Monthly Archives: August 2014

Singapore Nite Festival 2014 – a photo essay

Sights and activities on our nite out last Saturday 23 Aug 2014, …  (festival is still on in the coming weekend)

Starting at the National Design Centre, see "Flights of Fantasy" ...

Starting at the National Design Centre, see “Flights of Fantasy” …

try slack lining along Queen Street ...

try slack lining along Queen Street …

spirits and rain project on the facade of SAM, along Bras Basah Rd

spirits and rain projected onto the facade of SAM, along Bras Basah Rd

cut through SMU Green, to Stamford Road, and National Museum for performances ( indoor and outdoors)

cut through SMU Green, to Stamford Road, and National Museum for performances ( indoor and outdoors)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

one of the festival highlights, at National Museum (hard to miss it!! need to catch the right timing though)

one of the festival highlights, at National Museum (hard to miss it!! need to catch the right timing though)

then to see these spooky trees (from National Museum, and heading towards Armenian Street, Substation area)

then to see these spooky trees (from National Museum, and heading towards Armenian Street, Substation area) to catch more performances … and/or food

After Armenian Street, find your way towards Cathay Green which is the Festival Centre ... and paella

After Armenian Street, find your way towards Cathay Green which is the Festival Centre … (and paella or other stuff cos you may be hungry by then)

this display at Cathay Green is called Cyanae, and from France ... looks like some spider web thing although writeup says "is it an illuminated jellyfish .."

this display at Cathay Green is called Cyanae, and from France … looks like some spider web thing although writeup says “is it an illuminated jellyfish ..”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos arranged by the path we took … (we started by parking at the open air carpark just beside Bugis Station, enter carpark from Queen Street after a right turn on Ophir Road just pass Rochor Centre; or take Queen Street all the way to SMU(?) or NTUC(?) carpark).

Festival website: http://www.sgnightfest.sg

 

 

 

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Singapore Garden Festival 2014

Went to the Singapore Garden Festival on Sunday 17 Aug (Meadows) and Friday 22 Aug (Flower Dome). The event was held at Gardens by the Bay for the first time (in the past, it was at Suntec) and me and Chien decided to check it out this year, having given it a miss for the last few years.

Last Sunday, we drove down and parking was FULL everywhere around the Gardens! So, how? We went to park at One Raffles Quay and caught the Downtown Line for one stop to Bayfront Station. This arrangement works pretty well as the MRT is near to the carpark, and the rates are reasonable ($3 for first 4 hours) … (another good alternative is to find parking at the free open air car park across the road from the Gardens …)

The Meadows section of the festival comprises outdoor and indoor exhibits (landscape gardens, small and large scale displays of floral arrangements and other “plants” related displays) …

plant in light bulbs

plant in light bulbs

Outdoor displays at the Meadows

Outdoor displays at the Meadows

Photo opp with Mr Gan Kim Yong!!

Photo pop with Mr Gan Kim Yong!!

Sunflowers and maize, two recent subjects in my Chinese Ink Painting class ...

Sunflowers and maize, two recent subjects in my Chinese Ink Painting class …

At the Flower Dome on Friday, it was as crowded with tourists, locals and pre-schoolers!

people who don't need to work on a Friday afternoon!!

people who don’t need to work on a Friday afternoon!!

The highlight of the Flower Dome was this Orchid Tower!

The highlight of the Flower Dome was this Orchid Tower!

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A simple shot … the kind that I like the most 🙂

 

Orchids everywhere!!

Orchids everywhere!!

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Nice colours!

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Daisies …

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hmm, not sure what flower/plant is this …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A lovely rose …

Yup, I’d say it was a really nice festival for city folks to connect with “nature”!

(btw, while the Garden Fest is over, the Orchid Trail at the Flower Dome is on until 21 September)

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If the Universe is the answer, what is the question?

5th Coursera course for this year (From the Big Bang to Dark Energy, by Prof Hitoshi Murayama from The University of Tokyo) – on the origins of the universe, mass, atoms, … fundamental stuff like that, and found this little section of the video (week 2 video 7, around 8 min) to be rather funny for such “heavy” subject matter!

The  Higgs Boson (an “elementary particle”) was theorised 50 years ago (in 1964, the year I was born, how coincidental!) and was only discovered “recently”, and reported on 4th July 2012 (Independence Day in the USA , but physicists celebrated it as Higgsdependence Day that day 🙂  )

Higgsdependence Day 4th July 2012

 

It is rumoured that a Nobel laureate, Leon Lederman, who was involved in the search to find the Higgs particle had written a book in 1993 and called the book “The Goddamn Particle!” in frustration!  (imagine, no sign of it was found 30 years after the particle was first theorised to exist in 1964). However, the editor thought that this would not sell as well, and the book (and particle) was renamed “The God Particle”.

The God particle or The Goddamn particle!

 

Fascinating, that there are scientists who are pursuing such “basic” questions (how did mass come about??) in the very first place, and the collaboration and resources  needed over such a long period of time to get to this stage of scientific knowledge!

And I really wonder where does such deep sources of inspiration, motivation, perseverance spring from?

 

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Southern Ridges – from Vivo City to NUH

On Monday 11 Aug, which was a school holiday, YC and me went for an 11 km walk along the Southern Ridges from Vivo City to Kent Ridge Park! It took us a leisurely 4 hours, stopping along the way for photos, detours, and rest stops; think I will be back soon one of these days to run along the picturesque route (+ the slopes will be good training for an upcoming trip to Huangshan!!!).

A Photo essay below of our hike:

Skyline from Mt Faber at the start of the hike (take to Harbourfront MRT and follow the Malang trail after leaving MRT station)

Skyline from Mt Faber at the start of the hike (take to Harbourfront MRT and follow the Malang trail after leaving MRT station)

Look towards coast and Keppel by the Bay and Sentosa comes into view

Look towards coast and Keppel by the Bay and Sentosa comes into view

a heliconia species in full bloom at Mount Faber, where the cable car to Sentosa can be taken

a heliconia species in full bloom at Mount Faber, where the cable car to Sentosa can be taken

A church (originally set up for Danish? settlers/workers here, I think)

A church (originally set up for Danish? settlers/workers here, I think)

many maps along the way to guide you :)

many maps along the way to guide you 🙂

the very impressive "wave bridge", standing high above Henderson Road below (70 m above the road)

the very impressive “wave bridge”, standing high above Telok Blangah Road below (70 m above the road)

The Interlace, like LEGO blocks ... a huge development at Depot Road with units still available for sale

The Interlace, like LEGO blocks … a huge development at Depot Road with units still available for sale

Alkaff Mansion

Alkaff Mansion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

canopy walk ...

canopy walk …

interesting slope, and trees in the far background ...

interesting slope, and trees in the far background …

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Lovely flowers of Hort Park ..

Lovely flowers of Hort Park ..

huge cranes(aka metal giraffes) at the container port

huge cranes(aka metal giraffes) at the container port

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Kent Ridge Park ... nice pine trees and Eucalyptus trees there

Kent Ridge Park … nice pine trees and Eucalyptus trees there

map at the Kent Ridge side of the route, near the end of our hike ...

map at the Kent Ridge side of the route, near the end of our hike …

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Genesis@National Museum and ChinaMania@ACM …

Photog buffs should not miss these truly amazing B&W photographs, until 31 August@National Museum! Some of my favourites from the 250 images at the Genesis Exhibition by Sebastiao Salgado below:

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elephant

whale tail

fishing in brazil

penguins

 

His coffee-table book is also available at the Museum shop for $98 (it weighs a tonne!), with some posters of selected images (if legs are still good, there are also two other special exhibitions on now which are more NE-ish in nature to know more about Singapore: WE: Defining Stories and Balik Pulau: Stories from Singapore’s Islands)

Nearby, at the Asian Civilisation Museum,  there is also the “China Mania – The Global Passion for Porcelain, 800 – 1900” exhibition, featuring 150 pieces of ceramic work focussing on chinese porcelain and its role in world history – write up below is from the ACM website on this exhibition:

For more than a thousand years, China provided the world with porcelain of the highest quality. Vastly superior to the ceramics made in other regions, Chinese porcelain of various sizes and colours was eagerly sought – and just as eagerly copied and imitated. This exhibition examines the global demand for porcelain, not only in Europe and America, but also within Asia, for example, Japan, Southeast Asia, and the Islamic world.

Through 150 objects, including new acquisitions, China Mania examines how international trade and cultural exchange spread styles, forms, and manufacturing technologies throughout different regions. These exchanges dramatically altered the course of Asian art. The ceramics became prized heirlooms valued for their exotic origins, superior technology, and beauty.

horse

One of the pieces at the China Mania Exhibition, featuring both Chinese and European influences

vase from one of the permanent collections

6 August 2014, Wednesday: a day well spent, around the civic district of Singapore at the two museums, and also popped into the Victoria Concert Hall (which had its own reward, and merits its own post later in the year as to why …hint: Planet Earth Concert 12 Sep at VCH!)

 

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Life as a freelancer: 3 questions to ask …

Life as a Freelancer: Three Questions to ask yourself …

Running around Macritchie today (11 km loop) as is my habit nowadays (at least once a week), I got to think about some things that a teacher (or employee) might want to consider, if he or she is thinking of leaving MOE (or an organisation) to freelance … In other words, will it be the “right” move?

The first thing to answer is “will I be ok spending quite a lot of time by myself?” I mean, we are social creatures by nature, so now suddenly, there are no longer colleagues or a class/group of students that you spend quite a bit of time with, and this will be one of the big adjustments to get used to (this scenario applies especially in the case of a school teacher).

Now, in my case, the answer is quite clearly “Yes!”, so that is not a problem. Anyway, I still meet a fair number of people. There are those that are based on the regular activities (e.g. classmates from the different classes I am attending like painting and pottery, weekly table tennis sessions or one-on-one with the dizi teacher or my tuition students) or random interactions (e.g. on the running trail, we smile or say ‘morning’; just now, a foreign worker asked me about a tree I was photographing; yesterday, I spotted a woodpecker and alerted a mother and her son to it).

can you spot the woodpecker?

can you spot the woodpecker?

 

And closer to home, there is always someone at home, or neighbours. And there are also the relief teaching sessions (have done RT a few days a month for the past 5 months) which are working very well so far (just teach one or two tutorial classes a day, for no longer than 2 weeks, and earning a half or full day RT pay depending on my preference. And meeting with “old” friends (who are either in similar situation or just catching up …).

Meeting "old" friends from secondary/JC days!

Meeting “old” friends from secondary/JC days!

The second question is “how important are organisation “benefits” to me?”. There is no question that working for yourself implies a lost of certain things that organisations provide, such as certain training/development opportunities, medical benefits, bonuses, promotions, status, sense of belonging (colleagues and team spirit), …, stability and structure (in work, pay, work routines). So, think about the substitutes for those that matter …

and following the above, “can I (afford to) give them up?”, given your situation and commitments (family, financial, …). A realistic self- assessment, and a talk with family members will be in order here.

Fortunately, at this point in time (which is 1 year and one month from my last day in MOE), things are working out well in my “50 before 50 experiment”!  As for drawbacks? I suppose these are mainly related to the loss of “organisation benefits”, but they are more than outweighed by the freedom and choice to design how I live and spend my time 🙂

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