Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Window to the world


Singapore Art Museum, auditorium


I vaguely recall a Chinese song by Sky Wu. It is a song about friendship. Friends are liken as window to the world, lending one to different perspectives.

I spoke to my friend Mystic earlier the night, and she lended some invaluable perspective to some issue. I am glad to have a friend in her.

Similarly, to the friends who has been supporting me through this blog, thank you for being my windows to this world. The journey gets more bearable because of your presence.

Note by note

I continued with my practices on the double bass today. If you have guessed it right, I played scales and more scales: A-flat Major, f minor, b-flat minor. It is comforting to know that I now play my scales better than I had two years ago. One step ahead at the very least.

I tried to play the dominant-sevenths scales, and I could manage to play, but not very confidently from memory. Could anyone enlighten me about the concept behind dominant-sevenths scales? Maybe having this understanding would allow me to play it more confidently from memory?

In the attempt to boost my confidence, I decided to practise a repertoire that I was more confident of playing rather than trying out a repertoire that I was not. I chose to play the first two movements of Marcello's Sonata in G minor (transposed for the double bass). Most of the time was spent practising note by note just a mere ten bars. I reckon that would be necessary in order to improve my intonation.

The next time when I practise, I shall play some repertoire that are not in the examination syllabus. Playing music is not just about practising for the exams, isn't it?

The season is here

In a few days time, it will be the season of the Singapore Arts Festival 2006.

Interestingly, there is an online arts personality test on the Singapore Arts Festival's website.

You may find my test results here: http://www.singaporeartsfest.com/ArtsPersonality/harmonious.htm. And it seems a good idea to feed us with some suggestions as to which programmes of the Singapore Arts Festival 2006 we may enjoy given our results. Among the suggestions given, I will be watching The Great War.

Would you like to share your results and tell me which show among the given suggestions you may consider catching?

***
Headache, while rather mild, continues to strike. If you don't see more post on this blog for the next few weeks, you may know the reason.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Investigating: About tall buildings

I wrote a post on yesterday.sg recently titled Singapore First Tallest Building, and it has set me on a journey to find out more about what used to be the tallest building in Singapore. It seems that the technology of building and constructing tall buildings have progressed over the years.

Thanks to an informant, I knew about this link (http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=71589) which speaks about the former tallest/earliest skyscrapers of Singapore. Does any one have any lead to share?

Monday, May 29, 2006

Where's the headache from?

I eventually decided to reduce the time for practice this evening after being bugged by a mild but bothering headache. Is this a sign of lowered threshold? I attributed my having a headache to the noises from the television turned to loud volume.

In fact, practice time was very much reduced as I had to take a break after about every 20 minutes of playing on the double bass.

***
I wonder whether subconsciously, the headache had came from a source of stress? It is getting about two months from the Grade 8 practical exams and I am still trying to figure out what repertoire to play from List B (comprising largely of contemporary pieces). Just now, I was going through Alan Ridout's Concerto for Double Bass and strings, and my goodness, I don't have much clue where my fingers should rest to produce some of those high-pitched harmonics.

Now the talk is about starting to feel demoralised. The next step is to learn to tell myself to ignore the talk that is starting.

Should I just be easy on myself and attribute all bad things to the headache? But rightfully, I should have been more or less ready to play for the exams by now, shouldn't I?

Maybe life is not just about the should and should not? It is simply about living it and letting life unfold itself? Yes, I know, I have too many questions unanswered.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Lunch after the practice

Following the practice today, I headed for a part of the housing estate that I have hardly ventured to. After reading acroamatic's post and the reviews made on Trail of Crumbs, I decided to try something outside my usual diet this afternoon.

I headed for the Botak Jones stall located along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5. I ordered the Cajun (I was told that it's pronounced "Kay-jen") Chicken and the Chicken Gumbo (which means "chicken soup").

The Chicken Gumbo has a novel and interesting taste, and I found myself liking it. The Cajun Chicken Plate looked well presented. The fries appeared to be dusted with some kind of spice mix. I like the taste of the spice mix on the fries albeit that somehow, I felt the fries were a little too salty for my taste. The chicken is served in a delightfully novel way (at least it looked novel to yours truly). For the price of S$6.50 and its reasonably generous serving, the Cajun Chicken Plate was considered quite a value-for-money. But I am biased, I think the tiramisu that I had yesterday was more satisfying for my taste buds.

Overall, the stall's location is a little out-of-the-way, but if I do have cravings for affordable American food, Botak Jones will be one place that will come to my mind. I may consider asking for less salt on the fries the next time.

Click on this link for Botak Jone's locations and operating hours.

Laying a foundation

It is a Sunday, and for reasons unknown, the construction site nearby my place of residence did not produce too much noise today. That gave good reason and sufficient peace for yours truly to take time to practice on the double bass.

Still, I have not much heart to practise anything other than scales. Most of today's practice centered around playing a few of the major scales and the minor scales. Yet, after the last practical exams, I have learnt that playing scales are rudiments that are so essential.

To be truthful, there are times when I ask myself if I should just postpone taking the practical exams to another year. Somehow, I felt that some of my own foundation in playing the double bass has not been properly laid as yet. While my playing of the scales have improved, sight-reading the more advanced exercises and works still pose to be a challenge for myself. I still have doubts whether I would be able to pass the aural section. Actually, in my last practical exams, I had only started to going through the aural exercises about less than two months before the actual exams.

A good foundation can bring one to greater heights with greater ease.

Questions keep arising. Should I just give myself more time to lay the foundation? Anyway, how much time would be enough? How does one determine how much skills and foundation will be good enough to move to the next stage? Did I have enough foundation to really move on to take the exams this year?

Sometimes, striking the balance and making the appropriate move do not come easily. At times moving forward is the way to go, and one should just face one's fears and move on. At other times, moving too fast may get one nowaday. What a confusing world that has been made.

Anyway, today's practice went satisfactory.

The songs and the voices

When I was a child, I remember having to watch Sesame Street. Actually, I wasn't very fluent in English when I was a young child back then, so I could not quite understand what was being said on the Sesame Street programme. All I can remember now are the looks of the various characters, their voices, and the many songs.

Now this test tells me my personality is that of Big Bird. Not that my life is all so joyful, but I suppose it isn't the most gloomy one either.

You Are Big Bird

Talented, smart, and friendly... you're also one of the sanest people around.

You are usually feeling: Happy. From riding a unicycle to writing poetry, you have plenty of hobbies to keep you busy.

You are famous for: Being a friend to everyone. Even the grumpiest person gets along with you.

How you life your life: Joyfully. "Super. Duper. Flooper."

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Tiramisu treat

For working hard for a rather long working week, I decided to give myself a treat to a piece of tiramisu after today's lunch.

According to a fairly reliable source, this place sells one of the best tiramisu in Singapore:

Romano Ristorante Italian Casual Dining
10 Jalan Leban
Singapore 577551
Tel: 6453 688


According to a source, "Tirami su’ is a dialectal expression of Veneto that means pick me up, in the sense of re-energize, regain strength, or waking-up."

The tiramisu that I have had this afternoon tasted nice. The texture was just right, and I love its generous serving of the cream. It was not too sweet nor too bland. Just the right taste for yours truly. I can agree that it is by far the best tiramisu that I have eaten in Singapore (though I must qualify that I am not a avid lover of tiramisu). The tiramisu went well with the peppermint tea that I have ordered along with it.

The restaurant's ambience was fairly good too, at least it kept yours truly away from undesirable noises.

The only pity is that I did not take a picture of the tiramisu for you to see. But hopefully, reading about the tiramisu treat would re-energize you too.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Vanishing Trades



Have you seen a mobile movie before? Did you have a haircut that comes with a ear-cleaning service? Do you believe in having your fortune told by a Parakeet Fortune Teller?

If the above interests you, Toycon has written about his experience at the Chinatown Heritage Centre where he gets a first-hand experience with vanishing trades.

Check out: Barbers, Face threaders, Films and Fortune Tellers

Indecisive moment

A step to be made
To take or not to?
Move or stay still?
Risk or not to?
Hold back or not?
And behind each decision,
Indecisive moments
Take that step or not?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Worn out

I am feeling tired.
Maybe I have worked very hard for the day?

Pains and aches come and go
Though I wish they don't end up my companies.

At times so far away
From taking that single step that may bring one forth a bigger leap.
What is the heart telling?
Is it that the time is not right yet?
Or the heart is dead about living?
Or lost is one's motivation?

But it is now peaceful.
Peace is golden.
To be savoured.
As such, one shall rest.

Talking about Pets

I was writing about cats and pets last evening. Today, Msfeline pointed us to a link that will allow us to adopt virtual online pets for our blogs.

http://bunnyherolabs.com/adopt/


Msfeline's Mao Mao is adorable.

Life's simple pleasures

Jane tagged me.

Name 10 of life's simple pleasures that you like the most.

1. Walking with a friend who is kind to offer quiet company.
2. Enjoying beautiful sights of landscapes.
3. Listening to the music that I enjoy.
4. Quiet moments. (but non-frightening ones)
5. Reading a good book.
6. Being in the flow when I sketch.
7. Enjoying the playing of the double bass (especially that of playing in the orchestra).
8. Enjoying a delicious breakfast.
9. Listening to pleasant sounds from Nature.
10. Bringing a smile on a friend's face.

No one will get tagged by me though.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Cats Galore



If you were to have the chance to cross the Cavenagh Bridge that stretches across a part of the Singapore River, you may have noticed the sculptures of a family of Kuchinta cats. If I am not wrong, Kuchinta (meaning "love cat") is the smallest domestic cat in the world.

For some reasons unknown to me, the sculptures of the cats seem to draw the company of real cats. Now, if these cats are not enough, look below for a test. The test told me that my ideal pet is a cat. Actually, I prefer dogs a little more to cats.

Your Ideal Pet is a Cat

You're both aloof, introverted, and moody.
And your friends secretly wish that you were declawed!



The test says that I am "aloof, introverted and moody". Well, if this is the case, be my friend, but at your risk!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Headaches and the pains

Am suffering a headache.
It is too noisy to sleep.
Even when I am wearing a ear plug.
Maybe I need to relocate and live in a library?
What are the possible remedies to ease the pain?

WWII Trek



World War II enthuasiast may like Angela's post about her experience to three locations of the "WWII Trek" Museum Hoppin’ Trail. The message that seems to haunt me is that the price of war is extremely heavy.

Read Angela's post: The Price of War

Monday, May 22, 2006

Needing peace

The world
It is loud
Making no sense though
For the ears needing peace

What seems normal for others
Can be a torture for one

Dreading the outside world
Is retreating to a world of seclusion the answer?
Peace
It can be a luxury

Eastern Allure




Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall


Angela writes an interesting post on her experience on the Eastern Allure Museum Hoppin’ Trail last Saturday.

I was in some way onboard this trail, but I had started out late and had only the time to visit the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall. I took the bus to the rest of the museums but merely stopped by to see the exterior.

I remember HP saying that she thinks this Eastern Allure trail would be interesting. I don't know if HP went for the trail, but here's sharing the link to Angela's post: http://yesterday.sg/detail/eastern_allure/. Hop onto the virtual journey.

(Photo of the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall by yours truly, PY.)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Weekend

My friend, SH, and myself went to catch the movie The Da Vinci Code this morning. I have yet to read the The Da Vinci Code novel written by Dan Brown. It seems like the novel has stirred a lot of controversy, and I suppose the screening of the movie may invite another round of controversy? Whatever it is, I prefer to just keep an open-mind on it.

Thanks SH for the movie and the lunch today. (I did not know that avocado actually taste well with roasted chicken until today. )

Loving Blue

I like blue hues. Now, there's finally a test related to the blue colour.

What does "funky" mean? I have not considered myself as funky though. The results have gotten me to wonder how I have been taking that leap of faith?

You Are Indigo

Of all the shades of blue, you are the most funky, unique, and independent.
Expressing yourself and taking a leap of faith has always been easy for you.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Club Street and more



Yesterday.sg offers a few interesting posts of late.

* Do you know how Club Street in Singapore got its name? Check out this post by Toycon on his adventure along Club Street: On a little street in Singapore.

* For the avid stamp collectors, Angela has written about the Singapore Philatelic Museum's new permanent galleries.

There's more, so maybe you can simply check out Yesterday.sg

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A half-day tour




St Andrew's Cathedral, Singapore.



If you have a day free from work, what would you choose to do? On a Monday when I have taken leave from work, I chose to go onboard another of the Original Singapore Walks by Journeys Pte Ltd.

The tour consisted of a tour of the colonial civic district. The tour has quite a grandeur name: The Time of Empire.

The tour group was fairly large, and consisted of people from many nationalities. I wonder if I had made the guide pleased because I was the rare Singaporean onboard who had taken leave from work to join the tour?





One of the first stops of the tour was at the St Andrew's Cathedral. Did you know this place is full of history? I have found out that several of the plaques on the walls of the Cathedral have also many stories of the past to tell. On the tour, I got to hear about the stories of the Repulse and H.M.S The Prince of Wales too. (This URL lends some ideas about these two ships. Please click on the link.)

One of the participants of the group asked the tour guide why the Cathedral was named after St Andrew, and it was delightful that our tour guide who was backed up by good research could answer that question. This site offers a brief account of the history of the Cathedral:
http://www.livingstreams.org.sg/sac/info/history/index2.html

I was quite excited when the guide pointed me to the organ of the Cathedral. Pardon me, I have an interest to figure out how exactly an organ works, but my recent tour of the Esplanade - Theatres by the Bay had failed to enlighten me on it.

One part that got me quite excited too was when the tour guide showed us a copy of the town plan that Sir Stamford Raffles had envisioned. It seemed like much of that town plan still continues to have an effect on how modern day Singapore organises itself.

**





Then we walked along Coleman Street. It seemed that the architect, George Coleman, has played an important part in many of the buildings of historical significance in this part of the world. Before the tour, I did not even know that a fairly magnificent residential house had once existed along the Coleman Street. Well, I won't divulge more, because it is better for those who are keen to hear it from the guide while one is on this tour.





The Armenian Church, built in honour of St. Gregory the Illuminator.



Along the way, the tour group stopped at Singapore's oldest church. The original structure of the church was such that it had a domed roof and a bell-turret. The guide shared with us about the stories of the Armenians and how the Armenians have made significant contributions in the world. We also took some time to walk the Garden of Remembrance.





The Garden of Remembrance. There are stories behind these gravestones.


**



Does this place look familiar? It is C.H.I.J.M.E.S.



The tour guide also gave us an account of the history behind what we we now know as C.H.I.J.M.E.S. I am thankful that there were people who were supportive of preserving this heritage site so that future generation could continue to see it.





The chapel within the premises of CHIJMES.



A rather interesting story of how a gecko was carved onto this pillar was shared with us during the tour. There is no prize for this, but if you decide that you have time to spare and would like to go on a small-scale discovery tour of CHIJMES, challenge yourself by trying to find this very pillar with a gecko carved onto it.




The Challenge: Find the pillar with this gecko.



I was quite attracted to the designs on the tiles when I was at CHIJMES, and I decided to take the picture below. I heard that these were the tiles that were preserved from the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus that had once stood at the same site.




**





Raffles Hotel.



The final stop for the tour was the Raffles Hotel. The tour guide first took us to the Raffles Hotel Singapore Museum. In the museum, one can view photographs taken during the time when Raffles Hotel Singapore was under restoration. In addition, one gets to see photographs of how Singapore had looked like in the past.








The Raffles Hotel Singapore.



Our final stop at Raffles Hotel Singapore was the Long Bar. In Singapore, this is one place where one can have the permission to throw peanuts shells onto the floor without being penalised with a fine.

I was quite fascinated with the fan-like structures hanging on the ceilings. I was told that in the past, young boys will pull the strings attached to these fan-like structures. This was so that the fan-like structures would swing and sway and create cooling breezes of air. Now, the fan-like structures are powered by electricity.





Feel the breeze?



There is still good thing to await for. The bartender of the Long Bar gave us a demonstration of how he concocts the cocktail drink, Singapore Sling. After some search using Google, I found a site that reveals the recipe behind this cocktail drink. The Singapore Sling was originally created by Mr. Ngiam Tong Boon for the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. What better place to drink Singapore Sling than the very place where it was created for? Everyone on the tour was offered a sip of the Singapore Sling. I decided not to. Take it that I was abstaining from alcohol.





More of Raffles Hotel.



Overall, the tour was enriching, entertaining and educational. It was certainly a fulfilling way to spend half a day on.

For more information of the tour schedule, please check out: http://www.journeys.com.sg/singaporewalks/tours_timeofempire.asp

The pace within






















Reclaim one's pace
Against that insisted by the exterior
Who says that doing more means gaining more?
Perhaps less instead achieves greater?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Seeking refuge

Seeking refuge in my own little world
The loudness of the outside world can be hard to bear.

The traveller's notes

Travelling
Stopped by
Found rest in a dark world
Intended as just a moment of shelter
Yet it may end up a permanent home
Should one lost sight thereafter?

Sneak Preview of the Museum Hopping adventures

In one of my recent posts, I have pointed to readers here that there will be a series of activities held in conjunction with the International Museum Day 2006.

If you can't make up your mind whether to go for any of the related activities, Angela has written a post on Yesterday.sg of her attending of a sneak preview of one of the Museum Hopping Tours. The tour that she went on took her to the following museums: Malay Heritage Centre, Museum of Shanghai Toys and the Chinatown Heritage Centre.

After reading the post, I am rather envious that she could be onboard the sneak preview on a Tuesday.

Anyway, it is worth your time to check it out: http://yesterday.sg/detail/museum_hoppin_a_sneak_peek/

Kenneth also writes about his experience on the same tour that Angela went on. By now, if you would have guessed, I am feeling awfully envious already. Kenneth has wonderful photographs that he has taken during the sneak preview, and I dare say, you just have to check the photos out with a click on your mouse: http://deadpoetscave.com/2006/05/museum-hoppin/

If you like any of the posts, please share them with those whom you think may enjoy it. But more so, why not just simply go on one of the Museum Hopping Tours this weekend, if you have time available?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The signs point to a headache

When I was at work, the back of my head was felt a rather sharp pain. The pain was rather localised, it only hurt at that particular few spots. I wonder which part of the brain those areas are associated with?

Maybe someone ought to come up with a table of the different parts of the brain with the corresponding associated body parts? Maybe the headache is telling me that somewhere in my body is out-of-balance?

I noticed that I am very drawn to having quiet moments of late. It must have been that I need respite, from the headaches? As such, I wish for quiet moments tomorrow and the next days after. Please bear with me if I decide to ask for quiet moments.

After browsing one of the online website on the topic of headaches, I suspect it might be related to some form of menstrual migraine? Maybe that is why some folks make statements that guys have things easier?

Moral of the story: Count one's blessings?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Draft: of questions

Questions persist
Maybe somehow minimised
Perhaps certain answers can't be sought directly
For these are meant to unfold on its own?

In the middle of the vast ocean
The land could be in any direction
Go along with the wind?
Or go where there's nurturing grounds for one?
But on what basis does one decide so?

Let museums inspire

No plan for this weekend?

In conjunction with the International Museum Day 2006, there will be several interesting activities lined up this weekend, and more. For more information, please check out: http://www.museums.com.sg/event_highlights.asp

I am quite keen to consider WWII Trek of the the Museum Hoppin' Trails. The challenge is how to fit some of that into the schedule for the day.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

A long weekend

It is Saturday and this weekend will be a long one for myself. I will be on annual leave on the coming Monday. Since yesterday was a public holiday which I did not have to report for work, this weekend shall last four days in duration for myself.

This morning, I met T. and J. for breakfast. The initial idea was to have dim-sum, but we ended up at the Coffee Club cafe at Ngee Ann City shopping complex. The breakfast there met up to expectations, and the service was good. At the very least, the waitress there was attentive to notice that I have dropped the tea-leaves-strainer, and came (without me having to request) to have it replaced and to clear the little mess that I have made. Breakfast tasted nice when eaten with good friends.

It was nice to catch up with friends and hear about perspectives and ways of life different from my own. Perhaps that was why that we did not realise that we had spent close to two hours at the cafe.

Afternoon was spent practising on the double bass. The task today was to practise some of the minor scales, both melodic and harmonic. I played along with a pre-recorded piano accompaniment. Hopefully such practices would help to improve my intonation.

Yet the commitment to practise does not come naturally. To be truthfully, I have no inclination to practise anything other than scales today. Lately, I don't seem to take any interest in playing contemporary pieces. I have, however, a preference to play orchestral pieces. Yet, I have learnt, that to be productive in my practices, it is more helpful to be easy on oneself.

Later this evening, I will be attending a concert by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. I think I will like this evening's concert's programme.

A long weekend. But I am feeling uncertain where it would lead me to.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Visit to Haw Par Villa



A few weeks ago, I visited the Haw Par Villa.

Located along Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore, it was built by Mr Aw Boon Haw for his beloved brother Aw Boon Par.

If you have heard of the Tiger Balm ointment, the ointment has close association with the two brothers. The ointment was developed by Mr Aw Chu Kin, father of Mr Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par. After the death of his father, Aw Boon Haw marketed the balm under the brand Tiger Balm. (Click on the following source for more: How Tiger Balm began.)

Meantime, I shall write no further. Read my account of my visit by clicking on this link. Let me know if this is a place that you would like visit.

The balancing act




Last week, just before meeting my friend, Mystic, for dinner, I noticed what seemed to be an act of balancing.

Look at the spheres in the background and the foreground, it would somehow seem that the weight of the entire building is being rested upon the spheres.

Is there any physicist around who would care to explain the theories behind this balancing act?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The guided tour



If you have never stepped into the Theatre or the Concert Hall of Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, it may be a rather fascinating experience to be on the guided tour of this major performing arts centre in Singapore.

If this link does not fail me, you would get to a page with information about the guided tour.

Tour participants on my tour each received a booklet that contains interesting facts and information about the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay. I was reading the booklet and read that in year 1989, the Advisory Council on Culture and the Arts, chaired by our late president Ong Teng Cheong (then Deputy Prime Minister), recommended the construction of a new performing arts centre. Check this link for more.

The tour started with the Concourse of the centre. Then the next stop is the Theatre. The friendly guide then treated the group with interesting information about how the centre was designed such that the performing venues have qualities of first-class halls.


Inside the Theatre. The picture is not as fascinating as the real thing though.


The Concert Hall, I think, would be much more interesting for someone who has never been to the Concert Hall, or has been there only for a few times. The thing is that I attend a concert there at least once every two months. The tour was simply not as satisfying for a regular Esplanade Concert Hall attendee to be on. I would rather go for a concert and enjoy the acoustics and the performance. Anyway, it was still nice to hear about how the Concert Hall achieves its state-of-the-art acoustics.


Esplanade Concert Hall.




Look up, for the acoustic canopy.


Before the tour, I was dreaming of witnessing the mechanics of how the grand pipe organ works. Well, it was merely a dream not realised yet. I doubt it might be realised in the guided tour, unless someone amends the programme of the guided tour.



Just outside the Esplanade Concert Hall.



After the Concert Hall, we proceeded to the Concourse again. I heard that there's something special about the stones that make up the wall below.



Then we walked past the Esplanade Mall and headed for the Roof Terrace. There's nice sceneries that one could catch sight of up there.


At the Roof Terrace.



The tour ended at the Esplanade shop where I bought myself a Polo-T-shirt as a souvenir.

The Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay is one place that I frequent when I am free. I admit having a liking of it. Do check this place out if you happen to be in Singapore.

A reflection: After spending so much money on building an infrastructure that is intended to be a first-class performing arts centre, it will be more important to have the vision to put in the necessary resources to develop talents in the performing arts, and more so, encourage wider appreciation of the arts in our society. I guess this will require the community's efforts rather than the efforts of just one or a few organisations.

More photos can be found here: Esplanade-guided-tour

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sunday on 7 May



At 11 a.m. yesterday, I was at the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, joining one of the guided tour. If you are keen to find out more about my experience on this tour, please stay tune to this blog. I don't know when I would write about it. I only wish to spend a bit more time these few months practising.

This morning, I suddenly question myself whether I should take my Grade 8 double bass practical exams this year. I suddenly fear that I am on the verge of failing. Is that a sign to say that I am walking too fast a pace than I can manage? Or is it a sign to tell me to give up on some aspects of my life? The balancing act does not seem an easy one.

Anyway, yesterday seems to be a good day to be out taking outdoor photography. Yesterday's weather was comparatively better than the past few weeks. At the very least, the skies were relatively not as hazy. The sun was shining pretty bright after noon hour, and I managed to capture the shot as seen right above.

Here's sharing the photograph with all who travel to this blog. After weeks of hazy and unfavourable weather, I find myself quite fascinated by the blue hues of the skies, and the fleeting white clouds. Do you feel similar?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

I am just plain tired

The title says it all. Please bear extra patient with me should you wish to read about my recent walks about certain parts of Singapore.

Would I have the energy to walk the next lap of the journey? Let time tell.

Concert on 6 May 06

Last night, I attended the concert titled James Judd with the SSO with my mother. I usually attend concert alone and so it was considered a rather rare occasion yesterday that I have a company.

**
The Age of Anxiety composed by Leonard Bernstein gave an interesting opening to the concert. It was the first time that I have heard this symphony, and I could not yet know how to appreciate this symphony fully. The programme notes came very helpful. It gave a rather good account about what this symphony is about.

The symphony is imspired by the poem, The Age of Anxiety, written by the English poet, W H Auden. The story has that three men and a girl are having problems trying to discover their true selves and coming to terms with the world.

I especially like The Epilogue part of the symphony.

A side note, in case you aren't aware, Leonard Bernstein is the composer of the musical, West Side Story, which was recently staged in Singapore.

***
After the interval, I was treated to Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A major. I love it, it just sounded great live. At certain points, I just felt an urge to be on stage with the musicians to play this symphony. The double bass parts sounded very challenging. There were also times when I felt as if my mind was dancing to the music. I quite like the way James Judd conducted. His conducting somehow gave the orchestra more freedom to be spontaneous and free.

I very much like the sombre beginning of the second movement. Somehow, it lends a very nice contrast to the other movements.

How did Beethoven develop the skills to be able to hear in his mind how the music that he had written would sound? I am simply fascintated by this symphony by Beethoven, somehow. More so, I am fascinated by how great composers like Beethoven go about conceptualising and writing their works.

Now, his music has done the trick of getting my mind to replay bits and pieces of his symphony in my mind.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

In Changi



I think Simple American may like to know more about this museum, the Changi Museum.

There is a nice post written by Noel on Yesterday.sg about the Changi Museum. Visit: http://yesterday.sg/detail/life_goes_on_behind_bars/

By the way, if you are visiting the museum, do consider joining the guided tour. I personally think joining the guided tour makes one visit to the Changi Museum more complete.

If you enjoy reading about heritage related issues in Singapore and wish to support Yesterday.sg, you could spread the word around of that blog to your friends who may like to read about such topics.

Friday, May 05, 2006

What is Margarita?

Who can tell me what a margarita is? I figured that it is a kind of beverage?

You Are a Lime Margarita

Realistic and grounded, you have the energy to tackle any obstacle that stands in your way.
Hyper and driven, you despise lazy behavior of all kinds... especially lazy drunks too tired to dance!

Art makes life enriching

You Should Be a Painter

You have the vision, patience, and skill to bring your unique visions to canvas.
And you're even tempered enough not to cut your ear off in the process!

Italian Treats

This week has been a very tiring one with a lot of work to be worked on. As such, it was rather tiring for yours truly to wish to blog lately.

Anyway, a post here to thank my friend, Mystic, for a nice treat to a delicious Italian dinner earlier this Wednesday.

We had dinner at the Spageddies Italian Kitchen @ Marina Square's Centre Stage. If I have remembered correctly, we order two main courses: grilled chicken primavera and the pick-and-mix pizza (with ham, mushroom and black olives as the toppings). The olive oil base of the grilled chicken primavera (pasta) went well with the grilled chicken and the vegetables that came with it. Mystic seemed to have enjoyed the pizza too. I like the crust of the pizza and the cheese on it. I like the olives and the mushroom. Mystic was surprised that I actually like black olives.

There was a one-for-one promotion on the main course for UOB (United Overseas Bank) credit card holders. This means that if we were to order a main course, the second one (which should be of the same price or lesser) comes free. Mystic happens to hold an UOB credit card. As such, the dinner was value-for-money. Delicious Italian dinner at reasonable price.

The service there is fairly efficient and attentive. On a weekday evening, the restaurant was full-house, and this does say something positive about the restaurant. It is quite a good place for UOB credit card holders to visit in the month of May 2006.

I am not a credit card holder though. I hold a debit card instead. I sometimes wonder what incentives the credit card companies would get by securing such dining privileges for its card holders? Advise me please.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Here in this part of the world

6 May 2006 will be the Polling Day in this part of the world.

To be updated about and to stay current of what is happening in this part of the world, you can visit the following websites:

http://www.elections.gov.sg - This site offers the necessary information for voters.

http://electionrally.blogspot.com/ This site offers videos of the rallies for those of you who may wish to be there but couldn't because of various reasons. Technology does help make bring a little more convenience to our lives, doesn't it?

http://sgrally.blogspot.com (Thanks to HP for the link.) - This site offers videos and photographs of the rallies too.

Decision making can be challenging



You might have realised that I am quite keen to learn about World War II history in this part of the world.

Noel writes about The Battle Box, located at Fort Canning Rise in the post titled British Singapore's Last Hours. I think the post gives a wonderful summary about a visit to The Battle Box.

I have been there once, and my favourite segment is the Surrender Conference, whereby there is a re-enactment of the meeting among the British chiefs regarding whether to surrender to the Japanese. I remember that Lieutenant –General Percival initially stood on the position of carrying on with the fight against the Japanese army. However, most of the factors seem to suggest otherwise. In the end, the team's decision was to surrender.

From the lessons learnt at the Surrender Conference of the Battle Box, I am thinking how challenging decision making can be. Sometimes the necessary information may not be available. If the British chiefs were aware that the Japanese army was, at that time, facing a worse shortage of resources, history may be different today.

Battle Box is definitely worth a visit for the World War II enthusiasts.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Serenity Prayer

God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
courage to change the things we can,
and wisdom to know the difference.


The above quotation came to my mind recently. It reminded me of a friend somehow. I find it a powerful quotation.

I went to do a search about it and found the following URL of interest:
http://www.aahistory.com/prayer.html (This tries to unravel the origin of the Serenity Prayer and how it came to be used by A.A.)

I think I would need to ask for more wisdom and courage.

Question of the day: How does one develop wisdom, courage and serenity?

Be inspired by the courage



I am quite keen to share this place with you.

Noel writes about the Reflections at Bukit Chandu on yesterday.sg recently. I think the post gives a good idea about the place. If you are keen about World War II History in this part of the world, this is a good place to go to.

Even if you don't care about history, so long as you would like to be inspired by the courage and loyalty of the soldiers of the Malay Regiment, this is also a good place to visit.

Check out Noel's post: Reflections at Bukit Chandu

***


(Taken by yours truly earlier this year.)


And if you have missed my earlier post on this place, you may check out this link: Remembering the heroes.

Monday, May 01, 2006

More of CHIJMES



I happen to be at CHIJMES yesterday for a short while. Here's sharing the photos with my readers here, and with Mistipurple. Thank you for being around.

Click on More glimpses of CHIJMES for more photographs of CHIJMES.

Helium Balloons Rides


If you should see a large yellow balloon hovering in the air of Singapore, it could have been a helium balloon (carrying passengers) that you have sighted.



I have managed to find a not-so-updated URL on this helium balloon ride. Check this link: http://travel.asiaone.com.sg/news/news_20060127_003.html

I have yet to be up on this balloon. But I do know that if anyone of you is interested to ride on the helium balloon, you could go to Tan Quee Lan Street which is somewhere nearby Bugis Junction, Singapore. If I am not wrong, it would cost less than S$30 per person for a single ride. However, I have no idea how long each ride would last though.

What's a Poplar Tree?

Yesterday seemed to be a day for the blues. After more than six hours walking on my feet yesterday, I could yet to feel any sense of being recharged.

Were there times when one do not feel as if one is heading anywhere? Yesterday's walk seemed to have suggested that. I was travelling for six hours on my feet and at the end of the day, I just felt I had been going round in circles and heading nowhere. What a journey. I was feeling so dispirited that I decided to sleep early. The waking moments did not seem to have much to grant anyway.

One could only hope that things would get better with time.

****
Anyway, I chanced upon this test, and decided to find out what a Poplar Tree looks like. Here's a link to click on.





You Are A Poplar Tree









People tend to look up to you, and it's a bit lonely at the top.

Inside, you are not always self confident, but you show great courage.

Mature and organized, you are reliable in any situation.

You tend to have an artistic or philosophical outlook on life.

You are very choosy in love and take partnership seriously.