Archive for October, 2006

Where have all the crowds gone?

Its been weird today. The hustle and bustle of Orchard Road on a weekend has died down considerably, most prominent is the lack of crowds at the various road shows all over the strip.

Can’t be the haze, we’ve been having PSI below 100. So I suppose the other thing killing the crowds would be Vivocity. I’m sticking to my guns and waiting 1 more month before I really go there and check it out in peace.

Its been interesting seeing the fast food restuarants not packed to the brim during dinner time.

A little taste of China

little taste of china

Originally uploaded by Liangcai.

Believe it or not, this was taken at the new Vivocity’s chinese themed foodcourt. The way the place was designed totally felt as if I were transported to Taiwan or even China. No details are spared, from the weathered exit doors to the wooden flooring tiles and the tiled roofs, everything just helps you to feel a temporal sense of relocation to someplace else rather than Singapore. It’s so real that it even simulates rain indoors!

No wait. That’s just the aircon ducts leaking.

Heeelp! we are under attack!

Attack of the killer dinosaurs

Originally uploaded by Liangcai.

Killer dinosaus with lasers in their eyes are approaching! Take cover!

Just kidding.

Those were steel cranes from the industrial islands taken somewhere near Harbourfront. The creepy mist that you see is the effect of the night haze.

Because talking about the haze is so passé

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the National Library lately — not to deliberately avoid the haze, but the timing has turned out to be quite fortuitous. My research work aside, the library has turned out to be quite the hive of activity lately. It’s not all about books these days.

Pasar malams

Night markets or pasar malams have been a fixture of my youth with them springing up once every few months.

Back then, there wasn’t really a trend with regards to the main fixture of products sold other than the usual variety of pirated goods, good food and a relatively good time spent with the family.

Then came the age of pirated software and CDs. That was when these night markets existed for the entertainment of the visitors with regards to games, music and video. Those were the good old days until the law started cracking down on piracy.

Now, with nothing else left to sell, we’re turning to the only other free commodity which is food. Hence, multitudes of Ramly Burger stalls.

So, what’s next in this cultural revolution of our pasar malams?

Pick up a car on your way out of school

It seems like the university is finding constant events to fully utilise the usually empty forum area which is located just at the roadsides. So it came as no surprise when I came to school this morning to find a Suzuki Car Roadshow going on. What a better way to market your cars when you can directly appeal to the students themselves.

I’m sorry I don’t have pictures for this one, but more next time!

These are the people in your neighbourhood

The HDB estates where most people in Singapore live are often characterised as the “heartlands”, thanks in no small part to Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong’s characterisation of the alleged “cosmopolitan-heartlander” dichotomy in 1999 (see background at Jeff’s Blog). “Heartlander” has become shorthand for the “real” or “average” Singaporean: typically Chinese, Malay, Indian, Eurasian or perhaps “Other”; middle-class or lower; holding certain allegedly conservative values.

Well, let me tell you — not in my neighbourhood.

Shoes are the right choice on campus

So I was heading to class this morning when I walked past this nice friendly man who was passing flyers. Naturally I politely refused to get one, except that this time, instead of holding onto the flyer, the man actually insisted in a “polite” tone I should get one.

Right from student services comes a campaign to get students to wear shoes instead of slippers. It is a desperate attempt considering that a huge portion of the student population actually wears slippers to classes. That and also the fact that their convincing argument is that shoes would look nice on the students.

Its admirable that the school is adamant about its image, but it does not go without saying that it is fighting a losing battle. Even universities nowadays don’t really enforce this no slippers rule. Especially in hot Singapore, slippers, shorts and T-shirts seem a more logical choice for students as they want to be comfortable when they are studying.

Good effort, but a reality check is needed for a more effective compromise.

Birdwatching, Singapore-style

Birdwatching, Singapore-style It’s not every day that you see a little local wildlife on the tenth floor of a HDB block. It was the middle of the afternoon on Sunday when I saw these two pretty little birds contemplating the woefully haze-filled sky from their shady perch.

For once, I wished I knew enough about local birds to figure out what these were. The only other birds that I usually see in my neighbourhood are the evil-looking crows that haunt the walkway to the MRT station and the odd white heron that prowls the longkang (big drain) for prey after the thunderstorm water levels have fallen. I can also recognise mynahs and sparrows, but that’s about as far as my birdwatching skills go.

Anyway, even though my picture-taking didn’t bother them, these little birds soared off after a couple of minutes. Places to be, insects to eat and cleaner air to breathe, no doubt.

Sing Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh

So I went to watch the Singapore Lyric Opera’s production of Opera on Silver Screen (sic) the other night, trying to have a nice weekend evening out despite the wholehearted attempts by certain foreign elements to choke the life out of our businesses by blowing ridiculous amounts of smoke in our country’s direction.

But no matter, the focus was on enjoying some light opera classics, a selection of the best and most digestible pieces – sort of like a box of assorted gourmet chocolates (of which the poster certainly reminded one).

It was interesting to note that while one of my friends (whose art appreciation was matured in the incubator that is London) was quite horrified at the quality of the production, the bro and I thought that it was a fairly brave attempt.

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