Thursday, June 25, 2009

Kg Chai Chee Mandarin/English Toastmasters Club Officers' Installation Ceremony

23 June 2009

We were honoured to have the outgoing Division L Governor, Mr Yak King Chuan, ATMS AL, and the incoming Division L Governor, Wang Hong Shun, ACB CL to our special meeting. Today, the new Exco members would receive their appointment certificates.

Opportunities are abound for Toastmasters. Not only can one develop public speaking skills and confidence, one can also learn to become a better leader.

In the coming term, I would be promoted as President of the club, from my current position as Vice President Education. Has been a few years since JC where I last headed a committee. I believe this would be a great experience and learning opportunity.

Interesting Sharing by an American at MPS

22 June 2009

As usual, Monday is Meet-the-People Session day. After volunteering for some time, everyone just becomes like a family. We chat and discuss about everything that's going on in our lives. The more amusing part is how the seniors and the youths have fun surfing Facebook after the MPS.

Today, there was an American at the MPS. Curiously, I asked him about the general sentiment of the politics of Singapore. He replied that Americans don't really know what happens outside America. In school, students learn about the geography of the United States, memorising each state and its history. As such, Americans rely upon the media to obtain information about other countries. Although he didn't really answer the question directly, he mentioned that he loves the Singapore system.

Some of my University lecturers had also mentioned the point about Americans being oblivious to the events occuring around the world, but this is the first time hearing it from an American himself.

This just reminds me of the fact that in every group of people, there would be the few outspoken among others. Being outspoken, they can push for agendas more effectively than the rest. However, their stands might not reflect the wishes of the majority. Similarly, the American media, being owned by big businesses, which in turn are owned by Democrats or Republicans, can push their agenda through painting their own version of the story.

It is ironic that as the ease of access of information increases, the dominance of individual perspective over information decreases...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Amazing Marina Green Race 2009

21 June 2009

The Amazing Marina Green Race 2009 is held in conjunction with the Singapore International Water Festival. The festival comes right before the Singapore International Water Week, where delegates from all over the world would be conjugating in Singapore. SIWF is organised by Singapore Polytechnic and the Public Utilities Board.

The Race is conducted by the Chemical & Life Sciences Department of SP. Baohui is involved as the Publicity Head and designed the cool-looking event banners and posters. To support her, Mother, Aunt and I form the team - Team Marvel Heroes.

According to the briefing on Friday (19 June 2009), the teacher-in-charge disclosed that there are about 90 teams taking part in the race, with 10 group prizes to be won. With slightly more than 10% of winning and looking at the auditorium which was packed with highly energetic teens, I highly doubted that my team would come in top. Nevertheless, we still did well!

It has been a super-duper long time since I alighted at the Marina South MRT station. We were ferried by shuttle buses to the Marina Barrage. When I first saw the exterior design of Marina Barrage, I was not impressed. I thought it looked unpragmatic. I was wrong. Since we were early, we explored the Barrage and I realised it's a heck of a great place. I particularly like the flying kites. The wind is so conducive that even a kite tied to a bag on the other end, can fly by itself!

After enjoying the superb view from the rooftop of the Barrage, we assembled at the bridge, readying ourselves for the flag-off.

Game 1 & Quiz @ Marina Barrage: Find the hidden items

Baohui was the game I/C for this station. This game helped us to be familiar with the Marina Barrage. Hidden items (recyclables) are everywhere, even at the centre of the fountain! Due to time constraints, we only managed to locate 11 out of 15 items.

The quiz was relatively easier. We managed to get some help just by asking the security guards.

Games & Quiz @ Singapore Flyer: A little Physical...

On our way to the next stop, we saw contestants running across CityLink. Wow.

We had some advantage since Mother and I had just been to Singapore Flyer not too long ago. The quiz was finished in no time, with the assistance of the receptionist. The games were however a tiny-miny challenging as it was a little more physical. We had to get to push-up positions to retrieve some items across a gap. The other game involved Mother throwing a ball and myself catching it with a basket in varying distance.

Games & Quiz @ Esplanade: The Plane that didn't Fly

The Information Counter answered about half of the quiz. It was around noon time and the weather was excruciatingly hot. One of the game involved magnetic fishing from a pond. Another was to make a plane that looks good and flies good. Unfortunately, ours didn't even glide. It just went topsy turvy and did some somersaults before landing at the 2-point (out of 10 points) zone.

We headed back to Marina Barrage with great satisfaction, albeit the sweating and tireness.

Once we registered our return, we headed to the Sustainable Singapore Gallery.

The highlight of the gallery is the simulation of the actual workings of the dam at Marina Barrage. A "storm" broke out and "rainwater" fell on the reservoir. As the water builds up to a certain level, the dam opens up to release water to the sea.

The gallery is pretty interactive. Before we left, we took a photo.

We left Marina Barrage for the Active Aging Carnival at Suntec City. It might sound ironic, but I enjoyed participating in this event meant for Mother and Aunt. The most memorable would be the booths offering free Segway (the human transporter) rides and free motorbike rides.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bowling with Baohui

15 June 2009

Went bowling with Baohui at Hougang Superbowl. Was surprised to see it look new on the inside since the building's external structure looks old.

After a game of nail-splitting bowling, we went for some high tea at Xin Wang Cafe. This girl looked so mature, looking through the menu and placing order with the waitress.

In the evening, went to distribute the Civil Defence Emergency Handbook and RC flyers to the residents, before going to the weekly MPS.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Trip to Singapore Flyer & Peranakan Museum

14 June 2009

Woke up with a painful shoulder. The jog last night must have strained my shoulder muscles. On a slightly drizzly Sunday morning, Mother, Aunt's family and myself embarked on our trip to the Singapore Flyer and Peranakan Museum. The trip is organised by Eunos Zone '2' RC, in celebration of Father's Day.

Singapore Flyer has a very competitive tour package for RCs. With just $35 per pax, we are entitled to an 8-course luncheon, a river boat ride plus tickets to the Singapore Flyer. The normal price to take the Singapore Flight would have cost $29.50. That explains why such tickets are very quickly sold out by the RCs that have organised such trips.

We enjoyed our lunch at Kia Hiang Restaurant (Kim Tian Road). Although the dishes were simple ones, they tasted superb. It is a wonderful business idea for Singapore Flyer to tie up with restaurants to maximise business during this economic downturn.

After the satisfying lunch, the 5 Eunos buses headed to the Merlion Park, where we took the river ride across Singapore's first reservoir in the city.

I seized the opportunity to take a picture with Mother with the Merlion. Although it is a "cliche" to do so, I thought it memorable to have the half-completed IR towering behind as a background.

I love the city landscape of Singapore. It reminds me of the numerous documentaries and postcards that trigger the nationalistic pride in me. The iconic buildings with the nation's short history would see newer developments that will marvel tourists and Singaporeans soon.

The river ride was a short one that ferried us to the Singapore Flyer.

We took a family photo when the capsule reached its peak of 175 metres.

As the Flight came to an end, we saw a model of the future landscape of Singapore.

There was a performance by Sponge Bob & Square Pants from Nickelodeon beside the fountain. It was hilarious to see how two of them came walking in with the trademark music and all the kids going crazy.

Our next stop was the Peranakan Museum. It was an eye-opener for myself. Didn't expect Peranakans to have such a rich culture. Their culture presents a fusion between those of the Chinese and Malays.

The Peranakan Altar:

A Peranakan wedding procession:

Female Peranakans are called Nonyas. These are their traditional costumes:

Tours are tiring. Each participant of the trip was given a small cake to celebrate Father's Day. I had an early sleep that night.

Mr Zainul's Son's Wedding

13 June 2009

Mr Zainul invited Eunos grassroots leaders to his son's wedding at Malay Heritage Centre. It was just nice that when we reached, the newly wed couple had just arrived in their wedding car.

This is the first Malay wedding that I have attended. Relatives and friends come at scheduled timings to wish their blessings on the newly wed. Performances such as singing, dancing and music entertain everyone while they enjoy the food and chat with each other. Like the Chinese wedding, it is a great opportunity for relatives and friends to have a reunion and catch up with one another.

After the wedding, we returned to Eunos CC to fold our YEC BGM letters for mailing. And then, we started peeling eggs for Happy Happy Sunday which will be held in the following day. Happy Happy Sunday is an initiative that provides free breakfast to needy families over the span of 52 weeks.

Jogging at night is an enjoyable experience. Not only is it cooling, the air also seems fresher with the lessened traffic. I attempted my first solo jogging to East Coast Park and back. Jogging alone seems challenging as the tendency of one to want to stop is high.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Vietnam Toastmasters Club 4th Meeting

13 June 2009

When Geok Cheng invited me to Vietnam Toastmasters Club to be a project evaluator, I thought it would be a great opportunity to try out the job.

In the morning, I made my way to the Lee Kong Chian School of Business, Singapore Management University, where the meeting was held. The place is easily accessible and the facilities were wonderful. As I said in my evaluation speech, the club is "well endowed".

In the meeting, the club sponsor and mentor Geok Cheng announced that the club has now been chartered. Although the club is young, the proceedings were professionally conducted and the enthusiasm of every member is high. Everyone seemed to be so energetic and eager to participate.

My maiden evaluation went to Grace's maiden speech. She talked about her experience in stepping out of her comfort zone and one way she did so, was to join Toastmasters. Well said!

Clinte gave a special speech item, "The Big Catch", in which he covered the 3 main types of speech and how to go about perfecting in them.

Receiving the appreciation ribbon from Charter President Catherine Tran:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Trip to Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research

11 June 2009

I recently read about the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research on the news and so decided to visit it since we are already in the vicinity.

Being my second time there, I managed to find my way. Although this museum is open to the public, it is quite a difficult task to navigate and locate the place.

We reached at 4.55pm and were told we had only 5 minutes left, so we took a quick browse. I thought it would be a good idea to organise a trip to this museum but it's not open during weekends...

The wild cat (beside the snake) that got knocked down by a vehicle at an expressway:

Featuring animals that are stuffed and preserved: