Monday, October 26, 2009

East Coast foodie

Home of the original laksa. Even Martha Stewart has featured laksa (a spicy noodle dish) on her cooking show. For the authentic article, head to 328 East Coast Road.

(Tip to visitor: You might want to take a detour to the lane, Ceylon Rd, right beside the laksa coffeeshop to see a South Indian style temple, the Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple, built in the mid-19th century by the Ceylonese Tamils from Sri Lanka and the second oldest Hindu Temple in Singapore. Its gateway is dominated by a 21 metre five tier structure and its roof topped by a dragon and images of deities.)

Another authentic tradition, Kim Choo's nonya dumplings.

Charming Peranakan tiles leading to the second floor dining space at Kim Choo Restaurant (109 East Coast Rd). This is a good place for visitors to head to for a taste of Straits Chinese cuisine. We ate there last weekend and had a really appetising meal - ikan pedas (assam fish), ngoh hiang (meat spring roll), chap chye (assorted cabbage and vegetables), ayam buah keluak (chicken spiced curry with black nut), prawn fritters (really good), and had chendol as dessert/drink. You can get iced water too for 30 cents.

Red House bakery, a traditional confectionery with the trademark red facade, is boarded up. I wonder what's going to reemerge here.

Established in 1925 at 75 East Coast Road, deemed unsafe and closed in 2003. A Jewish man, Jim Baker, started the bakery shop and a Hainanese seaman, Tan Siang Fuan, took over the operations in 1931. The building is owned by the Alsogoff family, put in trust to the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore.

The vintage bakery served traditional cakes and pastries of the East, like spicy dried shrimp bun, creamy custard puffs and swiss rolls, and was a hangout for local bands in the 1960s.

That's my World

Monochrome - Snowman, Vivocity

38 degrees. But don't worry, I'm melt-proof and made to last till Christmas.

Love, Frosty.

For more monochrome maniacs posts, go here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Singapore Art Museum

A Darth Vader like figure, from the inside looking out. Series of small sculptures...

Stand in the middle of this portico or porch-like alcove, turn your back to statue and look up to see...

...this preserved pediment, circa 1852, when the building was built.

One of the two those palm trees set against the classical columns and the old fountain.
One of the stations of the cross in the former chapel.

And this is the facade of the Singapore Art Museum at 71 Bras Basah Rd. It occupies the former St Joseph's Institution, a Catholic boys secondary school that has moved on to Malcolm Rd.

You can still see the school's name inscribed on that arch and that's the statue of St. John Baptist de la Salle, the founder of the Christian Brothers Schools, that you first saw from his black robed back.

Finally, an Oriental maiden with an Apple notebook, one of a few such maidens lending a touch of whimsy on art and technology on the wall of the reception area of the museum. The museum showcases travelling art collections.

That's my World

Monochrome - Capitol Theatre revisited

Sepia tinged Capitol Theatre, standing disused in a corner.

When will a suitor come along and reinvent this old thing?

For more monochrome maniacs posts, go here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Church of the Sacred Heart

Living in an urbanised cityscape with continually renewed spaces, one needs to know where to look for a bit of history. On these walls are a bit of archived history of this Catholic church.

The Church of the Sacred Heart on Tank Road was constructed in 1910 on a site of an abandoned soya sauce factory, next to the Tank Road Railway Station, then the main railway terminus in Singapore. That station has vanished into history, and our only railway station is now at Tanjong Pagar.

An angel statue perched at the back of the church. You can see nearby construction ongoing.

Fortunately, the church hasn't vanished.

Its French baroque style lends beauty to the scenery.

For more Scenic Sunday posts, go here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What's 350?

Think Green Thursday

The world's melting. I'm melting. Meltdown.

Here's something I wrote.

The mercury has risen, tipping the scales
for climate change. Though all the world does is,
raise an eyebrow asking, is it happening?
Deep in our hearts, we know the smouldering
truth: the heat is frying us.
But because we are not living in Ethiopia,
we just pay for more air-conditioning.
We are in denial. Day after day,
everyone else does the same.
We won’t sell our cars, nor refrain from flying
to whimsical destinations the world over.
Give up gourmet foods, are you crazy?
We are not going back to the Third World.
Don’t point a finger, everyone is exacerbating
the problem of carbon emissions.
The government should do something about
the floods, the droughts, the burning of forests.
When we encounter disasters that are acts of God,
we pray for the grace of miracles.
We will carry on our lives much the same,
colluding to further collapse
the biosphere, because a miracle
will save the polar bear from extinction
and bring us back from the brink
of hellfire.

350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide—measured in "Parts Per Million" in our atmosphere. 350 PPM—it's the number humanity needs to get back to as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change.

We pipped 350. We need to get back. Political action needed. Spread the word. Blog it.

Read more here.

Join me at

Monday, October 12, 2009

From Vintage to Grand Prix

You know that stamps are fascinating pieces of postal art right? Like this sheet showing vintage cars.

The sheet is one of the stamp exhibits at the Singapore Philatelic Museum. Yup, round this bend on Coleman Street, is a boutique museum that not only tells the story of stamps but also tells stories through stamps.

Currently it has a thematic stamp exhibition called 'From Vintage to Grand Prix'. Besides stamps on vintage cars you get to see the adorable collection of about 400 toy vintage car models on loan from collector Mr David Christie.
Fast forward to racing cars. There're a few storyboards explaining the history of motor racing and the Singapore Grand Prix. Before Singapore hosted Formula 1, Singapore used the curvy bendy Upper Thomson Road as the racing circuit for the Singapore Grand Prix from 1961 to 1973.

I leave you with this video of F1 on Singapore's Marina Bay Street Circuit which happened just last month on 27th September, taken off the telly. Vroom!

That's my World

Monochrome - stairs winding up a hill

These stairs are made for climbing.

Not up Bukit Timah Hill, the highest spot in Singapore. Up to Fort Canning where you can see gravestones, spices..

But first, those stairs. They make you stare.

For more monochrome maniacs posts, go here.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

architectural details

A gorgeous red door with a lion head knocker... Chinese style.

Archway with inscriptions... Islamic style.

Both details are taken off these two buildings side by side. In Singapore, not only does East meet West, East meets East too.

For more Scenic Sunday posts, go here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

St Joseph Church, Bukit Timah

The St Joseph Church in Bukit Timah has a Chinese watch tower and Chinese tiled roof structure. Its history dates back to 1846. The Catholic church built a church to provide spiritual succour to the Chinese community of farmers and coolies in the forested Bukit Timah interior of the island.
In the 19th century the Chinese community here grew gambier and pepper for their British masters for export. As the British did not extend their jurisdiction to the interior, the community was ruled by secret societies.

View of the verdant green of the Bukit Timah rainforest from the church. In the 1850s, tigers once roamed the reserves and were known to take the lives of Chinese coolies at the rate of one a day. Famous naturalist Sir Alfred Wallace, who studied the flora in Bukit Timah, wrote in The Malay Archipelago (1869) that the area was laden with tiger pit traps made of sticks and leaves. I read on the church website that Fr Augustine Perie once protested with the British to provide a proper burial to a coolie who was killed by a tiger when the British wanted to leave his body there as bait for the tiger to return and hopefully, be shot.

A view of the church from the backyard.

Do you know what fruit tree this is? It is the butterfruit tree.

And this tree is the belimbi or cucumber tree.

No doubt the handiwork of the old church warden. It's quite rare to see these trees nowadays, so they're pleasant surprises.

That's my World

Sunday, October 4, 2009

railway crossing, Bukit Timah

A couple of deck chairs for dining alfresco, near a railroad track.

Overhead railroad crossing over Upper Bukit Timah Road, on the track going towards Malaysia...

Scenic Sunday

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pinnacle @ Duxton

The changing face of public housing in Singapore, as seen in the Pinnacle @ Duxton, 50 storeys high, looming behind the old housing blocks in Tanjong Pagar.

For more Skywatch posts, go here.