Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sharing Emceeing techniques with Senior Citizens

26 February 2011

Gave a sharing on public speaking and emcee techniques to a group of active seniors. I was invited by the Age Management N Enrichment (AME) College. I was impressed with the seniors who were so enthusiastic to learn a new skill.

Lunch with Jun Yi and Dewi

23 February 2011

Had lunch with Jun Yi and Dewi after my final job interview as Industrial Relations Officer of the NTUC.

Eunos Heights Chinese New Year Dinner 2011

20 February 2011

Eunos Zone '3' (Heights) Residents' Committee held our Chinese New Year Dinner 2011 at Eunos Community Club Hall.

Children of residents welcoming our Grassroots Adviser Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed

Giving my speech as the RC Chairman

"Let's bring on the Dance Floor, man!"

Friday, January 20, 2012

AME College Talent Search 2011 Finals

19 February 2011

The Age Management N Enrichment (AME) College Talent Search 2011 Finals was held at SAFRA Boon Lay.

AME College is Singapore's first Education Provider for Seniors.

AME Founder & Principal Ms Amy Chua

Fashion Show contestants

Eunos Lunar New Year Dinner 2011

18 February 2011

The Eunos Lunar New Year Dinner 2011 was organised by the Eunos Community Club Management Committee.

In his speech, Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed, MP for Aljunied GRC & Adviser to Eunos Grassroots Organisations, broke the good news to residents that he had succeeded in lobbying for every HDB flat in Eunos Constituency to undergo the Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP).

I was excited to hear that because one HDB flat within Eunos Heights was left out of the LUP which was embarked upon 2 years back. Since then, residents had been sharing their feedback that they would like to have lifts that stop at every floor.

Speech by Mr Zainul

The Organising Committee

Sending off NL

16 February 2011

Had a job interview at NTUC, and then arrived at the Changi Airport to send off our National Leader of the 37th SSEAYP Singapore Contingent.

With Hafidz, NL Desmond and Sherry

Lunar New Year Sales @ Eunos Lucky Draw cum Mass Greeting

15 February 2011

The event was organised by the Bedok Reservoir Shop Merchants' Association.

Mandarin rendition of Sukiyaki

Chinese New Year Reception at the Istana

14 February 2011

On Valentine's Day, I attended the Chinese New Year Reception at the Istana.

Chefs preparing the yusheng

Where the Prime Minister gave his speech

How the Prime Minister "remembers" his speech

Performance by the Singapore Police Force band

After the buffet dinner, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivered his speech. The Chinese New Year Reception is one of the platforms where the PM would share insightful information on the international and regional arena, in the absence of media.

PM Lee urged Singaporeans to not forget the value of being thrifty

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Happy Hanoi Trip - Exploring Hà Nội with the VPYs

9 - 14 February 2011

Day 1 - 9 February 2011

Vietnam became the first SEA country that I visited after the 37th SSEAYP.

Aunt sending me off at Changi Airport

Vietnam Airlines - 2 flights to Hanoi daily

Air stewardess in the "Ao Dai" traditional costume

Singapore Fried Rice made it into the menu

Having a dinner with Vietnam Youth Leader (VYL) Thao for 37th SSEAYP 2010

Day 2 - 10 February 2011

Thao giving me a ride on her scooter

Xin Chao to VPYs Shane & Lily!

The first visit of the day was to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is situated in the centre of Ba Dinh Square, where the Declaration of Independence was read by Uncle Ho.

The embalmed body of Uncle Ho is situated within this building.

Along the way to the mausoleum, military guards asked visitors to walk in twos. 

As we entered the central hall of the mausoleum, we could see military guards standing steps away from one another. They were very strict in observing that silence was maintained and no one whipped out a handphone to take photographs. Our cameras were all surrendered before we entered into the mausoleum.

Being my first time visiting a mausoleum, I felt quite overwhelmed by the chilling dim lights and could not help but admire the well respected leader of Vietnam.

Office previously used by Uncle Ho

It was quite amazing that as a teacher, Uncle Ho could lead troops, motivate the Vietnamese people and defeat the French to gain independence as well as Americans during the Vietnam War.

Fishes in the pond are known to respond to applauses

After the Vietnam War, Uncle Ho reared some fishes in the pond as food for him and his officers. He would clap to summon the fishes everyday. Till today, the fishes still respond to applauses from visitors.

Interesting tree with crutches

Next, we headed to the Ho Chi Minh Museum. 

The young Ho Chi Minh

Cuba's support for Vietnam during the War

"Ho Chi Minh and Young People

The symbols of nature in its beauty contrasted with the image of industrial plants in this hall represent Uncle Ho's expectation that Young People shoulder the responsibility for the protection and preservation of peace and the environment, and prevention of aggressive and destructive wars."

Uncle Ho's focus on the youth could have been a reason why the Communist Youth Union is named after him.

Shane giving me a ride on his bike

Soon, we arrived at the Temple of Literature (Temple of Confucius), which was also Vietnam's first University. 

"Respect the Teacher" 

In Vietnam, teachers are very much well respected by students. On occasions such as during the Lunar New Year (Tet) period, it is common for students to visit their teachers. Vietnam celebrates Teachers' Day on 20 November.

Fishes swimming towards the gourd because they want to be dragons - symbolising students working hard to graduate and be successful


Ren - Benevolence

Yi - Righteousness

Cai - Talent

Xin - Honesty

Zhi - Wisdom

Jenny joined us at the Temple of Literature

Names of Graduates were carved on the wall tablets. 

It stated that there are only 82 such wall tablets left

Crane represents Sky. Turtle representing Land. Symbolises friendship and harmony

Writing of wishes on the wall with finger

Human Chess

Vietnam Emperor Lý Nhân Tông who built the temple to worship Confucius

Mạc Đĩnh Chi - the Vietnamese that trumped all Chinese in getting the best results that year

Containers storing the exam papers

Drumming indicates start of examination

Morning Call for students

Lily hosted everyone to lunch at her place.

Rubi cooking

What a wholesome meal!

Vietnamese has the practice of taking a nap after lunch. And so, the guys shared a bed while the girls adjourned to theirs. It seemed weird napping at our host's house, so us guys just chatted along.

After the rest, we continued our journey to the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. The museum features the various ethnic groups of Vietnam.

I was told the bicycle was deliberately hung this way to prevent people from riding it


Bamboo Lunar Calendar

A humorous character in Water Puppetry

My lovely guides

The White Thai people

Thai ritual tree

Mask for shaman's initiation ritual

Traditional tomb with figurines symbolising various stages of life

VPYs kept telling me that we would see the small little models on display at the museum in its actual size, and sure we did!

"Long House"

"Tall House"

Different stairs for the men and ladies?

Next, we visited Đại học Quốc gia - Vietnam National University, where Khoa and Rubi taught.

Fave hangout for couples

Dinner was at Quán Ngon - Vietnamese restaurant.

After dinner, Thao and Khoa brought me to the Sword Lake (Hồ Hoàn Kiếm).

With the Turtle Tower in the background

Celebrating 1000 years of Ha Noi (or Thang Long, traditional name of the city)

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum shines in the night

Day 3 - 11 February 2011

Met Khoa at his place of work - Vietnam National University - in the morning but forgot to bring along a helmet, so had to trouble him to buy one at a nearby shop.

Our first visit was to an Archaeology site.

18 Hoang Dieu Archaeological site

The various dynasties of Vietnam

SSEAYP-sick Khoa in his SG-K t-shirt

With Malaysia Homestay mate Hung and Khoa.

Visit to Kinh Thien Palace Relic - a palace from the Le So Dynasty

Chuc Mung Nam Moi = Happy New Year

The Drum and the Bell

A very interesting water sprinkler that wets the floor tiles

Lunch was Bun Thit Nuong!

Ngon quá!! (Delicious!!)

Khoa left after our lunch, so Hung brought me to chill out at a Vietnamese cafe.

The width of the entrance to the cafe is exactly the size of its shop banner, just wide enough to ride a motorcycle into it

View from the rooftop of the cafe

View of the Sword Lake

View of the Old Quarters

Vietnam coffee with a layer of egg

As Hung rode me on his motorcycle, he showed me the Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural, which held a Guinness World Record for being the longest dyke wall art. The mural spreads across 4km wide!

According to Thao, there was a story behind the idea of having such a mural. There was once a young lady who had to travel to and fro along the dyke. She felt that it was dull and made the whole street looked gloomy. When she grew older, she became an artist and mooted the idea of beautifying the dyke, hence the mural.

As we approached a road junction, we were stopped by a Traffic Police for riding a motorcycle that had no number plate. Fortunately, witty Hung got away with it.

The newly bought unregistered bike of Hung

West Lake

Hung dropped me off at the Old Quarters for my self-exploration.

And the first thing I did was to walk to the Pappa Roti store and relive the good old days of having it in Singapore. I wonder why Pappa Roti couldn't survive in Singapore and had to be extinct from it.

Đồng Xuân Market

I observed that if a shop sold a particular type of products in that street, most likely, the entire stretch of shops would be selling the same products. 

Phở Gà - Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

Was very honoured to have dinner hosted by Vietnam National Leader (NL) for 37th SSEAYP, Blue Rose, who's also a senior government official.


With VYL, VAYL Truong and VNL

Day 4 - 12 February 2011

All-time favourite - Bún chả

So, the way to eat this dish is to pick up the Bún (noodles) and dip it into the soup and savour it.

The Budget Guesthouse that I stayed in

Our bike needs to eat too

Street Snacks!

Checking out a typical supermarket

First floor of the supermarket - motorcycle park

A humongous motorcycle park at Big C Hypermart

Our bags had to be sealed before we were allowed to enter

It didn't end up in our purchase

Water is automatically sprinkled onto the vegetables every minute

This is how you load it

Day 5 - 13 February 2011


Celebrating Valentine's Day

Day 6 - 14 February 2011

At the Noi Bai Airport

Hen Gap Lai! (See You Again!)

The trip was made a happy one thanks to:
Shane - for riding me around and sharing many stories
Lily - for the warm hospitality, delicious food and sweet gifts
Jenny - for being the best tour guide ever and make me learn so much about Hanoi
Khoa - for helping to capture so many beautiful photographs
Rubi - for the fun and laughter with English words
Hung - for the adventurous journey
Blue Rose - for meeting up despite busy schedule
Captain - for the many jokes
Thao - for everything