Monday, March 31, 2008

Installation Art by Rohaizad

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Hike through the Singapore Botnical Gardens

Rohaizad and I took a hike through the Botnical Gardens today. Here he is standing beside Swan Lake. Corny name.

Now Rohaizad is looking up at some long, stringy flowers!

I took a picture of a butterfly on a flower!

And a bee on a similar flower!

By the way, the name of this flower is Bangkal, or maybe that's the name of the tree it grows on, I don't know. The Latin name is Nauclea Orientalis. It can be found in Australia, from Burma to South China, Java, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. So if you're looking for a Bangkal, look there. Okay?

More Botnical Garden Photos

I'm disappointed that this photo doesn't allow you to read the little marker in front of this tree. This rotted out hulk being held up by ropes and two-by-fours is called "The Pride of Singapore"!

Rohaizad and I standing by Eco Lake.

Not only did the sign fail to convince this family not to feed the pidgeons, they continued proudly doing it as the strangers on the right took their photos.

A strange palm tree.

Even MORE Botnical Garden Photos

Black Swans swimming across Eco Lake. I am so tempted to make some comments about the patheticness of the name "Eco Lake" and how naming a lake after ecology is pretty lame for a man-made lake, but I'll spare you my opinions.

Turtles under the Eco Lake foot-bridge.

After our hike we pigged-out at the halal Australian restaurant in Bukit Timah. Burp.

Yes, I know I spelled "botanical" wrong on these postings. It was an homage to a friend of ours in Micronesia who always pronounced it "botnical."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Many Faces of M-Ro

You can't see it very clearly, but the people sitting at the table behind us at this Banquet Food Court were counting huge stacks of bills.

Rohaizad is hard at work grading his students' theatrical presentations.

The R-Man grabbed a pair of my shorts the other day and did this delightful pose for me - and now for the rest of the world!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

Yesterday was a holiday, so Rohaizad and I went out to lunch with our friend William. He showed us this Italian place in a hawker's center out in Bukit Merah ... amazing! Here Rohaizad and I are preparing to eat lasagna and spaghetti. We brought our own wine; you can't get wine at a hawker's center.

William works at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, so he took me on a tour of the temple after lunch. This is a beautiful mandala made by the nuns out of sand.

This statue of Buddha is carved out of one enormous piece of wood.

Surrounding the huge Buddha statue are 100 Buddhas. Here are a few of them. Each one is hand-made and unique.

In addition to the pure gold stuppa where the tooth relic is kept (behind bullet-proof glass), William showed me relics of Buddha's blood, brain, liver, bones and other assorted body parts. If these relics are venerated, they will multiply. Then they are shared with other temples in the world. If they are not venerated, they vanish.

I spent some time in the museum which has dozens of beautiful Buddha carvings and took a couple of spins around the world's largest prayer wheel. There is a lovely garden on the roof of the temple and this flower here is the Buddha Tooth Relic Orchid and can only be found in this temple - no where else in the world!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Last night Rohaizad and I went to the Turkish Short-Film Festival. So depressing! They should change the name of the capital to "SlitYourWristanbul"!

The danger of partaking in artistic outings like that is that I re-enter the world fancying myself an artist.

Last night I drenched the statue of Sir Stanford Raffles in my creative juices. These photos all have deep, deep artistic significance to me. I hope they change your life, too.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Things in the Road

This massive spool-like thing appeared on the street below our apartment a few nights ago.

Then, a few minutes later, ANOTHER giant spool arrived!

What in the world?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Walking around on a Sunday

Rohaizad and I took a walk around today. We took some photos, too.

A bird at the food court.

A sign over the urinal.


A run-down building in the middle of the upscale section of Mohamed Sultan Road.

A temple built in 1836 is in the process of improvement, but you can still see one lion standing guard.

Alkaff Pedestrian Bridge across the Singapore River.

When Rohaizad was a child, his grandmother lived in a kampong where the building on the left is now. It used to be an island, Pulau Saigon. Times sure have changed.

This part of the Singapore River used to be hugely commercial. A few warehouses, like this one, still remain, but now they are used as upscale clubs, restaurants and apartments. The bumboats still ply the river, too, but now they carry sightseers.

Drying mops.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Nice Saturday

It is possible to survive in Singapore with your sanity intact if you get away from it all occasionally.

Living in Singapore is similar to walking down the cereal aisle at the supermarket. There are thousands and thousands of cereal box shaped apartment blocks across the island. In order to give each community a distinctive look, the blocks are painted different colors. So when you walk around, it is as if you are walking through the giant Fruit Loop section, or the massive Raisin Nut Bran shelf.

Furthermore, construction and destruction are everywhere! You can't walk down a street for five minutes without seeing a building coming down or going up. Streets are constantly being torn up and re-paved. Sometimes I want to walk up to the men with the jackhammer and plead, "give the street a break, it was only paved last week!"

These things really increase the stress level. But I have found my oasis of escape at MacRitchie Reservoir Park.

Today I took the bus there and went for a run. MacRitchie Park is remarkably similar to the state parks in Michigan where I grew up. Beautiful, cool, shady paths and wooden walk-ways surrounded by huge trees, birds and monkeys. Okay, there were no monkeys in Michigan's state parks if you don't count my younger brother (kidding!).

Running around the lake is 11 kilometers. When I got to the far side of the lake, there were army troops stationed every 50 meters or so. They were obviously looking for Mas Selamat Kastari. But there is nothing like a machine gun to give you that extra kick when you're running!

Speaking of Mas Selamat Kastari, did you see the article about his escape in the New York Times yesterday? The title of the article was "Escapee Eludes Search Party of Four Million." It was a pretty funny article. Singapore has really kicked up the juice on their hunt for him. He now has spankin' new, glossy posters at every bus stop written in English, Tamil, Malay and Chinese. So glamorous!

When I finished my run, I was stretching in a pavilion beside the lake. As I was stretching, I was yearning for a place to get food. My eyes wandered up the hill behind me and - whuddayaknow? - a food court! It was like heaven! I sat there for about 45 minutes drinking ice tea, eating a chicken pie and reading my book while watching the huge fluffy clouds float over the lake and feeling exquisite breezes.

But the best thing of all was that I could hear no construction and see no apartment blocks. I can now face another week.

Friday, March 14, 2008

More Than Just a Room

I pass this sign on the bus a couple of times a week.

I want to rent it just because its so fun to say!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

He's Everywhere (and Nowhere)!

This is the most common photo in Singapore:

It appears on posters in buses, subways, parks and office buildings. It can be seen daily on TV and has been sent to every cell phone in the nation.

Who is he?

This is Mas Selamat Kastari, a convicted terrorist who escaped from jail last week here in Singapore!

How has he managed to hide out for so long in such a small country? Or did he swim over to Malaysia? In the mornings when I go running, I always wonder if he's going to jump out of the bushes and grab me.

Keep your eyes peeled!

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Day in Indonesia

Last Saturday Rohaizad and I took the ferry to Batam, Indonesia. The National Pastime in Batam appears to be honking the horn on your car, usually for no reason whatsoever.

Another mysterious thing was this hand-made sign hanging on a tree. What on earth could it mean?

The signs on the bus stops were written in three languages: "Halte" is Dutch for "stop", "bus" is English, and "kota" is Bahasa for "city". City Bus Stop.

Most of our time was spent lounging in eating establishments, like this one.

Singapore in the distance while approaching from the sea.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Frosty's Spring Break

Striking fear into all Singaporeans, Giant Frosty has marched into the tropics!

He even went on a diet so he would look slim in his tighty whities.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Snapshots of Life

Whoa, it's been a while since I've updated Mr. Blog. You know what it's like in Singapore: Livin' la vida Stressful!

So here are some photos taken around our fine city:

This is an old movie theater in Chinatown.

This is the memorial to the civilian victims of World War II in Singapore. I took this picture while standing underneath the monument and pointing the camera straight up.