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.

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

Sunday, June 21, 2009

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?

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.

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?

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.

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.