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

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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)

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

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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.

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

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Here’s wishing you a blessed Christmas!

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SINGAPORE GARDEN FESTIVAL 2014 (2)

Singapore Garden Festival 2014 (1)

Two of my friends whom I spoke with after the event shared their views that the SGF 2014 lacked that wow factor and I kind of agree with them.  Undoubtedly, there were interesting and attractive designs but if I were to compare SGF 2014 with the past events since 2008, I felt that the past events were indeed more spectacular.  At least there were some that have left an impression on me then.

Floral Windows to the World (participated by 14 designers)

The Ice Queen’s Spring Breath by Annette van Einem (Denmark)

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See the difference in the visual effect when viewed at different dimensions.  One uncle who was taking photos of this design did not realise it and was very happy when I pointed it out to him 🙂

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Reflection of Autumn by Kathy Ong (Malaysia)

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Applied Art Meets Floristry by Bjorn Kroner (Germany) – Gold Award

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Magic Golden Cloud by Bea Beroy (Spain)

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Home by Richard Mock (Singapore Hortiflora Association)

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Passion by Lowdi Kwan (Hong Kong)

Where there’s smoke, there is fire.  Where there’s passion, there’s unlimited dreams and desires!

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Turning Darkness Into Light by Jennifer Murphy (Ireland)

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A Design in Expression of Life by Chang Sung Won (Republic of Korea)

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9th International FDSS Cup Floral Designing Competition 2014

Going through the floral designs, it was not difficult for one to spot that the themes for this year’s competition focused on the use of plastics in the amateur category, and papers in the professional category.

Amateur Category

The Nature of Acry-Fluer by Khoo Ghee Boon (Malaysia) – 1st Prize

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By Ku Weng Tong (Macau) – 2nd Prize and the Most Innovative Design award

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Plastic “Fluer”tastic by Rainbow Li (Hong Kong) – 3rd Prize

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Climbing Expectation by Sandra I Taslim (Indonesia) – 3rd Prize

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Nice work using plastic straws

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By Rostiana Jo (Singapore) – Merit Award

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Professional Category

Books are stepping stones of human progress by Pan Lei (China) – 1st Prize

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Recording (记载) by Liao Wen Hao (Taiwan) – 2nd Prize

Words record the memories of mankind.  Papers accumulate the civilisation of memories.  We flip through the pages, searching, reaching, thinking, imaging.

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By Lam Chun Yu (Macau) – Merit Award

珠玑满堂能光善地、凤凰来仪始于正道

A place can be brilliant and beautiful if it is posted with beautiful articles around,

A country will be prosperous and peaceful if the citizens are on their best behaviour!

Well said!

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Books in Bloom by Lim Li Jun (Malaysia)

The journey of a lifetime starts with the turning of a page – Rachel Anders

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The Help from Aliens by Nguyen Phi Minh (Vietnam)

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By Maria T.L. Robles (Philippines)

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By Sharen Tantarica (Singapore)

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Floral Table Series

Miracle Dining Table by Tan Han Xiang @ Han Ashworth – Gold Prize and Best of Show award

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Enchanted Night by Winston Chin – Gold prize and Best of Show award

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Dining in Mangrove by Law Guek Chu – Silver prizeFTS04

Gazebo Exotica by Thong Weng Seng

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I had to give Miniature Gardens a miss after spending too much time on the above sections.

I realised that I actually didn’t have many shots taken at the Fantasy Gardens.

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This design at the entrance to Fantasy seemed like a popular spot for a souvenir snap by the many visitors

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A Garden of Hers by Damian Tang (Singapore)

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Concept : A garden that embodies the love of an angel; someone he loves and someone he sees as an angel.  This is a garden dedicated to her.

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Winter Illusion by Kate Hillier and Dan Rutherford (New Zealand).  Winter Illusion is a garden within a garden, created with a combination of optical illusion and fantasy

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Back to the Wild by Michael Petrie (USA) – Gold Prize and Best of Show award

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The event ticket booths were all quiet when I walked pass after 530pm.

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I was curious if the event had received a good attendance this year, and if the hot weather had actually stopped some from attending.  I searched online but didn’t seem to find any reports about the estimated number of visitors, not even on the website/Facebook of SGF.

Although I didn’t find the SGF 2014 as spectacular as the past ones, and I  didn’t enjoy it as much as before, overall it was still worth the visit, considering that the entrance ticket was very affordable.  I paid S$8 after a 20%-discount with my Friend of the Gardens’ membership.  If not for the weather, I would be interested to go back on another day to cover those sections which I missed.

Hopefully Singapore Garden Festival 2016 will be a fully indoor event! 😀

NDP 2010 – A SPECIAL OCCASION TO BE CHERISHED

Being a Singaporean for almost 18 years now, it was truly an eye-opening experience to be able to join thousands of people at the Padang last Monday (9 August) to celebrate Singapore’s 45th birthday.  I loved the great atmosphere throughout the celebration and had truly enjoyed the NDP (National Day Parade) in a way totally different from viewing the live telecast at home.  I am also thankful to have been successful in getting two precious tickets through the ballot system for the first time.  We had been applying for the tickets since the ballot system started many years ago.

Large crowds making their way to the Padang

Lots of early birds despite the hot sunny weather.

VIP seats for the Parliamentarians in front of City Hall

The 1000-student One Voice Show Choir

LIVE OUR DREAMS, FLY OUR FLAGS – this year’s NDP theme

The four hosts for the event – Gurmit Singh, Michelle Chia, Suhaimi Yusoff and Denise Keller

Appearance of Marly and Lyo – two mascots for the inaugural YOG (Youth Olympic Games) to be held in Singaporer 14-26 August 2010.

Appearance of Team Singapore

1WO Ng Seng Huat, the final of the eight Parachutists from the Red Lions that wowed the crowds

The eight parachutists waving to the crowds upon completion of their mission

30 Contingents ready for the Parade and Ceremony

Combined Band with students from the NCC Band and members from the SAF Band and Police Band

Regimental Colours Party

Arrival of Senior Minister, Mr Goh Chok Tong and Minister Mentor, Mr Lee Kuan Yew

Arrival of Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong

Getting ready for the arrival of the President, Mr SR Nathan

Arrival of the President

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State Flag Flypast – A CH-47 Chinook and two AH-64 Apache

President Salute – Five F-16 Fighters.  Prior to these were three F-15SG Fighters

Inspection by the President

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Another Aerial Flypast by the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF).  This is the final of the series of flypast – five F-16 Fighters performing an electrifying bomb burst, painting the sky with their smoke tails.

Mobile Column, said to be the best ever!  This is the first time I have ever seen all these!

The second part of the celebrations was a show put up by thousands of performers, consisting of 4 Acts. Thanks to the very talented man, Dick Lee who was the Show Maker for this year’s show!

Kit Chan singing HOME which is the NDP song for year 2004.  I would say this is the best NDP Song ever!

After the event, I couldn’t help feeling even more thankful to the organiser and all involved for putting up such a fantastic celebration event  for the people.  It is certainly a very challenging and complicated task considering  the amount of preparations and logistics involved.  Not forgetting to mention all the rehearsals and previews.  The thoughtfulness of the organising committee is also well reflected in the Fun Totes (goodies bags) given out to each and every attendee which quite frankly, I don’t think we deserve at all.

Each of us was given a Sunshine bread roll……

….and a Fun Tote.  There are 7 designs of Fun Tote specially created for NDP2010 by local designers. We received the two most colourful ones. 🙂

Content of the Fun Tote – national flag, flag clapper with light, two bottles of water (include a bottle of NeWater), NDP Magazine, Fun Box, poncho, 3 batteries for the clapper, Courtesy Lion fan, and a thick booklet of discount vouchers.  That many!  Oh, I love the NDP Magazine!!  It is so well done and informative!!

In the Fun Box – stickers, tattoo stickers, 3 packets of Khong Guan biscuits, Nestle Koko Krunch, Eu Yan Sang candies, 2 packets of drinks, wet and dry tissues, badge, post card and even hand sanitizer!  Thanks to all sponsors!

There was even a plastic for rubbish!

But shame on all these irresponsible Singaporeans.  Just look at the rubbish thrown here and there!

As we made our way out of Padang, workers have already started their hard work to clean up the mess.

Please click HERE for my NDP 2010 photo album.

The NDP 2010 will certainly be something special and memorable to me even though I must admit that DS and I somehow no longer feel so attached to the country now as the country has changed so much and don’t feel like the old Singapore anymore.  I still feel proud to be a Singaporean although as a matter of fact, I do not like the increasingly crowded environment and seemingly less gracious society.

That night, for the first time ever, I had the opportunity to sing our National Anthem loud and with pride.