A Travellerspoint blog

Singapore

Leaving Singapore

So today I left my $900/month room in the crappy HDB government-funded apartment. I was living with a Singaporean family who would routinely have 24 hour long brawls. I tried to get out of the house as much as possible, but there were a few times when I stayed home all day and they never. stopped. yelling. Ever. The kids were also getting hit and slamming doors and the mom was in hysterics and throwing things all. the. time. It was nuts.

I asked if I could leave early and get a refund for the rent I had already paid and the mom readily agreed. She hated me for cutting up onions and making the house smell and leaving the shower floor "oily", not sure how that happened, maybe from my conditioner? She said I put too many chemicals on my body and in my hair. OK….

Anyway, today I went to exchange my money into Australian dollars after she gave me back the refund. I had told her I'd come back before 7 or 8 p.m. and get my stuff. I ended up coming back way earlier than that, at like 2 p.m. and she wasn't there. So, I got out my computer to check my email, have some vegetables I had cut up earlier, and waited for her.

To my surprise, she had already cleaned my room until it was sparkling. When she came home she was FURIOUS to see me there. She proceeded to go on a tirade about all the crappy things I do as a roommate, see above. I just said sorrysorrysorry and took my stuff and left as fast as i could. I got to the airport about 12 hours early for my flight. The bad part is I can't even check in and enjoy the cool stuff this airport has here! Maybe I will in a few hours.

Hunkered down at the airport

Hunkered down at the airport

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Pulau Ubin

My time in Singapore was drawing to a close and this little island was the only place left that I really wanted to visit badly. I was rewarded for my efforts, because I saw a wild boar. I have never seen a wild boar before in its own habitat.

You have to catch a short ferry ride from Changi beach, which only costs $2.50. There's no schedule, the boat just leaves whenever it's full of 12 people. On a weekend, this is easy, that's why I went on a Sunday.

The island itself is pretty small and walkable, but people still rent crappy bikes that can't get up the tiny hills. They go squeaking around and then jump off as soon as they come to any sort of incline and walk up. I thought it was nice to just walk everywhere instead of bothering with a bunch of stupid crappy bikes.

The main draw of this place is the Chek Jawa wetlands. There is a really impressive boardwalk going through, yep another mangrove, and along the coastal forest. I really enjoyed my day there, it was worth the effort it takes to get there for sure. Islands usually are, I find.

One thing that pissed me off however, were the random wrong way signs everywhere. They said wrong way, but they actually weren't! They were fine to walk down, but the thing was, they wanted all the bikes to go the same way. All their brakes are so rusty and squeaky, that they can't really stop themselves from crashing into people around corners and things. I don't know why they just didn't say "one way", but there it is… lies.… A lot of times, I'd have to walk way out of my way because I'd think that I was walking the wrong way, when I was really just walking against bike traffic. Ugh. Lame.

Coastal forest boardwalk

Coastal forest boardwalk


Mangrove

Mangrove


Me vs. ferry

Me vs. ferry


Changi Point Ferry Terminal

Changi Point Ferry Terminal


Coastal forest boardwalk

Coastal forest boardwalk


Me in another mangrove

Me in another mangrove


Me on the ferry

Me on the ferry


Coastal boardwalk

Coastal boardwalk


Lagoon?

Lagoon?


Lagoon?

Lagoon?


Wild boar!

Wild boar!


Coastal boardwalk

Coastal boardwalk


Wrong way???

Wrong way???


Palm trees on a pond

Palm trees on a pond


Jetty

Jetty


Lookout point

Lookout point


Some of the paths

Some of the paths


Termite mound!

Termite mound!


Me and the ocean

Me and the ocean


Top of the lookout

Top of the lookout


Amazing tree

Amazing tree


Me and the ocean

Me and the ocean


Me and the ferry

Me and the ferry

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Pasir Ris Park

This is my favourite place in Singapore. Hands down.

I got off the bus and walked into the forest, not expecting much. What I was greeted with was a magical fairy wonderland of incredibleness. The way the park is designed and manicured is amazing for a public place. I just loved it.

There is also a boardwalk around the mangrove, and I love mangroves too. I tired myself right out walking between both ends of this park. I went home exhausted by extremely happy I had gone there. Definitely worth a visit.

Pasir Ris Park

Pasir Ris Park


Pasir Ris Park

Pasir Ris Park


Pasir Ris Park

Pasir Ris Park


Pasir Ris Park

Pasir Ris Park


Pasir Ris Park

Pasir Ris Park


Pasir Ris Park mangrove

Pasir Ris Park mangrove


Pasir Ris Park

Pasir Ris Park


Pasir Ris Park

Pasir Ris Park

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

A day in Changi village

The village close to the airport is originally where the local people went when the British took over. It's also the place the Japanese killed a lot of people and kept a lot of prisoners when they took over. So, I went to see it.

The beach is alright, but I didn't go swimming, it was quite weedy. I walked along the beach for a while and found the place where many Chinese people were massacred. It's only marked with a simple black monument, right beside a giant sign for some other inconsequential thing I can't remember.

It started to rain so I headed over to Changi museum, where hundreds of prisoners' stories are told in over 20 display cases. There's also a quilt that some women made and gave to the men's side of the prison, to let them know who was still alive. They embroidered their names on the quilt as a sign that they were alright.

Another display is a replica of some Christian murals that were painted by one of the prisoners. Faith was all they had left at that point. When the Japanese came to take over Malaysia, life was terrible, there was no food, inflation was out of control and it seemed that violence was a daily occurrence.

Outside the museum is a small chapel that was built inside the prison. That's the only thing I was allowed to take pictures of.

I got lost trying to find some other World War II bunker in the midst of the army barracks. I've already seen a bunch of them, so I just gave up and went home.

Changi beach

Changi beach


Changi beach

Changi beach


Changi beach

Changi beach


Changi Museum

Changi Museum


Me vs. beef bun thing

Me vs. beef bun thing


Changi beach

Changi beach

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Got my visa!

The day I got my visa to go to China, I was so excited that nothing could bring me down. Not even this sign for an "outrage of modesty" aka molesting, that occurred on my street a few weeks ago.

Outrage of modesty!

Outrage of modesty!


Visa in my passport

Visa in my passport

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Science Centre Singapore

I was kind of sceptical about this science centre because the science centre in Seoul sucked so hard. It was only $10, so I went anyway. There was also a Transformers exhibit going on at the time, but I didn't pay extra to see that. The museum was huge anyway. The highlight of my day was playing with the Reactable, a musical instrument that I saw Bjork's band play back in the day at Virgin Fest. Lots of funnnn.

I also tried the tornado machine, to feel how it feels to be in the middle of the tornado. I think this thing costs like $4 to try at the Seaway Mall in Welland, doesn't it? Haha. It was free for me, suckers!

Upon inspection of the schedule and facility map, I found there was a show at 3 p.m. entitled FIRE TORNADO. That's all it said. When one reads such a thing, one cannot miss this chance to see it. So, I saw it and it was majestic.

I am an astronaut

I am an astronaut


The reactable

The reactable


The reactable

The reactable


Me vs. FIRE TORNADO

Me vs. FIRE TORNADO


Me vs. WIND TORNADO

Me vs. WIND TORNADO


Free compliments from guru cat

Free compliments from guru cat


The reactable

The reactable


FIRE TORNADO

FIRE TORNADO


Reactable

Reactable


Me vs. FIRE TORNADO

Me vs. FIRE TORNADO


Giant robot coming out of the ground

Giant robot coming out of the ground


Small fire tornado

Small fire tornado


Free insults from the bad guy

Free insults from the bad guy

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

National University of Singapore Museum

Another day, another museum. The National University of Singapore has a nice museum with a lot of pottery in it. I found some from Changsha and also Jingdezhen. I never knew how famous Jingdezhen was until I came here. I'm glad I went to see it made first hand while I was living there.

The best exhibit here, is the one about the bed frame. An artist half-buried a bed frame as a decoration in her backyard. One day, she decided to trace where the bed came from. She wanted to know where the wood came from and how it was made. It was more interesting than it sounds.

There's also a bit of modern art and some ceramics that are worth a gander.

NUS Museum

NUS Museum


NUS Museum

NUS Museum


NUS Museum

NUS Museum


NUS Museum

NUS Museum


NUS Museum

NUS Museum


NUS Museum

NUS Museum


Waiting for my visa, singing Five Iron Frenzy

Waiting for my visa, singing Five Iron Frenzy


NUS Museum

NUS Museum


NUS Museum

NUS Museum


NUS Museum

NUS Museum


NUS Museum

NUS Museum


NUS Museum

NUS Museum

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Museum day #3

The actual National Museum of Singapore is under renovations, so what was left to see there, was slightly underwhelming. I was in time for the guided tour, which was informative, but it just wasn't worth the trip for me. Maybe it'll be better when it reopens later this year.

The Singapore Art Museum was also only half open, because it's moving to a new location soon. Anywho, I liked it better, as I usually like art museums the best anyway. There was lots of interesting art, including a cinema with giant bean bag chairs to lounge in.

Living animal machine

Living animal machine


Really old inscriptions

Really old inscriptions


Me vs. bean bag chair

Me vs. bean bag chair


Recycled stuff

Recycled stuff


Only graffiti allowed in Singapore

Only graffiti allowed in Singapore


Really awesome art, better in person

Really awesome art, better in person


Soundscape

Soundscape


Me at National Museum of Singapore

Me at National Museum of Singapore


Charcoal performance art

Charcoal performance art


Smelling some spices

Smelling some spices


Bell bought by Paul Revere's daughter or something

Bell bought by Paul Revere's daughter or something


Abstract art

Abstract art


Lobby of National Museum of Singapore

Lobby of National Museum of Singapore


All finished the pass!

All finished the pass!


Singapore Museum of Art

Singapore Museum of Art

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Museum day #2

Today I went to the Philatelic Museum and the Peranakan Museum.

The Philatelic Museum had a big exhibit on Elvis that was kind of hilarious, because it seemed really dumbed down. I guess maybe there's some people here who aren't familiar with him at all.

The Peranakans are local people who have mixed with other cultures, mostly local women marrying foreign men, for many centuries. They have their own unique culture within Singaporean society so this museum gives them a central spotlight. They are famous for beadwork and elaborate marriage ceremonies that last two weeks.

Elvis wrote a letter to the president

Elvis wrote a letter to the president


Peranakan wedding

Peranakan wedding


Elvis exhibit

Elvis exhibit


Peranakan Museum

Peranakan Museum


Philatelic Museum

Philatelic Museum


Peranakan wedding

Peranakan wedding


Elvis exhibit

Elvis exhibit


Elvis wrote a letter to the president

Elvis wrote a letter to the president


Peranakan living room

Peranakan living room


The first stamp ever

The first stamp ever


Peranakan living room

Peranakan living room


Mail shoot

Mail shoot


Peranakan dining room

Peranakan dining room

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Museum day #1

There's this three day museum pass you can get for $20 and it lets you into about six museums, so two per day.

The first day I went to Reflections at Bukit Chandu, where they explain the Japanese attack on Singapore and what led to the surrender of the British troops during World War II.

Then I went over to the Asian Civilizations museum where they explain all the different civilizations in Asia, because they are all in Singapore. Most of the stuff I knew, but it was nice to get a recap and learn a little bit more about India. I don't know anything about India and I'm not sure I even want to try to tackle that one.

Me vs. Vietnamese hat

Me vs. Vietnamese hat


Asian music

Asian music


Giant drum

Giant drum


Indian stuff

Indian stuff


Apron made from human bones

Apron made from human bones


Asian Civilizations Museum

Asian Civilizations Museum


Hologram war

Hologram war


Reflections at Bukit Chandu

Reflections at Bukit Chandu

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Thow Kwang Pottery Village

So, I had all kinds of time to kill until my Chinese visa was ready. One of the last places that I wanted to go to in my neighbourhood was Thow Kwang Pottery village. A place just for pottery, and where you can take pottery classes if you wish.

There is an "eco-garden" adjacent to the pottery place, so I spent the rest of the day there hiking around, watching some amateur wildlife photographers chase birds. I smiled to myself when I got home and opened up an email from my boss that described this period of one month's free pay as "garden leave".

Thow Kwang Pottery Village

Thow Kwang Pottery Village


Jurong Eco Garden

Jurong Eco Garden


Jurong Eco Garden

Jurong Eco Garden


Thow Kwang Pottery Village

Thow Kwang Pottery Village


Jurong Eco Garden

Jurong Eco Garden


Thow Kwang Pottery Village

Thow Kwang Pottery Village


Jurong Eco Garden

Jurong Eco Garden


Thow Kwang Pottery Village

Thow Kwang Pottery Village


Jurong Eco Garden

Jurong Eco Garden


Thow Kwang Pottery Village

Thow Kwang Pottery Village

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Fireddddd

Well I have been refusing to do "training" every single weekend (which is three) since I got here. Once, it was possible for me to do the training during the three hours that we do nothing in the afternoon from 3-6 p.m., but that wasn't good enough anymore, and they wanted me to do it on Monday and Tuesday. So, I just refused. I was told during the interview I would have these days off, so whatever. The next week I was fired. Oh really? Without notice. So, I happily took my payment in lieu of notice, pick up a work visa for China and planned my next adventure to Australia. In the days leading up to my approval of my visa, I went around the city some more looking at stuff.

The first thing I did when I got this notice, was go to East Coast Park and get me some seafood. Initially, the plan was to get chilli crab, but it's so expensive and I'm sure I've had better in Baltimore.

My first stop though, was a hindu temple. They were just finishing some renovations, so it was the evening before their big grand opening. Lots of people around and it was all very festive, the smell of jasmine was overpowering. After that, I got an oyster omelette and sat down beside a nice couple, who told me I was making the right choice and Singapore is too expensive for teachers like me. Maybe if I worked at a private regular daytime school, it would be alright, but working at a "tuition" is crap.

Skate park

Skate park


Me vs. oyster omelet

Me vs. oyster omelet


East coast park

East coast park


Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple

Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple


Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple

Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple


East Coast Park jetty

East Coast Park jetty


East Coast Park jetty

East Coast Park jetty


Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple

Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Lindsey and Cornelia drop by

Wow! How random.

My Girl Guide leader's daughter Lindsey and her friend Cornelia stopped in Singapore on their way to Bali during their big southeast Asia trip.

I met them at their hostel in the morning (Hostel Mitraa in Little India) and we immediately went to the Mer Lion. Then, we tried to get Cornelia's travellers' cheques cashed, which was impossible without a passport.

We went to Raffles Hotel where they both bought Singapore Slings. I really couldn't justify the $30 price tag to get one myself. Yikes. I snacked on the peanuts and watched them enjoy theirs, haha.

After that, it was time for lunch so, we went back to the hawker place for laksa for me and some Japanese/stir fry for Cornelia and Lindsey.

They decided to check out the botanic gardens and the National Orchid Garden, where we saw a monitor lizard and some squirrels in the rainforest. I took a ton of photos for my dad, who is now an orchid enthusiast.

They are also putting together a documentary on happiness, so I was interviewed for that! Should be cool to see when it comes out.

We were really super tired after all that running around, so we went back to Little India, I had some dosai (which is cheap and good and you should definitely eat it if you come across it) and Lindsey and Cornelia had a spicy crab meal.

From there we grabbed some cider and sat on the patio at their hostel, which I was really uncomfortable with, because there were a gazillion African and Indian men just leering at us the whole time. Ugh.

National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


Raffles Hotel

Raffles Hotel


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


Raffles Hotel

Raffles Hotel


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


Raffles Hotel with Lindsey and Cornelia

Raffles Hotel with Lindsey and Cornelia


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple

Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple


Raffles Hotel

Raffles Hotel


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden


National Orchid Garden

National Orchid Garden

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Jurong Bird Park and dinner with couchsurfers

Oh wow, the Jurong Bird Park was so much fun. I had no idea there were so many kinds of parrots. I saw two bird shows and zillions of birds. Some of the birds were sad and flying back and forth from end to end of their cages, but I think the majority were happy there. There were quite a few large free flying aviaries. But, in reality, these birds would normally enjoy the whole world if they were allowed to leave the zoo. Also, they had a nice cold place for a bunch of penguins, but for some reason, they had to shove maybe five of them out into the heat. I didnt see any indication of the reasons for this… So, I'm not sure how I felt about this place now that I think about it.

My favourite part was the nursery, where you can see baby chicks hatching in incubators. I happened to get there at feeding time and it was cute.

After that, I went downtown to the couch surfing meet up, but I was early so I walked around following my guidebook and taking pictures of famous architecture again.

When I got to the meet up, I met some cool Singaporeans, ate some sting ray and then drank some beers on a swing at Raffles Place.

I had to distract this guy away from one of my new friends the whole night, that was weird. So basically, I drank beers with an arrogant, baby-man from Australia on the swings all night, rather than really enjoying myself with some fun 20-somethings. Haha. Oh well. Louise: taking one for the team since 1981.

Nagore Durgha Shrine

Nagore Durgha Shrine


Snowy owl

Snowy owl


Jurong Bird Park

Jurong Bird Park


Me vs. sting ray

Me vs. sting ray


Scarlet Ibises

Scarlet Ibises


Toucan bird show

Toucan bird show


Pelican bird show

Pelican bird show


Bird aviary

Bird aviary


South American birds

South American birds


Me vs. sting ray

Me vs. sting ray


Pelican bird show

Pelican bird show


Me vs. ostriches

Me vs. ostriches


Cassowary

Cassowary


Boat Quay

Boat Quay


UOB complex

UOB complex


Ostriches

Ostriches


Penguins in the heat!

Penguins in the heat!


Raffles Place

Raffles Place


Buildings downtown

Buildings downtown


You can never have enough flamingoes

You can never have enough flamingoes


Ostriches

Ostriches


Penguins in the heat!

Penguins in the heat!


Old building downtown

Old building downtown


Flamingoes!

Flamingoes!


Ostrich

Ostrich


Baby parrot

Baby parrot

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Katong neighbourhood and Joo Chiat Rd.

There is some more of those embellished shop fronts preserved on Joo Chiat Rd in Katong neighbourhood, so I went down there to see some more of it.

I had dinner of dumplings and Peranakan cookies.

Storefronts on Joo Chiat Rd.

Storefronts on Joo Chiat Rd.


Storefront on Joo Chiat Rd.

Storefront on Joo Chiat Rd.


Me vs. dumpling

Me vs. dumpling


Joo Chiat Complex

Joo Chiat Complex

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

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