The Star Opera Co/1910

28 Jun 2014 – Today’s Raffles Hospital


Fri: at the Malay Heritage Centre but this time round learnt that the location of The Star Opera Co/1910 then is today’s Raffles Hospital. Before Raffles Hospital was Blanco Ct and am not sure what was before Blanco Ct if any?



Lunched at Mamanda*** Arab Street area with some cheerful and colour windows and other displays, even a Norwegian spectacle shop in Haji Lane!

IMG_3708Hari Raya light-up marking the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting but just did not have he energy to venture to Geylang Serai.

A short rest in the apt before heading out by foot to East Coast Lagoon Food Village again. Cheers to the younger generation and may they also mature with their experiences and live life fully with joy and wisdom

Sat: Happy Birthdays to a wonderful son-in-law Jeff, AT Hiker friend John and Adriane in HI/USA.


Dinner at Por Kee Eating House****my favourite place for their champagne ribs. Nice that Daisy could join us.


After dinner drinks at Tiong Bahru Bar located on the ground floor at Cape Inn/3 Seng Poh Rd where the LAM family was at one time the landlord of this property many many moons ago. Cousins Lock, Yun, Chai and Mike used to live there.

Appreciations to David for dinner and drinks. Time to say goodbye to the HCC group as they will be heading back to HI tomorrow. Safe journeys to them.

It’s clearly more important to treat one’s fellow man well than to be always praying and fasting and touching one’s head to a prayer mat – Naguib Mahfouz

2014 HCC Group

27 Jun 2014 – Four Days in SIN


Thu: SIN River, lunch at Mama Chin Nonya Café*** Ministry of Culture Community & Youth (Hill Street Police station)

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The Central Fire Station SIN oldest existing fire station (1908),  Armenian Church of Saint Gregory the Illuminator SIN oldest Christian church (1936), The Peranakan Museum 


Campers Corner to say hi to Calvin & Chris and to cool down with a drink. Did not have what I was looking for in their new Chaco stock.


Up up up on the SIN Flyer with a slight haze but still good views – just the 3 of us! The others gave up after Campers Corner!!


Dinner at East Coast Lagoon. Great that Christian could join us fand later sis Jo and niece Sue joined to chat after dinner. Thanks to them for the ride home.

Wed: welcome to SIN cousin David and his HCC group from HI/USA. The smallest group so far since the first guiding of the HCC students in SIN from 2004. Good to catch up with DaveP again. And to the 2 young ladies, hope that their journeys will be good experiences.


From Raffles City to Sin Swee Kee Chicken Rice Restaurant*** A walk underground via CityLink to the Esplanade


These butterflies or moths have been frequently sighted lately, but this is the largest one who was resting at the Leica shop at Raffles Arcade. For a sec, we were all wondering if it was for real.


Underground art décor

John’s flight was half hour delayed from take off due to bad weather, then another hour delay going thru’ immigration! Thank goodness for the  comfortable environment in T3 with good company, a book! Long day but always a relief for safely arriving flights no matter how late.

IMG_3651IMG_3652Tue: one day to space out before more guests tomorrow. Catching up with sewing which is another way for me to chill and  relax. The beautiful fabric from Lawrence when visiting Sarawak is now an outfit.

Happy with my new Brother sewing machine.

Mon: visit from Jennifer and condolences to her and her family for the passing of her dad. Wishing her a safe journey back to Toronto where she lives.

A place that doesn’t welcome tourists, that’s really difficult and off the map, is a place I want to see – Paul Theroux

The Fault in our Stars

23 June 2014 – Another Love Story

7faultinourstars00_450_190x272_f13c51a8bbFri: was quite worn out after such a busy sociable week. Like to go to movies to chill. The Fault In Our Stars***Hazel and Gus are two teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them on an unforgettable journey.

Based upon the number-one bestselling novel by John Green, explores the funny and tragic ways of being alive and in love.

Met Aud on the bus and great to catch up over a bottle of wine. Also bumped into Philip at the food stall to discover that he lives in the same neighbourhood as Aud and I. Such coincidences…


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Sat: another night of fine dinning thanks to Les&Ivy. First time in ME@OUE*****delicious food with perfect wine to go with all the 3 courses. The squid ink brioche is really good, beef Tartar, quail (no pix) and the yummy lava cake. Food pix uploaded as Les does not like me taking pix of food when with him!


Nice views with fireworks for the National Day rehearsal.


With Rodin’s ‘Thinker’ but not much thinking from me except to wish those celebrating ‘God Sankthansaften’ Happy Mid summer and Summer Solstice.

Cogito ergo sum/I think, therefore I am – René Descartes



Sun: byebye SIN for a few hours. Out to the islands and a floating nasi lemak champagne lunch at sea in good company of Sue&Niall, MeiPin and my bro. Thanks Les. What a blessed and good life with no faults in any stars nor any complains…


Degree of Doctor of Medicine

20 Jun 2014 – honoris causa



IMG_3567IMG_3568Thu: congratulations to Les for receiving an NUI Honorary Degree of Doctor of Medicine/honoris causa. So proud of Les and blessed to have such a bro. Does not seemed that long ago he graduated in 1967 from Med School! A short and sweet speech where he expressed that his wife Ivy is the most important person in his life and as the saying goes…

Behind every great/successful man there stands a woman


Such a prestige to be the 6th (over 100yrs) to receive this. Also to have the Chancellor (NUI), President (UCD), Registrar (NUI) and other distinguished guests from SIN and others from to fly into SIN to present the award.


Honoured to be among the guests for a such an occasion. Thank you to Les&Ivy for turning their lovely house to an elegant celebration for a night. Delicious food catered by Four Seasons**** Surrounded by profession photographers and thus not too focus on my own pix…

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Wed: an evening of fine dining at Tower Club***** where Les was awarded a life member for UCD.

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An early afternoon at Gardens by the Bay’s Spring in France, which concludes my SIN guiding for Sue&Niall. Safe journeys back to the UK to them and thank you for being here to attend Les’s conferring. To rest for a few days before cousin Dave and his HI group arrives next week in addition to houseguest from HKG!


Mirror Mirror

18 Jun 2014 – On the Wall

IMG_3434IMG_3435Mon: day 3 of tourist guiding. Sue & Niall are in SIN from the UK for Les’s conferring of Doctor of Medicine. Appreciate Gel & Dave for the invites to Phuket/Thailand and Mandalay/Myanmar and apologies for not being able to be there. Another time.

Proud of my bro. Feeling honoured and looking forward to attending the ceremony on Thu.

It’s been a while since I have left the apt before 1000hrs and back at midnight! Good to know that the energy is still there when needed 🙂


A drive thru’ Little India’ and Geylang, the red light district before going on foot at the Arab Street area. Forgot that museums are closed  on Mon, thus did not get into the Malaya Heritage Centre.  Authentic Nasi Ambeng at Mamanda****which has a 200yrs old mirror on the 2nd level function rooms. A selfie with the mirror hoping that it can reflect some tales from the past 2 centuries – no such luck 🙂 🙂

7howtotrada6c05c69_190x272_8b732d7b3dContinued to Divine Wine Bar at Parkview Square for a drink. Thank you to Sue& Nial for lunch and cocktail.

Had to take a break before more tourist guiding for a young Norwegian student in the evening. Chilled at the movies: How To Train Your Dragon 2***when Hiccup and Toothless discover an ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.


IMG_3451Ingrid’s friend’s son Christian from Norway is in SIN to gain experience for his course at the U. What a small world this is – Christian is a good friend of Magnus who was here in SIN 2yrs ago at SMU with the group I took to the Forest Adventure! Welcome to SIN Christian and hope that your experience here will be a good and memorable one. Introduced him to MeePok at Plaza SIN Kopitiam and a stroll to the Raffles Hotel and City Space Lounge Bar at Swissotel The Stamford.


Tue: this cheerful sight outside of Dhoby Ghaut MRT station made my day. Lunch at basement in Tangs, thanks to Pat T and hope that her cruise to Norway to be a safe and enjoyable journey to you and your friends. Still think that Norway is one of the most beautiful countries to visit and looking forward to be there in Sep.

All’s well that ends well for today and hopefully for everyday. At Mt E and next appointment will be in Aug 🙂 🙂 🙂

Happy Father’s Day

7wordsandpictures00_450_190x272_6743c1842815 June 2014 – With Two Special Men in Mind…

Fri: Words and Pictures***school English teacher laments his students’ obsession with social media and good grades rather than engaging with the power of the written word. A one-time literary star, Jack has not published in years filling his time with drink versus the art of language. He meets his match in Dina – a painter and new teacher on campus, who was once celebrated for her art…


Sat: tourist guiding Sue&Niall (Les classmate from Blackrock and UCD/Ireland). Fullerton Heritage Gallery at Fullerton Hotel with their display of teddy-bears for the World-Cup, SIN River with the New Generation,




Some SIN scenes from tourist guiding ending with dinner at East Coast Lagoon Food Village. Crowded night and had to wait for a table.

19672008Sun: Happy Father’s Day to all fathers with special thoughts and fond memories of my father (1911-1996) who would have turned 103 today and to L&M grandfather (1923-2008) who would have turned 91 today.


Summer Palace***at Regent Hotel for dim sum lunch, tkx to Ivy&Les. Tasteful display of the lobster dumplings and was told that you can buy those little basket with handles in Chinatown.


Appreciations to Hafiz for showing us that there is still a kampong/village existing. Built in 1956, Kampong Lorong Buangkok in Hougang is the last surviving kampong in mainland SIN.


Hot and stifling afternoon in Punggol Point Park – felt like my head was popping into bits, thank goodness for AC car. How am I going to pull thru’ this summer?? Too hot to explore but do not remember the white building where House of Seafood during the previous visit…


Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example instead of his advice – Kettering                   

Tropical Herbs

12 Jun 2014 – Good for the Heart & Soul!


Mon: nice quiet dinner at Jo’s. Made a smoked salmon salad  to celebrate Sophie’s Bday. At the airport to see Pat and family off for their holidays plus for the graduation of David’s bro Paul. Seems like yesterday I was talking to Paul and he was told me that he was accepted into the School of Dentistry in UCC, Cork/Ireland. Congratulations to Paul.

The Kopitiam at T3 is now re-opened after renovations – tastefully done.

7blended00_450_190x272_80846d5b2aBlended***In this 3rd romantic comedy collaboration between Sandler and Barrymore, following The Wedding Singer and 50 First Date. After a bad blind date, a man and woman find themselves stuck together at a resort for families, where their attraction grows as their respective kids benefit from the burgeoning relationship.

Enjoyed this light-hearted and entertaining feel good movie.

IMG_3398img_1073Wed: at the wet market for fresh produce and the wet market is the only place where I can buy 1 of everything, including 1 stalk of celery! Pandan leafs and torch-ginger flowers can only be bought at wet markets. Trying to make a tasty Nasi Ulam but today they were out of torch-ginger.

Experimenting with Nasi Ulam as I just cannot get enough of it. These are some of the ingredients and fortunately my sis has some of these leafs growing in her garden. Believe me, once you have had a bite of it, you will want MORE…

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Torch-ginger flowers, Calamansi (limau Kasturi), Pomelo leafs (daun limau purut), this can also be substituted with Kaffir lime leafs, Laksa leafs (daun kesom), Betel leafs (daun kaduk) are not so easy to come by outside of the tropics.

IMG_3349Yikes! look who crossed my path this week – never knew that snails eat cat-food. Am sure that people with gardens are happy they are on the concrete eating cat food and not in their gardens!!

Just imagine, how much easier our lives would be if we were born with a ‘user guide or owner’s manual’ which could tell us what to eat and how to live healthy ― Erika M. Szabo

Happy 5th Birthday Sophie

9 Jun 2014 – Kids Say the Darndest Things

Children say whatever is in their mind and some of these precious moments should be written least we forget! Trying to remember some of the others but without much success. Making notes on this recent one which shows that the mind is not only in the present, but also starting to explore the future and consequences.


Was sewing in the screened-in outdoor room. #4 was on the floor playing and poking  on the screens. Told her to stop doing that as the screens are not toys and will break easily. She then placed herself up on the new red sofa and looked into my eyes, ‘can I play with them when you are gone?‘ Difficult as it was, had to keep a straight face and told her that it was up to her mommy and daddy to decide then.


 #4 has the tendency to fall sleep just anywhere as long as she is tired. 2012 we were searching high and low for her and finally found her in the laundry basket! 2013, here she is asleep during their Fri home movie night (in the old burnt-down house), for real! 2014 in this cute little bed which she has outgrown! My Sleeping Beauty 🙂


Early Bday celebrations for Sophie #4, all enjoying their summer activities, especially #5 in the lobster. Tkx to Linn for the pix and stay safe…


This one is from 7yrs Ike/grand-nephew in Chicago. 3 above pix credits to Dika.

Ike: Why can’t I play in the bathroom?

Mark: Because it’s against the rules. When you grow up and live in your own place, you can make up the rules and do what you want.

Ike: Not if I’m married

Thu: rain rain and more rain. Cool and lovely day to read.


Fri: not a favourite morning at NDC. Met up with Peggy & Beng for lunch at New Green Pastures****just for soft and liquid food for me. Thanks for lunch and the company. Good to update our dreams at this stage 🙂 Errands at Tekka and dinner with Seb at BrasBasah Kopitiam. The new Congee stall is quite decent.


Short side-trip to SAM/Arts Museum while in the area and to escape the rain. ‘Unearthed’ attempts to question the relationship with Earth and the natural world!!

10313353_10152173432845967_7110610274244867392_nCampers’ Corner shared a film on running the 100k McLehose Trail in HKG. The best time was under 10hrs – took me 5days to hike it! Beautiful scenes bringing back good memories of the 2012 hike. Made me want to be on a long hike again!

Appreciations to the organisers for this interesting film, not that I can or will ever manage to run 1k, not to say 100k! Good filming with nice scenery.


Sat: this is one of the most constructive and powerful letters written by one of my favourite local writers. It is a long letter but to understand the present situation in SIN, one has to choose one’s words with care and Catherine has eloquently done so here. Thank you Catherine Lim.


Sun: lunch at Bukit Merah View Market & Hawker Centre with Clem. Was told that this food centre is the longest here in SIN! Appreciations to Justin for the best mangos ever. They are from Myanmar and you can only buy them at NTUC Xtra.

Sometimes, a Sunday afternoon needs a whole mango to be kept entirely for oneself, and eaten in one sitting – Alison Pill

ZOOM IN to the Appalachian Trail

5 Jun 2014 – Photo Contest


IMG_3331IMG_3329Sun: thank you to Ivy and Soakkoon for lunch at Brussels Sprouts***and dessert at Laurent Bernard***both located in Robertson Quay. Food OK, service nah, especially at BP. Appreciations to good company and interesting conversations.


imagesCAF4FRHXMon: Happy Birthday KK and Happy 粽子/ZongZi to those celebrating – enjoy your dumplings! Based on lunar calendar the 5th day of the 5th month, 端午节/ Dragon Boat Festival 2014 falls on Mon 2 Jun 2014 ie today. Referring to below posting to remind myself what it is all about – am not a fan of dumplings.


Tue: went for an intense all day course on safely and hygiene in F&B. Must admit that at this stage, not too easy to retain too much but not bad – 48 multi-choice Q&E at the end and missed 2! But is the F&B industry ready for me 🙂


Celebrated in Little India as I was in that area. Mustafa is quite an amazing 24hr super department store with everything under one roof – the only one of a kind in SIN.


but still unable to find these 3 things I have been looking for…


Wed: lunched with Jo and SiongYuen at 59 Marine T just before the sky opened up. Thanks to Chesper for dinner at Viet Express***at China Sq. Tasty food but can feel and taste the MSG. Will be drinking tons of water tonight…


Wed: entry deadline for ‘ZOOM IN to the Appalachian Trail’ photo contest. Would appreciate your votes. Voting will be ongoing until 13 Jul 2014. To vote go to the link below:

  • Need to log in with a valid FB account
  • ‘Like’ the Appalachian Trail Conservancy FB page and
  • You will be able to see all 314 photos entered into the contest
  • Click to ‘friends’ and the box above my photo title ‘A Glint of Paradise’ 
  • Click on the box top right corner to vote. Thanks a million.

Day126Permitted to enter ONE pix only, was not that easy to choose. Playing on the title, ‘ZOOM IN – decided on the one taken when I revisited Craig Creek VA with Wigs, HiHills&Franklin in 2012. Do like the Max Patch sunset but not clear in a larger size. The tree pix is also another one I like but the colours are just not so brilliant as the one I chose for the contest

The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words – Elliott Erwitt

Happy 60th Morten

1 Jun 2014 – Like Father/John III Like Son/Morten


Sun: Morten was only 14+ when we first crossed paths! This Norwegian uncle to L&M has been gracious and went out of his way to be considerate and had only kind words to me from day 1 to present day. That will never be forgotten – fond and happy memories are always associated with him. Happy 60th, Morten and thank you for crossing this life’s journey. Cheers and enjoy the champagne 🙂


Sat: appreciations to Daisy to be included to Maleficent****A vindictive fairy is driven to curse an infant princess only to realize the child may be the only one who can restore peace. This movie and Frozen have the same interesting concept about the kiss of a true love. Even the Disney movies now are having a different idea as to what true love is about…


Fri: visited with Jo to bro Steven at Bk Merah. He really has quite a green thumb and some of his plants are unusually pretty – the cultivars of the common garden croton (Codiaeum variegatum) is this green plant with heart-shaped dark leafs when they are shoots. Fasciated (crested) pink cultivar of Euphorbia grafted on a common green forma is the cactus with tiny delicate pink flowers on top of the white fan-shaped.  Appreciations to Bian. How wonderful to still have a green view from this concrete jungle city!


A taste of 4 different cakes from Bakery Chef***after a chicken rice dinner, tkx to Sue for dinner. Dark chocolate Praline, colourful Rainbow, Tiramisu and Red Valet Cheesecake. Cakes desserts do not compliment a rich chicken rice dinner!


Needed some colour to cheer me up. Uploaded this pix taken from a street in Burano, near Venice, Italy (tkx to Seb). Shortly after that Hazel posted their delightful summer place from southern Ireland. Then Ting shared this wonderful link. Thank you to all for making my day.

1 Jun – Happy Bday Morten HALD

2 Jun – Happy Bday Kenson KWOK & Richard LEE

4 Jun – Happy Bday Erik KORKOWSKI

6 Jun – Happy Bdays Dika LAM & Harry CHAN

9 Jun – Happy 5th Bday Sophie HALL

15 Jun – Happy Bdays to my father LAM Tin Yue and my children’s grandfather John HALD Sr (both not with us any longer but the two men I have most respect and admiration for).

15 Jun –  Happy Father’s Day

25 Jun – Happy Bdays John LAM, Clement LAM, HUANG

28 Jun – Happy Bdays Jeff HALL, John WILSON & Adriane

30 Jun – Happy Bdays LAM JenMun &  Annie KOH-LAM

I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter – Walt Disney