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Friday, January 28, 2011

Yer Of The Rabbit

Wishing You A Happy & Blessed Chinese New Year of Golden Rabbits

Friday, January 21, 2011

Time Stood Still in Galle, Sri Lanka

In Galle, Sri Lanka there was a very old open shed market built in 1880 named Green Market. The building had slim rounded concrete pillars and raised cement floors with a lower passageway in the centre, separating the market into two equal parts.

I saw only local farm produce such as vegetables, chillies, carrots, pumpkins tubers, etc were sold there. Not a single item was imported. All articles were displayed for sale on the flat floor. The stallholders still used the old type of weighing scale as shown in the pictured below.

Times moved on but the Green Market did not. Business was as usual since the market first started. The only thing that changed was the stallholders. They were the new generations, probably the descendants of the old hawkers. Walking inside the market was like going back in time. It amazed me that time stood still for this 19th century market although it was within walking distance of a busy shopping street.

The hawker stalls outside the market were different. They had raised stalls and displayed their articles at eye level so that the customers did not have to look down like those inside the market.

Green Market 1880

Articles displayed on the floor

Balancing weighing scale

Metal weight in grams

Stall outside the market and busy shopping street in the background

More stalls outside the market

Friday, January 14, 2011

Why House Galle, Sri Lanka

On 1st Jan 2011 we began our new year in the air on our way to Sri Lanka. We went there with another family. At Colombo International Airport a band of musicians and dancers welcomed our arrival. We were garlanded on the way out. Our destination, Why House Resort was about 125 km away. There we were welcomed by the resort staff and garlanded another time.

At Colombo International Airport

At Why House Resort, Galle

Why House Resort has 3 acres of luxurious tropical garden with 3 different accommodations. The main house has internet access and a large airy living room in the center with a luxurious veranda. There are 2 cabanas for single person and 2 double bedrooms with separate entrace. All has private porch, air conditioning, satellite TV and a mini bar. There is also a salt water swimming pool.

Main house

Two double bedrooms with own entrance each

Cabanas for single person

We booked the whole resort for 8 days. Our group had only 10 people although the resort could accommodate 16 including children.

We swam at the pool or sat by the pool side reading story books. We played crickets with the resort staff. There was no badminton court. A net tied between 2 coconut trees was good enough for the purpose. The children enjoyed the game. At night after dinner we sat around a table at the airy and luxurious veranda to plan for the next day's meals and outings over glasses of red and white wines.

Pool activities

Cheers to tomorrow's outings


There was no set menu. It was up to us to decide what food we wanted to eat for each day.
Breakfast - we had fruit juices and fresh fruits followed by ah pong, thosai, Sri Lankan omelets and curry. We also had western breakfast of bread toast, jam, honey, butter, ham, bacon and eggs.
Lunch - main course was either chicken, pork or beef in Sri Lankan curry.
Dinner - main course was seafood such as crabs, prawns, lobsters, squids, fish and vegetables curry


Grilled mullet fish

Curry crabs

Steamed crabs

Sri Lankan dishes

Cheers to the chef and his yummy food!



The resort has many fruit trees - coconut trees, jack fruit trees, banana plants and others. There were many birds of different species, lizards and squirrels too. I saw them every morning. They were used to guests there and I could move quite close to them to take pictures.
Why House Resort is the perfect hideaway for everyone who wants to relax in style away from the main stream tourist centers. It is a place for peace and tranquillity.
To be continued

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Indian Gang Labourers

I returned from Galle, Sri Lanka last Saturday. As my vehicle passed by the Galle beach I saw about a dozen fishermen hauling together their fishing net in the sea. They reminded me of the Indian gang workers who were here before. When moving a heavy load, they pulled a rope tied to the load and yelled together 'ehloh ehlah, ehloh ehlah.... just like in a tug-of-war yell 'pull, pull, pull....'. I could not hear the fishermen's yell in an aircon vehicle. But, I am sure they did utter somethings to get a united strength while pulling the rope.

According to a book by PWD The Indian labourers were in Singapore as early as 1825. They were convicts in India but were brought here by the British to work in the Public Works Department (PWD) as menial workers. They built our roads, bridges, jetties, canals and sea walls. They also erected public buildings such as St Andrew's Cathedral and helped put up the Horseburgh Lighthouse. The most dangerous job was clearing the jungle in the interior to build roads. While doing so they faced the danger of attack by wild animals such as tigers, wild boars, snakes, dogs and others.

Furthermore, they made their own bricks, lime and cement from coral and quarry stones from Pulau Ubin. They fell trees for woodworks and prepared all types of ironworks. The convicts establishment was broken up in 1872. Many stayed in Singapore and continued to work with the PWD as skilled artisans.

In the 50s to 70s I remembered seeing them doing roadworks, digging trenches to construct roadside drains and also laying water pipes and laying electrical cables in the hot sun. They helped in the building and development of Singapore for more than 150 years. Singapore does not have a monument to remember them. A legacy that has been lost in history.

Photo credit to PWD - Roadworks at Beach Road in 1910

Photo credit to PWD - roadworks

Photo credit to PWD - roadworks

Photo credit to PWD - bull roller

Photo credit to PWD - digging trenches

Photo credit to PWD - laying of electrical cables