Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chingay Parade Singapore 2009 Wonderland

Yesterday, City Hall and its vicinity was transformed into a wonderland with the spectacular and dazzling array of colourful floats in the Chingay Parade 2009!
Though the annual show is for ticket holders, it is still a parade for all as thousands of Singaporeans lined the pavements of the roads to catch a glimpse of each of these wonderful floats.
My Dear and I were among the crowd on the road pavements yesterday, partaking in the spectacular extravaganza. Initially, I tried to take photos of the parade but later found that due to the trotting action of the paraders, most of the photos turned out to be blurred, hence I captured the footage of yesterday parade on video for posterity.

Chingay 2009

My Dear and I had a wonderful Friday (30 Jan 09) evening. We visited the Singapore Flyer which has just recently reopened after a technical glitch which left many stranded in the middle of the sky for close to 7 hours. After the breathtaking ride, we had a hearty meal at Popeye and proceeded to watch the Chingay procession 2009 in just next to the Floating Platform!
Do stay tuned to my Singapore Flyer special and Chingay special coming up on this blog real soon!
Plus: if you do not have tickets to Chingay 2009, fret not, proceed to the street just beside the Floating Platform and you can have the same view as paid audience of the same great thing. Fantastic right? Also you can visit the River HongBao 2009 carnival just next door if you have not been there yet.
Beside the Chingay Parade tomorrow, there will be the Singapore's largest street party from 10 pm to 3 am tomorrow night: City Alive! happening in front of City Hall along St Andrew Road, featuring DJ Sassy Pandez. And I will nevertheless bring you the action of City Alive on this blog too!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Year of the Cow, Ox, Bull or Cattle?

Chinese New Year this year is the year of the 'niu' (Chinese word for Cow). So does this mean that this year is the year of the cow? Why is it that media rather called the year of the 'niu' as the year of the ox? Why is it not the year of the bull or the year of the cattle?
I am quite confused by the above similar terms of the bovine. However, my questions were 'allayed' after a visit to the Singapore Philatetic Musuem on the second day of Chinese New Year with my Dear. Here is the quick fact:
'Cattle' is the formal name for cows. An 'ox' is basically a trained cow and a castrated bull. A female cow or cow of unknown gender is referred to as a 'cow' while a male cow is called a 'bull'.
The Chinese word for cow ('niu') does not distinguish one bovine creature from another. So the Year of the 'Ox' can be called the Year of the 'Cow' or the Year of the 'Bull' or the Year of the 'Cattle'.
Interesting rite?

Istana Open House (Chinese New Year 2009 )

The Istana, Singapore's official residence for her President is always open to the public on public holidays. My Dear and I visited Istana on its open house on 27 Feb 09, the second day of the Chinese New Year.
We reached Istana at around 5pm, as it was one of our last stops on a day filled with visits of musuems on their open houses too. The crowd to Istana has reduced significantly by this time of the day, as evidenced by the queue line at the entrance of the Istana.

Security was watertight at Istana, needlessly to say and visitors were subject to screenings of both bodies and belongings. The Istana is open free to Singaporean citizens and Permanent Residents while foreigners have to pay a nominal charge of $1; with all proceeds going to charity.

There were also many make-shift stalls set up in Istana, selling a buffet of memorabilia with all proceeds going to charity organizations.

The Istana is like a giant park with vast sprawling compounds. Familes, relatives and friends have a leisurely stroll on the Istana grounds despites experiencing the heat of the blazing sun.

After some tens of minutes of strolling, like the other visitors, my Dear and I reached the Istana house, a marble-white colonial building. There was a crowd at the entrance of the house as there were some performances being staged for the President and his family, guests and visitors.

I managed to catch a glimpse of the affable President of Singapore, Mr Nathan and his family enjoying the show. The Istana open house is such an enriching visit for Singaporeans!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 2 of Chinese New Year

For day 2 of Chinese New Year, which was yesterday, 27 Jan 09, my Dear and I first visited the Peranakan Musuem, then proceeded to visit the Singapore Philateic Musuem and the Istana. As usual, there were many sights and sounds happening in these 3 places of interest (openhouse to the public, except for the $1 charge for non-Singaporeans to the Istana) that I would dedicate separate posts on each of them soon, so do stay tuned!
My Dear and I witnessed a lion dance right at the doorsteps of the Singapore Philateic Musuem:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Singapore River Hongbao 2009

My Dear and I visited the River Hongbao 2009 carnival held at the Marina floating platform (for the first time) yesterday night. Upon our arrival, we were mesmerized by the scores of red lanterns suspended at the grand entrance. The sight was simply awesome and I could easily discern that the River HongBao carnival this year might be the best ever organized though the budget for the event has shrank from the usual $1.5 million to the current $1.4 million in view of the economic recession. The location at the Marina floating platform gave a magical feel to the carnival due to the confluence of the bright colors, the bustling crowd and the splendid scenery of the Singapore River.

All lanterns which were exhibited in the carnival were quite novice, unlike those I have seen in the past River HongBao carnivals. Particularly, I loved the life-sized lanterns of the Chinese warriors, cannons, carts, horse depicting the figurines used in Chinese Chess. It was so unique to me!

There were of course stage performances and food stalls selling a host of different Chinese delicacies. River HongBao 2009 is an event families, couples and friends must visit during the Chinese New Year!

How to calculate mortgage loan instalments?

There exists many automated tools for the calculation of mortage loan such as this website.
However, I believe having a detailed mathematical understanding for the calculation of mortage payments is paramount as undeniably, this formula plays such a key role in the lives of many.
The formula is:
M = P [ i(1 + i) ^n ] / [ (1 + i)^n - 1]
To illustrate the working of this formula.

Say for a $100,000 mortgage at 5% compounded monthly for 15 years, we would first solve for i as

i = 0.05 / 12 = 0.004167 and
n as 12 x 15 = 180 monthly payments

Next we would solve for (1 + i)^n = (1.004167)^180 using the xy key on the calculator, which yields 2.11383

Now our formula reads M = P [ i(2.11383)] / [ 2.11383- 1] which simplifies to

M = P [.004167 x 2.11383] / 1.11383 or
M = $100,000 x 0.00791 = $791.81

Day 1 of Chinese New Year (25 Jan)

I woke up at 9.30 am today , surprised that I was not feeling too lethargic despites the fact that I slept close to 4 am last night. I must be feeling enthralled as today is the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year!
I ate the 'poh-piah' (spring roll) deliciously and freshly made by my mother as breakfast and popped some Chinese New Year snacks into my mouth as a supplement. After that, I caught the repeat television telecast of the Chinese New Year variety show, first broadcasted on Chinese New Year eve, on Channel 8. For this annual variety show, the part which I anticipated watching yearly is the part on astrology for the 12 different animals of the Chinese Zodiac sign.
This year, the astrologer was not the usual guy we see yearly. Hmm, this year, the astrologer gave quite a very bad astrology forecast for most of the animals of the Chinese Zodiac sign, befitting a year of the economic crisis? Anyway, I do not believe in all these talk. If it happens that my astrology for the coming year is good, I will of course be pleased, but if not, I will also not bother much too, as I believe in myself being the creator of my destiny rather than just simply believe and be guided in some superstition. Anyway, I do observe every year whether my animal sign will 'fan tai shui' (offend a heavenly deity). The background of this belief is that come every Chinese Lunar New Year, out of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac, there will be some animals who will be in direct conflict with a heavenly Chinese deity called tai shui.The remedy: go to a temple and pray to tai shui for forgiveness. Ya this year, my animal sign does not offend tai shui, thus I do not need to visit the temple for such prayer. However I did remember the times when my animal sign was in conflict with Tai Shui. Then, my parents brought me to a temple, where we told one of the temple attendants that we wanted to pray to tai shui. Then, the temple attendant brought me to kneel in front of the Tai Shui statue, uttered some prayers and after the ceremony, the old lady chopped a red squarish ink pattern on my back, just below the head as a mark of 'completion'.
Anyway, coming back to Day 1 of Chinese New Year, after watching the TV show, I visited my dear's house first and then brought her to my home to visit my family. Visiting relatives and family is a norm of the Chinese New Year during which red packets or ang baos are exchanged. In the evening, a large group of about 30 relatives came to visit our family as my father is the oldest child of my late grandparents. We have hardly any seating space for some of them! Some poor kids of our relatives have to contend sitting in our balcony as it was super packed and noisy in the living room. Delicious mees, rice, satays, drink and goodies flowed fast and furious in our house. After almost 2 hours of catching up, eating and laughter, my bunch of relatives left collectively.
After they had made their move, it was about 7.30 pm and the night was still young. I brought my fiancee to River HongBao 2009. River Hongbao 2009 was such a great event that I would dedicate a post to it ... so do stay tuned (to my blog!)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year !

The time is now 3.08 a.m Singapore time. I am not asleep as I have just returned home an hour ago.
Where was I earlier? Yes, if you have guessed correctly, I was in the thick of the Singapore Chinese New Year action, right in the heart of Chinatown.
Chinatown was a sea of people and it was a chore to walk amidst the thousands of people who have congregated there.
It was still orderly in Chinatown as the police has set up demarcation zones to confine and streamline the crowd. As some public areas were used for such demarcation purposes, the walking areas became even smaller.

I was in Chinatown about 9 p.m, after a hearty reunion dinner with my family. Chinatown is the place to be in, if you want to savour Singapore Chinese New Year in its fullness.

I entered Chinatown from Outram Park MRT station. To my surprise, the Pasar Malam (a public bazar) which is an annual fixture was not there.... a casualty of the economic downturn?

Entering Chinatown from Outram MRT station really belied what was to come. Just a stone's throw from the MRT station, I saw the policemen setting up the barriers cordoning the roads and many members of the public just wandering leisurely on the road and pavement, taking in photos after photos.

The road soon led to the heart of Chinatown where all the action would be taking place at 10.00 pm (on the eve, yesterday) with a live variety show featuring popular local artistes and VIPs include Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng, several MPs and key community leaders of the Kreta Ayer- Kim Seng Constituency.
The crowds soon coalesced into a significant number at the heart of Chinatown near the platform where it would be bursting with performances an hour later.

Many member of the public have come some hours earlier, say 6pm to obtain a vantage point to view the variety show, the firing of the fire crackers and the procession of lion and dragon dances.

The variety show commenced at 10 pm sharp with a lound bang literally and figuratively. Spectators wow as balloons were set off to the sky, a symbolic gesture for good luck.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Yesterday afternoon, I put in close to 4 hours, spring cleaning my cupboard. Actually there was not much unwanted stuff to dispose of as being a simple man with simple needs, I always take no more than what I need, own no more than the most basic things in life. Luxury items are few and out of my priorities, though at times, I do indulge in some treats else life would have been meaningless.
I took out all my paraphernalia from the shelves, drawers of my cupboard onto my floor and within minutes, I was confounded by the raft of my personal was such a mess!
I dusted, swept and wet-clean my cupboard, leaving it to dry, while I sorted out the array of my belongings. There were not much things to dispose of as I looked through each and every of the little items. There were some relieving moments as I finally found an item I have been searching for some time: an ornament containing a rare stamp bearing some words for thought, given to me by one of the bosses I have served. The words contained in the ornamanent serve as a reminder for me for my life, as I will constantly remember those motivating words.

At other times, my spring cleaning brought me back down to memory lanes as I found some items which I have not seen for ages, in particular a story book which was an award given to me during my primary school days many many years back. The pages of the book have since turned brownish, nevertheless, the book is one of the books that will be in my heart for life.
It is quite tiring, sweeping, dusting, cleaning and poring over my 'barang barang' all at the same time. As I spring-cleaned, I grew more and more tired, but I persisted through the cleaning in the unforgiving hot weather.
Alas, my spring cleaning of the cupboard was done! I could have, like many other Singaporeans, choose not to carry out spring cleaning, but it would have taken out some festive Chinese New Year fun as spring cleaning is an enduring feature of the festival.
I feel that I have done my small part for the New Year with the completion of my spring cleaning! My parents are the Chairpersons of the 'organizing committee' for the spring cleaning of our home, cleaning and washing my house till it is spick and span and thereafter decorating our home like a palace, ready to usher in the Chinese New Year. I could have done more, if not for my work and other committments. Nevertheless, at least I have done the cleaning of my own cupboard and help my family to sweep the floor, I do hope these two factors will serve as a redeeming factor :)
The Television Corporation of Singapore (TCS) is a disappointment once again during this festive season. Almost all of the holiday shows and movies it will air during this festive break have been telecast before, if not, many times. It is such a shame! How could TCS expect Chinese viewers to be happy watching shows that are things of the past? This goes to show the low emphasis TCS has on its viewers. This is part of the reason why for all these years, I have not supported TCS, watching its local production. Even for such an important festival like Chinese New Year, all TCS can offer to viewers is dinosaur movies! (no I am not talking about Jurassic Park, I mean 'dinosaur' taken figuratively, though Jurassic Park and its sequels have also been screened on local TV many many times too!)
I am pleased when my Malay and Indian friends wish me a Happy Chinese New Year! This small greeting exemplifies the success Singapore has achieved in integrating its local people: Chinese, Malay, Indian to live harmoniously in this multi-racial society.
I wish all of you Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Segways on Sentosa

There is now a novel way of getting around Sentosa: Segways.
Segways are quite common in Europe but they are not commonly seen in Singapore though I have often witness foreign executives from other offices riding on these environmentally-friendly transport to get to the different places in the giant office complex where I work in.
To rent a segway, here is the breakdown of the rental charges:
3 min: $10
40 min: $35
60 min: $45
Wow, this mode of transport is not cheap!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What to do for Singapore Chinese New Year holidays 2009?

Yes! The Singapore Chinese New Year long weekends commence from today!
Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday .... 4 days of rest for most Singaporeans! But we must not discount the fact that not all Singaporeans are so lucky to have this continual stretch of rest from work. Some services like retails sales, restaurants, transports must still continue to operate during the holidays. I read about how some business choose to open on the second or even the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year in order to capture a slice of the holidaying market, so as to improve their business which has already been hit by the economic crisis.
For Singaporeans who are guaranteed to have this 4 days off work, some have already applied for additonal days of leave to 'interface' with this long weekend, the result: A super long weekend! This group of Singaporeans may comprise of people who just want to be away from work, partying in the CNY festive mood and Singaporeans leveraging on the CNY long weekend for an overseas vacation!
And, many Chinese Singaporeans like me will be going to their relatives' home (if I am not wrong), visiting our not too-often seen relatives, dishing out and receiving (if you are still privileged :) ) ang baos, indulging in the array of CNY snacks and catching up with relatives and friends.
However, as a Chinese Singaporean, I do find that the Chinese New Year mood locally is not as vibrant as in the past, and I am not talking about this sentiment against the backdrop of the current economic gloom. Overall, in general, from my discussion with colleagues and friends, they have also admitted that CNY does no longer feel that special as compared to the yester-years. I concur with this sentiment and I feel that it is regretful. However I do still have the CNY mood, though it is not as intense as in the previous years.
I believe CNY is fun for the kids. Ya, when I was a kid, I was exhilarated whenever CNY comes. There was just so much fun popping with my family to the other relatives' home, gulping down the CNY cookies and snacks and delighting ourselves with the exploring of different houses, while at the same time, we cannot figure out what the serious talk adults engage in.
Times have now changed. The youths of today, sadly are in a world of their own, and do not place much priority on Chinese traditions. Instead they immerse themselves day and night into the cyberworld and mouthing all those sophiscated IT jargon.
However, I must feel comforted that the festive mood in Singapore has always be constantly rejuvenated by the Singapore Government with the likes of event like the Chinatown Chinese New Year Countdown, River Hong Bao and Sentosa Flowers. This led me to my next part of my post: what to do apart from visiting relatives or staying at home during this Chinese New Year long holidays?
I will recommend you 8 (Chinese number for prosperity) events and places you should go during this holidays:
Admission: Free
Venue: Marina Bay floating platform
Duration: 24 Jan 09 to 1 Feb 09, 6pm to 12 am
Admission: Free ($3 admission fees to Sentosa still apply)
Venue: Sentosa
Duration: 24 Jan 09 to 1 Feb 09, 6pm to 12 am
3) Chinatown
Must I say more on Chinatown, the buzz of Singapore Chinese New Year scene! Go tomorrow night, mingle with the throngs of crowd, catch the dazzling fireworks display at the stroke of midnight and catch some prices of Chinese New Year snacks (heavily slashed) after midnight!
4) Catch Kwan Imm Thong temple, at Waterloo street tomorrow midnight! There will be hundreds of devotees rushing to place their lighted incense sticks into the incense urn at the stroke of midnight (for it is believed to bring them good luck for the new lunar year)
5) Istana Open House on 27 Jan 09
6) Museum Open House (Open on public holidays, thus should be open FOC to public on 26 and 27 Jan 09). For more information, please visit:
Note: I have affirmed Peranakan Musuem and Singapore Arts Musuem having their Open House, free to public on 27 Jan 09 (Tues). Please check with the other museums first before you are heading down as I have not affirmed their open house days. Thanks!
The Chinese New Year celebrations will culminate on next Saturday with the Chingay Parade and following that, Singapore's largest street party, City Alive!
Hope you will consider my above 8 tips on spending the golden Chinese New Year holidays! If you have no time to spare, do not worry, I will update you on the happenings in these events right here in my blog!
For now, I need to get back to work: mass cleaning, clearing of my barang barangs to usher in the Chinese New Year!
I Wish All of You a Happy Chinese New Year!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Singapore Budget Day 2009

Singaporeans are glued to the televisions today for it is a very important day for Singaporeans.

It is Budget Day and the budget as unveiled by the Finance Minister Singapore taps for the first time in the history of Singapore the National reserves for a S$20.5b economic stimulus plan!

Yes, S$20,500,000, 000 resilence package!

Blogging as a cocurricular activity in Singapore Schools?

If there is such an island wide in blogging in Singapore, the Association of Bloggers Singapore could look into introducing blogging as a cocurricular activity in Singapore Schools.

Singapore Blogging Identity: Uniting the Singapore Blogging diaspora

Just two days ago, I blogged about the newly formed Association of Bloggers (Singapore), led by Ms Jayne Goh, the author of the East Coast Life blog.

Today, I ran a check on the internet to uncover the ground sentiments of fellow bloggers in the cyberspace. As what I have anticipated, the idea of an association of bloggers drew a flurry of criticism from the blogging community.

Some bloggers questioned the purpose of the association, others queried the high membership fees, and a high number was completely skeptical of the success of the association.

I concurred with what Ms Jayne Goh has commented about the local blogging scene: it is far too disorganized!

At this juncture, I would like to share with readers my blogging experience:

As a blogger who commenced blogging just two years ago, I could still remember my first foray into the blogging world. Like many others, I set up a very simple blogspot account and started to do some simple writing of my life daily. As I continued to blog on a regular basis, I was hooked to blogging. Looking at the myriad of blogs residing in the blogosphere, I began to compare the blogs of the other netizens with mine. I was impressed with some of these blogs, particularly their designs and I started to work on improving the design of my blog.

Being a person who knows absolutely nothing on HTML and other internet craft, I started out learning about the designing of my website in a very hard way. There was no one to help me and it took me some months to painstakingly learn about designing my blog website. Blogging is just not plain writing on an internet portal; blogging is an experience which fuses writing, perception, art, interactivity, diligence and more; in essence, blogging is a mix of science and art. The internet provides a wealth of resources for newbie bloggers like me and I slowly ‘googled’ my way to a better blog design.

You may have tell Singapore Short Stories that Blogspot has now come with a XML interface which is idiot-proof and is easy to use. Well, when I first started out on Blogspot, Blogspot is still using the classic HTML template then and due to some technical glitches, I could not convert my HTML blog to the easier XML format which comes with a gamut of interesting features too. Trust me, even if you give a newbie a XML blog, it will still take the newbie some time for him to be proficient with the use of the features, especially if he is not conversant in technology at the outset.

Based on the above experience, I was quite heartened to read that one of the many proposed activities of the Association of Bloggers Singapore is to teach bloggers to blog better, though in my personal opinion, the association should target non-bloggers too and include in their blog-enhancement workshops, blogging courses for non-bloggers. Having blogging workshop to improve the writing skills of bloggers is essentially good, however some bloggers felt it insulting to join the workshop as it would be tantamount to admitting that their blogging skills are not good. They also have an issue with having to learn to write better from fellow bloggers. Thus may I propose to the association of bloggers Singapore to open blogging courses for newbie bloggers? These courses could range from the basic to the advanced depending on the participant’s needs and expectations. Having braved the journey before, I must admit having someone to guide a newbie blogger along is so desirable as it will cut away unnecessary time needed to learn the ropes of blogging. Time is too precious to be wasted.

On the other side of the coin, having a blogging mentor does take away the fun of exploring blogging by yourself, it reduces the excitement and thrill of self-discovery, an important element of any learning process. However ultimately, I believe Association of Bloggers (Singapore) could still offer this choice to non-bloggers.

Bloggers are like sand particles, each with diverse and different blogging motivation, expectations, culture, personality … as could be seen in each blog. To form an association of such a diverse group of bloggers is a tough call, and I must salute the Association of Bloggers (Singapore) for taking up the gauntlet.

Unity is strength. Singapore blogs are far too disorganized. There exist countless of lists ranking the popularity of Singapore blogs and not to mention, the myriad of ‘fighting’ among blogs to determine which is better. I believe we need to have a more systemic approach to Singapore blogs. Singapore blogosphere is just so messy. I believe we should develop a distinct identity of Singapore blogs so that one day if we were to ask our friends or a foreigner the question, “What does Singapore blogs mean to you?”, there will be a good reply.

Do not get me wrong when I call for a distinct identity for Singapore blogs! It is not my intent to homogenize the Singapore blogs so that each will have similar theme. What I am trying to say is there could be many Singapore blogs, each of different theme and content but ultimately when you sum all of them up, you get an unique identity of Singapore blogs that you could not get from other country blogs… there is a local flavour!

Right now, Singapore blogs, in my perception, stand for everything under the sun. I have high expectations of the Association of Bloggers (Singapore) to help engender a distinctly unique identity of Singapore blogs.

If you read this blog of mine regularly: Singapore Short Stories, you will discover that I write a gamut of topics everyday, but there is an overarching theme of my blog: Singapore Life, the characteristic flavour and identity of my blog. I hope to see this distinct unique identity of the Singapore blogs fostered under the leadership of the Association of Bloggers (Singapore).

I wish the Association of Bloggers (Singapore) success! These are our Singapore bloggers who dare to stand out and make a difference to the local blogging scene.

Kudos to them!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Barack Obama sworn in as 44th US President!

Finally, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th US President less than 10 hours ago!

The world embraces Obama with open arms and laps up the change, which Obama advocates, embodies and personifies.

It is encouraging to witness the timely arrival of a change leader against the backdrop of a global economic meltdown.

The world awaits to see the change Obama promises to deliver for the world.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Of NTUC in Chinese New Year and Ang Bao

I enjoy visiting the NTUC supermarket these days, the days leading to the Chinese New Year.

It is the only time of the year where one will witness huge crowds of people congregating on every festive item on sales at the supermarket.

The cacophony generated by the maddening crowd of people together with the Chinese New Year music blasting at top volumes from the radio liven up the festive shopping experience.

Mandarin oranges are the enduring fruits during Chinese New Year. I learnt from a salesman just some days ago from a visit to the supermarket that there are two types of mandarin oranges: 蕉橘 (jiao ju) and 卢橘 (lu ju).

Jiao ju mandarin oranges have thick and coarse skin while lu ju mandarin oranges have thinner and smoother skin.

Between the two, I prefer lu ju not just because its skin is easier to tear, I find that at many instances, the flesh of the orange is sweeter and does not dry up that fast as compared to jiao ju.

It seems that there is a myriad of things to learn if one wants to have a better appreciation of Chinese New Year.

Will ang bao givings be bled by the economic recession? In my personal opinion, I believe while everyone’s purse strings have become tighter during this economic downturn, ang bao givings will be only slightly be affected due to the importance of the ‘face’ culture in the Chinese tradition.

So instead of $6 per red packet, some Singaporeans may cut $2.. thus it will be $4 per packet. Not only is $4 per packet considered a small amount in today’s standard, ‘4’ in Chinese sounds similarly to death which is highly inauspicious. But ultimately it is the thought that counts.

Some Singaporeans may just choose to MIA (missing in action) during this period, while holing up at home and telling the whole lot of his relatives that he and his family have gone for a holiday. This will save them quite a sum of money if they don’t want to risk being found out and labeled as miserly!

Tan Yong Soon

The furore caused by top civil servant Tan Yong Soon's "cooking holiday" continues to rage on today.
This brought to my mind another man who has unfortunately found himself to be the talk of the town last month: Steven Yeo, the General Manager of the Singapore Flyer, who has since resigned after the flyer ground to a halt for close to 7 hours last month.
Before the assuming of the post at Singapore Flyer, Steven Yeo was the deputy CEO of the Singapore Sports Council. As such he was also a top civil servant before.
Coming back to Tan Yong Soon, who has also authored a book called "Living the Singapore Dream", I must admit that he must be feeling very stressful these days for being the talk of the town.
Can you imagine if you were Tan Yong Soon now, how would you feel? being the centre of unenviable attraction of the whole nation?
Has Tan Yong Soon done something very very serious to merit such an inordinate amount of backlash from the cyberworld and ordinary folks?
I could not say Tan Yong Soon has done something very very serious, just that he could have been more tactful. Being a top civil servant who has such an admirable salary that many ordinary folks like me could not even dream of, he should have bear in mind that in publicising his unique 'cooking holiday', he could have left out those figures $46,500 (maybe not a big sum for a man of his wealth) or not to 'overglamorise' the whole holiday event, especially when Singaporeans are currently feeling the brunt of the economic recession.
Some bloggers have asked for Tan Yong Soon to apologise in public to the public as he has a moral obligation to do so being a top public servant. I think at this time, let us give some time for Yong Soon to decide a suitable course of action that he finds most comfortable with.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Association of Bloggers (Singapore)

Ms Jayne Goh, the author of East Coast Singapore blog has formed the Association of Bloggers (Singapore)!
I hope under Ms Jayne's leadership, Singapore's very own association of bloggers can develop to be a leading think tank which can help to shape the policies of Singapore.

Labrador Park

Though Singapore is a tiny country, it is regretful many Singaporeans have still not been to the interesting places on this little island. We often hear Singaporeans bemoaning that Singapore has nothing much to offer, besides the dozens of shopping centres in the city/orchard area. This is a hasty conclusion. Singapore has an array of interesting places and events it can offer to Singaporeans and visitors. Follow my blog and I will show you the slew of interesting places I have visited on this little island. You may click on the label ‘Places’ and ‘Events’ in my blog for a writeup of places I have visited and events I have partaken in this little country!

Being a local nature buff, my quest for unexplored natural parks in Singapore (parks hitherto unvisited by me) led me to Labrador Park. My Dear and I set foot on Labrador Park last Saturday, our first visit of the park despites having lived on this little island for years! Little wonder Labrador Park is hitherto not as well known to Singaporeans as its sisters like East Coast Park and Pasir Ris Park: the park is situated in a very remote corner of the west coast of Singapore. On the day of our visit, we took bus 408 from Harbourfront Bus Interchange which led us directly to the top of the hill via a small slip road jutting out from the main road. Do note that bus 408 operates only on weekends till 2100 hrs, so if you are thinking of getting there by bus on weekdays, do think twice!

The minute we alighted from the bus, we felt relaxed. Air on the summit of a hill seems much more purer and cleaner than air in the city. We went to a viewing point near the bus-stop and savored a bird’s eye view of the vast sea off the west coast that unfolded before us. It was not difficult to miss the prominent feature: the jetty jutting some hundreds of metres into the sea from this vantage point. We would make it a point to leave our footprints on it later.

We made our way slowly down the stairs leading us to the bottom of the hill from the top. Along the way, we noticed the countless spider webs, which have been spun on the leaves and branches of the trees (maybe since decades ago) and of course, we saw their giant creators too! Imagine the length of time the flora has been left untouched by man!

After less than 10 minutes, we reached the foot of the hill, right into the heart of the park, characterized by a playground. It was an unusually hot weather though we were greeted with strong sea breezes, made even stronger by the unusual strong wind season Singapore has been experiencing for the past week.

Labrador Park is not just like any other park to me because the waters along its coast were deep waters, plus there is a rich diversity of corral and cliff biodiversity on one part of the coast, next to the jetty (Singapore’s only gem of a cliff and corral biodiversity). There are also rich historical remnants on the park, which we would soon be finding out.

We followed the above signage, which brought us to ‘Long Ya Men’ (Dragon Teeth Gate). Since young, I have read about this historical monument in the school’s history books, thus I was exhilarated to come ‘up, close and personal’ with this historical jewel boulder! I took pictures after pictures of this giant rock (there is only one rock there, I wonder what happens to the other one?)

The jetty was our next point in Labrador Park to be ‘tamed’. As we neared the jetty, we noticed that there were more anglers than people who just went on the jetty for a leisure stroll. We proceeded along the jetty, unfazed by the hot blazing burning evening sun greeting and embracing us with its fiery rays. The sea and the rays of the sun converged and metamorphosed into one colorful mosaic. We could not believe our eyes… there was something about the clouds that makes the sun’s rays emanating through them magical!

The whole jetty against the dazzling backdrop of the brilliant skyline and sparking waters was a perfect picture of nature at its finest! It was also a romantic moment to be with my Dear, partaking in such beauty! Time seems to come to a stop there, with us embracing the warm summer winds, nature at its very best, and the unrivalled views of the western coastal line of Singapore!

Unlike the flock of anglers waiting with superb patience and determination for their catch, we bade the jetty farewell after partaking in the unparallel sights, sounds and smells. We returned to the entrance of the jetty, made our way below the wooden suspension bridge there and headed to savor Singapore’s only coastal cliff and coral gems.

Sad to note, most of the corrals we discovered on the sands were already non-alive, though their colorful coats have not really faded. The waves pounding the sands of the coast grew more aggressive as the day gradually came to a close. My Dear and I could have proceeded even further below the wooden bridge, right to where the marine cliffs were, but the waves proved too hostile for us to continue.

We picked up our paces once again, navigating the meandering staircase to the bus stop at the hilltop where we arrived. There were underground tunnels near the bus stop, created by the British soldiers during the Japanese Occupation. These tunnels are open to the public for a certain interval at a particular admission charge.

There was also an idyllic restaurant set against the backdrop of nature, and an elegant resort in which a wedding celebration was proceeding against the rustic charms.

My Dear and I are amazed at Labrador Park for it is alive with nature, historical charms and modern day treats! As the gears of the bus revved up, we bade goodbye to a park we grew to love!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Uncommon Strong Winds in Singapore-Fictional Story Part 2

A 101% fictional story:
The strong winds continue to pound little Singapore today (apart from this sentence, the rest of the story is just pure fiction!) and sweepers are having an increasing workload sweeping additional thousands of fallen leaves and as mentioned in Part 1 of the story, fallen hair from humans!
Scientists have decoded that the tonnes of fallen hair found in the refuse collected come not only from human, a few good percentage of hairs came from animals like cats and dogs.. it seems that little animals are affected by the strong winds too.
Scientists have also established that a good 10% of human hair found in the debris come not from the hair. In-depth analyses of the DNA of these hairs revealed that these hair are armpit hairs and fine moustache hairs.
"No wonder some of these hair stink!" Mr Alamak, a sweeper cried in agony upon hearing the unpleasant truth. "I thought these hairs come from people who do not wash hair at all, now knowing the truth, I want to puke as I have inadvertently taken some of these hair to smell to see what the worst smell a hair can possibly garner if there is no shampooing!"
Mr Mark, a businessman who has spent thousands on hair loss therapy remarked that he has suffered thousands of dollars in losses, attributed to the stong winds in Singapore. No, it is not losses in his businesses, Mr Mark commented. But when pressed by the media, Mark walked away, refused to reveal more. Close friends of Mark then revealed to the media that Mark has spent $12,000 over a year to grow some hair from his balding spot. "Hmm, it is an embarrasing problem, if I were him, I will also not reveal to the media.. imagine 10 pieces of new growth hair, all destroyed within seconds when Mark comes out of his bungalow coincidentally on the first second the strong winds hit Singapore!", a close ally of Mark, who only wanted to be known as Mr X commented.
Meanwhile, not all Singaporeans and businesses shun the strong winds that have hit Singapore. A giant ferris wheel which was hit by a technical glitch some months back and was closed till now, was suddenly found to be rotating non-stop without any power or fuel.. all thanks to the strong winds. "Wow, that could be saving the company thousands of dollars and save mother earth.. imagine no fuel needed, just a constant supply of strong wind!" someone jested.

Labrador Park

My Dear and I visited Labrador Park yesterday 17 Jan 09. It was our first time there at Labrador Park, a park which was not commonly known to many Singaporeans. Even for a street-wise guy like me, I still do not know its existence till recently.
There we went.. to Labrador Park. It is a park unlike many others, for it is a gem of a park which combines rich historical past, marine and corral biodiversity with splendid waters, winds and scenary.
We were quite lucky to catch sight of an interesting weather phenomenon (see picture). There were some gaps among the thick overcast clouds, sending the rays of the blazing hot sun in amazing scattering to the sea.
It looks like the arrival of a divine being to Singapore!
(Visit to Labrador Park: to be continued)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Chingay Parade Singapore 2009 Wonderland

The annual festive parade of the year, Chingay is hitting the street on 31 Jan 09!
On that splendid night, beautiful and simply amazing floats will be aplenty!
Having been to some of the previous Chingay parades, I must admit whenever I see those floats, I find myself being transported to Wonderland.... no wonder that is the theme for this year Chingay parade!
How nice Wonderland will be.... void of all the mundane problems that beset us! But life is no wonderland, there are always challenges in store for us to overcome. With the overcoming of each challenge, we grow wiser and more experienced.
To take a look at some of these awesome floats, please visit this website. (dun worry, the website is normal website, just that its URL is of a non-standard format).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Uncommon Strong winds in Singapore-Fiction Story Part 1

The Singapore Hair Loss Support Group has issued a Code Red warning to balding Singaporeans living in the island about the gusts of strong winds averaging 30km to 40 km per hour which have been hitting Singapore almost every second for the past one week.

Chairman of the group, Dr Hairy Kok, in a statement issued to the The Hairy Times said, "The winds that have been blowing non-stop in Singapore are unprecedented in scale and magnitude! Never have the hair of balding Singaporeans been threatened so seriously!"

Noting in agreement, Mr Harry, a member of the group, said, "I have been suffering from thin hair already. These days, I just dashed out of home towards the bus stop, to minimise the duration my hair is being exposed to the strong gust. Haiz, what an unfortunate thing these strong winds have come! New Year is coming so soon! I need my hair to face my relatives, please don't blow them away!"

Even Singaporeans with a thick coat of hair is not spared. Mr Hairr said, "It just messes up my hair, I think girls who have been spending time doing their hair before coming out of their house is simply wasting their times."

Dr Hairy Kok has formed a sterling committee made up of researchers, businessmen, scientists, hair stylists, babrbers to look into the weather anomaly that has hit Singapore. Collectively, the committee has proposed a slew of suggestions for Singaporeans, especially the balding ones to take note when facing the onslaught of the merciless gust of wind.

Top of the list of suggestions: Do not go out in the open, unless you need to, example going to work.

Second pointer: Wear a cap or hat

Third pointer: Go and shave bald, so that you will be able to enjoy super strong winds without any worry!

It was reported in The Hairy Times that despites the economic downfall, sales of caps, hats have been brisk. Many Singaporeans have been reported buying caps and hats these days to protect their hair while out in the open.

Meanwhile, sweepers in Singapore are bracing themselves everyday for their increased workload, contending with the tonnes of fallen hair that have been blown off from Singaporeans everyday for the past one week.

Said Ms April Foo: "This is madness! I have never seen anything like this. I have swept 5 kg of fallen human hair within half an hour. Hair is not like other debris, hair is so fine and light, you need a certain degree of skills to manipulate the brooms!"

In the meantime, Dr Hairy Kok is contemplating the help of science to overturn the forces of nature in the form of a giant vacuum cleaner!
(Above is a 101% FICTIONAL Singapore Short Story)

Windy Singapore

For the past week, Singapore has been hit with a cold spell, sending temperatures down to 24 degrees and lower. To make matters worse, the winds have been blowing day and night. Not the mild breeze that are felt more often in Singapore, the winds that have been blowing these days here in Singapore average 30 to 40 km per hour, almost twice the speed of the winds usually felt!

I dread being in the open these days. My hair will be blown and ‘savaged’ by the strong winds! The winds are cold and it is definitely not a pleasant feeling to be greeted by them. One is prone to catch the flu bug more easily standing right in the passage of such winds.

Singapore is a hot and humid country, while cool weather is definitely welcome and much relished by Singaporeans, the weather these days is an ‘overkill’! I do not mind the cold weather, the days the sun goes hiding amidst the clouds, but not the cold winds. Winds will just aggravate the feeling of coldness.. one will feel even colder when there are winds alongside a cold weather.

Singapore is not the only country experiencing ‘funny’ weather these days. Some parts of Thailand experience temperatures as low as 2 degree Celsius, resulting in some of its people to be frozen to death.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bin Laden urges jihad against Israel

I was amused yet concerned when I read the above headline of the Yahoo news today.

No, I was not concerned on the content of the news: another senseless war against the innocent (as I am always concerned about it), I am amused at the headline itself.

‘Bin laden’, everyone knows this notorious name belongs to the terrorist chief Osama Bin Laden. However to have an international headline “ Bin Laden urges…” is a joke, as ‘Bin laden’ is not a name at all! ‘Bin laden’ just means ‘son of Laden (father)’, so this term is not a name at all!

I can well understand the basis behind this erroneous name as in Western names, the surname is always placed at the back of the name, e,g Thomas Smith, the surname is Smith, name: Thomas.

For Chinese, the surname is in front of the name, e.g. Tan Ah Kow, the surname is Tan, name: Ah Kow.

However, for a Muslim, there is no surname at all! Take for e.g the terrorist chief, ‘Osama Bin Laden’: ‘Osama’ is the name of the terrorist, ‘bin’ just mean ‘son’ (‘binte’ will means ‘daughter’) and ‘Laden’ is the father of the terrorist! Thus it would be good that the western press has at least some understanding of Muslim names else it is, in my opinion, disrespectful to Muslims.

Since 2001, the US has been hunting high and low for Mr Laden (Osama’s father), Mr Bin Laden (any son of Laden), no wonder the US was not able to track down Osama! (just a joke).

In multi-racial Singapore, where Chinese, Malays, Indians, Foreigners exist harmoniously, such errors in Muslim names are sometimes made by non-Muslims too. E.g you have a Malay friend, Ali Bin Osman, one day you see him outside and call out loud ‘Osman’, don’t be surprised he does not turn back, instead another Malay called Osman may turn back, thinking you are calling him.

I was told some statutory boards in Singapore, due to the format of their computer systems still address their Malay mail recipients by their father’s names! It is nothing funny and hardware system formatting is not a good excuse … revamp the computer system formatting, else risk causing some unintended embarrassments.

Singaporeans are very lucky to live in a country where there are so many diverse races coexisting harmoniously, and where they could savor a buffet of delicacies from different races. I believe Singaporeans should do more to understand the culture of the different local races here. It is an advantage Singaporeans have over many countries. Also the insights brought about knowing other races will overwhelm and interest you!

I am thinking of learning Malay, if I have the time. It is always good to know more about our different races!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tell me about You!

Dear reader,
Many Thanks for visiting my humble blog!
I will TRY to update my blog everyday and bring you the LATEST , UP- TO -DATE and MOST HAPPENING places, events and news in Singapore everyday, as I am like many Singaporeans, juggling between work, life and many other committments.
Hope you find my blog interesting and continue to stay tuned to this blog, Thanks!
I would like to do a little survey on you, ya, you, my precious readers.
Would appreciate very much if you can tell me your
2)country of residence
3) male/female
4) hopefully your name too if you don't mind
for me to get a sense of the profile of the readers in my blog so that I can tailor to the different needs and expectations of my readers (my customers hehe)!
Many Thanks!
Do drop a note on what you want to see here, ya right here in this blog, and I will try to check the places you want to as best as I could... especially so for international visitors to my blog who may be curious to visit Singapore and want to do some homework before they come... or some of you may miss home...

Little Nonya Craze

The Chinese drama serial, “Little Nonya’ ended its run on Channel 8 last week. It was the Chinese drama serial with the highest viewership in the past 15 years! The whole of Singapore became ‘nonya-crazy’ after the show started to hit airwaves. There was an increased appreciation of the nonya culture overnight and nonya food and related items were selling like hotcakes everywhere in Singapore.

The show has its fair share of critics too, criticizing the plot of the serial. I fall in neither the supporter nor the critic camp as I have not watched an entire episode before. The longest viewing time I have ever had was about 10 minutes (as I was figuring out what the craze was about the show) before I decided enough was enough and there went my television …… Off.

There was nothing spectacular or dramatic about the show, from what I know. The basic ingredients for the winning formula of a Singapore TV drama is always the same: 1) Great looking artistes as the protagonists or main cast 2) A complicated love story 3) Story set in troubling times: Japanese Occupation 4) Some bad crook devising all sorts of morbid acts and nonsense 5) one strong, kind beautiful female cast who went through all forms of hardships 6) Intense publicity arsenal and the last but most important thing is by dint of LUCK! (hope the viewers would love the show!)

Till today I do not know what the craze is about Little Nonya. You may have reminded me that I do not know as I have not followed the drama at all. Well, I would be crazy to follow Little Nonya as it is really a waste of time to watch it (for me). Not to say I do not watch drama serials, but I only support Hong Kong and Korean drama serials and why? The answer: Singapore drama plot is just so predictable…

Monday, January 12, 2009


Another day has just passed....

I believe the most important things to manage in life is time, health and people.

I was irritated just an hour ago, waiting for the bus which did not seem to come any sooner.

It was a real waste of time, waiting for bus or other public transport.

In general, the time spent on waiting, be it for bus, MRT, people, in the traffic just adds up to become days!

We spend a large portion of our time waiting. To illustrate, take an average of 30 min per day spent on waiting, that would be equivalent to 183 hrs: slightly more than 9 days of waiting for a calender year.

Say we spend 60 years waiting for 30 min per day, that would amount to 540 days, 1.5 years of our lives waiting!

Isn't that a sheer waste of our life .... waiting? and this waiting is not waiting for success or for other noble goals, else it will be worth the wait. This waiting I mentioned here is waiting in a super time consuming manner!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

One eye dragon

‘One eye dragon’ is not the appellation of a mythical animal that has been discovered in Singapore recently. It is the nickname given to a dangerous gunman.

One eye dragon was hanged on Friday 9 Jan 2009 for a brutal murder case he has committed. In a surprising move, One eye dragon turned his heart to Buddhism during his final days in jail (and in life) and instructed his family to donate his organs to the needy. One eye dragon was said to be stoic towards his death.

One of the recipients of One eye dragon’s organs was retail magnate, Tang Wee Sung who was convicted in court last year of trying to buy a kidney. A donated organ, a retail magnate and a brutal gunman, these serve as fodder for the local evening press and coffeeshop talk. This real life story that unfolds in Singapore seems so surreal in our country which has prided itself on having one of the safest homes in the world; in fact this real life story seems more suitable for the plot of a typical Hong Kong serial drama.

Just as Singaporeans thought the donation of One eye dragon’s kidney marked the climax of this rare ‘murderer turned Philanthropist’ plot, and the end of the existence of One-eye dragons in Singapore, a NEW one eye dragon made the headlines today, and without a doubt for another morbid reason.

This NEW one eye dragon was a 70-year old man, who did not commit yet another murder, but still a form of crime: arson or a more appropriate term ‘People arson’ !

The most shocking part of this new developing story was that the NEW one eye dragon did not just start a fire on anyone, the victim of the crime he has perpetuated was actually a member of the Singapore’s parliaments, Mr Seng Han Thong! Mr Seng was reported to sustain 10% body injuries.

This new one eye dragon was arrested and detained in jail. I am not sure whether Singapore has anymore one eye dragons waiting to inflict crimes?

Monkey Business!

My Dear and I went trekking at Macritchie Reservoir, the part off Venus drive towards tree top walk.

This was my second visit to Macritchie Nature Reserve. For the write-up of my first visit, please visit my earlier posts:
This second visit was even more exciting than the first! The natives of the Macritchie nature reserves came out in full droves from their 'homes' to welcome us!
There was a monkey crawling threateningly along the bars of the tree top walk towards us, less than 15 cm away from us. We could not turn back as the tree top walk rangers did not allow walkers to retreat. Thus we braced ourselves walking towards the monkey, keeping our food and drinks out of sight of the primate's view. Luckily the monkey was not interested in us else a monkey's attacks would be unimaginable.
Do not fool around with the Singapore monkeys in our nature reserve! These primates are not innocent monkeys like you have read. These primates have evolved with Singapore and have become highly urbanized and intelligent. They are always on the lookout for new food and drinks to try, so never taunt or antagonize these monkeys, just stay nonchalent and pretend you do not see them if you happen to bump into a bunch of them in our nature reserves.
My Dear and I had walked few hundred metres deep in the Macritchie Nature Reserve to visit Jelatung tower to catch a breathtaking scenary of the nature reserve. But when we arrived 50 metres in front of the tower, we were shocked! The whole tower was void of human but full of monkeys prancing around the steps of the tower and almost everywhere around it.

I saw a monkey, which seemed to be the leader of the pack, nodding its head to me, as if beckoning to me and my Dear to come towards them! There were so many monkeys there that clearly our lives would be in danger should we visit the tower. Sadly we have to give up visiting Jelatung tower which has come under the control of the monkeys!
No sane human would go and visit Jelatung tower with the bunches of monkeys there, it is just so risky! What a waste of money to build a tower in the nature reserve, just to fall to the monkeys!
Anyway, besides these mischievous primates, my Dear and I managed to catch a quick glimpse of a cute squirrel and a monitor lizard:

Singapore Chinese New Year

Every year, in line with Chinese New Year, Singapore will organize similarly themed events during the festive period.
For this year, be sure to catch the following events:
1) Chinese New Year Chinatown Lightup (already covered in my blog)
2) Chinese New Year Countdown @ Chinatown
3) River Hong Bao @ Marina Bay
4) Chingay
5) City Alive!
6) Yuan Xiao Jie festival
I am targeting to visit all of the above events and will bring updates to this blog! so watch out for them here in this blog!
Chinatown is brimming with people these days, as many Singaporeans are busy clearing their old stuff residing in their home, sprucing up their homes and buying Chinese New Year goodies.
One question, are more shoppers in Chinatown buying or are merely just 'window shopping'?

Top 10 Singaporean Dreams and Goals

A survey of the "Top 10 Singaporean Dreams and Goals" released by OCBC Bank on 9 Jan 09 shows that starting a family, settling down and homes are the nation's top three dreams this year.
The top 10 list for year 2009 is as follows:
1) Family and Children
2) Settling down/Starting a family
3) Houses and home
4) Making money
5) Retirement
6) Seeing the world
7) Automobile
8) Good health
9) Starting a business
10) Self-improvement
On the back of the current economic meltdown, making money is no longer in the top 3 of Singaporean dreams and goals, it is back to basics, the basic of society: Family.
What I find perplexing is that health and self-improvement ranks on the lower rungs of the list. Personally, I do believe health is the most important as without it, we cannot do anything. Next would be self-improvement, an area which pervades all endeavours of life.
My personal list is as follows:
1) Good health
2) Self-improvement
3) Settling down/Starting a family
4) Houses and home
5) Family and Children
6) Career
7) Community activism
8) Seeing the world
Not thinking about it: Automobile, Starting a business
Non-applicable: Retirement

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Paragon's new clothes

Just 2 weeks ago, I was shooting photos of some christmas decorations hanging off the roof of Paragon shopping centre.
With the coming Chinese New Year, Paragon shopping centre was quick to recoat itself in red: the festive colour of Chinese New Year! Chinese lanterns now replace the christmas decorations.
The 'hanging' concept is similar for the design of the two festivals, but it is quite a refreshing take!

Chaos at Orchard MRT station!

I was at the Orchard MRT station this evening and what a chaos it was in there!
As Singaporeans knew, Orchard Road is currently undergoing a revamp, with the Ion Orchard shopping mall coming up an d some other major shopping malls getting a relift of its facade.
The chaos at the underground MRT station was caused by the reopening of an exit (the former exit directly to Wisma Atria shopping centre). The exit reopened but what a confusion it caused to the passengers exiting. Think many thought the exit still leads to Wisma Atria but as the sign indicated, the same old exit now points to Tangs shopping centre.
The exit was always quite narrow, worsening the queues and the chaos. There were some men in uniform directing traffic ('human traffic').
Never mind the mess, the authorities will sort it out soon. What I am interested is what Ion at Orchard shopping mall and other new shopping malls in Orchard Road will offer to shoppers. I hope they will offer something new and unique to shoppers else they will be yet another chips off the same block!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

City Alive!

Chingay falls on 31 Jan 09.

What happens after the Chingay parade?

The answer: City Alive!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Do continue to post comments

An apology to all readers, I have turned on moderation for comments made to my blog posts just some days ago.
The reason is that as my blog grows in popularity, it has become a site for spamming and unwarranted advertising.
Thus to curb such phenomenon, I have turned on the moderation for comments made to my blog posts.
Do continue to comment, all your comments will be published unless they are really objectionable.

Many Thanks for your support to my humble website, I am going to sleep soon after a long long day....

Is Singapore boring or are Singaporeans boring?

For many Singaporeans, weekends are commonly spent squeezing with the incessant throngs of humans in the shopping malls, in the theatres or in the restaurants.

An outing in the town on weekends is supposed to be a reprieve away from work for many, but the cacophony and the human jams experienced on such an outing often tire Singaporeans more than they actually heal them.

Heading down to shopping malls on weekends may be understandable as the malls offer cool relief and comfort from the country’s unbearable heat, an enduring feature in Singapore.

Though Singapore has a slate of shopping centres to choose from, the ritual of hopping from one shopping mall to another on weekends can be boring after sometimes for a number of us.

This finally leads to some Singaporeans easily dismissing Singapore as boring as in their perception, there is nothing much to do on weekends except visiting shopping malls. However, there is an irony here: just as these Singaporeans dread the boredom of going to shopping malls again and again, they still seem to relish it, judging from the flood of humans at the malls on weekends. Or do they simply have no other choice of venues to go?

For those Singaporeans who enjoy and will not be tired of shopping week after week, good luck to them! They are highly needed in this period of economic downturn.

For the other half, I would like to state unequivocally that Singapore is not that boring as they make out to be, they just need a bit of tweaking of their personality.

By that, I mean they should be more curious and less apathetic. In fact, Singapore is not that boring, it is the modicum of places in Singapore they visit so frequently that fosters such an impression.

Singapore has in fact a lot to offer, from natural parks, cultural and heritage spots, to rural farms, cycling and adventure trails. You may refer to my label ‘Places’ in this blog for a list of interesting places in Singapore I have visited.

Many of the historical spots here are even open free to all on public holidays! On New Year day, I was a tad disappointed to see only a handful of Singaporeans at the Stamp Museum, which my Dear and I visited the place, despites a publicity blitz by the National Museum Board on the open house.

One of my favorite current hobbies is exploring Singapore. It is sad to see many lamenting Singapore as boring when they have not really explored it; on the contrary, they know more about other overseas places they have visited than our homeland.

Stay tuned to my blog, where I will take you to many interesting places in Singapore, coupled with very refreshing insights!
Too bad, I still have a full time work and many many commitments, else I will just spend hours blogging on this site, offering you a privileged view of the uncelebrated place in Singapore which ought to be celebrated!

But do not worry, stay tuned to this sight for more interesting places in Singapore as I will venture north, south, east, west of Singapore and scour the most intriguing happenings on this little island!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Withdrawal syndrome

The past two weeks have been spent celebrating, indulging in great food and a host of good fun while celebrating Christmas and the New Year. In line with this festive mood and ‘in conjunction’ with these two end-of-year holidays, I have also taken some leaves.

These days spent partying and out of the office were reminiscent of the school holidays I was entitled to many years back ... there seem to be no worries of anything… thus when my alarm clock rang early in the morning, signaling the start of yet another office day, a morning ritual which has grown quite unfamiliar recently, I was jolted back into the jarring reality of work!

But the surprise was short-lived as I jumped out of bed soon, ready to face a new year at and of work. I believe my enthusiasm was attributed to hope, the hope for an even better year. Resolutions for the year ahead, which I have penned down some days ago, also helped to generate such a momentum.

And the partying mood seems not to end that fast either, for we are embracing Chinese New Year in less than 3 weeks. There will be even more yummy Chinese delicacies and treats and fun jostling with the Chinatown crowds on the eve of the Chinese New Year!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Singapore Chinese New Year Celebrations 2009: Chinatown Chinese New Year Light Up 2009

What is Chinese New Year in Singapore without a trip down to Chinatown?

The Chinese New Year action at Chinatown opened with a big bang (literally in the form of firecrackers and fireworks as well as figuratively) yesterday night with a mega celebration which marked the official light up of Chinatown for the coming Chinese New Year.

There was a host of stage performances and singing gigs by local and Chinese artisties and not forgetting the enduring features of the lion and dragon dances. The show was a lengthy one, stretching from 7pm to 915pm and it was also a draggy one as the spectators were just too eager to catch the finale: the bursting of the firecrackers! (a phenomenon that can only occur during the Chinese New Year period in Singapore).

My Dear and I found ourselves a strategic spot, right in front of the firecrackers though we did not plan for it.

There was a sea of curious, anticipating spectators all around us, many who were like us, stayed right through the 2 hour stage performances.
Official Light Up:

As the waiting continued, the sky grew darker,

and darker ....

Finally, the spectators were handsomely rewarded at the end of the show when the firecrackers were lighted up in a series of deafening explosions right in front of us! The spectators were enrapt in the spectacular sight unfolding before them. Deafened by the exploding sound, hands holding camera still greeted in response.

After the finale of the show, the spectators bade the peformers good-bye in a similarly festive spirit!

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