the pleasure of driving into the shopping area and seek out elusive and expensive parking spaces. 

But there is a price to pay, all the same.

Our sleep is often disturbed by a particular car that circulates in the neighbourhood around 11pm/11:30pm and sometime between the hours of 2am and 4am. It doesn't sound like a high performance engine so much as a small car with an exhaust system bigger than its engine.

This isn't the only car that shatters our peace, there are others. I guess we should thank indulgent fathers and Formula One for this.

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