Monday, August 31, 2015

Treasure SG Photowalk - Aug '15

Treasure Hunters, heads up! Heard of Treasure SG? Well, I have. In fact, I have been following since May and tried to hunt for the treasure which is actually special coins hidden in various location. Read below rules for information. So far, I have not been able to guess the locations of the coins. Possibly because the clues are pretty hard! Then I stumbled upon Peatix that Treasure SG is conducting  photowalk around one of the iconic locations in Singapore! We get to explore the vicinity, discover the history behind, capture some nice photos, and get to know more people or fellow treasure hunters in the meantime! Ha~~! Venue is a secret but we would be notified towards nearer to the date of photowalk! Great opportunity~ I won't miss it! And guess the secret venue?

Credit : Treasure SG
"Treasure SG is a nationwide treasure hunt that will take place throughout year 2015 in celebration of SG50. Every month, treasures will be drop around Singapore at different locations, with clues being release on Treasure SG Facebook Page & Instagram. Following these clues, participants can go around Singapore to hunt for treasures and stand a chance to win attractive prizes. There will also be monthly online contests for participants to win prizes as well!"
Rules of Treasure Hunts
  1. Treasures in the form of coins will be hidden around various locations in Singapore. There will be 3 - 10 silver coins and 1 gold coin hidden monthly.
  2. Clues to these locations will be drop on Treasure SG Facebook Page and Instagram. Participants are encouraged to be a fan of both social media in order to be aware of the clues when they are release.
  3. Participants will have to solve the clues and go down to the locations in order to look for the hidden coins.
  4. Finders of the silver coins will get to win a consolation prize (vary every month), provided that they fulfil all the necessary conditions.
  5. Finder of the gold coin will get to win the monthly grand prize (top prize worth a minimum of $300, vary every month too), provided that he/she fulfils all the necessary conditions.
  6. Finders of the coins can get to keep the coins located as memento for participating in Treasure SG, once the whole event has ended.
  7. Finders of the coins are required to fulfill these necessary conditions:
i)     Take a Selfie with the coin at the location where the coin is found
ii)    Post the photo on Treasure SG Facebook Page or Instagram with #treasuresg or send the photo via email to
iii)   The above must be done within 1hr when the coin is located
iv)   Submit an online form indicating their particulars, as well as fulfill any other necessary mechanics if applicable

The Secret Venue

Take a look at the below photo for clue.
Fishing at the River.
Errmmm.... Excuse me, Ah Boy ah, your fishing rod is broken!
After an ice breaking introduction of ourselves and how we got to know about this event, we were asked to form into groups of 9 and we were given a piece of paper to "hunt down" a list of pictures and upload onto instagram, hash-tagging Treasure SG as well as our group name. A group of winners would be selected based on the number of correct photos submitted. Creativity will be considered should there be no clear winners. Winners would walk away with a bag of old school goodies!
Sir Stamford Raffles who founded Singapore

I was the only local around in my team, which surprised me because a couple of them looked more local than I do... haha~ I brought my team around searching for sculptures and statues. Yes, majority on the list is about the sculptures which I had blogged about sometime ago but I must admit there are parts of the Singapore River which I am not familiar with. The rest listed are Rainbow Building, Singapore Playgrounds, Oldest Bridge in Singapore ,the location of First Bridge over Singapore River and Love Locks. It was pretty easy to find the answers if you were to google. My group is a fun loving group and the photos were fantastic. I was glad to know them and we enjoyed ourselves very much.
Singapore River

Although this was not a guided tour, but we got to learn some facts about the Singapore River. Initially, we were confused about the oldest bridge and the first bridge because literally, aren't they the same bridge? Yes, they should be the same bridge but according to Google, we found the Oldest Bridge to be Cavenagh Bridge (1868) but the First Bridge is Elgin Bridge (1929)  Elgin Bridge has the year of construction listed below the bridge's name. Hey, that's strange ! And wait a minute! Notice the years they were built? Shouldn't the first bridge Cavenagh Bridge since it was built in 1868? Further reading mentioned that the current location where Elgin Bridge is located is where the first bridge was being built. Prior to the construction of the current bridge. It was a footbridge which was replaced by a wooden drawbridge (also known as Monkey Bridge) in 1822. Then, the bridge was demolished and a wooden footbridge replaced it. Finally, this was also demolished and replaced by the current existing bridge. Glad to be here and learnt something new.

If you wanna see the instagram photowalk we had yesterday, check this out!

My thoughts
It is also because of this photowalk, I noted a lot of people from other countries are pretty interested in our heritage. I have met Malaysians during the walking trail in Singapore Heritage Festival as well. Some of them I spoke to told me that their own countries had not been preserving their heritage well. I, myself , think that although Singapore had been preserving quite a number of important heritage. I think she could do better in preserving places such as Bukit Brown, Pulau Ubin and even the last kampong in mainland Singapore such as Lorong Buangkok. I do find it a pity if these were lost.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Book of the month: 冰雪公主 The Snow Princess

Have you noticed I seldom introduce Chinese books in my blog? One of the very reason is that Little One speaks Chinese at home and I think it is better to brush up her English by borrowing or buying more English books. This month, however, I would like to introduce a Chinese book ,another favorite bedtime story which Little One likes, titled 冰雪公主. This is a Chinese storybook which I had bought from Grassroots Book Room. A personal favorite of mine when I want to search for Chinese books for Little One as it sells mainly Chinese books. This book was chosen by Little One herself. Tell me which girl does not like princesses? 


埃米莉·霍金斯著 ; 丽莎·埃文斯绘 ; 霍霍译.This book, I find, suitable for pre-schoolers and lower primary. It is actually translated from the English version, The Snow Princess by Emily Hawkins, illustrated by Lisa Evans.

Cursed with a fragile heart of ice, a young princess was sent to live alone in a snow palace. One prince after another tried to save the princess and win her hand in marriage, but every one of them failed. It was only when she started to appreciate the love and friendship right under her nose that the princess found the power to break the curse.


Personally, I like the story. Although the starting was pretty sad to know that the young princess had to live in a cold palace at the top of the mountain all by herself. But hope and love is always within reach.  That is the morale of the story. This is one of Little One's favorite. Otherwise she will not keep asking me to repeat the story night after night.

What I like about this story is also the illustrations. They are beautiful. It is no wonder that it captures Little One's attention when she first saw it. You may want to take a peep here for the illustrations. This is not the first time we were exposed to the illustrator's work. We read The Nutcracker by Emma Goldhawk earlier this year which was also illustrated by Lisa Evans.

The book is rather textured, very similar to some textured book you see in baby books. Almost all the pages have some textured features. I am referring to the snowflakes, flowers , vines. It seemed that the Spot UV technique is used but I can't be sure. For the cover, a coarser texture is used. It looked like sparkled glue is used but it is not. haha... it seemed that the book made me very interested to know how the textures are done.

If you are interested in reading the book, you may want to check with Grassroots. Otherwise, you may want to borrow from the library. I may try to borrow the English version. :)

Link as below:,1 Chinese,10 (Nutcracker)

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PS: This is not a sponsored post.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Miniature Food Art

"This are not real food? Sure or not?" This was the response I get from my facebook personal account when I post the photographs of the workshop I attended last Saturday. Even my hubby was impressed. In fact, he took one photo of the miniature together with his finger to show how small it was. (Last photo of this post). Little girls could not resist the miniature. One of them was spotted playing with the instructor's display set. (Middle picture of the first photo)

Last Saturday, I was so excited to attend Miniature Food Art organised by the library led by AiClay ( to make my favorite Nonya Kueh- Ang Ku Kueh, Kueh Lapis Sagu, Kueh Dadar ( Kueh Ketayap) using polymer clay. The instructor from AiClay even brought a set of real kueh into the class. The smell was very tempting! It provoked a series of loving memories I had for these kueh. I forgot to ask the instructor where she gets the kueh from.

We were showed step by step live using what looked like a microscope which was projected onto a screen. How advanced!

There was even a discount offer to buy their Pocket Kitchen Set for sale. I admit it is very tempting but I do not have the budget. :(
I was pretty excited looking at these miniature cakes and pastries the instructor. Looks like a lot of effort is required.

Most of the items required to make the kuehs are here.
I would not talk more on Ang Ku Kueh since I have blogged on that before. I would blog on the 2 other kueh instead.

I used to like peeling Lapis Sagu layer by layer to eat when I was a child. It is said that by doing that, you are savoring or enjoying your life slowly. When I grow up, I think eating that way is a bit troublesome and I prefered to eat the Indonesian Kueh Lapis instead. Both are made layers by layers. Major difference are Lapis Sagu is more colourful, always 9 layers and is steamed while Kueh Lapis are in 2 tones of brown and is baked.
Grazing Kueh Lapis Sagu and Kueh Dadar after baking. See how many Lapis Sagu I had made but only the best ones will sit on the wooden tray.

Ta-dah! Presenting the Ang Ku Kueh, Kueh Dadar and Kueh Lapis Sagu. So mini and so cute! We can use it as a magnet just by sticking a magnet at the back. Otherwise, it would be a contribution to Little One's Kitchen Play Set.
Kueh Dadar is one of my favorite too! It is a crepe with grated coconut fillings! Yum! Among the 3 miniature nonya kueh that were taught in this workshop, I think this is probably the most difficult to make. I do not know why but the green crepe, which I had made coarse with sandpaper, tend to fold into waves when I was scrapping it gently from the tile. Hence I had some problems trying to unfold the miniature skin. The recipe for this kueh however seemed easy enough to make. Perhaps one day, I would try!

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Night Heritage Walk at Singapore Night Festival

Singapore Night Festival is coming. It will occur during the last 2 Fridays and Saturdays of this month. 7pm to 2am.
"The eighth installation of the iconic alternative night-time extravaganza of arts, culture and revelry returns to the Bras Basah.Bugis precinct with free spectacular performances, light installations and a multitude of activities for all to enjoy! In celebration of Singapore’s 50th birthday, visitors can look forward to an exciting line-up that will transform the festival grounds into a constellation of glittering local and international acts against the night sky."
                 ~ quoted from Singapore Night Festival website.

I strongly recommend the Night Heritage Walk. Fort Canning offers a beautiful captivating view at night if you were to climb on top of the hill. Be sure to bring along a strong torchlight and insect repellent. Do go as a group for safety reason as Fort Canning at night is pretty dark. If you have keen on the heritage of Fort Canning, this is one opportunity to go as a group. You may want to sign up here. Below is recollection of the trail I had taken last year. I used flashlight to capture only 2 of the structures because they are too dark to be seen.

History of Fort Canning

Fort Canning Hill was originally known as Bukit Larangan, which means “Forbidden Hill” in Malay. The locals believed the hill was the site of burial grounds and palaces built by the ancestral kings of the 14th century, and thus were forbidden to ascend the hill. When Raffles arrived, he set up his residence and the government house on the hill, as it provided a clear view of the port city. This gave the hill the name “Government Hill”.

In 1859, a decision was made to convert the hill into a military site. A fort was built, and named after Viscount Charles John Canning, Governor-general of India. “Fort Canning” subsequently became synonymous with the hill. The decision to surrender Singapore to the Japanese on 15th February 1942 was made here at the Battle Box but all the bad decisions prior to surrender were made at the headquarter at Sime Road Camp before the Allied army retreated to Fort Canning.

Now, most of the fort is gone. Only remnants remains. The place is now a park for visitors to enjoy.

Fort Canning Green

Did you know Fort Canning Green used to be a cemetery? It is the second cemetery site on Fort Canning. It used to have up to 600 graves. Some are prominent people such as George Dromgold Coleman, the first Government Superintendent of Public Works in Singapore. (He designed numerous buildings in Singapore, including the Armenian Church and the second Telok Ayer Market. Coleman Street was named after him.) Many of these graves were exhumed. Today, Fort Canning Green is a venue for celebrations, playing host to concerts, theatre productions and festivals. 

12 gravestones relocated from Bukit Timah Hill Cemetery.

One of the Gothic Gates constructed in 1846, entrance of the Fort Canning Green. There are 2 of them on the ground. The letters “IHS” were inscribed onto both gates. They stand for “Iota Heta Sigm”, the first three letters of the Greek word for “Jesus”.

Right to Left: Former Fort Canning Centre (now Singapore Pinacothèque de Paris), Memorial to James Brooke Napier and Cupolas. The Cupulas are designed by George Coleman too.
Interested to see the evidence that the site was a cemetery? Look at the walls surrounding Fort Canning Green. See whether you can find the headstone of George Coleman.
Majority of the gravestones, memorial and inscription plaques had been removed and set in the cemetery’s walls.

Silhouette of tree against the evening sky
Keramat Iskandar Shah

This keramat belongs to  Iskanda Shah, also known as Parameswara, the fifth and last Raja of Singapura. According to the Sejarah Melayu (the Malay Annals), he was the great-great-grandson of Sang Nila Utama, the founder of the Kingdom of Singapura (Singapore's previous name). When the kingdom of Majapahit launched an attack on Singapura. Iskandar Shah fled to Malacca, where he founded a new settlement and became its first ruler. As he had died at Malacca,  It is believed that his body is never buried on this ground.
The keramat
9-Pound Cannon  and the South Battery

This is one of the pair of 9-pound cannons, which was part of a series of artillery installed in Fort Canning. However, they were never used in combat. Instead, the cannon was fired 3 times a day to announce the time at 5 am, 1pm and 9pm. It was also used as an alarm system for town fires. The fort was demolished in 1907.

The Lighthouse, Time Ball, Flag Staff and Raffles House (Maritime Corner)
Pardon me for only showing you the lighthouse, because only the photo of it came out best. All these are replica, it's a pity the original are no longer here. Look at the captivating scenery I have took.

Before land reclamation took place, Fort Canning Hill was near the shoreline and was very visible from the sea. A lighthouse was built in 1902 to guide ships into the harbour along Singapore River. The lighthouse ceased operations in 1958 when high-rise buildings in the vicinity blocked it from view. It was replaced by an electric-powered light on top of the Fullerton Building, but that light has ceased operation since 1979 with more reclamation and developments in the southern coastline of Singapore. The lighthouse moved to the top of condominium in Bedok. Even that will cease operation soon. Another lighthouse is built on top of No. 3 Marine Terrace to take over it. This continues the list of lighthouses built on Singapore mainland. The other 4 lighthouses are offshore.

The original flagstaff was a wooden structure, and was erected in 1825. The flagstaff provided numerous signals and information, such as the arrival of ships and the conditions on the ships.

The Time Ball was originally erected on Fort Canning to keep time. It would be raised at 12:55pm daily, and then dropped at 1pm. This allowed everyone living in the vicinity to synchronise their clocks and watches with the time announced by the Time Ball.

The residence for Sir Stamford Raffles, known as Raffles House, was built here. In the past, it had a clear view of the settlement around Singapore River. It was subsequently known as Government House. The House is opened for functions and events. I had seen a wedding taken place at this very building with my family. 

Part of Singapore River can be spotted here

Wall sculpture
Fort Gate, Fort Wall and Sally Port

Perhaps the most fun part of the trail is climbing up the fort gate and walking through Sally Port. At
least, that was how I feel.

In 1859, a decision was made to convert the hill into a Fort. It was completed in 1861, and included a strong wall that surrounded the summit of the hill. A moat also ran around the wall. Today, the moat has completely disappeared, together with most of the Fort Wall. Only the Fort Gate and a fragment of the wall remain today.

If you want, you may want to try pushing the any one of the gate doors. They are pretty heavy. You can also climb up the narrow stair way to the top of the gate and have a view from the top.

There used to be 3 sally ports where troops could escape from enemies undetected. However, only one remains. This is located near the fort gate. It is slightly disappointing to me because I had imagine it to be a long, mysterious tunnel. haha...
Top of Fort Gate
All in all, the night experience in Fort Canning is fun. Do register with NParks if you are interested. Sending the link here again for your easy reference. Details of Singapore Night Festival can be found here.

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Our Jubilee Weekend (7th to 10th August)

Singapore is 50 this year! That is why you probably see SG50 everywhere you go. We had got an extra holiday this year because this is our Jubilee year which falls on a Friday. National Day which falls on 9th Aug is a Sunday and hence, Monday becomes a replacement holiday. That means we had a super long weekend this year.

In addition, we were spoilt for choice because there were plenty of free activities going on! Many were pretty tempting, such as free exhibitions, free shows, free cable rides and open houses. Finally I narrowed down to only 2 activities for family fun. That is going to the Art Science Museum on 7th and to the Science Centre on 10th . I had signed up 3 walking trails for myself. Below were our activity.

7th August
Tracing Lee Kuan Yew's footsteps in Singapore's first satellite town 
As Little One is not very interested in heritage trail, I only sign myself for this. The trail was brought in specially for SG50 by the volunteers of My Queenstown. They are now conducting 2 different trails from last month. Trail 1 -  Tanglin Halt and Duchess Trail and Trail 2 - Dawson & Alexandra Trail which started only recently. We were told there will be trail no 3 which covers Commonwealth Close!

Back to this special trail. We were brought to various spots that Mr Lee Kuan Yew left his footprint. The various spots include Queenstown library, Alexandra Canal Park and Commonwealth Close, covering part of Trail 1 and upcoming Trail 3 (Commonwealth). For those who are interested in cemetery. Yes, we were brought to visit the Hakka Cemetery which was located within the midst of HDB flats! Best of all, I discover that the tour guide was actually my senior! 

Mr Lee Kuan Yew took a photograph at Block 85 & 86 Commonwealth Close where the Home Ownership Scheme was introduced. Now the trees had grown and the 2 blocks of flats are upgraded.

My hubby had brought the girl to see the RSAF Black Knights (official aerobatics team of the Republic of Singapore Air Force) but their bus were stuck in a traffic jam even at 12 pm. It was also raining during that time. Hence, it was unlikely that they would be able to catch the Black Knights in action. As part of the plan was to go to ArtScience Musuem (ASM), we joined in the queue at Marina Bay Sands (MBS). In fact, for the first time, I thought MBS was like  mini Orchard Road. There were people everywhere. The queue for ASM was overwhelming. Actually, it was the first time I saw a queue for ASM. We have been visiting to ASM's free exhibition every National Day since Essential Eames in 2013 but nothing compared to the crowd on this very day. And I think this is the first time ASM opened all its exhibitions for free! The rain poured and stopped and poured again. By the time we realised we have to queue at least 2 hours, we were already in queue for an hour. We find it pity to drop out of queue since we had already queue so long. We were fortunate to bring some musical instrument for Little One to entertain herself. Otherwise, we would be off somewhere else. In the end we queued almost for 3 hours. this is our craziest queue record.

As the crowd in the basement housing "Dreamworks Animation" and "The Deep" were crowded, the usherer asked us to go to "Singapore Stories". True enough, there was not a lot of people, we could go through the exhibits comfortably, the same cannot be said for the other 2 exhibitions. In fact, we need to queue again to visit these other 2 exhibitions. In my opinion, there were too many people in these exhibitions especially "The Deep". Many times, I could not read the plaques as they were blocked by people standing in front of the exhibitions. Usherers came in from time to time to request the crowd to move in. Despite the fact we had to rush through the last 2 exhibitions because the museum is closing at 7pm, I am glad that I can came down to have a glimpse those mysterious creatures of the deep. Would I visit again? Probably, depending on whether I could save enough money from my marketing allowance. Heh...

I can't tell you the names of all these creatures as I fail to read the plaques
(Top right: Goblin shark , Bottom right: Rabbit fish)
We decided to dine at Millenia Walk to avoid the crowd every where else and glad that we chose here. We heard fireworks in the middle of our dinner and decided probably we would come back tomorrow to view it. After dinner, we decided to walk to Singapore River. We managed to catch an 8-minute long music and visual display entitled “A Celebration of Our Heritage” at the Fullerton Hotel's facade. I did not take much pictures as I was carrying Little One, explaining everything that appeared to her. 

Waiting for show to start

8th August:
We had breakfast at near our home. Initially, I thought probably we would go to Botanic Gardens or to the Merlion in the morning but guessed probably there would be lots of crowds. So last minute, I decided to give it a miss. Just try to enjoy the holiday.

I went alone to the bus tour which I sign up online with SG Heartmap. By the time I sign up, the website only had 1 vacancy for Northwest tour. Hence, I could not sign my family for it. The bus brought us to 3 locations, Woodlands Waterfront, Chong Pang Market and River Safari.

Believe or not, I have not been to the  Woodlands Waterfront as well as Chong Pang Market. Hence, this tour is a good opportunity to know more about these places.

Woodlands Waterfront seemed a good place for fishing, and overlooking  the Straits of Johore. When I saw the playground, how I wished Little One was here to enjoy it. This is one place which is not very accessible. There is only one bus (856) that goes here. Nevertheless, I was also glad that she was not here because we only have 15 minutes of free time, I doubt she would be satisfied with 15 minutes of play.

Chong Pang Market is named after Lim Chong Pang, son of Lim Nee Soon. He was a prominent businessman and long-time member of the Singapore Rural Board. The market is well known for its good food. This was my first visit. We were given free tasting of some food sold in the market. Duck Rice, Popiah and Fishballs. Mind you, they are delicious!Allow me to side track a bit, I am not a fan of fishballs because they make me puke if they are not fresh but these, I believe are very fresh because I have no problem consuming them!

Left: Jetty at Woodlands Waterfront; Right: free food at Chong Pang Market
Then we were on the way to River Safari, although we have tickets to enter the place for free, again, we have to beat the crowd as there were plenty of people there too. We were given tickets and was asked to go straight to the panda enclosures. After which we could stroll back to have a look at other organisms. Aren't we lucky, both the pandas are sleeping!
Sleeping pandas - Kai Kai and Jia Jia
I headed down to Esplanade Concert Hall's open house. I know hubby was already there with Little One. However, I could not contact him. I guessed he must have gone into the concert hall whereby no reception would be detected. I headed the concert hall and queued. Yes, it was a queue again. Luckily, I have a book with me. Otherwise I would be bored stiff.

The open house was an eye opener! We were introduced to the special features of the concert hall and they did confirm that there is no reception in the concert hall, so you can forget about 'wadsapp'ing or 'sms'ing. Sit down and truly enjoy the concert while you are in there. I simply enjoyed the performance by Ms Margaret Co Chen who played the pipe organ, National University of Singapore Society Choir which are made up of senior citizens with scintillating voices and Nanyang Polytechnic Chinese Orchestra which played our favorite drama theme songs! To tell you the truth, I was famished by the end of the concert because my lunch was actually the snacks at Chong Pang Market and some biscuits which I ate before entering the concert hall. Thankfully, hubby bought me some sandwich which I ate hungrily. Two days in a roll, we were in  Marina Bay and we did not managed to catch a glimpse of the fireworks. Hubby said that the Esplanade was very crowded to the extent the crowds were jamming at the escalator landing. Hubby had to go to Marina Link with Little One to have dinner then and hence missed the fireworks again.
Left:Pipe organ Right: NUSS choir performing.
9th August
National Day

I had signed myself up for the longest walk in my whole life. NDP Walk from Former Rail Corridor to Bukit Brown. It was a 20.5km from Kranji MRT Station to Bukit Brown starting from 8 am and ending around 4pm. If you are interested in the whole route covered, visit here. Hubby decided to stay at home but apparently Little One wants out. They ended up visiting Sentosa's Sand of Time.

I started the day waking up late. Kranji is nowhere near my home. I skipped breakfast and rushed to the meeting point. I was 10 minutes late and fortunately the group only started to leave. Heng ah! Lucky me! This was not your typical kind of guided tour although I did wish so. I did not learn much from the trip. It was more of a walk promoting healthy lifestyle. The crowd turn out was rather huge. I guess there were around 50 or more. There was a guide in front as well as the back of the group so as to ensure no one went missing on the way to Bukit Brown. This walk covered part of the green corridor and part Bukit Timah Nature Reserve , passing Mac Ritchie before arriving Bukit Brown.

Basically, although the guides did explain at certain point of time what we are seeing. I soon find myself lagging behind because I tried to capture some photos of what I saw during the trip. Hence, most of the time, I guessed I was in the middle of the group because we were mostly walking in a single file or in twos. The guide in front was walking very fast, in my opinion because the moment I stopped for photography, I lagged behind. There were at least 2 incidents groups were lost. The first being somewhere between Junction 10 and Rail Mall. The second being a T junction at Bukit Timah Reserve. In fact, we were lost twice at Bukit Timah Reserve and what was worst, my data plan did not work. Lucky for me, my friend joined me from Rail Mall so I was not so afraid of being in the "wild" all by myself. And also lucky for us, there was this senior participant with his friends who was rather familiar with Bukit Timah led us out to Mac Ritchie.

Monkeys at Bukit Timah and tracks near Rail Mall
 Did we complete the trail? Bet we did! A record breaking of 20.5km. Mission accomplished but I was dead tired by the end of the trail although they are conducting a tour and a celebration at Bukit Brown. I decided to leave with my friend. I seriously need a place to rest. I headed down to Botanic Gardens which was pretty nearby by hopping onto free bus rides. I idled and rested at Food for Thoughts with 2 drinks. Yes, not 1 but 2 drinks. Hubby had already informed that he had arrived home and asked me to get dinner. By this time, my handphone was going flat.

After visiting  ‘Orchids of Singapore Botanic Gardens & its heritage’, I went home with dinner. So our dinner was spent in front of the television watching National Day Parade. We tried to ballot for tickets for this special occasion but failed to get any. We continued our tradition of watching fireworks from our windows. LOL...

10th August
We decided to spend the whole day at the Science Centre. From the facebook status of the Centre, it was quite crowded at the Centre every day. Many free tickets were fully redeemed early in the morning for the first few days of Jubilee weekend. Despite those facts, we decided to go ahead because we promised Little One that we would go explore the Waterworks of the Centre that day. She had been wanting to visit HBX (Human body Exhibition). I was surprised that she repeatedly request for it because the first time I tried to bring her last year, she withdrew at the entrance and was even unwilling to go in via the side door.

We reached Science Centre at about 10:30am. Already all the free passes to Omni Theatre and Kids Stop were already full. We were diverted to enter via the Annexe where Interplay exhibition was held. Not a queue although people were filing in from different directions. We targeted to queue for HBX. According to notification, it was a 2 hour queue. The queue moved rather quickly to Maxwell auditorium where we got the entry tickets to HBX.  Marine Alcove, my daughter's favorite exhibition hall, was also used to cater the queue to HBX.

Left:Recollection Six at Interplay
Right: Alveoli of the lungs at HBX
We were pretty happy that Little One had overcome her fear to go into HBX, Yes, we successfully went into HBX! Hooray! After that, we had lunch. I had brought our own bread because I thought there would be lots of people waiting  to eat in the eateries in Science Centre. After that, we decided to return to Interplay because we had not been to the exhibition. The temporary exhibition is pretty fun for children and adults alike. Little One loves the Recollection Six and Temporal Distortion. Hubby and I personally love the Shadowgram which we kept for safekeeping. After that, we went  for water play  at Waterworks. Which child does not like water play? That was the last stop for the day and it ended with a happy note.


All in all, the Jubilee holiday is pretty tiring but rather fulfilling. I have been to places which I have never step foot on, complete a challenge which is rather physically demanding. We board on free rides and maybe even free calls and messages, went to free exhibitions and open houses. We are truly grateful to the people who worked or volunteered during these few days and made our Jubilee holidays memorable. Thank you so much every one. Happy SG50!

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Vanda "Miss Joaquim" and the Armenian Church

Who is Vanda Miss Joaquim?
In case you are wondering, who is Vanda Miss Joaquim. That is Singapore's national flower (selected in 15 Apr 1981), an orchid, named after the Miss Agnes Joaquim (7 Apr 1864 - 2 Jul 1899). The flower is a cross between Burmese Vanda teres (pod parent) and the Malayan Vanda hookeriana (pollen parent). It is a hardy flower and free flowering. 

The Vanda Miss Joaquim was selected from among 40 flowers, out of which 30 were orchids, as Singapore's national flower. This makes Singapore the only country to have a hybrid as her national flower. Among the several varieties of Vanda Miss Joaquim, the variety "Agnes" was chosen particularly for its vibrant colours, hardiness and resilience - qualities which reflect the Singapore spirit. Its ability to bloom throughout the year also won the judges over.

At Istana near the Villa

Buckill Hall at National Orchid Garden

Agnes Joaquim
Miss Agnes Joaquim, an Armenian, bred it and the plant was taken to taken to  H. N. Ridley, the director of the Singapore Botanic Garden at the time, who first described the hybrid plant in the Gardeners' Chronicle on 24 June 1893.

Agnes Joaquim won prizes at annual flower shows and famously won the prize for the rarest orchid at the 1899 annual flower show. The first prize was for a hybrid that was named after her, Vanda 'Miss Joaquim'. However, already suffering from cancer then, she died soon after receiving this prize.

Besides gardening, she was also an active member of the Armenian Church and a skilled embroiderer.

Agnes was the eldest daughter and second child of a brood of 11 of Parsick (Basil) Joaquim, an Armenian merchant and commercial agent. Their family had an illustrious history of contributions to the Singapore community, beginning with Agnes' father's philanthropy towards the general community.

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