Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Muslim Cemetery

I found this old Muslim Cemetery while I was walking home today.

I think that it is allowed to remain because it dates back to the time of the Sultans in Singapore.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Rohaizad, Past & Present

Yesterday Rohaizad and I went up to Yishun to visit his grandmother. While we were there we went through some old photo albums.

Rohaizad's relatives used to be servants for the British colonials. Here is a photo of one of Rohaizad's relatives with the child of the family that she worked for.

I love this picture! This is Rohaizad's sister's birthday party years ago. Rohaizad is on the right side of the photo, conducting the other children in some sort of choral performance.

And this is Rohaizad now, ice skating at Leisure World after we left Yishun.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Big Dose of Patriotism

Let's hear it for Singapore: yesterday we were chosen as the first host for the Youth Olympic Games in 2010!

In the midst of all the revelry, Rohaizad and I ventured downtown to the Esplanade to attend opening night of the Dim Sum Dollies History of Singapore!

Anyone who thinks that Singapore is uptight should come see this show. Okay, Singapore IS uptight, but for two hours they cut loose! Telling the whole story of this place from discovery to modern times.

There was a traditional Malay woman playing blues harmonica, WWII Japanese Kamikaze pilots singing karaoke while hanging by their parachutes in trees and even jokes about Lee Kuan Yew!

You can watch a clip of the Dim Sum Dollies here.

By the end of the show I was standing with two thousand other people singing and waving a Singapore flag ... yikes!

The Tale of a Kaya Toast Shop

Once upon a time there was a smart businessman who put kaya on some toast. People paid him money to eat his "kaya toast."

He also served people soft boiled eggs in bowls.

People added pepper and soy sauce to the eggs and stirred them up. Then the people dipped their kaya toast into the mix. The delicious taste caused the customers to sound forth joyous exclamations.

The smart man who opened up the kaya toast shop became very rich by selling these simple foods. But the people became sad when they finished eating their kaya toast and eggs.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Grand Sultan Mosque

Rohaizad and I had Valentine's Day dinner in the Arab Quarters last night. It's a cool part of town, filled with narrow, winding lanes, rug shops and people lounging about smoking huge water pipes (I thought it was opium at first!).

While we were walking home we passed the Grand Sultan Mosque, so I took a few photos of it in the moonlight.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Reminders of Micronesia

Once in a while in the hustle of Singapore life, I am reminded of my days in the tranquil Pacific.

For example, two people have mailed letters with this stamp on it...

That's Guam! Agaña Bay to be exact (at least that's what it was called when I lived there 15 years ago). I used to run along Agaña Bay in the mornings!

My running has become much more intense since I've left Micronesia. I have a running partner, Yazid, who convinced me to run 24 kilometers yesterday. It was a great run around the eastern side of Singapore and past Changi Airport. I even saw the new Airbus - the largest passenger plane in the world!

Anyways, getting back to Micronesia, Rohaizad and I were walking around a few days ago and saw this woman...

She's wearing a muu muu! YEA!!!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A New Year

Rohaizad is so lucky to have his birthday fall during Chinese New Year. Four days off of work!

So this morning, we went out for a walk at Lower Pierce Reservoir.

Here are some monkeys in the park. Monkeys give me the creeps. Unlike squirrels, they don't seem to have the fear of humans that every woodland creature should possess. Also, I'm scarred from a bad monkey experience in Bali years ago.

Rohaizad on the hiking trail.

After hiking we had a birthday breakfast of roti prata ... our favorite!

Then we went to Rohaizad's family's house where he baked himself a birthday cake and we had birthday lunch with his kinfolk.

36 YEARS OLD ... YEA!!!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Hiking at Kent Ridge Park

Rohaizad and I went hiking at Kent Ridge Park this morning.

I always was the type to take the high road, and here is visual evidence as I walk along the canapy path.

Can you see the carniverous pitcher plants in this picture?

A few tropical flowers.

Rohaizad's hand with some flowers.

A turtle in the pond.

I would take these signs and hang them in my apartment if it weren't illegal.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Here is a photo of Woodleigh.

And another photo. Pretty little park, lah?

Well - surprise! - until a few years ago it was Bidadari Cemetery! The poor folks found that their "final resting place" wasn't so final when this sign appeared one day!

This is what the cemetery used to look like. As you can see, those dead folks were taking up too much space and that cannot be endured in a small country with a large population like this one.

One of my favorite parts of this story is that they've built a subway stop in the corner of the old cemetery. This subway stop has mysteriously never been opened. So when you are on the subway, you just ride right through the empty and darkened station. Yet riders have reported seeing people standing on the train platform! It's like the movie Poltergeist!

Amazing old grave markers ... I wonder where they all went?

Too Many Holidays on One Day

Today is the eve of Lunar New Year. Tonight is when families gather for feasting and beginning the celebration.

But today is also Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten fast.

So what are Chinese Catholics to do, feast or fast?

Well, apparently the Bishop of Singapore got permission from the Vatican to commemorate Ash Wednesday on Marti Gras Tuesday.

Then on Wednesday they can feast and celebrate New Year and continue the Lenten fasting on Thursday.

Many Chinese restaurants in the USA have placemats on which you can look up the year you were born and learn what animal represents that year on the Chinese calendar.

But if you were born in January of that year, you actually belong to the previous lunar year. The placemats are wrong! Someone has to expose this scandal! Geraldo, where are you?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Saturday Night Walk

Rohaizad and I hopped on the MRT yesterday evening. We got off at the Chinatown stop and walked home.

After we escaped the Chinatown pre-New Year shopping crowd, we meandered down to the Singapore River.

Here is the Merlion - Singapore's "mascot." He's half lion and half fish. Gotta feel sorry for the thing, during his transformation he lost his front claws, so he's a pretty helpless lion. Plus, the water must make his mane pretty rank. Even Starbucks seems to make him vomit.

Here is a view of the Esplanade Arts Center from across the Singapore River. Can you believe that ALL the buildings you see in this photo are built on reclaimed land? It's TRUE!

During the colonial days, this building was the post office. Now it's the Fullerton Hotel.

Rohaizad on the bridge crossing the Singapore River.

This is the Court House. But wait, is that a UFO landing on the roof? Yes, it is! Oh my stars!!!