Visitor Centre at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

I’ve always loved ‘traditional’ architecture. To me, it’s not only more beautiful but when it comes to low-rise buildings like double-storey houses, make more sense for example in terms of ventilation.

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I felt such happiness when I came across it at the beginning of my walk there with a friend. Even though it’s not a house. As indicated the above is the Visitor Centre at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

In Thailand, specifically Chiang Mai, they are still making houses that look similar to this, and I think that’s so incredibly cool. I came across new residence that look something like that in recent years. It’s wonderful they still have an appreciation for traditional architecture even when it comes to constructing modern homes with all the modern facilities.

Maybe I’m wrong, but unfortunately this is not the case in Singapore and Johor Bahru. What I’ve seen are only typically modern architecture when it comes to the design of new landed properties, whether terrace, semi-detached or bungalows. What’s crazy is that the interior of these houses (the showrooms I’ve been to in J.B. in recent years) are so damn hot. You need to switch on the aircon almost immediately upon entering. There seems to be hardly enough thought for ventilation, for airflow. The logical solution is to have ceiling fans in every room, yet from what I’ve observed in some houses I’ve visited, some people don’t like the look of ceiling fans, so what happens is the aircon is often switched on for long periods of time when they are home.

Here are a few photos I took of some of the new houses I saw in Chiang Mai the last time I was there a few years ago. So amazing and wonderful how there are people there who still love and appreciate their traditional architecture, and take inspiration from it for their new homes.

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A residence that was still under construction.

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Day 87

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A stroll up to Mount Faber Park

At the very start of the Southern Ridges, a 10km walk of trails, bridges and walkways, is the Marang Trail, located right next to Exit D of HarbourFront MRT station. It takes about just 15 minutes to walk the trail, climbing some steps to reach Mount Faber Park, the equivalent of a 24-storey building, according to a guide from the National Parks Board. Perfect for lunchtime, if you happen to be in the area. Grab a sandwich and a bottle of water, walk up there, and enjoy the view and relative quiet while you eat. I enjoy this short walk when I happen to be in the area.

Marang Trail

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Cable cars from the station at Mount Faber Park which go to Sentosa Island. A return ticket costs $26 for adults and $15 for kids aged 3 to 12.

Related:

Related to cable cars in last photo:

  • Singapore Cable Car’s website
  • Trip Advisor reviews of Cable Car
  • The Jewel Card – according to website, the card offers unlimited cable car rides for $39 for individual, and $99 for ‘family’. Click link if you wish to find out more.

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Day 76

Danish Seamen’s Church

I came across this interesting and distinctive building while on a walk with a friend at Mount Faber Park. I was surprised to come across a church set up by a specific country. I didn’t realise there’s such a big community of Danes in Singapore.

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DSCN2604_01According to the website of the Danish Embassy, the Danish Seamen’s Church in Singapore was founded in 1984.

The history of the building though goes back to 1909 when construction began, and completed the following year. I read in a fascinating article by Daniel Seifert on Yahoo! News Singapore that it was built as a private residence and named Golden Bell Mansion by Tan Boo Liat. From the article:

He named the house after his grandfather, Tan Kim Ching, whose name translates to Golden Bell. Boo Liat was the great-grandson of Tan Tock Seng, one of Singapore’s richest men and earliest philanthropists. Much of the family’s wealth was based on Tan Tock Seng’s shrewd business dealings, which saw him owning prime areas of land on the island, including orchards, plantations and shophouses.

… Designed with some elements of colonial style, Golden Bell Mansion had four bedrooms, a billiard room, a smoking room and a dining room. Wee Moh Teck, then a well-known architect, designed the mansion. Its distinctive façade, done in the Edwardian style, is known as ‘blood-and-bandages’ for the colour of the red bricks and white plaster. The mix of styles incorporates Straits Chinese influences and even a Thai stupa, a nod to Tan Boo Liat’s strong links with Thailand — he was on close terms with the King of Thailand and in 1920 was awarded an honorary title by the royal family.

The same article also informed that there are more than 1500 members of the Danish community in Singapore.

I would have loved to have a quiet look inside but the gates were closed. Maybe next time. I really enjoy the walk at Mount Faber Park and plan to do it again.

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Related, or rather just some articles I came across that made me smile while looking for info on the church:

  • Today Online: Why the Danish mermaid is happier than the Singapore Merlion
  • The Joy-Care Network: The Singapore Merlion is richer than the Danish Mermaid but she is happier – World Happiness Report

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Day 71

Folded napkin

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Folded napkin featuring 3 diagonal lines.

As if this blog isn’t random enough. But never mind. I’d just like to finally do this nicely-folded-napkin thing when we’re having a couple of friends over for dinner this weekend. I’ve been interested for ages but never got around to doing it. I’m glad I found these pictures. I had to hunt for them a bit in my massive library of digital photos. I couldn’t remember which holiday they were from.

Sometimes when we have a break in Malaysia or Thailand, there would be a welcome fruit plate in the hotel room, presented with cutlery and an elaborately-folded napkin (elaborate to me). I’d take one look and think “That’s cute. I’ll learn how to do that.” so I would unfold it step by step, taking pictures at every step. To try it when I got home, I would look at the photos in reverse order, like the following show.

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1. Spread the napkin out flat.

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2. Fold in half.

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3. Fold in the left corner, almost all the way. This is to create the lowest diagonal line.

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4. Turn over.

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5. Right corner: fold out towards you. This is for the middle diagonal line, so not as much as the first one in step three. Left corner: fold in, to make the upper diagonal line.

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6. Fold in half. Now you can see all 3 diagonal lines that make the decorative feature.

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7. Fold up the lower portion, about a quarter or a little less.

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8. Turn over.

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9. Fold about a third from the left, then from the right. Tuck in as neatly as possible the lower portion of the right into the left.

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Okay, done! And if that doesn’t look gay enough for ya, stick in a flower in there for instant added gaiety, haha!

Some guides will show cutlery tucked in the folds, which looks pretty as it looks like they have their own special pockets in the napkin. But to use the napkin, you and your guests would have to take all the cutlery out and rearrange them beside your plate, which seems kind of silly and awkward to me. So, no cutlery in the napkin for me.

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On a personal note: I’m tickled to find that the more I write this blog, the more I realise I’m ‘gayer’ than I thought. Interpret that how you will, but it’s all fine by me.

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Related:

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Day 61

Unicorn lair

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We were walking to Lavendar MRT station last Friday the 14th, when I looked up and saw this unusual cloud. We stood transfixed, admiring it. It was quite magical with its lining of light above it, tinged with a bit of rainbow. I wasn’t expecting to see a unicorn gaily galloping across the cloud or anything, but it looked totally out of this world. Maybe there was a more rational explanation for it, like there was a spaceship hovering above it, for example.

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Anyway I’m noting it only now because I just came across the same subject on Stomp, and I’m delighted that some other people had noticed it too and at how happy they were too to witness something so unique. Stomp is a gossipy and tabloidy but fun local website I really should visit more often, because there are so many articles on funny and weird happenings there.

The article contains other interesting images of the cloud, with the rainbow more pronounced. Link here: Unusual rainbows put a smile on Singaporeans’ faces on Valentine’s Day.

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We were near the junction of King George’s Avenue and Horne Road. It was about 5pm.

Related:

  • Wikipedia: Circumhorizontal Arc
  • Cracked: HAARP Conspiracy Theory
  • Guardian: Unicorn lair ‘discovered’ in North Korea

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Day 26 of ‘100 Happy Days‘.

Happy meter: delighted

His and his coconut water

Bert and I were working on our clients’s house, this time installing some fixtures to their boundary wall, when they came out to kindly offer us some coconut water. I was tickled to see the glasses were in purple, my favourite colour, and orange, which is Bert’s. Feeling silly and happy I shrugged and snapped a pic.

Just as well I don’t have Instagram or I would go snap snap snap with my camera on all my food and every little thing.

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It was a hot day, and the drink was nicely cold with ice cubes swimming in it. It was delicious. Even if it was snowing and freezing, the sweet gesture would still be appreciated and would had still made me smile happily as I drank from my purple tumbler.

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Day 22 of ‘100 Happy Days‘.

Happy meter: refreshed

 

Penpals

There were letters from both of my penpals in the mailbox at the same time! Double the pleasure.

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I think it was about six or seven years ago when I discovered the chat rooms of Gaydar. I became fascinated with chat rooms and being able to chat that way with strangers from all over the world. This was of course before the time of social network apps like Grindr on smartphones. Maybe even smartphones hadn’t existed yet.

Months later I was getting bored with chatting via typing away madly at my keyboard. (Even today I loathe to phone-text, including WhatsApp. But it is free.) (Actually I kinda hate my whole phone. I keep having to answer it when it rings.) I wondered if any of the chaps I regularly chatted with would be interested in becoming penpals with me. I have always loved writing and receiving letters and postcards. I broached the idea with them shortly before I stopped using Gaydar.

I managed to persuade eight guys to give me their addresses, haha! I sent them handwritten letters, which by the way had led me to discover to my horror that writing by hand had become painful. The result of typing everything for years. Seriously, I could not write more than a few short paragraphs before having to stop and massage my writing right hand with my left.

The eight men gallantly wrote back, some even by hand as well. However within a few letters most had professed they were just not into it. They prefer e-mail, if they have something to say. I thanked them profusely for at least giving it a shot.

I’m happy though that till today, two are still writing with me after all these years. We still write most of our letters by hand, which multiplies the charm tenfold, although occasionally we would type. Ultimately it doesn’t matter which, as long as we write. The frequency is also not set to anything, but whenever available time coincides with the right frame of mind. We would write, say, about every two months or so, I think, more or less.

I hardly communicate with them in any other way. They’re both on Facebook but we would only shoot off private messages to one another if we have something urgent to relay. I have yet to meet the one from Finland, and as for the U.K. one, he had vacationed twice in Singapore (including September last year). I took him sightseeing on both occasions.

I treasure them both. Writing and receiving letters are so special to me.

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This post is Day 13 of ‘100 Happy Days‘.

Happy meter: quiet bliss

Finally got my Agents fix

I was really looking forward to the continuation of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. A few weeks ago, after episode 10: ‘The Bridge‘, Fox HD channel here suddenly stopped showing new episodes, and in their place were reruns of previous episodes instead. I was really annoyed as I had no idea my weekly show would be disrupted just like that.

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Today Sunday the 2nd of February (or should I say yesterday since I’m posting this just after midnight Monday) they finally showed episode 11: ‘The Magical Place‘. And then, if I’m not mistaken, there will be another long lull until March when episode 12 will be shown. According to Wikipedia, episode 13 has not even been shown yet in the U.S., and will be aired there this Tuesday the 4th.

I don’t watch a lot of television, but I was introduced to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. by Sidekick Reviews, a blog I follow which features really interesting reviews on selected films and television series. I decided to catch this series when I noticed the trailers for it last year. It’s been really fun watching each episode, and then follow that up by checking out the review on Sidekick Reviews. I enjoy not only reading the perspectives of the reviewer and commenters, but also discovering some details of that episode that I may have missed. And also the information on the background of this show, as I’m clueless when it comes to the complex universe of characters from Marvel, or any other publisher for that matter.

In the meantime, I’ve been careful not to watch other new television series because I don’t want to get hooked on another show!

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This post is Day 11 of ‘100 Happy Days‘.

Happy meter: mollified

Hemming it up

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I almost went nuts trying to figure out what happened to my sewing machine. It just refused to budge. I didn’t want to take it apart even if I knew how as I might not put it back together properly. Luckily I didn’t attempt that as I managed to dig out the problem eventually: some excess thread had bunched up and jammed the machine in the chamber that houses the bobbin case.

I have a ‘new’ pair of jeans I bought maybe a year ago and it got stashed and forgotten at the back of my wardrobe. I wanted to wear it but it needed to be shortened a bit.

My machine is just a cheap basic one to match my rudimentary sewing skills, if I can call them that. I only ever use it for hemming, anyway, whether pants or panels of curtain. I haven’t done the latter for ages. Sometimes I come across nice fabric patterns I like and itch to buy like at Ikea for example, but I have to tell myself no, because all my curtains are still in good condition and I’ve cut out buying household stuff as my place is just too full of stuff I’ve accumulated over the years.

Anyway, I came across the following video, uploaded by YouTube user bellajeanboutique. I discovered it too late, but I’ll bookmark it for future reference. It looks like a great idea and simple enough, so I’ll give it a go next time.

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This post is Day 10 of ‘100 Happy Days‘.

Happy meter: relieved

A clean sink

DSCN2145_reducedI’m a bit of a neat freak. Among other things this means having no dirty dishes whatsoever in the kitchen sink by the time I go to bed. The exception is when we occasionally have guests for dinner. By the time they leave it might be late and I’d be too lazy so I would leave it for the next day.

Otherwise everything gets done and cleared away and I try to make sure the sink and stove are spotless and the rest of the kitchen is clean as well. Because I love it when I wake up and I go to the kitchen and it’s all nice and clean. It’s a lovely thing to have in the morning. It makes making coffee, and sipping it slowly as I groggily become fully awake (not a morning person) all that much more pleasurable.

Also, I love to clean house. And among all the chores my favourite has always been washing dishes. When I was a kid and had to share chores with my siblings, I would volunteer to do the clearing and washing of dishes after meals. Then I would attack the dishes and pots and pans with gusto, and when everything is washed and dried and put away nicely, and the sink and stove were cleaned too, I would feel such serene happiness and satisfaction. I suppose that was a bit weird for a kid.

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This post is Day 2 of ‘100 Happy Days‘.

Happy meter: serene