Visit a zoo on a trip where there is only 3 full days to spare you say? While I am an animal lover, I deem an option like that to be rather impractical for such a short trip. I certainly did not want to waste a complete day at the zoo. I want to relax, eat, shop around and immerse myself in the local culture on overseas trip.
But to the zoo I ended going with my travelling mate. However, I did not regret a moment of it though.
We were rather cynical when we saw this blazing signboard at the zoo. So we decided to check it out. Guess what we came across inside? To begin with, we had gone to the zoo on a Sunday. A legion of locals and visitors must have swamped the place and they include hordes of students in their yellow, blue, and even pink uniforms. Eventually the toilets were mobbed by early business deals with queues snaking about 50m from the entrance. The male toilet was no spare as well by female patrons! I REPEAT. YES. FEMALE PATRONS. Most of them in their yellow, blue and pink uniforms!
I have to run. I will update this entry when I have access to the internet again.
I had wanted to post the next entry on my Bangkok trip yesterday but my internet connection was down yesterday. After I had got home around 3pm, there was no wireless signals, including mine, at all around my block which was rather unusual. Did some cable in the ocean snap again???
Would you believe it that I used to dread that Umbrella song of hers? Perhaps detest would be more accurate to describe my previous sentiments. As fate would have it, that song is one of those that grows on you. It doesn't help of course that the MTV is so....if you've seen it, you will know what I mean.
Rihanna apparantly is no newbie in the show business. I came across a previous album of hers before her massive one containing Umbrella. Looking like a typical high school girl and decked in what looked like 80s fashion, she was a nobody then of course. Now, she's a mega star who's only a teenager!
The headline implies explicitly that Madonna is intentionally NOT renewing her vows. In the light of the current swirling rumours (created by who else but the tabloids of course) surrounding her marriage, it does feed into the supposed`truth' regarding her impending breakup with Guy Ritchie.
Some may applaud the writer for the creative play with words. Others may say that these writers do it for pure survival thus monetary reasons and also for the fact that readers (like you and me) exist to lap up every juicy detail. I deem it a very cruel taunt at personal privacy and a sheer pack of twisted lies.
It is just another reminder how tabloid writers will twist the truth with just one headline and we truly really cannot believe everything we read in the news.
MADONNA WON'T RENEW HER VOWS
MADONNA's publicist has shot down reports the pop star and husband GUY RITCHIE are planning to renew their wedding vows.
An article in British tabloid The Sun suggested the couple will remarry in a Kabbalah ceremony next month (Aug08), which will coincide with Madonna's 50th birthday celebrations.
But the singer's longtime publicist Liz Rosenberg insists the story is bogus. She says, "It's complete fiction."
I encountered ACRES, which stands for Animal Concerns Research & Education Society, earlier while watching a taped episode of "I Say". In a country where the pursuit of wealth is paramount to many and landspace for the wild is forever shrinking, we often neglect the other species which we share this planet with. I am thus truly surprised that this space of sorts for wildlife exists. Given their noble cause, and being an animal lover myself, I thought I just want to share this great cause with you.
I took the following information from their website:
Mission of ACRES “To create a caring and socially responsible society where animals are treated as sentient beings and where the environment is preserved for future generations.”
The Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) was founded by a group of Singaporeans and registered as a society on 24th May 2001 (Registration No.: 176/2001). It was registered under the Charities Act on 11th January 2005 (Registration No.: 1849) and registered as an Institution of Public Character on 1st June 2007 (Registration no. IPC000559).
ACRES aims to:
* Foster respect and compassion for all animals. * Improve the living conditions and welfare of animals in captivity. * Educate people on lifestyle choices which do not involve the abuse of animals and which are environment-friendly.
ACRES strongly believes in promoting community involvement in tackling animal welfare issues and in building partnerships with all related bodies to improve animal welfare. The society is driven by its concern for animals and adopts research projects on the use of animals in various fields. Research findings are then used to educate the public to promote active community involvement in the animal welfare movement, as well as strive towards synergistic partnerships with authorities and related parties.
They carry cool stuff tees, badges, mugs and car decals on the web to raise funds for their causes too!
Like SPCA, ACRES do recruit volunteers, young and old, to help out with on their sanctuary at Mandai. Yes, it may be a tad far from where most of us live but hey, I am going to travel there on one of my mornings off to check them out. Any takers?
Buses: 172 from Choa Chu Kang Interchange / Boon Lay Interchange, 975 from Bukit Panjang Interchange.Alight in front of the Home Team Academy (Old Choa Chu Kang Road) and a 1 kilometre walk to Qian Hu (follow the sign and turn into Jalan Lekar). The AWRC (91 Jalan Lekar) is located on the left of Qian Hu Fish Farm. If you are driving, exit into Sungei Tengah Road, from KJE (Kranji Expressway) and follow the signs to Qian Hu Fish Farm.
Yesterday, the unique hits for Saint2 almost tripled overnight with visitors coming from the following countries :
United States [40%] Malaysia [11%] United Kingdom [8%] Philippines [5%] Mexico [4%] Canada [3%] Brazil [3%] Indonesia [2%] South Korea [2%] Japan [2%] Chile [2%] Ecuador [1%] Taiwan [1%] Costa Rica [1%] Russia [1%] South Africa [1%] Turkey [1%] China [1%] Germany [1%] Venezuela [1%] India [1%] Italy [1%] Kuwait [1%] Argentina [1%] Singapore [1%] Czech Republic [1%] United Arab Emirates [1%] Hungary [1%] Bangladesh [1%]
In particular, a significant number stemmed from central and S America.
Could it be due to the picture of Ronaldino and/or the new Joker wallpaper I had put up and fueled further by the search engines that are pinged by Blogexplosion?
While trawling the net, I came across this hilarious email vacation message by Chade Meng, the first Singaporean Google employee. My work starts again in 15 minutes which really sucks on a Sunday morning. Sigh. Meanwhile, enjoy.
I’m on leave until 8/15/2008. If you can’t reach me, please don’t think I’m dead, especially if you’re from payroll (if you’re not from payroll, I don’t really care what you think. Except you, boss).
During my leave, I will archive most of my incoming emails without reading them. Why?
Because being on leave, I’m likely to be frolicking on a beach or something, and reading emails is incompatible with frolicking.
If your request is important, please email me again after 8/15/2008.
If your request is not important, please send it to /dev/null, it will be taken care of in the most appropriate way, I promise.
In case of an absolute emergency that requires my immediate attention, my teammates know how to contact me. Bribe them.
Tell them they look beautiful. Say they look almost as attractive as Meng.
Examples of “absolute emergency”: - You are the President of the United States. - You are Celine Dion. - You urgently want to give me a billion bucks. - Evil forces intent to destroy the world today (Note: not AFTER my vacation, but today) and you think I’m the only one who can save the world. - You discovered that I’m The One, but so did the Agents, and you have only 24 hours to find me to give me the “blue pill/red pill” speech. - All of the above.
During my time away, I will refrain from becoming evil.
But if I do become evil, I promise I will grow a goatee and rub my hands in a sinister way when I speak.
And if I capture a superhero sent to stop me, I will painstakingly explain my evil plans in detail to him/her before handing him/her to my snickering, incompetent goons.
I hope you do not lose your appetite after reading this.
July 19, 2008 Man speared by rod lives to tell the tale
MEDICAL MIRACLE: A video showing Mr Dutta undergoing surgery in New Delhi on Thursday after an iron road weighing 6kg pierced his liver, stomach, spleen, left lung and diaphragm, but missed his heart. -- PHOTO: AFP
NEW DELHI - AN INDIAN man has survived an operation to remove a 1.5m- long iron bar that went right through his chest, reports said yesterday, calling it a medical miracle.
The rod was lying on a construction site when the taxi that Mr Supratim Dutta was travelling in smashed into it on Saturday.
The bar pierced through the car's bonnet and dashboard before hitting the 23-year-old, who was in the front passenger seat, The Times of India reported. It measured 10cm by 10cm.
Mr Dutta remained conscious and called family members and friends from his mobile phone while he waited at the scene for an hour before being taken to hospital, the newspaper reported.
'I was shocked to see him. He was on the stretcher holding the iron at an angle.
'Groaning in pain, he kept asking people to move aside so that the angle (of the rod) wasn't disturbed,' Dr Tej Prakash, one of the first doctors to see Mr Dutta, was quoted by the paper as saying.
Indian media described the three-hour-long surgery on Thursday as a miracle. The iron bar, which weighed 6kg, had pierced Mr Dutta's liver, stomach, spleen and left lung.
It also perforated the IT specialist's diaphragm in two places and broke a rib, but missed his heart.
'In my 35-year-long career, this is the first time that I have seen a case like this,' the newspaper quoted Dr M.C. Misra as saying.
Three of Mr Dutta's ribs had to be cut to remove the rod from his body.
Doctors said he was in stable condition, but not out of danger yet because of the risk of post-surgery infection.
Mr Dutta's father Sukumar told the paper his son's strength of character saved him, though he was unsure how long it would take before his son made a full recovery.
25 Jul 2008 Malaysia has demanded the United States stop "interfering" in an investigation into sodomy charges against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. Picture shows tourists in Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur, with the iconic Petronas Twin Towers in the backgrond. - AFP
26 Jul 2008 Chinese paramilitary police stop people waiting to buy the final batch of Olympic tickets from surging forward, as they wait near the Olympic Stadium in Beijing. - AFP
Brazil's Olympic soccer team players Pato (L) and Ronaldinho (R) participate in a training session in Singapore where they will play a friendly match against Singapore's team on July 28. - AP
Homes sit under floodwaters after Hurricane Dolly hit the area in Matamoros, Mexico. - AP
Those were the consuming thoughts I had when I took a picture with the 2 beauties. The quote was of course taken from the boxing context and what I believed to be spoken by Mohammad Ali.
The last time I had been to a Thai Boxing Ring was almost 10 years ago. Back then, I did not get to watch any matches but only the boxers training with their instructors.
On this trip, upon my friend's insistence - and I was glad I had gone along - I got to catch the intriguing sport of Muay Thai, what I would describe as "the beautiful meltdown".
After a brief dinner at Suan Lam Night Market, we took a metered cab to Lumpines Boxing Stadium. The journey took less than 5 minutes.
I thought these were the boxers for the evening but the publicity poster was for another event which featured participants of different nationalities. That would be really interesting to watch!
While waiting to enter the ring, each of us received a schedule of the matches. This was probably to facilitate those who were placing bets on specific matches.
Certainly NOT your geek in the pink.
Soon the crowd - comprising mostly of tourists - started to form at the RINGSIDE entrance.
Billboards featuring sponsors flood the stadium.
The matches are accompanied by a live band as well. My friend jokingly suggested to use a soundtrack on CD to cut down on operating costs...a typical Singaporean mentality obssessed with efficiency of course.
Here begins the "beautiful" segment of the meltdown. Allow me to explain.
At the start of each match, both boxers will pay a tribute to all four posts.
Dorning a floral arrangement worn around the neck and elaborate head, arm and leg cufflings, they begin their graceful dance in the ring.
The emcee mentioned that the ritual dance, Wai Khru, is performed by the boxers to thank their trainers and also to ask their gods for their blessings for the fight. (Thanks to Marcus for this information!).
The meltdown begins with junior boxers. The youngest lot are probably in their early teens.
I've watched an episode of "Taboo", a series on National Geographic, which depicts the physcial, psychological and emotional demands of the violent sport on the young bodies of teenagers. On top of that, parents of these young boxers bet their entire year's worth of earnings on that finale match in the hope to break out of poverty's grip.
One teen boxer had to be wheelchaired out because he was kicked in the stomach and groin area.
When the timekeeper rings the bell, the boxers will retire to their corners. Two assistants will come forward to give the participants a sponge and rub down of the limbs. The purpose is to loosen up their muscles.
Watching the entire procedure added another dimension of entertainment in this sporting event.
The head coach will never fail to come forward to offer his tips and the boxers will always listen intently and respectfully. Sometimes, other supporters, caught up in their enthusiasm, also shout their numerous advice to the boxer. The cacophony of voices add more confusion rather than enlightenment.
As the matches progressed, the ages of the boxers also increase and inevitably, so do the skill level and intensity of violence.
In this special match featuring really very skilful boxers, a set of film crew descended upon the ring to perform their Hollywood magic.
Finally, the winner gets to bask in the full glory of the media...
...while the losing party receives silent consolatory smiles and nods from his teammates and coaches in the background.
I leave the stadium with these two souveniors and a heart full of conflicting feelings for the boxers and the sport. Nevertheless, I was truly glad to have attended the event.
Awesome!!! The Dark Knight totally rocks. I've watched it twice and am considering catching it a third time. Have you?
23 July 2008 Dark Knight is S’pore’s biggest weekend grosser in ‘08
HE’S tops among superheroes.
The latest instalment in the Caped Crusader franchise, The Dark Knight, has the highest weekend opening in Singapore so far this year.
It made $2.09 million from last Thursday to Sunday, a spokesman for its distributor, Warner Bros, told my paper. The takings also enhanced the film’s status as the biggest movie opening of all time at the North American box office.
The film grossed US$158.355 million (S$213.824 million) during its first three days of release across the United States and Canada – a US$3 million improvement over Sunday’s estimate from the Time Warner Inc-owned studio. The mark shattered the US$151.1 million earned by Spider-Man 3 in May last year.
The Dark Knight features a mesmerising final performance by the late Heath Ledger as Batman’s arch-rival, the Joker.
Buzz has been building for weeks about director Christopher Nolan’s follow-up to 2005’s Batman Begins, with reviewers hailing Ledger’s performance as being worthy of a posthumous Oscar.
The film also collected US$41.3 million in ticket sales from 20 foreign markets, up from Sunday’s estimate of US$40 million. That brings its worldwide total to US$199.655 million.
The trick to surviving a day at Chatuchat is to keep yourself hydrated regularly. The first time I was there on my month-long backpacking trip of Thailand, I was so caught up with the sights and buys that I did not take in much fluids. As a result, by noon, I had such a severe headache that I had to leave the flea market to seek cooler pastures elsewhere.
The teh tarek, albeit being a nice cool shopping companion, is rather sweet. Notice the complementing straws and uniforms worn by the stall vendor with the tea colour?
An innovative and vibrant orange sqeeze machine.
I was pleasantly surprised to see many such recylcing points at the Chatuchat Market.
We came across a few groups of students rallying to raise funds for some causes along the main walkway. They should make our local students do the same once in awhile instead of depending on annual free handouts from the government and the school.
I saw this colourful character twice and I just had to ask to take his picture. It beats me where he had come from previously but it does takes loads of courage to be seen in that wig and makeup in the busy streets of Chatuchat.
The next few pictures feature student buskers. Singapore should consider allowing the young busk for free in the town area.
I should try this trick sometime...
These are representatives from a local telco company advertising some free internet mobile services.
One of my guilty pleasures on every trip to Thailand - tees and shirts which are so much cheaper than those back home and some of their quality is just as good as those sold in the boutiques.
The "feng shui" themed painting which caught my friend's attention.
I almost ended up purchasing this for the new living room.