Category Archives: Singapore

It’s the season!

The weather is hot hot hot. I’m not kidding when I say it’s hot. It’s hot even when it rained buckets this afternoon, displacing all the hot air onto me (after all, this is a blog about me), engulfing me in a stream of sauna hotness. My English teacher (who taught me a lot) would have shuddered with the repeated use of the word ‘hot’. And the whining.

But the heat and sudden rain has prompted a wonderful blooming season. These are days for cyclinng outdoors, to get sun-burned, be invigorated by fresh air, be surprised by nature, be enticed by its beasts and floras…

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Love these yellow saraca! I saw some budding ones a week ago near my home. Today we cycled along Ulu Pandan park connector and all these beauties were blooming! Yay! Plenty of egrets and kingfishers along the waterways too. Alas, birds don’t pose for phone cameras.

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Later in the afternoon, in an art class, the lady next to me was painting these yellow saraca! Talk about coincidence. We both marvelled at our find.

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Sundays are made of these meandering explorations. Yes it’s swelteringly – there comes the word a again – hot. But since you are already out and about, almost sun-burnt, you might as well just continue and keep on exploring.

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Till next weekend!

Herbie & friends

Many years ago I started getting hooked on the likes of Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson and Dave Brubeck when none of my friends were. Even then I didn’t get to step into a jazz club until I was 20… my first was Reduta in Prague!

Later on when I started having a little bit of savings, I wondered if I could ever treat myself to such a luxury trip to fly to Canada just to watch the Montreal Jazz Festival. Maybe catch Oscar perform acrobatics on the piano (he then passed away a few years after my first such musing). As much as I like travelling and music, flying overseas just to catch concerts just seemed a bit excessive.

Over the years the Singapore arts and entertainment scene has really elevated (overhyped? internationalised?) itself to bringing in superstar names. At what cost? Humble me don’t quite know. But I’m not complaining this time, because lo and behold, Herbie Hancock was invited to Singapore for the Mosaic festival. Performing with him tonight were the superb Vinnie Colaiuta, James Genus and Lionel Loueke. Loueke was a surprise to me and the segment with African folk themes was a delight. Overall the concert was just ultra ultra ultra cool. And hot hot hot at the same time. Does this make sense?

That it happened here is just too good to be true. And I didn’t have to buy a plane ticket just to watch it!

Prelude to a thunderstorm

This building is one of my favourite skyscrapers in Singapore. UOB Plaza 1 and 2 (right and left), on the Singapore river bank.  Each tower has an octagonal base with a geometric patterned shaft. The cross section is an eight-point star which is commonly used in Islamic art; on Fridays the faithfuls gather for prayers in the mosque in the basement.

Octagonal base, eight-point star, underground mosque. Coincidence?

This photo was taken tonight, the air pregnant with moisture. Prelude to a thunderstorm.

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Mass ride

Crawled out of bed at 5am, ate and set off to the F1 pit stop for the annual mass bike ride in Singapore sponsored by a local bank.  I have wanted to do this since the event started some years ago but had always been taken away by travels. So finally I decided to sign up last year which is waaaaaay in advance so that way I’m committed to do it (which means my holiday plans have been postponed till tomorrow).

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It’s a massive planning exercise for the organisers since the route takes us from the F1 Pit Stop, Marina Bay Sands, Sheare Bridge, Tanjung Rhu Flyover to ECP and back. This year more than 10,000 cyclists took part. The truth is one can cycle 40km or more at any time. But at no other time can you cycle on closed roads leading up to the magnificent Sheares bridge with a 360 degree view of the Singapore city skyline and rolling down at great speed onto the expressway.

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Bike Sunday

Gone are the cool months of rain. Since the lunar new year, it’s been sweltering hot. But the upside is unadulterated sunshine and plenty of reasons to go for a ride!

Because blue skies, fluffy white clouds and the love for the wind on two wheels open up the heart just a bit more.

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Near Sungai Serangoon

25km into the ride I had a flat with no spare tube on hand. Though this isn’t a bad place to end the ride. Don’t these coconut trees look like lanky ladies with crazy winds sweeping through their hair?

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Pasir Ris Park. The sea separates Singapore and Malaysia.