30 Jul 2010 – Greetings from Spain

Arrived in Alicante ALC/Spain and 86km drive along the Costa Blanca, is the splendid seaside resort of Calpe, overlooked by one of the best loved landmarks of the Costa Blanca region – the Peñon de Ifach, Calpe is a very busy holiday resort, with a local population of around 26,000 (this of course rises considerably during the busy the summer months of July and August). Calpe is situated within the Communidad de Valencia.

Rita & Jürgen KOETKE met me at the airport. Rita and I go way back to the early 1960s when we were schooling in CHIJ Victoria St. She now lives in Calpe and has been living here for over 30yrs, lucky her! Great to catch up after all these years and good to meet her German husband.

Spent my first day lazing around their lovely house, swimming in the pool and driving around sight-seeing the area.  Yesterday, walked along the beach.

A pleasant drive to Denia Marina (20km from Calpe) app 29,000 habitants, Denia does not only make their living from tourism, it possesses one of the most important harbors of the area, with ferry connections to Ibiza, Mallorca and others.  

The pictures uploaded are done in Rita’s computer and not sure how to fix the colours. Will try to go back and fix them when I know what I am doing!

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil… (and do no evil!) – Analects of Confucius


27 Jul 2010 – En route to Alicante ALC/Spain via KL & London

The only disadvantage with budget airlines is that the connecting times are not so convenient, but why worry where there is no rush and the fares are affordable! Left SIN with Tiger Airways for KUL S$44, layover of 5hrs but was the first to check in on AirAsia from KL to London. The fare from KUL to Stansted/STN, S$490. No complains, both airlines were on time and even landed earlier than scheduled! Let’s see if the European budget airlines will be just as efficient. At present@STN airport where I have 10hrs layover and good time to up-date my blog 🙂

Memories from the 13hrs flight: it was exactly 45yrs ago when I flew from SIN-DUB via London/Heathrow airport LHR in a VC10 aircraft. A naive, insecure, etc 15yrs old then, and feeling lost with people in suits, even I was in a green suit. (Yesterday I was in a pair of green pants and green T-shirt!). An English boy about my age talked to me when he realized that I was not too comfortable. He told me that his name was Keith and he was on his way home to his farm in UK and kept chatting with me for hours. Upon arriving at LHR, I vaguely heard an announcement paging for a passenger LAM but not quite comprehending the Brits, I did not dare to ask. Only later did I pick up my courage to approach the info desk  to find out that my sister, Joyce was trying to see me as she was in London. Alas the meeting did not take place!

There is a great traveling accessory shop/The Tie Rack here using the same tag-line as me… Life’s a Journey! So many nice things in this shop, thank goodness I am traveling budget and every kilo over 15kg will cost a fortune!! The choice between food or shopping? Those who know me will know the answer! How times have changed and we have to move along but hopefully some of the old but good values will move along with us even if they go thru’ some evolutions. Compassion and decency are the few values which should always be with us.

As a consequence, geneticists described evolution simply as a change in gene frequencies in populations, totally ignoring the fact that evolution consists of the two simultaneous but quite separate phenomena of adaptation and diversification – Ernst Mayr

Lucas’s Bday Brunch

24 Jul 2010 – Chinese Swimming Club

Grand nephew Lucas turned two yesterday. Today his mom & dad celebrated his day for the family & friends with a lovely brunch@ The Chinese Swimming Club Tung Lok Classics**** The yellow balloon was but a short moment but the delicious chocolate bday cake made up for it! A cake decorated with his favorite cars & tractors which were his first words in his vocabulary… even before mamma & dadda 🙂

Great to catch up who Paul, David‘s brother who is studying in Cork/Ireland and now back in Malaysia for the summer. Was it really a year ago when we first met at Lucas 1st Bday? Paul hiked a part of the Camino that I also wanted to hike. Thank you Pat & David for a wonderful gathering of family & friends from Malaysia & SIN and for the yummy food.

The Chinese Swimming Club brought back memories from the 1950s when the pool was part of the sea but fenced-off, thus keeping fish etc out of the pool. It was like swimming in the sea without getting caught with seaweeds etc but that also meant that when the tide was out, there was not enough water to swim in the pool! Today, the new building (built partly on reclaimed land) for the club, restaurant and fresh water pool is across the road from the original but renovated building.

A two-year old is kind of like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it – Jerry Seinfeld


19 Jul 2010 – Happy Anniversary to Linn & Jeff

Pictures of the SGF from level 6 with the Designer Gardens featuring creations by top award-winning international garden designers under the two categories of Landscape & Fantasy Gardens. So far the weekend crowd has not been too heavy, the roads closure due to the NDP rehearsal parades, the rains and the Youth Olympics might have been the reasons.

Thanks to Audrey & her mom, Cynthia & her auntie, Rebecca and Ting for stopping by over the weekend. Another four days more to go…

Again this year, the Night Festival at the National Museum was not within my reach :-(… perhaps next year!

You should set goals beyond your reach so you always have something to live for – Ted Turner


18 Jul 2010 – Market Place & Level 4 – is a brand incorporated in SIN to design, produce and market a range of merchandise that showcase the Vanda Miss Joaquim, SIN national flower. Island Republic (Hagley & Hoyle Ptd Ltd) is the stall at Suntec Level 4 Market Place, Zone A that I am minding and will be doing so until Thu.

Some of stalls from the Market Place at Level 4

A few of the many general displays from Level 4

To be continued…


16 Jul 2010 – Floral Designers, Penjing& Artistic Stone/Level 4

Will never be able to judge the 7th International FDSS CUP Floral Designing Competition (a professional & amateur category). All the displays and set-ups have so far been a feast to my eyes. Apologies for not taking pictures of only the winners and for not naming the winners. Just snapping pictures for my eyes and hope that you readers will enjoy them as much as I do.

Penjing & Artistic Stone: Penjing is the Chinese art of creating a miniature landscape, delicate and fascinating. An artist may use plant material and natural stone to portray an idylllic mountain retreat with a murmuring brook or a waterscape with a lush tropical island. Or he or she may design a much simpler scene where one single tree makes up the entire composition. Penjing and bonsai are closely related art forms. Penjing is the older form from which bonsai derived.

to be continued…


15 Jul 2010 – Orchids/Level 4

Have promised a co-worker that I will try my best to upload some pictures for those who are unable to attend the show. Attempting to do this with a system according to the category: orchid, flora arrangement, bonsai, landscape and stalls in the market place; there will probably be some misplacement of a picture here and then! Do not think there will be time to video but will also try if possible. In the meanwhile, the opening is today at 10.00hrs… good luck to all the stalls, especially Island Republic and hope to make plenty of sales 🙂

The judging was completed yesterday for both Levels 4 & 6 at Suntec. Pictures uploaded today were taken last night and are all located on Level 4 at the Orchid Show Section. This section is an appreciation for the work of the Orchid Society of SE Asia/OSSEA’s committee, members and volunteers. Congratulations to an excellent job.

Pictures are taken at random and not because they are winners but some are winners for either their societies, schools or individual.

To be continued…


14 Jul 2010 – Singapore Garden Festival at Suntec Levels 4 & 6

Definitely worth the time and money. Opening to the public tomorrow Thu 15 July 2010 from 10am – 10pm, ending Thu 22 July. Highly recommended and see it the first few days when the flowers are still fresh. Bring your mothers to enjoy the show.

These pictures posted are only a tiny taste as the whole set-up was not completed when I took the pictures last night. More picture postings when I get the chance later and during the show. Was informed that there are app 27,000 stalks of the Oncidium Golden Shower/yellow orchid from the elevator to the entrance on level 4. If I ever get married again, will do so during the SGF so that I can walk this aisle 🙂

6th floor International Landscapes

4th floor Orchid Show and Market Place

This year, will be taking care of a new novelty gift stall Island Republic@The Market Place 4th Floor Zone A Stall 28. This is the 3rd show (bi-annually) and if I may say so, it is quite spectacular after the teething problems for the first show which I help set up in 2004. Hope to see you there and to wish you a Happy Summer. After the show… off to EU & the USA and will not be back in SIN until Oct/Nov.

Some are incredibly beautiful — almost magical. [A Cattleya orchid] … only blooms when it’s motivated. I’ve had it for 10 years now. Sometimes I wonder why I keep it. I’ve forgotten what it looks like so I’ll just wait and see when it does decide to bloom – Eleanor Mis

A Family Affair

13 Jul 2010 – Quiet Before the Storm!

Jul Special Dates

4 Jul – Belated Happy 4th to all my American family & friends

15-22 Jul – SGF

16 Jul – Happy Bday Winnie LAM

17 Jul – Happy Bdays Nancy McGEE-BOWMAN & CH CHENG

19 Jul – Happy 13th Wedding Anniversary Linn & Jeff HALL

20 Jul – Happy Bday David YEOH

21 Jul – Happy Bday Albert CHUA

22 Jul – Happy 11th Wedding Anniversary Dika LAM & Mark BOROWSKY

23 Jul – Happy Bday Lucas YEOH

25 Jul – Happy Bday Winnie LEE

Thanks to Les & Ivy for the family gathering on Sat night. Patricia, Albert & Kiera are back from Canberra for a break and it was good to catch up. Les’s new champagne stand is quite something against my ex-Steinway upright! And his latest hobby, the drums. The grand nieces and nephews are growing up fast and it is till difficult to believe that I have 2 grand nephews age 21yrs and a nephew who is over 50yrs (not in the pictures), but the thought certainly makes you feel your age 🙂

Yesterday was at the airport twice. First to see John off to HKG and then to receive Theingi from Myanmar. OpenNet was at my place installing the Optic Fibre for free and for someone who does not have TV or internet service… but who knows, I might have them all someday! For now I will have to deal with a leaking kitchen ceiling until the HDB officer checks it out 🙁

From tomorrow until the 22nd life is going to be busy busy busy; will be minding a new stall from 10.00 to 22.00hrs for 8days Island Republic@The Market Place 4th Floor Zone A Stall 28 at the Singapore Garden Festival Suntec City/SGF. This is the 3rd show (bi-annually) and the 1st show was in 2006 where I helped at the Orchid Society of SE Asia. For more info and ticket prices:

Family life is full of major and minor crises — the ups and downs of health, success and failure in career, marriage, and divorce — and all kinds of characters. It is tied to places and events and histories. With all of these felt details, life etches itself into memory and personality. It’s difficult to imagine anything more nourishing to the soul –  Thomas Moore


12 Jul 2010 – Viva Espana/2010 World Cup

5 Jul: village by the sea – Garry in action with sea salt bargaining, salted fish and street vendor

6 Jul: Pura Tanah Lot is 20km from Denpesar built in the 15th century from a rock formation. It is home of a pilgrimage temple, popular tourist, cultural icon for photography and general exoticism. At the base of the rocky island, poisonous sea snakes are believed to guard the temple from evil spirits and intruders. A giant snake purportedly protects the temple. Kept a distance from the snake!

En route to Ubud passing thru’ Celuk, Angel To Angel (art of silver craft) and Mas (wood carving and glass).

Ubud: The town was originally important as a source of medicinal herbs and plants; Ubud gets its name from the Balinese word ubad=medicine. It is now a centre of artistic pursuit. Puri Saren Agung/Royal Palace, Water Palace, was the palace of the kings of Ubud until the 1940s, and some royal descendants live there to this day. Dined at the Lotus Cafe***with the Water Palace view. An entertaining evening of Legong Dance at the Saren Agung/Ubud Palace by the Bian Remaja Troupe

7 Jul:  a relaxing day swimming and lazing around 🙂

8 Jul: a beautiful walk with Ruth by Labuhan Amuk beach, under a pier and thru’ paddy fields

Snorkeling with the fish & corals

Lunch@Warang Merta Sari***featured in the NY Times… Situated in the small village of Pesinggahan on Bali’s east coast, it is known island-wide for its sate lilit ikan, a minced fish satay.

Pura Goa Lawah, the Bat Cave Temple, is located along the coast of southeastern Bali just west of Candidasa. The center of the temple is built around a cave filled with thousands of bats.

Most visitors to Padang Bai are there to catch a boat to Lombok. It is though a charming little place in its own right and spending a night or two here with basic accommodations, aimed at the backpackers. There is good diving and snorkeling in the immediate area and is also a fairly convenient base from which to explore some of the wider attractions of East Bali.

Thank you to the locals in the village, especially Katu & family & Ruth from Australia. Appreciations to Garry who shared his piece of paradise and for all his hospitality. Without him, Bali would not be in my agenda!

If you would be known, and not know, vegetate in a village; if you would know, and not be known, live in a city – Charles Caleb