A Rainy Weekend

31 Jan 2011 – Lo Hei/撈起 with Steven & Family

What a way to end the year of the Tiger… burning bright! with unrest in Egypt. Cyclone Yasi is forming and building strength over the Coral Sea off the coast of Queenlands/Australia… as if the land there has not had enough woes with all their recent floods. SIN is still raining relentless for 3 days like there is no tomorrow! Not easy for all the stalls in Chinatown when this is the time they have hopes for their best sales.

Yesterday was another rainy day but Bjørn managed to choose the material and got his measurements done for his tailor-made suit! And a walk in Chinatown thru’ the crowds and rains. NO, May & Bjørn did not taste the durian 🙂

Delightful family gathering with brother Steven & family@Mui Lum****for their reunion dinner. His whole family lives in SIN and thus easier to get them all together. Grand nephews Stanley, Darryl and Andrew are charming kids and nieces and nephew Ann, Vince, Judy, Daisy and Clement are L&M’s cousins. Stanley age 15, was wondering who the stranger is and was pleasantly to discover that May is his auntie!! Thank you for including us and was impressed that Bjørn tasted all the 13 courses.

A nightcap@The Scarlett Hotel**** rooftop before the wet bus journey back to MP. And yes the glass is really the way it is, even before the one drink! The last time in that boutique hotel was 5 May 2009 when Ann & Mick from Dublin were guests there. An unforgettable hotel with the most unusual faucets/taps in their restrooms!

Like Scarlett O’Hara, I won’t be broke again – Toni Braxton

Welcome May & Bjørn

30 Jan 2011 – Night Safari

Started the weekend with a short walk on Orchard Rd before lunch. Thanks to Kenson for a most delightful lunch. Always such a treat to be at his home with his collections of artefact, like going to a private museum!

Before heading to the Night Safari, we got off bus 138 to Mandai Crematorium to pay respect to May & Clement’s grandparents. Clement told May that when he was visiting Oslo a couple of years ago, we went thru’ a cemetery one evening to pay respect to Munch! There is much serenity in these final resting places where we will all end up someday!

Being the world’s first dedicated night zoo, the Night Safari opened in 1994 is a must-see attraction for all tourists. Had dinner@Ulu Ulu Safari Restaurant**over-priced food court style food. There are 2 road loops-East Loop and West Loop total length, 3.2km and the  park is divided into eight geographical zones, which can be explored either on foot via three walking trails, or by tram. Took the tram, got off to see the clouded leopard and was hoping to visit the flying squirrels and bats. Unfortunately the sky opened and poured cats & dogs instead leaving little choice but to get back on the tram. Sorry Bjørn, the bats were not meant to be for this trip… he will have to return for another trip!

http://www.nightsafari.com.sg Thank you Leonard for the tickets, wish he could have joined us.

The last time in the bat house was over 10yrs ago when Linn & Jeff were visiting. Had to get out immediately after a bat flew near the face! Am really not one who likes to see wild animals in any zoos but here, the animals are not in cages but in restricted areas. They do not seemed to mind it, or do they have or know of any other choice? What a life, no worries about being hunted or having to hunt,  just eat, mate, play and sleep 🙂

That the birds of worry and care fly over you head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent – Chinese Proverb

Singapore Cricket Club

28 Jan 2011 – Stumps@SCC

Established in 1852, the Singapore Cricket Club 新加坡板球俱乐部/SCC is today one of the oldest and premier sports and social clubs in SIN located at the centre of the city’s colonial heart. The clubhouse is on one end of the Padang which  is a public space that has witnessed many of Singapore’s triumphs and defeats, upheaval, independence and finally the annual National Day parades on 9 August.

Yesterday, had a buffet lunch in good company of Lucy, Stella & Geok Choo. Strange to be in SIN and being the only locals at Stumps@SCC’*** It certainly is a reminder of the colonial days in such a situation with the surroundings architecture and decor! Thanks for the lovely lunch, Lucy!

Today is a day of tidying and clearing to make space for two more people in the studio apartment for the next 10 days. Looking forward and waiting anxiously for May & Bjørn’s arrival tonight when life will be pretty hectic.

Cricket makes no sense to me. I find it beautiful to watch and I like that they break for tea. That is very cool, but I don’t understand. My friends from The Clash tried to explain it years and years ago, but I didn’t understand what they were talking about – Jim Jarmusch

Toys for Big Boys!

27 Jan 2011 – Fun Toys

Remote controlled cars… wow such fun! These young men were using the common ball-court to race their toys one early morning where there was no one in the court. Being a nosey auntie, went to watch after marketing. Quite amazing that these cars cost over S$400 each. Ouch! when did toys get that expensive? As one gets older, the more expensive their toys 🙂

Was told by these young men that there were complains. Quite understandable if the court was occupied or if these toys are disturbing others. But this is not the case, as a matter of fact these are quiet and non-polluting electrical cars. The police came but could not justify their presence and probably wishing they could be there playing too! Must have been some envious neighbour to make the complain!!

Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind – Buddha

Yesterday was@Archives Library to search for pix of CHIJ orphanage but without any luck. Ended up@Raffles City to avoid the rain, had lunch and visited with New Asia on the 70th floor for some real skyline views. If any body can help Brian locate any pix or info about his adopted sister Barbara KOH around 1965 in the CHIJ orphanage, would really appreciate to hear from you. Brian, thanks for good company and hope that you will find pix and info of Barbara. Enjoy your stay in SIN and safe trip to where ever you may be heading. A globetrotter’s home is always in the heart 🙂

Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe – Anatole France

Hereafter

25 Jan 2011 – Little Sisters of the Poor

St Theresa’s Home is formally Little Sisters of the Poor established 1935, is so vivid in the memory as it was and still is on the way to Island Club/now Island Country Club where my father played golf in the 1950s-60s and also where I learnt to swim. The archway on the slope in those days looked like a hill in a child’s eyes but is actually only a slight slope. Yesterday was the first experience walking up this slope to see Sister Jo. Talk about being blessed, she was available to chat and remembers Brain’s step-sister Barbara very well.

http://www.sainttheresahome.org/history.html

Hereafter****A drama touch by death but change by life, featuring three people, a blue-collar American, a French journalist and a London school boy who have seen or experienced death in different ways. Marie is a French TV news anchor who is haunted by disturbing flashbacks after she loses consciousness briefly during a natural disaster. George is a former psychic whose skills as a medium are so potent and he considers it more a curse then a gift. Marcus, a London schoolboy retreats into a somber shell after losing his twin brother in a tragic car accident.

Good acting with a very real opening scene. Interesting issues with what is out there after death or is there anything out there after death?? Since everyone who has gone there never got to come back to tell or give signs, will just enjoy and live for the moment until time is up 🙂

I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature – Albert Einstein

Local Wet Market

24 Jan 2011 – Life in the Neighbourhood

Colourful beans of some sort and a strange-looking squash costing over S$20 which is used more for worshipping than eating!

An electrical coconut grater, fruits, veggies and fish vendors.

Good eateries, flea and flower markets and ground-level shop houses.

24/7 Neighbourhood watch which I once called about 10yrs ago and they were at the doorsteps in less than 5mins, 24/7 shop n save grocery store and a not quite but nearly 24/7 mama shop with a bit of this & that 🙂

First Bengawan Solo (cakes, cookies and local desserts) in SIN.

Create your own visual style… let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others – Orson Welles

In Search of Sister Jo

23 Jan 2011 – A People Weekend!

Thank you for gifts and lovely lunch company Aileen, Alan, Yulis & Chiew. Had a pre-CNY lunch (deviled-eggs, pasta, roast chicken, salad and chocolate fondue) to meet up before visitors arrive and travels after visitors leave. As usual, too busy chatting, thus forgot to take people pix for Sat but it was only recently that we were all at Yulis & Chiew’s wedding with people pix of us all in that posting!

Simple CNY decorations are now in place to welcome May & Bjørn!

Today, received a surprise call from AmyR requesting to help Brian locate Sister Jo from the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus/CHIJ orphanage. After taking a walk to a house behind the Katong Convent/Primary, discovered that she is now located@St Theresa’s Home at Upper Thompson Rd. Brian’s step-sister was adopted from the CHIJ orphanage in the 1960s and looking at his pix brought back memories of the CHIJ school days. Imagine just how blessed many of us are that we did not have to live or grow up in an orphanage!

Raw fish salad Lo Hei/撈起 (posting 13 Feb 2010 – Yuisang/鱼生) dinner@Les & Ivy and a farewell dinner for the CHUAS who are now on a jet plane. Safe journeys to them.

It is true that we cannot be free from sin, but at least let our sins not be always the same – St Theresa of Avila

Forecast for the Year of the Rabbit!

22 Jan 2011 – Happy Bday Katy born in the Year of the Snake!


The predictions for the Rabbit year to people born under the sign of the Ox!

People born 4 Feb 1949 to 4 Feb 1950, year of the Ox are sturdy, earthy, no-nonsense. Affectionate and easy-going, the Ox can show a fierce temper when agitated. Neat, tidy, quiet and studious, with a great love of the home. Music can be a great love. Family life and a loving partner are high on the Ox’s priorities. A wonderful loyal friend.

Forecast for the Rabbit Year: The Ox will have grown quite a bit during 2010. Its whirlwind moments and sudden challenges meant the Ox had to adjust the thinking and change direction on a dime! Some may feel a bit low about the way things went and it’s important to look forward to 2011 and put 2010 firmly behind them. That should always be the case! The year of the Rabbit will be encouraging and bringing exciting offers and progress. Ha… will believe that when I see it 🙂

Romance is highlighted in a very special way this year, with unattached Oxen finding themselves in exactly the right place at the right time to meet someone very special. Yeah, right LOL 🙂 🙂 Friendship will be important during 2011. Friendship is always important. The Ox should take time to ensure a healthy diet and that to exercise and spend time outdoors. Rest and relaxation will be vital for all Oxen during the Year of the Rabbit. Vital for everybody and anybody who does not know that has no common sense 🙂 🙂 🙂

Astrology, fengshui, horoscopes, prophecies, Tarot cards etc should be read and taken as entertainment or just for the fun of it. As replied by Minister Mentor/MM and SIN’s 1st Prime Minister LEE Kuan Yew (87yrs of age) when asked recently if he believes in astrology or fengshui, he laughed and said it was utter rubbish… also said this about the people in SIN…  you think we have friendly neighbours, GROW UP. The 458-page book launched yesterday Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going, is based on 16 interviews MM gave to Straits Times journalists. Published by Straits Times Press. Looking forward to reading it!

Awaiting the Year of the Rabbit

21 Jan 2011 – Yummy Goodies

Thu: Thank you for lunch@Jo‘s and thanks to Les & Ivy for dinner@Great World City’s Imperial Treasure Cantonese Cuisine**** The CHUAS will be heading back to Canberra/Australia and who knows when we will next meet? Grandniece Kiera & grandnephew Lucas are as delightful as can be. Les & Ivy have this new blade-less fan, looking like a spaceship catching the camera’s attention!

The Chinese New Year/CNY is still 2 weeks away and the stores are fully packed with all the goodies. Being a coward with crowds, was in Chinatown last week to check out the stores and to take some pix. Such a dazzling and colourful adventure where you need to be there to experience and feel the ambiance of a crimson flaming red forest!

Have a few favourite cookies from various different places. Noting that stressed spelt backwards is desserts, so go for the desserts and there will be no stressed 🙂 Pix from Glory on East Coast Rd, except for Sue’s pineapple tarts which are the best of all pineapple tarts. This year will try to get 8 assortments of my most favourite cookies and snacks for May & Bjørn to taste.

Butter cookies from Glory**** Loveletters, Fouram and Almond cookies from Bengawan Solo**** Pineapple tarts from Suri’s***** Bakkwa (Bjørn being a non-pork eater does not have to taste this but he does not know what he will be missing!) from Bee Hock Guan*** dried red melon seeds and Macadamia nuts from where ever they taste fresh and good.

Raffles City, South Bridge Rd, People’s Park and Chinatown.

According to yesterday’s ST, have to be prepared to pay more than S$50 per kg if you intend to pig out on bakkwa this CNY. Retailers said rising ingredient and labour costs are pushing up the cost of this festive treat of sliced barbecued pork. Will only be buying a small amount of the individually vacuum-packed, more for tradition and decoration! Looking at the lines in this bakkwa shop in Chinatown, one would think that it is FOC… dream on!

Cookies are made of butter and love – Norwegian Proverb

China’s Massive Annual Migration…

20 Jan 2011 – What a crowd!

Passengers queue up to board a train at a railway station. — PHOTO: AFP

SHANGHAI – THE world’s biggest annual migration of people began in China on Wednesday as millions of travellers boarded trains and buses across the country to journey home for the Lunar New Year celebrations.

The Ministry of Transport said the number of separate passenger trips on the country’s trains, planes, boats and buses is expected to reach 2.556 billion – 11.6 per cent more than last year, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Although the week-long holiday, also known as the Spring Festival, officially begins on Feb 3, demand for tickets is so high many travel weeks in advance. The festival travel season is expected to end on Feb 27.

Most of the passengers are migrant workers who travel home to see their families only once a year for the country’s most important holiday. The number of passenger trips has risen steeply from 1.66 billion a decade ago, Xinhua said… — AFP

2. Beijing West Railway Station
5. Taiyuan/Shanxi Province Railway Station
9. Passengers from Hefei to Fuyang


All the above pix and info are downloaded from today’s ST: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Asia/Story/STIStory_626148.html

The Chinese idiom /人山人海=people mountain people sea and the figurative meaning of this is there are a lot of people… hmmm you don’t say considering that China’s pop is over 1.3billion! Just seeing these pix is enough for the thoughts to rush back to the Appalachian Trail or any other nature trails far far away from these maddening crowds. Whoever said that two is company and three is a crowd has a very valid point 🙂