Friday, January 30, 2015

Book of the month: Nini in Changi Village 樟宜村姑妮妮

Recently, I have been to the Singapore City Gallery. Can you guess the book I am going to blog about this month?
A model in Singapore City Gallery

Friday, January 23, 2015

Project Jurong - Exploring the neighbourhood Part II

Talking about Jurong, I am sure many locals know it is an industrial area in the West of Singapore. Do you know that there is more to it? I am not talking about the Jurong Bird Park, Chinese Garden , Science Centre or NTU. Well, I certainly learn more during my 2nd session of TRANS.

Jurong has been part of my life for at least 10 years. I studied in Jurong and worked in Jurong. I am frequently go to Jurong East shopping malls and in the past, Jurong Point shopping mall but yet there is more areas to explore other than  these. It was only 2 years ago I went to the Chinese Gardens but I have yet to land my feet into Japanese Gardens which is just next to it. You could see how little I explore the little red dot in the past decades of my life.

The previous week, we took photos of the modern Jurong. This session we were supposed to travel to the old historic sites of Jurong to take photo. We have with us, Dr Lai Chee Kien, a historian, who told us the history of Jurong. The idea was to capture the essence of Jurong via our lens.

History of Jurong

Jurong used to be a swampy, hilly area. How was it transform to its present state, an industrial estate with residential area and amenities combined?

In many countries, industrial area are separated from residential area. However, this is not the case for Singapore. There are actually residential areas in Jurong. In order to clean the air in Jurong, lots of trees and plants were planted wherever an estate is built. Hence, Jurong developed as a “garden industrial town”, residential areas are named as gardens. Eg. Taman Jurong, Pandan Gardens and Teban Gardens. The segmentation of land use plays an important part in the town planning. The heavy industries were nearer to the coast and not next to the residential areas.

Former Jurong Town Hall 

The development and management of Jurong Industrial area took place in the Old Jurong Town Hall (now known as iHub). This was set up in 1 June 1968. This building used to house the Jurong Town Corporation.

This distinctive landmark of Jurong was designed by Architects Team 3. It was the winning entry as a result of an architectural design competition conducted in 1968. The 5 storey building was completed in 1974. It was conserved in 25 November 2005. What is interesting about this architecture is that it looked like a ship from a distance with the digital watch tower looking like a periscope or mast overseeing the development of Jurong. This design, I think, is very apt for Jurong because of the vision to transform Jurong Port into an international multi purpose port and to support the growth of Jurong Industrial Estate. Clock Tower was common in those days but this digital clock tower is first of its kind. It was sponsored by Seiko. Digital clock was a fashionable thing back then and the Former Jurong Town Hall was the first to have a digital clock tower.

Former Jurong Town Hall

Pandan Reservoir

This is the largest service reservoir, located near Penjuru Road, plays an important part in Singapore industrialization. It provides non-potable water to the surrounding industrial areas and in particular, the Jurong Industrial Estate. It is formed by damming the mouth of Sungei Pandan, It is currently managed and maintained by the Public Utilities Board of Singapore.

My first visit at Pandan Reservoir

Kayaking is one of the activity in this reservoir

Jurong Hill

It is a 60 meters tall scenic hill. If I am not wrong, this is the only hill left in Jurong. Commanding a panoramic view of Jurong Town since 1971, the hill became a well known landmark. It was a popular spot for wedding photos. The park was constructed by JTC Corporation. Within the park is a "garden of fame", are many trees planted by visiting foreign dignitaries, such as Queen Elizabeth II and Deng Xiao Ping.  There is a look-out tower where one can get an aerial view of Jurong. Jurong Bird Park is located on the western slope of Jurong Hill. There used to be a Hilltop Japanese Restuarant here.

Look out tower

Ariel view of Pulat Damar Laut with Jurong Pier Flyover and Jurong Industrial Estate in the foreground and  Jurong Islands (where Singapore's petrochemical industries took off) in the background. What I like is the design of the bridge .  

H-shaped JTC flats

Many Singaporeans knew of HDB (Housing and Development Board) flats, a fraction probably knew of flats built by SIT (Singapore Improvement Trust, predecessor of HDB) which are located mainly in Tiong Bahru and Old Airport Road. However, I doubt many knew of flats built by JTC, located mainly in the industrial area such as Jurong and Sembawang. I am one swaku.

These flats by JTC were built to provide housing for people who worked in Jurong. These flats looked like the letter H from top view. We visited these 2 blocks of flats, Blk 171 and 172 Boon Lay drive. What is special about these flats is that these 2 blocks of flats share 1 common lift which was built in between the 2 blocks. In those days, these arrangement foster good relationships between neighbours as they are bound to meet each other when they use 1 common lift. These flats have some common corridors linking to the lift. If I have more time, I would probably share some more photos of these flats. Some of these flats have windows to view onto the corridors, probably good to monitor the kids at play while the moms are working their chores around the flats.

We love these flats, they are unique in their own way. Unfortunately, these 2 blocks are marked for en-bloc.

Blk 171 and 172 Boon Lay Drive

Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle (Dragon Kiln)

Thow Kwang Pottery is one of the 2 remaining dragon kilns in Singapore. It is almost 70 years old. This was the second time I visited the place. As my camera was running low on battery since I have been taking photos for about 3 hours, I did not take much pictures.

The dragon kiln lies on the slope of a hill, this allows hot air to raise towards the tail of the tunnel when the fire chamber (dragon head) is being fired. It is currently being fired only twice a year.

The historic value of this wood firing place is great. Wood firing is a dying art in Singapore. The owner, Mrs Yulianti Tan, keeps the kiln running due to her strong passion to keep the art and tradition alive.

According to Dr Lai, Jurong's red clay were good to make bricks. Many of the hills made way for housing estates and the Industrial Estate. Sad to say, none of these bricks factories survived today due to the competition of the availability of a cheaper alternative: concrete slabs that were imported to Singapore.

What was interesting was that our fellow photographers managed to find bricks made from Jurong Brick Works here. Bricks that were made in Singapore had their factory names imprinted onto the brick recess.

If you are interested in reading more about the kiln, you may want to visit The long and winding road

Thow Kwang conducts classes and they sell pottery as well.

Location: 85  Lorong Tawas, off Jalan Bahar, Singapore

Ink Transfer programme
We did the ink transfer onto the kites the next day. We made 50 kites for SG50, these would be exhibited in Jurong Regional Library later this year. 

I am glad that I participated this library programme. Not only did I get to learn more about photography techniques, I also learn more about Jurong. Furthermore, I made some new friends!

Other interesting places in Jurong

  • Jurong Eco Garden (Just next to Thow Kwang, in fact, Thow Kwang almost made way for it)
  • Museum @ Taman Jurong
  • Jurong KTMB Railway
  • NTU arches
  • Singapore Discovery Centre and Singapore Army Museum
  • Science Centre
  • Jurong Bird Park
  • Jurong Park Connector
  • Mosaic Clock House Playground @ Blk 176 Boon Lay Drive
Exploring Jurong Series: 
Trans Project (Modern Jurong) Project Jurong Part 1
Trans Project (Olden Jurong) Project Jurong Part 2

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Project Jurong - Exploring the neighbourhood Part I

The new year had just started. I am still in the midst of coping with everything that is going on in my life. Still, I manage to find time participating in library programmes.

I am now attending : JRL Live! - TRANS. It is a photography project to capture memories of Jurong , both the modern (past) and the old (which would take place this Saturday). After which, we would be doing ink transfer and kite bunting this coming Sunday for an exhibition in July. I would be attending the workshop alone and Little One would be taken care of by her father.

In the first session of the programme, we learnt some techniques from our instructor, Mr Ray Chua, how to take good photos with our cameras or handphones. This time round, I learnt not to use the intelligent mode of the camera and tried to use my own 'skills' for nice photos. We took some photos during the session and were encourage to go around Jurong for more photo shooting.

I returned with Little One to visit Jurong Regional Library to return books. I found some time snapping around the place. I did not venture far with Little One around. We stayed around the library, the shopping malls , bus interchange and MRT station for the shooting.

Below photos are taken by me, all unedited except the watermark. What do you think of them ? I am using a compact camera.

J Gateway which is still under construction

Chinese decoration spotted in Westgate Shopping Mall

Westgate Food Court - assortment of lines and patterns

Jurong East MRT station. Love the architecture and the blue sky 

Bicycles along the link way to J Cube Shopping mall

JTC Summit,Big Box and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital 

Jurong Regional Library

Jurong Regional Library

Jurong East Temporary Bus interchange

Structure at Gateway

Genting Hotel- The first hotel in Jurong
Linking with :-

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Exploring Jurong Series: 
Trans Project (Modern Jurong) Project Jurong Part 1
Trans Project (Olden Jurong) Project Jurong Part 2

Monday, January 5, 2015

Little development (Oct to Dec)

1. Preparation for P1 - exposure to money management.

This is not my idea. It was the school's idea to prepare Kindergarten 2 (K2) children for Primary 1 (P1) next year. Hence, there was an Entrepreneur Fair. K2 would sell stuffs to the rest of the pre-schoolers. We armed Little One with S$4 in coins and she bought these with S$2.90. I am glad she did not attempt to spend all her money but she forgot my advice to buy only 1 tidbit. She bought 5! I guess tidbits are hard to resist?!?
Pardon for poor photo quality. In total, she bought 4 tidbits, a sticker craft, a pen (which she thought was a glue), a bottle of bubbles, a balloon, a piece of sticker, a paper clip and a photo of herself.
We reinforced the above idea by letting her pay for her favorite food. Look at Point 10.

2. Went exploration in various new places
This quarter we went to many places together , mostly during the holidays. We visited Istana, Kidstop, Gillman Barrack, Pasir Panjang Nursery, Telok Blangah hill, Ponggol Park, Kampong Lorong Buangkok, and Queenstown Driving Centre Open House. Isn't it amazing though Singapore is a small country, there is still lots of places we have yet to explore?

3. 1st concert performance ever!
Yes, this is her first performance in school. Although her previous childcare has concert performance but we were given the option to opt in or out of the performance. We feel it is the right time now for Little One to perform.  We were excited about it. She is too!

4. 1st time at HeART Studio
This is the first time she attend a course at an Art Studio. This is a giveaway we won. The teacher is very dedicated and took time to explain to me what she had done.

5. Contacted conjunctivitis

Little One contacted conjunctivitis last October and had to missed out her cousin's birthday party. We took the chance to explain the importance of hygiene and cleanliness.

6. bathing by herself.

We started asking Little One to bath by herself. So far so good.

7. Leaf painting
This was the first time she did printing with leaves. This is done by incorporating various printing tools.

8. Shredding,peeling veggies, cutting tofu and cooking for the first time.
During this holiday, Little One experience the above activities. Now that holiday is over, I think she would have lesser opportunities to work in the kitchen. I shall see how I can incorporate this activity in her life. Meanwhile, she is adjusting to her daily school schedule.

9. Motor skills
Her motor skills had improved a lot. She is able to climb higher, she is able to go down the escalator without much help. She rode a sampan and tried to row it.

10. Buying her own food
She is buying her own food and bringing it back without much fuss. She is still learning about money transaction.

11. Swimming
Her father started to teach her swimming this quarter. It has been going on and off  during the whole quarter. I guess that is the disadvantage of not bringing her to swimming classes. Still, I am very proud of the 2 of them. Little One is able to swim with the float on. She looked real cute kicking and propelling herself forward while she swims with her float on. I am proud with Hubby because he managed to train her to swim this way. I hope Little One would be able to proceed with swimming without the float.

12. Teaching Han Yu Pin Yin
This quarter I have start teaching Han Yu Pin Yin. Initially I was worried that she may confuse with phonics but luckily, that did not happen! :)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Surviving Year 2014 and Reflection

Happy New Year everyone!

In a flash, a year had past by and I started the day with a running nose! I must have caught a cold last night. These few days the temperature in Singapore is hovering at around 23- 25 Degree Celsius. This is also the monsoon period marked by heavy rains and strong wind. People are prone to get sick during this period of time. A hot soup seemed to solve the symptom for now.

I do not really set resolutions for the new year because you can see the wishlist which I have on my blog is something that is not totally under my control. I shall explain why these are difficult to achieve.

Being stay at home mom (SAHM)

My ex-colleagues and friends have been asking me how I have been after I quit my job a year ago. In summary, I would say money is tight but I do not regret the decision. What is more important than watching your children in good hands?

I am a SAHM for a year. Anyone with children would tell you taking care of children is not an easy task.

For the first 2 years of Little One's life, I have been breastfeeding through the night. When Little One first attended school, she waned off breast feeding gradually and started to fall sick frequently. That means waking up in the middle of the night to check her temperature and feeding her medication. Now that she fall sick less frequently, she wet the bed. Hence, I have to wake up to get her to the toilet in the middle of the night. Please don't be mistaken, my hubby does help but it is a mom's nature to wake up in the middle of the night whenever the child stirred in his/her sleep. I often woke up when Little One had a nightmare. I would hear her murmur in her sleep. I would wake just to check on her. These are the reasons why I could not have a good night sleep. Things are going to get better, I should be getting less and less sleep deprived. It is also helped that I am a SAHM, I get to wake up late. I still remember the days when I need to wake up early in the morning to send her off to school by public transport and then rush to work. At the end of the day, I was totally exhausted. Hence, I am very much envy moms who are still energetic after working and taking care of children.

Being SAHM, meant I have lesser money to spend. I have to spend within the household budget which is mainly for grocery ( food) and my transport fee. It is not a lot (less than $400) My transport fee cost $50 on a bad month and $20 on a good month.  We could not afford to send Little One to swimming class because it is pretty expensive. We are considering to send Little One to ballet classes but none of the CC near us are offering classes. It makes no sense to travel all the way because it is additional transport cost. It is good that Little One had wane off formula milk and went fully diaperless last year. These would certainly burst the budget and I would have to ask hubby for more money. I set not to buy clothes for Little One unless it is absolutely necessary. I do not mind having the hand me down clothes from her cousin. On holidays, I would treat Little One to some trips using my own savings. Of course, I could use my own savings to go on holiday (Japan) with Little One but I think it would be unwise to do so since I am not working. I still have my own life insurance to support.

Now. I am happy with teaching Little One whenever I can to cook, pass on knowledge or to experience the great outdoor. Although Little One do pester for toys but I know she does not really need them because she is not lacking of any. In fact, I have not bought her any toys this year. I like to invest on craft materials and experiences instead. It helped a lot that NLB is offering quite a number of free programmes for children.

Returning to work force
Of course, I do if given a chance. I hope to clear our housing loans as soon as possible. However, having no one to take care of Little One meant I could hardly get a part time job unless I could find one that can accept 3 hour work per week day and accept me to be away during the school holidays.

Little One's progress
This year, I would be focusing more on Little One's progress.I am trying step by step to prepare Little One for Primary School. This year we would be enrolling her to primary school.

I am teaching her the concept of money and hopefully she knows how to pay the right sum of money to the vendors next time when she is in school

I am also teaching her Han Yu Pin Yin but fear that she may confuse them with phonics.

Next year, I hope I can make her a more responsible child who is capable of taking care of her own things.

My progress
I hope to exercise more and keep myself fit. A healthy body is needed for the tasks that a mom has to do. I would like to explore more culinary dishes to feed my family. In addition, I must reflect on myself how I should keep my temper under control and not burst unnecessarily.

Blog's progress
I admit I am not good with words. Thank you for all your time and patience reading my post. My blog had an average of 3.2K page view per month last year, an huge increase compared to previous years.

I enjoy travelling around Singapore especially if it is free. Hence, besides blogging about Little One's journey, I have been blogging on my travelling experiences and craft works.

All time favorite award goes to...

Chinese White Honeycomb cake (Bak Tong Gou, 白糖糕) and Steamed Rice Cake (松糕 ) posted in 2012 but remains as top post ever since. None of my posts had ever beat its page view since then. It is the most commented post and many are interested in the recipe of the honeycomb cake.
Do you feel like making it? It is simple and easy to make. All you need is waiting time.

Top 5 post of 2014
These are selected based on total page views

5. She posted her first mail
This is a Wordless Wednesday post. Little One wrote on a postcard and send it off personally. This was one of her milestone. She had personally decorated the words that she wrote and had been tall enough to post in this pillar box outside the Philatelic Museum.

4. Our First and Probably Final Fishing at Bottle Tree Park 
Our first trip to Bottle Tree Park. Although GUI is allowed to stay but it is still sad to see such a place gone. This was the first place Little One had gone for fishing. There are others but I think are not as cheap. If you have any place to recommend, please do let us know. hehh...

3. How to bandage a child's finger tip
Do you know how to bandage a child's finger especially it is a serious cut and it is at the tip of the finger? Read to find out. This is the first first aid tip I have on the blog. I do not wish for more to come!

Kampung are part of Singapore's history and yet they had made way due to development. This particular kampung is the last one standing in Singapore mainland. You can also find kampung in Palau Ubin but a small kampung amidst  a city is rare.

1. The number post goes to ...
Tutorial: How to make needle felted animals
I am still a noob in needle felting. I have plenty of ideas on what to do but simply too lazy to get started. 1 needle felting takes hours of work. I do not feel like having them half done. This tutorial is my second attempt on 3D animals. The post had became second in my all time favorite posts.

Meanwhile, enjoy 2015!
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