Sunday, May 31, 2009

Asian Youth Games, Singapore 2009

Asian Youth Games, Singapore 2009 will be here just in a month's time! (commencing 29 Jun 09) but somehow I find that there is not much buzz about the games on the ground.
Singaporeans may have forgotten the games on the back of the global economic meltdown as well as the current H1N1 flu virus situation.
There's ought to be more publicity about the games NOW, if not NOW then when?
However, I believe in two weeks time, the momentum towards the games will be gathering steam, engines will be revving up and Singapore will once again host a successful regional sporting event!
The Asian Youth Games will also be a 'test bed' for Singapore's bid of the Youth Olympics next year! Lessons will be gleaned from Asian Youth Games which will proved to be valuable to the Youth Olympics though the latter is a game on a much larger scale.

Health Ministry confirms fifth (5th) case of H1N1 in Singapore


Another confirmed case of H1N1 in Singapore. Like the preceding 4 cases, the victims of the H1N1 victims returned from United States. This case is the 5th!

Initially, the local health authorities kept a close tab on all Singaporeans and tourists returning to Singapore from Mexico at the very onset of the H1N1 case late last month; but the recent cases pointed to the fact that most of the victims might have contracted the disease in United States.

Anyway, H1N1 is not as lethal as initially thought; thus Singaporeans may be resting on their laurels but judging at the disease, I believe if caught off-guard, H1N1 will spread fast and rapidly among our community here. It is great that Singapore has put in place a rigorous and comprehensive plan to contain the disease in Singapore. Singapore is also fortunate to have some weeks to prepare for the disease while sporadic cases of H1N1 were still spreading.

The Popular Sale 2009



After the Popular Sale, my Dear and I visited the Popular Sale 2009 at another hall in Singapore EXPO. This was a sales of books, stationary and other peripherals by Popular books company in Singapore.

However, i found the variety of books on offer there not as many as thought, with majority of the books being Chinese. My Dear and I would head down to the World Book Fair 2009 at Suntec City to take a look soon.

Living Showcase 2009



My Dear and I spent half of today in Singapore Expo. After visiting the Singapore Food EXPO, we visited the Living Showcase exhibition in the adjacent hall.

Compared with the other exhibitons held cocurrently at Singapore EXPO, this exhibition was a bit 'tamer': what I mean is that there is little crowds!

With very little crowds, my Dear and I found ourselves easy targets of promoters! We declined them politely. The crowd was so few that I even spotted a salesman resting on a giant bed for rest!

However, the crowd would be unimaginably lower if there are no simulataneous events being held at Singapore EXPO, I suppose.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

John Little Mega Expo Sale 2009




There is such a number of exhibitions at the Singapore Expo that it can be indeed fruitful for Singaporeans who travel from far to come to Singapore Expo for one exhibition or another as they are able to visit many exhibitions at one go!

John Little Mega Expo Sale is a sale organized by John Little held regularly at Expo. This exhibition is also a good one to visit as there is such a myriad of offerings of different items on sales. My Dear and I visited this exhibition after we have 'cleared' the other sales (Popular Book Sales) held at the other hall!

Like other shopppers, we had our hands full with shopping bags as we headed home after an hour navigating the sales.

Singapore Food Expo 2009







Throngs of crowds descended upon Singapore EXPO hall 5 today for the annual Singapore Food EXPO! My Dear and I were part of the thousands of people which choked EXPO hall 5!

Everywhere in the hall, people were busy sampling the offering from the myriad of stalls there! My Dear and I were full just trying many of the samples on offer! But we did not sample for fun like some others who just took any opportunity to dig with a tooth pick the free samples, gobbled the samples up and quickly they went away.

Some of the businesses were having brisk business there with coffers ringing continously. My Dear and I tried the food from the make-shift stalls there: DODO timsums (7 for $3) as well as Shark's fin ($2, but frankly speaking, not genuine at all, most of it were just sea cucumbers).

We spent a moderate amount on tidbits and food items for take-aways. We bought some organic tea from a company whose one of the shareholders is Thomas Ong, an ex-local actors. He was busy preparing tea for sampling!

The number of stalls in the hall was so great that it took 2 hours to navigate through. The crowds has also a part to contribute to this too.

Overall, Singapore Food EXPO is an annual event which is highly anticipated by food-loving Singaporeans!

Singapore Food Expo 2009

Singapore Food Expo 2009 is here again in Singapore Expo.
Date : 29th May - 2nd June 2009
Time: 1100hrs - 2200hrs
Think even if you are not buying any food, your tummy will be filled food sampling the different offerings from each of the many stalls there!

Singapore Food Festival 2009

Singapore Food Festival is here again! Being a country famed for its host of delicious hawker fare and yummy items, it is a festival not only for Singaporeans to indulge in great food, it is also an event for the world to descend down on Singapore to taste truly delicious Singaporean fare!

Singapore Book Fair 2009

Go to Singapore Book Fair 2009 starting yesterday and ending next Sunday now!

Books are running out fast, I believe, so grab the lastest books before it is too late!

Date: 29 May - 7 Jun 09
Time: 11am - 10pm
Venue: Suntec City Convention Hall 402 - 404 (Level 4)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Breaking News: Singapore Confirms 4 H1N1 cases: 3 more H1N1 cases reported today!

As I expected, more H1N1 cases occur in Singapore:

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/432416/1/.html

I expect the number of H1N1 cases in Singapore to reach around 10.

Illuma Shopping Centre, the newest Bugis shopping mall seriously needs a make-over!


Illuma Shopping Centre, one of Singapore’s newest shopping centres, in my personal opinion, is really in great distaste despites its glitzy façade.

I harbored great expectations for this shopping centre earlier during its construction stage. The façade is unique and I have thought that this new shopping mall will be a new kid off the block, offering a refreshing shopping experience, which breaks away from the monotonous mould of Singapore shopping experience.

I was partly correct. On my first visit to Illuma shopping centre, I noticed that it is indeed very swanky! The height of each storey is so immense! (in actual fact, there does not seem to be a roof for every storey). There is such a generous serving of empty space all around the mall. In this physical aspect, Illuma indeed offers a uniquely different shopping experience.

But the quality of the shops in the centre is drastically lacking! There is only a small handful of great shops while the few eateries, the cinema theatres and the arcades seem to dominate the whole mall. The mall though offers great space vertically and horizontally for shoppers, is seriously wasting resources as the mall is heavily underutilized. The shopping mall can still pack in a good handful of shops without the compromise of shopping experience. It also does the sun no good to have such a huge mall air-conditioned for long hours each day.

I believe revenue may be affected for Illuma in the long run for the concept does not appeal to Singaporeans. Too few shops and no good shops may see a make-over of the mall in a few years to come.

You can also read about the interesting bridge in Illuma shopping centre here!

Due to the large expanse of space that Illuma shopping centre has, there are many interesting exhibitions held regularly there. Visit this link to read one of these interesting exhibits!
The mall may become a part-shopping mall, a part office building in time to come, I believe. But things are getting better as days go by and I think Illuma will be a beaming icon of Bugis in no time when more shops and new happenings are added to it.

Shopping seems to be the one of the most favorite pastimes of Singapore. Just look at the crowds in shopping centres on weekends here and you will agree with me! It is not just Illuma shopping centre!

If you are shopping for the latest fashion or cosmetic, you need not head down all the day to places like Hong Kong for a quick Hong Kong shopping tour, I believe the many shopping centres here in Singapore would offer a lot of cool comfort, a number of eating places, so you need not worry and start losing sleep and worst still, lose your hair!

There are so many new shopping centres opening or which have recently opened in Singapore and you can take your time to choose which shopping centre to patronize and shop, be it at Marina Bay, Suntec City, Bugis, Orchard or in heartland mall, if you are a girl, I believe the myriad of possible shopping trips will gladly make your day a truly women’s day! Especially so if you are a beautiful girl who needs all the pampering needed for your head-to-toes treatment!

When one is shopping, it can be hard to resist the spending of monies. Shopping can be irrational and emotional as when one sees a product one loves, he or she may lose control on how to manage money and spend his hard-earned monies there! Shopping is really better than staying at home and playing online games. I always advocate one should save up for a rainy day and if possible do some investment or think of modes to earn secondary sources of income so that one can accrue monies easily.

People say when men are rich and successful, they tend to strain and look for China girls or go Thailand to play around with Thai girls. I think it depends on the faith, loyalty and steadfastness to his partner. Some people says the chemistry boils down to the compatibility of Horoscope or Fengshui, but I say it all boils down to the commitment each partner in the marriage devotes to each other.


Circle Line Opens today on 28 May 09: Bartley, Serangoon, Lorong Chuan, Bishan and Marymount MRT stations

The first phase of Singapore's Circle Line goes into operation today with the opening of Bartley, Serangoon, Lorong Chuan, Bishan and Marymount MRT stations.
If you are free this weekend, you can go 'MRT-ing' to these new MRT stations!

Eat with your family day 2009

Tomorrow, all the civil and public servants of Singapore will be allowed to leave office an hour earlier to eat with their family!
This "Eat with your family Day" is a yearly affair but I doubt how many of the public and civil servants will really obey this "instructions" from the government to eat with their family.

For some offices whose normal hours on Fridays end at 5 pm, then an hour earlier to go home will translate to 4pm, hmm it may be too early for dinner still.

But assuming, if someone is to leave office at 4pm, reach home at 5pm, go to sleep and then eats with his family at 8pm, it is still "eating with family" rite?
Anyway, public sector's work life balance is excellent so much so that 56% of people working in the private sectors, as according to a report, consider a career in public sector.

Singapore Dumpling Festival 2009


If you are a Chinese Singaporean reading this post, chances are that you might have eaten the yummy dumpling today! For today is the Dumpling Festival celebrated by Chinese! Prices of dumplings have skyrocketed towards this date. Dumpling Festival observed by Chinese is on the 5th day of the 5th Chinese Lunar month every year.

There are many different kinds of dumplings and the origin of dumplings can be traced to an ancient Chinese poet cum patriot called Qu Yuan who committed suicide after the emperor refused to trust in him and trusted instead the treacherous Qin Kuai! the rest of the story, I will not mention here again as the story is a common one (or you can check from the internet).

Qin Kuai also gives rise to "Yu Za Kuai" (fried doughsticks that Singaporeans love to eat). "Yu Za Kuai" : means fry the treacherous Qin Kuai in hot boiling oil.

Oh, what am I doing? Mentioning Qin Kuai, the bad guy here on a day when we should commemorate Qu Yuan instead? Maybe its a sign of lethary and a time for my cosy bed... with that I am going to sleep.

Happy Dumpling Festival!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Singapore River Festival 2009

Singapore River Festival 2009 will be held from 19 Jun to 27 Jun!

The festival will be a mix of music, magic amnd musuems, held at Boat Quay, Clarke Quay, Robertson Quay and the Empress Place.

There will be a number of FREE events:

1) River Romance Bumboat parade which will feature bumboats depicitng scenes of river life in the past. It will be held from 1930 hrs to 2030 hrs at Robertson Quay, Clarke Quay and Boat Quay.

2) Asian Civilisation Museums featuring the Chinese Emperor, Kangxi exhibition will be open free to public from 5pm to 12 mn on two Fridays: 19 Jun 09 and 26 Jun 09.

3) Read Bridge Spectacular will features a slew of aerial acrobat performances. Dates and times to catch the show: 19 Jun 09 to 20 Jun 09: 2030 hours to 2100 hours and from 2300 hours to 2330 hours; 21 Jun 09 to 27 Jun 09: 2030 hours to 2100 hours and from 2200 hours to 2230 hours.

Singaporeans, can consider this Great festival of lights, music, river, musuem and charm as an Excellent outing with friends and family!

Or if you will be giving the festival a miss, do not worry, stay tuned to my blog, where I will bring you the latest of Singapore River Festival 2009 right here on this blog!

Singapore confirms its second case of H1N1 (Swine Flu) Case


Singapore confirms its second case of H1N1 (Swine Flu) Case. At the moment of writing, there is no confirmed second case, though there is already a first case. But I am writing this blog post for the future. I believe Singapore will not end its H1N1 cases with just one single case. Being a highly globalized country, I predicted the least number of H1N1 cases here would be 2. Just see whether my prediction is correct in the coming few days!

Singapore confirms its first case of H1N1 (Swine Flu) Case


As I have expected, our country, Singapore finally succumbed to the scourge of the H1N1, which has made its presence felt in almost all the countries of ASEAN (except Singapore then) when the country confirmed its first case of Influenza A (H1N1), the Health Ministry (MOH) said on Wednesday 27 May 27, 2009.


The importer of H1N1 like Esther Mok, who imported SARS to Singapore in 2003, is a young Singaporean woman. The identity of the Singapore H1N1 importer has not been revealed. She is currently being treated at the Communicable Disease Centre at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) and is in stable condition.


The woman was in New York from May 14 to 24 and arrived back in Singapore from New York on SQ25 on May 26 at 630am. She was seated at row 55 and developed a cough while on the flight. She passed the thermal scanner test at the airport. Her case was only brought to light when she consulted a GP.


The current level of the H1N1 virus is now Yellow alert. It may be timely for the ministry to review the current alert level. With the current Yellow alert status, being humans, Singaporeans would not be treating the H1N1 flu case lightly.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"Please Return Trolley" campaign by NTUC Fairprice

I read of how many supermarkets are losing their shopping trolleys daily which translates into a sustantial loss every year in the Straits Times today. For NTUC Fairprice and Giants hypermart, the losses in revenues due to lost shopping trolleys translate to $300,000 per annum!
The "$1 deposit" system fails to stop customers from abandoning their shopping trolleys anywhere they like after they have unloaded their purchases. $1 is now not really a lot of money to Singaporeans as cimpared to the distance and time they need to spend to walk back and return the trolley.
Supermarkets are beefing up their security forces to help monitor the trolley loss situation and hence may be spending even more money to combat the problem.
My proposal is to have an automated system whereby shoppers scan their IC cards in order to free a locked trolley for use in their shopping. If they fail to return the trolley, the authorities would be able to track them and bring them to task.

Quotes of Today

"Quality Questions create a Quality Life. Successful people ask better questions and as a result, they give better answers" - Anthony Robbins

"Its nice to be important but more important to be nice" - Johan Cassis

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Licence2Play

Licene2Play, a gaming and entertainment exhibition was held at Suntec City from 22 May 09 to 24 May 09. There was a host of entertainment games booths and cyber-game competitions going on, while vendors were having a brisk business selling their wares.
With an increasingly younger cyber-generation, more and more youngsters are hooking up with the internet gaming and the like. Spending tens of hours facing the computer screen, playing online games or using online social media is not healthy at all, though I am, admittedly one of those having to face the computer tens of hours a day due to the nature of my work. I exercise regularly and take short eye-sight breaks from the screens for damage control.
My Dear and I left the exhibition soon after we entered as we are not gaming fans at all.

Singapore Arts Festival 2009


Singapore Arts Festival 2009 runs from 15 May 09 to 14 Jun 09 this year. During this period, the authorities brings arts to the masses in common places such as the shopping districts and the heartlands.

It is really applauding that the government is organizing Singapore Arts Festival yearly to bring some of the greatest works in arts to common Singaporeans. Thus during this period, I would encourage Singaporeans to proactively support these arts events and performances, of which a majority is free! It is a treat for all Singaporeans for who knows, these arts will inspire you and unleashes the artistic talent in you!

For more details, check on the website for a listing of events!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Kampong Lorong Buangkok

Amidst the blazing afternoon sun today, my Dear and I made our way to Kampong Lorong Buangkok. The visit was a timely one as there is such a high buzz being generated over the last kampong in modern Singapore. After alighting from Bus 854 from Eunos, it was not difficult to find our way to the kampong.
The entrance of the kampong was distinct as you could see from the picture: the 'ulu-ness' (rural charm) is evident from the attap-roofed buildings and more unkempt conditions.

A signboard with hand-written text welcome my Dear and I to the last kampong in Singapore:

As we entered the kampong, I spotted a middle-aged woman talking to an old man. I had seen the old woman before on TV. She was none other than the owner of the kampong land. In the documentary, I learnt that the whole kampong land was passed to her by her late father. She has kept the land and have not gone on to sell the land to the government. If she were to sell the land, she would be an instant multi-millionaire already!

Large sprawling detached houses were the norm of the houses there in the kampong. I have learnt too from the same documentary on the kampong that the houses there were real cheap as compared to the condominiums and HDB in many parts of Singapore. But I wonder how long they could keep their houses as the government may be acquiring the kampong land in no time.

Mosquitoes, rural vegetation and artefacts, rule the kampong of idyllic charm. There was no clear demarcation of roads or paveways. Cars simply tranverse both directions of make-shift roads which are the sandy paths and dirt tracks.
My Dear and I witnessed nature at its finest! There were large red and beautiful roses! There were some blue flowers too!

As we approached a dead-end, we saw a little black dog which fell asleep guarding its owner's house. Then there was fierce barking from inside a house. My Dear and I thought that the dogs were caged in the house but suddenly, two ferocious, large dogs came springing out from the house, rushing to us, ready to attack us and defend their owner's property!
Wow, these are good and loyal dogs who really do their duty. My Dear and I just stood our ground no matter how fierce and aggressive the dogs were. We slowly walked away and the dogs seemed to know that we meant no harm. Anyway, if you were to be confronted by a dog one day, do not run, as you would surely be bitten by the dog. When a dog confronts a man, the dog is as afraid as you; if you were to run, the dog will think it is more dominant than you and hence will start to attack you ... all these are part of power relationships theory.
Kampong Lorong Buangkok is just a stone's throw away from the nearby Sengkang and Yio Chu Kang area. One could see high rise Housing and Development Board from the village.
Then a strange sight greeted us, a man and woman, both whom looked like to be in their 20s were burning joss papers on an open space. From their dressing, they did not looked like the kampong villagers. Thoughts like "Who were they", "What are they burning" and "For who are they burning for" flashed in my mind as the kampong is certainly not a sacred ground or ground touted to have miracle healing.
The only guess I have was that this young couple must have meet with a ghost in the kampong on their visit the previous time and was 'disturbed' by the ghost. So now, they were here to burn joss papers to appease the ghostly spirits. Piqued by curiosity, and thinking my guess was a clever and accurate one, I approached the couple and asked them directly, "For whom are they burning".
The answer was unexpected and out of the blue. The lady replied that they were doing some production shoot in the kampong and were offering customary prayers to the spirits in the area. Ya, I understand what she meant. It is a customary prayer session done as a respect for the dead and spirits of the area, in the army, we done that many times during live firing exercises or outfield missions. As they looked like Hong Kongers, I presumed they were doing some small productions.
As we exited out and decided to venture more, I spotted a van full of M16s! (luckily they were props) and there were many soliders resting. Further in we spotted a tent filled with a small crowd:
Oh, that was the production team! Later we deduced that the movie they were shooting in the Kampong will be going to be one of the local producer, Jack Neo's up and coming movie about a group of NS men meeting ghosts during army training, or in Pulau Ubin or in Kampong. We saw 'Ah Nan', a member of Jack Neo's artistes there too.
My Dear and I went past the production crew and decided to venture deep into the other road skirting the kampong but was stopped by two burly, long haired muscular men, who must be either the actors, supporting actors or production crew. Initially they thought that we were the actor and actress of the movie (what a compliment!). When they learnt that we are members of public, they advised us not to enter due to the production works, thus we left the kampong.
Another block-buster movie of Jack Neo soon? You can go these days if you want to catch a glimpse of the latest show by Jack Neo!

How to go to Kampong Lorong Buangkok?

Kampong Lorong Buangkok is Singapore last standing kampong, thus if you are like any other Singaporean who have not been to Kampong Lorong Buangkok yet... before its expected demolition in the near future, its now high time to give this last Kampong of Singapore a visit!
I will share with All readers of my experience to Singapore's last kampong soon. But if you are fretting over how to go to Lorong Buangkok by public transport, here is the guide:
Take SBS Bus 70, 103 or SMRT Bus 854 (click on these hyperlink and type in the bus service number to see the list of bus stops for the service).
Then alight at this bus stop right in front of Saint Vincent De Paul Church. If you click on the hyperlink embedded in the text "Saint Vincent De Paul Church", you can see a map showing the vicinity of Lorong Buangkok, can you see the 'U intersection' of Gerald Drive and Lorong Buangkok? That will be the starting point of Kampong Lorong Buangkok!
Have fun visiting Kampong Lorong Buangkok, Singapore's last standing kampong which will be vanishing soon. I hope with my post, you can access to Lorong Buangkok easily and have a fun day exploring the rural charms of modern metropolis Singapore which is fading real fast!
For more places to go in Singapore, click the "Places" tag of this blog post which will bring you to many great places nestled in Singapore.

Friday, May 22, 2009

My First Visit to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

Last Saturday, my Dear and I decided to reinvigorate our bodies and souls with a one-day outing with nature at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. My First visit there! There are many routes to enter the reserve; we took one that was more official: entering via Hindhede Road. For Singaporeans who would like to know the way to get to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, just take a bus from the city and alight at the bus stop opposite Bukit Timah Shopping Centre. (e.g bus 170 outside Fu Lu Shou Complex will bring you there). Thereafter alighting at the bus stop, just proceed straight (not in the direction of Beauty World) until you hit an overhead bridge. Cross the bridge and you will arrive at Hindhede Road. Enter into the carpark and you will soon reach the Visitor Centre of the natural reserve.
As expected, what greeted us were the “Permanent Residents” of the reserve: monkeys, yes, there was plenty of them, around the carparks, young and old, mothers and sons. Some of them were climbing all over the cars there, others were busy hunting for food in the drains and inside the dustbins. If you are a foreigner and a visitor-to-be in the reserve, please do not feed those monkeys, no matter how cute these creatures are or how much you want to display your kindness. First reason is that if you feed just one monkey, the rest of the pack will come after you and these monkeys will no longer be cute when their long and gnarled teeth sink into your flesh! Also, if you are caught feeding monkeys, you will be fined $3000 (like what a local woman found herself forking out for feeding monkeys in Singapore recently), worse, you could be imprisoned!
The Visitor Centre is the first building you see upon arrival. The centre houses what one needs to do before a trek: hydrate with the water coolers and at the same time, flush out the excess body fluids in the toilets. Further, it houses an exhibition gallery featuring the friends of the nature reserve (like the tigers, which are found in abundance in the yester-years (of course)) and maybe the authorities miss out on a few dinosaurs which could have inhabited Singapore and the reserve millions of years before?
After the Visitor Centre, we climbed up such steep slopes and were sweating profusely! For not only we encountered friction, we also encountered the horizontal component of our weight along the slope (for the Physics-savvy: this component is weight multiplied by the sine of the angle of the slope). Soon, our feet touched flat ground. We did not know where we were headed as we were enjoying the cool air and scenary along the way. There were many trails branching out from the main route which we were on: trails such as catchment trails, stony trails, each offering trails of different degrees of difficulty and nature, for trekkers with diverse interests. My Dear and I continued our ascent up the main route and after 20 minutes, we finally reached the summit of Bukit Timah Hill! Standing at 163 metres, the summit is Singapore’s highest natural point. We were disappointed as though we were at the top of Singapore, there was no thrill, elation or excitement as the summit was covered by vegetation all around, depriving those trekkers who have reached the top of a chance to admire the scenary.

After a ten minutes rest at the summit, we made our way down and decided to try out one of those routes into the reserve so that the journey in the reserve will be more exciting. We decided on catchment trail and there we went deep into the reserve. The entrance of the trail was characterized by wet, slippery and muddy slopes. It took us some time to familiarize ourselves with the terrain. After the initial navigation, we walked and walked on the route, deep into the forested repository of Singapore. There was nothing which greeted us along the trail but greenness and yet more greenness. Left, right and behind of us were green vegetation and above was a seamless green canopy. We walked and found ourselves focusing hard on the navigation of the treacherous terrains, the unforgiving tracks and hints of possible intruders attacking from deep inside the forests. With only my Dear and I carving our ways out of the forests, it was romantic despites the eeriness accentuated by the silence of the remote forest. It was really a refreshing break from the maddening city life of which there are just people and more people on the streets of Singapore!

At last, we reached the end of the catchment trail and we were sad to reach the end point, for the end point was nothing more than an insignificant dead-line. So it seemed that my Dear and I would need to make a ‘U-turn’ back and walk all the way into the eerie forests back to the Visitor Centre… but no way, my Dear and I decided to explore the surrounding and find an alternative route back. We emerged out of the dead end and saw a grand sight hidden deep in the reserve, which we have not seen before despites living in Singapore for so long! Large open tracts of land, flanked by giant underground conduits and sandy paths. We partook in the magnificent sights before embarking on a sandy trail on the outskirts of the area.

The path we took was breezy and we were barely metres away from the cars speeding along the Bukit Timah Expressway. Soon, we saw one mountain biker approaching us, few minutes later, we saw another. Then we saw the sign that the path was actually a mountain cyclist track. We walked and walked on the track and did not know where would this road lead us. An hour and a half soon flew past before we finally saw sights of civilization! My Goodness! We ended up at ZhengHua Park, in Bukit Panjang! How did we get to Bukit Panjang when our initial destination was the Visitor Centre? However, my Dear and I enjoyed our trek of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and our unplanned adventure cum trip to Bukit Panjang!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Second Wave of Economy Recession for Singapore?

Though present indicators of our economy are benign: the steady rise of the Straits Times Index (STI), my take is that our economy will be turning for the worse in the coming two months.
Some tell tale signs are as follows:
a) Recommendation of the National Wages Council to implement 3 'no-pay' leaves for firms in Singapore.
b) Temasek's recent sales of its stake in BOA (Bank of America). If the economy is still promising, Temasek would still have held on to the shares for a little time more and not selling it at the current low, incurring some billions of dollars in loss.
Thus, my take is that Singapore's economy will not be out of the woods soon, the economy will be contracting again and in my opinion, the government is also on the lookout to time the date of the General Elections with a window of good or 'at least better' economy.

An Epiphany on Green

I believe Green is an amazing colour!
The colour Green is often used in the context of environment sustainability, however today while jogging in the park with many trees and plants after work, I have an epiphany on the colour Green!
It struck me that Green symbolises, epitomises, exemplifies 'balance': neither excess or deficit in any aspect of life. Why do I say that? If we can recall high school physics, teachers have taught us that rainbow or pure light is made of 7 different colours and in this sequence which I always remember: Red, Orange,Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet... can you see what is the middle colour? Yes it is Green!
Thus today after a jog, I have a redefinition of the colour 'Green'.. it means 'balance'. If you see this definiton in environment sustainability.. it does apply too for Greening is to strike a balance with man and with Mother Earth!
Red is too intense thus I do not like. I do not like the colour Violet too, somehow to me it is an evil colour.... I hope I do not anger those who loves this colour here.. just my own perception. Whenever I see the skies turn red or violet, to a certain extent, it seems that doomsday is here!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Spiritual Singapore


Its so easy to lose oneself in Singapore! By that, I do not mean to be lost physically. What I mean is that with the punishing pace of the local work culture, the escalating pulse of city life, the perennial lure of the hedonistic treadmill and the endless search for a worklife balance, day morphs into nights easily, days grew into weeks rapidly and soon one year will be gone in a flash! At this juncture, one will rue over the passage of time and a question will soon loom in his mind: “What have I achieved?”

To those Singaporeans who have achieved what you want in life, Good for you! Now for those like me, who are on our way to achieving our definitions of success, I believe the imperative is on us to remove the barriers to our success.

So what are these barriers to success? In my humble opinion, these barriers boil down to what I called daily distractions. There are just so many distractions emanating from all sources of city life, which deflect us on our journey towards our set goals. What one requires is focus and a dose of good health, twin basic ingredients for Success!

Now the crux is: we meet with so many unreasonable, unfriendly people everyday, eat so much MSG-laden food, experience the lure of the hedonistic, meet with evil people playing the all-too familiar office politics…. we try to focus but undeniably we are still distracted and affected by all these!

At this juncture, I believe on the importance of letting one’s soul FREE. Let your soul discharge, be free on weekends the only two days when most of us can really rest. We see lots of people on our working days, what’s worse to go to the city and downtown areas every weekend to jostle with the maddening crowd, to be dazed by the throngs of people, to wait for that coveted seat in food centres and lastly to be MAD! (and hence the vicious cycle continues!)

Thus on weekends, we should let our hair down, be away from the maddening crowds, be with your true self and soul, listen to your soul’s deepest and truest rhythms…. I will share with you folks on what I do to reinvigorate my soul in my next posts. And the journey begins from here (as shown in the picture below):

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rojak Geylang Serai in Geylang Serai Temporary Hawker Centre: A Revisit


Yesterday, my Dear and I happened to come across the now (in)famous Geylang Serai Temporary Hawker Centre on our way to Eunos MRT Station.

Geylang Serai Temporary Hawker Centre is a market that is now well-known to Singaporeans and maybe some of our overseas counterparts for the wrong reason. The reason was that this temporary hawker centre was where the now (in)famous “Rojak Geylang Serai” stall was housed. It was just some weeks ago when the stall hogged the headlines of major national newspapers here due to the terrible Indian Rojak mass food poisoning, which caused the death of a woman, a miscarriage of another and many others ill from the poisoning.

For those who want to know where this hawker centre was located, it is located not far off from Paya Lebar MRT station; walk from Paya Lebar MRT station towards Eunos MRT station and you could see this distinct temporary hawker centre after 5 minutes of walk.

As we approached the hawker centre, we could see that some hygiene initiatives were implemented in the centre such as the presence of hand sanitizers on the washing basins. We entered the temporary hawker centre shortly and we could see that its business was brisk, but may be not as much as before.

As expected, the stall “Rojak Geylang Serai” was closed; its owner is now busy waiting for the lawsuit against him to commence. Besides the closed stall, everything in the temporary hawker centre looks normal and everything seems to return to normalcy here.

Following the mass food poisoning, there was an intensive and massive cleanup at the temporary hawker centre which yielded more than 122 rats. The massive cleanup seemed like an ‘exodus’ after which the ghost of the morbid incident seems to be subdued.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Shenton Publications: Singapore’s solution to Good, Cheap and NEW books!

Just a week ago, the Sunday Times featured an article on the places Singaporeans could turn to for GREAT places offering unbeatable offers. One of such places mentioned in the article caught my attention: Shenton Publications. According to the article, Shenton Publications, which opens (for now) from Sunday to Wednesday, 12pm to 6pm, offers so much discounts on brand-new titles that the owner of the business were questioned whether they were selling pirated books (and the answer is a resounding ‘No’).

With books originally selling at $20 in those upmarket bookshops sold at just $9 only in Shenton Publications, being a book lover, I was filled with a sense of curiosity and excitement to get to Shenton Publications to check it out and today, here we went, My Dear and I to Shenton Publications to check it out! Such Great treats for Singaporeans can only occur at warehouses and without a doubt, Shenton Publications was situated in an industrial spot: Blk 1085 #03-086 Eunos Tech Park, Eunos Avenue 7A. To get to Shenton Publications, it was not difficult just that on a bright sunny day like today, one has to brave the elements of the mighty sun. Here is the directions to Shenton Publications, alight off at Paya Lebar MRT stations and just walk in the direction, the pavement where the Singapore Post Centre is situated and keep walking, you will see the first signs of industrial buildings (those brown coloured buildings in the picture).

Just keep walking and you will see, like what my Dear and I did, the tallest building located at the end of the street. Yes, this block is Block 1085, the blue tall building. Give yourself a pat on the back for coming that far (not that far actually, just 10 minutes of walk from Paya Lebar MRT station).

Shenton Publications is on the third storey, which means that my Dear and I have to climb to the third storey. As soon as we reached the staircases, we were ‘welcomed’ with a dazzling display of shirts, trousers, pants and even underwears, obviously belonging to the foreign workers on display here! It was no big deal actually because this is an industrial place, sights of half-naked Indian workers (ya we saw one), big howling dogs which look more like wolves staring at us menacingly (ya we met some too), some forms of drilling, hammering and machinating are common.
We reached the third storey and after crossing a long balcony, we reached Shenton Publications!


There was an executive in the shop, who welcomed us warmly! He gave my Dear and I a complimentary book each (see picture below) and explained to us that more titles would come in (to the shop) middle of next month as the Sunday Times article came a bit too early and there were still truckloads of GREAT books and new titles residing in the unopened packages in the warehouses here and in Jurong. The executive answered to my query that the shop was seeing so many booklovers this week after the Sunday Times article!

My Dear and I were impressed with the Great and homely customer service of the executive and soon we were browsing through the many titles in the store. To be frank, the number of titles are, understandingly, at this beginning stage of the shop’s operations, not many; but the titles are truly new, impressive and selling at unbeatable prices. My Dear and I would come back for more next month. More booklovers streamed in as we were browsing the book. I am happy that Singaporeans including my Dear and I now have an excellent repository to purchase Great books!





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Singapore’s cable car rides to close for S$36m overhaul from 15 Aug

The headline of this blog post should not be new to you as all of you should have known by now that Singapore Cable Cars will be closing for a major overhaul costing $36 million comes 15 Aug this year.
I thought that the closure is timely considering that the cable car system is really in opinion, a bit "unmodern."
Just some weeks ago, I had a ride in one of these cable cars, catch my stories about it right here in this blog in the coming days.
For now, I need to go and play chess with Uncle Zhou, Good Night!

Friday, May 15, 2009

What should be the goal of education?

"The highest result of Education is Tolerance" - Helen Keller

Hair for Hope 2009: Lets shave Singapore!

Singaporeans, lets shave our hair for Charity.
Hair for Hope is here again!
In the website's own words:
"HfH is the only head-shaving event in Singapore that serves to raise funds and awareness of childhood cancer. Every shaven head represents an understanding by an individual of the ordeals that a child with cancer is subjected to. HfH also provides opportunity to garner support from the public in the form of monetary pledging. HfH then brings a two-fold contribution: raising awareness and funds for CCF beneficiaries."
If you do not want to lose your hair but still want to do your part to charity, you can still pledge for the Singaporeans and folks who will be shaving it all for charity.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Liu Guo Dong and Ms Lee Bee Wah: Singapore needs more Lee Bee Wahs!


Following Singapore Table Tennis Association’s (STTA) “no endorsement” of Mr Liu Guo Dong, the former coach of the women’s table-tennis team which helped to end Singapore’s medal drought in the Olympics in 48 years by garnering a Silver medal in the Olympics last year for the “Coach of the year award”, there is now an online frenzy of petitions calling for Ms Lee Bee Wah, the STTA’s Chairperson to step down.

Netizens are up-in-arms over Ms Lee Bee Wah’s latest action; similarly Ms Lee Bee Wah’s past action of ordering Mr Liu to be sacked for neglecting his coachee, a member of the men’s table-tennis team by leaving him without a coach and playing alone in one of the Olympics table-tennis games last year has similarly raised hackles of netizens and Singaporeans.

But I am not angered at all by Ms Lee Bee Wah’s action. I believe Ms Lee Bee Wah, a member of Parliament for Nee Soon South constituency has act impartially and fairly. Critics of Ms Lee’s latest ‘no-endorsement’ should learn to appreciate the definition of ‘coaching’.

A coach is more than having the ability to deliver results; its about much more! One should do a check on the definition of ‘coach’; the best coach should not necessarily be someone who delivers outstanding results. STTA, colleagues and coachees of Mr Liu Guo Dong would best judge Mr Liu in his performance as a coach in this latest incident.

I admire Ms Lee Bee Wah for her bold and unconventional leadership among the members of Parliament. She may be criticized by the lack of tack and her seemingly ‘rudeness’; but after all, I find her actions to be guided by integrity and sincerity. She is not afraid to speak her mind, is able to defend her actions and comes across as approachable. Singapore needs more leaders like Lee Bee Wah! We do not necessarily need another President or PSC scholar as our member of parliament. We need a diverse array of leaders for Singapore.

3rd Third Warrant Officer

Mindef has introduced a new rank again: 3rd warrant officer!

Just some months ago, Mindef introduced another new rank for specialists: Specialist cadets.

Why is Mindef creating so many new ranks for its warrant officers and specialists? Is there an exodus of specialists and warrant officers quiting thus the need to create more ranks to render more recognition to the "Enciks" (Malay for 'Uncle')?

Do not be surprised if a new rank comes next: 4th Sergeant (4SG)!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Quotes by Epictetus: Listening is more important than speaking

Greek Philosopher Epicitetus:

"We have 2 ears and 1 mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

National University of Singapore (NUS) is ranked 10th in Asia

The National University of Singapore (NUS) is ranked 10th in the 1st QS ranking of Asian universities.
The actual ranking of the universities in the world will be announced shortly.
I find it disappointing that despites NUS putting in so much efforts and money in its system, the ranking still far lags that of Hong Kong, Japan and Korea.
On another thought, ranking is not the most important thing.
I do find NUS' system of teaching quite structured and 'regurgitating' of facts when I was studying there.
Hope NUS will do more on encouraging creativity.
I presented my final year project which was highly creative to a China Professor. I thought that I would win some plaudits for a good and creative project. I was shocked to be criticised like there was no tomorrow after the project presentation... I managed to still score a Good grade and pity the Professor for not being open to my creative ideas... hehe

Why is Mas Selamat Caught but not Osama?



Do you know why Mas Selamat, no matter how cunning he is, could be ultimately apprehended, but not Osama (at least till now) ?

The reason is simple: The Singapore has issued a massive manhunt for Mas Selamat bin Kastari using the correct name: Mas Selamat but the United States, has at many instances, wanted to captured Osama’s father instead in ‘Mr Laden’ or ‘Mr Bin Laden’.

This is just a joke. On a serious note, the fact that Singapore spends more than a year to capture the wily Mas Selamat, Chief of JI in Singapore is telling of the much greater difficulty in capturing World’s No.1 terrorist Chief, Osama bin Laden.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sleep Singaporeans

Sleep is something I believe Singaporeans should do (more often).
Singaporeans are really busy people, especially the young executives who have to juggle the demands of life in this high-paced, (quite) stressful society, where if you are not 'fast' enough, you will be definitely outmoded by the society!
The quality of sleep hinges on the quality of the bed. I was in Courts just some weeks ago and have the chance to lie (lightly) on some of these premier beds, costing $800 to $1 K.
Wow, you should have tried those beds, fit for a King! Its really such a luxury! If your room is air-conditioned and have this bed, go home, eat your dinner, read your news, watch some TV, play your kids, then pamper yourself with this bed!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Singapore Kindness Movement Lions

I spotted these lovely lions beside the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA). These lions are the mascots of the Singapore Kindness Movement and they are there, and also in many parts of Singapore with important messages to Singaporeans.

The gang of Singapore Kindess Movement Lions near MICA

These Singapore Kindesss Movement Lions are unique creatures in their own rights. Instead of meats, their diet consist of acts of kindess and courtesy from Singaporeans and Singaporeans are strongly encouraged to feed these cute lions with these.

This lion must be the leader, wearing a red shirt. Red is the one of the colours of Singapore's national flag. A smile was inscripted on the shirt, I believe the message this lion tries to convey is for every Singaporean to smile and be cheerful (amidst the economic gloom, this message comes quite appropriate too). The rest of the kindness lions are:







I am surprised that out of the 6 lions with special messages, half of them have messages related to kindness and courtesy behaviours related to transport: this may be the area that much kindness is needed, else why have 3 out of 6 lions carrying these messsages?
My Dear and I particularly love the last message: "Please apologise when in the wrong." My Dear and I do that, but not many others will want to acknowledge that they are wrong and apologise. Many Singaporeans have quite high ego, I observe.
I think one message the authorites could consider adding is:
"Please do not take more than what should be given." (it is common that Singaporeans always grab more than their shares, when it comes to freebies).
Actually the lion is from the yester-year courtesy campaign, Singa.. now it becomes Singapore Kindess Movement and hence the lion also undergos some UPGRADING (think of HDB upgrading) to become the new lion.
Last time it was courtesy, now it is kindness movement. In my opinion, the authorities should just stick to using the word "courtesy" as this word is a behaviour. "Kindness" is more to do with man's nature..... it is easier to change one's behaviour than nature.
And by the way, how can we know one is really kind? If someone opens a door for you, he is just showing acts of kindness, but he may not be a kind man. Thus for the Singapore Kindness Movement to be sucessful, I believe the authorities should stress that the main gist of the movement is for Singaporeans to SHOW ACTS of Kindness and not to become kind. Not many Singaporeans will know the subtle differences. Messages of the movement will fall on deaf ears if many thought the goal of the movement is for Singaporeans to be kind, which for some people like Mas Selamat is a hard nut to crack.

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