Passionate About Life | Abode

Sunday, May 21, 2006

+ Vicinity | Sports Sunday

Tampines Swimming Complex | Fun Pool
Today was not such a bad day after all. It was a Sports Sunday.

While Wify was at her shop in the afternoon, my son and I went for some exercise. I know, not a fair deal it seems, but us guys need sports to keep us sane.

We did not get off so easily though. Wify had me go over to scout a place she thinks has a good deal for a shop. We need a bigger shop than we have now to expand our collection and range. The need for more display space.

Bugis Street | ICON @ Bugis PointMy son and I left home in the afternoon to ICON @ Bugis Point. There is a shop on the 6th floor that is for rent.

The building is just opposite Parco Bugis Junction and beside the DHL Balloon. At 50 Square feet, it sure is too small for the collections we have in mind to display.

Further more, each shopping floor is accessible by either staircase or elevator only.

With about 12 cubical shops of about the same square feet, it did not seem to be a good idea for expansion, since not many people will actually casually wait for the only elevator, go up to do window shopping.

The walk-in crowd is just not there. We have to give this space a miss.

So off we went back to Tampines Central where we finally can do some exercise. A first visit for me since I bought the home-gym set last year.

Tampines Swimming Complex EntranceTampines Swimming Complex has been revamped to facilitate resort style fun pool with water falls , mushroom fountains and water slides, amongst 3 other adult and competition pools.

There is also a sun-tanning deck right in the centre, elevated two stories high. Cool!

This swimming pool now has a second story catwalk with a big fitness gym overlooking the pools. The fitness club was moved from Tampines Sports Hall to this location for all-family fitness life-style.

The place was buzzing with family and happy kids. Fun screams and the loud waterfall sound gave it a fun resort and theme-park atmosphere. I got excited just looking at it from the entrance alone.

Bought the ticket from the vending machine for my son to enter the swimming pool area. It costs S$0.70 per entry for children and S$1.20 for adults.

Tampines Swimming Complex | Fitness ClubI paid S$2.50 per entry to work out at the gym.

Impressive ample space with the full floor to ceiling glass panels on both sides over-looking the swimming pools as well as the football field and Tampines Millennia Roller-skating Ring.

The gym equipment are the ones moved from the Sports Hall and the number of equipment available is much to be desired given the ample space.

Though enough for now with multi-gym sets and free weights available for weight training, treadmills and stepper machines are lined and more than enough to satisfy everyone without having to wait for your turn.

It however lacks a calf-machine and cable rows for flying pecs and deltoids which I prefer. I had to use free weights for these instead.

Tampines Swimming Complex | Fun Pool Entrance View
Overall, I was quite impressed with the revamped facility and the amenities comparable to health clubs and small-scaled theme-parks. All these for residents of Tampines. Another silver lining we get when we chose Tampines New Town as our home.

Life is good!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

+ GE2006 | Polling Parents

Singapore GE 2006 Sembawang GRC
Done my bit for the nation in the morning yesterday, casting my vote for Tampines GRC.

The scooted off to my parents' place in Woodlands after lunch, to accompany them to cast their votes for their constituency - Sembawang GRC, between People's Action Party or PAP and Singapore Democratic Party or SDP.

SDP Singapore Democratic PartyMom in her wheelchair, Dad pushed it from their block 101 all the way to block 123 where the polling station is, while I just walked beside them. Kind of awkward with all the stares I got from the passers-by.

What an insensitive son that person is! Is the feeling I always felt whenever I accompany them anywhere we go. Passers-by seem to be thinking and "saying" with their facial expression out loud.

Understandably, here I am, an able-bodied man walking by their side while this poor old man had to push his wife's wheelchair around.

GE 2006 Sembawang GRC CandidatesIt is just that Dad insists to do it every time we go out. Not because he does not need any help, but he uses the wheelchair to help him balance as he walks.

So he wheels my Mom everywhere we go. He says it is good exercise for him. I have to agree.

He is a very strong person for an 80 year-old man.. physically and mentally, though he is hard of hearing nowadays.

He was my hero when I was little, he is my hero still, only more magnificent nowadays.

Coming back to the polls.

It was nice that the officers there "took-over" Mom from Dad. Both of them were guided by an officer each from registration, to the casting post where they left them in privacy to mark their choices, then to the ballot box and out to meet me.

I would have taken a photo of them casting their votes, but unfortunately cameras were not allowed... will compromise the voting secrecy... blah... blah...

Enzer Portable VCD Player Model GA1548VCDWe went straight to Causeway Point Shopping Mall and had a late lunch at Long John Sliver, my second lunch of the day. Yikes!

We did some shopping since Mom had several stuff to buy. We went to Metro department store to buy her medium cooking pot, then off to Courts Superstore to buy Dad's, well it was Mom who wanted a portable radio in her bedroom.

Dad ended-up buying a portable an Enzer VCD Player model GA1548VCD with radio, CD and tape player in one for S$69.90 and Mom bought a Moulinex Food Processor for S$84.90 after using a S$5.00 discount coupon.

Moulinex Moulinette Food ProcessorThen off to HomeFix hardware store for where Dad got his Osram 15Watts energy-saving light bulb for S$12.90 for their kitchen bathroom, while I got a halogen light bulb at S$3.50 to replace the a blown one in Wify's shop.

Walked back to my parents' home. Fixed their new VCD Player to her bedroom LCD TV and taught them how to use the player. Gave them their monthly "allowances" for their expenses like always and headed home.

Not before taking some picture of their corridor garden as their potted plants are in full bloom. Since it was already dark, the pictures did not turn out so good.

I left my parents' home with 2 big bags of groceries they bought and already packed earlier for me. They always do that whenever they know their children are coming over.

Parents' Corridor Garden Blooming on Polling DayBig hearts with wonderful gesture, but the best one is when you get to see them with their warm smiles bidding you goodbye at the door until you turn the corner. Always warms the heart.

I wish to do be able to do that with my son when he has his family later in our lives.

Parents... so selfless, always thinking of their children first. Their unconditional love. I vote for their love anytime, love them back forever.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

+ GE2006 | Polling Day

Singapore General Election 2006 Polling Map
Its polling day today!

Polling opens at 8:00am and ends at 8:00pm today. We are casting our votes at our polling station in Poi Ching School. So I get the "bird's eye view" of the going-on from my bedroom window.

At 8:45am, the school was very much still empty, as people are still waking up, but much of it was due people waiting out the morning heavy rain.

GE 2006 PoiChing School at 8:45amAt 9:45am, there were still very few people, but I could see cars start to fill-up the road behind my block. And about 10 minutes later, I could now see people with umbrellas scattered all over, converging to the school's main gate.

My wife and I cast our votes at about 11:00am - PAP or SDA party... X marks the spot on the ballot paper.

No major delays at all. The elderly and those on wheelchairs were given priority to cast their votes first. This is a thoughtful idea. The balloting went smoothly as expected.

We got to meet our neighbours as they queued behind us.

GE 2006 PoiChing 09:45amWe also got to see PAP's Mah Bow Tan and his 4 other candidates coming into the polling area, observing the exercise.

They stayed there for less than 2 minutes before left the school. As they passed our queue, they gave everyone a nod and a smile.

With our polling card and our ID card, we were verified against a register and passed over to receive our ballot papers.

Our serial numbers and names were called out for the voting auditor to also verify our eligibility.

Our polling card serial number was written on the ballot tab before the ballot paper was detached off the tab and handed over to us to poll.

GE 2006 Tampines GRC Political PartiesThe ballots are thus traceable to the tabs as each ballot paper and its tab has a serial number. With our polling card serial numbers written on the tabs, it is no secret after all, but traceable if need be. Hopefully for "verification" purpose only.

Wify has left for her shop at 11:20am. I will be heading to my parents' place to bring them to their polling station in Marsiling.

The results will start to be announced starting 10pm tonight. My gut feeling is that there will not be any surprises specifically in my Tampines GRC - Group Representation Committee of 126,142 voters.

More to come later today.

Friday, April 28, 2006

+ GE2006 | Vote Me

Singapore General Election 2006 Electoral Map
Coming this General Election 2006 on Saturday, 6 May 2006, I am not sure which one is more interesting... the correct political party to vote for or the fact that there are two public holidays coming real soon.

At this age, I should be serious enough to consider which party to vote as it affects directly my future, and the future of my family and nation... but I am not. I do not know why, I have been searching for that answer since I became eligible to vote.

Hougang PAP and WP Election PostersInstead, I am more looking forward to the public holidays that are coming - one on Monday, 1st May - Labour Day and another on Friday, 12th May 2006.

I should be getting a default holiday as replacement holiday on Monday, 8th May 2006, instead the company replaces it with an annual leave.

Today, I received in my mailbox the Poll Card for Tampines GRC. This card has 2 Electors Names - my wife and myself.

Since Tampines has an Opposition Party contesting it, we have to go to the polling station to cast our votes instead of sitting at the sideline watching a default walkover.

Like the previous GE, our polling station is just beside our home - Poi Ching School. Very convenient I should say.

Just yesterday was Nomination Day for the candidates to be announced for each party in each area being contested.

WP - Worker's Party SDP - SIngapore Democratic Party

On my bus ride home yesterday, People's Action Party or PAP - the government of over 20 years had already put up theirs on almost every lamp post there are along Hougang. A tough fight over there I presume.

The Worker's Party or WP was putting up their on a lamp post near the bus stop and made heads turn. Two elderly ladies who were walking past them stopped and clapped their hands in approval, I guess. I could not make out what they were saying but a lot of exchange of smiles.

PAP - People's Action Party SDA - Singapore Democratic Alliance

Upon alighting the bus at Tampines Avenue 9, only the PAP posters were up. Singapore Democratic Alliance or SDA has yet to hang-up theirs yesterday, but were up as I got off the bus this evening.

The campaigning is getting hotter by the day, much of the news coverage were about the MPs and Candidates going around the neighbourhoods meeting the people, shaking hands for votes.

The TV has started rerunning polling guides since yesterday.

All look set, only time now we will start to hear vans and pickup trucks with party slogans going around the neighbourhood, howling on megaphones asking for vote.

Now, I know which party to vote for reasons I know in my gut that it is the right choice. Nonetheless, it is interesting to listen to what all the parties have to say, promises they wish to fulfil if elected and the bickering between parties.

All part and parcel of election, the people must decide objectively, I believe.

Friday, March 17, 2006

+ Neighbours | Cab War!

Tampines Street 71 Cab-Flagging Spot
It is the last day of the work week. Wonderful perspective of the weekend stuff to do. A million enjoyable things to do, so little time...

Was waiting for a cab at my usual spot this morning, saw a few people across the road far to my right and another couple my far left. Waited for about 5 to 8 minutes when two ladies came from my flat direction and uncannily stood right in front of me, not 5 feet away from me.

Talking to themselves and started flagging of a cab as if they are not doing anything wrong. Worst still regarded my as if I was invisible.

I was not particularly angry when the older lady started to use her mobile as if she was calling for a cab, but when she flagged an oncoming cab, I was burning mad!

I gave them an infuriated stare at the lack, no... total disregard of common courtesy but just cutting in on me. The older lady just continue talking on her mobile while the younger lady as if punching SMS in hers.

The most irritated thought was that they are the usual people that I sometimes see waiting for a cab. I would stand behind them and wait until they get their cab before I start to flag for mine.

A common, understood virtual "queue" system that is happening all around Singapore, but not to these 2 ladies. They believe they have the utmost right and their needs come first. They simply disregard other people and treat them as invisible.

I was fuming mad when they pretended that I was not there, standing almost an arm's length from them. Their sheer audacity of it all as they flag an incoming cab!

Out of character, I told them off...

FRYday Morning Cab War Depiction"Excuse me! You are very rude!" I exclaimed.

"You can see that I am here waiting for a cab first, and you just cut me in? How rude!" My voice was louder.

"You live around here and we are practically neighbours, and you just cut in here as if I am invisible?!" The younger lady just looked at me... shocked.

"When you guys were here first, I gave way until you get your cab! And you cut in like this?!" The older lady did not even look at me, she just pretended to talk on her mobile.

I flagged the cab and the older lady flagged it too. The cab somehow stopped for me instead. Thank goodness!

Before I went into the cab, I gave them a piece of my mind...

"Please! We live in a society, not in a cave!" I insinuated loudly and sat in the cab, but as I was about to close the door, the older lady said something loud that I could not make out.

Rage got the better of me. Spontaneously, knowing that she would rebuff, so I went out of the cab and asked her...

"Did you say something?" and paused as I looked at both of them for an answer. Here goes nothing, no turning back now... I though.

They both looked away, so I got in and left for work.

I guess the cab driver could make out what was going on, but he kept quite and the journey to work was ragingly unpleasant.

I just could not believe rude people like them. It spoils everyone's day.

You can never judge a person with the way they are dressed. Poised, professionally looking outfit, looks and sounds educated, but not learnt - totally lack of the simplest of manners or at least a moderate regard for the next person, self-absorbed.

I hope I do not have to face them next week and the week after that. I do not know them, but I hate them already. Bumber! I know.

What I can do, is to leave home 10 minutes earlier every morning, so that I do not have to meet them and let them spoil my day.

I sense another unpleasant encounter is inevitable if I do not avoid it. I sense they are still the rude people they were this morning. I hope I am wrong. Sigh.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

+ Window | Dawn Star

International Space Station over Poi Ching Primary School
Suddenly I woke up from my sleep.

The alarm clock showed 6:29am. 1 minute before it sounded. I was subconsciously awaiting to wake up. Did not remember if I had a dream before I woke up, but it was dawn.

Looked-over. My wife was still in slumber land beside me. As I was laying still trying to get my bearings, the cool breeze lifted the drapes up and exposed my view to the dawning sky.

A very bright star caught my eye. The only star out. Too big and too bright to be a star...

International Space Station. Photo courtesy of NASAA closer look at the sultry sky revealed there were other stars, but far more faint than this particular one.

Without my pair of glasses the other stars were kind of hard to spot.

Not this one! No it did not move, so it was not an aeroplane or UFO... don't I wish.

It was too bright to miss. It was too outstanding to let it pass, it was waiting for me to take a picture of it.

So, I got up, grabbed my camera and took several pictures of it.

I have seen it many a times in the night skies during my journey home from working late at night. Outings with my family during the weekends, but never this bright, this big.

I believe it was the International Space Station. I read in NASA's website that it and 15 other countries worked together to construct the station for micro-gravity experiment as a first step to future manned space exploration.

It is just beautiful even if it man-made.

International Space Station at Dawn 6:29amThe Almighty made it all possible for humans to achieve technological breakthroughs and produce a "star" at night for simple-minded people like me to wonder and admire the determinations and their achievements.

Monday, February 20, 2006

+ Window | Sleeping Satellite

February Full Moon view from bedroom window
It is one of those days where I have nothing to blog about. Nothing interesting happened that worth reporting.

So sifting through my photos, I stumble upon my recent photos of the full moon a week ago. It was only about 10:20pm in mid February 2006.

The moon was such a show-off that it hypnotised me to take photos of itself. It looks so mysterious yet so intriguing. Brightening up the whole island, a satellite from the Almighty to behold.

Photos after photos I tried my best to capture it with fine details. I wanted to capture its craters and crevasses as I can see it with my own eyes, but unfortunately my lack of photography technique was much more to be desired, was a let-down even for me.

February Moon in its full gloryIt only showed a giant bulb in the photos instead. Sigh.

Nonetheless, the whole sky lit up and the streets brighter. I noticed this when I got off the bus from work. Looked up at the sky and there it was. Beautiful.

A sight you will not forget before you close your eyes to rest. Our sleeping satellite.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

+ Vicinity | Tampines FireStation

HQ 2nd Division Tampines Fire StationTampines Fire Station taken from inside a moving cab

This is good news for the residents. Tampines now has a new Fire Station just a stone's throw away from where I live.

At first look, it is more like a modern factory or office space, until you read the prominant sign on the building - HQ 2nd CD Division Tampines Fire Station.

Anyway the bright red drill-tower behind the building is a dead giveaway. Now I can see the fire trucks are all parked inside and ready for action.

Tampines Fire Station From Ave 5 & St 71 JunctionI am personally proud of the effort of our government to improve our state of living a notch higher with careful spending of our tax dollars.

Not an expert on buildings or ever went into it before, but I can see foresight, the readiness and the efficiency thought and build into it. To serve and protect the public and its properties.

It is comforting that such emergency services are available minutes away, but hopefully we never need to use it.

Will take the opportunity to attend its official opening anytime soon. It will be great to see the insides and take a glimpse of the Civil Defense life is like and the modern technology it is equipped with with a big building like this one.

I think the present operations is going to move to this building from the old Teluk Kurau Camp at Lorong J. Incidently, I noticed the present operations of HQ 2nd Division is at Teluk Kurau Lorong J as we were going to the beach along Still Road.

HQ 2nd Division Teluk Kurau CampSeeing that building brought back memories as the building was formerly my Primary School for a few months when I was Primary 1, before my Mom moved me to Jalan Daud Primary School at Eunos which was much nearer to my then village home.

Below are photos of the different types of CD vehicles in operations here in Singapore - from safety and fire prevention education to disaster control.

These pictures are especially for Ry from Just Me and My Midnight Thots who is interested in EM in Singapore.

Civil Defense Rescue Vehicles

Heavy Rescue Tender Specialised Rescue Tender

Hazmat Pod Rescue Tender

Ambulance Hazmat Control Vehicle

Civil Defense Fire Vehicles

Fire Pumper

Aerial Platform (60m) Combined Platform Ladder (30m)

Fast Response Paramedic Bikes Fire Bike

Water Integrated System Light Fire Attack Vehicle

Foam Tender Chemical Tender

Monday, January 30, 2006

+ Nature | Morning Song

View from my bedroom window at 9:00am

Woke up this morning to the tune of birds singing their morning song.

Wonderful way of waking up.

The sun was about to break its rays above the Poi Cheng Primary School's Hall roof and into our bedroom. The clock on the bedside table displayed 7:33am. Still early.

The morning was just warming up. Full of potential.

It is a Monday, the 2nd day of Chinese New Year. The first of two public holidays to replace the actual holidays that befalls on Saturday and Sunday.

Everybody had a good celebration the last two days that most were not stirring this early morning.

The streets were deserted. No humming sound was heard from the school's air-conditioning, no music blasting from the neighbours' radios, no noise pollution.

Only just the tunes of many different types of birds were heard. Heaven! I was so delightedly I smiled before I got out of bed.

Wife was still asleep, so was my son, sprawlled in his bed. He is quite tall now, I noticed, as he has now fill the length of his bed.

Bedroom MorningSun
Morning sun coming through my bedroom window

I stood by the window listening to the birds songs. I stood there for the longest of time.

There was a bird singing in particular that I have never heard its song before, not even when I was young, living in a kampong or village when there was nature at its best.

I do not think it came from someone's caged bird as the sound moved around from tree to tree as if. Very enchanting song, distinctive amidst all those lovely songs they sing so well.

Maybe that particular bird has been singing every morning or maybe it was a passing bird singing, or maybe I was just lucky to get to hear its song this morning.

I was blessed to hear it. It triggered the same feeling I felt when I woke up in Cairns, Australia a few years back during our family vacation.

That was the exact same, blessed feeling I felt when the scores of birds sang their versions so loudly, so close to our room that it woke us up in delight. Just pure heaven!

Everybody is awake now. The sun is casting light into my bedroom floor.

Let us see what the day holds for me and my family today...