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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Back to School - Outram Secondary School Revisit

A bunch of us from the graduating year of '78 decided to visit the "old' school when we found out that the school actually conducts tours for ex-students. So on a wet Saturday morning, I found myself with 20 other old gals and guys at the lobby of the school.

For the many of us, it was like time had not changed. Sure we are now much older with greying and thinning hair but other than the appearance, one would be hard press to tell the difference without looking at our physical appearances. The gals were yakking away like they were still in class despite the spirited current Principal, Mr Loh Cheung Ming trying his darnest best to tell us the history and development of the school. Luckily for us, he no longer has any power to discipline us otherwise I am sure he will be screaming at us to shut up!

But the visit was awesome. In one short visit, we found out more about the school history than what we knew in the 4 years that we spent there. But other than the history, what captivated us was the transformation that the school had gone through in the past 30+ years or so since we left.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Home Stay at Alang Manja, Malaysia

During the recent weekend trip up to Kuala Lumper, we stayed at this out of the way homestay. Why we went there was because it  was the nearest place to the Orang Asli village. 

Our bus couldn't go in to the entrance and we had to walk about 200 metres from the road. Still the weather there was fairly pleasant and when we reached our destination, this little sign said it all - the essence of Old Malaya.

There was only 1 structure and it did look like a sanitized Kampung house. The place was really basic. No air condition. And only 1 water heater in the common toilet. All 20 of us has to share the 3 toilets which were fairly clean but water pressure was pretty bad. Most of us ended up bathing traditional style - straight from the tap with just a small pail to scoop the water over us. The only tv in the living room was not working so there was absolutely nothing to do in the evening except getting to know each other.

As a couple, we got the only twin share bedroom whilst the rest of the runners stayed in the dormitory which has double decker bed.

There was a lovely stream running at the back of the homestay and we could see many locals coming here to picnic. Unfortunately, as in common in most part of South East Asia, they didn't take their rubbish out with them and the banks were littered with trash.

Overall, it was a charming little place. Great for those who want to get it away from the bustle of city life. But there is no restaurant nearby and meals is dependent upon what the staff can whip out in the little kitchen. Highly recommended for those who want to enjoy the country side and maybe hike in the forest.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Batu Caves, Malaysia

Was in Malaysia over the weekend for a run and since we were free on Saturday, we went to the world renowned Batu Caves. The only thing I know about the Batu Caves was that it is the holy site for  Hindu of Malaysia and they go there to pray. And it is also the training ground for Malaysian runners who want to do stair climbing.

When we reached the Caves, I realised why.

The whole place is like a big Hindu Temple Complex. There was a gigantic statue of  the Hindu God Murugan at the main plaza and inside the caves there were countless shrines and mini temples. 

The steps up to the top of the temple. There are suppose to be 272 steps to the top of the cave stretching all the way right up to the top of the cave. Probably this is why the Malaysian runners train here although I am not too sure how they do it with so many visitors walking up and down.

The interior of the caves is pretty impressive. Huge and cavernous and airy and fairly bright it was fairly easy to walk. Understand there is another cave known as the Dark Cave but that one requires an entrance fee of RM38 so we didn't go in which was unfortunate as that was the cave with all the plants and wildlife.

There were as many monkeys as there were devotees and the monkeys were snatching food and water and even the bags of visitors. Like this monkey which managed to grab a mango and was enjoying it.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Chao Shan Cuisine

Heard about this Teochew restaurant at Beach Road and die die must go down to try. There was a right occasion and so we found ourselves there.

We had to order all the traditional Teochew dishes.

Oyster Omelette
Chestnut Duck or is it Chicken?
Fish Porridge

Pork Jelly
Not in the picture, is the cold crab. Unfortunately, that was the first dish that came and everybody snapped it up in double quick time before a photo can be taken.

So how was the food. I like most of the dishes. Most agreed the crab was the best and the oyster omelette a close second. The younger folks did not know how to eat the pork jelly which was great for us older folks. But what was missing was the special peanut sauce that I am used to at the stall in Hong Lim.

Generally, the food is good, maybe a notch below Huat Kee. Price was however much much more different. Certainly much cheaper but unfortunately even with the Orh Nee thrown in, we were still hungry and had to go to nearby Purvis Street for more food.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Marine Life Park South East Asia Aquarium at Resort World Sentosa

Was recently at the Marine Life Park South East Asia Aquarium at Resort World Sentosa. This is touted as the world largest aquarium but I wasn't really impressed by it. Maybe it was too crowded and I didn't get to see all the exhibits close up but somehow I felt that there were less variety of fish compared to say the Underwater World also at Senotsa or the aquariums around the region.

Anyway, here are some photos of the fishes taken with my Nikon D60 using a kit lens.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Foreign Labour Dilemma

Although I am not an employer, like many of them, I too feel that Singapore need all these foreign labour. There was a time when I was in charge of a department which was always in need of staff. Every time we put up a ad for staff, we get applications from mainly foreigners. M, said the same thing too. Whenever she has an opening to fill, she always get applications from Filipino and in recent years even Australia and New Zealanders even though she was just looking for conveyancing clerk!

My friend who runs a chain of retail outlets employs mainly Filipino because he said he can't get Singaporean or even Malaysian. Nobody want to work in the retail line because of shift work.Some of  my clients also complained about the same thing. Singaporean don't want to dirty their hands and want to be supervisor and manager immediately upon graduation! 

And I can imagine the look of horror on parents face if their children were to said they want to work as construction workers or cleaners! Hell, even I couldn't want my kids to be in retail, food and beverages  or any sort of work that requires menial labour.

So employers got no choice but to turn to foreign labour right?