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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Seasons Greetings

Best Wishes For My Friends!! ♥
Wishing All Bloggers and Viewers

A Happy New Year 2011

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas -Then, Then & Now

Children and the maids

It is interesting to know that time changes people as well as places. Lum Chun See's blog on 'then, then and now' is a good example and I took the cue from him. My family celebrated Christmas anually and I have many photos to show the growth of my grandson Guy at each season. He had his first Christmas with the family when he was about 6 months old. A Philippino maid was employed specially to look after him.

Picture 1 - The maid carried Guy in front of a Christmas tree. He was my only grand-child then. The Christmas tree was a little bare with few decorations. There was only one children's present at the foot of the tree (not shown) and it was for Guy. My other grand children was not born yet.

Picture 2 - Guy celebrating his third Christmas in 2001. He was two and a half years old and he wanted to pose for the photo alone with the Christmas tree. There was more decorations on the Christmas tree indicating that it had grown. More presents were displayed at the tree also meant that I had more than one grand children.

Picture 3 - Guy is now 11 years old. On Christmas day I got him and the maid to stand in front of the same Christmas tree to pose for a photo. Time has indeed changes people. Guy has grown tall. He is slightly shorter than the maid. The Christmas tree had more ornaments and more children's presents too. This season we had many new family members celebrating Christmas together. They were my niece, nephew and their spouses, plus their children.




Thursday, December 16, 2010

Halong Bay

I have not been back to Vietnman for more than ten years. There must be a lot of changes by now. Yg's post on Halong Bay last Sunday reminded me of my visit to the same place in 1987. I was there with a friend. We put up at Bachdang Hotel which was very close to the bay. Many private boats were at the harbour waiting for passengers. We chartered a boat which could accomodate 10 persons. We had the privacy of two persons. As the boats cruised down the lagoon passing many limestone islets, we had beer while viewing the beautiful sights. The boat package included one sea food lunch cooked on board the boat. We paid additional charge for our beer.

Bachdang Hotel

At the harbour

We chartered this boat

Lunch on board the boat

Going up to the cave

Inside the cave

Outside the cave

Hawker stalls

Outside our hotel on the way to the beach there were many hawker stalls selling souvenirs, food and drinks to the tourists. At the beach there were many beer stalls with beach chairs for the tourists to relax and enjoy the drinks. Beer per can was very cheap at S$0.85 cents each. That was more than 30 years ago.

Enjoying beer by the beach

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cao Dai

In 1994 when I was in Ho Chi Minh City, I heard of the Cao Dai Sect in Tay Ninh District, Vietnam. A friend took me there in his car. It was about one and a half hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City to Cao Dai village. I was told that all the villagers were members of the Coa Dai Sect. As the car moved into the village, I could see many Cao Dai temples on both sides of the road. They were very colourful with unique architecture. Some temples had single tower (picture 7) and others with twin towers (picture 8). Their main temple (picture 1) was the largest of all.

The Coa Dai Sect believed in all major religions such as Buddhism, Toaism, Christinity and Hinduism. The Sect also worshipped influential and powerful people in their life times like Confucius, William Shakespear, Victor Hugo, Joan of Arc, Sun Yat Sen, red face Kuan Kong, etc. Foreigners referred to Cao Dai Sect as One Eye God believers because under the ceiling of the main temple hung a globe with one big eye painted on it (picture 3).

We arrived early but other tourists were already there. We were not allowed at the prayer hall. An usher directed us upstairs to join the others to watch the prayer ceremony. At 12.00 noon sharp members of the sect walked orderly into the prayer hall. They put on colourful clothing in groups from white clothes novices to red clothes elders. We did not know what was going on as there was no guide or interpreter to explain to us. We watched for while and left after taking some pictures.

Picture 1 - outside main temple

Picture 2 - prayer hall with dragon pillars

Picture 3 - the One Eye Globe

Picture 4-6 members of the sect praying

Picture 7 - Single tower temple

Picture 8 - Twin tower temple

Friday, November 26, 2010

Same Place But Different Times

We moved to Marine Parade HDB estate in 1975. At that time there was no East Coast Park (ECP) expressway from Changi International Airport to the City. It was still under construction. Although many instant trees had been planted at East Coast Park I could still have a good view of the park and the sea from my apartment. The open ground was very popular with kite enthusiasts. They flew fanciful kites of different shapes and designs. Some flew their kites for shows and others used their kites to 'fight' in the air.

Quite often my family walked to the park to feed the fish in the pond. The water then was clear and we could see fishes swimming around. There were also tortoises. They were usually found together sunbathing on the rocks in the middle of the pond. Other activities thereat included insects hovering around flowering plants. Occasionally we saw birds chirping on nearby trees.

Today, thirty five years later the scene has changed. Nobody goes to the pond to watch or feed the fish. The water is now covered with green and yellow algae making it hard for the fish to breed. In fact, the pond now looks repulsive. Furthermore, the ground around the pond is wet and muddy. Hope the authority would do something about it.

Picture below shows a clear view of the Marine Terrace HDB flats as seen from East Coast Park pond. The picture right below it shows the opposite. The view of the HDB flats is obstructed by the trees and plants in the park.

Picture taken in late 1970

Same place but different time (Nov 2010)

Pictures taken in late 1970

Pictures taken recently

Now all the trees and plants at the park have matured. Only the tops of the HDB flats at Marine Parade are visible as seen from the park. The lower parts of the buildings are mostly blocked by the trees and plants. The view of the ECP expressway is completely obstructed.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fraser's Hill

In 1975 my wife applied for a Singapoore Government holiday bungalow at Fraser's Hill. Allocation of the bungalow was by a ballot. She was lucky and was allocated one unit called Singapore House. I took a slow drive with my family in the volgswagen, passing through the rural areas of Meleka and enjoying the rustic scenes of padi fields, bullock carts, running poultry, Malay kampongs as well as friendly kampong folks. At Port Dickson I stayed one night at Si-Rusa Inn. Behind the inn was the sea. At high tide the sea water was muddy and had many jelly fish. So, we did not swim. My four children was disapponted.

The next day I drove to the gap. Fraser's Hill town was about 800 m from the foot of the hill. The winding road to the top was about 8 km. The road then was opened on alternate hours (one hour for vehicles to go up and the next hour for vehicles to come down) each day. It took me about half an hour to reach to the top. I understand the road had been widen and it is a 2 way traffic now.

The bungalow was like a cottage in British country home. It had large bedrooms, a dining hall, a play area, a sitting room with a fire place and a kitchen. Our government had 3 such colonial bungalows for the civil servants. Each bungalow had a cook and a caretaker to look after the guests' needs. I paid the cook to prepare for all our meals as I was not familiar with the hill resort then.

In house activities were board games, table tennis and mahjong. We also explored the surrounding area. Fraser town had a clock tower and handful of food shops. We walked quite a distance to the waterfall. My children had horse riding. There was jungle trekking but I did not want to take chances with my children.

Si-Rusa Inn in the background

Si-Rusa Inn terraced chalets

The driveway at the gate was to the hill top.

Singapore House in the background

Keeping warm by the fireplace

A game of table tennis

Horse riding


At the waterfall

My four musketeers

My family

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Photo Albums

Photo abums by itself is a dry subject. But the contents inside the albums bring happy times to most people. They help them to reminiscence of the good old days such as their childhood, marriage, holidays, festivals and the list goes on. I have more than 50 big and small photo albums. Occasionally I browse through some of them to be nostalgic and feel sentimental.

Recently I did a spring cleaning of my storage area for photo albums, video tapes, 8mm films, compact discs and boxes of old and new photographs. I have so many photo albums of different types and sizes collected over more than half a century. I would have more if I did not stop collecting them. Since 2005 I have been converting my photos and video clips into digital and burned them into cds and dvds. It saved a lot of storage space.

In the 1950s a photos album required photo corners to be glued onto the pages of a photo album before photos could be mounted onto the pages. Photo corners came in one size but in many shapes. The common ones were the butterfly shape and the triangle shape. It was cumbersome to glue the photo corners and then placed the photo in position. The advantage was that small and big photos could be put together on the same page to create a design. To maximise the space I put all the same size photos together. In the 1960s came the pocket type slip-in photo album for small size photos only. Slipping in a photo was easy but to remove it was a bit difficult as there was not enough space for the fingers to take it out. That was during the black and white photo era.

Next came the stick on or self adhesive photo album as well as the colour photos in the second half of 1960. It was very easy to use. Just put the photos in position onto the page of the album and then placed the see through plastic sheet over the photos. The stick on album could also be used for small and big photos or be together on the same page. The drawback was that after some time the adhesive lost its stickiness and the photos dropped from the album. Some adhesive was too strong and the photos could not be removed without being damage.

In the 1990s the pocket type slip-in photo album made a come back. But it was for post card size photo only because printing of post card size photos were very cheap then. I stopped having new photo albums since 2005. I store all my photos and video clips in dvds. For my holidays photos and video clips I make them into a movie with music added.

Early 1950s photo album that required photo corners

Photos mount onto a album with photo corners

Stick-on or self adhesive photo album

Pocket type slip-in photo album for small size photos

Pocket type slip-in photo album for post card size

My photo albums