Sunday, February 27, 2005

swing low NEL...

check out fellow Mordor-dweller Faith-T's ditty about the Punggol NEL. it's a riot!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

LTA reply

jusr received this reply from LTA yesterday concerning my query.
Date: 25-FEB-2005
Dear Mr Wong,


We refer to your feedback of 01-FEB-2005.

Thank your for your interest in the LRT Station names. We have noted your suggestion for placing signages in the stations detailing the origins of the station’s name. We would like to inform you that the relevant department is currently looking into this.

With reference to your query, "Kadaloor" means seaside town in Tamil. The station names are derived after consulting the various statuary boards as well as the related Resident’s Committee and Advisers from the relevant constituency and then submitted for final approval by the Street and Building Names Board. Some factors were taken into consideration when selecting the names like if they depict the locality of the area, if they reflect the history and heritage of the surroundings and if they reflect the multi-racial and multi-cultural character of Singapore. This explains the diversity of the chosen station names.

Once again, we thank you for your feedback.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Movement in a silent world

Robina watched a re-run of the CCTV Chinese New Year Eve programme. She was actually channel hopping but was captivated by a dance item by the Chinese Handicapped Artistic Troupe: Thousand-armed Avalokiteshvara (Guan Yin).

Prior to this, the group had astounded international audience at the closing ceremony of the 2004 Athens Paralympics. Inspired by Buddhist art in the Dunhuang grotto, the dance item had impressed and moved the Chinese audience so much that it was voted by TV audience and netizens as the best performance for the evening. What was even more amazing was that the 21 dancers were deaf and dumb. It meant that they could not hear the music and it would be extremely challenging to co-ordinate the intricate timing and sequences. There were four instructors wearing white gloves at four corners of the stage to signal tempo and timing.

check out a Real Player clip of the 6-min performance.

check out the earlier performance in Athens.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Life is getting scary, Mummy ...

Read Mr Brown's satirical piece in TODAY. Ties in with my previous post...


Dear Mummy,

I am feeling very sad.

Today in school, Zhong Guoren — my classmate from China — beat me again, in a maths test. That boy is an unstoppable genius machine.

Last week, he beat me in sports too.

If he were not here, I would have come in first and gotten a gold. But because the Government says we must welcome foreign talents to increase our population and to improve our economy, I got a bronze instead. This sucks.

At first, we laughed at them, because their English was not very good. Their maths and science were good, and their Chinese was excellent (but who cares about Chinese language, right?). But then, their English got better and now, they are kicking our backsides in this subject too.

I think we should get the Government to do something about this.



I also worry I cannot find a job when I am older. My friend, Ah Hock, tells me his mother feels all these Chinese foreigners are stealing our jobs and our men (and the ang mohs are stealing our women).

That is very scary, Mummy. You told me many China women are in Singapore only to do naughty things, like relieve old men of their Central Provident Fund money.

Once an uncle wrote in the papers that we should catch those foreign women who are tall, have long hair and legs, and wear tight, revealing outfits in black or red and behave coquettishly.

I think we should only accept foreign women who are short, have short hair and legs, and wear loose, covered-up outfits in white or blue, and behave like a man.

Okay, Mummy, I have to go to my Chinese, maths and science tuition classes now. If I don't go, I won't be able to beat Guoren.

Your son,

Khia Soo

Thursday, February 17, 2005

what intimidates Bill Gates?

clue? it's not Firefox or Google...

it's China! and that's coming from good ol' Bill Gates.

see this excerpt from ABC's Peter Jenning's interview with Gates. There's also an interesting part about Firefox ;-)

JENNINGS: Is there any part of the world that intimidates you?

GATES: Well I could say that every time I go to China I am amazed by the level of energy and activity there. And you know its like super charged capitalism where they're creating new jobs and they are being very efficient. And you know that's daunting. It's a challenge to the rest of the world that we got this great opportunity that they're going to build good products, but we all have to become more efficient to work at that level as well.

JENNINGS: Should we be worried that China will best the United States before long?

GATES: Well in the area of economic activity, no one bests anyone. As their people are more college educated and creating inexpensive products. That's just a great thing for our consumers. It does mean that the companies here need to think about selling to China. About how they work with partners there. And measuring their efficiency against the best in the world which in my business will be the leaders in China.

JENNINGS: Is the U.S. as competitive as it needs to be?

GATES: I think we need to renew our competitiveness.

JENNINGS: How do we do that?

GATES: Well we need to look at particularly our education system. I'm very passionate about the fact that our high schools are not doing the job they should do. They were really invented for an era where really not every one needed to get a good college education to get the jobs of the future, and so I think we need to start there. I think we need to look at some of the efficiencies in our medical care, legal system, but education would be at the top of my list in keeping the U.S. at the forefront, where it clearly is today.

and what we get here in Singapore are parents whining about their kids being outcompeted in local schools by PRC whiz kids (see last Sunday's ST). They are afraid of their children being outcompeted by Chinese students later on in the job market. Their implied wish is that the gahmen should limit the numbers of Chinese students coming to S'pore, akin to protecionist measures.

yo people! wake up and smell the roses! our young Singaporeans will be facing a GLOBAL competition when they grow up, not just Chinese or Indians but bright young talents from the whole world. shaking my head at myopic Singaporeans...

altho most parents and students would complain about our education system being high pressure, the Chinese edu system is probably much worse. With 1.3 billion people, China churns out about 2.6 million fresh grads every year. The competition to get into top Universities is cut-throat. As expected, when Chinese students come to S'pore, the better ones would find it a cinch despite being handicapped in English. neber mind, these Chinese students can probably catch up in 1-2 years for English. then they proceed to beat the crap out of local competition.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

prata attack on Jalan Kayu

This being the first day of CNY, Robina and I took the opportunity to check out Jalan Kayu for a late lunch since most other F&B joints would be closed. we made used of the newly-opened Sengkang LRT to reach Jalan Kayu. First we took our Punggol LRT, switched to the Northeast line for one-stop to Sengkang MRT. Then we took the west loop of the Sengkang LRT to Tanggam stop. From Tanggam it was a convenient 5-min walk to Jalan Kayu. Along the LRT ride, we passed by Sungei Serangoon and could see the river and mangroves at low tide. We also spotted a make-shift radio-control car race track along the LRT line.

Arriving at Jln Kayu, Robina ordered nasi briyani while I had murtabak with teh alia. Robina was disappointed that chendol and nasi lemak was not available. After stuffing ourselves and "ta-bao" roti john and more nasi briyani for dinner later, we passed by another prata joint that was serving paper thosai, Robina was sorely tempted but we were too full to whack anymore food.

I SMSed Siva and discovered that he had just finished crab-hunting in Sungei Buloh.

now back to Punggol (aka Mordor) to recuperate (pics to be uploaded later!).

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

a ride with the duckie

Robina and I went down to Suntec City in the afternoon for a jaunt on Duck Tour. we were playing tourists since Robina had not been on the amphibious duck boat before. furthermore it was CNY eve and we don't want to elbow our way down to Chinatown with all the other chinese singaporeans and tourists.

the duck boat was former US military amphibious trucks/transports (DUKW) that were converted and refurbished to ferry tourists. these hydrid craft had served since Normandy to the Korean and Vietnam War. Fans of "Band of Brothers" would recall that the DUKW was used to transport the 101st Airborne down the German autobahn.

it was a pleasant surprise that as locals we were offered a discounted rate of $39.90 for the two of us (regular tourists have to pay $33.30 per head). all the boat tours that day were fully booked and the last tour was at 3.30pm rather than the usual 7pm. our ride were all Taiwanese (plus a few PRC chinese tourists) and we were the only locals on board. The tour guide (a jovial and chatty young man) took one look at our Teva sandals and knew that we were singaporeans. His mandarin commentary was really "sad", Robina nudged me and whispered that I could take over.

The duck boat splashed down into the Kallang River with fanfare and cheers from all on board. All of us waved to the other duck boat that we passed both on the land and the sea journey. the wet part of the ride was really fun and enjoyable. the boat was very stable in the sea! we chugged passed landmarks like the Esplanade (the guide gave the official version of the "lew lian" being modelled after a microphone), the CBD district, the waterfront hotels and the water-spitting Merlion. the taiwanese tourists lapped it all up! :-)

Robina went trigger-happy with the digital camera. she snapped a series of shots of the phallic imagery of the Westin Hotel (now called Swissotel) superimposed onto the housefly eyes of the Esplanade (pics to be uploaded later!). if you scroll thru the pics fast enuff, it becomes an animation!

perhaps having this humongous erotic libido situated right on our waterfront is our "gahmen" way of tweaking Singapore's fengshui to boost our sliding birth-rate!!??

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

singapore food odyssey

Robina and I are planning to load up on as much Singapore food as possible before returning to Beijing on 13 Feb. so far, we are right on track. yippee kaiyeh!

although the Singapore food situation in Beijing is much better than Taipei, nothing beat the real stuff from home. There are about 5-6 Singapore/malaysian food restaurants in Beijing for Singapore expats to go for a quick fix but mee pok dry there is about S$7! beggars can't be choosers...

marching down our wish list, we had Hainanese curry rice at Bukit Merah for lunch. The curry-drenched rice with crispy pork chops, braised bak choi and curry fish head was shiokadelicious!

After a round of frantic NTUC raiding, toileteries-gathering shopping errands, we ended up at Zion Road for its famous Nasi Padang. I had a double-take since there was a deceptive clone next to the original nasi padang stall.

A quick look at which stall had more patrons plus being confirmed by the framed-up news paper articles, pointed us to the real McCoy (no.55)! Robina requested sayor lodeh, sotong and begedil while I must have the rendang. All the dishes were excellent!

our list is getting shorter but we don have much time before CNY when many stalls close for the holiday period! arrgghhh!!!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

next stop, Baradur!

My nearest Punggol LRT station is Kadaloor. still wondering what the heck is Kadaloor? although Siva remembered a "Cuddalore" from either Tamil Nadu in Southern India or Sri Lanka.

The name reminded me of a Punggol blogger's opinion that the view from her flat was like Mordor (probably due to the two incinerators smokestack across the Johor Straits: we have EYES of Sauron!). Somehow Kadaloor rhymes so well with Baradur. With inspiring names like Cove, Coral Edge and Riviera, Tolkien names like Moria, Isengard or Minas Morgul could not be worst!

Prompted by our dinner conversation last nite at Holland Drive Blk 40 tze char stall with Siva and Airani, I've sent a suggestion/enquiry to LTA about the origins of the LRT station names. see below:

Thank you for your suggestion. We will look into your suggestion
( Reference ID: D-B-A02742 ).
Name: Alvin Wong
Subject: names of Punggol LRT stations


the LRT station near where I'm staying is Kadaloor. I was just wondering about its origin since the other stations on the line are like: Cove, Riveira etc. perhaps the LTA can put up signages about the origins of the station names in the stations itself.

let's see if LRT replies...

about the dinner, it was the quinessential Singapore-styled tze char dishes like sambal kangkang, yam basket with stir-fried vegies, sweet sour groupa and hotplate toufu. all cannot find in Beijing!

Alvin's spiel

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