Singapore Adventure

Friday, June 16, 2006

by venitha

Can you believe I've conned Jim into supporting this lifestyle? First I get to surf the web all day instead of going to work, then I get to go to Bali for eight days of non-stop massage, and yesterday... well, yesterday, I topped it all: I went on a tour of Yakult!

For those of you not in the know, is a fermented milk drink that contains lactic acid bacteria. The company headquarters is in Japan, but there is a large manufacturing facility here in Singapore, as Yakult is quite popular here. Most importantly, they do free tours, and you get to see the manufacturing line in operation, though unfortunately Lucy and Ethel were nowhere to be seen. Here's the scoop, all of which I happily recounted to Jim last night, glad to have something to tell him about other than which Simpsons character is most representative of which US college football team (Barney Gumble, you have to admit, is perfect for the University of Wisconsin):
  • Each little serving of Yakult contains 10 billion K-boys! And Yakult should really invest in a new educational video every, oh, ten years or so. Not that I'm complaining, as they do give away free samples.

  • The new apple, Yakult should be consumed one a day. If you really love the taste (sweet, sour, orange, and just a hint of chalky - it's pretty good, especially for something that's supposedly good for you), well, okay, then you may have up to three a day. But no more.

  • The little bottles (100ml) of Yakult available in Singapore are actually larger than any that they sell in any other country, including "California".

  • Singapore is the only country where Yakult is available in flavors (orange, grape, and apple) other than the original. And here I thought the original flavor was pretty much orange.

  • The coolest machine in the factory was not the one that fills the bottles and not the one that puts the foil lids on and not the one that plastic wraps them into neat little rows of five. Nope, it was the one that makes the bottles. Sixteen at a time, every couple of seconds, by plastic injection molding. I could have watched that machine for hours.

  • Pneumatic tubes are exceedingly cool. Vacuum tube lifting systems are exceedingly cool. Little bottles all in a row moving snappily down a conveyor belt are exceedingly cool.

  • After a year of being allowed, and often encouraged, to take photographs in places of worship and museums [Pictured: a painting from the current Philippine art exhibit at The Substation Gallery], I was unpleasantly surprised not to be allowed to take pictures at Yakult. Lactobacillus is a religion all its own, I guess. That'll teach me to ask for permission.

  • I nearly asked someone to pinch me (We cannot possibly be in Singapore anymore, ) when there was no Yakult gift shop at the end of the tour. No Yakult t-shirts, no stuffed K-boys, and no lactobacillus postcards. They're missing out on some major promotional opportunites here.