Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I have been planning to visit this place for a few years now but was unable to do so due to my frequent travels. This time round I finally have a chance to check out the place with FP. FP has been here twice before me.
We took a bus 70 from Paya Lebar MRT station towards Yio Chu Kang road. Kampong Buangkok is located along Gerald Drive, just a few stops northwards of Serangoon MRT station.
While walking down Gerald Drive, I noticed a few men fishing along the stream flowing through.
As we walked further down, the scene changes rapidly from a modernised developed Singapore into 50 years back in time. Here is a dog lazing in the afternoon sun.
An abandoned wheel along the road. You will not see this anywhere else in Singapore. It will disappear by the next day if it is placed there. (clear by the cleaners)
A large sign pointing towards Kampong Lorong Buangkok. Noticed a old unused trishaw at the side.
All the sounds of traffics and people disappear instantly, replaced by the tranquility and humming sounds of insects. A gentle breeze blow through as we walked into the kampong.
Here is a typical kampong house consisting of aluminium and woods.
A canal with vegetations spread all over it.
This is quite a cool place to chill out in the afternoon sun.
There are beautiful flowers planted by the residents.
Notice the large banana tree by the side of the road.
We walked across a make-shift bridge.
To an even more quiet section of the village.
Lorong Buang Kok, belonging to district 1954. This is the old postal convention for our Singapore district. The wooded wind chimes swinging in the wind gives a very calming feel.
Bricks stack up on one another. Sometimes things are imperfect and beauty can be found from it.
I noticed FP taking this amazing photo, so I just follow along. Strings holding on to a lamp-post.
Hibiscus flower, the national flower of Malaysia.
A small mosque in the village.
After Kampong Buangkok, we went down to Serangoon MRT station and took the train down to Little India.
We walked through Little India and past the flea market in the Desker Road area.
Thereafter we proceeded down to Chinatown and towards the Central Business District. There is this old house preserved in the area.
When it rains, water falls down into the courtyard.
There is this other temple right in the middle of the business district. It is famous for its spiraling incense.
An art tower right in the middle of the financial district.
This is the old Clifford Pier.
The interior of the old Clifford Pier.
From there, we can catch sight of the Integrated Resort in construction at the Marina Bay area.
26th December (Friday) – Chilli Crab Dinner
On this evening, Brother David brought me to this off the beaten track coffeeshop at Casuarina Road (just off the northern end of Upper Thomson Road). This is a private landed residential area but there is quite a sizeable crowd indulging in the culinery delights. We ordered chilli crabs, chicken wings and vegetables. This is my second chill crab indulgence in a month.
27th December (Saturday) –
On Saturday evenings, it is normally exercise (jogging) day. I brought my camera with me on this day so I can capture the sights that I see weekly. The final destination for the 4km run is Bedok Jetty down below.
The sea, the sky and the beach is especially beautiful on this day.
When looking out into the vast open sea, you can different gradient of reflective light cast by the sun. You can click to have a larger view of it. Notice only a small patch brightens up as the clouds gradually depart. Slowly as time goes by, the brightness spreads up and eventually reaches our side.
The tide is high but beach-goers can still venture out into the sea onto the rocky wave protectors out at sea. You can also click on the photo below for a larger view of it.
Normally after our run, we will proceed for dinner at East Coast Park hawker centre. It is only a 5mins walk from the Bedok Jetty.
Our regular diet is Fried Hokkien Mee and Coconut Juice. (Hopefully our calories burnt will not be recovered as fast with this meal)
Just next to the hawker centre is a ski park.
The sun has set, leaving a streak of red across some parts of the sky. Notice the many ships anchored off the Singapore coastline.
30th December (Tuesday) – Golf and Pepper Crab Dinner
This morning, we decided to go Golfing. It has been a few years since I hit the driving range. This is a new driving range around the Tanjong Rhu area.
The day is great for golf.
Here I am getting ready for the swing.
And off it goes!
This is my proficiency certificate which I took a few years back. It will allow me to go down to the greens for a few pars.
In the evening, we brought baby bryan down to the beach just opposite our house. It is the first time he is in contact with sand and wants to get out of it fast.
Long Beach Seafood is directly opposite our house and it has also been a few years since we had dinner there. We ordered a few dishes and the highlight is black pepper crab. This is my third crab cuisine for this month.
1st January (Thursday) – Happy New Year
It is new year day. I am pleasantly surprised to receive mail on this day. It is by Nakagawa-san. I found out it is a tradition in Japan to send greeting cards to friends.
9th January (Friday) – Chill Out
This day we just chilled out around the Bugis area. While hanging around one of the drinks stall, I noticed the new National Library building and just took a quick snap of it.
10th January (Saturday) – Yoga
On Saturday mornings, it is Yoga lessons at Mangala Vihara (just off Eunos MRT station). It is time to get myself back into shape.
22nd January (Thursday) - Japanese Steamboat
I seems to have steamboat almost everyweek. From korean steamboat, chinese steamboat, seafood steamboat and today is japanese steamboat.
24th January (Saturday) - Chinatown
Chinese New Year is just round the corner and it wouldn't be complete with a walk down chinatown. Visitors to Chinatown are normally stuck in there as the shopping lanes are very narrow. So this is the jam season of the year.
25th January (Sunday) - Reunion Dinner
This year is special in that we will be having our reunion dinner in the restaurant instead of at home. We have it at Roland restaurant at Parkway Parade.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
1st January (Thursday)
It is New Year's day and WG suggested that we pay a visit to a temple we have not visited for many years. It is Bao En Si (报恩寺) along Chwee Chien road, just off Pasir Panjang road. This is a very peaceful temple and the temple's caretaker - Mr Lee, is very friendly.
The temple is currently under renovation and will be completed by end of the year. A number of its rooms are completed and it is already open up for visitors to visit and participate in its activities. This is the new main hall with a pagoda at the top.
Though the main shrine area is slightly enclosed, but we still managed to find our way in. The back of the temple overlook Bukit Chandu (Kent Ridge Park). While we were there snapping away our photos, Mr Lee came in with a few visitors. He asked us whether would we like to join in for his introduction on the history of this area. We happily agreed to it.
He began by telling about the story of Bukit Chandu. We have heard the WWII story before. But we were taken aback by another story, the story of Bukit Chandu under the British rule. Bukit Chandu is a malay word for Opium Hill. Throughout his story, it really raise a few important questions that we missed out previously. Why were young Malay soldiers recruited to fight the war for the British after only 2 weeks of training? Why did the Japanese invaded down Southeast Asia after a 30 years break from their last battle? The history books did not answer these questions and Mr Lee explained to us the reasons behind it. I shared with a few of my close friends what Mr Lee shared with us. It is really quite revelationary.
Mr Lee brought us to a section of the temple still under renovation. There is this small area enclosed by fence and he mentioned that while the temple is undergoing upgrading, the workers came upon this rock-solid structure. He inquired with the National Heritage Board and found out it is actually a Gun Turret base. The National Heritage Board let Mr Lee decide whether he wish to remove it, buried it or keep it. Mr Lee opted to preserve it and to share it with the future generations. This temple is very environmentally and elder friendly. Visitors to this temple should check out how they go about doing it.
It started raining heavily shortly after and we have to take refuge in the temple. We proceeded to the dining hall and started chatting. It is really a fascinating discussion we have for the next 1 hour or so. Two of the visitors are on a short visit from Australia. We discussed on many things, ranging from topics on the economy, Buddhism, the coffin experience in Thailand, history of Singapore and so on. It's been a while since we last had such a meaningful and fruitful sharing. (The last time was last year during Pa Auk's retreat). It is perfect when we have people coming from different age groups and coming together discussing on matters of life.
There are many cats in the temple. Here is Mr Lee carrying this cat. The cat is very close to Mr Lee and will follow him around wherever we went.
We bid a farewell to the temple. But we know we will be coming back in the future again. Thank you Mr Lee for your sharing.
4th January (Sunday)
Singapore's Southern Ridge is officially opened last year. I have been looking forward to visit it since I read it on the newspapers while overseas. This time round I finally have the chance. Sunday is normally a family day for me. But my family will be away during this day, so I have the chance to arrange with FP on the adventure to the Southern Ridge. I rendezvous at his house at 12pm. After lunch, we took a bus down to Pasir Panjang road. We begin our adventure at 2.30pm from Pepys Road. The entire Southern Ridge journey consists of many hills to climb, so we have to be physically ready for it.
From Pepys, we begin our way up to the top of the hill. Winding through the hills, we finally arrived at the Reflections at Bukit Chandu. This is a house dedicated to the Malay soldiers that fought and died during World War II.
Here is a model of the soldiers manning a mortar.
From the side of the Reflections at Bukit Chandu, it connects directly to the Canopy Walkway. This is actually a raised wooded pathway along Kent Ridge park, allowing visitors to have a panoromic view of the area.
There are clear direction signs along the way so visitors will not get lost throughout the entire journey. This is our starting compass. From Canopy Walk, we will be proceeding to Hort Park.
The route to the Hort Park meanders through the hills down. If you have a good pair of shoes, you can just bash down the hills. I come equipped with my simple slippers, but it is of no problem bashing down too.
The HortPark has several glasshouses containing plants from all over the world. We have this temperate glasshouse kept in well regulated temperature and humidity, allowing flowers to bloom all year round.
Beyond the glasshouses, we walked through the Hort Park.
The kids will love it here. It has many playgrounds and below we have figurines from the Wizard of Oz.
A little Dino park.
Pavilions with different themes also lined the entire stretch of Hort Park. Visitors can just sit back and enjoy the peace in this area.
At the end of Hort Park, there are also opportunities for fine dining just next to a quiet pool of water. We took a short isotonic break here.
I went to check out this circular flight of stairs leading down and came back up again.
From Hort Park, we were led directly to the next area, the Alexandra Arch. This bridge is tall and spans across a fast traffic road.
From the Alexandra Arch, we begin our next segment of journey at the Forest Walk, which stretches the entire area of Telok Blangah Hill Park. Some of the walkways are perched very high off the ground. If you were to look from the side or just look through the holes, you will realise it is really high up.
It is a straight road ahead.
While walking down the lane, we noticed this no-traffic straight road with zig-zag lines by the side. To those who are new to Singapore's traffic rules, zig-zag lines mean no stopping.
There are many park visitors trying out the Forest Walk too.
The highest point of Telok Blangah Hill Park is the Terrace Garden. This place is really a great spot for photo-taking. I'm actually quite surprised such a place exist.
After reaching the hilltop, we took a short break at one of bench. Savouring the moment.
Here I am posing at one of the edge.
Towards the end of Telok Blangah park, we noticed more pavilions along the way.
Here is the entire map starting from Reflections at Bukit Chandu at the right hand side to our final destination at Vivo City at the left hand side. We are more than 50% past and is approaching Henderson Waves.
Henderson Waves is actually a very high-levelled pedestrian bridge. There is a mark on the bridge wood indicating it is 77.88m above sea level (20 storeys high). It spans across Henderson Road.
Henderson Waves is named for its wavy design.
Here is Henderson road, check out its height. It's even taller than the surrounding residential flats.
It is also a great place for visitors to rest and chill out. You are closer to the sky over here than the anywhere else in the vicinity.
We arrived at Mount Faber Park. It is another uphill climb to the top. Along the way, we caught sight of the Singapore's city skyline and residential areas.
At the top of Mt Faber park is our Singapore icon, the Merlion. This one is not spraying water.
We can also catch sight of the cable car and Sentosa island in the backdrop.
While walking down Mt Faber hill, we saw some beautiful flowers along the walkway.
The final part of the journey is along Marang Trail which just leads downhill through a forested path towards Marang Road. Once there, we can see Vivo City. It is 5.30pm when we completed the entire journey. So the Southern Ridge walk at a normal pace is 3 hours in all. It feels good to be back in air-conditioned shopping area after a vigorous outdoor trek.