Thursday, May 29, 2008

Singapore Sights 1 [09/03 - 31/05]

9th March 2008

A day after i returned to Singapore, I went to check out the Singapore Flyer which has just been opened. It is within easy walking distance from Marina Square shopping mall. The cost of the ride is around S$30 and takes approximately 30 minutes. I didn't actually go for it. For us Singaporeans, it is suffice to just ride it once in our lifetime and I'm in no hurry to experience it. The flyer looks good during the day but is mediocre at night - a dark blue glow just emit from the circumference of the ferris wheel. Even after the opening, it looks the same. A plus point to Earth-friendly but a minus to our tourists.

We were discussing the way to splunge S$1000 in just half a day here. First go for the Boeing Flight simulator for 1.5 hours. The flight simulator is at the base of the flyer. Thereafter go for the Flyer ride. And finally round it off with a grand stand seat in the Formula 1 race when it comes to Singapore in August.


15th March 2008

For those who remembered our social studies text in primary school, there is this one image of a large Buddha statue in a Singapore temple. We managed to locate it recently and it is the Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple at Race Course Road. There is a sleeping Buddha representation at the back of the main Buddha image.


Surrounding it at the base of the main image is the story of the Buddha depicted in these colourful sculptures. Here is a scene where the baby Buddha is borned.


24th April 2008

On this day we decided to check out a traditional push-cart dim-sum restaurant just off People's Park. It is S$15 on average per person. It is opened from 7am in the morning till 3pm in the afternoon. The crowd normally come in the morning (around 10am) or lunchtime at (12pm). We reached there at 11am where we are able to get a seat easily. As the images from my handphone camera is so-so, I decide not to put the images here.

After brunch, we left the restaurant, cross the road and came upon a traditional Chinese temple. It should be fairly easy for people to come upon it.

And we continue walking till we reach City Hall. Coincidentally, today is also the Peranakan Museum Open House. We decided to check it out. Here is one of the more famous furniture showcase in the museum, an altar of the Jesus family.


1st May

On this day I rendezvous with my BDS buddies and we on to check out a Peranakan buffet around Bugis. Thereafter proceed down to the MPH book sale that was going on in the Expo. The books there are cheap - $7 each. I don't have any plans of getting any books but I came upon a rare treasure. The Lamrim Volume 1 which cost $50 at the bookstores is only valued at $7 here. I just can't keep my hands off it. From there, we decide to explore the new Terminal 3 which is just a stop away. I have been here before, on the first day of the Chinese New Year this year during my trip to China. But I really like the open concept. My friend told me that a Taiwan TV programme mention that one of Singaporean favorite pasttime is to visit the airport. Well, that is quite true indeed. Families brought their children here as an outing. For dinner, we went on to the Bedok Blk 85 market for BBQ. This is my second BBQ for the week. (Actually I had 3 BBQ dinner within the space of a week, BBQ on the Tuesday at Bugis, BBQ on Thursday at Bedok and finally BBQ again on Saturday at Suntec :P)


17th May (Vesak at ABC)

I went down with YS to the large Amitabha Buddhist Centre (ABC) setup on the Saturday evening at 6.30pm. As it is still early, he brought me to the new ABC building directly opposite. It is very new, with the second floor dedicated to the holy relics and the third storey used for their lessons. Since I have not attended their Vesak evening celebrations before, I decided to go for it. The teachings start from 7pm and ended at 8.30pm. This is followed by a light procession where we walked 3 times round the large ABC tentage and eventually ending at the Mahabodhi miniature stupa.

19th May (Vesak at Geylang)

Generally, Singaporeans and our foreign friends visit Geylang for 3 purposes: 1) The food 2) The night life 3) The temples. It is Vesak day and Geylang is trimming with lots of people visiting temples.

I have arranged to meet up with FP and BT. It has been a while since I last saw BT and coincidentally FP also visit this temple during Vesak Day except the timing is somewhat off, so they always didn’t have a chance to see each other. This time round, I try to synchronize the timing. We will meet up at Mangala Vihara at 10.30am. The picture below is the famous Bodhi tree with the jade Buddha image from Myanmar in front. We are to light the incense, walk clockwise around it and strike a gong. Though I’m a staunch practicing Buddhist, it is sometimes fun just going along with the customs.

The next highlight of the day is lunch at Mangala Vihara. There is quite a queue to the lunch area but we managed to start at 12noon.


After lunch, I hang around FP house for a while. He got some cool Singapore documentaries to show. Next I went on to the Buddhist Library (BL) at 2pm to meet up with HS. It has also been a while since I last saw HS (a few years actually). With my frequent flying job, there are many people which I have to catch up with. The plan for the day is to just chill out and relax.

But along the way I decide to visit the ABC setup again in front of Aljunied MRT. The midday sun makes the Mahabodhi miniature setup glitters. Here is a photoshot of it.


There are many offerings contributed by the devotees as seen below. The most common types of offerings are the flowers and lights offerings.


After the tea session at one of the coffee shops, we went on to Fu Hai Temple. Like most Chinese temples, the main activity is bathing the Baby Buddha.


The temple is just next to a Hindu temple. Out of the world’s religions, Buddhism is one religion that is the most accommodating in the world. As can be seen in history, Buddhism has co-existed with Confucianism, Taoism in China; Shintoism in Japan; Bon in Tibet, Hinduism in India, Myanmar and Thailand. In Malaysia we can see the mutual respect the Buddhist and Muslims have for one another. And just today in the Straits Times, it is said a staunch Christian also impressed and influenced by Buddhist thinking, which has helped him in the uplifting of the mind and spirit.

One of the main reasons for this harmony is because there is no blind dogma or exclusivity that Buddhism subscribes to.