Last week, I had the chance to check out the colorful exhibit down at Raffles Place for Archifest 2016. It was surprisingly an oasis of calm in the heart of the downtown area, where people were lying on hammocks, pumping air into a huge smiley face, and of course taking photos. There are always fun things happening here in Singapore!
On Saturday, my photographer friends and I ventured to the sunny streets in order to get some good photos! Even though we were tempted to keep our outing indoors due to the hot sun, we persevered and managed to get some good shots. The Rochor Centre buildings are coming down soon and I was really excited to get some shots of these colorful buildings before they would just be a faint memory of Singapore’s past. Our route ended up looking like this:
1) A.R.C. Coffee (29 Sultan Street) – We need food/drinks before a good photo walk of course! Plus, they have really cool wall art outside the building.
2) Arab Street- We walked towards Haji Lane and saw the Mosque and fun restaurants, cafes and stores along the way.
3) Rocher Centre-It’s near Bugis MRT Station. Make sure you check it out before the buildings come down…
4) Curious Palette (64 Prinsep Street)- We ended our photo walk with more food and drinks of course at this hipster cafe.
There are always a few worthwhile exhibits to see at the Arts & Science museum. Checking out the future world exhibit with my bestie from NY made this exhibit even more memorable in my mind. We went on a Sunday afternoon, which meant crowds and a lot of kids. However, we still had fun and managed to get some good shots in the Instagram-worthy room of lights. We made sure to reserve tickets beforehand because on the Saturday before, we were unable to go inside because it was fully booked.
This was definitely a kid friendly exhibit, so families with young kids should definitely go. All the exhibits were very interactive. I resisted the temptation to go down the slide, because I think it was meant for kids. However, I did go inside the area with the lit up bouncy balls and played around for a minute or so. I would recommend that if you are going without kids, probably the week night would be less crowded.
My final tip, be patient and wait for the lights to change. Make sure to go through the room of lights slowly. It’s a one-way exhibit.
So I got a chance last week to go back to the i Light exhibit by Marina Bay to check out the rest of the exhibits! Love that my friends are into this kind of stuff and so willing to accompany me. Here are some more photos from our night. You will never get bored in this small city-state, because there is always something going on. 🙂
Last week, I checked out the light art festival at Marina Bay Sands, which is happening until March 27th from 7:30-11pm. You should definitely head down there and check out all the different light exhibits they have. I love how there are always so many different events happening in this city. We only got to see maybe half of the exhibits because we ran out of time. I will try to go back again before it ends and catch the rest of the exhibits that I missed. Shooting at night was definitely a bit more challenging and a lot of my pictures didn’t turn out as I wanted. However, it’s always fun being behind the camera and being with other enthusiastic photographers and models! Thanks friends for joining us. 🙂
When I arrived (a bit late) in the morning to Hort Park, I was in awe of the beauty of the lucious greens, tall trees, and open grass field. Where was I? How come this was the first time I’ve actually ventured inside. I had only passed by Hort Park at the start of the southern ridges trail. As I was trying to figure out if I was in the right place and then I heard the worship music echoing from downstairs. I just followed the music down the spiral stairs to the multi-purpose hall. I saw some random people watching from outside through the glass walls as well. I was greeted by 200+ women of all ages and different backgrounds singing together in unison; a beautiful site.
Someone asked me afterwards if the retreat met my expectations. And I simply said that I didn’t really have any expectations. It was our first women’s retreat as a church, and I was definitely excited beforehand, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. The excellence that I saw in how the women of our church planned, prepared, and facilitated was an encouragement to me. Of course the decorations, food, and music were on point, considering the talented ladies that are part of my church!
It ended up being a Saturday well spent. It was a time of encouragement, worship, teaching, and fellowship. I felt so grateful for the women that organized and planned the retreat. I could see their love and heart for the women of the church and the Gospel throughout the day. A few key points that have stuck with me are:
- We are free to live out the Gospel.
- Our Christian life is about taking small steps forward.
- Set your mind on what the Spirit desires.
- Christians should be characterized by your waiting.
- We are groaning for the new life to come.
One of the things on my to do list for my vacation was to visit the newly opened Coney Island Park here in Singapore. Unsurprisingly, this Coney Island bears very little resemblance to the famous Coney Island amusement park and beach in Brooklyn, New York. It was actually the original intent of this island when bought by an Indian businessman in the 1950s to be an amusement park like the one in NY(according to this blog post).
I quickly found out that Coney Island park is an oasis located in the far north eastern part of Singapore, where most don’t travel to unless they live there. I admit it was my first time in punggol! Getting there wasn’t too difficult, as we took the purple line to punggol and then bus 84 to Punggol point/Punggol settlement. It was much closer than I imagined. The island has a few paths, but the whole length of the main walk of Coney Island is about 2.4km from one end to the other. Luckily we went during a weekday morning, so it was quiet, peaceful, and serene, which was much needed. Despite not finding the cow (there’s one cow that lives on Coney Island, which you shouldn’t disturb if you encounter), we enjoyed the peaceful nature walk and took a lot of photos along the way. There are bikes available to rent in Punggol if you prefer to explore the island that way.
Coney Island park is definitely worth visiting at least once, and it can only take up a few hours to explore most of the island. Make sure to catch the Punggol waterways at the end of the trip, which connects easily to Coney Island. Here are some of the photos from our explorations. I like the few shots of me taking photos and what I was taking a photo of! Thanks to James for those unexpected candid photos!
Orange is the new color of choice for a group of SAS teachers during thanksgiving weekend, as we venture to Changi airport with bags packed to the brim, full of a hodgepodge of donatable school supplies, translated Khmer posters, lesson plans, art kits, and the minimal pieces of clothes and toiletries to last us through the four day break. With our bright matching Caring for Cambodia t-shirts, we assemble in orderly lines at the check-in desks. We have our passports in hand along with neatly packed bags filled with kilograms of art kits donated by students from our elementary school students. We play the game of adding art kit bags to our check-in luggage hoping that the combination won’t go over our 30kg luggage allowance. We give big smiles and hope that the airline will be as generous in return with a bags that might go over a few kilograms. We are group you can’t miss- a sea of orange shirts.
This was my third year going back to Siem Reap, Cambodia with a group of about 20 teachers volunteering to train Cambodian teachers. I had a chance to work with 5th grade teachers from schools in Siem Reap. As I reflect on my time in Cambodia, I’m reminded that being part of this CFC trip has become my new tradition. A thanksgiving dinner that involves no big family gathering in my home in NY, but an impromptu, where should we eat in town for dinner, with a group of coworkers that have become like family. We find a nice restaurant, with cheap prices and good food, but no turkey or pumpkin pie. And there is laughter, because happy hour is truly happy when drinks are only a few dollars.
The day after thanksgiving, we wake up early, grab our breakfast quickly, all before 7am, not because we want to beat the lines for black Friday, but because we have another day of training. By 7:50am, we arrive at the school, starting another day of intensive heat while training and working with our Cambodian teachers in the classrooms with no fan. I’m always trying to stay hydrated and cool with capri pants and a light t-shirt, while the Cambodian teachers are in long pants/skirts and long button down shirts, and don’t seem to break a sweat.
Saturday is the day I look forward to the most. Our training is done and we get to visit the classrooms of our teachers and observe them teach. This is truly the highlight of my trip each year; seeing the teachers take the lessons we taught them, and adapting them for their students and classrooms in Khmer. I’m always not sure what to expect, but I’m always amazed.
Sometimes, living abroad means letting go of the old traditions and embracing the new traditions that start to form. So for that, I realize there is much to be thankful for.
I always love having visitors, but I was a bit nervous about how much we could get done in Nuree’s 48 hours in Singapore. I knew how tiring the flights are from NY are and I wasn’t sure what she would be up for. Luckily, the haze wasn’t too horrible and we were able to pack in a lot in the limited time. So in the two days we had, we accomplished the following:
- Breakfast at the local hawker (Whampoa Market
- Lunch at Din Tai Fung
- Walking the streets of Orchard Road
- Exploring Chinatown
- Church service at RHC
- Visiting Sentosa and going to the southernmost point of continental Asia
- Eating coconut thai ice cream with free coconut water
- Seafood Indian food at the Esplanade
- Walking from Esplanade to MBS, via the double helix bridge
- Cafe hopping on Keong Saik Road
- Enjoying the view and drinks from the top of Marina Bay Sands hotel
- Chili crab at Jumbo Seafood
- Supper at Swee Choon
- Visiting Gardens by the Bay Cloud Forest
- Taking the water taxi from Clarke Quay to MBS
- Visting Mustafa in Little India
- Walking around Haji Lane and stumbling upon the Selfie Coffee cafe.
- Taking the bus, MRT, taxi, rides from friends, and walking as means of transportation!
By the end of those two full days of eating and walking our way through the little red dot, we were ready to board a plane to haze free Thailand and relax on the beach. I forgot how tiring walking around and doing sightseeing in Singapore can be, especially when you are outside in the afternoon. There were a few times, where taxis were necessary. By now, I think I could plan tours for anyone interested in coming to Singapore in my sleep. Also, Nuree needs to come back to Singapore because we didn’t get to try durian. Next time, my friend.