Sunday, August 30, 2009

The exhibition at the Art House

On 29 Aug 2009, I visited The Art House @ The Old Parliament. There's an exhibition titled "The Dead Sea Scrolls & The Ancient World". This exhibition will be there from 27 Aug 2009 - 20 Sep 2009.

At the exhibition, I get to see the Hebrew Sefer Torah written in Hebrew language, and the Dead Sea Scroll Fragments of Biblical texts. I also learnt about the King James Version Bible and so forth. It was informative to learn about the contributions that Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, Martin Luther, John Calvin and William Tyndale have made.

The best part I like about the exhibition was that there were guided tour given by the curators. That enabled me to grasp a few key historical ideas in a breeze.

Admission is $20 per adult on weekends.

Official website:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Serene Centre: During my secondary school days

I seem to have an affinity for the Bukit Timah area. My grandmother lives nearby Serene Centre, and my secondary school's premises used to be nearby Serene Centre too.

When I was a teenager, the indoor playground that used to be in the premises of Serene Centre's MacDonald's outlet was replaced by an area whereby people could hold birthday parties. I hope my memory got this right, did I? Anyway, during the teenage years, I won't have any fancy for the indoor playground even if it were to be there.

As mentioned earlier, my secondary school's building used to be located within walking distance from Serene Centre. If one were to take a slow stroll, it should take about 20 minutes or less to reach Serene Centre from my secondary school's building.

I used to be a member of my secondary school's Chinese Orchestra. If I look back, I think there was much enthuasiasm in me and my peers that we would actually take the trouble to go to school even on school holidays just to attend sectionals and orchestral rehearsals. One of the highlights for me during those school holidays was an occasional visit to the Serene Centre's MacDonald's outlet. We had to find a place outside the school-premises for lunch during the school holidays.

You see, during school holidays, none of the stalls in the school-canteen would be in operation. I can't figure out why during the school holidays, the Chinese Orchestra's sectionals had to be in the morning and the orchestral rehearsals in the afternoon. If I remember correctly, sectionals started as early as 9 a.m. Orchestra rehearsals would start by 2 p.m. Between the sectionals and the rehearsals, we would have about an hour or two for lunch. The lack of facilities selling food in school basically meant that we had to travel out of the school for lunch. Other than the nearby chicken-rice stall that used to sit along King's Road, the MacDonald's outlet at Serene Centre was the next popular choice.

Frankly speaking, I have no particular liking for the burgers or the fries. It was the spirit of camaraderie that I could enjoy when going out with my peers from the Chinese Orchestra that made the visits to Serene Centre one of the highlights of my school holidays. Firstly, it was a rare treat. Secondly, the place was one of the few eating-places in the area back then that was air-conditioned and fairly affordable to students. Thirdly, the people who were my companions added colour and fun to the visit and lunch.

Those were some of the memorable days in my life. The friends and folks who were with us during the growing-up years can in many ways make our lives so much more enriched. Thank goodness for peers who were with me during my teenage years.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Read: You are your choices

Recently, I finished reading Alexandra Stoddard's You are your choices. It is my resolution for the year of 2009 to read at least one book per month. I suppose this resolution could be my choice to ensure that my mind gets at least some nourishment for it to grow and to develop.

I personally find the book an inspiring and nerves-calming read. It was a timely read to much extent as I was hoping to learn more about how to make wiser and good choices for myself as I try to live life in a meaningful and joyful way that is true to myself.

I am hoping to read one or two more of her other books if I could get my hands on them.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Read: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

On 18 Jul 2009, I watched the movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with a friend. Subsequently, in the hope to have a better appreciation of the plot to come, and to figure out who on Earth R.A.B is, I borrowed J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from the library.

It took me a while to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as I was initially trying to figure out whom the various characters were. Frankly speaking, I find it much easier to read non-fiction books than fiction books. Nevertheless, it was quite an entertaining read, and I managed to find the answers to my questions.

Monday, August 10, 2009

My first visit to the Night Safari

I have been contemplating to visit the Singapore Night Safari for quite a long while, and I have finally got to doing so on 9 Aug 2009 (Sun). I have the honour to visit the Night Safari with one of my friends.

My body must have been timed to eat dinner at certain hour. While my initial plan was to catch a light snack while watching the Tribal Dance Performance that was to start at 7 p.m., I ended having dinner instead. My thanks to my friend for her treat to dinner.

The Tribal Dance performers enticed the guests with tribal dances, fire-eating and blowpipe demonstrations. I was pretty impressed with the blowpipe demonstrations for I think the marksmanship was great.

For the rest of the blog post, there will be no more photograph to see. I had decided not to take any photograph for the rest of my visit so that I could dedicate my energy to observe and to learn about the nocturnal animals in their various habitats. Furthermore, the Night Safari requests all visitors not to use flash photography. This is for safety reasons as flash photography may blind the nocturnal animals.

During our visit, I was impressed with one gentleman who stepped forward to remind a fellow guests not to use flash photography. Perhaps our society would have been more civic-minded if we each muster the courage to take responsibility and effort to remind gently yet firmly others of the important ground rules to respect?

Back to the Night Safari visit, my friend and I started off with the walking trail. Initially, it took a while for my eyes to accustom themselves to seeing in the dark night. Things got better as my eyes got used to viewing the animals in the dark. We saw animals such as the mousedeer, the otter and the Pangolin.

Interestingly, I had a pleasant surprise to see a photo of one of my ex-classmate when I was reading through the exhibition panels on a research about Pangolin. I found out that the Pangolin have large keratin scales covering their skin. As some Chinese believed that the Pangolin's scales have medicinal properties while others consider Pangolin's meat as a delicacy, the Pangolin have been hunted and their existence have been threatened. The various exhibition panels helped guests like myself gain a better appreciation of conservation issues.

During the visit, I had the privilege to get very close to a Slow Loris. It made movements that were slow and deliberate. Interestingly, I learnt that adorable looking creatures like the Slow Loris actually can produce a venom to use against its enemies.

I also saw porcupines live! It was fascinating to see how the porcupine appears to increase its size visually when it raised its needle-like quills.

After completing the walking trail, my friend and I took the 45 minutes tram ride. This tram ride comes with a live commentary and that greatly enhances our knowledge of the various animals. My thanks to msfeline for her tips and strong recommendations to take the tram ride. The tram ride took guests to parts of the Night Safari which would not be accessible to visitors who took the walking trail. The tram ride allowed guests to see animals such as the lions, the elephants, the Malayan Tapirs and the Flamingoes. I had the privilege to be pretty close to the Malayan Tapirs and a couple of deers while I was on the tram.

One thing that I have learnt from the tram ride was that the striped hyena is a scavenger, but the spotted hyena is a predator. Many thanks to the guide on the tram ride for her well-prepared commentary. Like msfeline had recommended to me, I too agree it will be a great idea to take the tram ride when one visits the Singapore Night Safari. Do check out the walking trails too. The walking trails enable guests to take their own pace to observe the various animals.

For more information on visitors' information, please visit the Night Safari's website:

Saturday, August 08, 2009

A Visit to West Coast Park

There are parts of Singapore I have yet to explore so I suppose I will never run out of new places to visit in Singapore. Quite a while ago, on 6 Jun 2009, I made a trip to West Coast Park in the hope of enjoying some sea-breeze.

Personally, I think I would prefer the rocky beaches of Labrador Park than West Coast Park. Nevertheless, it was still a pleasant visit to West Coast Park. I enjoyed just standing at one of the look-out points to enjoy the sea-breeze. If not for the bright sunlight that was almost scorching-hot, I would probably have spent at least an hour at the look-out.

Interestingly, West Coast Park is fairly near my alma mater, the university, yet I have not visited it when I was a student of the university. I must have been in a mood for walking that after my visit to the West Coast Park, I walked from the park through Clementi Woods Park to the university. It was quite a bit of a walk yet I was glad that I had fulfilled my objectives of getting some fresh air and being close to Nature.

For directions to get to West Coast Park, please click on this link.

Monday, August 03, 2009

From Hort Park to Kent Ridge Park

On 19 Jun 2009, I found my way to Hort Park after a leisure walk from Mount Faber. After a short visit at Hort Park, I headed for Kent Ridge Park. The challenge was this, although there were some directional signs, I could not find a map that would show me the shortest route to Kent Ridge Park. That day, I had to rely on my intuitions and some good guesses to find my way to Kent Ridge Park. Thank goodness that after some attempts, I managed to find my way from Hort Park to Kent Ridge Park.

Compared to Henderson Waves, the Forest Walk and HortPark, Kent Ridge Park appeared relatively much quieter and drew less crowd after the noon-hour that day. I felt I was almost all alone by myself when I explored Kent Ridge Park. Anyway, I knew I wasn't really alone when I caught sight of beautiful butterflies and colourful birds as I walked towards the Canopy Walk located in the premises of Kent Ridge Park.

The tranquil environment of Kent Ridge Park offered me the needed space to reflect and to just enjoy the moments.

There is one look-out point at Kent Ridge that offered lovely views of the off-shore islands. I had wanted to spend my time there just admiring at the skies. However, I felt a little hungry for lunch and the dark clouds suggested that there might be a rain. As such, I decided to just spend a few moments enjoying the sea-view before heading towards the Canopy Walk that would lead me to the Reflections at Bt Chandu.

Magnificent view of off-shore islands from one of the look-out points.

Canopy Walk is a walk-way that links Kent Ridge Park to Reflections at Bt Chandu. It offered me a chance to be very close to the wildlife and plants of Kent Ridge Park. While there was no air-conditioning, it was a refreshing walk for the body and the mind. I felt glad that I had decided to go for that long walk from Mount Faber to Kent Ridge Park.

Soon, I reached a clearing that would lead me to the Reflections at Bt Chandu. This is a Interpretative Centre that commemorates "the gallantry and sacrifice of the 1st and 2nd Battalion Malay Regiment who defended the western sector of Singapore in Feb 1942."

I spent some moments at the Reflections at Bt Chandu. It rained when I was about to leave the museum, so I spent some time at the ground level of the centre reading a book. It was quite a pleasant time trying to while time away while waiting for the rain to stop.

If you are keen to take a walk along the Southern Ridges, from West Coast Park to HarbourFront, you may wish to read the blog-post Southern Ridges Visual Guide (west Coast Park to HarbourFront) by acroamatic.

In the meantime, I shall end this post with a photograph taken at the Reflections at Bt Chandu.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Overcoming a challenging structure to sketch

Today in the afternoon, I went out to chill and relax. Sketching became my choice activity for I've found it therapeutic to observe and to sketch. Well, since I have been feeling rather stressed and being too preoccupied about the upcoming music exams, I decided I could do myself a favour by taking a break to do something different. I suppose it would help me find some new inspirations for my music.

I attempted to do a sketch and study of Ion Orchard. I made three attempts to sketch this building. The first two attempts were done with pencil and weren't satisfactory. After my second attempt, I almost wanted to give up because it was not an easy building to sketch. Anyway, I am glad that I had persevered. At the very least, I have learnt to observe and to sketch something new today.

It's not a good sketch, but at least I have managed to come up with something decent enough. More importantly, I overcame the initial self-doubts about sketching this building.

After the sketch, I met a friend for dinner and to catch up. Many thanks to my friend for her treat to dinner.