Eid-al-Fitr عيد الفطر

30 Aug 2011 – Results of the PE in SIN

SIN 7th president has been elected and congratulations to Dr Tony Tan who said that his first task is to unify Singaporeans. Good Luck to him and hopefully he will be true to his words! It was rather confusing in this election as the four candidates last names are all TAN!

Singaporean presidential election, 2011

2005 ← 27 August 2011

Tony Tan 20110623.jpg Dr-Tan-Cheng-Bock-at-Nomination-Centre-1.jpg
Nominee Tony Tan Tan Cheng Bock
Party Nonpartisan Nonpartisan
Popular vote 744,397 737,128
Percentage 35.19% 34.85%

Tan Jee Say at Greenridge Secondary School, Singapore - 20110427.jpg Tan-Kin-Lian-wearing-orchid-shirt.jpg
Nominee Tan Jee Say Tan Kin Lian
Party Nonpartisan Nonpartisan
Popular vote 529,732 103,931
Percentage 25.04% 4.91%

President before election
Sellapan Ramanathan
Elected President
Tony Tan

A recommended read: Governing Singapore after the PE by Simon Tay who is the chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs and associate professor at the National University of Singapore. He was previously a Nominated Member of Parliament.


Eid-al-Fitr/عيد الفطر is a public holiday in SIN to mark the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast during the hours of daylight. So to my muslim friends Selamat Hari Raya Puasa and let the eating feasts begin. Will miss all the yummy food, especially Sue, Yulis’s mom’s cooking!

SIN celebrates the Chinese, Indian, Malay and Western most religious days, thus a public holiday today. Am told that HKG has even more public holidays, celebrating more on the Chinese festival days. On this tiny red dot in SIN, one can one find Arab St, Chinatown, Little India, Kampong Glam/Malay Village and Orchard Rd with all brand-name glitz. Quite multicultural especially where food is concerned!

Boutique multiculturalism accepts differences in dress, food, or worship. But the moment the sacred values of a particular ethnic or religious community become public, the toleration ends – Alvin Dueck and Kevin Reimber 

Festivals & Fairs

28 Aug 2011 – Marriage of Figaro

Sat: a presidential election in SIN and again unable to vote! A weekend of moving with much rain on Sat. M&B have to vacate their apartment in OSL by last day of this month. They have enough stuff to fill the house and all the storerooms! Will be a task when they move on to a smaller place with their next move!!

Sun: here in Norway being the last weekend of Aug and the summer, there are carnivals, fairs, farmers market etc going on in various places. Fortunately the rains ceased and made it possible to attend the outdoor Sunday church services, concerts and the highlights for Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro; delightful 45mins performance. This is the first time to the Sandvika Byfest/festival. Met up with Jenny who lives in Sankvika and her lovely 6th floor apartment is the background in these pix!

The Marriage of Figaro is a comic opera which recounts a single day of madness in the palace of the Count Almaviva in Spain. Having gratefully given Figaro a job as head of his servant-staff, the count is now persistently trying to obtain the favors of Figaro’s bride-to-be, Susanna. He keeps finding excuses to delay the civil part of the wedding of his two servants, which is arranged for this very day. Figaro, Susanna and the Countess conspire to embarrass the Count and expose him. He responds by trying to legally compel Figaro to marry a woman old enough to be his mother, but it turns out at that she really is his mother. Through Figaro’s and Susanna’s clever manipulations, the Count’s love for his Countess is finally restored.


26 Aug 2011 – Denmark

What is happening, earth quake on the USA east coast, hurricane in NY, torrential down pours here in OSL? More signs of global warming??

FOC 24hrs cruise to Frederikshavn/port of Federik the northern tip of Denmark on Stena Line (Swedish Liner) to cover all the Nordic countries for this summer. Pop of app 23,331, it is an important traffic portal with its ferry connections to Sweden and Norway. The town is well-known for fishing and its fishing and industrial harbours. Not quite FOC as the food and shopping on board total to over NOK800/S$180! The main crowd on the ship was mainly seniors like us… LOL! Buffet dinner and quite a nice change to be rocked sleep in the ship on calm waters, most relaxing 🙂

Thu: arrived into the port right on time, 0745hr and was welcomed in the fog with light drizzle by the Danish Navy 🙂 Had less than 2hrs on land to snap some shots of the area!

Appreciations to Mette for good company and glad that she could use my tax-free quota shopping. Had no intentions to drag any shopping from the bus-top up the hill and will be here for less than 3 weeks! What a surprise to be welcomed back to Norway by a Huldra papyrus boat like the RA!

In some Nordic traditions, the huldra lures men into the forest rewarding those who satisfy her and often killing those who do not. The Norwegian huldra is a lot less bloodthirsty and may simply kidnap a man or lure him into the underworld. She sometimes steals human infants and replaces them with her own ugly huldrebarn/huldre children.

Bryn Kirke/Church

24 Aug 2011 – In Memory of Babs & Helge

Mon & Tue: not a cloud in the sky, days for being outdoor walking and gardening.  The walk to Bryn Church takes app 25mins, if fast and brisk walk. Days likes these are the time to stop, smell the flowers and take pix, took an afternoon to enjoy. The view from the bedroom is the start and thru’ the woods, a slippery path if wet but some considerate person placed a rope there for balance. Passing by Hammerbakken skole/elementary school where Linn attended when it was brand new. She used to run down that path just before the school-bell. In the winters she would slide down on her bottom and that took less than 1min to get to school!

Underpass leading to the bridge is painted with graffiti but in this case the new generation calls it art!

Path by the river with rays of sunshine peeping thru’ the woods, cross the bridge  but did not linger by the high-voltage wires!

Wild yellow flowers against the blue sky is pretty! The white fluff is what is left after some purple blooms. Looking back up the hill, one can see the white row houses where the starting point is with Kolsås Toppen in the background.

Bryn Kirke is a church from 1861 to Rykkinn in Bærum municipality, Akershus county. Helge (1945-1997) was the priest here as well as a friend and neighbour in the 1980s when living in Kolsås. Babs (1918-2006), was another friend and neighbour. They both lie in this churchyard. Appreciations to two wonderful people who were most kind and helpful during a difficult time. Thank you to have crossed my path in life’s journey.

Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them – George Eliot

If Religion Is A Thing…

22 Aug 2011 – that Money can buy…

… the rich would live and the poor would die! Another Mon morning in my house here in Norway awakened by singing birds and a silver lining in the clouds to start the week!

Spike in complaints against burning of joss paper during Hungry Ghost Festival…

On the 15th day of the 7th month in the lunar calendar is the start of the GhostMonth/鬼月 (31Jul-28Aug for 2011). Activities during the month would include preparing ritualistic food offerings, burning incense, joss paper, a paper form of material items and other fine goods for the visiting spirits of the ancestors. Nowadays there are laptops, credit card, brand-name clothing and stuff etc, including notes from the Bank of Hell!

The issue for me is not the ritual but the environment! Even if only 1mil out of the 5mil of the pop practice this, think of the pollution! Some of the other SE Asia countries like Japan and Thailand mark this occasion by floating lanterns on the river. Perhaps certain people can be educated to find a better solution to help with the slowing down of global warming. An ulterior motive with good intentions for the living!

Religious groups offer free bus rides, meals, haircuts and more…

Is this a case of organized religion buying its congregation? OK call them do-gooders and in their beliefs, their ultimate destination is heaven! If that is the case, we are back to ulterior motives again!! Or perhaps is it possible that after experiencing and seeing the real world for over 6 decades might have contributed to cynicalness??

The never-ending of beliefs, faith and hopes triumph over logic and reality again! As Denise puts it so eloquently – Our humanness makes us vulnerable and we all seek solace in different ways. I suppose it depends on the devils that haunt one from life’s experiences that determine what manner of solace we choose.

Hush little baby don’t you cry
You know your mamma was born to die
All my trials Lord will soon be over – Bahamian lullaby


21 Aug  2011 – is the Spice of Life!

Curry is a generic description used throughout Western culture to describe a variety of dishes from Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Thai. Three spices found in most curry powders are turmeric, coriander and cumin; a wide range of additional spices may be included depending on the geographic region and the foods being included (meats, fish, lentils, rice, etc).

Cook and Share a Pot of Curry: to celebrate curries as part of SIN way of life – and to share this celebration with those who are new to SIN! This FB event is created by 8 people to bring awareness of an incident from 2004.

Cooked a pot of chicken curry to share and to celebrate the diversities of culture with friends on Fri evening. Cheers to Kristen, Toril (who lived@Piggsoppgrenda in the 1980s) and to Mette my next door neighbour (from 1981-present), who has never complained about the garlic, ginger curry etc cooking 🙂


This incident was a dispute between two neighbours over the cooking of curry which happened 7yrs ago in SIN! Am not a fan of curry but do like a good curry once in a while. This is not really about liking curry or not; more about respect and tolerance to the different cultures when living in a multi-cultured environment. In this case, it was a complain from a mainland Chinese family about the cooking odour of their Indian neighbours! The audacity and cheek of them, should have stayed put in China!

FB reader commented: After 7 years, why only this neighborhood dispute was brought up? After 7 years we will go to the poll to vote for PE. Is there a political maneuvering from some political quarters behind this? Are some people intentionally brought this up to propel further the rift between Singaporean and non-Singaporean to get sympathy to push their political agenda.

Variety is the spice of life that gives it all its flavour – William Cowper

Issues on Face

18 Aug 2011 – Not Facebook!

Here is a story to show how the different cultures influence and reflect upon people:
An American, a Japanese and a Chinese went for a hike one day. It was very hot. They were sweating and exhausted. When they came upon a small lake, they took off all their clothes and jumped into the water, since it was fairly secluded. Feeling refreshed, the trio decided to pick a few berries while enjoying their ‘freedom.’
As they were crossing an open area, suddenly a group of ladies from town appeared. Unable to get to their clothes in time, the American and the Japanese quickly used their hands to cover their privates. But the Chinese covered his face and the trio ran for cover.
After the ladies had left and the men got their clothes back on, the American and the Japanese asked the Chinese why he covered his face rather than his private part.
The Chinese replied, ‘I don’t know about you… but in my country, it’s the face that people recognize.’
 PS. Now do you understand why people always say Chinese people want FACE? 
2012 Olympics Logo!! Here is another pix, tkx to Denise for sharing both pix and her comment: it is too true to be funny really…but it is funny all the same!! And my reply: a logo to put a sad situation wittily where words fail!

Wet Wet Wet

16 Aug 2011 – An excuse to be a Couch-Potato!

It has been a wet wet wet Sun, Mon including today! The plants and flowers outside are drenched but still looking good as long as the dead and drenched blooms are trimmed away. Spent the time indoors being a couch-potato, watching old movies. It is a delight to re-discover that I used to be a Cary Grant and Sidney Poitier fan, such dashing and debonair gentleman. Somehow that courteous, gracious and sophisticated charm are not today’s norm! It is easy to understand why I was such a fan and still is after watching some of his movies again. Reading about Poitier’s life added admiration besides being a total fan!

1967 again, 17 must have been an impressionable time! In the Heat of the NightGuess Who’s Coming to DinnerTo Sir With Love also with the titled song by Lulu, a story based on the semi-autobiographical novel by ER Braithwaite. It deals with social and racial issues. If there are more parents and teachers like Sir, perhaps the recent riots could have been prevented. But alas this in not what today’s world is about!

She was just 17 and you know what I mean… – Beatles

Here is a good riddle for this wet day. Tkx Denise for sharing this.

Only 5% of Stanford University graduates figured it out!
Can you answer all seven of the following questions with the same word?

1. The word has seven letters….
2. Preceded God…
3. Greater than God…
4. More Evil than the devil…
5. All poor people have it…
6. Wealthy people need it….
7. If you eat it, you will die. 

Did you figure it out?

Try hard before looking at the answers 
Did you get it yet?

Give up?

Brace yourself for the answer….

The  Answer  is: NOTHING!

NOTHING has 7 letters.
NOTHING preceded God.
NOTHING is greater than God.
NOTHING is more Evil than the devil.
All poor people have NOTHING.
Wealthy people need NOTHING.
If you eat NOTHING, you will die..

Outdoor Opera…

14 Aug 2011 – too wet, even for an Opera Fan!

Was planning to go the annual outdoor opera where they will be playing the highlights of this season performance; Aida, La bohème and Magic Flute, a tempting program. Unfortunately the rains started this morning and the forecast for heavier downpours this evening! Being an opera fan, rain or shine would have made the effort to go. But those were the days, now- nah just stay indoors and with my laptop! (no TV or radio for the past 3 months). 

And what a very pleasant surprise, Anne S stopped by for a few minutes on her way to catch her plane to Trondheim.

Last year, 14 Aug: a beautiful Sat evening with an outdoor performance by the Oslo Opera at the Opera House where the stage was a floating platform with a large crowd and fireworks to end the evening. A little taste to start the opera season was very delightful, even with just standing space! Pix are from 2010 with Ingrid & HansK.

Operas were introduced to me by my father who was an opera fan. One of the first and most unforgettable (not because of the voice or the performance!) life opera performance was in 1967@The Gaiety/Dublin. Verdi’s La Traviata/The Fallen Woman. Do not remember who sang the main roles (could not have been that fantastic!) Alfredo brought down the stage-props by pulling too hard on a door. It was hilarious 🙂 🙂 🙂

In 3 Acts, this opera is the all time favourite, about a courtesan Violetta who finds true love with Alfredo. To my ears no one can be compared to Maria Callas where Violetta is concerned. The drama, her voice, music, costumes etc, seems like this role is specially tailored for her.

The famous Drinking Song from Act 1 performed here by Placido Domingo and Teresa Stratas, a well-staged scene with sub titles.

Old Lady at Opera: Did you like the opera, dear?
Vivian: It was so good, I almost peed my pants!
Edward Lewis: She said she liked it better than Pirates of Penzance – Pretty Woman

Stop and Smell the Flowers…

12 Aug 2011 – … You are only here for a Short Visit…

Yesterday and today: lovely days after a cold rainy Wed. Took advantage of the sun to walk in the woods and to Bærums Verk (built in 1610 http://www.baerumsverk.no), checking out if the path is accessible with a stroller. Lo & behold, it is now a gravel path and even with lamp-posts at the certain stretch! By pass the lake and farm, cross the main road by the river and right on to a paved side-walk by the main road. Took app 20mins to get there. My memory of this path seemed to be blurred with a muddy path from 2008!

Spent the day just taking time to admire the hand-blown glass in action. Lunched by river, enjoyed an ice-cream and a slow walk back to the house. Even managed to pick a cup of wild raspberries on the way. Such serenity is a gift many forget to take the time to enjoy and be thankful about.

People we meet, things we get to do sometimes only happen once. We rush by them and miss the moment that will never be repeated. If we stopped for a moment, those people and things could bring a ray of sunshine to lives or they can make a difference in life. Our trip on this planet is very short; invest life in creating a life of fulfillment.

Put things in prospective and don’t spend life worrying when it is not within your control. Take the time to smell the flowers along the way, cherish your moments, your family, friends and be thankful for the people and things that you have attracted into life.

Make hay while the sun shine – ancient English proverb in reference to variable weather.

Don’t hurry, don’t worry. You’re only here for a short visit. So be sure to stop and smell the flowers – Walter Hagen