Sunday, 31 October 2010

The Kranji War Memorial

The Kranji War Memorial is located at 9 Woodlands Road, in Kranji in northern Singapore. Dedicated to the men and women from United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka, India, Malaya, the Netherlands and New Zealand who died defending Singapore and Malaya against the invading Japanese forces during World War II, it comprises the War Graves, the Memorial Walls, the State Cemetery, and the Military Graves.

We visited the Kranji War Memorial today - Sunday October 31 2010 - our last visit there was on Anzac Day - April 25 2007 - for the dawn service. My blog post for that day is HERE

It is a beautiful area to visit, very peaceful and the gardens are immaculate. 

The War Cemetery is the final resting place for 4,458 allied servicemen in marked graves laid out in rows on maintained and manicured lawns. Over 850 of these graves are unidentified.

the reason for the poppy is 

I will upload further blog postings on Kranji War Memorial 
within the next couple of days
including one on how to get there

 - - stay tuned - -

Kranji War Memorial

blog posting - part two


Saturday, 30 October 2010

we walk by on a pathway or is it a sidewalk?

The differences between a 

In presenting the images of the walkways of Luar Batang, I googled the words "walkway" and "pathway" to have a better understanding of what the difference would be.

As most of us are from different parts of the world we all have a different understanding of what a walkway represents.

but for the people of Luar Batang I doubt they are even concerned about the 'difference",
To them it is a pathway to get from one area of the village to another.
to the boat to get their fish.
for the children to get to school.
to have access to each others homes.
maybe an area to sit and do their homework?
or sit and chat with friends?
even a wider area to play games
In US English, a walkway is a composite or umbrella term for all engineered surfaces or structures which support the use of trails. These include sidewalks, footbridges, stiles, stairs, ramps, paseos or tunnels. 

In UK English, walkway more specifically means a covered or raised passage in a building or a wide walk in a park or garden.

A walkway can be at ground level, elevated, such as a boardwalk, or floating. It can be a simple paved path or something more complex to cross a road or a body of water. An open pedestrian overpass or a special tunnel are also examples of walkways.
Walkways can also be used by passengers to board or disembark from an aircraft to the terminal building.

A sidewalk (also pavement, footway, and sometimes platform) is a path along the side of a road. A sidewalk may accommodate moderate changes in grade (height) and is normally separated from the vehicular section by a kerb, there may also be a strip of vegetation, grass or bushes or trees or a combination of these between the pedestrian section and the vehicular section (known as a parkway/tree lawn in the United States).

In some places, the same term may also be used for a paved path, trail or footpath that is not next to a road, for example, a path through a park.

In the UK The most common term in everyday usage is Pavement. The professional, civil engineering and legal term for this is footway. Legally the term footpath is only used for paths that are not associated with a highway.

In the US,  The term Sidewalk is used for the pedestrian path beside a road. Shared-use path and multi-use path is reserved for use for ones available for use by both pedestrians and bicyclists.

Walkway is a more comprehensive term that includes stairs, ramps, paseos (passageways), and related structures that facilitate the use of a path as well as the sidewalk. 

The term footpath is used for pedestrian paths that are not next to a road.
 The contrasts that exist in the city of Jakarta are striking. Huge housing complexes hosting multimillion dollar mansions dwarf makeshift shanty towns. Giant multinational corporations and enormous shopping plazas loom menacingly over tiny mom and pop "warungs". Brilliant green fields growing local produce butt up against dingy brown canals and dull grey roadways and pathways such as what is seen in Luar Batang.

The essence of Jakarta is in the contrasts that we were able to see for ourselves.
 pathways barely wide enough for the motorcyclist to get through.
The people who live here pay $25.00SGD a month to the landowner.
They do not have bathrooms or toilets.
There are public bathrooms and toilets in areas of this village that houses 5000 people.
The cost of a bath is equivalent to 20 cents
the use of the toilet is 5 cents.
this is expensive for them and most 'use the river' for their toilet and bathing.

The small village is built above the rising waters of Ciliwung River.

Some areas of the northern part of Jakarta are actually below sea level and therefore subject to frequent flooding.... even at high tide, most homes have water lapping at the front door!

The planks of wood present a precarious walkway, 
easily broken and dangerous to tread upon. 
  This is a life many of us will never experience, 
never fully comprehend and never fully understand. 

be blessed with what you have
for there are many that have nothing

for my blog posting on
Every mans home is his castle

Monday, 25 October 2010

every man's home is his castle!

what does your front doorway or entrance look like?

Is it welcoming?

Nice big shiny door with a welcome mat?

Flowers along the pathway leading to the entrance?

Big fancy door bell perhaps?

take a look at the following images of the homes at Luar Batang, 
a village in Northern Jakarta close to the Pasar Ikan.

The homes are just as welcoming as yours are.

The people are just as welcoming as you are.

The front entrance though is very different.


Take a close look at each and everyone of the entrances 
in the above images and 
imagine what it would be like to live in a home such as this. 

Very difficult isn't it?

But the 5000 people that live in this old village are people too, 
they are proud of their homes, 
are happy to have visitors 
and all would welcome you into their homes.
just as you would

next time you walk in your front door, spare a thought for the people of Luar Batang in Jakarta.

Click HERE for the blog posting on the Pasar Ikan

Click HERE for the blog posting on the fishermen boats

Click HERE for the posting on the Syahbandar Tower

Click HERE for the blog on the ride on the Bajaj

Sunday, 24 October 2010

the fishermen and their prahu

The fishermen that live in the kampong of Luar Batang, near the old port area in Jakarta, leave their homes in the early hours of the morning and sometimes of an evening for fishing in the Java Sea. Returning by 4.30am for the Pasar Ikan (fish market) to sell the catch from 5.00am each day.

Here you can see the "prahu", their wooden, canoe-like boats. 

PRAHU: any of various types of Indonesian boats, 
esp. a swift Malay sailing boat built with the lee side flat and balanced by a single outrigger.

above is the catch of squid from that morning drying in the sunshine and below, 
the waters around the boats where the homes of the village of Luar Batang is situated.

 Below is the google map of the area, you can see here it is a very low lying area that floods annually and the residents have the water coming in their homes most days even at high tide.
We continue wandering along the kampongs watery lanes which is home to thousands of residents and the Pasar Ikan, Jakarta's fish market, with the water lapping at our feet.
stay tuned for further blogs on Luar Batang
click HERE for the posting on the Pasar Ikan
click HERE for the blog posting on the Sysahbander Tower
which is at the entrance to the Pasar Ikan.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Two Bugs ......

Two Bugs ......
Originally uploaded by Leone Fabre.

at the Singapore Botanical Gardens.

he is a RED DRAGON FLY and the one on the left is a DAMSEL FLY!!

Was so busy trying to capture the red one each time he landed that I didn't see the damsel fly on the lower left till I uploaded to my computer!!

Friday, 22 October 2010

more haze in Singapore!

22 October 2010

Chance of Rain
High: 32 °C
Humidity: 96%
Wind Calm.
20% chance of precipitation
Heat Index: 39 °C
all of the above is what we experience 365 days a year
no different
same same

and the PSI at 7.00am was 88

only 88?
wow ..... yesterday it reached 108!

and why we have such polluted air at this time you may well ask?

it's all due to the illegal forest clearing fires in Indonesia's Sumatra Island that is  sending haze across to Malaysia and Singapore. ... this happens every year as farmers on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra clear land by burning trees and bushes to make way to plant crops and raise cattle. 

I am not going into the personal issues of why and why not here 

as it is far too political and this is a very public blog!

the following are a couple of images 

taken from our balcony at 2.30pm yesterday:



and this is the same view we usually experience:


and it is even clear at night:

scroll back and recheck the first images

am sure you can see there is a very big difference!

some of the articles and comments in the newspapers are: 

AS HAZE blanketed the island yesterday and air quality deteriorated sharply into the unhealthy range, the Singapore Government urged Indonesia to act.

The Pollutant Standards Index (PSI), measured in three-hourly slots, hit 108 at 6pm yesterday - breaching the unhealthy threshold of 100 for the first time since 2006

  Haze from forest fires in Sumatra has forced schools to close in Singapore and Malaysia, and prompted warnings from governments of both countries.

 The Indonesian Environment Ministry acknowledges that forest fires in Sumatra are the cause of the haze and says it is investigating further.

This is not the first time Singapore and Malaysia have complained about the haze from fires burning in Indonesia.

In 2006 air pollution levels in Singapore touched record highs because of the smog.

They have not reached those figures this week yet, but are still alarming enough for the Singapore government to urge those with respiratory ailments and heart conditions to stay indoors.

In Malaysia, more than 200 schools have closed.

Haze from Indonesia brought Singapore's air pollution to it's worst level in four years yesterday!!

.... and the smoke is expected to remain in the air till at least Saturday, though the situation could worsen as fires continue to burn in parts of Sumatra being cleared by farmers and the prevailing winds blow more smoke this way. :-(

The Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) hovered at 80 early this morning!

and as a friend wrote:
PSI - Please Stop Inhaling!
PSI 80 - Please stop inhaling 80% of the time!

Officials say they will press the 

Indonesian government to take action.

I met up with some friends yesterday for lunch, they all came over to the West Coast and they all mentioned that the haze is much worse here than it is where they live. Be it Holland Village, Woodlands or the East Coast ..... so if you live else where on this little red dot and think that the haze is bad where you are, spare a thought for those that live in the West Coast area as we cough and sneeze our way through the Day!!
looking out the window now at 7.30am, 
I see that it is worse than it was an hour ago. 
So we are in for another day of closed 
doors and windows with the A/C on !


the National Environment Agency 
website is HERE



Tuesday, 19 October 2010

collage of Luar Batang, Jakarta

collage of Luar Batang, Jakarta
Originally uploaded by Leone Fabre.

Last week I visited this old Kampong in Jakarta..... Walking along the uneven paths around the Kampong, it is easy to forget that you are actually in the city of Jakarta.

There are many children running around and playing near the old port area ..... these families are very poor.

There are about 5000 people living here at Luar Batang, which is the old village beside Pasar Ikan (Fish Market)

I have no idea where Pasar Ikan ends and Luar Batang begins. It is difficult to describe life here ...... and then when there is a high tide, the water comes lapping around their feet and into their homes.

This is just a collage of a few images I took while there

my visit to the pasar ikan in Jakarta

this time last week I was wandering in and around the Pasar Ikan in Jakarta,
the fish market that is near Sunda Kelapa.

The following three images is of when you first enter the market area in the early afternoon. For those that wish to witness the auctions and the selling of the 'fresh fish' it is better to go here in the early hours of the morning.... even as early as 5.00am

Sunda Kelapa is the old port of Jakarta located on the estuarine of Ciliwung River. "Sunda Kalapa"  is the original name, and it was the main port of Sunda Kingdom of Pajajaran. The port is situated in North Jakarta, Indonesia. Today the old port only accommodate pinisi, a traditional two masted wooden sailing ship serving inter-island freight service in the archipelago. Although it is now only a minor port, Jakarta had its origins in Sunda Kelapa and it played a significant role in the city's development. This is where the Portuguese traded with the Hindu Kingdom of Pajajaran in the early 16th century. 
 The Pasar Ikan (Fish Market) sells various kinds of fish - including the dried fish as seen above - and also has a very strong commercial network.

Here, one gets to observe the working climate of Jakarta's modest, hardworking and outspoken fishermen. Although it markets primarily fresh fish, you can also find shops here selling anything from household goods to seashells and boat fittings. Many late-night revelers also come here to savor some grilled fish served up by the food stalls.
 the above images are rather misleading as it looks like an 'normal market' where there is plenty of room to wander around. Not so, we are in a very dark and damp area with walkways only for one person to walk along. The walkways usually have water sloshing around, and whatever floats along with it ..... there were many photos I did not take as it was totally inappropriate to do so. .....

..... and for the first time - ever - I started to gag on what I was seeing and smelling. I have been deep into the old markets of Siem Reap, Saigon and Mauritius and I have never come across anything remotely like what I saw here.

But I had asked Bram - the guide - to take me here, to see it first hand for myself, and am glad I did get to see this market. Part of me wishes I had gone earlier when there were more people, but had also heard it was very unsafe for females to just 'wander around' at that time.

The fish catch of the day is auctioned in the early morning (usually before 5.00am) at the old fish market warehouse as seen in the two following images ...... it was only when when I enlarged these images on screen, that I saw the huge spiders and their webs hanging from the rooftop!
once out in the open we continued to explore the rest of the Pasar Ikan and as it was early afternoon most of the fish sellers had gone home and all that were left were the household goods being sold as seen below....

   the images above were typical of where we walked around the market area.
 the above image was taken to show the newspaper hanging from the posts, this is what he wraps the fish in and the post is tied down with a sandbag!

The following image is typical of the area we were walking through .... this was a pathway in front of a food stall, so one needs to be extremely careful of where one is walking.

The more adventurous might like to cruise across the Old Harbor, between Pasar Ikan and Sunda Kelapa, on a raft. Negotiate first with the abang (raftsman) for a good rate. We did not do this as the taxi boats looked 'very fragile' and I was not so keen on falling in to the Ciliwung River either!

Click HERE to see the blog post on the Syahbandar Tower, 
which was built in 1839 and stands at the entrance to the Pasar Ikan.

stay tuned for further blog posts on my trip to Jakarta
in particular my visit to

Luar Batang