Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

Of Things That Are Green Or Fly…..

I like walking and seeing things. That is, if my bones do not protest!

I admire architectural designs of homes or the structure of trees or the birds that I may see as I walk.

There are lots to see I realized and it is only recently that I have clarity of mind to stop, look and see the world around me. My life has been revolved around crazy work hours, working for unreasonable lords for the last 3 jobs and this time, I sacrificed lots of dollars for sanity or peace of mind to stop and smell the proverbial roses as one would oft quip.

I always find pigeons a menace as they tend to poop on my car or anything that is beneath where they roost. So I was quite happy to see them on a grassy patch across a canal drain where I was standing.

Pigeons tend to roost near mosques as the caretakers there would feed these homeless pigeons. Smart pigeons to know where there is a mosque, there will be food. I read an article some time back that pigeons have the smartest brain construct. LOL! I remember how we used to scold people for being “pigeon brained” as the size of a pigeon brain is alluded to be a silly goon of sorts.

I take that back now as pigeon brain is the smartest! LOL!

As I walk on, I marveled at the height of these trees. Unfortunately I do not know the botanical name of this tree shown below. But I do like the “tufts” of leaves or crown of leaves on the stem as it reminds me like a nicely coiffured hair style of a poodle! LOL!

But I do know the beautiful structure of this rain tree. I love the construct of this tree as its limbs or branches form a natural canopy of sorts and provide shade. It needs to have its crown regularly trimmed and check though, because in heavy rains or winds, these branches tend to break and fall off!

On my way home, I saw these lovely “apple mangoes” on the tree growing in the garden with a house on it. I felt like ringing the door bell and asking the owner if I might have some LOL! I bet he would give me too if I asked. But I didn’t !

And how do I know it is an “apple mango” specie? Mum used to have 4 types of mango trees in her lovely sprawling garden. She bought the grafted mango trees of “Papaya mango”, “Coconut Mango”, “apple mango” and “lychee mango” trees from her regular landscaper. He was a spritely old man with sun browned skin and white hair and loved experimenting with different types of fruits.

Sadly the man has since passed at a ripe old age of 90 plus years! His business is left to his son and since mum does not have a garden anymore, I walk to his farm just to have a nostalgic view of what trees or plants are for sale.

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My Lil Red Dot We Call Singapore!

sglarge

This is my country,

This is my flag,

This is my home!

This is Singapore,

We are Singaporeans!

Majulah Singapura!

Another week passes by and it is the weekend. Before I know it, a brand new week starts!

Gee! 2017 is whizzing by without thought, at least for me.

All I did in 2017 was to battle work Lords, landed 2 jobs of which I did not fit and the other I am still in.

A recent sampling of things that happened in Lil Red Dot that interested me were that our newly minted President Halimah is moving out of public housing on advice of security agency. It was rather nice to have a high ranking statesperson living in public housing, mingling with us humans.

Another interesting bit of news was that mobility devices are banned from roads but riders can ride on the sidewalks like pedestrians. I am waiting for them to bar such devices in shopping malls. Parents are letting their little monsters or urchins ride the malls in these devices at break neck speeds. We are the bowling pins!

Last week I had an idiot woman in office clothes, wearing really high stilettos on her e scooter zipping across the road onto the pedestrian crossing without pausing to look left or right and I had to hit the brakes so hard to give her “right of way” – she seemed to think it was her “grandfather’s road” [*local connotation to mean, use the road without heed of others, thinking one has right of way!”

2 days ago, a young toddler on an e scooter was hit by a driver on the road. Toddler is alive, thankfully!

2 months and 20 days left or lesser after this scheduled post to Christmas!

Time flies and soon sleigh bells will be ringing sans snow!

Some useful notes about my lil red dot….

(*for my lovely new readers, this is our national pet name for Singapore when one of Indonesia’s past president made fun of our size and called us a lil red dot to humiliate us on our size. Our then founder Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew rebutted with a smile and said that we are a lil red dot, but we are like chilli padi (*a lethal small fiery chilli pepper that is so small but packs a whallop in spiciness)

Lil red dot may be small in size, with no natural resources and I quote our Ministry of Foreign Affairs website,

Straits Times: S’pore is 3rd-richest country: Forbes

Singapore is the third-richest country in the world, ranking behind only Qatar and Luxembourg, according to Forbes magazine. Using the most recent International Monetary Fund data available, Forbes said Singapore ‘thrives as a technology, manufacturing and finance hub with a GDP (PPP) per capita of nearly US$56,700 (S$71,200)’. This compares with a per capita gross domestic product (GDP), adjusted for purchasing power (PPP), of more than US$88,000 for the world’s richest nation, Qatar. The Persian Gulf emirate of 1.7 million people taps the world’s third-largest reserves of natural gas for its wealth, some of which it is pouring into the construction of all air-conditioned stadiums for the 2022 World Cup. Coming in second, with slightly more than US$81,000, was Luxembourg. The tiny Grand Duchy, bordered by Belgium, France and Germany, has only a half-million people, but scores as a financial hub with banking secrecy laws that makes it a tax haven, Forbes said. The magazine said it compiled its rich list by examining the GDP of 182 countries, adjusted for PPP, which is preferred by economists when doing international comparisons. It says this takes into account the relative cost of living and inflation rates. This is mostly from 2010 figures, but a 2009 estimate in Singapore’s case. But Forbes quotes associate professor of economics Gian Luca Clementi, of New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, as saying that ‘the numbers must be taken with a grain of salt’.  Many issues, including how the quality of goods varies from country to country, can make any GDP comparisons misleading, he said. The top 10 list includes fifth-ranked Brunei, the United States at No. 7, and eighth-placed Hong Kong”. ) *End of Quote (*Source Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

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Relevant – One Word Prompt

As an island state, we are constantly reminded by our government to stay relevant.

Upskill, upgrade and stay relevant are words we citizens see everyday in media and social media.

I cannot disagree and am pleased that our government cares. Somebody does! 

So, to ensure my dad continues to stay relevant and not move towards full blown dementia, I took him and mum out for our regular Saturday walks.

Woodlands Waterfront located at Admiralty West, 26 km from where I lived.

At the fringe of where the Johor Causeway is, Woodlands Waterfront is part of the islandwide park connector that links all parks to allow cyclists to cycle through.

A nice entrance greeted us.

Johor Bahru, Malaysia can be see opposite.

Fishing enthusiasts were reminded of fishing etiquette.

The long jetty that dad enjoyed walking on as he loves fishing and it got him excited to see anglers.

I loved the green edges around the Johor Straits….deep waters!

A halal restaurant is situated at the jetty and its food was pretty good.

Innovative home made way of fastening a rod to railing. A “live” fish is used as bait to entice yellow tail seabass. An avid angler told me that last night someone caught a 5.9kg seabass. It was immediately sold to another angler for SGD50!

Some Filipinos playing with their drones! It is the rage now for controlled devices.

Yes…my weekly walks with dad to exercise his mind and body to ensure his memory and mind stays relevant!

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Leaf – One Word Prompt

Taking a leaf out of someone’s book to profit thyself isn’t nice or good in my view.

But if it is to imitate and learn from it, isn’t that bad. You think?

My sister sent me a photo of her chilli plant in Auckland. A snail had chewed off half a leaf from her chilli plant and she wasn’t pleased at all.

To cheer her up, I told her the snail probably “choked” on it as afterall, it was a chilly plant!

I further told her to look around the garden for a snail that was gasping for breath or water as it was a spicy “organic leaf treat!”😃

Either that or the snail has an acquired taste for spicy😉

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Stress…..

I suppose stress can cause nose bleeds as I seem to be having a fair bit of nose bleeds these days. Blah!!!😐

I used to have rather great “floods”after my sinus surgery and my ENT’s application of silver nitrate somewhat made it worst.

So whilst the “floods” abated for a couple of years, it is now back and last Friday, it happened at work and it made me look as if a murder of sorts took place!

It was as if Freddy Kreuger may have visited me except there was no weaponry used!😉

Thankfully nobody noticed and I could dispose of the incriminating blood shot evidence by wrapping used bloodied tissues in a plastic bag and disposing it in a waste bin far far away from my office!

It could be the dry atmosphere as I work in an air con office. 

It could be from post nasal sinus surgery, it could be stress as I am or have been stressed for a while..hmm for a long time in my life!

As I reflected on life thus far, I have much to gripe about.

 I counter this now, by being less tolerant of others – ok ok, I am not lining up to be canonized as a saint! Hmm…though St Garfield might suit my inanimate furball Garfield well with his little halo, angel wings and devilish smile with beady eyes LOL!

I assure you , I am not a loon just yet!

On days like these when I feel unwell, I wonder if I should see a doctor. Much to be fixed in this battered carcass of mine as I need to check out my alimentary canal and if I tell my sane doctor about nosebleeds, I am sure he will order tests or a CT scan to discount anything ominous of sorts.

All this means for sure a stay at Bates Motel. I am not at all pleased that this is the only option. So, I will adopt a wait and see policy.

How’s the weather you ask?

Cloudy with a chance of rain!. Temps are still in the high 33 Celsius.

Two nights ago, I took folks out to eat at a popular hawker center called ‘Newton Hawker Center’ – Nope! It was not named after Sir Issac Newton! It was in 1914 after assistant municipal engineer Howard Newton (1877–1896)

Business was brisk as this place attracts tourists as well as locals. Food is pricier here as minimum cost per plate of food for anything if from $5 upwards for noodles and for others, it costs $8 to $10.

Soup dumplings cost $1.20 for a morsel and minimum order was for 10 morsels at $12.

Our regular Oyster Omelet Chef, whom we call ‘Aunty’ is also slowing down because of age and she is happy to let us know that her son is now helping her as her legs hurt from standing too long over a hot griddle pan. She is in her 70s and a good friend of my parents.

Our regular satay stall was also seeing brisk business.

I am happy they are doing better now because at one time, there was little foot traffic I guess from the adverse publicity of food touters.

I remember my nephew once ordered lobster from one of the seafood stalls and he was charged $300 for that red clawed shellfish.

His mother went back and spoke to the stall holder and explained that she is local and not a tourist (nephew looks like a tourist) – she was then recharged at $150!

So, with touts like these, no wonder Newton got a bad name ie it was out to fleece unknowing tourists!

I am glad that now with some intervention from the government agencies and taking food touters to task, some semblance of normality returns and in turn, this benefits the stall holders.

Last night, we ate at Zion Road Food Center. Dad had fried kway teow with cockles from a stall holder that fried for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. We were 2nd in line thankfully. The other stall that sold this same dish had a snaking line of more than 14 people!

$4.50 a plate, portion was indeed generous.

Mum had Kway Chap, a mixture of pig innards, hard boiled eggs steeped in black sauce and braised soya sauce duck – $7.60, $1 salted veggies and a bowl of rice noodles.

I ordered pig tripe soup at $4 a bowl! It was severely peppered.

We each had a glass of soy bean milk…$1 per cup.

Reasonable cost paid for food😉!

 

 

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Spicy – One Word Prompt

Singaporeans love foods spicy,

Tablecloth from Macy’s all lacey,

Serving Chilli Crab on it is dicey!

Chilli crab is not only peppery,

Chilli crab can also be spicy,

Regardless, it is absolutely pricey!

As Singaporean foodies we love spicy,

Not living life racy or dicey!

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How Lil Red Dot’s Government Housing Looks Like 

I took these photos to share with my friends on WP as to how our government housing looks like.

Government housing is built by Housing Development Board or we call HDB for short.

The one pictured above are a block of HDB flats built circa 1970s to early 1980s.

These come with a 99 year lease and are built as studios, 1 Bedroom, 3 Bedrooms, 4 & 5 bedrooms.

The amount of bedrooms is misleading as the hall is called a room. So a 4 bedroom unit actually has only 3 rooms and a hall.

Today the flats built in 2016 or  2017 are called Built To Order (BTO) i.e. young married couples will describe what they want for fittings.

A higher category of pricier HDB flats is Executive Condominiums.

Only married people without private residential condos or landed property can own these flats. 

Singles above 45 years, without private property can opt to buy from open market.

These units are costly in private sales as it can range from $350,000 for 3 bedroom to a million dollars for 4 bedroom units.

You will also notice our greening policy – trees are planted along roads, highways and in HDB estates. 

These photos were taken from my work place 4th storey carpark.

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Sungei Market Or Thieves Market – An Icon Has Breathed Its Last In Sungei Road

Sungei Market or “Thieves Market” served its last customers at Sungei Road on 10 July 2017. This place was to make way for residential development in the area for these peddlers in a flea market style.

Touted as ‘Thieves Market’ in the days gone by, it was so named as stolen goods were fenced there. I heard stories of how a person whose home got burgled went to Sungei Market to “buy” back all his stolen property.

Good or bad, this is another nostalgic marker making way for development into the new era. Most of these peddlers are in their late 60s to 70s, with the oldest in his 80s. They use this rent free area to eke a living, selling second hand goods.

Tourists and interested passersby would stop to browse and see what is on sale.

Couple of weeks back, I asked MR EX to take me for a drive and to show me this Thieves market as I knew its days were numbered. MR EX used to have a stall there in his young school days as he claimed that he came from a poor family background and that he had to eke a living by selling denim jeans there.

MR EX shared that he would “lie” to customers by claiming that the jeans would “shrink” if the sizes were too big for the customer and that it would ultimately fit the customer after washing.

OR if the size was too small, he would explain to the customer that the jeans would stretch over time.

Call it “lying” or creative sales technique, I think it is both. He is an entrepreneur for sure and as to if he was poor, I really do not know.

Today we were told that a kind soul at Golden Mile Tower was offering each peddler a plot of 1Mx2M for $5 a plot per day at the open air carpark in that building.

Golden Mile Tower is known as “Little Thailand” – I call it seedy but MR EX calls it vibrant. He too took me there for a “tour” one day – yes, MR EX is my local tourist guide as he feels I am living in a sterile world.

I dislike crowds – I find that when I visit crowded places, I attract germs and would return home with whatever flu or colds those people in the crowd may have. Hence, I tend to stay in less crowded areas.

It was the nature of my autoimmune disease and once I had leukopenia i.e. plummeting of white blood cell count – it fell like NYSE…a blue chip tumbling to ground zero that left my doctor really worried for my health.

MR EX disbelieves this and prefers to think it is mind over matter and so, he would try his best to get me in those seedy areas or crowded areas. Good or bad? I do not know his intentions- but I took it at face value ie he designated self as my personal tour guide of lil red dot.

I am sad to see Thieves market disappear from its iconic site and do wish the peddlers new memories at Golden Mile Tower car park till it is time to bulldoze that building down – anything can happen!

P.S. During the time I visited this market, no second hand Garfields were on sale –  ha ha, they were not worth “stealing” to be peddled out there 😉

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Fruits From Japan Is Eye Popping Expensive!

Fridays are my grocery shopping days and lo and behold, I discovered that Japanese imported fruits to lil red dot costs a bomb!

To quantify, the cost when compared to imports from other countries such as Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa (Cape Town) or USA shows fruits or veggies from Japan costs an arm and a leg!

For pete’s sake, Japan is not too far away from lil red dot! 🤔

Cannot be logistics or shipping cost!

Aaah it could be land and labor cost or probably their genetic management of growing “miniature” fruits or “square watermelons (*some years back, I saw one smallish square watermelon sold at Daimaru for $200!)🙄

At Cold Storage last evening, this was what I saw and had to photograph these fruits to show.

Cherry tomatoes  – $16 for a 200g pack.

2 peaches cost $20.

16 small Mikan mandarins in a box cost $60!

*Note: Cold Storage is like USA’s Safeway or UK’s Tesco or Australia’s Coles or Woolsworth – one of our local supermarket chain*

Small watermelons cost $20 and slightly larger one costs $30. Same with cantaloupes or honeydews.

I could whallop the small watermelon in one sitting! My chomps would finish it in a jiffy! But my pocket disallows it ha ha!

American grown watermelons are huge and juicy and so much cheaper!

Malaysian watermelons cost less than $5 for a giant ball….seedless in yellow or red! 

Yet, there are buyers for these exotic Japanese fruits!! So it must be good!

But.. Gee….it was too costly for me to try. 

To me, my rubber mouth would not be able to discern taste like a connoiseur…ha ha wasted on me for sure as I have tasted Michelin star treats and told my host…hey it tastes the same as the one cooked in the food court😉

My host gave me dagger looks!

Same types of fruits from USA, Malaysia, Cape Town, New Zealand or Australia would be so much cheaper!

In fact I bought a pack of 6 rusty brown pears from Cape Town for $4.25. 

It looked like the ugliest of pears, as if bruised beyond recognition…. but it tasted great. 

The advertising worked as it screamed to me andsaid, “I am dirty ugly brown on the outside but am crunchy and yummy like any pear! Try me!”

Try it I did! 

Sold to this rubber mouth and it tasted fine…like a pristine green packham pear 😃

“Live and learn,” said the hamster on the wheel in my brain department….”there is a whole new world out there!”

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Museum Of Sports

I took my parents to walk the Tanjong Rhu Promenade since now I know of this lovely scenic location.

Just a short stroll, a leisurely lunch and shopping – great to keep seniors engaged and have a bit of sunshine and fresh air. Thankfully, it was cloudy and not a scorcher!

We passed by the Museum of Sports which curated all the old sports equipment this lil red dot used to sell.

Given that my parents were not avid sports fans, we gave it a miss. It costs $10 per entry though.

I could see from afar, antiquated Shimano bicycles or actually they were tricycles.

Definitely not on our “interested” things to see.

Mum would be fascinated by plants or flowers whilst dad would be happy to look at the scenery or architecture around this place….and yes…food…tue common denominator of pleasers ha ha😃

About the photos:

1st 2 photos were quilts hung in the lobby of the Sports Museum. Each square of the quilt had a significant milestone history of Singapore, ranging from our campaigns for betterment, down to sports events. 

I loved the vibrant colors of each square and the symbolic significance it carried in message.

The 3rd photo is a close up of the national stadium which is really modern and stylist with the signature retractable dome roof. 

It comprises aquatic center, multi sports arena and of course dovetailed nicely to juxtapose with the indoor stadium by Japanese architect, Kenzo Tange. 

This Indoor Stadium has a seating capacity of 12,000 people and was built at a cost of SGD90 million. (*not pictured)

Built at a cost of SGD1.3 billion,this iconic structure of the Sports Hub – national stadium shown in photo above is built by DP Architects. It is 35 hectares in land size.


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