Thursday, April 28, 2016

Rochor Centre - Part of History Shared

Part of Singapore’s history and part of mine.

Rochor Centre used to be the place when I was young, following my mother to visit my Aunt staying somewhere nearby. We would take a bus from Woodlands and stop near Rochor Centre, change to a Rickshaw and continue on for about 15mins. Yes, back then Rickshaw rides were still a mode of transport rather than just a form of tourist attractions.

So when I heard that Rochor Centre is going to be demolished soon to make way for the construction of the North-South Expressway. I knew I have to bring my girls for a tour before it’s gone. Depositing a part of my history to my family.

Rochor Centre was built in 1977, with a total of 4 blocks. The first three floors consist of shophouses and offices, the fourth floor is the void deck and the residents stay from the fifth floor onwards. The top floor is level 17. With the decision from LTA and SLA, the residents will be relocated to Kallang Trivista, near Kallang MRT Station.

The uniqueness of Rochor Centre has to be the 4 different vibrant colors for each Block 1-4.

When we were there, we saw quite a number of photography enthusiastic roaming around taking photos either for personal or project use.

Saw this metal grill under one of the blocks and the ladies took up their poses like a pro.

Walking around the estate, you will find some old-fashioned paintings or murals at the void decks. Though old but very interesting.

Anyone knows which swimming pool is this?

And the this MRT replicate is simply amazing. So real!

I was treated to a very nice melancholic flute music by this resident.

I don’t think my mother ever took a photo at this iconic place before.

My proud photo of this beautiful place with my beautiful family.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Running for a Cause - NTUC Income RUN 350 & Unlabelled Run

Some runs are unnecessary, some are for a reason. Glad to run in 2 races in the past one week, run for a greener future (NTUC Income RUN 350) and for the ex-offenders (Unlabelled Run).

NTUC Income RUN 350

When I told a few friends that I was running the 350 Run, their natural response was “You mean the 360 Run, is it?”. I have to admit, when I first heard about the run, I did thought the organizer wrote wrongly too. 350 means nothing but 360 is like a full circle (more meaningful). That is when I realized how uninformed I was.

350 refers to the recommended parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere that scientists believe is de rigueur for the Earth’s sustainability as we know it. Today, this number is around 400ppm. We have hit a climate milestone, as this is the first time in 800,000 years that the level hits 400ppm.

NTUC Income RUN 350, organized by Young NTUC is in support of – an international campaign dedicated to building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis – the solutions that science and justice demands.

This is the first run that I have participated that provides busing services (for $6/pax) from various locations all around the island to bring us to the race venue. That’s nice.

Running from F1 Pit Building, means the scene will be fantastic.

With my running shifu, Ben Ang, before the race. I didn’t realized that we are both quite tanned.

Mandatory photo after a race, with our hard earned medal and banana.


Praise God, I managed to clock 62mins for the 10km run, my personal best since I started to run this year.


Unlabelled Run 2016

This run has been postponed once last year due to haze. Back then I was not into running yet, so I was not so keen to run in the race at all, plus paying to run has never been part of my belief. But when the race was rescheduled to this April and when brother Johnny from The New Charis Mission came to share about how this unlabelled run will be a means of showing our support to the ex-offenders, I was totally bought it.

The Unlabelled Run is organized by The New Charis Mission (TNCM), a non-profit organization that aims to raise awareness of their work informed by the values of Hope and Change. With a vision to bring new hope and opportunities to those in despair and neglect, TNCM seeks to enable the disenfranchised through targeted programmes, tools and refuge.

This run was also special because this is the first time I am joined by my CG members for a run. Can you see our excitement but also tired face? 630am at East Coast is not easy.

Another first is my old friend Jonathan (extreme left) who came and joined me after hearing I am participating in this race. He has not been running for almost 4-5 years and this is the first race. Then there is George (middle guy) who has not been running in a race for more than 20 years! And he sportingly signed up with me to run. Salute!
FYI, I am the youngest among the three, I’m 42 =)

Another photo right at the starting line.

We did it! Happy for Jon and George to complete the 5km race without any major problem.

All 8 runners for the day.

And the supporters aka wife & family.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Taipei Family Trip (Part 3)

Last part of this family trip we took last Sep, I’m going to introduce to you a few places we visited on a 1-day trip to Jiufen (九份) and Shifen (十分).

If you are looking to read about my past posts, here there are: Taipei Family Trip (Part 1) & Taipei Family Trip (Part 2).

On this road trip, we visited Yehliu Geopark (野柳地質公園)). It’s a suggested place enroute to Jiufen, but if you are not so keen on nature stuff like rocks and fossils, then you can safely skip this place.

Do note that the place will be unsheltered almost 90%, so bring along an umbrella or wear a cap.


What can you expect to see? Like I said, lots of rocks, but very unique geological formations including the famous iconic “Queen’s Head” (女王頭).

Due to long-tern weathering and erosion, the appearance of the Queen’s Head is gradually wearing down. In order to preserve the original shape and elegance of the iconic attraction, a fiberglass replica was produced for tourists’ appreciation.

Mushroom Rocks
This formation is characterized by its mushroom-like shapes, with relatively thin stems topped by larger rocks. The caps of the mushroom rocks are rich in calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and are therefore relatively more resistant to weathering than the necks. Through time, the necks becomes narrower and narrower because of differential erosion.

It does looks like a tooth too right?

Monocline Structure
There are several monocline (cuesta) structures in Yehliu forming a distinctive landscape.

Statue of Mr. Lin Tien-chen, as a reminder of his brave actions in March 1964, when Mr. Lin tried to help a student who visited Yehliu and was swept to sea by the waves. Unfortunately, both Mr. Lin and the student lost their lives.

Even if you do not wish to join the long queue of people for the photo taking chance (mainly for Queen’s Head), just walk around the landscape and capture the beautiful unique rock formations, created and designed by nature.

This sort of reminds me of those movies on some other planets.


Any direction you turn towards, the view is simply spectacular.

Drop by the small market just outside the park, and quench your thirst with some super nice freshly squeezed juices. Great place to hide from the scorching sun too.

From Yehliu, we continued on to Jiufen. Apparently Jiufen is situated on a mountain top, which was something new to me.

The main road in Jiufen.

The gem of Jiufen are the old streets (老街). You have to weave through the 老街 and find the true spirit of this place. Littered with small eating corners and shops all throughout the place, you will not go hungry at all here.

I’ll let the photos do the talking.


And of the course, the super famous, not-to-be-missed Juifen Fenyuan (九份粉圆).

Joey was pulled into this shop where an old man was practicing his magic tricks.

What about buying a pair of clogs? Model not for sale.

You can find quite a few of these cafes situated just over the mountain slope, providing some of the best views for coffee and a break.

With the shades all over the entire street, we were mercifully sheltered in the cool and shopping was just more fun.


The 5 ladies with me.

Me? Just give me a cup of bubble tea, I will be satisfied.

After Jiufen, another 40mins or so, we arrived at Shifen, the land of Kong Ming Lantern Tian Deng (天燈).

If you ask me, this is really so “tourisy”. But since we are indeed tourists, let’s just do it.



Can you see my mother’s slightly annoyed face becos of the heat? =p


And off it goes.


The train station at Shifen is still in use, so be careful when you are there, don’t let the kids run on the tracks without supervision.


Behind the tracks, hidden from the crowd is the Jingan Suspension Bridge (静安桥). Built in 1947 for coal transportation, not it is just part of the tourist attractions in Shifen.

Last but definitely not least, we stopped over at Keelung Miaokou Night Market (基隆廟口夜市).

Only Jayne was tiredly looking at me.

There is nothing much here, only food. The night market shopping cannot be compared to those in Taipei, so if you are too tired to visit, you will not miss much.

But this 油饭 is something worth the trip.

Coupled with the soup, our dinner was settled.

A slow stroll along the streets before we finally called it a day and return to rest.

Hope you enjoyed all the posts on my Family Trip to Taiwan.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Murals or Street Arts @ Tiong Bahru

Continuing on my little series on murals in Singapore. This time round I went to one of the most hip neighborhood, Tiong Bahru. The murals in this area are all around the Tiong Bahru Market, so you can based near the market, have a nice meal and continue to the rest of the murals.

Sadly, the famous giant rooster mural is no longer found in Tiong Bahru, for some reasons it has been removed. But fret not, with the old gone, new murals have sprang up recently, and here is a look at them.

These 3 separate goat murals can be found around the Tiong Bahru Market. With the first two found around the perimeter and the last one found inside the market, at the center staircase that leads up to the hawker centre.

And since you are around the market place, you will find some other murals at level 1. They are so huge you won’t miss it.

This piece of art is painted on each side of the middle staircase.


Just opposite the peacock mural, you will find this piece.

Time to move out from the market and explore some other murals in the vicinity.


If you have seen the murals in Everton Road, you will find the next 3 murals with similar touches. It is because there are painted by the same Mr Yip Yew Chong.

This mural reminds me so much of my dad, who used to love sitting under the void deck with his friends, drinking their kopi o, listening to the birds chirps, and talking about life.

If the Barber mural is my favorite in Everton Road, then this Home mural is my favorite in Tiong Bahru.

Pasar & the Fortune Teller
When I first came across this mural, it was just half done as you can see in the first picture, but one week later, the mural is almost done. Can’t wait to go back again and see the final completed art.

Goats – Tiong Bahru Market
Peacock – Tiong Bahru Market
Neighborhood – Tiong Bahru Market
Goldfish – Blk 28 Tiong Bahru Road
Birdcage – Blk 71 Seng Poh Road
Home – Blk 74 Tiong Poh Road
Pasar & the Fortune Teller – Blk 73 End Watt Street