Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Singapore 360 - Day 36: United Colors of HDBs (A Change In Perspective)

It still amazes me how a change in perspective alters the way we see things. There was a time when I expressed my opinion that it would make HDBs look neater and maybe a bit more sophisticated if they were painted mostly white, or at least a lighter shade. I imagined the entire of Singapore having rows and rows of white buildings where people lived in. When I finally listened to what I was saying, I wanted to smack myself in the head.

I see two ironies in this. First, a lot of people already say that Singapore is boring. Just do a Google search on "Singapore is boring" and you'll see what I mean. Bringing my stupid idea into light, not that it would even be considered, doesn't exactly help disprove this notion.

Second, for most part of my life, at least up to the present, I have never been one to live inside an ordinary and dull white box. I realize now that choice had a lot to do with it but I will not deny that in the past, especially during the dark moments, that I was plagued with the victim mindset. What lead me away from the victim mentality? A change of perspective of course. And a decision to live under bright light.

Living outside a boring white box means life being an adventure, taking risks, learning new things and setting up one's self where a thing or two eventually goes wrong. It is a life filled with colors, one that requires a person to see things not in black and white but in the full spectrum of light. But it is also a life where things don't always go as planned and therefore one filled with tears, hope, laughter and disappointment. But isn't that what life is all about?

It's true, a change of perspective can shed new light and bring fresh color to an otherwise dull and boring view. Perhaps it's time to tilt those lenses?


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Monday, April 26, 2010

Singapore 360 - Day 35: Do Everything In Love

Do everything in love. This is the message one of our fellow pedestrians earlier wanted to let the world know about today.

The line written on his sweater caught our attention as we were about to cross Orchard Road. As if on cue, he sat on one of the pedestrian bollards right in front of us. I guess the message was meant to be shared, the meaning up to the reader to decide.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Singapore 360 - Day 34: VivoCity Rooftop Water Pool

Q: Who belongs to this?

A: One of the few enjoying themselves, dipping in the cool waters of the shallow pool on the VivoCity rooftop, exposed directly under the debilitating noontime sun.

This is a common scene, and as far I remember, it has been like this since the first visit I made to the VivoCity rooftop. The kids wading in the pool seem to be inured to the scorching heat. Come to think of it, what's the best course of action when confronted by a dizzyingly burning sensation all over but dipping in cool water? As the sun goes down, the number of people increases — more children wading means more parents looking after them.

There is no lack of conspicuously displayed no swimming signs around the area. The water is too shallow to swim in anyway, but that might not be the case for little children. The entire picture reminds me of a place in Sentosa, where a sign that says "no children playing" is prominently displayed but is never really a deterrent for kids wanting to enjoy the refreshing water. Oh well, kids will be kids. And parents will always be there to support them and keep them safe.


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Friday, April 23, 2010

Singapore 360 - Day 33: Baby Asleep On Bike

We saw this happen while waiting for the bus a few days ago. The toddler fell asleep on the bike and so the mother had to get off and hold the baby's head to keep it from further falling sideways and disturbing his peaceful sleep in the process. Good thing the father, who appeared to be following them, was just a traffic light away. By the time the father was close enough however, the baby was awake and had already straightened up, possibly from hearing the voice of its own mother calling for backup.


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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Singapore 360 - Day 32: Old Hill Police Station

The building with colorful windows on Hill Street has an equally colorful history. For starters, the lot it occupies used to house a school and a theater. When it was built in 1934, it served as a police station, which also held Singapore's first jail, and was then regarded as a skyscraper. During the Japanese Occupation, it was used as a holding area and torture ground for prisoners. After that, it resumed its use under the police department for over three decades before being closed and renovated to house other various government departments. It was declared a national monument in 1998.

The structure is now called MICA Building as it is primarily being occupied by – aptly so I think due to it's appeal — the Ministry of Information, Communications and The Arts. This doesn't stop cab drivers from calling it the Old Hill Police Station though, and I can guarantee you'll be inviting questions that aim to clarify where you want to go if you use the new name. Well, you can get there too — and I dare you — by saying you want to go the building with colorful windows in Clarke Quay.

If anyone's looking for more reason why it should remain being called Old Hill Police Station, it has 911 windows. And oh, for clarity's sake, the emergency number for Singapore is 999.


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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Singapore 360 - Day 31: Wave House Sentosa

Surfing isn't among the list of sports that is popular in Singapore. Also, while the country is surrounded by sea, it's fair to say that Singapore isn't much of a beach destination.

Well, those reasons shouldn't stop anyone from trying out something that resembles the sport right in Singapore's most popular tourist destination. With the opening of Wave House in Sentosa late last year, the lack of ginormous surfing waves seems to have been addressed.

Their solution is, of course, technology-driven, with good results — surfer-to-die-for waves artificially generated over and over again. Judging from the big smiles on the faces of those who have tried the wave simulator, it looks like a lot of fun.

I've always thought of myself as a beach lover. But I find that statement ironic given the fact that I have never tried surfing. Although I'm quite sure my case is hardly unique, I feel my claim as a beach lover doesn't hold much water (pun intended) until this hurdle is surpassed. Well, here's my chance, you might say.

Looking back, my love for the beach was brought about by those yearly summer trips to the beach my family would make. As a young boy, the beach was always the one thing that defined my summer. I always looked forward to the gentle kiss of the sea breeze on my face, the taste of salty water on my lips, the ticklish feel of sand at my feet, the hypnotic splashing of the waves against my torso and even the painful sunburns all over my body afterwards.

I guess it's time to plan for striking one item off that long list.


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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Singapore 360 - Day 30: HDBs

This is what a typical house in Singapore, commonly referred to as HDB, looks like.

I realize I have a previous post about HDBs but I've never actually posted a picture of an entire building.

As you might have guessed, I live in one of these flats. The government does a good job of maintaining them and is pretty strict —this might not be news to you— on implementing its set of rules for the occupants. For instance, placing flower pots on ledges where they can easily fall off and hurt or even kill someone is a no-no. Posters constantly reminding residents that they "may be jailed or fined" for violating such rules are omnipresent.

The main difference between a condo and a HDB, aside from the dollar sign, are the amenities. There are no swimming pools, gyms, barbecue pits or clubhouses in HDBs.

A friend points out that one of the things she doesn't like about HDBs are the pipes: they are conspicuously displayed — for good reason though: ease of maintenance — not only in the bathroom but sometimes in the living room. Her imagination gets the better of her, visualizing what sort of thing passes between those pipes.

As for me, I'm still happy living in an HDB flat. The nearby Pasir Ris Park and my own gym membership more than make up for the missing amenities. As for the pipes, I can live with that, as long as they don't ever leak.


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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Singapore 360 - Day 29: Riverside Point, Clarke Quay

Riverside Point, Clark QuayHere's a shot of Riverside Point in Clarke Quay.

Jumbo Seafood Restaurant, known for its Chili Crab, is at the extreme left. Brewerkz, a local microbrewery restaurant is at the extreme right. Both are favorite spots among our circle of friends. The bridge takes you to the clubs, bars and the G-Max reverse bungee.


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Singapore 360 - Day 28: Shiraz Belly Dancer

Shiraz. Two things come to mind when I encounter the word: the variety of red wine that's powerfully flavored and full bodied, and the city in South Iran that's also been called the city of gardens.

That changed a few months ago when I finally took note of the name of the bar in Clarke Quay that occasionally features a belly dancer shaking and grooving to a lively beat. Whether I like it or not, I knew my brain would associate belly dancing with Shiraz from then on.

We'd normally pass by the bar as part of the Clarke Quay tour we give to visiting friends. On one particular day, the couple we were showing around was in luck. So was I, for I had brought my camera with me.

It's not surprising that everyone within a 10-meter radius of the bar turned their attention on her: first, the curious glances; then the bedazzled stares; next, the suddenly ubiquitous flashes and staccato clicks of the cameras; and after the performance, the applause.

Just a few days ago, when we were on our "tour of duty" for another visiting friend, there was no belly dancer doing her thing in Shiraz. It seemed, at least for me, that the whole of Clarke Quay was a little less lively.


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Friday, April 16, 2010

Singapore 360 - Day 27: Kuriya Japanese Restaurant

Identity crisis?

I couldn't help but smile in disbelief every time I see this sign. Turns out kuriya means kitchen in Japanese.

I just found this photo in my albums. We always pass by this restaurant when we'd go for Din Tai Fung in Raffles City. I promised myself I would try out it one day. Unfortunately that day hasn't come yet.

But as they say, it's never too late. I'll come up with a new post to describe the experience when the day the promise is fulfilled finally comes.


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