Thursday, August 14, 2014

Celebrating SG49 with the Community

Enjoyed a week's holiday in Vietnam and flew back just in time for National Day celebrations! At Changi Airport's Duty Free Shop, I wished the cashier a Happy National Day and she gave me the widest smile.

Took a quick shower and rushed to Eunos Community Club (CC) for the annual Eunos National Day Observance Ceremony. It is the first time in history that the National Day Parade is screened live at the CC and my first time emceeing on National Day.

The event kicked off with a performance by Tosh and Wei Liang, actors in the "Ah Boys to Men" movie, but not before a cool wefie.

The wefie uploaded by Tosh on his instagram

This is how it begun

To have war?

Immediately after the performance, National Day Parade was telecasted live at the hall. It was a touching moment when the founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew was on screen. All of us broke out in cheers and applause together with the many Singaporeans who were at the Floating Platform. 

And I guess singing National Anthem just gets more emotional each year for me, realising how blessed Singaporeans are in a safe, clean and green country, a small island that shines brightly in the international realm.

A segment of NDP 2014 acknowledged the workers of various professions and their contributions in nation building. For a moment, I thought that was a Labour Movement event. Nevertheless, it was a great showcase and recognition of the contributions made by workers of various collars.

And it coincided well with Prime Minister's message on recognising individuals based on their "skills, contributions and character" and not just educational qualifications.

Looking forward to National Day Rally!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Beautiful Sun and Sea at Cô Tô Island

5-7 August 2014

Situated in Quang Ninh Province of Vietnam, the Cô Tô archipelago comprises about 50 islets, including the Cô Tô Island and Thanh Lan Island we visited.

Getting to the island from Hanoi requires a 5-hour bus ride and a 1.5 hour ferry journey. Lots of touts and hagglers at the bus terminal. Fascinating marketplace of buses and passengers amidst the chaotic traffic flow. The long distance buses pick up passengers from any spot along the journey.

My Dinh Bus Terminal in Hanoi

First Challenge: Walking the Plank

Co To Island was only plugged onto the national power grid since 2013, but wireless internet had been made available since 2012. All households also have access to digital TV via satellite. The tourism is largely driven by local visitors. There aren't many cars around and there are no taxis. While locals travel by bikes, tourists commute around via electric carts or bicycles.

We bunked in at Starlight Lodge, which looked like a tram carriage. The carriage can be towed towards inland during stormy weathers.

Safety pins for snail meal

Bonfire by the waters

Timely wefie with Buffalo

Lots of development projects ongoing around Co To island. The local government actively encourages the local populace to adopt new ideas to promote tourism. This includes converting houses to homestay hotels, like the following house located at a land previously used as a poultry farm.

A random house

Cows and the green pastures

Some photos at Co To Lodge, a colourful and romantic place to stay at:


And this is how it looks like at night, with pleasant English music

The late Ho Chi Minh visited the island and gave the approval for the one and only statue to be built after him when he was still alive.

Uncle Ho's statue overlooking the sea. A temple to worship the revered leader is in the vicinity.

A construction site with the wharf in the background

Beautiful rock formation at Cầu Mỵ:

Photo with Mr Nguyen Duc Thanh, Secretary of the Co To district Party Committee, Chairman of Co To district People's Committee

A resting spot for visitors down the cliff

A 15-minute ferry ride brought us to Thanh Lan Island, which is a far more quiet place. The island is occupied by military camps, where tourists can experience life as a soldier for a day.

Jellyfish farm

The beautiful and serene beaches are a relaxing spot for visitors.

Photo with Chairman of Thanh Lan People's Committee

Probably the Cutest Dog on the island

That weighing scale

The moon shines bright

Okie, time to pack and leave

Market at the the central

Zzz along the bus journey back to Hanoi

Friday, July 18, 2014

Singapore could probably host a Football match between Bangladesh and Guam. Read on to find out these interesting coupling of FIFA Country Codes

Ya, I know World Cup 2014 is over. I am but a non-football enthusiast who gets intrigued by disciplined Tiki Taka-styled football and probably would just tune in to Germany matches (and Singapore's if we ever make it to World Cup...) once in 2 years (think Euro).

While the whole world was shocked by the punishing score of 1-7 of BRA-GER, I was actually amused by the FIFA Country Codes of these two nations. How apt for BRAzil and GERmany to be associated.

And so I read the list of FIFA Country Codes and discovered more amusing couplings. Check them out:

COL-BRA (Cobra) : Colombia vs Brazil

ARM-BAN : Armenia vs Bangladesh 

Hai–BRB : Haiti vs Barbados
And you know you messaged at the wrong time. 

COM-DOM : Comoros vs Dominican Republic 
(Image is censored)

FIN-EST : Finland vs Estonia 

VIR-USA - US Virgin Islands vs United States of America

IND-FRA : India vs France 

CAN-LIE : Canada vs Liechtenstein 

MAD-SAM : Madagascar vs Samoa 

BAN-GUM : Bangladash vs Guam 
Singapore might be happy to host the match

MAR-VEN : Morocco vs Venezuela 
The battle of the Men of Mars and Women of Venus

NAM-BER : Namibia vs Bermuda  

POR-NOR : Portugal vs Norway 
(Please click here to verify you are above 18)

SWE-SUI : Sweden vs Switzerland
The Swee (Pretty) meets the Sway (Unlucky)

COK-CUB : Cook Islands vs Cuba 

CHA-KOR (Charcoal) : Chad vs South Korea 

PUR-PLE : Puerto Rico vs Palestine
Purple Light in the Valley, that is where, I want to be...

WAL-RUS : Wales vs Russia