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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tampines Quarry

Have heard about this place and finally found the time to visit it. Once inside the track, one is greeted by the sight of a panoramic view of the quarry.

There were lots of activities going on when we were there.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

1 Day Durian Trip in Malaysia

Have heard alot about the durian trip up north so when a relative decided to organise one for the whole clan, jumped at the opportunity and took a short day trip across the causeway.

After reading about the jam caused by the new finger print procedure at the Malaysian's causeway, we set off early. 5.30am to be exact and reach the Malaysian's custom just before 7am. Heng ar, no jam and no finger print scanning too! Luckily, they also never ask us to strip and do naked squats. Maybe we all lau kok kok not worth looking at?

Anyway, it cannot be durian the whole day so our first stop was for breakfast alfresco style no less. Actually it is just a coffee shop at Gelang Patah but the choices there was unbelievably.

But mindful to keep space in our stomach for the durian, we only had a small plate of dim sum, char kway teow, and shared in the carrot cake and you-tiao and 'butterfly',

After breakfast, we stopped at the obligatory local products stores where the ladies grabbed everything and almost anything that is edible. No wonder these shops all located in some ulu areas are doing so well!

There was also a stop at the brown rice outlet where they touted the benefit of brown rice and the slew of brown rice products. This one, we ended up buying a big mixed packet of very unhealthy chips!

Finally, the highlight of the trip! The durian farm. But the excitement so turns to dismay when we saw the mass of  these.

They were all over and swopping down on every opened durian. After a few futile attempts to shooed them off, everybody gave up and went outdoor eating standing up with one hand on the fruit and one hand eating it. The amazing thing about these pesky flies is they don't even bother with the beehoon and curry. Only the durians. Trust the flies to know what's the real stuff.

The shiokness of eating the durian were spoilt by having to wolf down the durian before the flies get to them and in the end, I think I didn't get to eat enough. Oh well, there's always another trip.

After the durian, another obligatory trip to a chinese temples where the folks there took every opportunity to suck us foreigners dry with all sort of prayer offering. Even their children were roped in and were using loud hailers to get the tourist to offer this, offer that in return for 'blessing'.

A short stop at the local supermart just to while away the time before dinner.

Dinner was the usual super size spread so typical of tour packages but unfortunately it was also a very rush affair as the restaurant had a wedding dinner and needed to chase us out by 6.30pm. So we had a 9 course dinner in under 30 minutes!

And so we left Malaysia filled to the brim with food, food and I daresay, some flies in the stomach.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bukit Brown Cemetery - Is there no other alternative?

Read with sadness the planned development of the Bukit Brown Cemetery for housing. The Urban Development Authority has earmarked the 86 hectares sprawling ground for housing development. According to a statement from the URA, " ‘We have to take a balanced long-term approach in land-use planning, and be very selective in what we conserve because of our land scarcity.As our population grows, we have to meet increasing land needs for various uses. Bukit Brown and Bidadari occupy large land areas that will be needed for housing purposes, and are not included in our conservation plans.’

Behind all this mumbo jumbo crap, what is the guy really trying to say? Let me try to interpret. Dead man pays no tax, the ground does not generate any income and is a valuable piece of land which is a gold mine. So forget any idea of preserving the sites. It is just not economically feasible.

And that is the plain truth. To said that there is land scarcity and we have to be balanced in how we make use of the land is utter rubbish. Yes there is land scarcity. But there are also a lot of lands that are being used for very unproductive (in my opinion) purpose and worse, only a small number of the population is making use of it. What am I talking about?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pulau Ubin

Over 2 Saturdays, with 1 more to come, a gang of us visited Pulau Ubin, the last bastion of the "ulu" way of living and an unspolit nature. The trip to Pulau Ubin involves a short 15 minutes trip ferry trip from Changi Ferry Terminal. The ferry ride cost only $2.50 each way and the ferry will only move off if there are 12 passengers. 

Pulau Ubin is now largely inhabited by a few storeowners who run bicycle rental kiosks and restaurants catering to the hordes of weekend visitors who goes there to soak in the fresh air and get some exercise. Pulau Ubin is also home to various students training facilities like the Outward Bound School, the NPCC and NCC training camps. There is also a small holiday resort which seems to be not very popular.

The welcome sign at the jetty after alighting from the ferry.

Most of the villagers have gone now leaving behind abandon houses such as this

A close up look at the sign on the wall

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Free the Dolphins

Resort World Sentosa reportedly stated in a letter to the papers that its upcoming park will exceed international standards for animal welfare. It noted that dolphins in the wild 'do not enjoy a totally carefree life, but fight for their survival from predators, fishing boats and pollution'.

It said studies show the captive dolphins can live for more than 40 years, double the average lifespan of dolphins in the wild.

Right. Applying the same logic, human living in our urban jungle also do not enjoy a totally carefree life but has to fight for their survival from fellow humans, germs, road accidents and pollutions. Human in jail enjoy free access to medical care, free meals and time off for exercise daily without worrying about being run over by a car or wondering where their next meal is going to come from. So why not we put everybody in jail? After all, it’s for our own good?

Fact is, RWS is not keeping the dolphins for research or any noble cause. It is purely for the bottom line. Maybe someone should start a FB boycott of RWS until it relents and agree to release the dolphins. But even if it does so, will it be a matter of too little too late seeing that the dolphins have been in captivity for some time and may not be able to adjust back to life in the wild?

But damn, the dolphins do look damn cute. Maybe if dolphins can be breed, then it won't be so bad?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Foreigner's Solution to the Foreign Worker's Problem

Was talking to this lady who happens to be a sort of "foreigner". She like many, commented that Singapore has too many foreigners. Quite ironic considering that she is also a foreigner but of course she was referring to those lower level workers and not so called "foreign talent" like herself.

Her solution to the problem? Remove the hedges. Do I hear you go "huh?"? Yes I didn't write wrong. The way she sees it, Singapore has all those nice little shrub along the road sides. She reckons that these hedges serve no purposes other than to generate jobs for the contractor who has to maintain it and who does these contractors employ to maintain them? Yes foreigner! She went on to further elaborate why we don't need those plants. Other than aesthetic reasons, she sees only issues and problems with them. Firstly, the shrubs planted along the road side outside her place made it difficult for her to walk in a straight path. Secondly, plants along the road side in the city made it difficult for her to get out of her car when she has to parallel park. Thirdly, the plants block her view when she is coming out from side road to main road and last but not least, the plants in the middle of the expressway prevent her from seeing what was going on the other side of the road.

So by her reckoning, if we remove all those hedges and shrubs along the road, we can do away with at least 50000 foreign workers!

Do I hear applause from those who also think we have too many foreign workers? How about nominating her for some sort of WITS award?