Value-For-Money Set Lunch and KTV in Johor Bahru

Wong Kok Char Chan Teng

If you visit JB on weekdays and frequent KSL Mall, you might want to pop by Wong Kok Char Chan Teng at L1-99. Located next to Old Town White Coffee and near to Popular bookstore, it offers set lunches from RM9.90 each!

Wong Kok Char Chan Teng set lunch

Once seated, you will be given the usual ala carte menus. So ask for the set lunch order sheet (as pictured above). Select your main, choice of soup and a drink. The Borsch soup is the most tasty and I usually go for the iced HK milk tea. You will also get a small plate of fruit (I had two small pieces of honeydew, and three thin slices of sweet watermelon today).

Wong Kok Char Chan Teng lunch

(top: Lemon Grass Pork Chop with Rice for him, bottom: Noodle with Fruit Honey Sauce Chicken for me)

The noodles and chicken were definitely yummier! :D

Our total bill came up to RM25.10, which is S$9.70. (@_@)

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For KTV, we went to Song City (Level 5) at Plaza Pelangi. We signed up for their lifetime membership at RM38 and paid an additional RM28 for 4 hours of KTV today. Even if I include the membership fee in today’s KTV bill, it is a mere S$25 for 4 hours. The membership allows us an additional hour at each visit, on top of getting a special members-only price.

*We like sussing out the best bargains in JB. If you have a recommendation, please leave me a comment! :)

Nanyang Polytechnic’s UNIT14: AMPLIFIED

Earlier this month, I went to check out UNIT14: AMPLIFIED at the National Library. AMPLIFIED is a showcase of the design work by over 160 graduates from Nanyang Polytechnic’s School of Design.

Nanyang Poly unit 14 amplified

There was a mind-boggling number of projects on display. Got a little dizzy after navigating that whole showcase! Some of the projects were pretty impressive, some exceedingly creative, a few of them bizarre, and at least one seemed to be a copy of an actual business.

Leonard Lam Xin Xin Dialect

(above) Leonard Lam’s ‘Xin Xin Dialect’ project is a Hokkien card game which includes common Hokkien phrases and “illustrations that depict its usage”. The card game also comes with a free iOS app that provides audio pronunciation to aid user understanding. Let’s just say I had a similar idea for promoting Chinese dialects among youths but Leonard’s idea is way more cool. :)

Bernice Ong Second Chance

Bernice Ong’s ‘Second Chance’ idea is pretty interesting. “Second Chance is a mediating space for separated couples to reflect upon their marriage before taking further action, serving as a final opportunity for couples to salvage their marriage. Marriage counselling is also offered to them here. However, if they do decide on a divorce, a section of the space is designed to lead them through the process, helping them to end the marriage both physically and mentally”.

I like how she even thought of things like ring disposal! In this age of “conscious uncoupling”, I guess couples do need such a space to reflect on their marriage and whether it is worth salvaging.

Safehike

I like Hayden Goh’s idea of a hiking aid that can also be of help during an emergency. You can even activate a blinking light for SOS signaling!

Tan Pei Jing Connex

Tan Pei Jing’s Connex “allows outdoor camping tents to be connected together seamlessly”. There goes your privacy. But it’s great for families with young kids!

Tan Chien Hui SNooze

I have fallen sound asleep on one of Changi Airport’s chairs before so I know how important it is to have one’s luggage kept secure! Having your luggage attached to your seat is brilliant! One can snooze peacefully now!

Uber

Crystal Ong’s Uber keeps an umbrella inside a walking aid, so the user can have both an umbrella and a walking aid when it is raining. How awesome!

Other great ideas include: Muhammad Aminuddin’s Rollix (an extendable paint roller equipped with a pressure pump), Teo Hun Ing’s PortalDrip which “removes the need for drip stands by allowing users to wear the drip on themselves”, making it easier to tackle stairs, access toilets and frees up more space in hospital rooms, and Tan Wei Ming’s Re-Cap which will “help drivers locate their cars [in carparks] with… visual reminders and mental mappings”. I’m not sure how Re-Cap actually works, but less time required in figuring out where the boyfriend parked his car is always welcome!

Nyssa Tien Recharge Box

Nyssa Tien’s ‘Recharge Box’ idea seems a little bizarre. It is “a series of hanging boxes for napping” and allows tour bus drivers to stretch out and sleep. It is great that she thought of napping as a “strategy for maintaining alertness”. But I’m not sure we need to go to that expense! How much will it cost to construct this whole thing? Plus, it seems rather scary to sleep in a box – I’ll leave that for when I’m dead. Tour bus drivers can simply stretch out in the seats on board the buses. ;)

Nurul Ain Petite Burger

Does Nurul Ain know that her Petite Burger idea is extremely similar to the vegan burger joint, Veganburg? Hmm…

All in all, it was an eye-opening exhibition. I hope Nanyang Polytechnic continues to nurture more of these creative individuals and let their innovative designs be taken to market. :)

How I Prepped For My 14km Run

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I took part in the 14km Passion North East Run this morning at Pasir Ris Park. It was my first 14km race, and truth be told, I’ve never trained for 14km. Only 10km.

It could be the lack of adequate training or just really bad air due to the haze, such that I was panting by the 3rd kilometer. So I didn’t push myself during this race and completed the run in 92 minutes.

Here’s some of the prep work I did before the race (not including training) :

1) Attached the race bib to the race tee after collecting it about a week before race day. *Cos I forgot about the race bib last year and thankfully had time to head home for it before my 10km Shape Run.

2) Cut off the sleeves on my race tee so it’s more comfortable during a long race. Should have just won an exercise tank top instead, like some of the other participants.

3) Put plasters on my feet as a blister prevention measure.

4) Laid out everything I’d need the night before my race. Socks, bobby pins for my hair, etc. *I use bobby pins to secure all stray hairs so no part of my fringe ends up poking me in the eyes during the race. I also tie my hair in a French plait instead of a regular ponytail as the latter tends to feel ‘heavy’ after a while, as it tugs quite strongly on hair roots.

5) I had a banana and mini energy bar ready for a quick boost just before the race, at the race venue.

Things I Should Have Done But Didn’t:

1) Left my drawstring shorts at home instead of wearing them for the run. Should have worn the pair with an elastic band so it sits snugly above my hips, unlike the drawstring one which required multiple adjustments during the race.

2) Worn a watch with a timing function instead of having my handphone strapped to my arm. It would have helped in regulating my running pace.

3) Trained for the 14km run (duh!). The pain of regret is truly greater than the pain of discipline.

*This 14km run cost me just S$20, which was the price for early bird registrations for Passion card holders. Compared with last year’s Shape Run, there were no pacers during today’s run, and unlike the Shape Run’s 3 pre-race practice runs, there were no practice runs for Passion North East run. I received just a tee, shoe bag and medal for today’s race. ;)

**I don’t think I’ll run any race involving more than 14km, but I just might attempt another 10km run this year. :D

Trek For Hope: Mount Pulag & New Smokey Mountain, Philippines

Imagine visiting a world where the only income families receive comes from sorting through a mountain of trash every day. That is a reality for many families who live in Tondo, which is a district in Manila, Philippines. Even though the four decades old Smokey Landfill has been closed for two decades, the area is still very impoverished and many still scavenge for a living in this old landfill today.

For TS Chua and Simon Chan, the founders of Trek For Hope, adventure means more than just going on a trek down some well-traveled path. It means helping those who are in need the best way they know how. “Each trekker or adventurer who associates with Trek For Hope raises money on behalf of their preferred charity for their adventure,” Chan said. “This way we can all bring something substantial to each community we visit.”

On a good day of scavenging, a family can make enough money to buy food for that day. They then repeat that process day after day, barely surviving while putting themselves at risk of diseases like tuberculosis, hepatitis, dengue fever, and typhoid. If these families don’t catch a disease, malnutrition is certain to affect them at some point in the near future.

Trek For Hope

Trek For Hope aims to have regular trips planned throughout the year, with the first trip being a trek along Mount Pulag and then a visit to the New Smokey Mountain region. Why choose this location as the inaugural event for Trek For Hope? “It all started with an episode in a television show called the Activist Journey hosted by popular Singaporean actress, Joanne Peh in 2010,” recalled Simon. “In that episode, Joanne shared about her journey to Tondo, Philippines, where the Smokey Mountain is situated.”

“After that program, I actually made a trip to the Tondo region with my son in 2013,” Simon continued. “I have a deep connection with those people and it just made sense to have Trek For Hope make their first organized visit happen there.”

Trek For Hope

For TS, also the founder of the Singapore Adventurous Nature Lovers group, Trek For Hope holds a deeper meaning. “I want to share with my fellow adventurers and members that anyone can make a difference in this world,” he said. “You don’t have to change the whole world to make that difference. If you can help just one person, just one family, then you’ll have helped to change their world for the better.”

43 Singaporeans have signed up for this initial adventure that Trek For Hope has scheduled. “When the trip was first brought to my notice, I was skeptical whether an amateur like me is capable of completing such a feat,” said Joanna Lee, a bank executive, who will be on Trek For Hope’s initial adventure. “I procrastinated for the longest time. However I started looking up Mount Pulag and the mission of this trip, and I was so drawn to it and jumped right in. Personally, one of the greatest meaning in this trip is not only that it brings together like-minded people to make baby steps to helping people living in the NSM, it also allows people to realise their different goals. Mount Pulag is just a stepping stone to great heights literally. I can’t wait to look at the magnificant view; across the mountains above the clouds! :)”

Those thoughts are echoed by Ruth Chua, admin executive, another inaugural attendee: “I have always enjoyed hiking and trekking,” she said. “When I knew this event was not going to be just a normal hiking trip, but would also involve an element of giving, I got really excited! It’s very meaningful to be able to contribute back to society while doing something that I’ve always enjoyed!”

Trek For Hope

About the organization:

Trek for Hope aims to make a difference on a global scale by combining the love of trekking, climbing, and adventure in general with charitable works. Trek For Hope’s goal is to help individual communities within the mountains and plains of the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, and other Asia and/or Oceanic countries. Trek For Hope strives to provide each community, including the communities where we each live, with the needed resources that can help everyone discover the wonders of nature.

For more information about Trek For Hope or to share in their passion for adventure in the outdoors, you can follow along with their adventures by joining their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/trekforhope

{ *All text and pictures in this blogpost are supplied by Trek For Hope }

i Light Marina Bay is back: 7th to 30th March 2014!

The Pool by Jen Lewin{ pic credit: lumigeek.com }

As an official blogger for i Light Marina Bay, I have the opportunity to share with you about how awesome this year’s edition of i Light Marina Bay is! :D I love creative and colorful things and this year’s installations are really impressive!

The picture you see above shows the colorful installation called ‘The Pool’, by Jen Lewin, a trained architect. This installation is most beautiful when a group of people play with the different pads at the same time. The pads light up in different colors! How gorgeous is this?!

And here are more of my favs:

1.26 by Janet Echelman

i Light Marina Bay 1.26 by Janet Echelman

Why 1.26? Echelman used laboratory research from NASA and NOAA which documented the effects of the 2010 earthquake in Chile – the historic shock resulted in the shortening of the earth’s day by 1.26 microseconds, thus the installation’s name. The colorful volumetric piece takes the shape of a tsunami sweeping across the ocean.

This piece not only reminds us of today’s ever-changing face of the earth and the effects natural disasters have on people, but it is also a piece that highlights the courage of the survivors and the interconnected populations who are fighting against these effects of climate change in today’s context.

Guardian Angels by Maro Avrabou & Dimitri Xenakis

i Light Marina Bay Guardian Angels by Maro Avrabou and Dimitri Xenakis

This installation highlights the role of the human and pays an indirect tribute to gardeners. These watering-lanterns are a gesture of protection to our environment, and also a suggestion to give a second life to an object after use.

CLOUD by Caitlind Brown & Wayne Garrett (Photo: Doug Wong)

i Light Marina Bay CLOUD

This sculpture uses both new and recycled materials. Combining the aesthetic of incandescent light bulbs with the brilliance of energy-efficient bulbs, CLOUD creates a playful commentary on the changing face of sustainability.

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A total of 28 light art installations are transforming Marina Bay into one huge public art gallery. Bring your friends and family!

7 – 30 March, 2014

7.30pm to 11pm

Marina Bay Waterfront

FREE admission

http://www.ilightmarinabay.sg

Trapped in Singapore: My First Escape Room Themed Experience

When invited by Trapped to review its escape room themed attraction, I tried to find the bravest and smartest pals to join me. Together with 3 of them, I made my way to Trapped at 42 Kandahar Street, near Arab Street. This escape room concept came from Japan, and it basically involves solving puzzles and searching for clues and that elusive key in order to escape from a room within an hour.

Entrance to Trapped

There was a choice of two rooms: Hostel themed or Alice in Wonderland themed. I chose not to scare the guys with the Wonderland one, and settled for Hostel.

Trapped escape room kandahar street

The Experience: It was my first time being trapped in an “escape room”. It was a bit unnerving because it was eerily dark (we were given two small torchlights which weren’t very bright and we were not allowed to bring our handphones into the room), there was a slightly scary soundtrack being played, and there was fake blood, body parts and scary paintings. Definitely not for those who are claustrophobic or who freak out in dark places. We went in at about 12.45pm so there was still some sunlight coming into the room. We were told that after 7pm, it would be pitch dark, so, question is “Do you dare?”

I guess most people really hate being trapped so there is a natural tendency to want to break something in order to break free. However, brute force will get you nowhere in this game. You just have to stay calm and work through those puzzles. The lack of sufficient light can be really irritating for some. It CAN get quite frustrating when that combination lock just won’t open. But you get some cool numbers to buy 4D with later. ;)

Even though the room is hostel-themed and supposed to resemble those in horror movies, there was no one jumping out at us, for instance. If you need help (a clue or the answer), just use the phone provided and the friendly staff will either provide you with a clue or even come right in to help. On one occasion, I was so spooked when he knocked on the door that I leapt off a locked chest I was sitting on and pounced on my friend, Steven. :D Scaredy cat, yes, that’s me.

[*Trying not to include any spoilers here] The boyfriend was much more fearless. He took the lock off a metal cabinet, reached in calmly and extracted *something* as though it was no more than cabbage and passed it to my photog pal, Jiahe, who was like… WOAHHHH! Apparently, he should have alerted us before passing around the random objects he took out of locked cabinets. :D

We did not manage to solve the puzzles without help – I think we made 5 calls for help! LOL! But after we emerged from the rooms into brilliant, BRILLIANT sunlight, we had some comic relief in the form of a hilarious group photo:

Trapped escape room kandahar street

[Group Picture courtesy of Jiahe from Hearted Moments Photography]

Trapped escape room kandahar street

Could it have been even better?

When I do reviews, I like to wonder if anything can be improved. For this escape room, I think more interaction with the ‘props’ would have been better. Perhaps, instead of chaining that fake body part to the bed frame, how about handcuffing one of the participants to the bed or gate, and we have to find the key to free him/her before locating the key to open the gate?

Also, having to solve similar puzzles to open two similar chests seems a little repetitive.

For first-timers though, I think it was a great experience. I did manage to scare myself silly. :D

Essential information:

Address: Kampung Glam Shop Houses, 42 Kandahar Street, S198896

Opening Hours: Mon to Thurs 11am to 11pm, Fri to Sun 11am to 2am

Time Limit: 60 minutes to escape; Your Choice of 1 of the 2 rooms

Contact: 62922177, enquiry@trapped.sg, http://trapped.sg/

Fees: Off Peak Hours S$20 per pax, Peak Hours S$24 per pax

Map from StreetDirectory.com:

Trapped escape room kandahar street

Meeting Award-Winning Founder of ROBO GARAGE Tomotaka Takahashi and his robots, Evolta and Robi

Because of the ‘New Arrivals From Japan’ Press Conference today, I got to meet Mr Tomotaka Takahashi, the founder and CEO of ROBO GARAGE. Mr Takahashi’s works have won him awards like the Coolest Inventions 2004 (TIME magazine), 33 Persons Changing The Future (Popular Science magazine), and the Guinness World Record for the longest distance covered by a battery-operated remote-controlled model car.

Mr Takahashi is also the Research Associate Professor of The University of Tokyo, Visiting Professor of Fukuyama University and Osaka Electro-Communication University.

Tomotaka Takahashi and Robi:

Tomotaka Takahashi and Robi

Robi can understand 200 Japanese words and has 20 joints which allow it to walk, dance and move. It can also get up from a sitting position, and sit itself back down again too!

One of his robots, Kirobo, was the first communication robot in space (Aug 2013)!

Tomotaka Takahashi and Kirobo

Evolta (17cm tall) did a 530m cliff climb at the Grand Canyon. It was powered by just 2 AA batteries during the climb which was for a Panasonic battery promotion video.

Demo of Evolta climbing up the rope:

Tomotaka Takahashi and Evolta

Here’s Evolta setting a world record:

Evolta climbing up the Grand Canyon:

Award-winning Robots:

Tomotaka Takahashi VisiON

Tomotaka Takahashi Louis Vuitton Cup

And here’s something very interesting: A ‘female’ robot

Tomotaka Takahashi female robot

He had been asked if he could create a Barbie-like robot. But he couldn’t as Barbie’s thin frame meant that there was not enough space for all the various parts required.

Tomotaka Takahashi

A Japanese magazine actually came with Robi parts every week so subscribers could build their own Robi after 70 issues! Each issue cost 1990 Japanese yen, or about US$25. The total cost was about US$1750 for subscribers to build Robi! Read more on gizmag. Takahashi-san told us that over 100,000 Robi units were sold in Japan, and next month, Robi will be available in Italy, and then Taiwan after. He also said that unlike robots portrayed in Hollywood movies, Japanese robots are usually “friends” and do not try to take over the world – think Doraemon.

*I have a Robi collectible and stickers for giveaway. Watch out for the blogpost coming soon! :D

6 Golden Rules For Hiking Safety: Great Shots Should Never End In Tragedy

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[This is a guest post by Simon Chan, a travel blogger and one of my blogging workshop participants. All pictures in this blogpost are supplied by Simon]

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Great Shots Should Never End in Tragedy: Safety considerations you need to know when climbing Mount Kinabalu

The hiking community in Singapore and Malaysia were saddened to learn about the hiking tragedy that took place at Mount Kinabalu on Monday (10 Feb 2014). The peak of Borneo is a very popular climb among the hikers in this region and astounding views await those who overcome all 4,095 metres (13,435 ft) to reach the summit.

Victoria Paulsen was doing what most adventurers do at some point in their hikes. She was probably drawn to that special photographic angle that would make her hike something different from everyone else’s. According to news reports, she crossed a safety barrier at the summit of Mount Kinabalu, slipped and fell, and her pursuit of the one unique image ended in unimaginable tragedy.

Paulsen was just 22.

Climbing Mount Kinabalu is not always the easiest of experiences. It is a climb that is popular with locals and tourists alike, but you have to be in better-than-average physical shape to really trek up this mountain properly. You don’t need to have any specialized gear most of the time to reach the summit beyond being appropriately dressed for the weather and having a good pair of hiking boots. It is also good if you know how to use a guide rope to your advantage (nearing the summit).

You should also have some idea about how mountain conditions can change. The best time to climb Mount KK is during March to August while end of the year (November and December) brings heavy rainfall. When the mountain gets wet, the mountain gets slick. Even with anchors in place, a slick mountain is not a hiker’s best friend.

The quest to get a great photograph is not worth the price of a life. In keeping with that thought, we thought we’d provide some tips [or reminders!] of how to take unique, stunning shots without placing your life at risk to get that perfect image.

1) Don’t Ignore Safety Barriers

Safety barriers are put up for a reason. It’s like a warning label: they exist because something happened to someone at some point in time or the potential for harm is very great. Don’t cross a safety barrier because you think nothing will happen! It only takes one moment or one unexpected set of circumstances for everything to go tragically wrong. You can still get a great shot behind a safety barrier!

2) You Can Never Prepare Too Much For a Climb

Mount Kinabalu might not need any specialized climbing equipment to reach the summit, but that doesn’t mean mountain conditions up there won’t change when you are up there exploring. Take a look at the history of the mountain or other region you’re preparing to explore to make sure you know what could happen when you are exposed. Just because something hasn’t happened for a decade doesn’t mean it won’t happen this year when you are out on an adventure!

3) Give Yourself Plenty of Time

Accidents tend to happen when photographers begin rushing around. As soon as you start rushing to get a shot, thoughts of safety become fleeting at best. Climbing Mount KK for the average person should take two days – one to get up the mountain and one day to get down for most people. Plan for an extra day after that so that you can have a buffer of time, instead of being stressed out by thoughts of rushing for that flight home.

For longer trekking adventures, a two day buffer is usually good to have just in case the weather becomes a problem or you just don’t feel good for some reason on one of the days. What’s the worst case scenario? That you get to have another mini-adventure after your planned itinerary is completed!

Check out Grace’s blog post on what else to do in Kota Kinabalu.

It’s true that Mount Kinabalu can be explored in its entirety in just one day, but patience is a virtue especially when you are planning to take amazing shots. Allow for more time to get great shots and they will appear!

4) Remember To Bring Water

It is a hard lesson that is only ignored once. Even if you are taking a tour and the brochure states that they will provide you with water, pack your own too! It’s better to have too much water than not enough.

5) Always Travel With Someone

When it comes to safety, more eyes are always better. Paulsen was reportedly climbing with some friends (and a guide) and that’s a good thing. The type of friend to bring along with you is the friend that will prevent you from making a bad decision in the quest for the perfect shot. They need to be willing to say “Don’t climb over that safety rail!” and work hard to make sure you aren’t your own worst enemy. Yesterday’s events prove, however, that sometimes having a good friend just isn’t good enough.

6) Always Tell Someone Else Where You’re Going… And When You’ll Return

The unexpected can strike at any time. It often happens, in fact, when we least expect something to happen! Some people have climbed Mount Kinabalu dozens of times and know the landscape like the back of their hand. That doesn’t mean a loose rock won’t cause a turned ankle and leave them unable to walk off the mountain!

By telling someone what your itinerary is, you are protecting yourself in case something does happen and you get stranded with no way to communicate. When you don’t report back in, your trusted someone can relay your itinerary to the search authorities and you will have a better chance of being found safe and sound.

Losing someone we love is always difficult. Together let us make sure that we as hikers stay safe as we enjoy our trekking adventures so that tragedies like Victoria Paulsen’s don’t have to be repeated.

Visit Simon’s Blog at TravelledPaths.com and follow his adventures on Facebook too (fb.com/travelledpaths).

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Pulau Semakau Landfill Tour: Nature Exploration, Bird Watching, Educational Tour

Ben Nature Trekker

Pulau Semakau landfill tour

[2 pictures above courtesy of Nature Trekker]

Thanks to an invitation from Ben from Nature Trekker, I got to visit Pulau Semakau yesterday for a half-day Nature Exploration and Educational Tour, before the island is closed to visitors for the rest of the year!

On the mainland, we often hear about the 3Rs, the importance of recycling, and how much food waste and domestic waste we are generating. But nothing really ‘hits home’ like visiting the Semakau Landfill and realizing how serious the situation is – our offshore landfill is projected to be completely filled by 2035! Are we going to have to ‘convert’ more islands into our landfill sites before we stop asking for “double layers” of plastic bags at the supermarket, instead of bringing our own recyclable totes, for instance?

Recycling bags and bins are provided in public housing and landed property estates, for collection by NEA-appointed Public Waste Collectors. It’s time we take this seriously. Those bags should not be used for anything other than their intended purpose – not as improvised raincoats for young children, nor makeshift picnic mats for our domestic helpers!

*Incinerating rubbish can reduce the total volume of waste by 90%. Even then, our landfill will be completely filled soon! How much waste are we actually producing?!

A Quick History Of Pulau Semakau

By the late 1980s, it was evident that Singapore’s only landfill at Lorong Halus was unable to cope with the increasing volume of solid waste. Thus, the new offshore landfill – Semakau Landfill – was created. Also, the Tuas Marine Transfer Station was built to transfer the waste from the mainland to the Semakau Landfill.

The Semakau Landfill is made up of two islands - Pulau Semakau and Pulau Sakeng – approximately 8km away from Pasir Panjang Ferry Terminal. (Pulau Bukom is nearby, and it houses the Shell Eastern Petroleum refinery)

Pulau Sakeng was inhabited by a small Malay fishing community of about 40 families, who were resettled to the mainland in the early 1990s to make way for the development of the Semakau Landfill. Pulau Semakau has been uninhabited since the 80s. Its name is derived from the Malay word ‘Bakau’, which means mangrove, and a prefix “Sri” was added. This eventually evolved to become ‘Semakau’.

Semakau Landfill is Singapore’s only landfill for waste disposal with a  total area of 350 hectares.

More Than Just A Landfill

The Semakau Landfill was officially opened for recreational activities on 16 July 2005. People visit the Semakau Landfill for inter-tidal walks, bird-watching, sport fishing, star-gazing, etc. *The Semakau Landfill is ranked as one of the best stargazing locations in Singapore and the only place in the country where the Milky Way is visible from the ground.

Besides the mangrove swamps, spots for trekking and nature discovery, I love the wide roads, and great, open space!

Pulau Semakau

Bird-watching and Avian Life Photography

Depending on when you visit, you can view different migrant birds. Watch the Reef Egret, Grey Heron, or the Brahminy Kites display their hunting skills!

Bring your binoculars or really good camera lenses!

A speck of brilliant blue amid the greys and greens:

Pulau Semakau bird watching

My Canon 600D is definitely not suited for nature photography. Those with long telephoto lenses will be able to capture the birds in all their splendor.

Another participant:

long lenses

I was very amused by the sight of a bird on barbed wire:

barbed wire

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colors

Things To Bring For The Tour:

Binoculars, Camera with long telephoto lenses (200mm and above), a Water Bottle (there is a water dispenser at the Visitor Centre), Raincoat, Mosquito repellent (very important as there are numerous mosquitoes!)

Wear long pants and a tee or a top with sleeves(!), and covered shoes. Black, grey, brown, green are the most suitable colors. *I also brought along my lightweight jacket which turned out to be really useful, as it was rather cold in the briefing room AND the jacket also helped prevent the mosquitoes from biting me later on! :D

For more information on nature tours at Pulau Semakau, visit http://www.naturetrekker.org.

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Food For Thought:

1) There used to be ’5Rs’ in the past, 2 more than the usual 3Rs we keep hearing about. The other 2 are Repair and Refuse to waste. ;)

2) Is Singapore clean or cleaned?

3) In open-air dumping, plastic bags can take over 100 years to decompose. At Cameron Highlands, what you think is mist is actually methane gas!

Additional Information:

*Pulau Jong, the broccoli-shaped island nearby, is a popular dive site, where the waters are reputed to be crystal clear.

*Pulau Sudong, Pulau Pawai and Pulau Senang are islands on which live firing is conducted. Approach at your own risk! ;)

Aura Reading: Mind-boggling Yet Somewhat Accurate

Had lunch today with my pals, Samy and Jimmy, at Fu Lu Shou Complex. When Samy had to return to his workplace, Jimmy brought me to Kang Li Mineral Kingdom within the same building for an aura reading. I know very little about things like chakras and auras, and since my pal wanted to sponsor my “education”, I sat down, placed my palms on steel plates (?) and later received an aura photo and its accompanying report. It cost S$10. You can pay an additional S$8 if you want someone to explain the report to you.

Aura Reading

Aura Photo & Report

Some quotes from the report + my take on them:

“You have serious goals and ideals and have natural compassion towards all of humanity yet you wish to enjoy yourself while you work… You’re fun to be around and you inspire others with your happy, hopeful attitude.”

It’s hard to disagree with such a statement unless I am being really honest. Actually, I don’t think I have “natural compassion towards all of humanity”. No one’s ever called me Mother Theresa, and I find it extremely difficult to have compassion for animal abusers, rapists, serial killers, you get the drift. And if I may add, smokers, too.

But yes, I do think work should be fun since most of us spend a huge part of our lives at work. If it’s not fun, then it’s terrible.

“You may wish to express yourself artistically or spiritually and have the ability to articulate your deepest feelings.”

I do sometimes think about painting stuff. It’s a crazy, natural inclination I cannot explain. When I’m feeling really emotional, I feel like grabbing a paintbrush and painting something. But alas, I am not naturally gifted at drawing or painting, so I usually just give up that thought. :D

“Although you take your responsibilities very seriously, you still want to enjoy yourself and have fun in your life. Your optimism is contagious. You are a charming, humorous individual with a powerful and commanding presence.”

Heh. It’s hard to say “no” to the above. I do like things that are fun and people who are funny. Sometimes, I do *ahem* make fun of people so I have to stop myself from going too far. I just find certain people incredibly funny – much as I know it’s rude to laugh at people, I can’t help it sometimes. I guess I just hang out with people who know I’m not being malicious or anything, and that I just find them hilarious. :D

“You easily inspire others with your optimism and excitement with new ideas. You have a quick, curious mind always happy and hungry for new learning. You are happy to be just who you are, and you feel the confidence to accomplish anything you want.”

That’s quite right! I love learning new things. And I do believe I can achieve the goals I set for myself. (If not, what’s the point of setting goals in the first place?)

“There is not a competitive bone in your body and you run your professional life according to your spiritual ideals.” 

I absolutely cannot agree with this statement because I really am highly competitive. Whether it is an argument, or a race, I want to win it. So this is probably the only statement in the 8-page report that I really disagree with.

What to do with such a report?

During lunch, I received a text message from a friend who had visited a fortune teller and was a little upset because she was told that this year would not be a good year for her – that she should look for a job instead of running a business, and that her chances of getting pregnant are low.

My advice to her was to listen only to the good things and ignore the bad stuff.

You have to first believe in something before it can happen. So if you disagree with what a fortune teller says (he could be a fake for all you know), then what he says won’t be relevant. Your business can still flourish and you can have as many kids as you’d like. The fortune teller had also avoided absolute statements like “You will not be able to have kids this year”. All he said was that “chances are low”. But there’s always the chance that you can show him your newborn before the year is up. ;)

Here’s my prediction for you, whether it be about your health or business or fertility: 2014 is going to be AWESOME!!! :D

If you’d like an Aura Photo:

Kang Li Mineral Kingdom Pte Ltd

149 Rochor Road #01-06/07/08/24/25

Fu Lu Shou Complex

(65) 63377732

*Note: Customer service is not a priority in this store. The staff were cold as crystals. Also, there’s no need to pay extra for an explanation of the report. It’s easy to understand. ;)