June Movies

30 Jun 2010 – Happy Bdays to LAM JenMunAnnie KOH-LAM

And so it is the last day in June… half of 2010 is over!

The Karate Kid*** Dre Parker’s mother latest career move has landed him in China. Dre immediately falls for his classmate Mei Ying and the feeling is mutual, but cultural differences make such a friendship impossible. Dre’s feelings make an enemy of the class bully, Cheng. With no friends, Dre turns to the maintenance man Mr Han, who is secretly a master of kung fu. As Han teaches Dre that kung fu is not about punches and parries, but maturity and calm, Dre realises that facing down the bullies will be the fight of his life. Same story-line as the previous Karate Kid but this one has beautiful scenery of China.

Brand New Life*** Korean movie is about Jinhee’s emotional journey after being left behind by her dad to a Catholic orphanage. In disbelief, she attempts to run away but finally accepts her fate, forced to hope and wait for her possible adoption. Jinhee’s time at the orphanage will be one of multiple and permanent separations that have barely forged bonds and are destined to be shattered. And at the journey’s end, there will be the promise of perhaps a brand new life. Good acting but depressing.

Shrek Forever After** In this last chapter, Shrek has become a domesticated family man. Longing for the days when he felt like a ‘real ogre,’ Shrek is tricked into signing a pact with the smooth-talking dealmaker, Rumpelstiltskin. Shrek suddenly finds himself in a twisted, alternate version of Far Far Away, where ogres are hunted, Rumplestiltskin is king and Shrek and Fiona have never met. Now, it’s up to Shrek to undo all of Rumpelstiltskin’s mischief in the hopes of saving his friends, restoring his world and reclaiming his one true love and family. Watched this in BKK where one has to stand for the National Anthem in the cinemas.

Letters to Juliet*** An American girl, Sophie, travels to the city of Verona, Italy (home of the star-crossed lover Juliet Capulet of Romeo and Juliet fame) she finds an unanswered ‘letter to Juliet’ – one of thousands of missives left at the fictional lover’s Verona courtyard. She inspires its author, Claire, to search for her long-lost love, which sets off a chain of events that will bring a love into both their lives. Chick flick.

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet – Shakespeare

Marina Bay Sands SkyPark

26 Jun 2010 – Wow…

The SkyPark is home to the world’s longest elevated swimming pool, with a 475-foot vanishing edge, perched 200 meters above the ground. The pools are made up of 400,000 pounds of stainless steel and can hold 380,000 gallons/1440 cubic metres of water. There are four movement joints beneath the main pools, designed to help them withstand the natural motion of the towers, and each joint has a unique range of motion. The rooftop restaurants and nightclubs are not quite ready but the gardens with  hundreds of trees and plants and a public observatory with 360-degree views of the Singapore skyline – worth seeing even at the cost of S$20 and less for seniors!

A remote helicopter to take more pictures… I presumed 🙂

The Full Monty

25 Jun 2010 – Happy Bdays to nephews John & Clement LAM & YY Huang

This morning, SIN was again flooded by the heavy rains. Was on the bus for 1hr to get to my dentist appointment, no major delays except for some minor flooding at some junctions… will try to remember to write in to the PUB about those weak drainages. But there were other major flooding which caused much traffic delay. Flood photo credits to MARSHALL & NEO.

Thanks to Clement, got to watch an entertaining musical last night. Am not a broadway musical fan but did enjoy the movie and wanted to see this local production. 3hrs was slightly on the long side but Adrian PANG being one of my favourite local performers did a good job to keep the show moving. Here he plays the main character where the musical is located in USA, not in the UK like the movie.

Based on a British comedy movie in 1997, The Full Monty***** tells the story of six unemployed men, who decide to form a male striptease act  in order to gather enough money to get somewhere else and for main character Gaz to be able to see his son. Gaz declares that their show will be better because they’ll go the full monty— strip all the way, hence the film’s title. Despite being a comedy, the film also touches on serious subjects such as unemployment, fathers’ rights, depression, impotence, homosexuality, working-class culture and suicide.

For as long as I care to remember, religion, like the striptease, has always been a display of the power of suggestion. Like the Virgin Birth, it has all too often supported an immaculate deception – Bernard Katz


23 Jun 2010 – Enchanted Evening with Passionate Talents

Last night, the Irish Chamber Orchestra/ICO, Ireland’s premier ensemble comprises some of the top Irish and international strings players gave an outstanding performance with works by Mozart, Vivaldi, Fleischmann, Piazzolla and arrangements of popular Irish melodies. This took place at the Esplanade Concert Hall where the main entrance has an art display of white garbage bags! Dreaming of Dreaming by Khalid Chistitee.

Katherine HUNKA, the director and lead violin player gave a vibrant performance in spite of a broken string and note clip flying off her scores.

For me, this is the first chamber orchestra with an accordion soloist among the performers. Talented Dermot DUNNE played with such passion that captivated and mesmerized me thru’ and thru’. Stayed for the post-concert reception to meet him to discover that we shared the same music theory teacher, Annette PERRY, small world! She was my music theory teacher from 1967-1971 and because of her I enjoyed the written part of music too. Now retired but we have been keeping yearly contact for the past 30yrs. Must write to her this week instead of waiting till Christmas. Was so touched when Dermont presented me with this new gadget, looking like a credit card but thicker, there is a chip that can be flipped out and can be inserted to a computer to play the music. Am so impressed with all these new technology.

Thank you to Leslie & Ivy for the tickets, to Audrey, Ting, CH & AmyR for their company and good to see some of the IGAS faces.

Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life – Ludwig van Beethoven

3 Seng Poh Road

22 Jun 2010 – Crab Delicacy****

Nice to meet new faces from the USA who are here on business with SIN Airlines. The group will be in town for 24hrs… a long way to fly for a meeting! Thanks to Irene HO, had the chance to taste these delicious chili & pepper crabs located on 265 Outram Rd. The crabs were fresh, the pigeons and bamboo clams were very tasty too. This stretch or row houses have been here as far as my memory can rewind. Even the small one-story white house next to #265 which was a dancing school then is still standing.

Took a walk down memory lane around the area. 3 Seng Poh Rd was at one time in the hands of the LAM family (1940s-1960s). Cousins Lock, Yun & Chai who have immigrated to Canada used to live there. It is now the New Cape Inn and Fook Weng Seafood Restaurant. Opposite #3 during the Japanese Occupation in the 1940s was where my brothers sneaked to pick up the fallen grains of rice and where sister Jo saw the water-torture. The atrocities from those days are still in the memories of those who have experienced or witnessed them; never pleasant to hear but hopefully never to be repeated. There is a saying where war & love are concerned, there is no fairness or justice, how true! So, will stay with peace & compassion!!

Next to #3 is the famous bird singing corner. There was a small temple across the road at the traffic lights but has recently been replaced with a boutique hotel (opposite the beautiful tree). Where the yellow taxi is standing, there used to be my favourite prawn noodle soup stall which was a push-cart where the whole kitchen was wheeled around with wooden chairs strapped around the cart. Prawn noodle was the only dish he sold and was usually sold out by 1000hrs. Today beside Jo‘s home-cooked prawn noodle, the only other one which can be compared to my 1950s push-cart favourite is @Blanco Court Prawn Mee**** Beach Rd.

You cannot teach a crab to walk straight – Aristophanes

Happy Father’s Day

20 June 2010 – Opera in the Park

The weather cooperated last night at the SBG where the SIN Lyric Opera staged an open-air performance with an enjoyable & entertaining program. The crowd was there but not as packed as I have dreaded, probably due to the World Cup! Thanks to Ting & CH, we had a good spot by the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage. Nice to meet some new faces. The delicious curry (Ting is a good chef) got poor Rusty salivating thru’ out the performance!

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers, especially to the father of my grand children Jeff who is somewhere in Pawly’s Island, South Caroline with the family. The most memorable Father’s Day was in 1987 when we lived in California. I woke the family at 0400hrs, did not tell them where we were going and drove for over an hour to get to the champagne hot-air balloon ride. Asked Linn if she could remember the ride and she commented that she wished she was old enough to drink the champagne 🙂  Cheers to all fathers.

Death is not the final word.
Without ears, my father still listens,
still shrugs his shoulders
whenever I ask a question he doesn’t want to answer.

I stand at the closet door, my hand on the knob,
my hip leaning against the frame and ask him
what does he think about the war in Iraq
and how does he feel about his oldest daughter
getting married to a man she met on the Internet.

Without eyes, my father still looks around.
He sees what I am trying to do, sees that I
have grown less passive with his passing,
understands my need for answers only he can provide.

I imagine him drawing a breath, sensing
his lungs once again filling with air, his thoughts ballooning – Lisa Zaran

Dragon Boat & Water water!

17 Jun 2010 – Water water everywhere…

Duanwu Festival/端午節, also known as Dragon Boat Festival. The festival occurs on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar and this year it is on 16 Jun. The focus of the celebrations includes eating the rice dumpling zongzi and racing dragon boats.

Duanwu commemorates the life and death of the famous Chinese scholar QuYuan who was a loyal minister serving the King of Chu during the Warring States Period in the third century BCE. His wisdom antagonized other court officials resulting to his accusation of charges of conspiracy, During his exile, QuYuan composed many poems to express his anger and sorrow. At age 37 he drowned himself in the Milo River. Knowing that QuYuan was a righteous man, the people of Chu rushed to the river to try to save him but were unsuccessful. Every year the Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated to commemorate this attempt at rescuing QuYuan.

The people began the tradition of throwing sacrificial cooked rice into the river for their lost hero. However, a local fisherman had a dream that QuYuan did not get any of the cooked rice that was thrown into the river in his honour. Instead the fish in the river were eating the rice. Thus, the locals decided to make zongzi to sink into the river in the hopes that it would reach QuYuan’s body. The following year, the tradition of wrapping the rice in bamboo leaves to make zongzi began.

Yesterday a freak flash flood happened in SIN Orchard Rd after a morning of pouring rains, blame it on the cats and dogs but not on the Dragon Boats! A case for the PUB/Public Utility Board where government knows best!! Just received an email about a doctor interviewed who complained about what a waste of time and money and it was because she was driving and on her way to a gym!!! Wow… where is she from but SIN of course 🙂 In other countries, people’s lives are destroyed. Here, people can’t shop, go to the gym and have to pay $$$$ for car repairs. Tough life!!!!

A property in the 100-year floodplain has a 96 percent chance of being flooded in the next hundred years without global warming. The fact that several years go by without a flood does not change that probability – Earl Blumenauer

Edited: Thu 25Jun2020: the legend stands, but the zongzi (China) bak-zhang (SIN) varies with different fillings from different countries&families which are all yummy to me. Looking forward to tasting some either today or within the next few days.


In Memory of Two Gentlemen

15 Jun 2010 – iGov Global Forum/One Inbox!

In 1911 & 1923, these two gentlemen whom I have most admiration and respect for were born, father LAM Tin Yue (1911-1996) and Linn & May’s grandfather John HALD (1923-2008). They are both no longer in this world but fond memories of them will never fade. A lady is not synonymous to a female or woman and a gentleman is not the same as a man or male. Unfortunately there are very few gentlemen and ladies in today’s world! Hopefully, son-in-law Jeff will follow their ways!

The World Cup is ongoing and not being a soccer fan, have not been following with the scores or updates. May the best team wins 🙂

Yesterday’s SIN Straits Times: ALL residents will have an online mailbox to which various Government agencies will send statements and bills from tax statements to TV license renewals and service and conservancy bills. Called OneInbox, this service will be launched by 2012. It is part of a new approach to cut down on paper, make it quick and easy for people to keep track of their bills, and provide citizens with a digital ‘safe deposit box’ for their important documents and statements.

People will also be able to track the status of their transactions with various public agencies online, just like they track registered mail. This future was painted in broad strokes by the Government’s chief information officer James Kang on Monday in a presentation on Singapore’s e-Government strategy over the next decade, without detailing the changes that will take place…

… Civil Service Head Peter Ho noted that the popularity of social networking tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube has seen ‘a growing constituency of empowered citizens who do not necessarily subscribe to the notion of ‘Government knows best’.’ ‘The same disruptive technologies that are empowering citizens can also be harnessed by the public sector to deliver efficient and effective services,’ he said.

It sounds efficient and well but have they forgotten that many do not have access to computers or laptops and if they do, they might not know how to use them. How about online access? Is this another inexperience Government knows best non-thought through situations, often resulting to the chicken and egg consequences?? How about educating and helping non-savvy computer people first and then providing easily accessible and free online service before the Onebox???

There is nothing so easy to learn as experience and nothing so hard to apply – Josh Billings

SIN from the Air

14 Jun 2010 – Happy Bday Anne WONG-HOLLOWAY

Back in SIN again but not for long…

This is a seldom time for me to fly into SIN in daylight and with a view that I can see the new Marina Bay Sands in the hazy background. At the cost of S$4.9bil, this 50-storey hotel has a two-acre sky gardens bridging the three towers… to me it looks like a giant surf-board! For S$20, the SkyPark offers a breathtaking, panoramic city-sea vista from a public observation deck. This is the 2nd casino to be opened in SIN, the 1st being the S$5.2bil Resort World@Sentosa. These two resorts will create 35,000 jobs. How will SIN handle the future gambling problems… inevitable! and the influx of foreign workers? These challenges are not easy and there will be a price to pay. At present the cost of living is high enough as it is 🙁 These panoramic views are many billions$ wow… so enjoy the views while they last!

Probably will not live to see the consequences but for now will try to enjoy my stay whenever I am here. Strangely and thank goodness this seldom exceeds more a month! Somehow it is getting more difficult to really appreciate people who have become overwhelmingly loud and lacking courtesy. The heat and the ambiance feel like a pressure cooker! Where and when there is not enough space in addition to too much competition in a rat-race society, many people unfortunately turn into rats too!! Maybe after 10 years here in SIN, is it again time to move on? The cross-road and turning-point seems to fall around after a decade… prefer the life of a cat than the life of a rat, the cat has 9 lifes 🙂

Glad that both Linn & May have chosen to live in the USA and in Norway.

City-states don’t survive that long. They have flashes of brilliance for 50 years, 100 years, then they go. The eternal challenge for SIN is how do we ensure that what we’ve had for these past 40 years is not just a brilliant flash that just goes away – Mahbubani/former UN ambassador

Bye-bye City of Angels

12 Jun 2010 – Khob-Kun Kha/คุณขอบคุณ

Thank you to Michael, Sharon & Alex CHUA for their gracious hospitality which is most appreciated. Without them, the trip to BKK would not have been. It was most educational & interesting to be in a country where the longest serving head of state in the world – King Bhumibol Adulyadej (born 5 Dec 1927, acceded 9 Jun 1946) who is hospitalized at present.

Thailand’s civilization goes as far back to 3,600BC/2,100BEC, the culture of Ban Chiang/Bronze Age settlement known for its pottery in NE Thailand. In 1238, Sukothai/ราชอาณาจักรสุโขทัย was the first capital of Thailand. In 1351, Ayutthaya/อาณาจักรอยุธยา was the second capital.

Since 1732 to present, Bangkok/บางกอก is the capital. The full ceremonial name Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasi/กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุทธยา มหาดิลกภพ นพรัตนราชธานีบุรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์มหาสถาน อมรพิมานอวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยะวิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์ meaning City of Angels/Diety and BKK/airport code for short! With a pop of app over 6mil in an area of app 1,568sqkm/605sqmi, BKK is crowded and congested with both people and traffic. A vibrant city, the roads run in all directions and a street can its name four times along its length.

People are generally friendly and helpful but as a visitor at any place, one can only get a tourist impression. Like any tropical cities, the heat is overwhelmingly hot in the daytime. Subways are clean and efficient but limited but did not try the buses. The motor-cycles and the tuk-tuk are fun to ride. Taxis are reasonable but somehow one of the taxi drivers who picked us, drove down the road decided that he did not want to drive to our destination! We just got off and took another taxi! Me and my taxi drivers’ stories can fill a book! Food, yummy and spicy 🙂

14th floor views from Michael & Sharon’s condo

Chao Phraya River/Dinner Cruise with views of the Bhumibol Bridge & State Tower/Sirocco alfresco Bar & Restaurant

Destroyed buildings vs Nature shots!

Soon my Angel came again;
I was armed, he came in vain;
For the time of youth was fled,
And grey hairs were on my head – William Blake