Seen around town

We are approaching the Mid-Autumn on 4 October; this is the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar. Seasonal roadside decorations have been put up to both set the mood and remind us. The picture below shows large cellophane (or glass paper) lanterns which are traditionally lighted up by placing a burning candle inside… and then they look very pretty like stained glass sculptures flickering in the moonlight. One childhood memory comes to mind – the more coveted and treasured a lantern, the more quickly it catches fire and burns up. 

These doggies at a major shopping center never fail to attract crowds of admirers. This a rare photo without someone standing in the midst of them. I can’t figure who they are supposed to symbolise. Paparazzi? Doggarazzis? 

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Now this sight caught me by surprise. Google maps and Wikipedia informs me it’s a Thai Buddhist temple established almost a hundred years ago called Ananda Metyarama. It has a modern cubist extension added behind it in 2014. I may plan a proper visit with a camera some day. 


A rite of passage

Long ago I learned that social rituals are observed to seal an event, give meaning and help people adjust to changes. Graduations, weddings and funerals are examples of “rituals”. Rituals are to be respected; performing rituals bring the community across the threshold. As such rituals tend to be highly prescriptive ceremonies and full of symbolic meanings. 

I attended a graduation ceremony recently as a guest, marveling at the colorful robes (also called regalia) on stage and wondering how it has come to mean so much to us. Most of us there had no idea how this ritual came about but there was no mistaking the parents’ pride and the graduands’ exuberance!

Given the number of little teddies on sale, it was obviously not part of the ritual to take one home. 

I kept wondering “rented” or “owned”?
With glasses or without?

Xmas in Singapore

‘Tis the season

For bright lights and gifts

Pine trees and snow…

We bought into the idea; the commerce, the hype

But so what, it’s all good fun!

A Christmas Wonderland is a seasonal offering at Gardens by the Bay, now in it’s third year. In it’s own words, it is “Singapore’s biggest yuletide fair, created to enthral visitors with a combination of magnificent sculptures of light and charming festive markets alongside carnival games.”

Here are a few pictures from my visit recently –


Light sculpture brightens up the background whilst we get our food
One of the permanent “trees” at Gardens by the Bay – if you fancy, you could get a ticket and go up onto the walkway
Stunning light display
The walkway between the two furthest “trees”
Enthralling fake snow!

Hazy Outlook

The weather isn’t so good in Singapore. The wind brings fine ash particles from the plantation fires that are raging over in Sumatra. Days are shrouded dull grey. It rains and rains – cloud seeding is rumored – but that does nothing to the haze as the particles are just too fine. They should make it rain on the fires, not on us!

And Mom is showing more signs of confusion. I think the lack of strong daylight is interfering with her daily rhythm. Her afternoon naps are shortened; and she demands her bath and dinner several hours before they are due. The lack of sleep adds to her confusion, and for the first time we hear the confused speech associated with dementia. She’s looking for something, anxious about the “renovation”, having to go somewhere, speaking a strange dialect.

She doesn’t smile as freely. Her eyes are wary now.

I hope it’s not a lurking infection. If only the haze would clear up soon.

Election Day

Singaporeans go to the polls today, Sep 11, 2015. It’s very exciting.

Photo from the Election Departments website

There’s been plenty of rhetoric from both sides contesting the 89 seats at stake. The ruling party will try hard to hold onto its 79 seats. There are 8 opposition parties. Yes, Singapore is funny like that. It doesn’t make the fight any less vigorous though.

Will the ruling party win big? Will the opposition make more inroads? The outcome is still hazy. And coincidentally, so is the weather.

Mom is very clear though.

Do you know it’s election day today, Mom?
But you cannot vote. Do you know why?

Mom smiles and says, “Because I am Malaysian.”

I’m surprised she knows. I should ask her who she thinks will win.

The Power of Nature

Tropical thunderstorms can be ferocious. In Singapore the worst ones happen in the middle of the night during the inter-monsoon season. Fortunately, apart from the need to get up to close the windows, I sleep very well through them! I love the rumbling thunder and the sound of the pouring rain. Sometimes, the wind gusts and howls, and it is accompanied by the crashing of things falling and breaking.

Here’s the evidence of one such gusty storm in April this year; an uprooted tree and broken bamboo stems, in the nature reserve. Part of the cycle of renewal, I’m sure.