I would test Mom

and ask how her day went

after she’d had an outing.

Often I got a blank stare

or a vague reply, as

her memory is fading.

Today was different –

“I had a haircut”, she offered,

“By the usual lady.

She’s been cutting my hair

a long time now”,

she happily told me.




Day at Universal Studios Singapore

Universal Studios Singapore opened 6 years ago, but I’d never been there…. that is, until I got my free ticket! It would otherwise have cost at least US$50.


To get in you walk under the Sentosa Island monorail.

Under the monorail

It was Minion season, and there were fully costumed minions on stage and minion-wannabes on the ground greeting the crowd.

Minions and minions

This shopfront brought back memories – my Mom had a Singer and gave it to me, and I managed to misplace it. Thankfully, she doesn’t bring it up anymore.

Singer machine

I wonder how many Singaporeans identify with Marilyn, nonetheless she still draws a crowd, obviously.


The star attraction of Universal Studios Singapore is the Battlestar Galactica double roller-coaster ride. This was plagued with problems at the beginning and often out of action, causing much unhappiness with visitors to the theme pack. Today, it is fully operational.

Battlestar Galactica

One roller-coaster runs with it’s patrons suspended. You can see many choose to ride barefooted in order not to lose their slippers.Suspended

The other roller-coaster has its patrons seated, but it is no less thrilling, I’m sure.


The suspended people are sometimes turned upside down on their heads.Suspended and Upside-Down

Here’s a not very good picture of both rides intertwining.

Human Vs Cylon

Here’s another bad picture opportunity which I couldn’t resist, I call it “Facepalm”.


I decided to try this mini-ride because it looked safe. It’s called “Canopy Flyer” and it was terrifying.


Paid a brief visit to Sleeping Beauty’s castle, which was really very photogenic.


Jack’s Beanstalk tower concealed another ride for young kiddies.Jack's Beanstalk

Waited for Shrek he didn’t show up.Shrek

Took a last glimpse of the Battlestar Galactica: Human vs Cylon from across the waterAnother view

And I bid farewell to Universal Studios Singapore characters at the merry-go-round. It was a fun visit.

Last ride

Unsweet goodbye

Our friend was getting worse, and so 

we hastened to her side.  

I’m sorry, she whispered, gaunt. 

Why apologize? (Miracles happen

and) soon you’ll be up. 

The nurse brought yogurt. Eat, we said. 

No sugar, is there added sugar?

And so, three pairs of middle-aged eyes 

squinted at the fine print. We made out

Dextrose, sucrose, HFCS… 

Disappointed, we could not lie.

And as we left we said, get better soon, 

we’ll see you next time.

Guess where – 1

Can you guess where I took these pictures?

This first one is of a piece of art priced at SGD 6800 (about USD 9250). The card says to contact the gallery if you’re interested.

The second picture was taken from inside a lift (or elevator).

Actually if you read the fine the fine print in the sign above, it gives the location 🙂 

Mom’s smiles

Looking through old photographs of Mom, it becomes obvious to me how much Mom has changed. Many years ago when I was younger, she would hardly pose for photos, “I’m too busy,” she would say, “what do you want a picture for? I’m not dressed for it”. Her smile for the camera, if we could get her to pose, would be an intelligent one, sure of herself.

In more recent years, after the onset of dementia, she often seemed to be laughing and smiling very brightly. I remembered those occasions. When we dined out, she would only give a quick glance at the menu and say, “What are you having?” and then, “I’ll have that  too”. Her indecision extended to other areas, especially dressing, and packing for travelling, “What shall I wear? What should I bring?”. And later on, the questions broadened into, “What do I do now?”

Sometimes I wondered at the overbright smiles, was she hiding her uncertainty? Trying to fit in, being obliging, quick to join in in case a joke had just been made? Or maybe she was just happy, and its just me who was too suspicious because it seemed so out of character.

Nowadays, Mom smiles and laughs easily, she seems almost “ticklish” at times. She’s happy to be alive and looks forward to what the day brings, whatever it might be.


Propeller affair

I had never noticed how much more fun a propeller plane is compared with an jetplane. You can sense the ground speeding beneath the wheels and hear every creak of the wheel axels as the plane speeds up for take-off. For me, it adds to the thrill.

Just getting onto the plane feels like an adventure all in itself, to step out onto the tarmac, feel the wind, see the outside of the plane up close… and climb up.



One gets so much closer to the action – see the baggage loading for example


And if there’re decorative themes on the plane, so much the better to get up close.



It is a strange thing, but the camera shutter is so fast it freezes the propeller action, so giving the impression we are floating up into the air by magic.


To illustrate, the collage below shows how the propeller appears at two different camera shutter speeds. The left picture shows how the propeller is “frozen” by the quick shutter speed (1/10000 sec), and right shows a normal propeller action at a slower shutter speed (1/125 sec). I cannot explain though, why the propeller looks distorted when it’s spinning rapidly, it surely is not that flexible.


In case you were wondering, we were safely boarded before the propellers were started.