The Kingdom Of Bhutan

4 Aug 2015 – To Add To The Bucket List

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Mon: Bhutan, the Land of Happiness – officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked country with an area of 38,394 km/214,824 sq mi and a pop of 700,000+

Bhutan’s capital and largest city is Thimphu. There is only one flight in from SIN and one out of the kingdom back to SIN daily and depending on weather.

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Paro Airport/PBH is the sole international airport in Bhutan located 6 km (3.7 mi) from Paro in a deep valley on the bank of the river Paro Chhu. With surrounding peaks as high as 18,000 ft/5,500 m it is considered one of the world’s most challenging airports. Flights at Paro are allowed under visual meteorological conditions only and are restricted to daylight hours from sunrise to sunset.

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Tkx to Calvin at CC for hosting this informative talk sponsored by Drukair. Nice surprise to see nephew Raymond at the talk.

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Talks and bucket list reminded me what George Bernard Shaw said – ‘There is no sincerer love than the love of food’. Bon Appetit to those who agree including moi. Some of my favourite quotes on food…

3811cef8a0_192x272_91ebb83db4[1]Tue: 1965***tells the engaging and touching stories of immigrants and natives during the time leading up to the independence of SIN. The protagonists were a part of history in the making; they become the pioneer generation who live to see beyond the prejudice and fear of racial hatred and ultimately face the challenge of nation building – a mirror reflecting the fragility of racial harmony in our world today.

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My first passport was a Malaysian passport!

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Then my first SIN IC and passport…

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This movie left quite an impression as I was into my adolescence and do remember the news about the racial riots. Ignorance and protected then in the safe compounds at 5 Temenggong Rd, did not understand the seriousness of the situation, thus did not suffer any physical or mental trauma. Was more traumatized living with my mother’s cancer followed by her death in Jun 1965 and was sent off to boarding school in Ireland before 9 Aug 1965.

It is rather strange to be older than a nation, this nation – SIN, my birth country where I still have some affiliations to in some ways or others. Somehow I am too western to fit in here and too eastern to fit in the west. Doing my best to enjoy both worlds to the fullest :-)

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My total admiration and respect to Gill Pharaoh (age 75). Condolences to her family but hopefully they will respect her wishes by celebrating her life and may she RIP. That thought has been on my mind – to live and leave with dignity and grace!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/11778859/Healthy-retired-nurse-ends-her-life-because-old-age-is-awful.html

For now, looking forward to enjoying every moment possible! Tomorrow is another day and will look forward to lunch with Aileen and Yulis…

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Active Sociable Weekend

3 Aug 2015 – Hello Aug 2015  and to SG50

Thu: tkx to Clem for dinner in my neighbourhood.

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Fri: appreciations to Andrew for lunch in good company of Calvin and Peggy. From one CC/Campers Corner to another CC/Crossings Cafe***just across the road from each other. With a PW like this we should know how blessed we all are and remember that it only works when you believe :-)

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The fish and chips were crispy and I trust when Calvin said that the paste was good!

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Another whisky tasting round but this time with Scotch from Scotland, wow Bunnahabhain Islay and Bowmore IslaySingle Malt – quite something. Tkx Andrew for sharing and surprise to discover that Andrew is Calvin’s landlord, small world!!

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Sat : early bday celebrations for Roy, tkx to Calvin, staff & friends at CC. This time round a whole bottle to Bhutan whisky/K5 was consumed. This is quite a different drink from the Scotch – more about it when I attend the Bhutan Night on Mon!

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Yummy seafood cooked by Seng Teong and my contribution was a cocktail fruit salad. Lobster instead of bday cake is good for me. Poor Chris was stressed out with work.

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Thomas’s new toy ‘One Way’ looks fun. It can go at a speed of 40mph and for 6hrs. For S1k+… I will walk :-) :-)

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Sun: welcome back to SIN Tony. Dinner at Lau Pa Sat with the company of YuZhang. Good to catch up with both.

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Strolled towards the Fullerton Hotel for a light displays in the pleasant breeze. Fullerton One and the Merlion Park are on the way. Always a pleasure to show off SIN, especially with all the flags etc out ready for the NPD.

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Fullerton Hotel and you will have to be there to see the real lights and the sounds.

This week’s quotes will be in memory of LKY

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The Orange Generation

30 Jul 2015 – Keeps Me Young At Heart!

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Mon: tkx Clement for spending the afternoon with his ‘havoc auntie!’. In Chinatown to get a gift for cousin Amy in LA. Wanted to have the Taiwan Shave Ice from Mei Heong Yuen****but did not realize that the main branch on Temple Rd closes on Mon.

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Had to use a restroom after the walk – Chinatown Point was the cleaner choice and since we were there in an AC location, took a walk around to see what is there. Lo and behold there is another branch of MHY Dessert. So it was meant to be for my shaved-ice urge :-)

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Tkx for gifts from Italy. Had a dress-me-up David many moons ago, but he died from a broken neck! Glad to see the new David has an extra face to go with it for when he is dressed, otherwise he will break his neck again!! Am truly blessed with more angels. A visit to 4th sis-in-law later that evening who has done a wonderful job raising my 2 nieces and 2 nephews. Clem bought us durians.

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Tue: appreciations to Peggy for lunch with Pat at this Thai Indonesian place – Bumbu***food was good value for the cost. The interior is done in a Peranakan style. This location is in a HDB estate on Farrer Rd – there are 2 other locations at Telok Ayer and Kandahar streets.

Tkx Sue for stopping by with the mail. Good to catch up with family news.

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Wed: fun afternoon with Audrey at Red Dot Design Museum with interesting designers’ displays.

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URA (one of my favourite stomping grounds) where there was a PageOne book sale. Bought gifts to be mailed.

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Scarlet Hotel to say hi to Jana. Always enjoy the stroll down Erskine Rd and Club St.

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PS Cafe*** feasting on my favourite Key-Lime Pie on Ann Siang Hill.

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Thian Hock Keng or Temple of Heavenly Happiness where the contrast of skyline and visitors to this location are quite fascinating. What I saw today was my first and a hopeful sight – 2 women in tudung visiting a Chinese temple. May peace be with us all.

Safe journeys and the very best to Audrey who will be heading back to China next week. Good to see her and glad to hear that she is happy with her new job.

This quote is what my father told me time and again – Hope for the best, prepare for the worst and expect nothing. My observation is that you will not be disappointed if you manage to live by this quote!

SG50 Fun Package

27 Jul 2015 – MPCC
Sat: jetlag has its advantage that the speed for uploading images online is less than a blink of the eye :-)

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An early grocery shopping and breakfast morning at the wet market and done before 0630hrs. Been awhile since I bought fresh and was quite taken in that this tiny local ‘plaice’ cost S$10! Large bag of chicken bones for stock is more reasonable, S$2.

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10eggs, 1 large Taiwan mango+all these fresh produce for S$15 and all good and fresh. Calamansi, LemonGrass and Pandan leafs (the tall pointy ones) are good for flavoring food and drinking water. The leafs give nice aroma and decoration in the kitchen + keeping the roaches away!

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Was too tired to cook after washing all the produce. Good nap before heading into town. Only in SIN will you find such charm and hospitality – the preparations of a Malay wedding at the common area in a public housing estate. Was just taking pix as I passed by and was invited to the celebrations…

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Dropped by MtE as Ivy’s mom fell and was hospitalized. Lawrence is in town. Tkx to Les&Ivy for dinner at Luke’s Oyster Bar & Chop House at Heeren*****where the food is top quality and the whiskey is good.

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This is my first experience at the Heeren after it has been revamped. The bus from town took over an hour with diversions, being Sat night and the NDP rehearsals! Crashed on the sofa and fell asleep…

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Sun: at MPCC, designed by a family friend William Lim. Was there to collect the ‘SG50 fun package.’ Have not been to the top floor since the opening, where the basket ball court is located. Can even see block 45 Marine Crescent from there! Quite a fascinating banana-leafs concept shaped roof. Wonder if the rains get in or if the sun-rays will distract when shooting baskets?? Must get up there again when it rains to check it out.

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Was there for the opening when it was officially opened by Goh Chok Tong on 28May 2000.

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Like the bag for SG50 with the map of SIN on the other side. Tkx for all the stuff in the bag.

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The old standing fan has seen its days and had to get a new square one – S$23 at Giant in Parkway Parade. Wish I could remember how much I paid for the old one to just compare prices from then and now! Appreciations for keeping me cool for nearly a decade!

Too tired to attend any wedding but do enjoy the sound of the drums as I drifted into LaLa Land :-) :-)

Mon: a fabulous week ahead to all.

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Photography

25 Jul 2015 – For Those Who Are Well-Equipped

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Thu: to be back in SIN is also to be back in ‘Food Paradise’ where the food choices are endless and yummy! Looks like SIN national dish is the ‘Chilli Crab’

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Only in SIN and less than 5mins walk from the apt, can I get a decent meal for S$3+

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An educational and interesting evening at CC has convinced me that serious-professional photography is for those who are well-equipped + the accessories and gadgets to go with this hobby. But this is not going to stop me to enjoy my pix with my idiot-proof camera :-)

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If I had to carry around all these, the joy of taking pix will be gone from me. A caddy or porter will be hired if I ever go on one of those photography trips, lol. But it does not mean that I do not appreciate the art of good photography, Here are some good ones from FB friends and tkx to them for sharing –

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Thank you to Richard, ‘Tourism Western Australia’ and to those in CC who made this a fun and informative event.

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Appreciations to Calvin for all the booze and to Chris for the yummy fried-rice. Very considerate of him to guess that I was in NO mood for ‘Délifrance’ With a beer named like that in the green bottle, then nothing can go wrong for the night :-) :-)

Fri: a good weekend to all from a zombie in SIN who will be trying to get out of the zombie stage this weekend :-) :-) :-)

‘One Picture is Worth a Thousand Words’ when the pix is a good, sharp composition taken in perfect lights. I like it best when I can feel and relate to the pix too! Two good quotes regarding this context, so just enjoy the memories and moments…

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Preparations For SG50

23 Jul 2015 – Are In The Air & Everywhere

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Mon: CAE-ATL 35mins with 1hr+layover in ATL and my first experience at this new F gates. ATL-NRT 13hrs+ with 2hrs+layover at NRT. NRT-SIN 6hrs+arriving into SIN 23.30. Only in SIN is one welcomed with food themes!!!

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Tue: before immigration is a huge durian and after immigration is this giant chilli crab before your checked baggage even gets on the belt! Welcome to SIN, the Eating Haven of the World. Downloaded from some site, this plane in a hangar is getting ready to show its colours…

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Wed: in zombie mode, but had to make a trip to ParkwayParade to ensure that the mobile is back to SIN SIMcard with M1. The local ‘Giant‘ grocery there has undergone a complete revamp to be a better store, and it is taking this zombie all morning to find the stuff…

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Thu: the advantage of jetlag is that I am done with breakfast 0600hrs at my favourite ‘congee’ stall by the wet market. A stroll in the neighbourhood to admire the colourful decoration, especially the dressed-up HDB block. Hope to collect enough from different areas to make an interesting SG50 posting.

IMG_3533IMG_3506New containers for the offerings people burn. The old containers were rusty and worn out, but still do not agree with all these burning causing pollution. Disagree also with prayers broadcasting outside places of worship on loud speakers. No disrespect to any religion or race, but why can’t people just worship quietly within without polluting or disturbing others??

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My neighbour and I are still keeping the common corridor clean and neat on our side, but unfortunately must turn a blind eye to the stairway and other side. Too tired to deal with it now but will write or talk to the people who can do something about this. Why make a rule when it is not enforced????

Ignorance and inconsideration are no excuses and certainly no way to live with a pop of over 5.4mil in an area of 718.3 km². Have only been back for 2 days and already sounding like a true SIN :-) Blame it on jetlag :-) :-)

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Need to nap if I am to attend the slide show at CC tonight! ‘Shooting Home alumnus and instructor Richard Koh is conducting a travel photography talk sponsored by Tourism Western Australia’

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Happy 4 Birthday to #5 James and also happy bday to Lucas. SIN is 12hrs ahead, so not quite James bday yet in the US but for grand nephew Lucas it is his day.

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things – Winston Churchill

Planes Trains Automobiles And Bus

20 Jul 2015 – So Long To The Fabulous 5

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Fri: what a lovely surprise with a visit from Scott (#1’s godfather) who was on his way to meet his family. Have been many years since we crossed paths. Today he is a father of 3boys, a PhD in Agriculture and still looking like the kid I first met at Linn’s first Bday party in FL at the skating ring :-)

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The family headed to Sugar Mts for the weekend while I stay put to pack and rest before the flight back to SIN.

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Sat: life is full of surprises, These just arrived! Thank you Karen/Miss Wiggy for her thoughtfulness. Can now have my personal unbreakable traveling wine goblet. Must get it engraved someday.

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Exciting places to renew in reading and more adventures (to hike the Camino) to explore in the mind! The mind is willing but the body says otherwise :-) :-) New chocolate to try.

IMG_3435IMG_3437Strange to be in a quiet house without the family. Should be used to it considering that I live alone, but this is different from being in a studio-apt!

Things and clothes left here for the next round!! Rained a little in the evening, power intact but was later told by Linn that the neighbouring Lexington county where 1,800 homes lost power.

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Sun: Happy 18th Anniversary to L&J who are celebrating with their family at Sugar Mts/NC.

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Tkx to Jeff for dinner at Top China Buffet***Linn had a date with her running buddies.

Until we meet again, thank you for everything. 

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Mon: while waiting for Linn to complete her morning run, here at a Dunkin Donuts/Devine St which opens at 0500hrs! Better here in the AC with a cup of coffee than waiting in the car!!

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Good omelet with Linn at Eggs Up Grill/Devine St***before heading to the airport. Appreciate the ride, tkx Linn. Strange, took this pix at the car-park at Earth Fare while waiting and then saw the same person on the way to the airport. So long the US of A…

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And so it is that time again with 20+hrs flying time and 4+hrs airport layovers CAE-ATL-NRT-SIN.

I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time – Cavin & Hobbes/Bill Watterson