Friday, 29 May 2009
That may not be this year's Great Singapore Sale (GSS) tagline, but this year's GSS will have both Singaporeans and tourists in a shopping frenzy.
Shoppers can look forward to discounts of up to 70 per cent at not just the shopping malls, but also in the heartlands.
This year's GSS will also coincide with the Great Singapore Feast.
Last year (2008) the GSS brought in 5.8 BILLION dollars .....
yep, 5.8 billion dollars ... not bad for a wee little island eh???
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
The patient, a 22-year-old Singaporean woman, had been in New York from May 14 to 24, and arrived here on Tuesday morning.
While seated in row 55 on Singapore Airlines flight SQ25, she began to develop a cough, but she passed the thermal scanner at the airport later without being stopped, because she did not have a fever at the time.
Later that morning, she went to a general practitioner who decided to send her to Tan Tock Seng Hospital via the special ambulance service 993 meant for suspected Influenza A (H1N1) cases.
Laboratory test confirmed her infection at midnight on Tuesday.
This means covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, (this is something that Singaporeans find hard to do) and washing your hand frequently with soap and water, especially after contact with respiratory secretions (e.g., after sneezing and coughing).
They add that we also need the cooperation of everyone to be socially responsible. This means staying home and avoiding crowded places (including trains, buses, offices), putting on a surgical mask and seeing a doctor if you have flu symptoms.
So next time you want to pick your nose, spit in the street, sneeze or cough with your mouth open in the train or bus ...... think of the people around you!
Saturday, 23 May 2009
Siem Riep is very nice and really quite sanitised for the 2 million tourists who flock to see the famous temples each year!
but where is the poverty?
What we saw around Siem Reap when we first arrived, was not the poverty we were actually expecting..... we were surprised to see well appointed restaurants, bars, hotels, souvenir shops, tour operators, internet cafes, massage parlors (both real and fronts for brothels), as if the whole town existed only to serve foreign tourists.
There were children selling postcards and books, but we didn’t see any of the begging we’d heard about, nor any of the pockets of poverty we’d expected to see.
We asked our guide to take us to a market ...... "oh yes, he said, I will take you to the market for the souvenirs".
"No" we replied, "we want to go to the market where your family shop"
he was shocked and kept checking that yes, indeed we wanted to go to the 'local market'.
So off we went......
not so bad, I can handle it ....
yes, even the scaling of the fish out in the open....
But once inside the 'great hall', things started to change. Sanitation and cleanliness (western style) just does not exist.
This is where John started to think that this was not such a good idea!!
At a certain point, the predominance of vegetable matter gave way to tables arranged with various cuts of meat. Women squatted on or next to their butcherblock, cleaver or machete in hand, identical green tin scales ready to weigh it all up. The best way to identify the animal of origin was to look for the telltale hints: a pig’s head smiling up at us from a pork vendor’s table, a trio of cows’ legs (with hooves) arranged on the edge of another. Many of the butchers were Muslim women, identified by their headscarves. And many of the cuts of meat were completely unidentifiable, as they sported no plastic wrap with printed labels.
meat, chicken, pork, monkey, fish ..... is all out in the open ready for sale..... but this is FOOD and they need to eat ..... so what if the flies are everywhere, the food open to disease, no 'work health and safety officer' to be seen .... this is their daily life, their living in poverty....
There were baskets of freshly plucked ducks and chickens, artfully arranged with their feet in the air. Their freshness was obvious by the fact that some of their cohorts lay in the dirt, tied together at the feet, watching the butchering and plucking of their brethren while waiting their own turn. While the women chatted with their friends and fellow vendors, they casually picked up a chicken, held it to the ground with their foot, slid a teacup under its neck, and slit its throat, never pausing in their conversation and rarely doing more than glancing at the process. The deed done, the carcass was passed to the next woman, who plunged it into a large bowl of hot water and began plucking. I never did notice what they did with all the blood they caught in the teacup, but I’m reasonably certain it didn’t go to waste.
as we walked through the market one of these fish (cat fish) jumped out right in front of me onto the ground.... but the stall holder didn't even flinch, just picked it up and threw it back in with all the others.
Sorry little fella, you are destined to be someones dinner!
but the people are always happy and smiling ..... the sadness of poverty is not in their dictionary, and they are so friendly. It would be beyond our comprehension to be this poor and be so happy, in general, in the western way of life, we would be complaining, disgruntled and "oh woe is me".
Food is a necessary part of life - for everyone.
in Cambodia it is common for them to eat spiders..... yes, spiders.
eg: For many residents of Skuon, the “a-ping” – as the breed of palm-sized tarantula is known in Khmer – are a source of fame and fortune in an otherwise impoverished farming region.
“On a good day, I can sell between 100 and 200 spiders,” said Tum Neang, a 28-year-old spider-seller who supports her entire family by hawking the creepy-crawlies, deep fried in garlic and salt, to the people who flock to Skuon for a juicy morsel.
At around 300 riel (eight US cents) a spider, the eight-legged snack industry provides a tidy income in a country where around one third of people live below a poverty line of $1 per day.
The dish’s genesis is also a poignant reminder of Cambodia’s bloody past, particularly under the Khmer Rouge, whose brutal four years in power from 1975-1979 left an estimated 1.7 million people dead, many through torture and execution.
For the millions forced at gunpoint into the fields, grubs and insects such as spiders, crickets, wasps and “konteh long” – the giant water beetles found in lakes near the Vietnamese border – were what kept them alive.
“When people fled into the jungle to get away from Pol Pot’s troops, they found these spiders and had to eat them because they were so hungry,” said Sim Yong, a 40-year-old mother of five.
“Then they discovered they were so delicious,” she said.
This 'dish' may not be for you or I, then a lot of things sold at the market I would not eat either - monkey brains for one - but food is food and when one is poor, one has to eat what is available where and when.
Thursday, 21 May 2009
But last night John and I met a few members of the group, such a nice evening with a few drinks and good company!
There are groups within the main body.
Singapore Foodies Unite
Health and Fitness Network
Movies and Theatre
and many more .....
At the moment I belong to just three of the groups:
Travel, Photography and FOOD!
The main website is:
* Find cool stuff to do * Learn about upcoming Singapore events * Meet women and men island-wide * Poke your friends, post Singapore pictures, watch videos and chat
What's happening, Singapore? Check out the latest buzz around town.
Sign up now!
Hope we see you there soon!
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
Monday, 18 May 2009
and so I googled to see what I could come up with:
Do you know that in Singapore, sleeping on park benches is an offence? A bus driver didn't know that when he dozed off on the bench while taking shelter from the rain. His ignorance cost him SG$200 for a 15-minute nap.
so there you are ....
no sleeping on park benches in Singapore otherwise the tourists will not feel at ease.
now I know why tourists feel uneasy in Melbourne,
there are park bench sleepers in every park!!
Sunday, 17 May 2009
Manual laborers are often seen in Asian countries, having a nap where and when they can, they work long hours for very little ....... when we were in Vietnam last year, we went into a store and most of the sales staff were "resting" on furniture that was for sale!!
Some - here in Singapore - actually sleep under tree's or outside on the grass. In the news in December 2008 the following appeared:
"" A GROUP of 18 foreign workers spent the weekend sleeping under a tree in Jalan Kayu amid a dispute with their employers over pay.
The men, mainly from Bangladesh, camped in the open after leaving a Tuas dormitory on Friday. They claim they have not been paid for up to three months, which amounts to about $SGD900 to $SGD1,500 each. ""
These sort of disputes are constant and ongoing.
Most are brought to Singapore under the agreement that food and lodging is supplied. The accommodation that is supplied would not suit you or I. But standards differ to what you and I might agree upon and most of these foreign workers come to Singapore to earn what they can for their families "back home".
I am not saying that the above images are of these type of "foreign workers" ... the images I took yesterday are probably of gardeners from the parks and they are just napping in their lunch break.
A well earned "nana nap".
The weather here in Singapore is hot and humid year round, and we all feel like a nap after lunch on many a day!!
Thursday, 14 May 2009
One of my friend's here in Singapore wanted to do "something even if it is just wandering aimlessly around some mall or something". I am not a what is loosely called "a shopper" and to wander around aimlessly is not my ideal activity at anytime! But she is off back home soon (permanently) and I know that there will be many a time that I will wish her back here so we can "wander around aimlessly".
So sad when we hear of our friends having to return 'home', wherever their home happens to be. Some are happy to be returning home, others not so sure. Singapore can be a very itinerant area to live, people coming and going all the time, but over the past few months - and more than likely over the next couple of months too - people will be losing their jobs, packing up, and moving home.
I find it hard enough to be away from my own family and friends. People I am comfortable with, that I can laugh and cry and feel 'normal' with. When we arrived here it was difficult to create a new circle of friends, it takes hard work and it takes time .......
.......... then poof, we find they go off home too.
I am blessed though to have my computer ( which is my communication outlet) that enables me to stay in touch with family and friends wherever they may be. I have Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, emails, my blog, Skype and the local forum groups here in Sing too .....
....... and I even manage to write letters, real letters, you know those ones you stick a stamp on and put in the mail box?
I probably send off about five to eight letters a week, but do I hear back from these people? Sometimes, usually from those people I least expect to hear from, I think it is just a case of "out of sight, out of mind" from my friends and family. I am not the only person here that makes this comment, I hear this from many of my Singapore friends too!
I know we miss them more than they miss us. The things I miss most are the birthdays, the special events, family gatherings, the BBQ's in the back yard, the gathering of friends for a night out or dinner in their home.
I am not homesick, there are many things I do not miss about "home", but I do like to be in touch with family and friends.
I am not bored, I have many activities and interests that keep me busy on a daily basis.
and you know what was so special for us both last week?
We were invited into the home of a Singaporean Family ...... our first in all the time we have lived here.
We felt very honored and privileged to meet such a loving and warm family.
We like to see ourselves as independent and not needing anyone's help. When a friend does something for us, it is difficult to humble ourselves by thanking them.
Believe it or not, as strong as your need is to believe yourself independent, your friend may have an even stronger need to hear the words "thank you". Your friend may see that he is the one who is always doing the thanking and will appreciate that he is also a contributor to the friendship.
.... and for those of that are not blessed with a large extended family, it is important to cultivate close friendships with other families.
These are the people who are not related to us by blood, but care for us as if they were. In the world that we live in today when there are so many obstacles we must face, it makes sense to form a group of supportive people to surround yourself with.
When the chips are down, these are the people that you can count on.
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Yes, thats me.
Was always known as a great organiser, but left that title back in Australia I think!
anyway, what I really wanted to share today is the fabulous sunset we saw last Saturday night when John and I sat on the pier at Nongsa Village.
We wandered down to the pier at about 5.35pm and this is what we saw..... in the distance is Singapore.
by 6.00pm this is what the sunset looked like, looking from Nongsa Village, past Turi Beach Resort, past Nongsa Point Marina over the straits and across to the west of Singapore....
and within a couple of minutes the colour of the sky changed....
then it only took another two minutes before the sun disappeared all together !!
by 6.08pm the wonderful sunset show was all over.....
only to return again 24 hours later ........ no matter where we are, the sun can certainly put on a beautiful display when it feels like it.
Wednesday, 6 May 2009
Cambodia is the land of children. They are everywhere, playing, working, going to school or begging. Over 50 % of the country's population is children under 18 years. And nearly half of them have to work to support their families.
Even today a lot of children don’t go to school. Their parents don’t know how to read and write, as they grew up during Pol Pot times, and they were sent to labour camps. They lived in fear.
There are many websites that deal with the Children of Cambodia, most of them are community and welfare organizations.
One that I found particularly interesting was:
The following images were taken on our recent visit to the Siem Reap area of Cambodia:
Monday, 4 May 2009
In this post will be the photos etc about the 10th Century Banteay Srey Temple, 37 klms north of the town of Siem Reap.
Banteay Srey loosely translates to ‘citadel of the women,’ but this is a modern appellation that probably refers to the delicate beauty of the carvings. Built at a time when the Khmer Empire was gaining significant power and territory, the temple was constructed by a Brahmin counselor under a powerful king, Rajendravarman and later under Jayavarman V. Banteay Srey displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art.
The walls are densely covered with some of the most beautiful, deep and intricate carvings of any Angkorian temple. The temple's relatively small size, pink sandstone construction and ornate design give it a fairyland ambiance.
The colors are best before 10:30 AM and after 2:00 PM, but there are fewer tourists in the afternoon. This temple was discovered by French archaeologists relatively late, in 1914. The temple area closes at 5:00 PM.
Banteay Srey lies 38 km from Siem Reap, requiring extra travel time. Drivers usually charge a fee in addition to their normal daily charge for the trip. Banteay Srey is well worth the extra effort.
The following images were all taken in and around the beautiful Banteay Srey Temple:
now wasn't that worth waiting for???
it really is one of the most beautiful Temples in Cambodia - Banteay Srey which loosely translates to ‘citadel of the women'.