Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Easy to use HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One Printer - C310a

Photo credit: Eastcoastlife

Several months ago, thanks to the generosity of HP and eastcoastlife for organizing the HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One C310a contest, I was a lucky winner of the this easy-to-use and multipurpose printer.

Setting up the printer took no more than an hour and after which using the printer was a breeze. Interestingly, I only got to use the printer, specifically the scanning function, sometime in June, when one of my paternal uncles thought of archiving old photographs in digital format so as to redevelop these photographs. My maternal grandmother loved the idea of being able to store old photographs in digital format and subsequently, she requested for help to scan a number of her old photographs.

Scanning photographs using the HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One Printer - C310a is made easy. The software is able to recognize that there are multiple photographs being scanned at the same time, and can save each photograph in separate files.

The quality of the prints using the HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One Printer - C310 is good too.

If there is anything that I felt could be better about this printer, it is that I find it a challenge to operate the printer using the touch-screen some of the times. My way to work around this is to operate the printer from the software installed on the computer.

The most interesting part of this wireless printer is that one can print without switching on the computer. Provided that the printer is switched on, one can send an email to the unique email address of one's HP Photosmart Premium e-All-in-One Printer - C310 and presto, one gets his printouts.

If you should be thinking of getting an easy-to-use all-in-one printer, this is one printer that you could possibly consider.

Specifications of this printer and related reviews of it can be found here:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Visiting the Sultan Mosque during Ramadan

On a weekday evening, I visited the Sultan Mosque with a group of friends and new-found friends. The intention was to better appreciate and understand the Islamic faith. We attended a special tour of the Sultan Mosque led by one of the docents of the mosque.

The tour started off with a presentation on a brief introduction to the Islamic faith as well as an introduction to the month of Ramadan. Subsequently, the docent led us on a tour about the mosque. We saw the main prayer hall. In addition, we learnt more about the mosque building and the Islamic faith.

That day happened to fall in the month of Ramadan. It is the "Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex with their partners during daylight hours." Fasting during Ramadan is regarded as a method of spiritual self-purification. As best as I have understood, the process of fasting is intended to teach Muslims to practise self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice and to develop compassion and charity.

Fasting during the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. The five pillars of Islam are:
1) The testimony of faith (i.e. saying with conviction that "there is no true god but God (Allah), and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God."
2) Prayer
3) Giving Zakat (Support of the needed)
4) Fasting in the month of Ramadan
5) Pilgrimage to Mecca

The tour concluded with the group joining the rest of the congregation to break fast together. When the call to start the sunset prayer was heard, it was the signal indicating that it was time to break fast. Devotee will break their fast with dates before praying.

Many thanks to the Sultan Mosque for organising the tour and for their generous hospitality. I have learnt more about the Islamic faith.

One of my new-found friends who was one of the participants of the Ramadan trail tour has written a lovely post on her visit. Please find Rose John's post here: Inside Singapore's Oldest Mosque during Ramadan.

Last but not least, here's to wish our Muslim friends a blessed month of Ramadan, and Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Villa Alicia

Villa Alicia is a sound and photography installation that was held from 6 - 11 Aug 2011 in a beautiful old house located along Binjai Park. Sadly, this beautiful house had been scheduled to be demolished shortly after the end of the exhibition.

My visit to this house and the installation Villa Alicia triggered me to ponder over what would happen to my personal memories that are associated with a specific place when that place no longer exist.

To learn more, please visit: A house that will be gone physically yet will remain in people's memories.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A get-away at Pulau Ubin and Chek Jawa

Yours truly has been needing respite and time to rejuvenate. I am thankful that Nature has been the most generous provider. About a week ago, on a weekday, I was at Changi Beach to enjoy the morning breeze and to listen to the rejuvenating sounds of the waves.

That day, my heart somehow prompted me to take a ferry. My love for taking ferry rides has been greatly encouraged ever since my visit to Sydney in November 2010. Coincidentally, nearby the Changi Beach is the Changi Ferry Terminal. I readily chose to take a ferry to Pulau Ubin, an island to the north-east of Singapore. It cost SGD$2.50 per person to take a ferry (one-way) to Pulau Ubin. At that instant, my visit to Changi Beach ended up to become a visit to Pulau Ubin.

I learnt that Pulau Ubin means to "Granite Island" in Malay. This island is fairly small (10.19 km²) and is said to be "one of the last rural areas to be found in Singapore".

My initial plan was to simply enjoy some sunshine at Pulau Ubin before heading back to the main island of Singapore. I strolled about the part of Pulau Ubin which was nearby the Pulau Ubin ferry terminal. Perhaps I looked like a lost tourist, a kind gentleman from the National Environment Agency (NEA) approached me and started a simple conversation with me. He strongly encouraged me to consider visiting Chek Jawa. Chek Jawa, is located off the eastern coast of Pulau Ubin. This part of the island is rich in its biodiversity and contains rare plant and animal species which are not available in other parts of Singapore.

The kind gentleman from NEA led me to a nearby map and pointed to me how I could travel to Chek Jawa. I had choices. I could travel to Chek Jawa on foot, by bicycle or take a Pulau Ubin 'taxi-service'. My first choice was to travel by foot. Then again, for the sake of safety and convenience, I eventually decided to hire a taxi (which was more like a passenger van) to get me to Chek Jawa. On the way there, I saw a large monitor lizard on the taxi. Thank goodness I was not travelling on foot, else I might have gotten myself a minor fright.

It was a refreshing and peaceful visit to Chek Jawa. I was welcomed by a beautiful Tudor-style house which serves as the Chek Jawa visitor centre. This house was build in the 1930s by the then Chief Surveyor, Langdon Williams, as a holiday retreat. This property has its own private jetty and was accessible by boat via that jetty. I particularly like the magnificent view from the Chek Jawa jetty. The house has a lovely fireplace which actually works!

The mangrove boardwalk was also pretty interesting. I was particularly intrigued by the tiny Fiddler Crabs that moved about the mangrove swamps hunting for food. Each of the male Fiddler Crabs have a large pincer which is intended to attract female crabs and to intimidate other male crabs. However, its large pincer does not seem to serve any purpose when it comes to food-hunting. So I reckon that female Fiddler Crabs tend to have an edge over the male crabs when hunting for food since they do not have the burden of the large pincer?

The mangrove boardwalk also brought me to be close to the Nipah Palm. This is a variety of palm that grows well in mangroves. The immature fruits of the Nipah Palm are called attap chee. White, translucent and hard, the attap chee, are common ingredient in many local desserts.

Along the way, I climbed up the viewing tower to enjoy an awesome view of Chek Jawa and the nearby landscapes. If I were a bird-watcher with binoculars, perhaps I would be able to spot and identify a flying eagle that was said to fly regularly past the vicinity of the viewing tower.

The coastal boardwalk at Chek Jawa is also worth a visit especially during low tides. I had the good luck to meet a elderly gentleman who shared with me some stories of Chek Jawa during my visit.

I was thankful that I was lucky that by mid afternoon, it happened to be low-tide at Chek Jawa that day. That was why I could enjoy some interesting sights of the rich biodiversity at Chek Jawa.

Chek Jawa's facilities opens from 8.30 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. daily. Admission is free. Please respect Nature by observing the following: Do not remove any wildlife from the shore, do not poach, respect the facilities and the wildlife.

I hired a taxi back to the Pulau Ubin Ferry Terminal. On the way there, the driver was very kind and thoughtful to stop by one of the disused granite quarry for me a take a photograph of the beautiful view of a man-made lake formed at the quarry. Here is to share it with you. May it bring you some simple delight.

Finally, it was time to say good-bye to Pulau Ubin. It was an unplanned trip, yet it was a rejuvenating one. I felt thankful for the moment of respite.

Links with information on Chek Jawa and Pulau Ubin:
Pulau Ubin (National Parks)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Heritage TV featuring the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station Tour

About two months ago, thanks to the National Heritage Board and I Love Museum, I had the great pleasure to participate in a tour of the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station led by Rossane. I have put down in writing my experiences of this tour of the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.

In this post, I shall share with you snippets of a tour of the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station that is produced by the Heritage TV, Singapore! Have fun learning about this historically significant station that is no longer in operation, thanks to the changes of events in modern history.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Please support the Raffles Museum's Diplodocus Family appeal

Source: http://rmbr.nus.edu.sg/dino/

About a year ago, the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research achieved the seemingly impossible by raising S$46 million within six months so as to ensure that a new natural history museum for Singapore will be built. This natural history museum to be built, to be known as the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, will be the first museum in the Southeast Asia region to be built with public donations and an endowment fund.

It seemed destined, that through a series of unexpected coincidences, the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR) was given a very special chance to purchase genuine and near complete fossils of a family of three gigantic sauropod dinosaurs. One of the three dinosaurs is a teenage dinosaur which is pretty rare to come by. The educational and research value of acquiring these dinosaurs will be immense given that the fossils are near complete and this is a family group of dinosaurs with a juvenile.

What is Diplodocus? According to wikipedia, the Diplodocus "was a very large long-necked quadrupedal animal, with a long, whip-like tail."

Here is an appeal by the RMBR Fundraising Committee: "Please help to bring the dinosaurs to Singapore" - the Raffles Museum's Diplodocus Family appeal. If you find this cause worthy, please support this appeal. I am sharing this appeal here because I find this cause worthy, though I have no direct affiliation to the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research.

In addition, please find some snippets that I had gotten from a public talk titled From Whence We Came: The History and Future of Singapore's Raffles Museum.

Two real vertebrae of a Diplodocus, and a replica of the skull.

The good news about donating to the dinosaur exhibit is that one can choose to donate online or by cheque. For more information, please visit: http://rmbr.nus.edu.sg/dino/

Updates (on 15 Aug 2011): Purchase of three dinosaurs at risk (source: Straits Times, 14 Aug 2011, by Tan Dawn Wei)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sydney, May 2011

Once again, my words of thanks to Tourism New South Wales for organising the contest "100 Things that make Sydney so ... Sydney" in partnership with Singapore Airlines. My winning entry to the contest gave me the opportunity to visit Sydney in May 2011 and experience autumn in Sydney. I was in Sydney in time for one of my friends' wedding, to celebrate Mother's Day with my mother who visited Sydney with me, and to spend my birthday in Sydney.

Many thanks to Oaks Goldsbrough for sponsoring three nights of accommodation. I have enjoyed my stay!

The photographs from my visit are made possible thanks to Canon for awarding me with a Canon IXUS 1000HS camera.

Here is a compilations of related posts of my visit to Sydney in May 2011:

My visit to Sydney, May 2011
5 May 2011: Arrival at Sydney and the lunch at BBQ King
6 May 2011: Our breakfast at Bills
6 May 2011: The Royal Botanic Gardens' Aboriginal Heritage Tour
6 May 2011: Rose Bay
6 May 2011: Memorable Watsons Bay
6 May 2011: The rest of the day
7 May 2011: The Scenic Wine Tasting Tour by the Red Carpet Tours
What I have learnt from the wine tasting sessions
7 May 2011: Delicious wanton noodles at Supermeal Chinese Restaurant
The Buddha's Birthday Festival
8 May 2011: Bourke Street Bakery
8 May 2011: A loving day
9 May 2011: The Sydney Fish Market Behind the Scenes Tour
9 May 2011: A tour of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music
9 May 2011: My third Sydney Opera House Essential Tour
9 May 2011: The awesome view from Pylon Lookout
9 May 2011: The lucky rainbow that I saw
9 May 2011: The Sydney Tower and the walk in the skies
9 May 2011: A superb dinner with friends
10 May 2011: Sydney Highlights and Bondi Beach Gray Line Tours
10 May 2011: 3-2-1 Spin!
10 May 2011: The Justice and Police Museum
10 May 2011: Korean lunch
10 May 2011: Time alone at Circular Quay
10 May 2011: Magistic Cruisesmart
My many servings of breakfast
10 May 2011: Sydney Wildlife World
10 May 2011: Sydney Aquarium
Sketching Sydney
11 May 2011: The Hyde Park fantasy
The free 555 shuttle bus
11 May 2011: Mamak Delight
A great fit for me: Oaks Goldsbrough Apartments
11 May 2011: Sydney Airport looking brand new
Travelling on the Sydney Monorail and Light Rail
The great way to fly to Sydney

My favourite places in Sydney are Watsons Bay and the Sydney Opera House.

The weather in Sydney had been very kind to me. I am still feeling grateful for the many good things that have came by. Thanks!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Learning more about Western classical music

Have you went to a Western classical music concert and ended up with lots of questions in your mind that would go: "How do I understand the music?", "How do the performers play in sync with one another?", "Is it necessary to have a conductor?", "What are those foreign words on the programme booklet about?" and etc.

Yesterday, I went to a workshop by Leslie Tan, cellist of Singapore's international string ensemble, the T'ang Quartet. It attempts to answer some of the many questions that people would have when they listen to Western classical music. Here's a post on my experiences at this workshop: The joy of appreciating classical music.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

The great way to fly to Sydney

Thanks to the contest "100 Things that make Sydney so ... Sydney" organised by Tourism New South Wales in partnership with Singapore Airlines, I had the great opportunity to take my mother to Sydney for a Mother's Day vacation. We flew by Singapore Airlines.

Singapore Airlines is a choice airline to fly to Sydney in.

Service was wonderful and the members of the crew were very thoughtful. For example, on one occasion, I decided against taking drinking water when it was offered to me. However, I later regretted my decision. The air-stewardess must have some wonderful sixth sense, she graciously asked "Would you like to change your mind on the drinking water?", and that gave me a nice avenue to ask for drinking water with a sense of pleasure that it was perfectly alright to change my mind.

The food that was served was also delicious. I like the ham with cream potato salad that was served on my flight back to Singapore. The roasted chicken served with mushrooms sauce, assorted vegetables and Lyonnaise potato pleased my palate. The cheese and cracker was also a delightful treat.

The Kris World in-flight entertainment was excellent. I watched Toy Story 3 while I was on the way back to Singapore. I also watched a few documentaries.

More importantly, the seats on the A380 were comfortable, roomy and spacious. I have had a sweet slumber on the flight on my way to Sydney from Singapore.

The next time whenever my budget permits, Singapore Airlines will be the choice airline!

Please also see: My visit to Sydney, May 2011
All the photos on this post were taken using a Canon Digital IXUS 1000HS camera.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Travelling on the Sydney Monorail and Light Rail

I was consciously aware that it would be necessary to minimize walking on foot as I was travelling with my mother during my recent vacation in Sydney. I would have enjoyed walking on foot even if it meant tolerating long distances on my feet. Then again, to make the trip a pleasant one for my mother, it helped a lot that I was conscious to minimize walking. Travelling about using the Monorail and Light Rail was a great solution to minimizing walking.

As our accommodation, the Oaks Goldsbrough Apartments, was located next to the Convention Monorail and Light Rail stations, I got myself and my mother a MetroConnect card (which is basically a 7-Day Monorail and Light Rail combined ticket) each. This proved to allow us convenient travel on both the Monorail and Light Rail at an affordable rate.

A 7-Day Monorail and Light Rail combined ticket costs AUS$30.00 (correct as of the time of publication) and can only be purchased on the Light Rail.

My mother took the Light Rail or the Monorail to travel to Chinatown even though it was within a fair walking distance. The Light Rail had also saved us a lot of walking when we visited the Sydney Fish Market during one of the days.

Light Rail.

On the Light Rail.

At the end of my trip, I was pretty pleased that I had the foresight to travel on the Sydney Monorail and Light Rail using the MetroConnect card with my mother. That meant a good deal of travelling at an affordable cost.

Sydney Monorail and Light Rail