Sunday, August 30, 2009

Raffles Hotel

The tropical garden style courtyard of Raffles Hotel, a colonial style hotel dating back to 1887. Its founders are Armenians, the Sarkies Brothers, and it's named after the founder of modern Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles.
A close-up look at one of the coconut palm trees dotting the courtyard, and the leafy ornamental detail on its pillars.
An old style fountain, one of a few on its grounds ...
Seah Street Deli, a New York style delicatessen serving American sandwiches, entrées and salads, just one of the dining options in the hotel.

Tailored dress, bag and shoes made by a former dressmaker who had a shop in the hotel in the 1900s, on display at the Raffles Museum.

The museum displays memorabilia and old photographs and artefacts and is free to all visitors. Apart from the museum, there's also a hotel shop on the ground selling interesting souvenirs and books that's worth a visit.
The Raffles Culinary Academy runs cooking and lifestyle classes by award-winning executive chefs. Dishes are Asian, international and fusion.

A small garden is tucked away in one of the recesses of the hotel's compound.
Isn't this heliconia rostrata growing amongst the foliage at the hotel lovely?

That's my World

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

Singapore is a mix of the traditional and the modern and it's usually the former that lends a touch of the scenic to the urban landscape. Here you see shophouses in Chinatown and hey what's that Chinese roofed structure further along? Let's have a closer look.

It's called the Buddha Tooth Relic temple. Founded in 2002, it houses different relics of the Buddha. Besides tooth relics, there are relics of bone, blood, etc. These are of different sizes and are like coloured crystals (see temple's website.) left behind after cremation. There is a Buddhist museum in the temple and guided tours can be arranged.

Further along, in nearby Tanjong Pagar, you see public residential blocks under construction. It is called The Pinnacle @ Duxton comprising seven 48-storey tower blocks laid out in the shape of a hook and linked by skybridges on three floors. Well, this is modern public housing in the city. No wonder the units were fully booked. It is being built on a site that is one of the oldest sites of former ten-storey public flats. I'm thinking the would-be residents must be breathless with anticipation as it's going to be completed pretty soon.

For more Scenic Sunday posts, go here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

As evening falls

Sky over suburban Singapore. It's twilight and the subway train is making its crossing along the track...

For more Skywatch posts, go here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Terminal 3, Changi Airport

A collage of images of Terminal 3 of Singapore Changi Airport, the newest terminal to add to existing Terminal 1 & 2. It opened in January 2008. A feeling of spaciousness engulfs you as you enter its space. What is particularly interesting is its lofty ceiling which allows natural light to filter in through a 'butterfly' roof design with 919 skylights with reflector panels.

The SIA stewardess is an icon of Singapore Airlines. We bumped into her (top left) and she was so kind to hold the lift for us and gave us such a perky smile. Sigh, miss flying SIA. Somehow our holiday trips have been on other airlines usually those of the country we're visiting.

Whenever we return home, the airport is always such a welcoming oasis imparting a feeling of being homeward bound, safe and sound.

That's my World

Sunday, August 23, 2009

golden showers

Correct me if wrong, I think these flowers taken in the Raffles Hotel garden belong to the golden shower family. Flowers are blooming everywhere. They love the sun. I'll share more soon.

Visit Today's Flowers.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sky over St Joseph's Church

The sky over Victoria Street, last week. An aerial view of the Gothic style St Joseph's Church (founded by the Portuguese Mission and built in 1906-1912) nestled amidst old residential and commercial buildings. Singapore's old buildings lend history and charm to more recent buildings, like the uber-modern National Library building where I took this picture from. If you take the library's lift, the one with a full view of the surroundings through its glass, soaring skywards, you might get a feeling of floating in air like I did.

For more Skywatch posts, go here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay

These outdoor exhibits in front of the Esplanade provided a trip down memory lane for visitors and passersby. The timeline installation of images of yesteryear such as the Samsui women (Cantonese female migrants who worked in construction and are identified by their distinctive headgear), trishaw rider, roadside satay seller, etc. The installation is part of our National Day celebration.
The installation of the old National Theatre makes a nostalgic point juxtaposed as it is against the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, our premier performing arts venue today. The National Theatre was the first performing arts venue in Singapore completed in 1963. Its five-pointed facade represented the five stars of the Singapore flag. It's an open air amphitheatre with no air conditioning. I remember seeing Cliff Richard perform in that place. The building was demolished in 1986 due to structural defects in its cantilevered steel roof.

Here you see the striking dome-shaped architecture of the Esplanade which locals referred to as 'the durian'. It's definitely iconic. The Esplanade has added vibrancy to the local performing arts scene having presented local and international performances from musicals to concerts to dance and theatre including Chinese opera. I remember watching the musical Mamma Mia! here ..

There's also an arts library, with literature and audio-visual materials covering music, dance, film and theatre.

That's my World

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Marina Bay waterfront

Marina Bay is a bay created through land reclamation at Marina South and the completion of a barrage which blockaded the Singapore River mouth. The result is a beautiful bay with a scenic waterfront. The top picture shows a stroll through the leafy promenade. In the bottom picture, you see the open air amphitheatre for outdoor performances, with the Singapore Flyer in the distance.

For more Scenic Sunday posts, go here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort

Twilight view of the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort that's taking shape in the Singapore waterfront skyline. The three 50-storey hotel towers you see being built will be connected by a Sky Garden spanning across the towers. The casino resort touted as an entertainment destination is slated to open next year. It represents a leap of the imagination - for the first time, Las Vegas style gambling will soon become a reality in Singapore. Other leisure amenities include theatres, a waterfront promenade and an Artscience Museum. There's another casino resort simultaneously being built on Sentosa.

The air around the Marina Bay waterfront is so relaxing. It's a great feeling sitting out there.

For more Skywatch posts, go here.

Also visit Friday My Town Shoot Out: Relaxation

Monday, August 10, 2009

Singapore's National Day Parade 2009

Singapore celebrated her 44th year of independence yesterday (Sun, 9 August 2009) amidst the worst recession it's seen. Our nation is showing a spirit of resilience and in this way, this National Day celebration is special as it demonstrates a coming together to celebrate the plucky attitude of Singaporeans to survive the crisis. As you can see, the floating platform on Marina Bay shows continual renewal in the Singapore skyline with mega construction projects ongoing, the most significant of which is the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort which is expected to open next year.
The big screen eye on the platform shows the unfolding of the different spectacles forming our big bash celebration. This screen shows the firing of five ceremonial guns.
Here, you see the real thing on the baywater - it is the first time that 21-gun Presidential Salute is fired from a floating platform. The guns fired at 60 second interval while the President inspects the front row of the marching contingents. The contingents comprise 2000 people from the armed forces, the police, uniformed and civilian groups. The ceremonial part of the celebrations is always part of our National Day celebration. Over the years, more exciting performances were added. The crowd pleaser is the air, land and sea simulated exercise of a counter-terrorist attack.

There is the colourful pageantry of dances as usual but this year, there were skits put up by local actors which featured Singlish, that non-exportable Singaporean-speak that is an identity marker, cringeworthy at times but always heartfelt. For the first time, Ivan Heng, our talented theatre director in the local performing arts scene, was the creative director.

I leave you to view our finale, the fireworks display, of our birthday bash. Happy Birthday Singapore!

That's my World

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fullerton Hotel

Fullerton Hotel is sitting on the site of Fort Fullerton which was built in 1829 to guard against naval attacks. In 1874, the fort was no more (the cannons were moved to Sentosa) and eventually, in 1928, the Fullerton building was completed on the site. It was named after Robert Fullerton, the first Governor of the Straits Settlement. Besides the General Post Office which occupied the first two floors, the exclusive members only Singapore Club rented its upper floors until government departments took over in 1961. Besides the post office, it is best remembered as the place of the Inland Revenue Department office, which occupied the building from the 1970s to 1995. The General Post Office vacated in 1996 and extensive renovations and restoration works turned this into the five-star Fullerton Hotel which opened in 2001. Its neo-classical facade with fluted Doric colonnades give it an air of grandeur.

The hotel is linked by an underpass to One Fullerton, a modern waterfront hub with restaurants and bars with views of the Marina Bay, just across the road from the hotel. As you can see, the Merlion, a mythical icon of Singapore, is sited next to it.

For more Scenic Sunday posts, go here.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music

This building is Singapore's first institution for studying for a degree in music. The Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music is a collaboration between the National University of Singapore and the Peabody Institute of the John Hopkins University in the United States. Opened in 2006, its facade comprise full length glass panels allowing peeks into the foyer of the concert hall and library and the filtering of natural light into its internal spaces. The glass walls are supported by paired bow trusses which look like the strings on a violin or cello.

Its young student musicians come from worldwide including China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Iran, Austria, United States, besides Singapore.

It's a significant building which allows for the aspirations of those with a passion of music. Aspiring young musicians here previously have to go abroad for music training.

For more Skywatch posts, go here.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Bollywood Veggies

Somewhere in the rural outback of Singapore (ok it's the Kranji countryside) are the farms but none as flamboyant as Bollywood Veggies, set up by a husband and wife team, who also live on the farm, although their house is not so obvious being concealed by fenced leafy foliage and guarded by fearsome dogs. They chose to live out their retirement by becoming farmers, which is quite an unconventional path for Singaporeans. They live by the slogan, "Back to the Nature is the Future".
Bollywood Veggies is an organic farm that claims it's the largest producer of organic bananas and papayas in Singapore. Besides fruit, all kinds of herbs and medicinal plants, and vegetables such as long beans, ladies finger, cucumbers and bitter gourds can be found on the farm. You can take a walk in the farm for a fee of $2. Try and pick a cool day to make your day trip.

There's a restaurant called Poison Ivy Bistro and the dishes include the cooking of organic vegetables farmed here. Both Western and Asian cuisine (eg chicken curry) are served. The fare is home cooked goodness and the drinks include aloe vera and fig tea which are so refreshing.
The lady in the cowboy hat is the proprietress Ms Ivy Singh, a very colourful, friendly and outspoken lady who was the former national netball captain. This is the alfresco part of the restaurant. The place is open Wed to Sun, 9am to 6pm. It is well patronised especially on weekends and group bookings can be made in advance if you want to go on a guided tour of the farm.

You can check out the website including details on how to get there. There is a shuttle bus running from Kranji MRT station.

That's my World

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

MICA Building

It's referred to as the building with the colourful windows. 911 windows, in all. Home to the Ministry of the Information, Communications and the Arts (abbreviated MICA), it is now called the MICA building. Formerly it was the Hill Street Police Station. Built in 1934, this colonial building at Hill Street occupied the site of Singapore's first prison and the old Assembly Rooms of the Town Hall. When it first opened, it housed a police station with a charge room, offices and garages as well as living quarters for policemen.

In my childhood we used to pass by the building after our weekly gathering at grandma's in the dark of night, and whenever we pass by it we will say 'There, there, the haunted building' and get all spooked. Civil servants who work there have their stories to tell.

After renovations in 2000 to relaunch it for MICA, its windows were painted in rainbow colours. It has a huge internal courtyard with a glass roof which is a space for art exhibitions and house art galleries, sculptures and a cafe.

For more Scenic Sunday posts, go here.