Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mob dance

Imagine Raffles Place (Singapore's financial district) at lunch time.

Then people just started dancing. It seemed the office rat pack just joined in. Welcome to Singapore's mob dance.

What exuberance! Done? Let's get back to work.

Friday, October 1, 2010

China travelogue: scenic Chaozhou and Fujian

Our Chinese forefathers hail from South China (the provinces of Fujian, Guangdong and Hainan), as evidenced by the dialects spoken here, Hokkien, Teochew, Hainanese, Cantonese and Hakka.

Just some scenes of Chaozhou (a district within Guangdong province) and Fujian during my recent sojourn there.

Guangji Bridge in Chaozhou, China, spans the Han River, an important waterway between eastern Guangdong and Fujian province. Interesting bit about this 12th century bridge is that the centre of the bridge is formed by boats moored to join up eastern and western piers daily between 10am and 5pm, so it's called a "floating bridge".

In the same vicinity is Guangji Men, one of four doors in this fortress like wall which stretches 2100 metres from end to end. This is the old city wall of Chaozhou prefecture built in the Ming Dynasty (1370AD). There are seven gates each with a tower on it.

Tiger Stream Rock (Huxiyan) is built out of a rocky outcrop on the outskirts of Xiamen (formerly known as Amoy, in the 19th century). You can see rock overhanging roofs. Once a tiger lived in a stone cave here, hence the name. Donglin Temple (Rock temple) is here. Digressing, Amoy then was a treaty port and a foreign community was established on the island off it called Gulangyu.

A Victorian style house on Gulangyu island. In the 1860s foreign representatives built churches, consulates, villas on the island. The island was designated an international settlement for Europeans and the Japanese in 1903. There is no traffic on the island except for a tram that goes around.

Zhongshan street is a shopping area in Xiamen. And Xiamen on the coast of the South China Sea across from Taiwan is modern, modern modern. Well, as with other modern Asian cities, the new and the old buildings cohabit side by side.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Do you want to be a pink doughnut?

Won't it be stuffy to be inside a pink doughnut? Oh but what sweetness looking at a walking pink doughnut!

Do you spy a Macdonald's French fries? A chicken drumstick behind doughnut head? There're more sinful snacks walking around that did not come into the camera's view. I don't want to add more temptation. :)

So what's the hullabaloo about? Eat a healthy soy snack. That's the marketer's message. Quite a sweet campaign if you ask me.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Facebook is kind of a reality show. Spill the beans on what's on your mind. Upload your vacation photos. And declare your relationship status. We're talking personal in public domain. We're evolving into ... public property. Sort of.

Saw this installation at the tunnel going to the Esplanade.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Nature's garden

I wandered into a fruit farm in Desaru (Malaysia) and saw fascinating plants like...

(top to bottom)
Cat's whiskers - This has medicinal value but I've totally forgotten what the guide said.

Cultivated mushrooms - these are grown in sawdust mixed with slate lime and kept in a shade house for two months and the mushrooms bloom in two week cycle until the sawdust mixture has decayed. The mushrooms look like Shitake mushrooms and tasted good fried in batter.

Roselle plant - this has medicinal value and the drink I had extracted from the red roselle was sweet and refreshing.

Hanging bananas -this phallic looking thing is purely decorative as this species of banana isn't eaten. The locals will start wishing from top to tip - it is another version of a wishing well.

Trellis of gourds - Interesting trellis, and not only gourds are grown like that but also passionfruit.

In short, look into nature's garden and you'll find a treasure trove of health benefits in plants.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Straits Chinese cuisine

Straits Chinese cuisine is one of my fave foods. It is Malay in expression but Chinese in essence. Well that's just my lazy way of saying. Straits Chinese are Chinese who were living in the Straits Settlements (a colonial construct that comprises Penang, Malacca and Singapore) and who have adopted Malay cooking, Malay dress and speak Malay. Signature dishes are bakwan kepiteng (a soupy dish of pork balls shaped with bamboo shoots and minced garlic, see that soup bowl in picture), ayam buah keluak (chicken curry with black nuts), chap chye (mixed vegetables and includes black fungus, can see in picture), babi pongteh (a pork dish), you can see on the plate. Ate this at a restaurant, shall not name it, because I find the standard less than authentic, but alright for a meal. Then there're the desserts that are made up of kueh or cakes that again take a leaf out of Malay desserts.

I guess my comments are as thin as the food I ate today.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay Sands Singapore is an entertainment destination. Sin destination. Well, if you consider gambling a mortal sin. The casino has opened its hallowed doors but the true blue Singaporean will not step inside the promised land because we need to fork out a hundred bucks to enter. Pui! (the local equivalent of Jack throwing a spit into the ocean in the Titanic) It's bad luck to lose that much before you even start playing. So foreign workers hang out where locals fear to tread. Well, I'm sure there're those who are hard core and will hope to recoup what a mere $100. Not not me.

The casino is housed in that low building fronting the Singapore river, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. Not all the shops are open during a recent foray. The usual deluxe brands like Salvatore Ferragamo etc etc flash their construction billboards. La Senza the Aussie lingerie shop is already open though.

Of course everyone's eager for the opening of the Sands Skypark which is that rooftop thing above the three luxury hotel towers, floating as it were 200 meters above ground and offering panoramic views of the skyline and the ocean. It promises a dining experience under a canopy of stars. Designed by world-renowed architect Mosche Safdie and opening in the second half of the year, meaning anytime soon.

Oh one more thing. Hard core gamblers can be barred from entering the casino by family members who apply for restriction orders.  And if you're not hard core yet you may wish to heed the writing on the floor of a train station - Crossing the line can lead to problems in gambling. Are you listening ? Whoever you are, I'm sure you're too busy taking the bus to casino to bother.

That's my World