Monday, June 29, 2009

A visit to Marina Barrage

I have heard of a few friends who have visited the Marina Barrage. Out of curiosity, I took a trip down to Marina Barrage on my own on 30 May 2009.

To get to the Marina Barrage, I took the MRT train to Marina Bay MRT Station. Then I looked out for the signs directing me to the bus-stop where I can take a free shuttle bus service to get to the Marina Barrage.

There are some lovely sights that one can get at the Marina Barrage. I was fairly fascinated with how the crest gates of the Marina Barrage's Bridge works.

When I was in the Sustainable Singapore Gallery, I had the opportunity to see a barrage model demonstrate how the Marina Barrage works. Interesting, when it rains heavily during low tide, the barrage’s crest gates will be lowered to release excess water from the reservoir into the sea. The photo right below demonstrates how the crest gates will be lowered in such a situation.

What about when it is raining heavily during high tide? It is a great design concept in my opinion that the Marina Barrage could serve as a flood control even during times of heavy rain and high tide. During such times, the crest gates remain closed and giant pumps are activated to drain excess water out to the sea.

The architecture of the Marina Barrage is fairly interesting. I particularly like the large open spaces at the green roof top of the Marina Barrage. Two gentlemen were flying kites at the roof when I was there.

One can get some nice views from the green roof of the Marina Barrage. Go up there on a good-weather day and enjoy just being there.

For the folks who like a day out close to a reservoir in the city, Marina Barrage is one place to visit.

Marina Barrage
260 Marina Way, Singapore 018976

Opening Hours:

Marina Barrage : All day

Sustainable Singapore Gallery :
Mon - Fri: 9am - 6pm (Closed on Tue)
Sat, Sun & Public Holidays: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Week 26 of year 2009 on the double bass

21 Jun 2009, Sun: I practised Pachelbel's Canon in D major transcribed for the double bass. It was much easier this piece on my current double bass. At the same time, practice is still essential.

24 Jun 2009, Wed: I practised the first, second and third movement of Marcello's Sonata in G major.

25 Jun 2009, Thu: I practised sight-reading and learnt that I need to improve the way that I execute the bowings and articulation when I sight-read. This is so as to improve the quality of the tone produced. Afterwhich, I practised excerpts from Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.

26 Jun 2009, Fri: I practised Canon in D major transcribed for the double bass. I felt good playing it. Afterwhich, time was spent playing the second movement from Dittersdorf's Second Concerto.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 39

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore continues. With the posts come good wishes to one of my friends to whom the posts are dedicated to.

On 10 May 2009, I chanced upon Lava Rock Grill House. This is a stall located in a local coffeeshop. I noticed that it sells mashed potato salad as well as mashed potato. I decided to try the mashed potato salad which is served cold.

The mashed potato salad was one of the sides that came with the Honey Mustard Chicken set that I had ordered. The Honey Mustard Chicken set came with a small serving of two sides and either fries or buttered rice. This Honey Mustard Chicken set costs $5.90.

The mashed potato salad contains of course, mashed potato, with carrot and celery. It has a pleasantly sweet taste though there is less of the earthy potato taste. Nevertheless, it is worth trying, especially for anyone with a sweet tooth and a liking for mashed potato that is served cold.

With this post, I wish my friend sweet dreams and fond memories.

Lava Rock Grill House.
Blk 681 Hougang Avenue 8
#01-853 Guan Soon Cherng Coffeeshop

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A visit to Battle Box

On 1 May 2009, when I was visiting the Fort Canning Park, I took the opportunity to visit the Battle Box. Many thumbs up for The Legends - Fort Canning Park for its foresight and good work in managing the Battle Box. It is with its foresight that folks like yours truly could have the privilege to visit what used to be an underground military operations complex.

According to Singapore infopedia, "The Battle Box was built in 1936 to serve as the nerve-centre for British Military operations in the Far East during World War II." This place was of historical significance because it was at the Battle Box that Lieutenant General Percival and key officers made the decision to surrender to the invading Japanese forces on 15 February 1942.

The decision to surrender could be attributed to a perceived lack of petrol and water supplies. What would history be like, if the decision had been not to surrender?

The Surrender Chambers

Other than visiting the Surrender Chambers to watch the recreation of the conference that had been carried out during that fateful day of 15 February 1942, I was particularly fascinated being in an underground military complex. I wondered what has made people think about making a military complex underground.

While I know that not everyone would appreciate the Battle Box as much as I would, I would still nevertheless recommend a visit to the Battle Box to anyone who is keen to learn about World War II history that had taken place at this part of the world.

Visitors' Information:
The Battle Box operates from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily. The last admission is at 5 p.m. For information on the admission charges and so forth, please visit this site.

51 Canning Rise
Singapore 179872
Tel: 6333 0510

Monday, June 22, 2009

My favourite blue colour

I have a lot to learn still, and the people that I come across shall in some ways guide me to live life more fully with each passing day.

You Are Blue

You are a philosophical and often inspired person. You are the master of ideas.

You are open to many points of view. You believe that it's important to communicate and not judge.

You have a worldly perspective, and you're always looking to broaden it.

You are a true people person, but you also value your solitude and personal space.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Week 25 of year 2009 on the double bass

14 Jun 2009, Sun: I practised some studies before practising Faure's Apres Un Reve and the second and third movements of Capuzzi's Concerto in D major.

15 Jun 2009, Mon: I practised the first movement of Capuzzi's Concerto in D major with the metronome. My goals were to play at slow speed so that I can focus on improving the articulation.

17 Jun 2009, Wed: I practised the first and third movements of Marcello's Sonata in G major with the metronome. I am hoping to work towards having a better sense of rhythm.

18 Jun 2009, Thu: I took some time to play selected pieces from Hartley's Double Bass Solo 1. The goal was simply to play some light pieces to please myself and to feel the vibrations from the double bas.

Friends open us to new experiences

This post shall be dedicated to one of my dear friends who has helped me learn to blow 'balloons' from the plastic-like material found in the tube shown on the photo above.

When I was a child, I had bought a few of those tubes from one of the "mama-shops" in my neighbourhood. Fellow bloggers, Victor Koo, has written about "mama-shops". You can read his related posts here. In essence, an Indian Mama shop is a sundry shop or general provision stall traditionally operated by Indians, especially the Tamil ethnic group. Colloquially, such stalls are referred to as "Mama Shop or Stall", the word "Mama" means "uncle" in Tamil.

Back to the 'balloons'. As a child, my attempts to blow balloons were many times not successful. I simply could not blow any balloon. I often ended with squeezing out all the contents from the tube, yet without a single balloon blown successfully.

It was with delight and pleasure yesterday to learn how to blow 'balloons' from my friend. My friend taught me that I should ensure that the tip of the straw is properly covered with the contents from the tube. The next step was to blow. I found that initially I had to blow hard. Once the balloon has started to form, I could blow into the straw more gently.

Many thanks to my friend, I have finally learnt the art of blowing 'balloons' and acquired a new skill.

I am thankful to my friends. They open me to new experiences and perspectives of life which I may probably not be exposed to had I been left on my very own. It is with gratitude that I write this post.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The glass passage

Here is a short post to share with readers The Glass Passage of the National Museum of Singapore.

I have had the privilege to travel up to the roof-top of the museum building of the National Museum of Singapore many years ago when the museum had organised night-tours around the museum. In those days, one can only admire the Dome of the museum from Stamford Road.

When the National Museum of Singapore reopened its doors a few years ago, the addition of the Glass Passage visitors to see the Dome from within the museum walls. It is as if when one is inside the museum, one is also appreciating the architectural features of the museum's building from within.

Do you like the concepts behind the Glass Passage?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 38

It was 6 May 2009, Wednesday. I had wanted to continue to search for the best mashed potato in Singapore. One of my friends, Mystic, gladly obliged with my strange request and visited Brotzeit Raffles City to try its mashed potato. I was there just to try its mashed potato. The German word for it is "Kartoffelpuree".

The mashed potato from Brotzeit is generously garnished with fried onion crisp. One could smell the whiff of fried onion fragrance, and that had actually made the mashed potato there a bit more interesting than most other mashed potato that I had sampled. I felt that the fried onion crisp needed to be a little more crispy to suit my preference.

The mashed potato has a buttery, creamy, soft and very fine texture. It was served warm. Mystic prefers if the Brotzeit mashed potato has a stronger potato taste.

The mashed potato from Brotzeit is good enough to try. I won't mind trying the mashed potato from Brotzeit again if I happen to need to catch a meal or a drink from Brotzeit. However, I don't think I will go there specially for the mashed potato.

Each mashed potato costs $5.80 before taxes.

It was my very first time visiting Brotzeit. I learnt that Brotzeit offers quality German beer and authentic Bavarian cuisine. Interestingly, Brotzeit serves German beers that are imported specially from Bavaria and brewed according to the German Purity Law in 1516 (Reinheitsgebot). Interestingly, when I did a quick search over the internet, I learnt that the Reinheitsgebot was introduced in part to prevent price competition with bakers for wheat and rye.

With this post, I wish my friend to whom this series of post is dedicated to: inspirations and lots of interesting learning experiences. And a meaningful birthday filled with lots of blessings.

Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant
252 North Bridge Road
#01-17 Raffles City Shopping Centre
Singapore 179103
Tel: (65) 6883 1534
Fax: (65) 6883 1574

Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant
VivoCity, 1 HarbourFront Walk,
Singapore 098585
Tel: (65) 6272 8815
Fax: (65) 6272 8842

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A walk about Fort Canning Park

This is possibly a long overdued post. It was Labour Day on 1 May 2009, and I found my way to the Fort Canning Park. Many years ago, this was a place I would frequently visit to sketch. There used to be a number of interesting sculptures that were on display there at different parts of the Park, and though I may not end up sketching, I had enjoyed visiting the park to look at the sculptures.

As I was walking past the large open area in front of the Fort Canning Centre, I noticed some props and works in progress to prepare for an upcoming performance. I figured that all the props and works were in preparation for Singapore Repertory Theatre's production Much Ado About Nothing.

My walk about the Fort Canning Park was a lesiure and nostalgic one. I wonder how many times I had taken respite at this park when I felt that I needed time alone to reflect. This park sits on what is commonly known as the Fort Canning Hill. In the distant past, the hill was The Forbidden Hill (Bukit Larangan). The Forbidden Hill was believed to be the seat of royalty for the rulers of Temasek.

One part of the Fort Canning Park that most visitors would visit would be the Raffles Terrace. Nearby Raffles Terrace is the flagstaff. There is a small fountain at the entrance of Raffles Terrace and it made the place seemed pretty inviting.

My favourite part of the Fort Canning Park was near the remnants of the Fort. There used to be a fort on the Fort Canning Hill but it was demolished in 1907. I like it because the area is surrounded with many trees and greeneries, and it gives me a serene feel whenever I am there.

For the visitors who would like a good look-out to the Clarke Quay area, Fort Canning Park is one place to consider. I took the photo right below while I was strolling along the pathways of Fort Canning Park.

Nature lovers can delight themselves with the several heritage trees that can be found at different parts of the part. Right below is One of the Heritage Trees in the park. It's the Flame of the Forest. The flowers have yet to bloom, else this tree would look pretty colourful.

It felt refreshing to be close to Nature, and back to a place which I had frequently visited when I was younger.

May this post make you feel tempted to take a walk about a park.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The exhibition: Da Vinci The Genius

I had been hoping to visit the exhibition Da Vinci The Genius for a while ever since the exhibition commenced on 16 May 2009. So on 31 May 2009, I eventually decided to visit the exhibition. No photography is allowed in the exhibition hall so just please prepare your mind to be imaginative.

Da Vinci The Genius presents the inspirational works of Leonardo da Vinci. In this exhibition, one will get to experience the accomplishments of Leonardo da Vinci in the field of science, anatomy, engineering, art and architecture. His ideas were at many times well ahead of his times.

Visitors to the exhibition can find themselves delighted with the following:

1) The replica of anatomical studies made by Leonardo Vinci.
2) Find out how the painting Mona Lisa would have look like during Leonardo da Vinci's times. The secrets of Mona Lisa were revealed.
3) The Vitruvian Man which illustrates the ideal human proportions based on rules of geometry described by the Roman architect, Vitruvius.
4) The special medium that was used to paint The Last Supper.

There are more to be discovered.

For me, I was more interested with the exhibits that were art-related rather than those involving the principles of engineering and physics. This was partly because of my limited appreciation in the principles of engineering and physics.

With 188 exhibits on display, it would take about at least half a day to take a reasonable glimpse of each of the exhibits.

Da Vinci The Genius is now on show at the Science Centre Singapore, The Annexe, from 16 May to 16 Aug 2009. Admission to the exhibition is at $16.00 per adult and $11.00 per child (3 - 16 years old). The admission includes the Science Centre admission fees. Please take note that the Science Centre operates from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., and it's closed on Mondays, except school and public holidays.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Week 24 of year 2009 on the double bass

7 Jun 2009, Sun: I practised the 3rd and 4th movement of Marcello's Sonata in G major with a metronome. Afterwhich, time was dedicated to play the first page of Capuzzi's Concerto in D major with a metronome.

8 Jun 2009, Mon: I practised selected passages from Berkeley's Introduction and Allegro. I am glad that it is taking some shape.

11 Jun 2009, Thu: I practised on quick study. I was tasked to do a study of an excerpt from , Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes, Act III for the next two weeks.

I also played a couple of other excerpts from Hartley's Double Bass Solo Book One and Two.

12 Jun 2009, Fri: I played the second movement from Dittersdorf's Second Concerto for Double Bass for the sheer pleasure of it. It got my mind and fingers pretty stimulated.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Read: An hour to live, An hour to love

Yesterday's afternoon, I went to the library to return some books. I decided to borrow just one book to read over the weekend. It turned out that I picked up Richard and Kristine Carlson's An hour to live, an hour to love.

This is a very moving book to read. I felt deeply touched by the deeply affectionate and insightful tone of this book. It was a book that reminds us of the power of gratitude and love.

So the question is:

If you had one hour to live and could make just one phone call, who would it be to? What would you say? And why are you waiting?

I know my answers. I will make a few phone calls. Do you?

Friday, June 12, 2009

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 37

1 May 2009: One of my friends, ML, gave me a treat to lunch at Miss Clarity Cafe.

I ordered the Garlic Crusted Dory, and asked if I could have mashed potato to go with the Dory. The waiter must be thinking that I had wanted mashed potato as a side. It was out of my expectation that I was served another version of mashed potato which was pretty different from the one that I had on 10 Apr 2009. I figured that the mashed potato that I had with the Garlic Crusted Dory was known as country mash. I was offered the country mash as a side-dish and it costs an additional $2.

The country mash from Miss Clarity Cafe has a crunchy texture. There was bits of diced unmashed potato and diced cauliflower in the mashed potato. Parsley were sprinkled generously over the mashed potato. I like its buttery taste. The country mash was made with thought and care. It is worth a try but I prefer the smooth, creamy texture of the mashed potato from Miss Clarity Cafe that I was served on 10 Apr 2009.

I thank ML for a wonderful lunch treat and her heartwarming company.

With this post, I wish my friend to whom this series of posts is dedicated to, thoughtful and sincere friends.

Miss Clarity Cafe
5 Purvis St #01-04
Singapore 188584
Tel: 6339 4803
Opening Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Closed on Sunday.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Read: Good Luck

I have recently read the book Good Luck, by Alex Rovira and Fernando Trias de Bes.

This is one book that I would recommend. Firstly, it is simple to read. Secondly, some meaningful insights are shared in this book in a very accessible fashion.

How does good luck come about? Through a fable of two knights who were seeking to a magic four-leaf clover in an enchanted forest, this book inspires one to create the conditions necessary to bring good luck.

May you create the conditions necessary to bring good luck.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Watch "Van Gogh" at Omni-Theatre Singapore

Does the photo right above look familiar to you? Folks like myself who loves the works of Vincent Van Gogh would instinctively recognise "The Yellow House". What seemed like a painting in the above photo is not a painting. It is a print of one of Van Gogh's paintings "The Yellow House", the house that Van Gogh had lived in when he was in Arles.

The set-up of the table and chair in the above photo is a reconstruction of what Van Gogh's room in Arles would look like, had the room and furniture be painted in the choice of colours that Van Gogh had used in one of his paintings "Vincent's Bedroom in Arles (1889)".

If it brings you good vibes, just like it did to me, to see images of works by Vincent Van Gogh, you may wish to watch the IMAX movie titled "Van Gogh: brush with genius" now being screened at the Omni-Theatre Singapore.

I particularly like the part of the movie which retraces some of Van Gogh's sources of inspiration, particularly the places and landscapes that have inspired him. Furthermore, it was magnificent to watch images of many of Van Gogh's works appearing right in front of my eyes with a size as tall as eight storeys high. It was simply stunning.

Some may ask, who is Vincent Van Gogh?

Born in the 1853, Vincent Van Gogh was probably best known by most people as an artist. After he moved to Paris in 1886, he came into closer contact with the works of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists and he was greatly influenced these movements of art. These influences lead him to incorporate the use of brighter colours in his art. Van Gogh died in 1890 in Auvers-sur-Oise in France.

I like Van Gogh's paintings because I can sense that these were works of art that were painted with great passion and love such that they simply touched me as a viewer.

Experience Van Gogh: brush with genius at the Omin-Theatre Singapore from 06 May to Oct 09. This film is approximately 40 minutes in duration and the showtimes can be found here. If you are still undecided, catch a glimpse of the movie trailer here.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Some beautiful moments

I dedicate the photo on this post to Mistipurple. The above is a photo of C.H.I.J.M.E.S.

I took it on a day when I was out visiting the museums. Needing a short break, I went to C.H.I.J.M.E.S. to get a quick snack of mashed potato so as to continue my search for the best mashed potato in Singapore.

I like the skies and the clouds in the picture. I wish for clarity and tranquility of the mind. May the week be a beautiful one.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Week 23 of year 2009 on the double bass

31 May 2009, Sun: I practised with the metronome the third movement of Marcello's Sonata in G major. The goal was to achieve smooth shifts from one note to another and steady rhythm. Intonation also seemed to be better with the practice.

Prior to that, I worked on a few studies to warm myself up.

1 Jun 2009, Mon: I practised passages from the first and second movements of Capuzzi's Concerto in D major with the metronome. The rhythm is getting more steady.

3 Jun 2009, Wed: At the orchestra rehearsal, it needed quite a lot of concentration for me for the night. I like the Mozart's Violin Concerto that was rehearsed for the night. However, as much as I enjoy Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, playing it with a mind that needed more focus proved to be not as satisfying as I would imagine.

4 Jun 2009, Thu: I practised a selected passage from the first movement of Capuzzi's Concerto D major with the metronome so as to work on the rhythm and intonation. In addition, I worked on sight-reading.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The hunt for the best mashed potato in Singapore, part 36

In this post, I shall review the roasted garlic mashed potato from Big O Cafe & Restaurant. I visited Wheelock Place on 26 Apr 2009 after attending a concert at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. I found out that Big O Cafe & Restaurant serves mashed potato so I ordered one serving for myself.

This mashed potato has a mild tinge of garlic taste which is more mild than the garlic mashed potato from Breeks! I personally think that the garlic mashed potato from Breeks! has a more flavoursome taste than the roasted garlic mashed potato from Big O Cafe & Restaurant. The roasted garlic mashed potato has a generally creamy texture and wasn't too dry nor too moist.

However, I felt it was rather average in terms of taste. Nevertheless, it was good enough to pass as a side-dish. It was just that it wasn't wonderful enough to be eaten on its own.

The roasted garlic mashed potato from Big O Cafe & Restaurant costs $6 per serving before GST and taxes ($7.05 after taxes and GST). Frankly speaking, one could get better mashed potato from many places at cheaper prices. I think I am unlikely to have mashed potato again from Big O Cafe & Restaurant.

Whatever it is, I wish for my friend to whom this series of posts is dedicated to: positive and wonderful memories.

Big O Cafe & Restuarant
501 Orchard Rd
Wheelock Place
Singapore 238880
Tel: 67378472

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A visit to Upper Seletar Reservoir

On 23 May 2009 (Sat), I needed a quiet and spacious place to reflect and to have some respite. Somehow, I got my way to Upper Seletar Reservoir. Bus service 138 would take one from Ang Mo Kio bus interchange to the Upper Seletar Reservoir. Otherwise, the other best way to reach the Upper Seletar Reservoir would be by car.

There is a look-out tower that looks quite like an upright space-shuttle. I climbed up the tower and that proved to be a fairly manageable task. The reservoir is located within the Central Water Catchment area, and up at the viewing gallery of the tower, one could see vast areas of tropical forest surrounding the reservoir.

The Upper Seletar Reservoir was relatively tranquil place to be at. I sat on one of the benches, watching the changing evening skies.

This peaceful reservoir has a history that dates back to 1920. Information on its history can be found here:

In the meantime, I shall just marvel at the photo of the evening skies.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Chakra test

I am looking for guidance how I can be the best of myself, and learn to create the necessary conditions to make life more meaningful for myself and the people around me.

Everyone can have a part to play to make this world a better place. The question I have is how do I effectively contribute my part to the bigger picture?

You Are the Sacral Chakra

You are open hearted and expressive. You let your feelings be known, without being too emotional about it.

You are very sensual and comfortable with your own sexuality. You are passionate and alive.

You feel inspired, happy, and creative. You are able to live the life you want without fear of judgement.

You have a lot of respect for yourself and other people. You never violate others' boundaries or let them violate yours.