Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Notice : Lost Dog

Coded Messages

Comic from Sunday Times, Life Section, 6th December 2009 by Lee Chee Chew, creator of the comics strip CHEW ON IT.

I don't want to get into trouble for sprouting nonsense but I think most of you out there will know what I'm driving at here with this comic strip.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Let's make our WORLD the most beautiful HOME.

If you are living in Singapore, you couldn't have missed this song on the TV or the Radio...(and now on the internet).

When I first watched it, I was more interested in the old footages of Singapore and the lyrics and melody was rather forgettable.

It was the image of the lady at 0:14 who swept all the litters down her flat that was etched in my mind.

“Are we allowed to do that? That will save us a lot of time!” I told my better half.

“Hello! That is not the message of the campaign!” my wife said to me.

Anyway, since I kept hearing the song whilst driving around and during my jogging session, that song somehow got embedded into my mind.

So I finally went looking for that song this morning!
(Did someone put in something subliminal there?)

Singapore has indeed come a long way from the days where drains were perceived to be the designated garbage bin.

Admittedly, there are still room for improvements but if we remain committed to the Clean and Green campaign long enough, we will get to a “heaven- like” environment, just like what the song mentioned in 0:23.

A Today reader, Ronald Chan, was also delighted with this song and it prompted him to write a letter in the Today Online Forum section.

While he loves the rapid changes, he also questioned if all these changes were at the expense of something else.

Ronald said: “Change is perfectly fine. In fact, we should all be worried if Singapore hasn't changed since independence. But sometimes, I wonder if we are seeking change for the sake of change.”

Yeah, are we changing for the sake of changing?

I guess not everyone can agree on this because what is important to some of us may mean nothing to others.

Frankly, I don’t really care about the Talentime that he mentioned coz I prefer American Idol anytime as it is far more entertaining…. but my dad may disagree.

But for something like the current debate about the Singapore Wet Market, I hope that will continue to be RELEVANT for a few more generations to come.

The future generations can decide if the supermarket is a better option over the wet ones.

Meanwhile, just leave the good and efficiently run wet markets alone and revamp the substandard ones.

I cannot imagine a Tiong Bahru without the Tiong Bahru Market….but I think that might be a possibility in say 2059 AD...and it might be renamed Tiong Bahru Super Market.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It should not have happened here!

This morning, as I was driving back home after dropping my daughter off her school, I noticed an ambulance that stopped next to block 33 Lim Liak Street.
(By the way, seeing ambulances here in Tiong Bahru is nothing unusual as most elderly residents seemed to get to the hospital via one and so I thought nothing about it.)

This time around it seemed a bit different.

First, there was a small crowd and I was stopped by a medic so that they can push their equipments across Lim Liak Street.

As I drove past the crowd, I saw blood stains on someone who is seated on a kerb in between two vehicles!

“Hah?! Road accident along this stretch of road?” I thought to myself.

“Couldn’t be serious and the blood was probably from an abrasion”.

Anyway, I parked my car and walked back to “kay poh”(busybody).

The first thing that caught my eye was the circular shaped dent on the wind screen of the white car.

“Oh no! Head injuries! I hope that girl is alright!”

She is conscious and her head was bandaged, but with head injuries, you can never be too sure.

Let’s all pray for her and wish her a speedy and full recovery.

As I was walking back home, I was thinking to myself how did that kind of accident ever happened here.

Lim Liak Street is not an expressway and all drivers should exercise caution when they drive around this estate.

The following are some possible reasons why they (me included) should slow down:

1) Residents can dart across the road without looking.

2) Bicycles and motorbikes will ride in the wrong directions.

3) Sometimes, cars will move in the wrong direction as well.

4) Cars will stop suddenly without warnings.
     (This is very rampant along Seng Poh Road)

5) Car doors will swing open suddenly.

6) Car will also turn where they are not supposed to turn or emerge from places where you least expected (The junction along Seng Poh Road and Eng Watt Street is one such place)

7) Not every driver remembers their highway code and they drive in a very unpredictable way.

If everyone play their part, (PEDESTRIANS included), then such accidents should never ever happen.

Let’s go for ZERO accidents.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wet markets have been transformed, says hawker's son

The Straits Times
Online Forum Section
30th October 2009

MY PARENTS are hawkers in a wet market and I have seen how the markets have been transformed.

One good example is Tiong Bahru Market. Before the refurbishment, it was small and unpleasant. Now, it is clean, has modern shopping facilities and a wide variety of items.

Wet markets are also places where the elderly gather to share the latest news on their families. I remember vividly how old grannies would come up to my father and ask him to keep a lookout for their friends so they could sit down for a cup of tea in the cooked food section.

With flexible prices, wet markets are also ideal places for foreign workers to patronise.

An increasing number of young people can be observed shopping at the wet market as well. It is not only the increased cleanliness that draws people to shop there, but also the closeness and friendliness of the stallholders.

So if you have not been to a wet market, head down to Tiong Bahru Market this weekend. It is an ideal model for other wet markets to follow, and I hope it can change the misconceptions some Singaporeans have of wet markets.

Lee Yean Yang

Copyright © 2007 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved. Privacy Statement & Condition of Access

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A GOOD busker with a BIG heart!

I was having a very bad morning today.

Every single phone call that came in was an “invitation” to solve some problems.

And the most ridiculous one was from a home buyer whom my client and I were trying to help even though we were not obligated to.

And instead of words of appreciation, the buyer started spewing profanities about my sellers.

I had to hang up the phone as I do not want to be contaminated with her toxicity.

That particular buyer has problems controlling her rage and anxiety and everyone she knows, including all her family members, are always cast in a bad light by her.

After I hung up the phone, I noticed that it was going to rain and that’s when a SMS from resident Chan came in.

“Have you heard the guy who sings at the tb market? He is really good :) must write a feature for him in your blog”

As I have no idea who that singing guy was and what I was supposed to do…plus I was already having a bad day, I replied rather promptly:

“Can you be the guest blogger?”

Sensing that it might be seen as a form of “TAI CHI” (Pushing away responsibility), I quickly SMS back to check when the guy will be at Tiong Bahru market as I thought the singing thingy was a weekend activity.

(By the way, there are a few “buskers” here at the Tiong Bahru market during the weekends and I’m not impressed with most of them. “PASSION” seems to be lacking in their gig)

Another SMS from resident chan wetted my curiosity:

“Hahah. I am sitting here and he is serenading us to great jazz pieces:) its like I am seated at clarke quay.”

“Serenading!”, “Clarke Quay standard”! Mmm, I must go and check it out.

So even though it was pouring heavily, I took my DSLR and my umbrella and walked to the market.

I could hear the beautiful singing as I make my way up the escalator to the second storey.

Many people where eating away happily while this guy was singing non-stop.

It was a beautiful atmosphere this afternoon and the cool weather complimented it very well.

And instinctively I took out my DSLR to snap a picture and that was when I realised that I had forgotten to put in the SD card!

This is very embarrassing!

I think everyone seated around there will notice an odd ball taking pictures with a BIG camera and thus I became very self conscious.

So when I realised it is not gonna capture any images at all, I had to carry on the act of taking pictures and walked away as soon as I could.

Eventually, I walked back there to drop a $2 into his box and whipped out my phone to snap the above picture.

I don’t think that guy knew that I dropped a note in but it doesn’t matter.

What matters was I managed to find out his name on his busker card and this guy’s name is Daniel Ng.

So I came back and googled up on this guy and IF this is the same Daniel Ng, this busker has a BIG heart!

In 2003, this guy used his singing talent to raise funds for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.

With what little he has earned, he gave them away generously.

Just imagine how many hours he has to sing himself hoarse just to make enough for his daily expenses.

And instead of hoarding the money for himself, he gave some of it away!

Wow, this guy is SELFLESS and he could be our every day hero.

So the next time you see Daniel Ng at the Tiong Bahru Market or anywhere else, show him your BIG token of appreciation.

Resident Chan, thanks for that SMS today!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Old Newspaper Articles

This picture was lifted from We CONserve You CONserve, to see the enlarged article, please go to the original website to click on the picture.

While working on her dissertation on SIT flats, L!an stumbled upon some interesting old newspaper articles.

Click on this link to get to the blog : We CONserve You CONserve, of SIT Flats

She also found some interesting article about those demolished Art Deco building that were found in Chinatown. (Read Article : of SIT Flats in Chinatown)

Well Done!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


To read the content, click on the image to enlarge

Yesterday, HDB put up notices around the POST WAR side of Tiong Bahru to warn the residents here of some unscrupulous salespeople from Power Sense Enterprise.

About a fortnight ago, some of the salespeople from that company came around knocking on the doors of residents and duped them into thinking that HDB requires them to replace the pipes that are in their homes.

Since the sales pitch was done in the day, it was not surprising that most victims were the elderly or ignorant.

And I suspect their modus operandi was to look out for old and unrenovated units and zoom in on them.

These type of OLD units are frequently targetted by the door to door salespeople whilst the renovated ones were often left alone.

One of my neighbours parted with $700 to replace the pipes and she was told that the deposit was $300 and the rest could be paid on a 4 part instalments of $100.

The reason why she readily allowed them into her flat was because these salespeople actually wore clothing that resembled a uniform and they had name tags to make themselves look more “official”

Since the repainting and redecoration exercise is still on-going here, it was believable to her.

And these people even had the audacity to claim that they represented the HDB!

Anyway, this is not the 1st time Power Sense Enterprise had used this tactic. (See link: Complaints)

Over the last few days, these people could be seen going around to “replace” those pipes.

I suspect these people are just innocent third party contractors who did not know how the order was secured by the rogue salespeople. (Hence I dicided not to put up frontal pictures of them)

But based on their frequent presence here and their pick up truck, I think the sales guy is probably Power Sense Enterprise’s top salesperson of the month.

I’ve only got one word for that sales guy who preyed on the elderly and ignorant:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mistaken Identity

Comic from Sunday Times, Life Section, 18 October 2009 by
Lee Chee Chew, creator of the comics strip CHEW ON IT.

Reading this comic reminds me of another type of mistaken identity that happens most of the time around the Post War Tiong Bahru side.

If you like to take walks around the Post War side of Tiong Bahru Estate after sunset, you would not have missed all the “squeaks” and small little mouse-like creatures scurrying around.

Many people, including the residents here, have mistaken these furry little animals for a mouse.(Hence the perception that this place is infested with rats.)

Actually, these small mouse-like creatures are not even classified as a rodent and they are not even closely related to a rodent. (I will skip most of the technical bit and zoom in on the main points coz from afar, both looked the same to me)

The most noticeable difference between a rat and a shrew is their pointed muzzles and small eyes.

These mouse-like creatures that is common here in Tiong Bahru is actually a brown musk shrew or a house shrew as they are commonly called.

Pictures taken from Ecology Asia
Shrews could be found all over the world except in New Guinea, Australia, and New Zealand

Since shrews are Insectivore, they do have an important role to play in the Tiong Bahru ecosystem.

They help to keep the cockroach and insect population in checks.

These shrews could be seen moving around quite openly in the evenings and I have accidentally stepped on them on several occasions.

The reason why they seemed so oblivious to human presence could be because they have very small eyes and they cannot see very well.

I’m not sure if the species found here moves around by echolocation but with their frequent squeaks while moving around, I cannot help but feel that they do.

Anyway, for those who has musophobia, this information will probably do nothing to help you.....just like probably nothing will help me overcome my fear for cockroaches!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Plagued by season parking problem in Tiong Bahru

Oct 15, 2009
The Straits Times
Online Forum Section


Plagued by season parking problem in Tiong Bahru

I LIVE in the popular area of Tiong Bahru and when it comes to dinner time, supper time, eve of public holidays or weekends, it is virtually impossible to find a parking lot.
 Often, we have to wait 30 minutes or more before we get to park in the vicinity of our home.

We have a season parking ticket and HDB has a scheme that allows only season parking ticket holders to park in stipulated lots. So if you have a ticket for area TE23, you are not allowed to park in area TE27, which may be just a block away from your place.

On Oct 9, we waited for 45 minutes and ended up parking in a corner of the parking area because there were no lots in our allocated area. We were issued with a parking ticket, even though the car did not pose any disturbance or hindrance to traffic.

HDB told us it was unable to waive the fine.

If we are allocated a season parking ticket, but there are insufficient lots provided, shouldn't HDB review the system and solve the problem rather than have residents pay unnecessary fines?

Shouldn't an exception be made for residents to park at available lots in other stipulated areas knowing that there are not enough lots for residents.

It is extremely frustrating because time and time again the same problem arises.

Jacqueline Tan (Ms)

Copyright © 2007 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved. Privacy Statement & Condition of Access

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Niche accommodation in Tiong Bahru

Written by Cecilia Chow
City and Country editor at The Edge Singapore
Monday, 22 June 2009

The Tiong Bahru estate in Singapore is morphing into an attractive boutique hotel enclave with the entry of a new kid on the block, the upscale 50-room Hotel Nostalgia located at the corner of Tiong Bahru Road and Seng Poh Road. It is scheduled to open at end-July.

Meanwhile, Wangz Hotel, still under construction at the other end of Tiong Bahru Road at the junction of Outram Road, will bring the total number of boutique hotels along Tiong Bahru Road to three. The other is the 288-room Link Hotel, which opened in 2007.

One of the oldest housing estates in Singapore, Tiong Bahru has a charm of its own, with architecture that’s an eclectic blend of art deco and the old Straits Settlement shophouse design. The estate was modelled after the old English towns at that time, hence blocks are low-rise and far from each other. In those days, it was the choice neighbourhood for the upper class, and hence, was considered “Singapore’s Hollywood”, says John White, managing director of private equity group Lion Properties, which owns the 50-room Hotel Nostalgia.

Lion Properties had purchased two shophouses at the corner of Tiong Bahru and Seng Poh Roads, and an empty lot behind the two, in August 2007. It paid S$11.4 million for the site, according to the URA Realis database of caveats lodged, and received approval for the amalgamation of the sites and for conversion to hotel use. While the two shophouses are being conserved and refurbished, a new annex is being built on the empty lot. According to White, the total investment, including acquisition of the freehold land, amounts to some S$20 million.

The 5-room Hotel Nostagia, seen in progress above and as an artist inpression on the July

Tiong Bahru also had a reputation as the place where rich and powerful men kept their mistresses, hence the moniker “Mei Ren Wo” or “den of beauties”. Hotel Nostalgia will be bringing back some of Tiong Bahru’s colourful and rich history, with rooms featuring two themes, says White: the “lush theme”, which reflects the romantic history of the area, and the “colonial theme”, which is a flashback of the old English designs. “So it’s quite unique in that aspect, and hence the name, Nostalgia.”

Affordable prices, good service
“New boutique hotels like Nostalgia will make the Tiong Bahru area a more prominent hub outside the traditional luxury hotel clusters like the Marina Centre area and the Orchard Road belt,” says property consulting firm Cushman & Wakefield’s regional managing director, Donald Han. While tourists and even corporate travellers may be reining in their spending and looking at more affordable alternatives to luxury five-star hotels in the face of the global economic slump, many do not want to compromise on the level of service. “Hence, such boutique hotels provide an alternative to the luxury hotel chains,” adds Han.

Link Hotel, owned by Macau-based Hang Huo Enterprise, is a refurbishment and conversion into hotel use of two of the oldest blocks of flats built by the Singapore Improvement Trust, a government body administered by the British colonial authority and the predecessor to the Housing Development Board, back in the early 1930s.

While Link Hotel’s target audience is mainly tour groups from China, Hotel Nostalgia’s luxury boutique offering is likely to appeal to the higher-end independent travellers from Europe, North America and Australasia — “people who’re looking for a Singapore experience”, says White.

Hotel Nostalgia is positioned as an “affordable luxury boutique hotel but characterised by a high level of personal service”. Room rates will range from S$180 to S$220 per night. The rooms will also be boutique-size, ranging from 180 to 190 sq ft, with some going up to 280 sq ft, says White.

As Singapore matures as a global destination, “it is starting to provide greater choices of accommodation for travellers”, he adds. Examples of the new, upscale boutique hotels currently in operation, and considered the first movers in this segment, include The Scarlett Hotel on Erskine Road, The Majestic in Bukit Pasoh and Naumi on Seah Street.

White argues that there’s room for more players and also greater diversification. As such, Lion Properties Group chose Tiong Bahru, a site that’s not on Orchard Road or in the CBD, but close to both. “It’s basically heartland Singapore,” says White, “and it gives people the opportunity to experience the way Singaporeans live in an estate such as Tiong Bahru.”

Strong property players
The group is currently recruiting staff and preparing for the opening of the hotel. “We’re quite comfortable operating it ourselves,” says White, citing the group’s experience in accommodation management as some of the investors are said to have managed boutique hotels in Auckland and a chain of serviced apartments across New Zealand.

White: Hotel Nostalgia's luxury boutique offering is likely to appeal to the higher-end independent travellers from Europe, North America and Australasia - people who're looking for a Singapore experience

Lion Properties Group, formed in mid-2007, is made up of 10 individual investors — six from Singapore and four from New Zealand, says White. Some of the prominent individual investors from Singapore include Lee Kim Bock, former managing director of Omni Plastics, and Koh Boon Hwee, chairman of DBS Group Holdings and DBS Bank. New Zealander private investors include Kevin Podmore and Aeneas “Mike” O’Sullivan, major shareholders of property-based funds management group St Laurence Ltd.

White, who also hails from New Zealand, is not just the managing director, but also an investor in Lion Properties. Formerly founder and CEO of global health and safety software company INTAZ Ltd, White formed EdPlus NZ, which specialised in student accommodation. He relocated to Singapore in 2006, and his first venture was with a company called EdPac Asia, which specialised in “providing accommodation for students and other investment property for long-term hold”.

Lion Properties is a private equity fund that also operates like a boutique property developer, focusing on buying properties, adding value through asset enhancements and new development, and then selling them. “We’re only looking at Singapore property at this stage,” says White. “We believe Singapore has a very strong future as it moves towards being a global city.”

Apart from Hotel Nostalgia, Lion Properties also owns a freehold, 11,400 sq ft industrial land parcel in Arumugam Road, which it acquired in August 2007 for S$6.6 million. “We were going to develop it, [but] it’s on hold and is being land banked at the moment because the market is such that it’s not time to do an [industrial] development,” says White. “The industrial market tends to lag behind the general commercial sector, so we just need to get our timing right.”

Conservation clamour
Riding the property upturn in late 2006 to 2007, the group of individual investors in Lion Properties, “who are a group of friends”, had also bought and sold several conservation properties, which included shophouses along Beach Road as well as Murray Terrace, says White.

According to the caveats lodged with URA Realis, Murray Terrace changed hands three times in under a year. The Lion Properties investors bought it for S$17.5 million in November 2006. They then received “an offer we couldn’t refuse”, according to White, and sold it seven months later to another investment group for S$31 million. They in turn flipped it three months later to Boston-headquartered US real estate fund AEW for S$50.1 million. Cushman & Wakefield is said to have handled all three transactions. AEW has since refurbished the conservation property into a 4-storey office building and leased the space.

Conservation properties are difficult to find, admits White. “You have to be always on the lookout, and do your analysis carefully to make sure you’re in the right location, that you can add value and increase your yield and tenant mix.”

In the last two months, White has received strong interest from several parties for Hotel Nostalgia, with some looking at purchasing the property as an investment while others are looking to operate it themselves. “We have a couple of interested parties who’ve approached us,” he admits. “They tend to be individuals or families who’re interested in investing in Singapore.”

With Lion Properties having invested effort in the design, building and quality of the hotel-room finishings, the hotel valuation “should be north of S$25 million”, estimates Cushman & Wakefield’s Han. “Generally, there are plenty of buyers for properties that are less than S$50 million in quantum size.”

Interest in future prospects
According to him, there has been a lot of interest in hotel properties from potential buyers, particularly “family money” from Indonesia, Hong Kong, China and Malaysia. Han also sees interest from groups such as KOP Capital, the Singapore-based luxury developer that acquired a 50% stake in Spain-based small luxury hotel operator Stein Group for US$250 million (RM882.6 million) last August. At the time of the announcement, the partners said they were looking for opportunities in Asia, specifically in Singapore, China, Indonesia and Thailand.

Han says there has been a lot of interest in hotel properties from potential buyers, particularly 'family money' from Indonesia,Hong Kong,China and Malaysia.

“While the hotel and tourism sector may be a little murky in the short-term, these investors are capitalising on the medium- and long-term prospects, particularly the spin-offs that are likely to happen with the opening of the two integrated resorts,” says Han.

International hotel groups are also said to be interested in entering the boutique hotel segment, observes Han. “Some of these international hotel groups are also looking at rolling out more of their hotel brands in the budget range, given the change in the market.” For instance, Starwood Hotels & Resorts is considering bringing its Aloft brand to Singapore; Accor Group, which will have two Ibis hotels in Singapore, could potentially bring in its other budget hotel line, Formula 1; and there’s also InterContinental Hotel Group, which may bring in its Holiday Inn Express brand, he adds.

For now, Lion Properties is focused on getting the hotel up and running. “We have appointed a manager and we’re now recruiting staff for the operation,” says White. “We will start with the level of staff based on the opening occupancy, and take on additional staff as the occupancy grows. It’s pretty important these days to manage costs and overhead.”

White believes the integrated resorts will lead to an increase in the number of nights’ stay by visitors to Singapore, and “that’s obviously going to be good for us, with the number of hotel rooms coming on”. A savvy property investor, he’s philosophical about the market. “It’s very tough out there at the moment. But you have to believe that property and the hotel market goes in cycles, and while there is a major global recession at the moment, we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 760, June 22 - 28, 2009.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Becoming a more Elderly Friendly Estate

This blog entry was triggered off by Resident Yap when he mentioned to me that he would like to make a portable ramp at the edge of the block to make it easier for him to push his mum's wheelchair onto the walkways.

The corridor ends of the Tiong Bahru SIT flats have always like what the picture shows, a drop at the end.

Most of us would probably not think twice about the inconveniences the physically challenged face each day.

In fact, when the I saw the town council men putting up a ramp at Block 27 Lim Liak Street, I was even wondering to myself if there is a need for this.

My conversation with Resident Yap opened up my mind and I realised that though such ramps are probably a non-event for most residents here, it may be something that some amongst us are earnestly looking forward to.

And I'm glad the Tanjong Pagar Town Council is proactive in such matters.

I called them up just to be doubly sure that they will be putting up the ramps for all the blocks here and they confirmed it.

They will be putting up the ramps at all corridor ends here at the Post War side. (Sorry, forgot to ask them about the timeline)

One benefit I can think of for myself is that my kids can now cycle right up to the stairs and I do not need to walk back and forth to pick up their little bikes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

somebody gonna get a hurt real bad

I saw this lazy brilliant guy loading up stuff into his brand new Honda Freed this afternoon.

Someday, I could see myself swerving my "off-roader" wannabe car on these pedestrian walkways while my kids ride their 2 wheelers alongside me.

But Nah....this is not my grandfather's road.

And no matter how inconvenient it is or it has to be, I will still keep my car on the road when I load or unload stuff unto my car.

Doing otherwise and "somebody gonna get a hurt real bad"

By the way, this driver did a 3 point turn and drove out into Lim Liak Street.

And a town council guy who happened to be walking over from block 35 to block 37 looked very puzzled when the vehicle drove past him. 

See my previous post : Rogue Van

Monday, October 5, 2009

Done in 60 Seconds

This was a familiar sight last week.

All the bicycles that were illegally chained to whatever poles that exist within the Pre-War side of the Tiong Bahru estate were pasted with a notice.

Basically, the bicycles’ owners were asked to move their bikes indoors or park them at the designated bicycle areas.

Otherwise their bikes will be removed on 5th October 2009 by the Tanjong Pagar Town Council.

I was planning to blog about it last week but I kept procrastinating until today when I saw the “bicycle removal team” in the thick of the action along Yong Siak Street at about 2pm today.

And this is their weapon of choice, a heavy duty chain cutter.

And yes, it could be done within 60 seconds.

The white bike with a basket looks like a good bike.

Anyway, according to Mr Poritosh (The taller guy), the town council can actually give you a bike if you request for it.

They just need to verify your identity and you can have an “orphaned” bike for free.

I was thinking maybe they should just sell it off and donate the money collected to some charities instead of just giving them away.

Most people do not treasure free stuff and those "orphaned" bikes might just end up at some poles within the Tiong Bahru Estate again right?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Close @ Tiong Bahru

I found this while surfing the web. I wonder why Kelvin did not post it in his blog.

Anyway, to get to the page, just click on the picture. Have fun reading it!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Birthday celebration at Eng Hoon Street 2009

I was reminded of a question that was asked by Chilipadi when I saw a lot of huge flags that line the road along Tiong Bahru Road and Eng Hoon Street.

As I was early for an appointment, I walked into the Monkey God temple at Eng Hoon Street to ask them if they have any up and coming activities.

I was asked to read about it on the notice that was pasted on the pillars on the temple.

"Eerrr, uncle, 请您告诉我这里什么时候有庆祝节目?"

(I'm bilingual but mono-literate and so I had to struggle real hard with the content of the notice)


"Eeer, uncle, ANG MO 是什么?"


"Ok, 谢谢"

I think I managed to grasp the essence of what he said to me and what the notice was about. Anyway, GOOGLE is still the laziest way to find out any information and this is what I found out :

Birthday of the Monkey God
This event, observed on the 16th day of the 8th lunar month, honours the beloved Monkey God and is celebrated in several Chinese temples in Singapore. Priests enter trances to channel the spirit of the Monkey God, making them behave like monkeys. To signify the Monkey Gods bravery, they skewer themselves through the cheek and tongue, or slash their arms and legs. A grand procession through the streets leads to the Monkey God Temple. An empty sedan chair is carried by devotees and the entranced, pierced priests file behind with spears and skewers. Chinese opera and puppet plays are often performed in the temple courtyard.

So with the information I had from the temple custodians, verified through GOOGLE, I think you can safely bring your DSLR down to Eng Hoon Street this Sunday at about 4pm.

I was told the procession through Tiong Poh Road, Guan Chuan Street, Seng Poh Road and Eng Hoon Street will take place at 5pm.

And this time around, it will take place on a weekend and hopefully many Tiong Bahru residents will catch a glimpse of the procession.

Past related post on the monkey god event :

The monkey god birthday procession

Wayang at Tiong Bahru Monkey God Temple

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mid-Autumn Festival Party

click on the image to enlarge it

Jot this event down in your PDA, smartphone, notebook or paste a note on your refrigerator.

Relive your childhood and get some friends to go carry some lanterns during this day night.

I think the Tiong Bahru Satay Man might be there as well.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Getai at Kim Pong Road

The Hungry Ghost Festival is soon coming to an end and the annual Dinner and Getai along Kim Pong Road took place tonight.

Some were passing by and stopped to watch while some even brought along their own beer and sat on the grass sipping their ice cold beer while they were entertained.

No respectable GETAI is complete without the laser and smoke!

Even the ice cream man was around.

While some were enjoying the performance, there was the usual sit down Chinese dinner and bidding exercise that was taking place over at the badminton court in between block 49 and 39 Kim Pong Road.

And the kitchen crew were furiously preparing food to keep the guest happy.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tiong Bahru draws the inn crowd

The Straits Times
Sep 6, 2009
By Lisabel Ting

More hotels open in residential enclave, a draw with its rich heritage and location

The wallpaper is French, the bedsheets are Egyptian cotton, and the toiletries in the bathroom are Chopard.

But peer through the louvred shutters of the luxurious Nostalgia Hotel, and the view is undoubtedly Singaporean.

Located at 77 Tiong Bahru Road, the 50-roomer is the latest boutique hotel to call the sleepy, historical residential enclave home.

Singapore-based Lion Properties Group spent $20 million to build the mid-tier hotel, housed in two conserved shophouses and a four-storey extension built on a plot of land that once housed a Chinese temple and shops which sold songbirds.

Like others in its midst, such as Link Hotel, Hotel Re! and upcoming Wangz Hotel, location was the clincher.

'It's practically five minutes from Orchard, five minutes from Chinatown, and yet near the heartlands,' said Mr John White, the group's managing director.

Although Lion Properties has invested in industrial and commercial properties in Paya Lebar and Chinatown, this is its first hotel venture.

Opened last month, the boutique hotel will charge between $300 and $600 a night for a superior and balcony room respectively, although opening promotional rates are $190 to $480.

The rich heritage of the area has also been incorporated into the decor of the hotel.

Guests who enter the lobby are greeted by a display of traditional items, including an old radio and green-and-white coffeeshop cups.

Hotels in the area are not worried about the newcomer.

'We have a different concept and theme, and we're catering to a different price range,' said Ms Ariel Tan, marketing manager of Link Hotel, across the road from Nostalgia.

The 150-room hotel opened in 2007, and targets mainly tourists from China.

The rates for superior and deluxe rooms are $280 and $380 a night respectively.

Hotel Re!, a retro-themed hotel in Chin Swee Road, is also certain that there is enough business to go around.

'Boutique hotels are still a new trend in Asia and are only more established in markets such as Hong Kong and Thailand,' said Ms Jessica Loo, its marketing manager.

The hotel, which opened last year, has 140 rooms costing between $320 and $750 a night.

'Also, boutique hotels are all very different, and we each have our own niche area.'

Residents of Tiong Bahru are similarly unfazed by the mushrooming of such inns in their backyard, with another, Wangz Hotel, under construction in Tiong Bahru Road.

Although there was a furore over the opening of Hotel 81 in the estate earlier this year, residents The Sunday Times spoke to said boutique hotels are different from budget types which charge hourly rates.

'Maybe the guests constantly passing though the hotels will make our area more vibrant,' said housewife S.H. Chia, 42, who has been living in Tiong Bahru for more than 10 years.

While upcoming hotels may lead to more hustle and bustle, analysts said they are unlikely to affect the prices of properties in the vicinity.

'What they are likely to affect is the demography of the area, and F&B outlets.

If that's the case, then the value of properties surrounding the F&B outlets may rise,' said Mr Ho Eng Joo, executive director of investment sales, Colliers International.

For Mr White, the local food and beverage outlets are part of what makes Tiong Bahru an attractive experience for tourists.

'Although there's a restaurant in the hotel, we'll encourage our guests to go to the nearby Tiong Bahru market to eat, and we'll even recommend them what's good,' he said.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

2009 National Day Speech (2nd Half)

Listen in to part of PM Lee's 2009 National Day speech.

He gave a interesting lecture on the THEN and NOW of Singapore.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How did we survive before the flush was invented?

There was an article in Today's paper that talks about those old Kampong Toilets.

The writer went on the describe how thankful she is for the modern toilets the HDB has put into every home.

Actually, it was the SIT who led the way when they installed modern toilets into Singapore's 1st public housing estate at Tiong Bahru.

It was probably a "
Heineken" moment when people saw those modern toilets.

And yes, I still think it was a
BIG DEAL back then.

Here's the article which I have reproduced here for everyone's benefit :

Aug 04, 2009
Elisabeth Lee
My Life: Then & Now photo contest entry. Submitted by Karen Young

Thank god for modern loos

TO LEAF through the submissions to Today's My Life: Then & Now photo contest is to take a stroll down Singapore's memory lane.

Some photos are a game of spot-the-difference.

Queenstown Bowl hasn't changed much, except for the fact that it isn't open for a game of 10-pin anymore.

But the library is still next door, and the popiah auntie still churns out her famous tissue-paper-thin skins - you just have to go down the road to Margaret Drive to find her.

Others are a stark reminder of what, and who, we've lost.

My great-granddad was buried at Bidadari Cemetery.

That multi-religious cemetery isn't there anymore, having been closed in 2001 to make way for a North-East line MRT station, and neither is my great-granddad.

But sifting through the pile of entries our readers submitted for the contest, this photo of a kampung toilet stood out.

Looking at it triggered neither fond nostalgia nor the ache of a keenly-felt loss, but a sense of sheer relief.

It made me want to fall on my knees and thank the good HDB for the indoor plumbing in my three-room flat.

Singapore has come a long way in 50 years of self-rule, and nothing has come further than the state of our loos.

Imagine waking up in the middle of a moonless night with a sudden urge to drop the kids off at the pool, so to speak, groping your way outside, fumbling for a kerosene lamp and a bunch of newspaper (yep, no four-ply Downy supersoft then, either), and then squatting.

Think of the horrors lurking in the shadows.

Notice the massive gap between wall and roof - this loo was definitely not python-proof.

It could have been worse, I guess, but not much.

Now, we've got indoor plumbing, electricity and our bathrooms are sometimes even en suite.

Imagine that. Yes, we still have our problems.

Sometimes you have to squat, and sometimes there's no soap in the dispenser - but at least we're indoors and well-lit.

So, if you're nosing around the display, sniffling a little and feeling a little sad or a little wistful, and Barbra Streisand is crooning The Way We Were in your head, take a look at the outhouse.

You can thank me later.

The writer, a Today sub-editor, is 30 years old.

The 50 best entries from the contest will be on display at Orchard Central from Aug 10 to 21.

Contest winners will be announced in a special National Day issue
of Today.

Take action against clutter at Tiong Bahru wet market

The Straits Times
Online Forum
Aug 4, 2009

I WOULD like to complain against the National Environment Agency's (NEA) management of the Tiong Bahru wet market.

From December last year till now, I've made at least half a dozen calls to the hotline to alert them that numerous stallholders are placing goods beyond the two-tile boundary.

Each time, the response was they would look into it, but nothing has changed.

Two months ago, I escorted two NEA officers around to show them the many stallholders who were placing goods beyond the third and sometimes fourth tile.

They are a threat to fire safety and hinder ease of movement for passers-by.

The NEA officers promised to take action, but nothing has happened so far.

When I called NEA again last month, the officer said that they had "issued notices" to stallholders advising them to comply with the rules.

Who is responsible for enforcing compliance?

I hope the NEA is not waiting for another fire to happen before taking steps.

Doris Cheng (Ms)