Monthly Archives: July 2014

Unsuccessful attempt to rock climb, ice skate and bowl …

An eventful long weekend, but an unsuccessful attempt to rock climb, ice skate and bowl!

Yesterday (Monday 28 Jul, Hari Raya Puasa), we tried again to go rock climbing at the Kallang Wave@Sportshub, after our first unsuccessful outing there two days earlier. On Saturday, it was too crowded due to the free climbs offered every weekend, till 17 Aug, and we reckoned it was not worth joining the queue just to climb up a wall once. After making some enquiries, we left to have an early dinner before going to Gardens by the Bay East to catch the fireworks (the last NE Show for P5s was on at the floating platform that evening).

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So, we decided to go again on Monday. After lunch at the pizza place, which was practically the only place to eat without waiting to get a seat (and very slow service for fast food as there were only two people manning it), we attempted to climb but again, it was too crowded and they had closed the registration (reason: so the climbing experience would be better for all) and suggested we come back two hours later when hopefully the crowd would thin out.

In the meantime, I went for a swim at the OCBC aquatic centre  training pool and managed to do 6 laps (free public swimming 10 am to 2 pm, and 8 pm to 10 pm, when no events are held there, also until 17 Aug); the 3 girls were supposed to swim too but never made it due to “logistics” (training pool shower and changing area was really tiny, and the little time available to swim of about 15 min made it not feasible for them to take the plunge).
(TIP – the competition pool changing room is the place to go; many lockers and showers and big changing area there).

After taking the opportunity to view the pool from the specs stand (open only during free swimming times) and bumping into my ex-student from 20 years ago (Royston and family),

The competition pool at the OCBC Aquatic Centre

The competition pool at the OCBC Aquatic Centre

and viewing the inside of the National Stadium, we made our way back to the rock wall@Kallang Wave.

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An even longer queue had formed!!

Time to abandon plan A rock climbing, and try Plan B: either bowling or ice skating at Kallang Leisure Park. Making our way there, we found out that the ice skating place was closed for renovation! Ok, try bowling – all lanes full and waiting list had 9 groups ahead of us!

We had drinks and ice-cream waffle at New York New York to end our outing on a “high” note … and went home to sleep!

Next time we go will be on a weekday when the girls have a short day in school … then the crowd is like this 🙂

Rock wall inside the Kallang Wave, that we did not manage to climb after two visits!

Rock wall inside the Kallang Wave, the retail mall

 

 

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Sunflowers …BUT not Vincent van Gogh

Sunflowers … BUT not Vincent van Gogh

haha, like I mentioned in an earlier post, must really work on the calligraphy!!

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(the teacher saw this and immediately commented “when did you change your name to hong2 (his surname; apparently the two words after xiang yang refer to his name/is related to his family name but exactly how/why I am still trying to figure out – see teacher’s original inscription below:

the teacher's words that I wrote on my own work, not realising its full meaning!

the teacher’s words that I wrote on my own work, not realising its full meaning!

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Latest pottery works …

Mr Vincent Lim, our pottery instructor, took these photos of what we did and must say they look pretty good!

The two holes in the piece below was actually very time consuming to make, which was why it took more than 2 sessions of the class to do it. The “cracker” glaze effect was done by Mr Lim (glazing is a distinctive “field” of knowledge/skill, separate from the actual making of the shape) after I supplied the initial base colours.

One of the more difficult pieces that I made (took more 2 and a half lessons)

One of the more difficult pieces that I made (took more 2 and a half lessons)

Normally not the kind of colours that I use - the red and orange; turned out quite well in the end!

Normally not the kind of colours that I use – the red and orange; turned out quite well in the end!

Most of these have the centre band done with a special "iron filings" glaze to give a rust effect!

Most of these have the centre band done with a special “iron filings” glaze to give a rust effect!

More of the works done by the class (comprising the 4 "advance" students, and 6 or so beginners)

More of the works done by the class (comprising the 4 “advance” students, and 7 beginners (because there are 7 owls))

I also went to Arab Street to shop for suitable cloth to use as the backdrop to take my own photos, and bought 4 different colours of cotton cloth. Will see if it works to make the pottery pieces stand out when I have the time to set up the “studio” (apparently may not as need special type of cloth that does not reflect light – like velvety kind!).

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Three landscapes and white lilies

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Sooner or later, gotta confront my “bad” chinese  …  got this book of poems meant to accompany certain scenes in Chinese Ink Painting, but can probably read less than 30% of the words, much less understand the meaning of the poem, haha!!

 

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A lizard’s eye view …

A Lizard’s eye view …

One seldom hears or talks about a lizard’s eye view, and it was my good fortune (and the lizard’s misfortune) to be able to capture a macro view of its eye 2 days ago …

so near and yet so far ... both are caught on the board that is meant to be a rat trap!

so near and yet so far … both are caught on the board that is meant to be a rat trap!

 

Here’s how it all happened: for some reason, there has been a couple of rat sightings in the kitchen area for a while now at night.  One theory is that the MRT works for the Thomson line is causing this “phenomenon” (of more frequent rat sightings); the problem is not uncommon, as the sale of glue boards and other rat catching devices like cages has spiked lately (how do I know? well, they get out of stock  quite often at the shops selling them, and some price hikes have been seen – supply less than demand!).

Anyway, after the last rat was caught like 2 weeks back, and another rat got “de-furred” when it escaped leaving its fur on the board, there has been no other rat sightings. The trap now seems to be catching the occasional insect (moth, ant, cockroach) or lizard passing by the oven, for this is where the board is placed.

So, on Sunday morning, I took the opportunity to capture “a lizard’s eye view” using the macro lens … reminds me a bit of the “Eye of Sauron” in LOTR!!

A close look at a lizard eye ...

A close look at a lizard eye …

 

Eye of Sauron, Lord of the Rings

Eye of Sauron, Lord of the Rings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

with the moth in focus ..

with the moth in focus ..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeing eye to eye ...

Seeing eye to eye …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Probably lay off the rat glue board for a while now (until the next rat sighting) … don’t want to harm lizards unnecessarily 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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Activities@SportsHub …

Some freebies for this month and 50% off lunch on weekdays …

Spent a couple of hours at the Sports Hub  (since no teaching duties on yesterday, for my current stint of relief teaching).

First stop was the OCBC Aquatic Centre .. (free swimming till end of July, 10am-2pm, 8pm to 10pm, except on days when there are events, check on the sports hub website first..). After 10 quick laps, I could not stay in the pool any more or risk getting hypothermia! On getting out, I remarked on how cold the water was to a lifeguard and learnt an interesting thing: the water in competition pools is cold to conform to international competition pool standards (wikipaedia”For swimming in both standard competition and the Olympics, FINA mandates a water temperature of between 25 to 28 degrees C”). Apparently, this aids in getting the muscles to generate more “explosive” power when they do their work (as cold muscles contract more means they tighten up more, so are released with more force??). The training pool water was warm in contrast, and I did a few more laps before hunger started to take over … (btw, lockers are provided free of charge in the changing room, which one has to enter to get access to either of the two pools).

The competition pool at the OCBC Aquatic Centre

The competition pool at the OCBC Aquatic Centre

Lunch was next – not a lot of food outlets were already in operation, but there’s pizza, a coffee joint, clay pot place, a noodle place (these last two are the main lunch places, it seems, for now).

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AOne Claypot House … 50% off for lunch on weekdays, a pretty good deal!

"heng zai" porridge ... perfect after a swim in cold waters, from AOne Claypot

“heng zai” porridge … perfect after a swim in cold waters, from AOne Claypot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was lucky to go into AOne Claypot House just before the lunch time crowd (around 12 +), and quickly ordered the first thing on flipping the menu. The “heng zai” porridge was yummy and great value at 50% off (so, like $5 when normally its $9:90, good for 4 servings from the clay pot to the smaller bowl). However, as is the case in most new places, the staff may not have fully gotten their act together and some minor hiccups may occur (like, not being very sure which table no. is which … ,  give wrong type of chilli, takeaway order became eat-in were some of the things that happened to the table beside mine).

TIp: Make sure go before 12 to beat the queue, have cash (thought I saw a sign saying “cash only”), and go soon to make use of 50% off on weekdays promotion now on.

Other things (free mostly and worthwhile to check out perhaps one of these weekends?) –

  • free rock climbing on weekends

    free rock climbing on weekends

    Rock wall inside the Kallang Wave, the retail mall

    Rock wall inside the Kallang Wave, the retail mall

 

 

top of the list is free rock climbing! something I would highly recommend for those with a fear of heights, or with kids who are “garang” enough (it is actually very safe!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • World Cup (what is left of it … ) – free screening on big screen
    big screen for the world cup (finals and 3rd 4th placing ....)

    big screen for the world cup (finals and 3rd 4th placing ….)

     

 

 

  •  Other free stuff happening over the next few weekends (but many already fully booked, unfortunately ) as shown in these two “free events schedule” shots: all the stuff for younger kids are FULL, but slots still left for above 50 and 13-18 yrs old …
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    calendar of free events …

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    calendar of free events …

     

 

Finally ended up with a quick look around the library; its good for those interested in sports/health related kind of stuff as it is a “specialised” kind of library …

 

 

With this second visit to the sports hub, and finding out more of what is available there, am sure that I’ll be back again soon!!

 

 

 

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The REPLY (from MOE, about the $5 …)

The REPLY (from MOE, about the $5 …)

The Letter from MOE ...

The Letter from MOE …

Well, I tried to see if I could get “waiver” by sending an email to MOE about how “petty” this seems to me.

After 10 days, I got this email reply about the $5 that MOE apparently overpaid me in 2010 for my CONNECT Plan top-up:

Dear Mr Teo,

We have noted your email and we would like to thank you for your feedback.

name/designation unit from MOE etc

And it seems the mistake was made from even earlier (like 2008)!

(and I returned the $5 to them by cheque, in their thoughtfully provided self-addressed envelope:

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