Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bukit Timah Fourth Avenue

The answer to my earlier quiz is: Bukit Timah Fourth Avenue. It is located just a few hundred metres from where I live but once you get into this road, it feels as if you are into a different country because it is so quiet and peaceful here. But it will not be so for long as the government has recently announced plans to build an MRT station here as part of the Downtown Line.

Fearing that this place will be transformed beyond recognition soon, I decided to take some photos recently. I share some of them with you here.

1) This is photo is taken from the direction of the main road. Do you see a fence building complex on the right? Do you know what building complex this is? Hint. I used to see traffic police cars and motor-bikes here quite often. Now it is vacant.

2) Here are a few more photos of this place.

3) This photo is taken in the direction of Bt Timah Road (opposite to picture 1). Notice the huge empty fenced compound on the right side of the road? Do you know what it was used for?

4) Here is the answer; It’s the Police Logistics Department (Automotive Engineering and Management Division) Hope you can make out the words from this dismantled sign board.

5) This is a shot of the location where the Sixth Avenue MRT Station will be built. Below that is a sketch of the planned station which Peter emailed to me.

6) I noticed a couple of other interesting old buildings here. But I don’t know what they are. I think Peter should be able to throw some light.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Time for a break

Here's wishing all readers a blessed Christmas.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Untouched by time

Can you identify the place shown in this photo? It is one of those few places that has not changed much in decades. You can be forgiven if you mistook it for some place in Malaysia. But it is actually right here in modern Singapore.

There are few places like this around. But it won’t remain like this for long. Big changes are coming to this place soon ….. and that’s the hint.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Roundabout Quiz 4

There are very few roundabouts on Singapore’s major roads nowadays. Most of them have been converted to traffic-lights controlled junctions; some with flyovers and underpasses. Besides the famous Newton Circus, I can only think of 3 offhand. There are 2 below the Tuas and Pioneer flyovers and one at West Coast Road called Buroh Circus. The rest are mostly small roundabouts in residential areas such as the ones at Hillview and Seranggoon Gardens which I have blogged about previously here.

Over the past few months, whilst driving around Singapore, I came across four more. Let’s see if any of you can identify all of them.

No. 1 should be easy. It is a very old roundabout and located at a very busy place where most Singaporeans would have visited one time or another.

No. 2 and No. 3 are small roundabouts located in residential areas.

No. 4 is interesting. It is very new. Previously this place was a cross road junction. Apparently there had been some near-accidents and so it was converted into a roundabout just a few months ago.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Marlin Derby At Cabo San Lucas, 1986 (by Peter Chan)

Cabo San Lucas is often described as the "Marlin Capital of the World ". Cabo lies in Baja California Sur, Mexico. This would be my first fishing trip and the second the following year in the Gold Coast, Australia.

Plate 1: In a clockwise direction. Blood dripping from a striped marlin and the fish bait used, marlin struggles in the sea, marlin reeled to the side of the boat, and seagulls hovering close to the boat.

After two days of sales meetings, we traded that for the fishing trip. My initial thoughts were about white sandy beaches, sipping pineapple juice and Latinas in thongs. I must have read too much about the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. It was the start of the Seagate Marlin Derby.
The fishing trip demanded patience. One could sit for hours cruising aimlessly in the deep Pacific Ocean off Baja California. Most times, the boat went on cruise mode but on some occasions, it went “high speed,” breaking over every wave like a fast patrol craft. The ocean had 2 colors, the green color indicated shallow waters but a dark blue indicated the end of the Continental Shelf, which meant we were in 6,000 feet of water.

Plate 2: Left Photo – Minstrels singing in Spanish “South of the Border”. Right Photo -The dinner buffet-table spread

The epic battle was over when the marlin was reeled to the side of the boat and clobbered on its head with a club filled with rusty nails. After tying up the marlin, the boatman washed away the blood on the deck with buckets of seawater. I later found out the smell of blood attracts sharks.

That ended the day’s fishing trip and we adjourned to our rooms for a good bath before heading out for tonight’s dinner. You guess it right; the main course was stripped marlin steak. Next year it would be blue marlin steak and entertainment at the Conrad Jupiter Casino on the Gold Coast.

Plate 3: In a clockwise direction. Photo-shoot at the Weighing Station, seated at the rear of the boat, and the battle with the marlins.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Our Trumpet Plants

If you were to walk past the garbage bins in front of my house at night, you are likely to be greeted by a sweet fragrance. Do you know why?

It’s because we have planted a flowering shrub called the Solandra Longiflora next to our front gate.

Trumpet (1)

Solandra Longiflora

This is the Solandra Longiflora. It is also called the Trumpet Plant (光梭朗茄) or Chalice Vine. It has huge beautiful light yellow flowers which give off a sweet fragrance at night. As you can see from the photo below, it flowers quite profusely. As such, we occasionally have passers-by ringing our door bell asking for stem cuttings.

It is a very easy plant to grow. We grew ours from a stem cutting given by a neighbour. Another attraction of this plant; especially for oldie bloggers like me is that it attracts the leaf spider which I used to catch as a kid in my kampong days.

Trumpet (2)

Trumpet (3)

Datura metel

Besides the Solandra Longiflora, we have another trumpet plant called the Datura Metel or Angel’s Trumpet (洋金花 , 曼陀罗) according to this website. But I also came across another website which gave its common name as Devil’s Trumpet or Thorn Apple. Very confusing. Anyway, this one has purple flowers. It is also quite easy to propagate. After the flower dies, it leaves behind a big fruit with lots of seeds which can be used to propagate new plants. We bought a pot of from a nursery some years ago. And today, we have several of them growing in our garden.

Trumpet (5)

Trumpet (4)

Trumpet (6)

A third trumpet plant

Recently, we acquired yet another trumpet plant. This one was a gift from one of my son’s pitcher plant forum buddies. We planted it in a pot and it grew quickly. The flower of this one is even bigger than the other two. Interestingly, the colour of the flower changes from white to a tinge of orange after a few days. Now with three species of trumpet plants in our garden, I suspect we have the largest collection of trumpet plants in the street where I live -:)

Trumpet (7)

I leave you with a quiz question. What is the name of this third trumpet plant? Answer is found here.

PS – This article was originally submitted to Garden Voices more than a month ago but for some reason they have not published it.