MOMENTS IN 2016

‘Tis the season of the year.  It’s Christmas and year-end again.

Time seems to have slipped away so super fast this year.  9 months have passed since I last wrote on this blog.   Before I go on,  if you are following my blog, you may want to note that I have started an account of the same name as this blog on Instagram, since late March.  While I had been quiet on the blogsphere, I share on Instagram. 🙂

2016 surely is going to be a year to be remembered, both good and not so good sides.

Hubby and I moved twice this year – first to a temporary accommodation in a friend’s home for 6 months, in Marine Parade, and finally settled down nicely in our new home in the city fringe, after going through much cracking of our heads in the design and all the hassles in the renovations.  With more than 35% reduction in terms of floor area, home now is a small, cozy 4-room flat which is much easier to manage in terms of housekeeping and cleaning.  I also like the convenience now, in terms of location and transportation.  Never had I live this near to the city before! 🙂  However, there are still issues with high-rise littering from extremely inconsiderate and uncultured neighbours upstairs which seem so hard to resolve, even  after repeatedly reporting the issues to the authorities.  Sometimes I wonder what the priorities of the authorities are and if  they are actually keen in helping the residents!

Just as I thought I could be thankful that my mum who had been suffering from cancer had lived another year as year-end approaches, she passed on last month, kind of sudden, although we were mentally prepared that her days were numbered.  My mum has lived to a ripe old age, and despite being a cancer patient for over 2 years, she had been strong and positive,  and able to live an almost normal life, keeping up with her routines as much as possible.  My two late grandmas died of cancer too.  I find it so hard to forget how they had to be bedridden and suffering in pain in the final months of their lives.  So I am thankful to God that my mum did not have to go through this.  That’s my only consolation now.

This year-end I have been blessed with opportunities to attend a few special performances, with compliments of organisations like Embassy of Japan in Singapore, WAttention Singapore and Popular Bookstore.  That somehow cheered up my year-end.

The Graduate Singers

the-graduate-singers

One Asia Joint Concert was one unique performance that brought together musicians from Japan and ASEAN (Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore)

one-asia-joint-concert

Liang Wen Fu “我等到天开始亮了“ Music Showcase at BookFest 10th Anniversary

liang-wen-fu-musci-showcase

Last Saturday, I finally went down to the Christmas Wonderland at the Gardens by the Bay.  “Finally” because I was actually not sure whether or not to go to this Iluminarie display again this year since it is expected to be more or less the same as the previous years.  Moreover, there is now a charge of S$8 per person for the entrance fees.  My good old friend from Malaysia was visiting, and so I thought that’s one good place to take her to and be soaked up in the Christmas mood.  Indeed, the mood was great and we enjoyed ourselves.

Ilumiarie01.jpg

Iluminarie02.jpg

iluminarie04

iluminarie03

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So it does snow in Singapore!  And it’s quite a heavy one! 😀

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’s wishing you a blessed Christmas!

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS 2014

It’s the last day of 2014.

The year-end rains seem to have stopped these two days, and I finally went to Orchard Road for the Christmas decorations last evening as I was in town to attend to some matters.  With only about half an hour to spare before heading to my final destination for the day, it was a quick walk from Ngee Ann City to Orchard Central.

Lobby of Ngee Ann City, outside Takashimaya

Orchard201401

Orchard201410

Paragon Shopping Centre

Orchard201402

Robinsons @ The Heeren

Orchard201403

CentrePoint

Orchard201404

Orchard201405

Orchard201412

Orchard201414

Orchard201407

Orchard Central – too pinky!

Orchard201413

Orchard201406  Orchard201408

Orchard GatewayOrchard201409

Orchard201411

The theme for this year’s Christmas decorations on Orchard Road is “Christmas on a Great Street“.  Too bad, the decorations didn’t impress me.  If I had to pick one, my choice would be CentrePoint which seems to be a popular photo-taking spot.

On my way down to the Marina Bay area after Orchard Road, I stopped over the iconic Fullerton Hotel briefly and managed to snap some shots of its Christmas decorations.

Fullerton Hotel01

Red and gold colours, with lots of bears in Fullerton Hotel

Fullerton Hotel02

Fullerton Hotel03

Fullerton Hotel04

Fullerton Hotel05

Fullerton Hotel06

Fullerton Hotel07

Fullerton Hotel08

I like the decorations in the Fullerton Hotel a lot better!  I wished I had the time to stay there long, perhaps over a cup of tea and be soaked in the lovely mood there, with classical music being played at the background!

NO MERRY CHRISTMAS AND YEAR-END

A blessed Christmas to all readers!

Mango Cheesecake

This Christmas is so super quiet for me that I decided to brighten up my day a bit by making these no-bake mango cheesecakes for dessert tonight.  This is my first time making this type of cheesecakes, and I am glad that they have turned out pretty well.

This Christmas and also year-end are actually not so merry for us.  Due to a major project implementation, my dear hubby not only had to work today, but also has to be on a 12-hour work shift, plus 12-hour off-site support everyday from now till 1 Jan when the cut-over is expected to complete, with no break at all. Why are the bosses taxing their staffs so much without even a little thought spared on their staffs’ health and welfare?  To make things worse, there is no mention at all of any compensating off-days for all the extra work during this period – 4 extra man-days, not considering another 3 man-days working on public holidays and weekends.  Unfortunately, there is no way for these people who are not protected under Labour Law or Employment Act, to voice their unhappiness.

Enough of my rantings.

Christmas dinner was a simple one and we didn’t have it until DS got home past 10pm!

Salad

Grilled Prawns

I am praying and hoping that next year will be a better year for my dear hubby in terms of his workload and health.

May God’s love and peace with you today and all through the new year ahead.

CHRISTMAS @ GARDENS BY THE BAY

I visited the Gardens by the Bay again yesterday evening, with DS this time.  I was keen to see the lighting of Yuletide in Flower Dome after dark, and also the Luminarie in Christmas Wonderland which is said to be the first of its kind in Southeast Asia.

It was raining cats and dogs when we were on our way to the Gardens by the Bay in a taxi after 5pm.  We thought we could only settle with the Yuletide in Flower Dome which is held indoor, given the poor weather condition.  Very fortunately, the rain stopped around 7pm or I knew I would be very disappointed.

The rain has subsided a little when this shot was taken.  This giant Christmas tree with Cloud Forest at the background, bears the logo of Gardens by the Bay on top, and is decorated with lots of artificial dragonflies

Christmas@GBB01

Yuletide in Flower Dome, after dark

Christmas@GBB02  Christmas@GBB04

Christmas@GBB03

Reflection on the glass ceiling

Christmas@GBB05

Christmas@GBB06

Christmas@GBB09

Christmas@GBB08

Christmas@GBB11

Christmas@GBB07   Christmas@GBB10

Obviously the heavy rain earlier did not stop many from visiting the Gardens by the Bay.  The outdoor Christmas Wonderland event was packed with even more visitors which was not unexpected since there was no entrance fees required.  I saw that many of them were foreigners.  Many also went as a family, young and old, or with their groups of friends, and were busy snapping away with their cameras or smartphones.  The mood was just great!  I would say this is one event not to be missed in Singapore this Christmas, especially for those who have yet to see a Luminarie like this.

Christmas Wonderland

Mini Frontone of 14.4m at the entrance to Supertree Grove

CW01

4 Arches of 10m leading into Supertree Grove

CW02

Solo pieces of 9m each

CW03

Supertree with OCBC Skywalk.  The lighting was simply enchanting!CW04

CW05

Marina Bay Sands seen from Supertree Grove area where the Luminarie is heldCW06

Cassa Armonica, a mini capola of 7.5m wide and 9m tall.  Choirs etc. are held here but we didn’t manage to catch any when we were there

CW07

Spalliera, a crown of lights, is the masterpiece in Christmas Wonderland.  It is some 17m tall and 31m wide.  Very impressive piece of work!CW08

CW09

Blizzard Time is held 3 or 4 times a day at the Spalliera.  I managed to catch the one at 9:05pm from outside the Spalliera (see video below).  Many entered into the Spalliera to have a more up-close view of this magnificent luminarie, and also to be soaked in the fun during the Blizzard Time.  We had decided not to do so.  The ground was still wet, soft and muddy, and we did not want to dirty our shoes.   It would have been better if the ground was temporary paved before building the Spalliera, considering that year-end is a rainy season in Singapore.  This is one thing the organiser can improve on if a similar event will be planned in future.

Many people were still arriving when DS and I made our way out after 10pm.

Frontone, the Arrival Arches consisting of 1 Frontone of 15.65m & 6 arches

CW10

CW12

Thanks to Gardens by the Bay!  The events make this Christmas a little bit special for me because it was my first time seeing such Luminarie!

I have yet to see the Christmas lighting on Orchard Road.  With only 4 days to go before Christmas, I still can’t make up my mind to go.

YULETIDE IN FLOWER DOME

We are on the last page of the calender for year 2014.  Time seems to slip away at such a blinding speed!  And, 2015 is already quietly making its way in!

I still have no plans for this Christmas yet.  I would like to have DS joining me on outings to enjoy the Christmas decorations, and be soaked in the mood of this festive season which is my favourite time of the year.  It is just too bad that DS has been so bogged down by his work this year, even at this year-end.  I just can’t wait for him to get over the current project!  So much said about work-life balance in Singapore but I have not heard of any employers that actually care about and practise this, from people I know!

I visited the Gardens by the Bay recently. This time for the Christmas floral display themed “Yuletide in the Flower Dome“.

Yuletide in the Flower Dome

Yuletide01

I have already lost count on the number of times I have visited the Flower Dome.  It is one attraction in Singapore that I have visited most.  Unlike other attractions, the seasonable or thematic floral displays and the beautiful blooms from the permanent display, make it interesting to visit the Flower Dome over and over again, and without getting sick of it!  There aren’t many such attractions in Singapore.

This year’s Christmas floral display in the Flower Dome is definitely much better than last year’s.  The wooden Christmas trees found both outside and inside the Flower Dome, are an eye-catcher.  Although looking plain and simple, they stand out amongst the other typical Christmas trees.  They are a piece of art.

Centre decorations after the entrance of the Flower Dome

Yuletide02

 Yuletide03

Lots of bears are used for this year’s decorations.  Surely this will be an attraction for the the little ones and also the bear-lovers!

Yuletide04

Yuletide 19

Yuletide05

Yuletide06

Yuletide07

Bear Santa

Yuletide09

Yuletide20

Yuletide08

Bears, Christmas trees and poinsettias aside, the decoration is set in a little snowy, western town with building, cathedral, snowmen etc.  There is also a candy factory (but no candy sales!).  Very Christmasty feel!

Yuletide10

Yuletide11

Yuletide12

Yuletide13

Yuletide14

Yuletide15

Yuletide16

The tall tower which is recycled from the Orchid Extravaganza event a few months ago, lights up every evening, from 6:30pm.

This shot was taken towards the end of my visit.  The sky was dark, the reindeer were all lighted up but not the lights on the tower

Yuletide21

I was so hoping that the lights would come on earlier, given the dark sky but they didn’t.  That was a little disappointment.  So, I reckon I will have to make another trip to the Flower Dome one of these evenings in order to see the lighting.  I think I also should not miss the Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay event which is an outdoor event that started on 29 November.  I have read that the Luminarie light sculptures in Christmas Wonderland were specially constructed and flown in from Europe, for the first time. I just hope for a good weather on the day I go!

Photo from Gardens by the Bay website

christmas-wonderland_660x360

Flower Dome never fails to surprise me every time I visit.  This time it was this new installation.

La Famille de Voyageurs, Sculpture in Bronze (2014) by Bruno Catalano.  It is a gift from Singapore Changi Airport to Gardens by the Bay that embodies the strategic collaboration between the two organisations

FlowerDome

Flower Dome02

It was pouring at the time I left Gardens by the Bay.  Thanks to the very thoughtful driver of the shuttle tram between the garden and Bayfront MRT station.  Instead of dropping us in the usual drop-off point which a walking-distance away from the station, he actually drove us all the way to the sheltered lift-landing area of the station and spared us from getting wet!  Thanks Mr Driver!  This is one very good example of a GEM (Go the Extra Mile) service which I would say unusual in Singapore!

19 days to Christmas!

MERRY CHRISTMAS

The week leading up to Christmas was hectic & tiring but somewhat enjoyable too.  It was packed with activities such as tidying up my spare room and kitchen (something which I had been wanting to do for months!), Christmas shopping, catching up with friends over meals, and entertaining my elder sister who came visiting with her two teenage girls.

It started with a considerably expensive high-tea treat from a dear friend at TWG Tea Salon @ ION Orchard.  This was my second time having tea at TWG, the first was in 2010. It was certainly a nice catch-up with my friend, although I was not particularly impressed with the food.

TWG

Then, there was a very enjoyable dinner with two very young ladies – my ex-medical coordinators, one of whom was in town on a work trip – at Paradise Dynasty, also in ION Orchard.  Good food aside, it was a rare get-together. I was glad to see that both of them who have become my friends in the course of my 5-year treatment, are doing well and one of them is going to be a mother for the second time. 🙂  At this friend’s request, surely I will be honoured and happy to suggest some names for her new baby due to arrive next May.  Her first child, a boy who is one and a half year’s old now has adopted the Chinese name that I suggested. 🙂

A variety of Xiao Long Bao, spicy dumplings, steamed fish, Shichuan fried chicken, Shanghai Nian Gao (rice cakes), radish puffs and fried ramen – all for the price of S$90.  This is certainly more value for money as compared to the high tea in TWG or a simple meal at Paul 🙂

Paradise Dynasty

On Saturday, DS and I went for some last-minute Christmas shopping and I managed to pick up what I wanted to get for my friend’s daughters.  Orchard Road was packed with people, so packed that we actually had some difficulty walking through the underpass linking Wisma Atria and Ngee Ann City that afternoon.  Singapore is definitely getting over-crowded and that’s what making me feel very uncomfortable these days.  For this reason, I had actually given up the idea of strolling down Orchard Road to enjoy the Christmas light-up and do some photo shoots.  This is something I used to enjoy in the past.   I can’t imagine how it would be like when we reach a population of 6 or 6.5 millions people!!

After shopping at Takashimaya and Kinokuniya, we managed to get a table at Paul Boulangerie Paatisserie for the first time.  We had wanted to try out the food at Paul in the past but had to give up due to the long queues.  The food we ordered was nice, but not the service standard. I was not very happy that the a group of 3 customers behind me was given a table first although there was actually table available for two!  The service staff were not very attentive too.  Perhaps they were short-handed.

Paul

A sumptuous dim sum meal plus Peking duck with DS, my sisters and nieces at Prima Tower revolving restaurant, followed by our visit to the cooled conservatories at the Gardens by the Bay wrapped up the activity-packed week.

IMG_1375

I have visited the cooled conservatories 6-7 times since its official opening in June, and I still enjoy each visit 🙂  There are always different or new blooms thus some pleasant surprises each time, plus the periodic change of the floral display in the Flower Dome.  It was certainly worth paying S$68 for the year-pass which allows me unlimited visits, and at anytime.

GBB Pass

Winter Wonderland floral display in the Flower Dome

Winter Wonderland1

Winter Wonderland2

Winter Wonderland3

Today we spent a quiet and relaxing day at home reading and watching “Hugo”.  DS finished reading “Proof of Heaven” in just about 4 hours!  He is such a fast reader!

Books

Champagne, shortbread and mixed nuts while watching “Hugo”

Christmas2012

After so much of good food and merry-making, surely it is time to start dieting again!  All I need now is regular exercise, and real discipline and determination! I shall make this my 2013 resolution!  😀

MERRY CHRISTMAS!  I hope you have enjoyed this festive season too!

My 5-ft tall Christmas tree this year

Christmas Tree

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

It is this time of the year again – Christmas – time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

In about 8 hours’ time, DS and I will be heading up north for a cold but not white Christmas in Xiamen, China.  This is one very rare time that we decided on a trip within a day, and going to depart within 3 days’ after booking our flights.

Earth Tower aka Ke Jia Tu Lou @ Yong Ding that we plan to visit during our trip.

Our Christmas dinner this year was an early and simple one at home – roast chicken with green salad, assortment of sushi and a bottle of red wine!  We hardly had turkey for Christmas as it is way too big for the two of us, and I don’t really fancy that. This year, I did not put up my 5-ft Christmas tree, neither did we get a log cake.


One of our most memorable Christmases was the one spent in Japan in 2009 – a delicious traditional Japanese meal on the eve, and a fun-filled day at the Universal Studio Japan.  Hopefully Christmas in Xiamen will be yet another special one too. 🙂

For all readers of this blog, here’s wishing you a joyous Christmas and an abundantly blessed 2012.

For Unto Us A Child is Born in Handel’s Messiah, my favourite oratorio in Christmas season.

Christmas Decoration @ Changi Airport

Tangs @ Orchard Road

Big-small eye Santa @ Harbourfront Centre

Orchard Road

This giant Christmas tree with a mini viewing platform is a hit this year.  Many queue to go up!

Thanks too, to my friends who regularly visit this blog.  This shall be my last entry for year 2011, and it is also my 172nd entry since July 2007. 

See you next year!