Last Day in 2009

31 Dec 2009 – Bye-bye 2009

Mon @Makansutra Gluttons Bay*** with AmyR, David, Mun & Mika- 1st time for them at this location. David has voiced an interest about teaching in SIN and with them both being educators, Amy could enlighten him as to how is it like teaching ESL in SIN. The weather cooperated with delightful alfresco dinning, enjoying SIN night lights skyline.

Now that 2009 is closing, what will 2010- the year of the Tiger bring? The 50s years are ending for me but it will be new beginnings towards my 60s… 5 decades/half a century over! Every stitch and every shiny sequins on the 24 pockets of the self-embroidered Christmas tree advent calendar has a story to tell!! When Linn & May were younger, the calendars were of different nature, ones appropriate for them; 24 days with either little gifts or a piece of chocolate. This advent Christmas Tree calendar has taken me many years to complete and is the only tree I hang out during the holiday season. Otherwise it is stored with all the Christmas plus other decorations in SIN. One can collect much of that over the decades!!!

An advent calendar with a note of THANK YOU, total of 24 languages in 24 pockets is my kind of calendar. On one side, the thank you is written in one of the 24 languages; on the other side, the language which the thank you belongs to. Still have not learned the 24 different languages of thank you but getting there! When able to read all and know which language it is, without turning to the other side to check, maybe someday, a calendar with 365 days in 365 languages of thank you will be possible 🙂

So I say Thank you to all for crossing my path in 2009.

Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing
Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me – ABBA


28 Dec 2009 – Shopping- NOT!

Happy Bday to Peggy LEUNG in Perth. Looking forward to another get together in 2010… where shall we meet? We’ll let Kenson KWOK decide as he will be retired after the New Year!

VivoCity/怡丰城 opened in 2006 is the largest shopping mall in SIN, evokes a lifestyle experience that is modern, stimulating and accessible to everyone. On one side, Vivo faces Sentosa Island, another smaller red dot island connected to SIN by a bridge and mono-rail. Sentosa Resort Worlds and Universal Studios are under construction at present. Being the only theme-park in SIN, it will be quite something when the doors are ready to be opened to the public. How I remember working at the opening of Universal Studio FL, 1989 where Ron Howard was the Guest-of-Honour, another eon ago!

On the other side is Mt Faber. This area always brings back much happy memories from childhood as the house where I was born and lived for 15 years was just at the foothills of Mt Faber. (9 Jul 2008/Sentosa- post search).

Walked up Mt Faber for old-time sakes! Pouring rains after Henderson Waves; had to abandon the remaining of the Southern Ridges/南部山脊 (18 Dec 2008/Walk- post search). For cousin David WONG, this 1st visit to Vivo & H Waves gave him another angle of SIN. Like his brother Wilki, they did not even know of the Waves’ existence until now!

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather – John Ruskin

25 Dec 2009






क्रिसमस की शुभकामनाएँ

عيد ميلاد مجيد

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late Nov to mid-Dec.

Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring.

Therefore, EVERY historical rendition depicting Santa’s reindeer, EVERY single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a girl!

We should’ve known…. ONLY women would be able to drag a fat-man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost 🙂 🙂 🙂

Appreciations to the Management & Staff of Hagley & Hoyle for a delicious Christmas spread.

Thank you Jane for the company last night. Hope that she enjoyed the cold dishes. Apologies that there was not enough energy to get pass midnight… your friends would not want a pumpkin for company!

To niece Pat LEONG & David YEOH, thank you for getting together a wonderful Christmas dinner of 3 generations. Lucas YEOH and Isabelle AMEEN are adorable. At present, the eldest in the purple generation are: LAM Sui Cheng & ANG Kee Yang (grandsons to 2nd brother LAM Kwok Kiong b1935-d2000) who will be turning 21 in 2010 and the youngest is my grand daughter Sophie HALL, 7 months. This is what Christmas is all about, family & friends having good times together.

Temple from 1884@Waterloo Rd

22 Dec 2009 – Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple

Deity Kuan Yin/觀音, the Goddess of Mercy and her origins is debated among scholars. The root of this debate lies in the history of religion, Taoism in China and she might have possibly originated from the Taoist mythology. Today’s Chinese community generally accepted that she originated as the Avalokiteśvara, अवलोकितेश्वर/Sanskrit, in her male form. Too complex for me to understand, not to even mention believe but some seem to find peace by believing!

Ivy‘s mother, address as por-por by my generation, is a believer and will be celebrating her 90th Bday in Mar 2010. Les, Ivy, Kat & Greg will be off to Bali for a wedding and will not be spending Christmas or New Year in SIN. Safe journeys to them. Por-por wanted to go to the temple on Mon to say her prayers, make offerings and give thanks. It was a pleasure to accompany her as long as Mela could help. Mela has been with the LAM family since my father’s stroke in the 1980s.

The vegetarian lunch on the ground floor at Fortune Centre was OK but do prefer Sophie’s on the 4th floor which was unfortunately closed on Mon. Introduced por-por to the staff & management of Hagley & Hoyle on the 9th floor and they were amazed at her ability, considering her age.

God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason – Dag Hammarskjold

Oh Christmas Tree…

21 Dec 2009 – Oh Christmas Tree, Thy candles shine so brightly…

A traditional German Carol/O Tannenbaum. The composer and author of the lyrics is unknown. The tradition of bringing a tree inside and decorating it started in the 19th century and is immortalized by this carol. During my stay in Norway, we had real candles on the tree and on Christmas eve we walked around it with the children singing carols. Fond memories of my first Christmas in Norway (1968) when Nils HALD, Linn & May‘s uncle taught me how to say all the Christmas decorations on the tree in Norwegian! Takk Nils! Jeg husker alt, god jul til deg og dine. It was the first time I met the HALD family and also when I understood what Christmas was all about. Appreciation and gratitude to a most gracious family.

I have been looking on, this evening at a merry company of children assembled round that pretty German toy, a Christmas Tree. The tree was planted in the middle of a great round table, and towered high above their heads. It was brilliantly lighted by a multitude of little tapers; and everywhere sparkled and glittered with bright objects – Charles Dickens.

But none can ever take the place of Charlie Brown’s!

Thank you AudreyW

20 Dec 2009 – Last Sunday before Christmas

Fri: Welcome niece, Kat back for a few days on transit from NYC via SIN on her way to a wedding in Bali. Great catching up, one year of marriage and still on honeymoon is doing wonders for her 🙂

Sat: Appreciations to Audrey WONG for including me in her Christmas party. Met Audrey when I first returned to SIN thru’ nephew Clement who was also at the party together with some of his ex-colleagues from the banking world. May has two sons and Karen has one. They were all working at Deutsche Bank at one time but now only Audrey is still working there. Met an English chap who shares a common interest in genealogy with me!

Coincidentally there was another grassroot gathering with a live-band by Block 32, where Audrey lives. This time, I stumbled to wish SM GOH Chok Tong happy holidays but did not stay to see if he received any balloons! Was having a blast with the young people at Audrey’s, enjoying the delicious food & a selection of booze on the 8th floor. The entertainment from the grassroot’s party was a bonus with a decent band playing music from my era- considering who the Guest-of-Honour was, definitely right choice of music 🙂

A modern mother is explaining to her little girl about pictures in the family photo album. ‘This is the geneticist with your surrogate mother and here’s your sperm donor and your father’s clone. This is me holding you when you were just a frozen embryo. The lady with the very troubled look on her face is your aunt, a genealogist’ –


19 Dec 2009 – Follow me in merry measure…

While I tell of Yule tide treasure, Fa la la la la la la la la. Raffles Hotel ( 莱佛士酒店) dating from 1887 is named after SIN’s founder Sir Stamford Raffles. Somerset Maugham once called this hotel the legendary symbol for all the fables of the Exotic East. Other famous writers- Joseph Conrad, Noel Coward & Rudyard Kipling were guests here too. It is also home to the famous cocktail SIN Sling, cheers! Sharing one of my favourite Kipling’s poems… IF

SuntecCity, Raffles Boulevard towards Ritz Carlton Hotel

Raffles Boulevard with part of the SIN Flyer in the background, Millenia Walk

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
IF you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
IF you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

IF you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
IF you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
IF you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
IF you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

IF you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
IF you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

IF you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
IF neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
IF all men count with you, but none too much,
IF you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

Putting on the Glitz

18 Dec 2009 – Deck the Halls with boughs of holly…

Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la la la la la. The music is believed to be Welsh of origins dating back to the 16th century. The author is unknown but the words are said to originate in America.

Most who live in SIN will know these places on Tanglin & Orchard Rd, especially KONG Heng Sun lah 🙂 For my overseas readers who have not been to SIN will have no idea. In 1840 this road was then plantations for nutmeg, pepper & fruit orchards, thus the name Orchard Rd. It is now the retail and entertainment hub of SIN city; also a tourist attraction and more so with the Christmas lights. ION & Orchard Central are the new kids to the block! Apologies to all the other locations for not having any decent shots.

Tanglin Mall and Tanglin Rd

Forum The Shopping Mall, Wheelock Place, Royal Thai Embassy, only embassy visibly on Orchard Rd. The Embassy of Ireland is also on Orchard Rd but not visible in Liat Towers.

Wisma Atria, Takashimaya, Mandarin Galley

The Heeren Shops, SIN Visitor Centre, Junction of Grange & Orchard Rd

Centrepoint Shopping Centre, Orchard Point, Plaza Singapura

It’s all glitz, glamour and sequins. It’s not Sunset Strip sleazy here – Frank Mastalerz

Trendy Architecture

17 Dec 2009 – Just a week to shop!

Jeff, my son-in-law thinks that SIN is just one big shopping mall and he has a point there! Will be posting mainly night shots for the next few postings. A glitzy 4hrs Wed evening stroll as I do not want to be anywhere near Orchard Rd next week. The afternoon rains stopped before the sunset, making a pleasant evening walk with a manageable crowd!

Akanoya, Japanese Restaurant located at Orchard Parade Hotel gives a nice lighting effect in the evening. Have always been and will always be a fan of the simple non-stained wood designs by the Japanese and the Scandinavians.

ION Orchard/乌节弯 is a new shopping mall with 335 food & retail outlets. The Orchard Residences with 175 units are still under-construction. And built directly on top of the MRT Orchard. Is that convenient or what… especially when you can afford to pay S$3,213 per sq ft and that was the first phase with 98 units sold then. The cheerful aluminum sculptures, Urban People, 2009 is by Kurt Metzler who said that his works tell stories with amused irony, how true!

Orchard Central/乌节中央城, another new shopping mall with 160m frontage along Orchard Rd, giving good visibility to potential tenants. A real nice home-decor store I was admiring is located on the 3rd level. This used to be the location of the Specialist Shopping Centre adjoining to the old Phoenix Hotel. It is strange to remember back when this spot used to be a car-park by day and food-stalls by night. The site of the hotel was once owned by my father & his partners but that was eon ago!

Good design, at least part of the time, includes the criterion of being direct in relation to the problem at hand- not obscure, trendy or stylish. A new language, visual or verbal must be couched in a language that is already understood – Ivan Chermayeff

Frankel Avenue

16 Dec 2009 – Annual Check-ups

Dec is a month when traveling is expensive and crowded. It is also the time for my annual dental at National Dental Care/NDC and medical check-ups at Kandang Kerbau/KK & SIN General Hospital/SGH. Usually will try to do as much as possible but lately, the energy level does not want to cooperate. Believe in listening to my body, so will just stay-put, chill and enjoy the dazzling glitzy Christmas lights. The evenings are cool for strolling and taking pictures and that is what I hope to do… as long as the weather permits!

Thanks to Jane TAY for introducing Cedele*** by Bakery Depot. Their varieties of fresh breads look inviting and so do the cakes. Tried the dark chocolate cake and it was not too sweet, perfect for my taste buds. Many may not know this but the Mayans, Aztecs and Early-Europeans viewed dark chocolate as medicinal marvel then. Recent research has discovered chocolate made from plants, contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables. These benefits are from flavonoids, which act as antioxidants and that helps slow down the body from aging.

There are over 20 Cedele branches and 115 Frankel Avenue’s outlet is surrounded by an interesting mixture of private residents and shop-houses. Have driven pass this road a couple of times and this house at the junction of Wilton Gardens caught my attention. Now at closer views, it gives the impression of an A-framed when viewed at certain angles and a half-house at other angles! Designs are very subjective. 62, another interesting designed house-number where guests or postmen should have no difficulties finding unless they are blind!

You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle – Paulo Coelho