Thursday, March 31, 2016

Murals or Street Arts @ Everton Road

Have you seen these murals in Singapore? From research, these murals can be found in several places, like Everton Road, Tiong Bahru Market, Haji Lane, Aliwal Street, Clarke Quay, etc.

What is a mural?
By definition, a mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface.

And Singapore Murals is an integral part of the nation’s aspiration of being a renaissance city but is under developed. A public mural is a source of heritage building, expression of the arts, national education, interactivity of interests groups.

The oldest mural in Singapore can be traced to Changi Murals, which is my next destination. So look out for my updates in time to come.

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Everton Road

A small section of Everton Road had become memory lane. Mr Yip Yew Chong, who has lived near Everton Road and walked along the road for the past 20 years, was inspired to start this project, after seeing the murals in Kampong Glam painted by Mr Ernest Zacharevic, who also painted and made famous the murals in George Town, Penang.

Amah 妈姐
An amah (housemaid), handwashes her kebayas and sarongs in a metal tub while checking in on the child playing behind the sarongs. A rooster and its family strolling along the side.
Further down the right, there is a wooden cupboard that you can almost find in every household of that time, good to keep all the daily bowls and plates we use. I can still see one of these in my Grandma’s house in JB.
Then the equally old-fashioned chair with a cat resting on top.

The unique signature of Mr Yip Yew Chong, painted in style and depicts the era of the paintings.

Barber 理发
Around the corner of the same building, you will find a boy reading an old Lao Fu Zi comic book while drinking Green Spot, as another gets an old-school haircut. There used to be such roadside barbers still active along Chinatown area, but they have since vanished. Missed my chance of getting an old haircut experience.

The Singaporean thing to do, join the queue.

Coffee in a Milkmaid can “hangs” from a pipe.

Provision Shop 杂货店
Towkay Neo and her hardworking team run their little provision shop literally ‘round the clock’.
This is the latest of Mr Yip’s work around Everton Road.

Tikam tikam to win a free bowl of beancurd and soya milk.

According to the creator, you may see the real fat grey English cat roaming around the neighborhood.

Location
Amah –
40 Everton Road @ Choa Kim Keat Garage
Barber – 40 Everton Road @ Choa Kim Keat Garage
Provision Shop – 8 Spottiswoode Park Road

Monday, March 28, 2016

World Monopoly Day

Congratulations to Universal Studios Singapore at Resorts World Sentosa!

On 19 March 2016 on World Monopoly Day, RWS successfully broke the existing Guinness World Records title for most people playing Monopoly game in a single venue. Where a total of 605 individuals played the latest Monopoly Empire game at USS which surpassed the previous record of 585 participants set by Wycombe Abbey School in the UK on 14 Dec 2015.

And we were part of the 605 participants!


(Photo credit to Resorts World Sentosa)

It was great to be back in USS after such a long while.

The new Monopoly Empire game was released in celebration of Mr. Monopoly’s 81st birthday.

The Monopoly Empire game allows player to travel around the board buying and selling the world’s top brands, like Universal Parks & Resorts, Transformers, Yahoo, etc.

The girls’ favourite was the Nickelodeon piece. Probably thinking they can own it and show all their favourite shows all day long.

Getting ready to play and break the records.

 

 

Along with hundreds of other Monopoly fans!

 

Performances after the game before we have the final count of participants.

Barely after 2 hours, the event was over and the officials from Guinness World Records presented the award to RWS representative.

And to end the day, Jayne squeezed through the crowd and got her wish, taking a photo with the birthday boy.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

i Light Marina Bay 2016

This year is the 4th edition of i Light Marina Bay, and this year’s event is brighter and seeking to reframe perceptions of light and sustainability, the team hopes to inspire artists and festival-goers to re-imagine and reconsider sustainability issues in a new light and come together to create and sustain a harmonious relationship with the environment.

As a person who likes photography, lights and shadows have always been something fascinating for me. After the first introduction to i Light Marina Bay 2014, this is the second time I am bringing the girls back.

This year the stretch just outside The Shoppes @ Marina Bay Sands, was transformed into a bit like “Artbox” in Bangkok. With small little stalls selling different sorts of arts and stuff. It would be nice to see more of such setups happening in Singapore.

Before we walked through the i Light, we were greeted by this colorfully bright rider, sometimes we are able to see a few other riders together but this night there was only one. Hence, he absorbed all the lime light. He has unofficially became part of the event exhibits.

Ground Control to Major Tom
This multi-colored rocket piece is like a childhood dream coming alive. As simple as it seems, many people were queuing up just to have a look from within, at the world outside. I guess all of us need to see things a little different some times.

Blot
Inspired by how the lightning behaves, this installation aims to bring the irregularity behavior of the lightning closer to earth. By a simple touch of the steel structure, one gets to activates the flashes of the LED tubes attached.

Lampshade
Totally the coolest and most environmentally inspiring piece of installation. During day time, this unique art piece prevents sunlight to shine through and at the same time conserve energy which is used during night time as solar energy enough to power up thousands of lamps.

Shadow Bath
Playing with light and shadows, this is one piece of art I would love to have at home. Maybe a miniature size that could sit nicely in a living room as a coffee table. Imagine the mood it would create at night when you are enjoying a nice glass of wine with your love one. Awesome!

Angels of Freedom
This year, kudos to the organizers for placing many of the light installations against the beautiful Marina Bay night scene. One of which is this angel wing (there are 5 sets of them), and you will be expecting some queue to get your chance for a photo. The halo was a brilliant idea to enhance the structure but also as a great illuminator for the visitor’s face.

Moon Haze
One of the most photographed light installation. The Moon Haze also functions as a monitoring system for air pollutants, picking-up and responding to the ambient air quality – the better the air quality, the brighter the installation. Maybe an idea will be to place this piece on the waters? The reflection will be awesome.

The Cloud
Seriously, I do not understand this art installation. However, this is one of the few installations that captured my attention the most. Maybe it’s the inert nature of man that is drawn towards things we do not understand.

Ping Pong Table
Mini table-tennis tables for visitors to test their skills. About a quarter size of the usual table, this cool piece is lighted underneath with changing lights to create that mystery feel. The game is not about winning, but it’s all about fun and innovation.

There are a few installations that are not really related to lights, but nonetheless it was super creative and simple. The simplicity of the creation amazed me and many others, providing much fun to all.

Started the walk with the multi-colored rider and ended with the same guy on the Helix Bridge.

Heard that i Light Marina Bay will be back starting this year as a yearly event. I’ll raise both hands and legs and shout hurray! Looking forward to more creative installations in 2017.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Staycation - The South Beach

Hotel + Residential + Retail + Office = South Beach.

Located right smack in the middle of the Cityhall & Suntec City, this plot of land can be considered the best of the prime lands in Singapore. And we were so blessed to have a short 2D1N staycation at The South Beach.

The South Beach in Singapore is a 654-rooms and suites Luxury & Lifestyles H.I.P. (Highly Individualised People and Places) Hotel that aspires to create infinite experiences for everyone.

So all around the hotel compound, you are able to find corners with exquisite designers’ idea of “Alone Together”. For any guest who may be traveling alone but will be able to find a gathering corner to mingle with other travelers, much like a common area to be ‘together’.

One of such corners is this Cocoon Space (named based on the cocoon-shaped lamp). A causal business center for the business people.

 

And one of the coolest piece has to be this wooden log-turn-chair art piece inspired by the renowned French designer Philippe Starck, who fused contemporary architecture with restored heritage buildings, in a brilliant show of form and function.

When we were ushered into the lobby, I was looking for the check-in counter and was surprised that there isn’t any.

Well, the counters were actually the 7 small tables lined on the left. Each counter has a different cabinet behind and lamp on top, symbolizing 7 different cultures around the world.

The lobby is one of the most cool hotel lobbies I have seen. The play with lights and furniture are simply awesome.

 

We had connecting rooms to accommodate 5 of us including my mother. One room with a Queen-size bed and the other was a double single bed.

 

More and more hotels are offering complimentary mini-bar services and The South Beach too. A small but nice gesture.

Meals are served at ADHD (All Day Hotel Dining), which offers a wide range of international cuisine with the head chef hailing from Germany, assisted by a HK chef to bring the balance for the diners.

Once again, you can see how the designers played with lights from within the marble tables. One thing for sure, the “mood” setting is important and crucial for the hotel. Every place we went, there were different designs, music, lights, art pieces, to set the mood designed for the guests.

Another idea of “Alone Together” or just suitable for big families.

If you think the meal area is bit too open and prefers a more private place just for some talk, the restaurant offers a simple but unique concept of privacy. Just by creating a few steps down from the main dining hall, are these more private tables available. You can even book the place for a private dining if you have about 20 pax.

So far we were super impressed with the deco but everything else is within expectations. Not until we visited level 18.

Flow 18 – bar counter besides the infinity pool.

And this is the view to die for! We were there around 1pm and the place was so windy and cool. The girls can’t wait to try the pool, but lunch beckons.

We didn’t try ADHD, instead we walked out to the near Shaw Towers for Turkish food. All around the hotel, we are spoilt for lots of choices of food, Suntec or Raffles City are all less than 10mins walk away.

Turkish Baked Rice and bread, yummy!

Best thing about a staycation is to be relaxed without an agenda. Enjoying time with one another.

Back to the infinity pool after lunch. The hotel provides 2 large floats for guests.

The shallow end is 0.5m and the deepest is only 1.2m.

As the girls enjoy the pool, I walked around the floor and found a table-tennis table. And it is a mirror table!

But it was too windy that day to play.

A pool table is available too. The best way to chill with friends or just laze around with family.

Comfy sitting areas are lined on both sides for those who just want to rest or have a drink.

When you are staying in The South Beach, don’t forget to take a photo from level 18, as this may be the only place to see such a beautiful view. Day and Night are equally amazing.

For another full review on The South Beach, read it on my wife’s blog.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Singapore Duck Tour

If you are a traveling guest, I would recommend this tour. If you are a local, I would highly recommend you not to miss the Duck Tour. This is probably the best way to tour around the city landscape of Singapore. For an hour, embark on a land & sea tour on the remodeled WWII amphibious Vietnamese war craft that will bring you up close with some of the iconic and historical landmarks around the Marina Bay.

The girls got their wish to sit in the pink boat.

Every tour has a tour guide that will introduce some of the facts around the area. Our guide is an elderly auntie who speaks pretty good English and is quite humorous too (tho quite dry at times).

If you choose to sit on the front two rows, especially on the side, be prepared to be a bit wet as the vehicle goes into the water, nothing a few tissue paper cannot clean.

Sights of the dragon boat sports are common along the bay.

 

As we cruise along, it is the best opportunity to bring out your cameras or mobile phones and take some photos of the usual scene we see on land, but now from a different point of view.

Marina Bay Sands which has 2,561 number of rooms.

  

Our tour guide introduced the ArtScience Museum as the ‘Lotus Museum’.

Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC)

DBS Marina Bay Sailing, gliding slowly along the Marina Reservoir. Interesting fact, with the completion of the Marina Barrage in 2008, the reservoir which contained salt water, became freshwater and in 2010. Now the Marina Reservoir provides 10% of the island’s water needs.

We passed by one of the few 6-stars hotel – The Fullerton Hotel – previously known as the General Post Office Building. Another tourist attraction is the Merlion.

The tour makes a u-turn at the Merlion and we get to see the Floating Platform and F1 Pit Building. Do you know that starting this year (2016), we will no longer have our National Day Parade (NDP) at the Floating Platform? This August, we will shift the NDP to the new Singapore National Stadium.

Also this year is the 9th year Singapore is hosting the F1 Night Race, next year 2017 will be the 10th and last year based on contract.

Before we go back to land, the last attraction will be the largest observation wheel in Singapore, opened in 2008.

The Singapore Flyer used to be the largest Ferris Wheel in the world at 165m, until Las Vegas overtook the prestige with High Roller which is 167.6m tall. We lost by a mere 2.6m. Blah!

Back to the land.

We went one round towards some of the Colonial buildings like the Fullerton Hotel, and the Victoria Theatre.

Another building is the former Supreme Court, now part of the National Heritage and converted to National Gallery Singapore.

As a Singaporean, I was quite embarrassed when I realised that I was so ignorant of the history and facts surrounding me. Which is why I highly recommend anyone who is staying in Singapore to join this tour. It will be quite insightful.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

My Little Ponies!

Media Invite

Some says running can be addictive, I was skeptical before, but now I am a believer.

More than just running, running with family is the ultimate joy!

This year at Sentosa Palawan Beach, more than 5,000 participants gathered for the My Little Pony Friendship Run, held for the first time in Singapore. This was an event to celebrate friendship and family all together.


(Photo credit to MY LITTLE PONY Friendship Run 2016)

For the Kuan Family, we registered for the 1km Pony Kids Run (Kless & Jayne) and the 4m Fun Run (Me & Joey).

The appeal of this run has to be the cutesy little items prepared for the participants like this print on tattoos. As quoted by my wife, only during My Little Pony Run can she put on such a cute rainbow tattoo.

  

 

My run with Joey starts first at about 9am, thankfully the weather was good and not too hot.

I asked Joey which is her favorite Little Pony character. She mentioned Rainbow Dash & Twilight Sparkle.

And before we were flagged off, the surprise nearly caused everyone to forget about the run. Joey’s favorite Rainbow Dash was out to do the flag off. Cool!

On social media, we know many of our friends were involved in this run too, so it was quite a pleasure to meet Steven and his daughter along the 4km route. He started later than us and that explained why he looked so fresh whereas, I looked so tired.

4km is not a difficult run, but for the kids, especially getting them to run early in the morning is not an easy task. This is Joey’s 3rd race since last year. But still the early timing and lack of sleep the night before caused her to feel the fatigue more than previous. After the 2km mark, she started to feel tired and eventually she walked for the rest of the race.

A couple of moments during the race, I was tempted to suggest a shortcut for her so that she can end earlier and have some rest. Every time I wanted to do it, I looked at Joey and she was still hanging on, face red from the heat, sweating profusely, legs tired but no signs of complain or giving up. I felt so encouraged by her and proud that my girl is not a person who will give up easily. I was determined to be a good father and stay the course with her so that we can both learn the value of keeping to the end.

And we did! Completed 4km run within 33mins. My girl is a champion!

Meanwhile, Kless and Jayne were waiting for their flag off. Jayne participated in some of the carnival games, drawing and coloring are her favorite.

Adults and kids, all drawn to the My Little Pony TV shows, despite the hot sun. Power of ponies.

Finally the race (1km run) starts for the younger ones.

We added yet another family run medal to our collection. I love my family!